January 10, 2009

Santa Clara hosts San Diego at 2 pm on Sunday

Jan. 10, 2009

Game Notes 

Santa Clara opens the West Coast Conference schedule with three of its first four league games on the road the first two weeks, but the Broncos are home on Sun., Jan. 11 in a 2 pm televised game vs. San Diego. The Broncos play the Toreros on COMCAST with Greg Papa and Dan Belluomini making the call.

Santa Clara leads the series 34-38. USD swept the season series last season, Santa Clara swept the season series the year before and the two split in 2005-06. San Diego won the first meeting 66-65 on Dec. 19, 1963; and also won the last meeting, 66-62, on Feb. 23, 2008.

The Broncos, 7-10 and 0-1 in the WCC, fell 63-62 at Saint Mary's on Fright night behind Kevin Foster's career-high 31 points. 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.

San Diego, 9-7 and 1-0 in the WCC, defeated USF 65-50 on the road on Friday night with Gnyo Pomare collecting a double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) and Trumaine Johnson scoring a game-high 22 points. The Toreros have won five of its last six games, including three straight.

The two teams have two common opponents this season. Both lost at UNLV, but Santa Clara bested San Jose State on the road, 59-56, while USD fell 56-52 in San Diego.

Listen up

The SCU-Saint Mary's game will be broadcast on at 2 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 1:30 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!

San Diego

San Diego, 9-7, is led by four players in double figures: Trumaine Johnson (16.8), Gyno Pomare (14.3), Brandon Johnson (13.5) and Rob Jones (10.6). Pomare leads the team with 6.7 rpg. Head Coach Bill Grier is in his third season at San Diego. He brings a 31-21 career head coaching record into Sunday's game.

Leading the way

Bronco senior John Bryant is averaging a double-double this year and leads the team in points (17.4), rebounds (12.1), blocks (2.6) and shooting percentage (58.5%). 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 13.7 ppg and James Rahon puts in 9.4 ppg off the bench. Foster is shooting a team-leading 41% from the three-point line and is also the team's leading free-throw shooter at 85% (28 of 33).

Santa Clara hit a season-high 89 points vs. UTEP; and is scoring 64.7 ppg to the opponents 63.1. They are shooting almost 46% from the field and almost 36% from the three-point line. The Broncos are out-rebounding their opponents by 4.6 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.

Big-Timing Babies

'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.

Foster turned it up a notch at Saint Mary's and scored 31 points, a career best. The last Bronco freshman to score at least 25 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. Foster has scored 20+ points three of the last five games.

The freshmen class has also started a number of games this year. Foster has started 12 games, Troy Alexander seven, Trasolini four and James Rahon three.

Six or less not lucky for SCU

Eight of Santa Clara's nine losses on the road this season were by a combined 32 points, averaging 4.0 points per game. Four schools played in the post-season last year with Arizona, Georgia and Saint Mary's playing in the NCAA Tournament and UAB advancing to the NIT.

The Broncos lost by one at Saint Mary's (63-62); 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.

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, L, 63-62), 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.

New Guys Gettin' It Done

The newcomers are contributing: Troy Alexander (has started seven games); James Rahon (averaging 9.4 ppg off the bench); Kevin Foster (averaging 13.7 ppg, including career-high 31 points at Saint Mary's); junior college transfer Perry Petty (started nine games, hitting double figures in five of the last eight games); Marc Trasolini (grabbed first double-double in his career with 24 points and 10 rebounds at UNH); Scott Thompson (played career-high 17 minutes vs. NDNU; was sidelined during the preseason and first three games with a sprained ankle); and walk-on Phillip Bach.

Not one of the newcomers, but sophomore Michael Santos played just 32 minutes in nine games last season as a walk-on, scoring just six points. He has been put on scholarship this year. After the Montana game, head coach Kerry Keating called Santos 'the glue that holds the team together'.

The following are a few of the newest Broncos' contributions (with Santos included).

MPG new: 68% of the minutes

PPG new: 66% of the points (four of the top five scorers)

RPG new: 52% of the rebounds

BPG new: 40% of the blocks

APG new: 76% of the assists