Jan. 7, 2010
Santa Clara (8-10, 0-1) will host WCC rival Saint Mary's (14-2, 1-0) in its final game of an eight-game homestand on Sun., Jan. 10 at 7 pm. The game will be broadcast on COMCAST-TV with Ted Robinson and Eric Musselman making the call.
SCU dropped a tight game, 55-46, to San Diego on Jan. 8. The 55 points scored by USD were the second-fewest points scored by an opponent this year, but the 46 points scored by the Broncos were the fewest scored this year by their own team. Saint Mary's won at USF the same night, 83-62. SMC has won four straight and 12 of its last 13 games.
Saint Mary's won its first meeting with the Broncos, 21-18, on Feb. 26, 1910, but the Broncos got the best of the Gaels in their last meeting, beating the eventual NIT team by 18 points. SCU won 70-52 on Feb. 7, 2009 in Santa Clara behind the 21 points and 15 rebounds of eventual WCC Player of the Year John Bryant. Kevin Foster chipped in 26 points in the victory. But in a true show of how young Santa Clara is playing, of the 70 points scored by the Broncos in that game, only five points have a chance to be on the floor on Sunday night vs. SMC: four by Marc Trasolini and one by Ben Dowdell.
Santa Clara leads the all-time series 131-74. It will be the 206th meeting between the two rivals in Santa Clara's 103 years of basketball. The 206 meetings are the most the Broncos have faced any team in their history. USF follows closely behind with 203 games vs. Santa Clara and the Broncos boast a 107-96 career record vs. the Dons.
Santa Clara finished 7-7 in the WCC last season when it finished fourth. SCU advanced to the semi-finals of the WCC Championship before falling to eventual champion Gonzaga.
The Saint Mary's game will be broadcast at 7 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 6:45 pm. Anthony Passarelli is in his third season.
The Broncos used their 11th starting line-up of the season vs. San Diego. It included Troy Alexander, Michael Santos, Troy Payne, Niyi Harrison and Marc Trasolini. It was the first start of the year for Alexander and his eighth career start. They have had 10 different players start in a game this season.
The only player who has started in all 18 games this season is Troy Payne. The Broncos have 13 players who have appeared in a game this season, but only seven players have played in all 18 games. They are: Trasolini, Smith, Harrison, Cowels, Payne, Santos and Alexander.
Michael Santos started his fourth straight game vs. San Diego. Starting is not something new for Santos as he started 18 of the 33 games he played in last year. Entering the Saint Mary's game he is averaging 5.8 ppg and 2.8 rpg, playing 22.6 mpg.
Santos scored a team-high 12 points vs. San Diego on Jan. 8. He was 4 of 5 from the field and 3 of 4 from the free throw line, adding three rebounds and two assists.
Santos scored a career-high 15 points in the win vs. New Hampshire. He had a career-high in the following categories: points (15), field goals made (5), field goals attempted (8). He also tied career highs for the following: free throws made (4), free throws attempted (4) and steals (3). He had a career-high nine rebounds vs. UNLV on Dec. 5 and played a career-high 36 minutes vs. Wofford vs. Dec. 30.
Santa Clara is No. 3 in the country in free throws made and No. 5 in the country in free throws attempted, according to statsheet.com. Santa Clara is 324 of 467 from the line this season, knocking down almost 70 percent of its attempts. It is scoring better than 27 percent of its points from the free throw line this year. Its 27.4 percent free throw rate ranks No. 4 in the country, according to statsheet.com.
Santa Clara's 233 offensive rebounds rank No. 11 in the country. Santa Clara has collected 20 more offensive rebounds than its opponents this year (233 to 213), but have pulled down eight fewer defensive rebounds (406 to 412).
The Broncos are No. 2 in the WCC with 12.9 offensive rebounds per game. Santa Clara is No. 3 in the WCC in blocked shots and steals. The Broncos are scoring 3.4 bpg and 7.3 spg.
Marc Trasolini is No. 2 in the WCC with 1.7 bpg, No. 4 with 2.5 orpg, No. 11 with 13.4 ppg and No. 7 with 6.7 rpg.
Robert Smith is ranked No. 25 in the country among the nation's freshmen with 30.8 mpg, according to bbstate.com. The San Diego game was the first game this season that he didn't start, but he 30 minutes. He played a career-high 37 minutes vs. San Jose State. He is the team leader in both minutes, playing 554 so far this year; and with 3.0 apg as well.
Marc Trasolini is ranked No. 19 among the nation's sophomores with 1.7 bpg according to bbstate.com.
SCU has two active players averaging double figures: Marc Trasolini (13.4 ppg) and Robert Smith (11.4 ppg). Kevin Foster averaged 19.8 ppg in his first six games, but he but he is out indefinitely with a broken foot. Smith leads the team with 3.0 apg. Trasolini leads the team with 1.7 bpg.
They are led on the boards by Trasolini, who average 6.7 rpg, and Troy Payne, who pulls down 6.2 rpg. Payne has 7+ rebounds in nine games, including nine vs. New Hampshire and Fresno State and a career-high 15 vs. Menlo.
While Marc Trasolini scored zero points vs. San Diego, going 0-6 from the field with zero free throws made or attempted, in his first 17 games he has scored no fewer than seven points (vs. SJSU). His 0-0 line from the free throw line was the first time since the San Diego State game that he didn't hit the free throw line.
Trasolini has hit 79 of his 100 free throws this season, including hitting 24 of 27 free throws in the last five games. On the season, he is hitting almost 80 percent at the line. In addition, more than 32 percent of Trasolini's points this year come from the charity stripe.
He has made eight field goals in three games during his career, with the latest being his 8 of 9 effort vs. Harvard. He hit a career-high three three's at both Houston Baptist and Rice last month.
Trasolini has scored 20+ four times this season, including 22 vs. Harvard. He has scored 20+ five times in his two-year career. His 22 points both vs. Harvard and vs. No. 21 UNLV were his second-best efforts this season after he scored 23 points vs. Menlo on Nov. 16. Trasolini had a career-high 24 points last year vs. UNH on Jan. 4, 2009.
Trasolini has scored in double figures 14 times this season and has two double-doubles.
He tied his season-high with three blocks vs. Harvard and currently has 1.7 bpg. His 31 blocks are almost half of the team's total, as the Broncos have blocked 64 shots this season. Trasolini tied John Bryant's freshman record with 37 blocks last season so he is already on pace to top his freshman total with at least 14 games to go. The school record for blocks in a season was set by Bryant last season when he collected 84 swats. He needs three more blocks to enter the school's top 10 for a season and would be tied with Kurt Rambis (1979-80) and Brandan Graves (1994-95).
Freshman Robert Smith continues to be productive offensively as he has scored in double digits 11 of the last 13 games. Smith scored a career-high 17 points vs. New Hampshire, including three threes, and vs. Fresno State; was a career-high 6 of 8 from the free throw line in the win at UCSB and added 16 points vs. SJSU.
Additionally, Smith was five of eight from the free throw line at Houston Baptist including two key free throws to help preserve the lead in the last seconds. In Santa Clara's game vs. SJSU on Dec. 23, Smith played a career-high 37 minutes, scoring 16 points with a career-high seven rebounds and five assists. Smith had a career-high six assists vs. Wofford.
Smith was named to the Cousy Watch List as the top point guard in the country on Dec. 16. He was one of two point guards on the list from the WCC. The other was Gonzaga's Matt Bouldin.
The Broncos are shooting 72 percent in their 10 losses this year (149-208), but shoots 67 percent in wins (175-259).
Chris Cunningham has been working hard over the break to continue to improve as one of Santa Clara's freshmen posts. Cunningham's work showed vs. New Hampshire when he played a then-career-high 16 minutes, grabbing a career-high six rebounds with one block. He stepped it up even more vs. San Diego, playing a career-high 19 minutes and collected a career-high eight rebounds with two blocks and a steal.