Dayton, Ohio - On a record setting night for Bronco senior Kevin Foster, the Santa Clara basketball team advanced to the final of the College Basketball Invitational presented by Buick with an 81-69 victory over Wright State in Dayton, Ohio. Foster scored 33 points with six threes and four steals.
What night it was for Foster who also is graduating this quarter. After scoring 34 points in the quarterfinal matchup with Purdue on Monday night, Foster becomes just the third Bronco with back-to-back 30-point games. The others are Dennis Awtrey (March 1 and 7, 1969) and Kurt Rambis (Jan. 4 and 5, 1980). Foster also moved into first place on the SCU single season steals list with 85 this year. His six threes put him at No. 5 all-time in the NCAA, moving past Stephen Curry, currently the Golden State Warriors point guard.
The win puts Santa Clara at 24-11 and ends Wright State's season at 23-13.
The Broncos will face George Mason (21-14) in the best of three championship series as the Patriots were 62-52 winners vs. Western Michigan tonight (22-13). The location and time of the first game are TBA.
Santa Clara has won 24 games for just the third time in the 106-year school history of basketball; and 24 games for the second time in three years under Coach Keating, having won 24 in 2010-11 when the Broncos won the CIT.
"We made a great adjustment to play harder on the defensive end in the second half and that got us going offensively. Good defense led to good offense and vis versa," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "Obviously Kevin was riding the momentum of our win at Purdue on Monday night. Kevin has the experience of playing in these tournaments and has a lot of confidence. He is playing like a fifth-year senior should. He is helping the other four seniors exude confidence as well. I am really proud of our team tonight."
Santa Clara shot 47.7 percent from the field (31 of 65), including 33.3 percent from beyond the arc (8 of 24). The Broncos shot 73.3 percent from the free throw line (11 of 15). They collected 33 rebounds, 15 assists, eight steals, two blocks and had six turnovers.
Santa Clara was led by Foster who scored a game-high 33 points on 11-22 shooting and was 6-12 from deep. Foster added four steals, three assists and one rebound. Evan Roquemore added 16 points on 5-12 shooting and five assists. Yannick Atanga had a team-high nine boards to go with four points. Marc Trasolini added nine points and three rebounds.
Wright State shot 54.2 percent from the field (26 of 48), including 26.7 percent from beyond the arc (4 of 15). The Raiders shot 76.5 percent from the free throw line (13 of 17). They collected 25 rebounds, 14 assists, two steals, no blocks and had 15 turnovers.
Wright State was led by 17 points on 6-7 shooting from A.J. Pacher. Pacher added a team-best eight rebounds as well. Jerran Young scored 13 points on 6-9 shooting with two boards while Miles Dixon chipped in 10 points with three assists.
"Kevin Foster is the best player we have seen all season and it's not even close. That's no disrepect to any of our competition this year - he's just that good," said Wright State head coach Billy Donlon, echoing Purdue head coach Matt Painter's comments on Monday night when he called Foster "the best scorer we have seen all season".
Young scored twice to open the game in the first minute and a half. Roquemore hit an eight-foot jumper at 18:15 to put the Broncos on the board. Pacher scored twice between a Roquemore jumper to put WSU up 8-4 at 16:53.
Foster's three at 16:41 was career No. 414, tying Stephen Curry for No. 5 on the NCAA three point list. Young scored his third basket early to put WSU up 10-7 at 15:41. Trasolini's free throw made it 10-8 WSU at 15:23. Harrison tied it up at 14:17, but Tavares Sledge and Joe Bramanti scored back-to-back baskets to put the Raiders up 14-10 at 13:37. Timeout Broncos.
Wright State scored twice to move ahead 18-10 before B. Clark scored inside at 11:54. John McArthur scored on a dandy pass from B. Clark at 10:56.
Julian Clarke was whistled for a foul on Dixon's three-point attempt. After the media timeout he sank two at 10:53 to put WSU up 22-14.
After Trasolini blocked a shot, Yannick Atanga scored at 9:31. Trasolini added one from eight feet out at 7:58. Reggie Arceneaux scored at 7:45 and 7:11 to make it 26-18.
B. Clark scored from beyond the arc on a nice curl at 6:48, assist Foster, and then Trasolini laid one in at 6:16, 26-23 Wright State.
Foster added a bucket inside between two Wright State baskets to pull SCU within one twice, including 28-27 at 5:13.
Foster was smacked on the wrist by Miles Dixon shooting inside. After the media timeout at 3:45, the Katy, Texas senior sank both to give the Broncos a 29-28 lead.
After a pair of Raider free throws, Johnson looked solid with a bucket inside at 2:40 to put SCU up again. JT Yoho answered with a three at 2:24 and Pacher made a free throw at 1:42, 34-31.
Foster's second three of the half tied it up 34-34 with 50 seconds in the half. He passed Curry with the three and sits at No. 5 all-time in NCAA history.
Pacher ended the half with a dunk to put WSU up 36-34. There were four lead changes and four ties in the first half.
In the first half, Santa Clara shot 43.8 percent from the field (14 of 32), including 27.3 percent from beyond the arc (3 of 11). The Broncos shot 60.0 percent from the free throw line (3 of 5). They collected 19 rebounds, four assists, one steal, one block and had five turnovers. Santa Clara was led by Foster's 12 points. Niyi Harrison collected a game-high five rebounds.
In the first half, Wright State shot 55.6 percent from the field (15 of 27), including 16.7 percent from beyond the arc (1 of 6). The Raiders shot 83.3 percent from the free throw line (5 of 6). They collected 13 rebounds, seven assists, one steal, no blocks and had four turnovers. Wright State was led by Young's eight points. Pacher had four rebounds.
Natt Vest dunked it at 18:58 to start the second half and Roquemore's three made it a one-point game at 13:58. Roquemore's lay-up gave the Broncos a 39-38 lead at 18:01. Young put WSU back up at 17:33.
Young's third foul, on Roquemore, resulted in a pair for Roquemore, 41-40 Broncos. Foster stole the ball from Yoho at 16:57 and dumped it in to put SCU up 43-40. The steal tied the school record for single season steals (82, Harold Keeling, 1982-83). Timeout Wright State.
Foster sank his third three at 16:42. Atanga dunked it before Arceneaux scored at 15:45. Foster set the school record with a steal at 13:44 and Roquemore laid it in at 13:42 on a Foster assist. Foster's fourth three of the game made it 53-42 Broncos, but Young hit his own three at 12:38.
Foster and Pacher traded buckets at 12:17 and 12:02, respectively, putting SCU up 55-47. Young fouled Foster at 11:43 to pick up his fourth of the game. He led WSU with 13 points at that point.
Trasolini and Pacher traded baskets. Kendall Griffin crushed Foster when attempting a three and Foster sank all three to put SCU up 60-49 at 10:56. Pacher scored a pair of free throws at 9:46.
Dixon drove the length of the floor for an easy bucket at 9:22. A confident McArthur hit a 15-foot jumper to quiet the crowd at 8:47, 62-53 Broncos. Timeout Broncos.
Foster crushed his fifth three at 8:35, but Griffin matched it at 8:21. McArthur's 17-footer hit pay dirt at 7:53, 67-56 Broncos. Griffin added a pair of free throws at 7:38.
Foster dunked it with two hands (second dunk of the year – first at No. 1 Duke) and Trasolini followed inside. McArthur added one from four feet out at 5:06, 73-58 Broncos.
The Broncos went up 79-65 at 1:14 on a free throw by Roquemore. Trasolini fouled out at 1:04 with nine points and three rebounds.
Kevin Foster has made 419 career threes and he moved to No 5 all-time in NCAA history. He passed the Golden State Warriors' guard Stephen Curry (414, Davidson, 2006-2009) to take over the No. 5 spot. Foster has scored 19+ in 62 of his 130 career games. He has 15+ in 87 career games.
Kevin Foster started his 122nd career game after setting the school record vs. LMU on Feb. 28. Foster played in his 130th game and moved to No. 3 all-time.
Marc Trasolini and Raymond Cowels III played in their 134th career game and already own the school record. Cowels III also started his 65th straight game for the Broncos. Playing in his 125th career game, Niyi Harrison is No. 6 all-time.
Kevin Foster is No. 6 on the WCC list with 85 steals this season (single season), setting the school record for single season steals.
It is the second time in three years and just the third time in 17 years that Santa Clara has played in the post-season. It is the 17th post-season appearance in school history (21-17: 11-13 NCAA; 2-4 NIT, 5-0 CIT, 3-0 CBI).