This week Santa Clara travels to Moraga on Thurs., Jan. 9 for a 7 pm match-up with rival Saint Mary's. They will then travel to Pacific for their first match-up of the year with the Tigers as the West Coast Conference's newest members. The Saint Mary's game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area regionally and the Pacific game will be shown as the WCC Comast SportsNet Bay Area WCC Game of the Week.
Santa Clara is 9-8 this season, including 2-2 in West Coast Conference play. To open league play this season, the Broncos have lost one and then won one on the road and done the same at home. Until they play at USF on Jan. 25, Santa Clara's league schedule alternates two on the road, two at home the first four weeks (away two, home two, away two, home two). This season the Broncos never play more than two WCC games in a row on the road. It is the same at home with the exception of Feb. 15-22 when the Broncos host three straight WCC home games (USF, UOP, Saint Mary's).
Santa Clara finished off LMU 86-81 in overtime on Jan. 4 in its last game. The Broncos shot a dazzling 88.9 percent from the free throw line, hitting 24 of 27. It is their best performance at the free throw line since they shot 91.7 percent vs. Washington State on Dec. 19, 2010 (33 of 36). Jared Brownridge led the Broncos with 29 points, including four threes, and Brandon Clark scored 26, including an almost-perfect 13 of 14 from the free throw line. Evan Roquemore added 10 points and five assists while John McArthur had a team-high eight boards.
Brownridge, a rookie from Aurora, Ill., has led the Broncos in scoring seven times this year and has scored double-digits in 13 games. Clark has scored 26.2 percent of his points at the free throw line this year, hitting 84.4 percent (76 of 90).
The Broncos were 9-7 last season in league play, finishing fourth. 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.
Saint Mary's is 12-4 and 2-1 in the WCC. Opening the season with a 9-0 record, they lost three straight in Hawai'i at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic Dec. 22-25. Santa Clara's game at Saint Mary's opens a stretch of five straight WCC home games for the Gaels.
Comcast TV, SantaClaraBroncos.com
The Saint Mary's-Santa Clara game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and TheW.tv with a 7 pm tipoff. Barry Tompkins and Dan Belluomini will make the call. It will also be broadcast live 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
The two long-time rivals and original WCC members continue their series that began in 1910. They will be playing for the 215th time. Santa Clara has played Saint Mary's more than any other team in the school's 107-year basketball history and leads the series 131-83. Saint Mary's leads the series 36-30 in Moraga. Saint Mary's has swept the season series in each of the last four seasons and has won nine straight games vs. the Broncos, including a 73-64 WCC Tournament victory on March 6, 2011.
Santa Clara's last win vs. Saint Mary's was a 70-52 victory on Feb. 7, 2009. Kevin Foster led the team with 26 points and John Bryant grabbed 15 boards in the victory at the Leavey Center. Earlier that year, Foster scored 31 points and the Broncos lost at the buzzer on a three by Patty Mills (63-62, Jan. 9, 2009).
Just a second
The Bronco's leading scorer, Brandon Clark, enters the Saint Mary's game as the top scorer in WCC play with 21.0 ppg. Clark scored a WCC career-high with 26 points vs. LMU on Jan. 4 (career high is 32 vs. North Dakota State on Nov. 29). Half of his points vs. the Lions came at the free throw line, as the East Chicago, Ind. native went 13 of 14 from the free throw line. Clark's 13 free throws made are matched only by Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos' 13 made vs. Dayton on Nov. 25, 2013 as the top two WCC performances this year.
Santa Clara's top three most-recent performances at the free throw line have all come vs. LMU. Kevin Foster was 13 of 13 at LMU on Jan. 29, 2011 in SCU's 79-72 victory. Marc Trasolini followed that up by going 17 of 20 from the charity stripe on Feb. 24, 2011 in SCU's 94-88 double overtime victory.
Nationally, Saint Mary's is ninth in 3-point percentage (41.5) and Santa Clara is 14th with 132 three-pointers. After allowing LMU to score no threes for just the third time in school history (0-9), the Broncos lead the league in three-point defense at 27.9 percent. The Broncos are also tied at the top with Pepperdine with 8.3 three-pointers per game.
Brandon Clark is the leading scorer in WCC play thus far with 21.0 ppg. Jared Brownridge is right behind him at No. 3 with 19.8 ppg in league play. Brownridge is third in WCC play with 3.3 threes per game as well and is No. 2 with 36.5 mpg. Clark is the No. 6 scorer in all games and Brownridge is No. 7 - the top freshman.
Three Broncos average double figures: Brandon Clark, Jared Brownridge and Evan Roquemore. Clark leads the team with 17.1 ppg and is second on the team with 3.71 apg. Prior to this season he hadn't scored 20 points in a single game. This season he has scored 20+ eight 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. 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. Leading the team at the free throw line, he has helped his scoring average by making 76 of 90 free throws (84.4 percent). On Jan. 2 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), but bounced back to hit a career-best 13 of 14 vs. LMU on Jan. 4.
Brownridge is second with 15.9 ppg as the top scoring freshman in the West Coast Conference. He has scored 20+ seven times this season already, including twice in WCC play. Brownridge leads the Broncos in threes made (50) and attempted (110), shooting 45.5 percent. He is averaging a team-leading 2.9 threes per game, which is No. 2 in the WCC behind GU's Kevin Pangos (3.1).
Roquemore scores 11.9 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 548. 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 8.2 ppg. He is shooting a career-best 52.7 percent this season and 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 year and had started the last 12 contests until he came off the bench vs. LMU. He has scored 678 career points with 468 rebounds, including 139 points and 110 rebounds with the Broncos.
With four threes vs. LMU, Jared Brownridge has already hit 50 threes this season, which is one more than Steve Nash hit his entire rookie season (49). The 50 threes put him at No. 4 on the Bronco freshman list. He needs eight threes to pass Evan Roquemore at No. 3 (57, 2010-11) and 10 to pass No. 2 James Rahon (59, 2008-09). The freshman school record was set by Kevin Foster in 2008-09 when he crushed 85.
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 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) later matched it. It is the most threes hit by a Bronco since WCC record holder Foster scored nine vs. Air Force on March 18, 2011.
If the season finished today, Brownridge would break the freshman school record for points per game, three point field goal percentage and free throw percentage. Those records belong to Kurt Rambis and Nash. Brownridge is averaging 15.9 ppg and Rambis averaged 15.3 (1973-77). He is scoring 45.5 percent of his threes and Nash averaged 40.8 percent (1992-93). He is making 84.2 percent of his free throws and Nash hit 82.5 percent of his free throws (1992-93).
Evan Roquemore enters the Saint Mary's game with 548 career assists, a Bronco school record, and that total is No. 10 all-time on the WCC list. He needs seven 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 119 of 120 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). Jones 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.
Yannick Atanga is No. 6 with 78 career blocks. He needs 16 blocks to pass No. 5 Kurt Rambis (93, 1976-80). Atanga has 16 blocks this year to lead the team, including at least a single block in 12 of 17 games.
Robert Garrett is No. 7 all-time with 72 career blocks as he has 11 blocks this season. He passed Brendan Groves (70, 1994-96) when he scored three blocks vs. Pepperdine. Jerry Brown is second on the team with 14 blocks.
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. A native of Yaounde, Cameroon, Atanga 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.
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 SMC 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. USF and played in his 120th career game vs. LMU (No. 11). 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 1,483 career points. He needs 89 points to pass No. 11 Kyle Bailey (1,571, 2001-05) and with 104 points he will pass No. 10 Ken Sears (1,586 points, 1951-55). Last year's Bronco team was the first team in WCC history to feature four 1,000 point career scorers. Along with Roquemore, the team had Foster (No. 1, 2,423 points), Marc Trasolini (No. 5, 1,699 points) and Raymond Cowels III (No. 26, 1,090 points). Brandon Clark will most likely be the next Bronco to reach 1,000 career points as he has 775. He would be the 31st Bronco with 1,000 plus points in his career and the seventh 1,000 point scorer under head coach Kerry Keating.
Jared Brownridge has started all 17 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 seven games thus far, including 10 games with 3+ threes made and 13 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.
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.
Since missing four games with an injury, John McArthur has started five of the past seven games. He has scored 34 points and 38 rebounds in those seven games (4.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg). He tied a career-high with 12 rebounds vs. Sacred Heart and added a season-high nine points vs. South Florida. He tallied his 301st career rebound with two at Portland. After making no threes last season, he has already collected four this season. He was 0-1 his sophomore year and 1 of 5 his freshman year. His three at Notre Dame on Nov. 22 was his first three since he hit one at Gonzaga Feb. 17, 2011. It stood as the lone three in his WCC career until he collected one in the first half vs. Pepperdine on Jan. 2.