Santa Clara Opens Season With Win at CSU Bakersfield

Nov. 13, 2009

Final Stats

Held scoreless in the first half for the first time since early last December, Bronco sophomore Kevin Foster exploded out of the lockerroom to score all 21 points in the second half, including the game winner, helping Santa Clara to an 84-81 victory at CSU Bakersfield in its season opener. SCU is 1-0 and CSUB is 0-1.

"We went through that a lot last year (close games at the end) and I was hoping we could avoid that this year," said third year head coach Kerry Keating. "It's going to happen with a young team when we start a freshman point guard. You could see Robert's potential and how he grew in the second half. I am pleased this young team got a win and we will return home on a positive note."

"With no seniors on our team - I am excited about our future. I am optimistic in that we are able to maintain and build on that lead in the first half with Marc and Kevin as non-scoring factors. Our young guys played with passion and energy. Niyi and Troy Payne played tough. Chris got five rebounds in eight minutes off the bench. Ray made his two big threes. Troy Alexander was able to make some good reads offensively.

Was Keating worried about Foster in the second half "You gotta let shooters shoot. Kevin was a volume guy last year: he took a lot of shots and made a lot of shots. We knew he would get going."

Santa Clara shot 45.2 percent from the floor, making 23 of its 35 of its free throws. CSUB shot 42.4 percent from the floor, converting on 17 of 26 of its free throws. CSUB won the rebounding battle, 48 to 36. CSUB had seven blocks to SCU's own two, but the Broncos stole the ball 10 times to the Roadrunners two. CSUB had 22 turnovers to the Broncos own 14.

Individually, SCU was led by Foster's 21 second-half points, including three threes. Also hitting double-digits was Troy Payne, who scored 15, including 9 of 13 from the free throw line; Niyi Harrison, who scored 12 and Marc Trasolini who scored 10. Payne led the Broncos in rebounding with nine and Harrison added eight. Payne added five assists and four steals to lead the Broncos in both categories.

In the first half, the first Bronco basket of the year was scored at 19:45 by Ben Dowdell, a layup. CSUB went on a 5-0 run when Trasolini hit the second of two free throws to cut the lead to 5-3 CSUB. CSUB took a 10-6 lead when Santa Clara got within two on a basket by Michael Santos and tied it up 11-11 on a basket by Niyi Harrison.

The two teams knotted it up four times from 13:43 - 6:56 when two Troy Payne free throws put SCU up 21-19. Dowdell's lay-up and one free throw gave SCU a 24-20 lead. After Smith's first career basket, SCU took a 28-23 lead, but the Roadrunners came back down and hit a three at 3:49.

Santa Clara then went on a 5-0 run with three free throws and a put-back by Harrison to take a 33-28 lead. A Payne steal and he was back at the line yet again, making one to make it 35-30 SCU with less than a minute to go. CSUB hit a three with a tick left to make it 35-33 Broncos at the half.

After being held scoreless in the first half for the first time since Dec. 3, 2008 (0-7 at San Jose State), Foster came out slinging in the second half. He put up 10 points in just over three minutes to start the half, including his first basket of the year, a 3 at 19:04. Tied, 46-46, SCU went on an 11-0 run. SCU went up 54-46 at 16:23 on a basket by Harrison and one.

Santa Clara went up by 11 on a way-out three by Foster, making it 57-46 SCU at 15:40. A Raymond Cowels three, his first as a Bronco, put SCU up 62-46 at 13:06.

But the Roadrunners weren't finished by a long shot. CSUB, who had gone scoreless for over five minutes, went on an all-out scoring run. Down 62-46, CSUB went on an 18-3 run from 13:06 to 8:56. CSUB tied it up 67-67 on a basket and one at 8:39.

The two teams went scoreless for more than two minutes when Donald Johnson of CSUB fouled out and Payne connected on the second of two free throws, making it 68-67 SCU at 6:19.

But a three by CSUB gave the Roadrunners a 70-68 lead at 5:40. A five second call on CSUB gave SCU the ball back and Payne floated the ball in at 4:48 to make it 73-70 SCU.

The Broncos went up 78-74, but CSUB scored a basket and the Broncos were only able to hit one of four from the charity stripe, making it 78-76 SCU with two minutes to go.

Trasolini made a great post move to the basket to make it 80-77 at 1:29. CSUB came back to score and make it 80-79 SCU.

"This young team has to know it's not over until it's over," added Keating. "We were aggressive on the defensive end and we let it get away from us by not finishing defensive plays. The game isn't over until the clock runs to zero and we need to exercise our defensive will no matter what time is on the clock."

After a rebound off a missed shot, with 19.3 left in the game, the Broncos fouled the Roadrunner center and he made one free throw to tie up 80-80.

Foster redeemed himself twice at the end, hitting a three pointer to give the Broncos an 83-80 lead with 5.8 left on the clock. And then iced the game with a free throw with 2.1 seconds left on the clock.

It was the first time Santa Clara has opened the regular season with a true road game since 2003.