Nov. 6, 2009
The Santa Clara's basketball team began the season with strong defense on Friday night, carried out by the momentum of winning the tip-off. It was almost all uphill from there for Santa Clara in its only exhibition game this season as it defeated Notre Dame de Namur 101-45. The Broncos will open their season on the road at CSU Bakersfield on Fri., Nov. 13 before returning home for their regular season home opener vs. Menlo on Mon., Nov. 16.
Santa Clara shot 56 percent from the field while the Argonauts could only muster 17.4 percent from the field, including 18.2 percent from beyond the arc. But Santa Clara shot just 38.9 percent from the free-throw line (7-18).
"First, we really appreciated the support of the students and fans - especially so many Ruff Riders," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "It was a great effort by the Ruff Riders. We are going to need it because it's going to get a lot tougher before it gets easier."
"Our guys did a good job of playing with energy - sometimes too much, but I would rather have too much than not enough," continued Keating. "We are a work in progress but we showed where we wanted to go. We need to improve on our free throw shooting and some things we will see on film. Bakersfield will be a tough test on the road with a well-coached team."
Santa Clara, with nine underclassmen on the roster, was led by Kevin Foster and Marc Trasolini, who scored 25 and 17 points, respectively. Both Foster and Trasolini were WCC All-Freshman team members last season, with Foster being the WCC Newcomer of the Year. The leading rebounders of the game were Niyi Harrison and Trasolini, both with nine rebounds apiece. Also adding double-figures were Harrison (14) and Robert Smith (13). Smith also added eight assists and three steals.
"I thought everybody made contributions, some more obvious than others as far as stats go, but it's to be expected as we begin to define rolls early this season," added Keating.
The Broncos played superb defense against the Argonauts in the first 10 minutes of the game, holding the Argonauts without a field-goal.
The Argonauts scored two points from free-throws, while the Broncos scored 21 points in the first 10 minutes of the game. Although the Argonauts started to get used to the Ruff Riders' supportive and cheering atmosphere, the Bronco offense did not know where to stop. Trasolini and Foster led the Bronco offense as SCU led 46-23 at the half.
Building on the momentum from the first half, the Broncos successfully maintained their winning strategy in the second half of the game. The Broncos scored 24 points before the Argonauts were able to score the first field goal in the second half. The Broncos field goal percentage in the second-half was impressive, shooting 62.2 percent compared to 10.5 percent for the Argonauts. Notre Dame scored just two field goals in the second half.
Santa Clara's 101st point was scored by junior Nate Mensah, a three-pointer from the top of the key - his first career Bronco points.
"The team had a good taste in their mouth after that game and that's good," said Keating. "We can build on that."