Men's Basketball Opens WCC Tournament Play, Faces Pepperdine Friday

Men's Basketball Opens WCC Tournament Play, Faces Pepperdine Friday

West Coast Conference Tournament Central | Game Notes | AUDIO: Chatting with Coach Sendek (Feb. 28, 2018)

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara men's basketball, seeded No. 7, begins play in the West Coast Conference Tournament on Friday, facing 10th-seeded Pepperdine in opening-round action. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. Pacific from Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

The Broncos (11-19, 8-10) dropped both of their games last week after winning the previous three.

On Saturday, the Waves (5-25, 2-16) snapped an eight-game losing streak with a 75-64 home win over Portland.

Santa Clara and Pepperdine are meeting for the first time since 2001 in the WCC Tournament. The winner faces No. 2 seed Saint Mary's in Saturday's quarterfinals.

• Jock Landale, the WCC Player of the Year, posted 19 points and eight rebounds to lead four players in double figures for No. 22/20 Saint Mary's which cruised past Santa Clara, 67-40, on Saturday. Senior guard/forward Henry Caruso was the only player in double figures for the Broncos who shot a season-low 24 percent from the floor and played the final 30 minutes with junior guard KJ Feagin (sprained ankle).
• Mattias Markusson posted a double-double with a career-high 19 points, including 15 in the second half, and 12 rebounds, and James Batemon scored 14, including four free throws in the final 25 seconds, to help LMU hold off the Broncos, 65-64 on Senior Day (Feb. 22). Feagin tallied 29 points, including 20 after halftime, and Caruso registered a double-double (11 points/14 rebounds).
• Feagin, a first-team All-WCC pick, ranks second in the league in scoring (17.6 ppg), ninth in assists (4.1 pg) and eighth in 3-pointers (2.0 pg). Caruso is second on the team in scoring (12.2 ppg) and first with 7.0 rebounds per game (No. 7 in the league). Freshman forward Josip Vrankic is third on the team in both scoring (10.4 ppg) and rebounding (4.6 pg), and first in blocks (24). Junior guard Matt Hauser, who missed eight games with a foot injury, is averaging 9.3 ppg. Hauser was injured against San Diego (Jan. 25) and returned Saturday vs. Saint Mary's.


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Game Notes Santa Clara | Pepperdine


The Broncos are in their 111th year of existence, including second under Herb Sendek, who has been successful in each of his three previous head-coaching stops. With a resume that includes 18 postseason appearances and three conference coach of the year awards, Sendek, was one of the three youngest coaches with 400 or more career victories He is in his 24th season as a collegiate head coach with stops at Arizona State, North Carolina State and Miami (Ohio).

• The Broncos have generally held on to the ball, registering just 11.3 turnovers per game (second in the WCC) and possessing a +1.3 turnover margin (first).
The Waves are at the opposite end, owning a -1.3 turnover margin (10th).
• Opponents shoot the ball well against both the Broncos and Waves. Santa Clara foes hit 49.5 percent from the floor, including 39.5 on 3-pointers. Pepperdine has a 49.0 defensive field-goal percentage, including 40.4 on 3-pointers. The Broncos have done a better job defending the 3-pointer in conference play, yielding 36.0 percent.
• The Broncos rank eighth in the league in blocked shots (2.4 pg), but have registered 46 in the last 12 games (3.3 pg).
• Kameron Edwards, a sophomore forward, leads Pepperdine in both scoring (14.2 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 pg). Colbey Ross, a member of the WCC All-Freshmen team, in second in scoring (13.9 ppg) and is fourth in the league in 3-point FG percentage (43.0).

The series began in 1956 and the Broncos hold a 77-59 lead, including wins in the last four meetings. Prior to those games, the series was even in recent years. Entering last season, the teams had split the previous 10 games. Santa Clara set a school record with 22 3-pointers in 106-55 victory on Feb. 16, 2017.

Santa Clara has a 28-29 all-time record in the West Coast Conference tournament, which began with the 1986-87 season. The Broncos have won two tournament titles, at the conclusion of the 1986-87 and 1992-93 seasons. They have a 4-2 mark against Pepperdine in the tourney.

Henry Caruso has scored in double figures in seven of the last eight games and made 24 of his last 25 (96.0 percent) free throws ... prior to playing 12 minutes Saturday against Saint Mary's, KJ Feagin averaged 23.5 points on 52.8 percent shooting from the floor (38 of 72) in his previous four games ... Emmanuel Ndumanya has posted the four highest point totals of his career in the last 10 games, including a career-best 23 vs. Portland (Feb. 10). He has shot 44 of 71 from the floor (62.0 percent) in the last 14 ... Feagin has reached double figures in all but four games (nine vs. Gonzaga, Dec. 30; nine vs. BYU, Jan. 13; nine vs. San Diego, Jan. 25; four vs. Saint Mary's, Feb. 24) ... Feagin has 11 of the team's 18 20-point scoring games this year ... Caruso has been off the floor for only 14 minutes in the last 12 games.

Santa Clara's allotment is sold out. If available, tickets can be purchased though Orleans Arena.

Anthony Passarelli (play-by-play) and John Stege (analyst) will call the action on KDOW AM-1220.

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