January 17, 2009

Santa Clara travels to Portland Saturday for fifth road game in six tries

Jan. 17, 2009

Led by second-year head coach Kerry Keating, Santa Clara travels to Portland for a 7 pm contest with Portland on Sat., Jan. 17. The Portland game will be shown on COMCAST in the Bay Area and be called by Tod Pickett and Bill Krueger. After the Portland game, its fifth game in six contests on the road, Santa Clara will return to the Leavey Center for four straight, with the first on ESPNU televised nationally against San Francisco on Fri., Jan. 23 at 8 pm.

Santa Clara has won six of the last seven games in the Portland series and 19 of the last 24 meetings. Santa Clara has held Portland below 60 points in three of the last four games as Portland scored 41 and 55 in 2007 vs. SCU and 50 and 64 vs. SCU in 2008.

The Broncos are 7-12 and 0-3 in the WCC. In its first WCC games, Santa Clara fell 63-62 at Saint Mary's on Jan. 9 behind Kevin Foster's career-high 31 points and then to San Diego on Jan. 11, 55-50. In its last game on Jan. 15, Santa Clara fell at Gonzaga, 95-53, in Spokane. Against the Bulldogs, for the first time since Dec. 28, 2007, Santa Clara did not score one block. It also grabbed the fewest steals by a Keating team (2) and gave up the most points under Keating as well (95).

Santa Clara played four games in seven days two weeks ago. 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.

Portland is 10-7 and 1-1 in the WCC and is led by Eric Reveno in his third season (28-52 in three years) and have four players scoring double figures: Nik Raivio (15.8), Robin Smeulders (12.3), Jared Stohl (11.8) and T.J. Campbell (10.2).

In WCC play Portland defeated San Francisco 78-60 on Jan. 15 after losing at Gonzaga 67-50 on Jan. 10. The Pilots were led by Jared Stohl's 33 points, including hitting 9 of 13 from three point land and 6 of 6 from the free throw line. Stohl, who did it all off the bench, broke the previous school record of eight three-pointers, accomplished twice by Peter McKelvey during the 1991-92 season.

Listen up

The SCU-Portland 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 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!

Leader of this Herd

Bronco senior John Bryant is averaging a double-double this year and leads the team in points (17.2), rebounds (12.1), blocks (2.5) and shooting percentage (58%). 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 12.9 ppg and James Rahon puts in 9.5 ppg starting the last three games. Foster is shooting a team-leading 39% from the three-point line and is also the team's leading free-throw shooter at 83% (32 of 39).

Santa Clara hit a season-high 89 points vs. UTEP; and is scoring 63.3 ppg to the opponents 64.5. They are shooting almost 46% from the field and almost 35% from the three-point line. The Broncos are out-rebounding their opponents by 3.4 rpg, but turning the ball over 3.5 more times than their opponents. In fact, in the latest NCAA stats (Jan. 15), Santa Clara is ranked No. 313 in the nation in turnover margin at -3-5.

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.

Bryant is averaging a double-double this year with 12 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, at Harvard, vs. San Diego and at Gonzaga). Bryant has 36 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.

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), collecting on 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.

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 six games.

The freshmen class has also started a number of games this year. Foster has started 14 games, Troy Alexander seven, Trasolini six and James Rahon five. See page six for what could be a shattering of the freshman records this season.

Only ONE Bryant!

John Bryant is the first player in school history to collect 1300+ career points, 900+ rebounds and 200+ blocks in the school's 102 years of basketball. He needs three points to hit the 1,400 career-point mark, respectively and will pass Nick Vanos at 1,399 at No. 11 when he does so.

Bryant and the late Vanos are the only two Broncos to score at least 1300 points, collect 850+ rebounds and block more than 150 shots in their careers. Bryant has 1,397 career points (No. 13), 914 rebounds (No. 3) and 210 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.

Not so much

Eight of Santa Clara's 10 losses on the road this season were by a combined 32 points, averaging two more scores by the opposition. 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 vs. UAB (64-61) and vs, Arizona (69-66); by four vs. Florida Atlantic (65-61) and at 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 4-9 in games decided by six points or less.

Two games were a bit different. Santa Clara lost 95-53 at Gonzaga on Jan. 15, its worst loss ever in WCC play. 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. 15, John Bryant is ranked nationally by the NCAA in three categories: No. 4 in RPG, No. 19 in BPG and No. 34 in field goal percentage.