Santa Clara travels to Pacific Sat., Jan. 11 for their first match-up of the year with the Tigers as the West Coast Conference's newest members. The Pacific game will be shown as the Comcast SportsNet Bay Area WCC Game of the Week at 1 pm. It will also be shown live on TheW.tv. Barry Tompkins and Jarron Collins will make the call. It will also be broadcast live on KLIV 1590 AM and SantaClaraBroncos.com as part of the Bronco Radio Network. Anthony Passarelli is in his seventh season as the Broncos' play-by-play announcer.
Santa Clara leads the all-time series 89-41 vs. UOP, with SCU winning the last three of four contests. The last nine games resulted in five wins for the Broncos and four wins for the Tigers, with Santa Clara winning 75-71 on Dec. 15, 2012. UOP had won three straight games over the Broncos on its home court prior to last year's Bronco victory.
Pacific, along with SCU, was an original member of what is now the WCC, joining in 1952-53 to form the California Basketball Association. Pacific left the conference in 1971, but accepted an invitation back to the WCC beginning on July 1, 2013.
Santa Clara is 10-8 this season, including 3-2 in West Coast Conference play. The Broncos are 2-3 on the road, including 2-1 in WCC play. The Broncos came from 13 down late in the first half to win 57-55 at Saint Mary's for the first time since their 63-57 victory on Feb. 3, 2007. It was the 27th straight game the Broncos have won when they outshoot their opponent (field goal percentage). Jared Brownridge hit a three with 1.2 seconds left to put SCU up by two. He finished with 23 points and Brandon Clark scored 20. Clark has scored 20+ nine times this season. Prior to this year, Clark hadn't scored 20+ points in a college or high school game since he scored 29 in an AAU game in eighth grade.
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).
Brownridge, a rookie from Aurora, Ill., has led the Broncos in scoring eight times this year and has scored double-digits in 14 games. Clark has scored almost one-fourth of his points at the free throw line this year, hitting 83.7 percent (77 of 91).
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.
Pacific is 9-6 and 0-4 in the WCC. They lost 81-72 in overtime to USF on Thursday. Andrew Bock had 17 points to lead the Tigers. Tony Gill had 15, while Ross Rivera scored 14 and Trevin Harris added 10.
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Talk about two different trips to the free throw line! In its overtime 86-81 victory vs. LMU on Jan. 4, SCU shot a dazzling 88.9 percent from the free throw line, hitting 24 of 27. It was the Broncos best performance at the free throw line since they shot 91.7 percent vs. Washington State on Dec. 19, 2010 (33 of 36).
Fast forward to the Saint Mary's game on Jan. 9 and the Broncos went exactly 1 of 2 from the free throw line with Brandon Clark being the lone shooter (1 of 2 at 7:45 in the second half). It was the fewest number of free throws made since the Broncos made one vs. Mississippi State on Dec. 20, 2003 (1 of 9). They lost the game 66-61 in overtime and the Bulldogs attempted zero free throws in the game. The Broncos attempted three free throws at USF on Feb. 9, 2012 but no Bronco team attempted only two free throws in a game between 1991-92 and 2013-14 (continuing to research to see when the last time they shot two or less prior to 1991-92).
SCU's leading scorer, Brandon Clark, enters the Pacific game as the top scorer in WCC play with 20.8 ppg. Clark has scored 20+ points in four of five WCC games this year. 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 Clark's 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 was 17 of 20 from the charity stripe on Feb. 24, 2011 in SCU's 94-88 double overtime victory vs. LMU.
Three Broncos average double figures: Brandon Clark, Jared Brownridge and Evan Roquemore. Clark leads the team with 17.2 ppg and is second on the team with 3.61 apg. He is No. 23 nationally in ppg. Prior to this season he hadn't scored 20 points in a single game and hadn't scored 20+ points since he scored 29 points in an AAU game in eighth grade. This season he has scored 20+ nine times, including a career-high 32 points vs. North Dakota State on Nov. 29. Scoring 30 points vs. Sacred Heart on Dec. 18, 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 77 of 91 free throws (83.7 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 16.3 ppg as the top scoring freshman in the West Coast Conference. He has scored 20+ eight times this season already, including three times in WCC play. Brownridge leads the Broncos in threes made (53) and attempted (114), and is shooting 46.5 percent beyond the arc. He is averaging a team-leading 2.9 threes per game, which is No. 2 in the WCC behind GU's Kevin Pangos (3.0).
Roquemore scores 11.3 ppg and leads the team with 3.8 apg. Already the school record holder for a single season with assists (2012-13), he now owns the career school record for assists with 550. 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 6.2 rpg and is fourth with 7.9 ppg. He scored the Broncos lone double-double this year vs. SJSU (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 and at SMC. He has scored 682 career points with 470 rebounds, including 143 points and 112 rebounds with the Broncos.
Santa Clara is 11th in the country with 140 three-pointers and leads the league in WCC games with 8.2 threes per game. After allowing LMU to score no threes for just the third time in school history (0-9) and Saint Mary's going 4 of 16 beyond the arc, the Broncos lead the league in three-point defense at 27.1 percent. The Broncos are No. 17 nationally in turnovers and No. 1 in the league in turnover margin in overall games (+2.2).
Brandon Clark is the leading scorer in WCC play with 20.8 ppg. Jared Brownridge is right behind him at No. 3 with 20.4 ppg in league play. Brownridge is second in WCC play with 3.2 threes as well. Clark and Brownridge are No. 2 with 36.6 mpg. Clark is the No. 4 scorer in all games and Brownridge is No. 7 - the top freshman.
With three more threes at Saint Mary's, Jared Brownridge has already hit 53 threes this season, which is four more than Steve Nash hit his entire rookie season (49). His 53 threes are second-most by a freshman in D-I this season and eighth-best nationally. The 53 threes made put him at No. 4 on the Bronco freshman list. He needs five threes to pass Evan Roquemore at No. 3 (57, 2010-11) and seven 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.
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 16.3 ppg and Rambis averaged 15.3 (1973-77). He is scoring 46.5 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).
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. 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.
Pass the Ball
Evan Roquemore enters the Pacific game with 550 career assists, a Bronco school record, and that total is No. 10 all-time on the WCC list. He needs five 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 120 of 121 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 had 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.
Roquemore has a chance to break four more Bronco career records this year. Entering the UOP game, he is No. 3 in free throws made (444) and No. 4 in minutes played (3,866). He started his 100th career game vs. USF and played in his 121st game at Saint Mary's (T-10). 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 set by Ken Sears (470, 1951-55). With seven more free throws made, he will pass all-time leading scorer Kevin Foster, who is No. 2 all-time (450, 2008-13).
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 1,485 career points. He needs 87 points to pass No. 11 Kyle Bailey (1,571, 2001-05) and with 102 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 795. 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.
Yannick Atanga is No. 6 with 80 career blocks. He needs 14 blocks to pass No. 5 Kurt Rambis (93, 1976-80). Atanga has 18 blocks this year to lead the team, including at least a single block in 13 of 18 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 15 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.
Jared Brownridge has started all 18 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 eight games thus far, including 11 games with 3+ threes made and 14 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 and scored the game-winning three with 1.2 seconds left on the clock at Saint Mary's on Jan. 9.
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.