ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Santa Clara to host Northern Arizona in first round of CollegeInsider.com Tournament
In its first post-season appearance in 15 years as part of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament, Santa Clara (19-14, 8-6 WCC) will host Northern Arizona (19-12, 9-7 Big Sky) in the first round on Tues., March 15 at 7 pm in the Leavey Center it was announced on Saturday afternoon. Northern Arizona fell in semi-finals of the Big Sky Tournament to eventual Big Sky champion Northern Colorado 73-70. Santa Clara will be playing the Lumberjacks for the third time in school history and the second straight season with the series tied 1-1.
Northern Colorado, headed to the NCAA Tournament as the Big Sky automatic qualifier, fell to Santa Clara 87-84 on Nov. 24, 2010. With Evan Roquemore and Raymond Cowels III scoring double-figures off the bench and Kevin Foster hitting 19 points, Santa Clara held off a late rally from Northern Colorado. Roquemore hit 10 of 10 free throws to score a then-career-high 18 points.
"This is a great opportunity and a step for our program to take. To play in March is a privilege and is a hard-earned honor for a season's worth of work. To be able to play in Leavey again is special for our fans and alumni who have had such a big part of our success this year. We are looking forward to sharing in this with everyone next Tuesday," Bronco head coach Kerry Keating said.
"We are thrilled to be participating in the post-season for the first time in 15 years as our goal is to make post-season play an annual occurrence. This was a very exciting season, and a significant step in our efforts to re-emerge as a basketball power on the West Coast," said Santa Clara Athletic Director Dan Coonan.
"We are extremely thrilled to continue the season and play in an event that is a reward for the terrific season that we have had," said Northern Arizona head coach Mike Adras. "To get chosen to play in this tournament means a lot to our University. It is a matchup with a WCC team that had a terrific season themselves. Both teams will be fighting to move on. It is a great springboard to next season."
Northern Arizona is led by senior Cameron Jones who has scored in double figures in every game but one (8 at Montana State). The NABC All-District second team honoree, who averages 20.2 ppg, 4.6 rpg and 3.1 apg, was also named to the Big Sky All-Tournament team and broke the school's single-season and career scoring marks. He was a unanimous selection to the All-Big Sky first-team and is a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award.. Jones maintains a 3.2 GPA in history with a minor in anthropology. He's a three-time member of the Big Sky All-Academic team as well as a three-time recipient of the Golden Eagle Scholar-Athlete Award. Jones was also chosen to the 2009-10 NABC Honors Court. Jones was the first player in school history to earn NABC All-District honors.
Northern Arizona defeated Santa Clara 88-72 in each team's third game of the West Coast Classic on Nov. 25, 2009. SCU shot 46.7 percent, including 25 percent beyond the arc. SCU had 26 rebounds, three blocks and six steals with 21 turnovers. NAU shot 52.7 percent, including 41.2 percent beyond the arc. NAU had 38 rebounds, three blocks and 10 steals with 17 turnovers. Individually for Santa Clara, Kevin Foster had 14 points but was 2-11 from three point range.Marc Trasolini added 12 points, seven rebounds and two blocks. Troy Payne had eight points, eight rebounds and four assists. DeAngelo Jones led the Lumberjacks with 28 points, including 7-9 from the free-throw line. NAU had three other scorers score 14 points each.
Santa Clara won the first match-up with Northern Arizona, 72-61, in the first round of the Cable Car Classic on Dec. 27, 1985. Bronco Steve Kenilvort led the cause with 26 points, including sinking 12 of 13 free throws. Mitch Burkey scored 13 and Matt Wilgenbush led both teams with seven rebounds.
This season the Broncos had four players in double figures in WCC play and are led by the nation's No. 1 three-point shooter in Kevin Foster (3.5 threes per game). Marc Trasolini, the WCC Player of the Week Feb. 28, scored 22 points in two straight WCC Tournament games this past weekend. Troy Payne was named the WCC Defender of the Year and Evan Roquemore, who has already broken the Bronco freshman records in assists, free throws made and free throws attempted, was named to the WCC All-Freshman team after averaging a league-leading 11.8 ppg for newcomers.
The CIT is a 24-team tournament that will feature 12 first-round games. Four of the teams that win first-round games will advance to the quarterfinals, while the other eight teams will play for the right to advance to the quarterfinals.
Missouri State won last year's CIT event with a 78-65 triumph over Pacific in the title game. In 2009, Old Dominion captured the CIT crown with a 66-62 victory at Bradley. Missouri State came back to win the regular season MVC title this year and Old Dominion has already advanced to the NCAA Tournament again this season after winning its conference title for the second straight year. ODU defeated Notre Dame in the first round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
Season ticket holders with reserve chair back seating can purchase their seats for $20 per pair (2 for $20) as a thank you for the support this season. The general public can purchase reserved chair back tickets for $20 each. General admission tickets for the CIT game will be $5. Ruff Riders (Bronco student group) with valid Santa Clara I.D.'s will be admitted into the game free of charge and will be entered into a raffle for one of two $500 cash prizes, as a result of Coach Keating's generosity.
"It's a way of saying 'thanks' to the student body and Ruff Riders for stepping up big and supporting the basketball team to help us get to this point. We won more games in Leavey this year than in the last 23 years, and they were a vital part of that. As a result, we will play in Leavey again this season; on top of it all, this will be an ultimate study break during exams for 2 hours, and the two $500 prizes will certainly make spring break a little more manageable!" Keating said.