Santa Clara finishes its two-game West Coast Conference homestand vs. LMU on Sat., Jan. 4 at 3 pm. It is Santa Clara's fourth WCC game in eight days and its ninth game in 21 days. The WCC slate opened in December for the first time. The LMU game will be shown as the Comast SportsNet Bay Area WCC Game of the Week.
Santa Clara is 8-7 this season, including 1-2 in West Coast Conference play. The Broncos were held scoreless the final 2 minutes and 47 seconds of the Pepperdine game on Jan. 2, losing 70-61. Jared Brownridge led the Broncos with 18 points, but he scored just two points in the second half after opening the game 4 of 4 from beyond the arc. Brownridge also led the team with six assists. Brandon Clark scored 16 with four assists and two steals. Evan Roquemore added 13 points with eight rebounds and two assists.
Brownridge, a rookie from Aurora, Ill., has led the Broncos in scoring sixth times this year and has scored double-digits in 12 games. On Saturday he will meet up with another one of the WCC's top freshmen guard's in Evan Payne. Payne scored 27 points in the victory over BYU - the best tally for an LMU freshman in a WCC opener.
The Broncos finished the WCC schedule at 9-7 last year. With the five Bronco seniors graduating in June of 2013, they took with them a huge chuck: 13,455 minutes played, 6,188 points scored, 2,149 rebounds, 705 assists and 492 steals.
LMU is 10-5 and 2-1 in the WCC. Opening league play at home with two straight, the Lions defeated both BYU (Dec. 28, 87-76) and San Diego (Dec. 30, 65-62). They didn't finish as well in their last outing, falling 75-61 at San Francisco on Jan. 2. Anthony Ireland leads a trio of LMU players with double-figures in scoring. Ireland scores 18.1 ppg, Payne averages 14.9 ppg and Gabe Levin 12.1 ppg.
WCC Comcast Game Of The Week
The LMU-Santa Clara game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and TheW.tv with a 3 pm tipoff. Glen Kuiper and Dan Belluomini will make the call. It will also be broadcast live as on KLIV 1590 AM and as part of the Bronco Radio Network on SantaClaraBroncos.com. Anthony Passarelli is in his seventh season as the Broncos' play-by-play announcer.
Us vs. Them
Santa Clara leads the series 83-57 vs. LMU, including 39-26 at home. LMU knocked the Broncos out of the WCC Tournament last season with a 60-58 victory. LMU won 82-64 in LA last year on Jan. 10 and SCU returned the favor at home with a 79-56 victory on Feb. 28. It is the Lions' best start since 1995-96 season when they began 11-4.
Three Broncos average double figures: Brandon Clark, Jared Brownridge and Evan Roquemore. Clark leads the team with 16.5 ppg. He is second on the team with 3.69 apg. During a four-game span this season (Nov. 12-29), Clark scored 21+ points in each game; and he was the fourth Bronco player since 2007-08 to accomplish this feat. Prior to this season he hadn't scored 20 points in a single game. This season he has scored 20+ seven times, including a career-high 32 points vs. North Dakota State on Nov. 29. Scoring 30 points vs. Sacred Heart, he is the 13th Bronco in school history to have multiple 30+ point games in a single season. Leading the team at the free throw line, he has helped his scoring average by making 63 of 76 free throws (82.9 percent). He didn't shoot a single free throw in the Pepperdine game for just the third time this season (vs. Bethesda and at CSU Bakersfield).
Brownridge is second with 15.1 ppg as the No. 2 scoring freshman in the West Coast Conference. Brownridge leads the Broncos in threes made (46) and attempted (99), shooting 46.5 percent. He is averaging 2.9 threes per game, which is No. 3 in the WCC behind USD's Johnny Dee and GU's Kevin Pangos (both averaging 3.1). He broke Steve Nash's freshman school record vs. La Sierra when he knocked down seven threes on Dec. 14. He is already tied at No. 6 on the Bronco freshman list with 46 makes (Raymond Cowels III, 2009-10) and needs four threes to pass Nash at No. 5 (49, 1992-93). The freshman school record was set by Kevin Foster in 2008-09 when he crushed 85.
Roquemore scores 12.1 ppg and leads the team with 3.9 apg. Already the school record holder for a single season with assists (2012-13), he now owns the career school record for assists with 544. His 20 points and five three pointers were a season-high at Portland on Dec. 30.
Jerry Brown, a graduate transfer from Fresno State, leads the team with 6.5 rpg and is fourth with 8.5 ppg. He scored the Broncos lone double-double this season (16 pts., 10 reb., Nov. 12, 2013). Brown is working on a Master's in Communication as he redshirted his sophomore year at Fresno. He came off the bench the first four games this season and has started the last 12 contests. He has scored 675 career points with 461 rebounds, including 132 points and 106 rebounds with the Broncos.
Evan Roquemore enters the LMU game with 543 career assists, a Bronco school record, and that total is No. 10 all-time on the WCC list. He needs 12 assists to pass former Zag John Stockton at No. 9 on the WCC list (554, 1980-84). Roquemore broke the Bronco career assists record vs. Radford on Dec. 16 with a dandy dish to Jared Brownridge in the first half, topping Brian Jones (517, 1996-2001). Last season Roquemore set the single season assists record with 196, topping John Woolery (190, 1993-94).
Roquemore is just the third player in school history to score 1,400+ points and collect 500+ assists. The other two were Brian Jones (1,722 points, 517 assists, 1996-01) and two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash (1,689 points, 510 assists, 1992-96). Nash was named the WCC Player of the Year in 1995 and '96 and Jones was a three-time All-WCC First Team honoree.
Roquemore has scored an assist in 118 of 119 career games. He was credited with no assists in SCU's 64-53 loss at Cal Poly on Dec. 7. Looking back, Jones missed an assist in just three games (Dec. 21, 1996 at Pacific, Jan. 22, 1997 at USF; and March 4, 2000 vs. USF). He only had one game his final three years without an assist (USF, 2000). Nash collected eight games his freshman year with no assists, but the final three years of his career he had at least one assist in every game he played in during his Bronco career.
Already the school record holder in both career and single season assists, Evan Roquemore has a chance to break four more Bronco career records this year. Entering the LMU game, he is No. 3 in free throws (444) made and No. 4 in minutes played (3,808). He started his 100th career game vs. South Florida and is on pace to break that record and also the games played record (119). The games started career record was set last year by Kevin Foster (125) along with the minutes played record (4,212). The games played record was broken last year by Raymond Cowels III and Marc Trasolini (137).
With 444 career free throws made, Roquemore needs to make 27 to break the school record of 470 set by Ken Sears in 1951-55. With seven more free throws made, he will pass all-time leading scorer Kevin Foster, who made 450 free throws in his career (2008-13) to sit at No. 2 all-time.
The team's lone 1,000+ career point scorer, Roquemore missed the first four games with a back injury. Roquemore sits at No. 12 with 1,473 career points. He needs 99 points to pass No. 11 Kyle Bailey (1,571, 2001-05) and with 114 points he will pass No. 10 Ken Sears (1,586 points, 1951-55).
Last year's Bronco team was the first team in West Coast Conference history to feature four 1,000 point career scorers. Along with Roquemore, the team had seniors Foster (No. 1, 2,423 points), Marc Trasolini (No. 5, 1,699 points) and Raymond Cowels III (No. 26, 1,090 points).
Jared Brownridge has started all 16 games this season and he appears to have stepped nicely into the two spot vacated by all-time leading scorer Kevin Foster. Brownridge has scored 20+ points in six games in his 16-game college career thus far, including nine games with 3+ threes made and 12 double figure games. Much of his scoring has been beyond the arc as Brownridge has collected 5+ threes three times. Foster accomplished this feat three times in his 33-game rookie season (5 vs. Arizona, Nov. 25, 2008; at Saint Mary's, Jan. 9, 2009; and at LMU, Feb. 14, 2009). All told, Foster scored seven threes twice, eight threes twice and nine threes once (the school record for a single game).
In the final non-conference game vs. South Florida on Dec. 23, Santa Clara went on a 13-3 run as Brownridge hit a three with 53.8 seconds left to give SCU a one-point lead and then iced it with a pair of free throws with 10.8 ticks left to lead the Broncos to a 66-65 victory. He also scored eight straight Bronco points late in the second half of the Portland win on Dec. 30 to help seal the victory.
Brownridge collected seven three pointers on a night where he shot 8 of 15 from the field with a game-high seven assists in the win vs. La Sierra on Dec. 14 (7 of 14 from three). The seven threes by Brownridge broke the Bronco freshman record set by Steve Nash back in 1993 (6 vs. CS Stanislaus, 1-5-93). Brandon Rohe (6, vs. Mississippi State Valley, 12-27-02) and Calvin Johnson (6, vs. Cal Poly, 12-10-05). It is the most threes hit by a Bronco since WCC record holder Foster scored nine vs. Air Force on March 18, 2011.
Through his first three collegiate basketball games, Brownridge was in elite company at SCU. Only three players since the 1999-2000 season have scored more points in the first three games of the season and Brownridge is the only first-year player among them. In his junior year John Bryant collected 75 points in three games at the outset of the 2007-08 season and Travis Niesen tallied 68 points during the first three games of his 2005-06 senior campaign. Foster went for 65 in the first three games last season. Foster also scored 62 points in 2009 but it took him four team games after he missed the third contest of the season.
Yannick Atanga is No. 6 with 77 career blocks. He needs 17 blocks to pass No. 5 Kurt Rambis (93, 1976-80). Atanga has 15 blocks this year to lead the team, including at least a single block in 11 of 15 games.
Robert Garrett is No. 7 all-time with 71 career blocks. He passed Brendan Groves (70, 1994-96) when he scored three blocks vs. Pepperdine. Jerry Brown is second on the team with 13 blocks. Garrett and Nate Kratch follow behind with 10 each.
After leading the league in rebounds last year, Atanga is No. 2 on the team in rebounds this year with 5.1 rpg and has collected 10+ boards in 11 career games.
Atanga, a native of Yaounde, Cameroon, spent time playing this past summer with the Cameroon National Team in China as part of a four-nation tournament. Playing basketball since he was 12 years old and now sporting a 7'4 wing span, Atanga dreams one day of working for the United Nations as a peacekeeper in Africa.