SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara men's basketball, which sits in fourth in the West Coast Conference standings, closes out the regular season Saturday against No. 20/18 Saint Mary's. The game will tip off at 7 p.m. in Moraga, California.
The second-place Gaels (25-3, 15-2), who have won 10 of their last 11, have four players averaging at least 8.0 points per game. The Broncos (16-14, 10-7) capped off their home schedule Thursday by edging Pacific, 69-68, behind 22 points from sophomore guard KJ Feagin, 18 by senior forward Nate Kratch and a double-double (13 points/10 assists) produced by sophomore guard Matt Hauser.
Santa Clara is assured of at least the fourth seed in the WCC Tournament and can secure No. 3 by defeating Saint Mary's, and Gonzaga knocking off third-place BYU. The Gaels will be seeded No. 2.
The Broncos have four players averaging in double figures. Senior guard Jared Brownridge leads the team and ranks third in the WCC in scoring (17.4 ppg). He is first in the WCC and 14th nationally averaging 3.3 3-point field goals per game. Feagin is second on the team in scoring at 15.2 ppg and first in 3-point shooting (49.5 percent), though he has only played in the last 18 contests after missing the first 12 due to injury. Feagin is averaging 15.8 points (sixth in the WCC) and 4.6 assists per game (fifth) in league games. Only Gonzaga's Nigel Williams-Goss (17.9/4.8) is averaging at least 15 points and producing 4.0 or more assists in WCC games. Hauser is averaging 10.0 points and 5.5 assists per game, third overall in the WCC. Hauser's assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.6-to-1 is first in the league and No. 7 in the country. His four double-doubles are the most by a WCC guard this season. Kratch is averaging 11.1 ppg and a team-high 6.7 rebounds pg (No. 7 in the WCC). His 43.3 3-point FG percentage ranks third in the WCC. He is averaging 20.0 points while shooting 62.3 percent from the floor during the last four games.
|TV||Sling TV (Campus Insiders 1)
|Audio||KLIV AM-1590 (San Jose, Calif.)
|Game Notes||Santa Clara | Saint Mary's|
• Santa Clara, which has had seven players miss time due to injury, has already eclipsed its win total (11) from last season and posted the best overall turnaround in the West Coast Conference. The Broncos have posted a 5.5 game improvement so far this season compared to 2015-16 when they were 11-20. Gonzaga (29-0) is second at 4.5 games (28-8 in 2015-16)
• The Broncos are assured of finishing above .500 in league play for just the third time in the last 10 years, including first since 2012-13.
• Herb Sendek is in his first season as Santa Clara head coach after three successful stops leading Division I programs. Sendek, one of the three youngest coaches to reach 400 career victories, is in his 23rd season as a head coach. He compiled a 413-295 (.583) record, including 39 victories against top 25 teams, at Arizona State, North Carolina State and Miami (Ohio). Sendek was a coach of the year in the Pac-10, Atlantic Coast Conference and Mid-American Conference. Sendek posted a 5-1 mark in meetings with the three other new head coaches in the WCC.
• Jared Brownridge ranks second on the school's all-time scoring list and fourth in WCC history (2,238). Brownridge (1,257) is also the all-time scoring leader in WCC games. In addition, the senior is third among active leading scorers in NCAA Division I.
Sharing the Basketball...
Santa Clara has two of the top assist producers in the WCC with Matt Hauser ranking third at 5.5 per game and KJ Feagin is averaging 4.6 per contest, though he's only played 18 games and out of official rankings. The Broncos average 14.7 assists pg (No. 5 in the WCC), but they are among the best in the league based on assists per made field goals. The Broncos are second overall in the WCC in assist percentage (62.1) and first in league games (65.2).
Hanging On To The Basketball...
Santa Clara has the No. 1 turnover margin in the WCC at plus-2.0 per game and the third-best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4-to-1). The Broncos average just 10.5 turnovers per game (No. 13 in the country) and the fourth-best steal percentage (6.1) in the nation, according to KenPom.com. Those factors have helped offset an offense scoring 66.8 points per game (No. 8 in the league). However, the Broncos are allowing just 64.7 ppg, which ranks third in the conference. Santa Clara is 12-2 this season when scoring 65 or more points.
• Guard KJ Feagin has scored in double figures in 14 of the last 16 games. In the last seven games, he's averaged 17.7 points on 57.3 percent shooting from the floor, including 67.7 percent on 3-pointers (23 of 34) ... guard Jared Brownridge and forward Nate Kratch are the only players to play all 30 games, starting each one. Brownridge is averaging 37.0 (No. 1 in the WCC) and Kratch 34.0 minutes per game. Guard Matt Hauser is averaging 35.4 game (No. 3 in the WCC), but played just two minutes vs. Portland (Jan. 5) after leaving due to a concussion. Brownridge played 30 minutes against Northern Colorado (Nov. 19) due to foul trouble and a season-low 28 at BYU (Dec. 29), but has played at least 33 minutes in 27 of the other 28 contests. Hauser has played less than 34 minutes only six times ... Hauser has posted more than two turnovers just three times season and he dished out 10 or more assists in five games. He currently ranks tied for ninth (153) on Santa Clara's all-time single season assist list) ... Brownridge had his 32-game double-figure scoring streak snapped when he was held to seven points in a 75-50 win over UC Riverside (Dec. 13). Brownridge has scored in double figures in 46 of the last 52 games, including 20 or more points in 26 ... Hauser has scored in double figures 16 times this season, including a career-high 18 vs. UC Riverside (Dec. 13). He scored in double figures four times in 2015-16 ... after reaching double figures in three of the first nine games, Kratch has scored at least 10 points in 13 of the last 21. He is averaging 20.0 points while shooting 62.3 percent from the floor, including 11 of 18 (61.1 percent) from behind the 3-point line, during the last four games ... Kratch has four double-doubles on the season (at Valparaiso, Dec. 22; vs. BYU, Jan. 26; at Pacific, Feb. 11; vs. San Diego, Feb. 18) and missed by one carom vs. BYU (Dec. 29), USF (Dec. 31) and LMU (Jan. 7) ... after not seeing action in the first seven games, junior center Emmanuel Ndumanya has played in the last 23. He assumed the starting center role in the Cal State East Bay game (Dec. 10) and has been in the opening lineup the last 21 contests ... Ndumanya has posted double-digit rebounding efforts in five of the last seven games, including the last four. He is averaging 11.5 rebounds in the last four games ... junior forward Jarvis Pugh has scored in double figures in five contests this season after reaching 10 points just twice in his previous 42 career games. But Pugh has missed the last 13 games with a foot injury suffered vs. Portland (Jan. 5) and is out indefinitely, though close to returning to action.
• Santa Clara has searched for consistency shooting from the floor. The Broncos, who rank seventh in the WCC in FG percentage (43.7), have connected on 50 percent or more in five games and less than 40 percent 10 times. The team is 15-3 this season when connecting on at least 43 percent from the field and 12-2 when hitting 40 percent or higher from behind the 3-point line. Conversely, Santa Clara is just 6-11 when the opposition shoots 45-plus percent from the field ... Santa Clara averages a WCC-high 9.7 made 3-pointers per game. The Broncos are 9-3 on the year when nailing 10 or more from beyond the 3-point line ... Santa Clara is 7-1 this season when out-rebounding its opponents, but the Broncos have the lowest rebounding margin in the WCC (-3.5 pg).
So far this season, seven Santa Clara players have missed time due to injury for a total of 65 man-games
• Evan Crawford (10): suffered an abdominal injury prior to Gonzaga (Jan. 19) and has missed the last 10 games
• KJ Feagin (12): suffered a broken bone in his right foot during the third preseason practice and missed the first 12 games of the year
• Matt Hauser (3): suffered a concussion in the opening minutes of the Portland game (Jan. 5) and missed the following contest at LMU (Jan. 7); did not play vs. Saint Mary's (Jan. 28) due to the flu
• Matt Hubbard (4): had reconstructive ankle surgery in the spring; missed four games before deciding to leave program following the Washington State contest (Dec. 17)
• Tony Lewis (9): suffered a stress fracture in his right foot and is out indefinitely
• Jarvis Pugh (14): suffered a stress reaction in his left foot against Portland (Jan. 5) and has missed the last 14 games
• Evan Wardlow (13): had microfracture knee surgery in the spring and was not cleared to play until the fourth game of the season; missed the UC Irvine contest (Nov. 20); out of action for seven games due to a hamstring injury, returning vs. San Diego (Jan. 12); suffered a stress reaction in his left foot leading up to the San Francisco game (Feb. 9) and missed that contest as well as against Pacific (Feb. 11).
Scouting Saint Mary's...
Head coach Randy Bennett is in his 16th year and has Saint Mary's at 25-3 start, including 15-2. SMC has one of the most efficient offenses in the country. It boasts the fourth-best assist-to-turnover ratio in the nation at 1.60, recording 16.8 assists per game to 10.5 turnovers per game. The Gaels also shoot 49.4 percent from the field (No. 10 in the nation) and 39.0 percent from beyond the arc (No. 33 in the nation, No. 1 in WCC). Bennett's squad plays a very slow brand of basketball, registering just 59.2 possessions per 40 minutes (per KenPom), the lowest mark in the country. Junior center Jock Landale leads the team in scoring at 16.8 points per game on 60.8 percent shooting from the floor. Landale is also the team's top rebounder at 9.5 per game.
The Saint Mary's Series...
Santa Clara and Saint Mary's are longtime rivals and original West Coast Conference members. The series began in 1910 and the teams will be playing for the 222nd time, the most common opponent in Santa Clara history. The Broncos lead the series 133-88. The Gaels have won five of the last seven meetings, including a 72-59 win on Jan. 28.
Radio/Live Stream: Anthony Passarelli (play-by-play) and John Stege (analyst) will call the action vs. Saint Mary's on KLIV AM-1590 in San Jose, California. All Broncos home games and West Coast Conference contests (not on an ESPN platform or televised by BYUtv) will also be streamed through TheW.tv (local blackout restrictions apply for games broadcast over the air). KLIV AM-1590 is serving as the broadcast outlet for 25 Santa Clara games this season and a selected few can be heard on KSCU FM-103.3 and KDOW AM-1220.
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