March 16, 2011

Broncos Win First Post-Season Game in 15 Years

Written by Student Assistant John Nash '13

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Behind Troy Payne's career-high 18 points and nine rebounds, Santa Clara edged Northern Arizona 68-63 in the first round of the Post-season Tournament at the Leavey Center on Wednesday night. With the win, Santa Clara improves to 20-14 overall while Northern Arizona falls to 19-13. It's the first 20-win season for Santa Clara since 2007, the 18th 20-win season in school history, and the third time in 15 years the school has won 20+ games.

"It's an honor and a privilege to be playing at this time of the year. And it was important to us that we get our 20th win," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. (On Santa Clara's quick start, leading 24-8 at 10:48) "The quick start was huge.  It's important because post-season teams like Northern Arizona will comeback. We got into foul trouble in the second half, but luckily we were able to make free throws" (Santa Clara was 27-33 at the line).

Tonight's win was the first post-season game for Santa Clara since the 1996 NCAA tournament, where the Broncos defeated Maryland 91-79 before falling to Kansas 76-51 in the second round.

The Broncos were led by Mark Trasolini's sixth career double-double as he scored 12 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. Troy Payne added 18 points and nine rebounds, making a career-high 12 of 13 free throws. Despite fouling out Kevin Foster finished with 13 points, scoring three of 10 from beyond the arc.

Northern Arizona was led by Cameron Jones's 18 points and four steals. Gabe Rogers registered 15 points and two assists, while Eric Platt finished with 13 points, going 3-6 from deep.

It was only the third time in 73 career games that Foster has fouled out- and the second time this season. The first was against Cal St. Bakersfield on Nov. 12, 2010.

Santa Clara shot 40.9 percent (18 of 44) from the field, including 20.0 percent from beyond the arc (5 of 20). The Broncos collected 38 rebounds, 10 assists, six steals and six blocks.  They shot 81.8 percent from the free throw line (27 of 33) with 19 turnovers. Northern Arizona shot 40.0 percent (20 of 50) from the field, including 35.7 percent from beyond the arc (5 of 14). The Lumberjacks collected 27 rebounds, nine assists, eight steals and three blocks.  They shot 66.7 percent from the free throw line (18 of 27) with 14 turnovers.

Payne opened with a free throw, and after a Lumberjack buck Foster converted a three and Payne scored a put back to give the Broncos an early 6-2 lead. Trasolini scored his first bucket inside, but Rogers responded with a jumper at 17:04. Dowdell scored on a put-back, and Evan Roquemore nailed a transition three to put the Broncos up 13-4 at 15:47. 

After the teams traded baskets, Payne knocked down a pair of free throws, and Raymond Cowels III buried a three from the corner. After a Stallon Saldivar layup, Foster knocked down his second three of the game to give the Broncos a 24-8 lead at 10:53.

NAU responded with a mini 6-0 run until Roquemore converted an acrobatic layup and Foster hit a spot up three to push the Broncos lead back to 15 at 17:07.

The Lumberjacks countered as Rogers knocked down a three, and Eric Platt  hit a pair of free throws. Payne answered by scoring seven straight points. Payne threw down a dunk off a nifty pass from Foster and on the next possession Foster found Payne again for an and-one.  

After Payne hit two free throws, the Lumberjacks converted two free throws, and the Broncos would take a 36-21 lead into the locker room.

In the first half, Santa Clara shot 40.0 percent (12 of 30) from the field, including 31.3 percent from beyond the arc (5 of 16). The Broncos collected 20 rebounds, seven assists, five steals and five blocks.  They shot 70.0 percent from the free throw line (7 of 10) with seven turnovers. Northern Arizona shot 29.2 percent (7 of 24) from the field, including 16.7 percent from beyond the arc (1 of 6). The Lumberjacks collected 19 rebounds, four assists, four steals and two blocks.  They shot 66.7 percent from the free throw line (6 of 9) with 11 turnovers.  Troy Payne led the Broncos with a season-high 12 points and four rebounds. Foster had nine points and four assists, while Trasolini added five points and eight rebounds. Jones paced NAU with seven points, while Gabe Rogers added six.

Troy Payne started the second half with a pair of free throws, but the Lumberjacks responded with six straight points. Trasolini ended the run with an and-one to push the Broncos lead back to 14 at 16:51.

Northern Arizona put together a 9-0 run capped by a Jones jumper to cut the lead to 41-36 at 15:20. The Broncos countered with five straight free throws to push the lead back to double-digits. After the teams swapped points, Rogers knocked down a three to make it 48-41 at 11:35.

With Roquemore and Foster both on the bench due to foul trouble, Platt knocked down a three to cut the Broncos lead to 52-46. Santos scored inside of a Trasolini missed three but Julian Olubyui finished inside to keep it at six.

Both teams continued to trade points for the next couple minutes as the Broncos excelled at the free throw line. Roquemore's layup with 4:01 left put Santa Clara up 63-55.

Johannsen scored a bucket while being fouled, but couldn't convert the free throw. Roquemore hit one of two free throws, making 64-57 with 1:20 left in the game.  Rogers hit a pair of free throws, and Jones's free throws with 39 seconds left cut the Santa Clara lead to three.

Roquemore knocked down a pair of clutch free throws with 24 seconds left, pushing the lead back to five.

Notes: Santa Clara has set numerous school records this season. 

School Record: They have played in 34 games this season. School Record was 32 twice.

School Record: They have scored 2479 points this season. The school record was 2428 in 1969-70.

School Record: They have made 237 threes this year. The school record was 224 in 2003-04. 

School record: They have attempted 684 threes.  The school record was 662 in 2003-04. 

School record: They have made 644 free throws.  The school record was 606 in 1968-69 

School record: They have 719 personal fouls.  The school record was 695 in 1986-87. 

School record: They have 258 steals. The school record was 232 in 2009-10 (ties 1997-98, 231 was 1990-91). 

School record: They have 884 free throw attempts. The school record was 858 in 1968-1969.