Santa Clara travels to Los Angeles for an 8 pm game at Loyola Marymount on Saturday and televised on FOX-West. Josh Lewin and Sean Farnham will call the game for Fox TV. Santa Clara boasts three players from the Los Angeles area: Chris Cunningham (Diamond Bar), Troy Payne (Los Angeles) and Robert Smith (Riverside).
Santa Clara is looking for its fifth straight win vs. the Lions, sweeping the last two season series. Against LMU, SCU had a nine-game winning streak in the series between 1999-02.
Santa Clara is 8-12, including 0-3 in the WCC. Santa Clara started last season's conference slate with four straight losses before winning five straight league games.
Santa Clara fell 61-60 at Pepperdine on Thursday behind the 15 points of Robert Smith and 12 second-half points from Ray Cowels. Marc Trasolini and Michael Santos both scored nine points with Troy Payne grabbing nine rebounds.
LMU is 9-9 with an 0-2 WCC record. LMU fell 70-67 to USF on Thursday night in Los Angeles, losing its first two WCC games by 3.5 points each. The Lions have surpassed their win total of the last two seasons combined.
Santa Clara defeated LMU by 26 points on Jan. 29, winning 82-56 and then the Broncos won 69-64 in Los Angeles on Feb. 14, 2009.
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 LMU game will be shown on FOX-West. 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 13th starting line-up of the season at Pepperdine. It was the fifth straight game the Broncos have used a different line-up and the first time this year they've used this combination. It included Robert Smith, Michael Santos, Troy Payne, Marc Trasolini and Ben Dowdell. They have had 10 different players start in a game this season.
The only player who has started in all 20 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 20 games. They are: Trasolini, Smith, Harrison, Cowels, Payne, Santos and Alexander.
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. Of the nine active players on scholarship this year, Santa Clara has zero seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen.
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.
Santa Clara is No. 2 in the country in free throws made and No. 5 in the country in free throws attempted, according to statsheet.com. Santa Clara is 351 of 506 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. 3 in the country with 1,366 possessions.
Santa Clara's 255 offensive rebounds rank No. 10 in the country. Santa Clara has collected 18 more offensive rebounds than its opponents this year (255 to 237) and have pulled down just one fewer defensive rebound (452 to 453).
SCU has two active players averaging double figures: Marc Trasolini (13.5 ppg) and Robert Smith (12.2 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 6.1 rpg. Payne has 7+ rebounds in 10 games, including nine at Pepperdine and vs. New Hampshire and Fresno State and a career-high 15 vs. Menlo.
Marc Trasolini is trying to follow in the footsteps of career blocks leader John Bryant. Trasolini tied his season-high with three blocks vs. Harvard and currently has 1.7 bpg. His 34 blocks are almost half of the team's total, as the Broncos have blocked 71 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. Trasolini's single block at Pepperdine moved him into the school's top 10 for a season and he is tied with Kurt Rambis (1979-80) and Brandan Graves (1994-95).
In Trasolini's 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 86 of 109 free throws this season, including hitting 31 of 36 free throws in the last seven games. On the season, he is hitting almost 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.
Ray Cowels has already jumped into the all-time Bronco freshman records in two categories. Cowels 32 three pointers made is No. 7 on the all-time list with at least 12 games to go. The school record was set by Kevin Foster when he hit 85. Cowels also is in the top 10 of three-pointers made with 100 attempts and that puts him at No. 6. That record is also held by Foster, who attempted 232 shots beyond the arc last season.
Robert Smith is also in the freshman records already for the Broncos. He is No. 10 in three pointers made with 21 and No. 8 in three pointers attempted.
His 69 free throws made are tied for No. 5 with Michael Norman (1980-81) and No. 5 with 97 free throws attempted.
His 59 assists are No. 10 on the freshman list.
Freshman Robert Smith continues to be productive offensively as he has scored in double digits 13 of the last 15 games, starting all but one game this season. 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.