January 7, 2009

Santa Clara Men's Basketball Travels to Saint Mary's Friday night for 8 pm tip on ESPNU

Jan. 7, 2009

Santa Clara opens the West Coast Conference schedule with three of its first four league games on the road. The Broncos, 7-9, open the WCC slate at Saint Mary's, 13-1, on Fri., Jan. 9 in an ESPNU televised game at 8 pm. The ESPNU telecast will feature Steve Physioc (play by play) and Krista Blunk (analyst).

Santa Clara leads the series 130-73. Saint Mary's won its first meeting with the Broncos, 21-18, on Feb. 26, 1910. The Gaels also won the last meeting, 54-50, on Feb. 11, 2008.

Santa Clara played four games in seven days last week. The Broncos won the 42nd annual Cable Car Classic with an 83-80 win over Belmont on Dec. 29 and then an 89-88 win vs. UTEP in overtime on Dec. 30. John Bryant was named the MVP of the Classic with Kevin Foster and Ben Dowdell being named to the All-Tournament team. The next day they traveled East; and lost at Harvard on Jan. 2, 73-68; and then lost 58-54 at New Hampshire on Jan. 4.

Saint Mary's is riding a 10-game winning streak and recently Diamon Simpson was named the December WCC Player of the Month. Saint Mary's last game was an 80-74 victory at CSU Bakersfield on Jan. 2. The Gaels are one of 12 2008 post-season teams on the Bronco schedule this season. They lost to 78-64 to Miami in Little Rock, Ark. in the 2008 NCAA Tournament First Round after finishing 12-2 in the WCC last season.

The two teams have three common opponents this season, with both teams posting a 2-1 record vs. like competition. Santa Clara defeated San Jose State and UTEP, but lost at Pacific. The Gaels lone loss: they were polished off by UTEP, 75-62, on Nov. 27, but defeated San Jose State and won at Pacific.

Listen up

The SCU-Saint Mary's game will be broadcast on at 8 pm via the Bronco Radio Network, on both KDOW 1220 AM and Broncos All-Access on the web at www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. The pregame show will begin at 7:30 pm. Anthony Passarelli is in his second season as the Santa Clara men's basketball play-by-play announcer after six seasons of handling those duties for SCU women's basketball.

In addition, head coach Kerry Keating can be heard on KDOW 1220 AM on Sunday evenings from 8:30 - 9 pm in his radio spotlight on The Sports Ramble. The Sports Ramble, hosted by Chetan Chaudhari, runs on KDOW 1220 AM from 8 - 10 pm on Sunday evenings. If you are out of the listening area Bronco fans, KDOW is streamed online live at www.1220kdow.com so go to their website and listen live!

Saint Mary's

Saint Mary's, 13-1, is led by a trio in double figures: Patrick Mills (19.3 ppg), Omar Samhan (14.9 ppg) and Diamon Simpson (12.8 ppg). Simpson also leads the team with 11.9 rpg. Mills was on the 2008 Australia Olympic team as the only collegiate player competing in Beijing.

Head Coach Randy Bennett is in his eighth season at Saint Mary's. He brings a 140-91 career head coaching record into Friday's game. Prior to working as the head coach at Saint Mary's, he was an assistant coach at Saint Louis, Pepperdine, Idaho and had two stints at San Diego.

Leading the way

Bronco senior John Bryant is averaging a double-double this year and leads the team in points (17.9), rebounds (12.3), blocks (2.5) and shooting percentage (59%). He is ranked the No. 7 center nationally by Rivals.com and has had twice collected 20+ points and 20+ rebounds in games this season (at San Jose State and vs. Stanford). He scored a season-high 33 points vs. UTEP and collected a career-high 22 rebounds vs. Stanford. The 22 rebounds by Bryant tied a Leavey Center record Kurt Rambis held for 31 years when he grabbed that same number vs. Saint Mary's on Feb. 5, 1977.

Two freshmen continue to hover around double-figures: Kevin Foster is averaging 12.6 ppg and James Rahon puts in 9.5 ppg off the bench. Rahon is shooting a team-leading 40% from the three-point line and Foster is the team's leading free-throw shooter at 86% (24 of 28).

Santa Clara hit a season-high 89 points vs. UTEP; and is scoring 64.9 ppg to the opponents 63.2. They are shooting over 46% from the field and 36% from the three-point line. The Broncos are out-rebounding their opponents by 5.3 rpg, but turning the ball over 3.3 more times than their opponents. In fact, in the latest NCAA stats (Jan. 4), Santa Clara is ranked No. 302 in the nation in turnover margin at -3-3.

Santa Clara had just 10 turnovers vs. Sacramento State, vs. Notre Dame de Namur and at Pacific, its lowest totals since the Broncos turned the ball over nine times vs. Saint Mary's on March 4, 2007.

Double-Doubles

Bronco senior John Bryant is averaging a double-double this year with 10 double-doubles recorded this year (vs. CSU East Bay, vs. UAB, at Georgia, at Montana, at San Jose State, vs. Sacramento State, at UNLV, vs. Stanford, vs. UTEP and at Harvard). His 10 double-doubles are No. 2 in the country behind Oklahoma's Blake Griffin, who has 11 (as of Jan. 7).

Bryant has 34 double-doubles in his career. He notched 15 double-doubles last season, five double-doubles in 2006-07 and had four double-doubles as a freshman during the 2005-06 season.

Golden State Braggin' Rights

Santa Clara played six teams from California this season before it starts WCC play on Jan. 9 at Saint Mary's and Broncos finished 4-2 in non-conference California play. Those six included games vs. CSU East Bay (W, 68-40), at San Jose State (W, 59-56), vs. Sacramento State (W, 51-32), vs. Notre Dame de Namur (W, 67-37), at Pacific (L, 63-57) and vs. Stanford (L, 77-69).

Head coach Kerry Keating is 8-5 vs. California in his career and 14-10 including the WCC. Keating was 4-3 vs. non-conference California teams last year and if you throw WCC teams into that mix, Keating finished 10-8 vs. the state of California in 2007-08.

Diaper Dandies

'24' is a popular number of points to score with the freshmen crew this year. Kevin Foster hit a career-best 24 vs. Belmont on Dec. 29, scoring on 8 of 17 shots (3 of 11 from three point land), adding 5 of 5 at the free throw line. Three games later, Marc Trasolini scored a career-best 24 points at New Hampshire, knocking down 7 of 8 shots and hitting a career-best 10 of 12 from the charity stripe. It was Trasolini's first double-double of the year and the 11th for the Broncos this season.

The last Bronco freshman to score at least 24 points: senior Calvin Johnson scored 25 vs. Cal Poly on Dec. 10, 2005 during his freshman campaign. He hit 9 of 14 shots in that game, including six three-pointers.

The freshmen class has also started a number of games this year. Foster has started 11 games, Troy Alexander seven, Trasolini three and James Rahon two.

First

John Bryant is the first player in school history to collect 1300+ career points, 880+ rebounds and 200+ blocks in the school's 102 years of basketball. He now needs just 18 rebounds and 42 points to hit the 900 rebound-1,400 point mark, respectively.

Bryant and the late Nick Vanos are the only two Broncos to score at least 1300 points, collect 800+ rebounds and block more than 150 shots in their careers. Bryant has 1,358 career points (No. 14), 882 rebounds (No. 3) and 202 career blocks (No. 1). Bryant is working to become the first Bronco since Kurt Rambis to collect 1,000+ rebounds and just the third in school history. Dennis Awtrey holds the school record with 1,135 rebounds (1967-70) and Rambis is second with 1,037 rebounds (1976-80).

During his career from 1981-85, Vanos scored 1,399 points (No. 11), collected 876 rebounds (now No. 4) and blocked 159 shots (No. 2). Vanos was first-team All-WCC in 1984 and '85.

Six or less no lucky for SCU

Seven of Santa Clara's eight losses on the road this season were by a combined 31 points, averaging 4.4 points per game. Three schools played in the post-season last year with Arizona and Georgia playing in the NCAA Tournament and UAB advancing to the NIT.

The Broncos lost by three to UAB (64-61) and Arizona (69-66); by four to Florida Atlantic (65-61) and New Hampshire (58-54); by five at Harvard (73-68); and by six at Georgia (64-48) and at Pacific (63-57).

Their two wins on the road were by three points each: a 71-68 win at Montana and then a 59-56 win at San Jose State. The Broncos are 2-2 in games decided by three points this season and 2-4 in games decided by five points or less.

Santa Clara gave up 78 points in its 78-66 loss at UNLV on Dec. 17. The Runnin' Rebels scored a season-high 42 points in the first half, but were out-scored by the Broncos 38-36 in the second half.

NCAA Lists

In NCAA statistics released on Jan. 5, Santa Clara is ranked No. 38 nationally in blocked shots. John Bryant is ranked nationally by the NCAA in four categories. He is No. 4 in rebounds per game, No. 18 in blocked shots, No. 26 in field goal percentage and No. 84 in points per game.

Tough

Playing 12 2008 post-season tournament teams, the schedule includes 11 vs. NCAA Tournament teams. Santa Clara will host five home games vs. 2008 NCAA Tournament participants: Stanford (L, 77-69), Belmont (W, 83-80), San Diego (Jan. 11), St. Mary's (Feb. 7) and Gonzaga (Feb. 26).

SCU will be on the road to play six other 2008 NCAA Tourney participants: at Georgia (Nov. 24, L, 54-48), vs. Arizona (Nov. 25, L, 69-66), at UNLV (Dec. 17, L, 78-66), at Saint Mary's (Jan. 9), at Gonzaga (Jan. 15) and at San Diego (Feb. 5). UAB (Nov. 17, L 64-61) advanced to the second round of the NIT last season.