Jan. 13, 2010
Santa Clara travels to Los Angeles this weekend for a Thursday night game on ESPNU vs. Pepperdine at 8 pm and then an 8 pm game at Loyola Marymount on Saturday on FOX-West. Santa Clara boasts three players from the Los Angeles area: Chris Cunningham (Diamond Bar), Troy Payne (Los Angeles) and Robert Smith (Riverside).
Santa Clara hits the road after an eight-game homestand with an 8-11 record and 0-2 record in the WCC. Santa Clara fell 80-72 in a hard-fought battle with rival Saint Mary's on Jan. 10. Against the Gaels, Robert Smith posted a career-high 23 points and Marc Trasolini knocked down 18 points after being held scoreless in the previous game, adding nine rebounds. Prior to Thursday's WCC slate, Pepperdine is 5-12 and 1-0 in the WCC and LMU is 9-8 with an 0-1 record. Behind the 22 points of Mychel Thompson, Pepperdine topped its arch rival LMU in the two school's 150th career meeting at home 79-75 last Saturday.
Santa Clara leads the all-time series 65-53, but the Waves hold a 34-20 margin in Malibu. The Broncos last win at Pepperdine: an 83-71 win in Malibu on Jan. 22, 2005; and SCU has dropped 12 of the last 13 meetings in Firestone Fieldhouse. Santa Clara and Pepperdine have split the series the last seven years. The home team won six of those meetings. Last season Santa Clara won at home 64-52 on Jan. 31 behind John Bryant's 19 points and 17 rebounds. Pepperdine then returned the favor by winning on its home court, 66-60, on Feb. 12 with Bryant posting 25 points and 12 rebounds. Of the 60 points scored last year by Santa Clara at Pepperdine, only nine of those points are active on the Bronco roster.
Santa Clara finished 7-7 in the WCC last season when it finished fourth. Santa Clara advanced to the semi-finals of the WCC Championship before falling to eventual champion Gonzaga.
The Pepperdine game will be shown on ESPNU nationally. The game will be called by Todd Harris and Miles Simon.
The game will also be broadcast 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 7:45 pm. Anthony Passarelli is in his third season as the Broncos' play-by-play announcer.
The Broncos used their 12th starting line-up of the season vs. Saint Mary's. It included Robert Smith, Michael Santos, Troy Payne, Ray Cowels and Ben Dowdell. It was the fourth straight game the Broncos have used a different line-up. They have had 10 different players start in a game this season.
The only player who has started in all 19 games this season is Troy Payne. SCU has 13 players who have appeared in a game this season, but only seven players have played in all 19 games. They are: Trasolini, Smith, Harrison, Cowels, Payne, Santos and Alexander.
Santa Clara turned the ball over just seven times vs. Saint Mary's on Jan. 10 as compared to Saint Mary's own nine turnovers. It was the fewest number of turnovers the Broncos have had under head coach Kerry Keating and the lowest number they have had since they turned the ball over five times vs. Saint Mary's on Feb. 11, 2005. The Broncos are averaging 9.5 turnovers per game in WCC play thus far.
Santa Clara scored 45 points in the second half of the Saint Mary's game to Saint Mary's own 39 points in the second stanza. It was the fifth time the Broncos have topped 40+ points in the second half and the 14th time this season they have scored more points in the second half than the first half.
Freshman Robert Smith continues to be productive offensively as he has scored in double digits 12 of the last 14 games. Smith started and scored a career-high 23 points vs. SMC on Jan. 10. He hit a career-high eight of nine free throws vs. the Gaels and was also hit a career-high seven field goals, adding three assists and three rebounds in 35 minutes.
After making just two of six free throws vs. San Jose State on Dec. 23, Smith is 25 of 33 from the charity stripe, knocking down almost 76 percent of his attempts.
Smith scored a then-career-high 17 points vs. New Hampshire, including three threes, and vs. Fresno State. He was a then-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.
Santa Clara is No. 5 in the country in free throws made and No. 4 in the country in free throws attempted, according to statsheet.com. Santa Clara is 339 of 489 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. All told last season Santa Clara hit 434 of 613 free throws, making almost 71 percent of those, but free throws only accounted for 20 percent of the team's total points.
The Broncos are No. 4 in the country with 1,304 possessions.
Santa Clara's 246 offensive rebounds rank No. 12 in the country. Santa Clara has collected 19 more offensive rebounds than its opponents this year (246 to 227), but have pulled down nine fewer defensive rebounds (227 to 436).
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, steals and offensive rebound percentage. The Broncos are boast a 36 percent offensive rebound percentage, knock-down 3.6 bpg and grab 7.1 spg.
Marc Trasolini is No. 2 in the WCC with 1.7 bpg, No. 3 with 2.5 orpg, No. 11 with 13.7 ppg, No. 6 with 6.8 rpg and by averaging almost 52 percent from the field.
SCU has two active players averaging double figures: Marc Trasolini (13.7 ppg) and Robert Smith (12.1 ppg). Kevin Foster averaged 19.8 ppg in his first six games, but he is out indefinitely with a broken foot.
Smith leads the team with 3.0 apg. Trasolini swats 1.7 bpg.
They are led on the boards by Trasolini, who averages 6.8 rpg, and Troy Payne, who pulls down 6.0 rpg. Payne has 7+ rebounds in nine games, including nine vs. New Hampshire and Fresno State and a career-high 15 vs. Menlo.
Robert Smith is ranked No. 22 in the country among the nation's freshmen with 31.0 mpg and No. 16 among the nation's freshman guards, according to bbstate.com. The San Diego game was the first game this season that he didn't start, but he played 30 minutes. He played a career-high 37 minutes vs. San Jose State. He is the team leader in both minutes, playing 589 so far this year; and with 3.0 apg as well.
Talk about a turnaround! After Marc Trasolini scored zero points vs. San Diego, going 0-6 from the field with zero free throws attempted, he met with Coach Keating who gave him a quick pep talk of confidence. Two nights later, vs. Saint Mary's, Trasolini responded with 18 points, knocking down 7 of 11 field goals and he made 4 of his five free throws. He also grabbed nine rebounds, posting two assists and two blocks.
In his first 17 games he has scored no fewer than seven points (vs. SJSU). His 0-0 line from the free throw line vs. San Diego was the first time since the San Diego State game that he didn't hit the free throw line.
Trasolini has hit 83 of 105 free throws this season, including hitting 28 of 32 free throws in the last six games. On the season, he is hitting 79 percent at the line. Almost 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 15 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 33 blocks are almost half of the team's total, as the Broncos have blocked 68 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 13 games to go. The school record for blocks in a season was set by Bryant last season when he collected 84 swats. He needs one more block to enter the school's top 10 for a season and would be tied with Kurt Rambis (1979-80) and Brandan Graves (1994-95).
Santa Clara is the seventh-youngest team in the country; and it is the youngest team in the WCC with an average of 1.87, according to statsheet.com. Portland has the oldest team in the WCC with an average of 3.61 and it is the third-most experienced team in the country. The average is figured on the sum of minutes each player plays is multiplied by their class year (Freshmen=1, Sophomore=2, Junior=3 and Senior=4) and is divided by the total team minutes.
SCU was quite young last year as well. According to STATSHEET.COM (March 2, 2009), the Broncos had the 38th youngest team in the NCAA last year of the 342 Division I teams, which means 89% of the Division I teams had a more-experienced starting five than SCU.
Michael Santos started his fifth straight game vs. Saint Mary's. Starting is not something new for Santos as he started 18 of the 33 games he played in last year. Entering the Pepperdine game he is averaging 5.5 ppg and 2.8 rpg, playing 22.7 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.