January 20, 2010

Men's Basketball Travels to USF on Saturday

  The Broncos Bond at the Bowling Lanes!

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Santa Clara travels to San Francisco for a 5 pm game vs. the Dons in War Memorial Gymnasium on Sat., Jan. 23. The game will be televised on COMCAST. Jim Kozimor and Dan Belloumimi will call the game for COMCAST.

Santa Clara has won seven of the last eight games against the Dons, dating back to Feb., 2006. The two teams split last season with each team winning on their home floors. Prior to 2008-09, the Broncos swept the last two season series in 2006-07 and 2007-08. The Broncos have knocked San Francisco out of the West Coast Conference Tournament four times in the 21st century: 2000, '04, '05 and '08. The last WCC Tournament meeting with the Dons: Santa Clara won 51-50 on March 8, 2008 after two John Bryant free throws with three seconds left helped the Broncos advance to the WCC semi-finals.

Jesuit Basketball Spotlight

A simple, coordinated first step to build awareness of the Jesuit mission by using the strength of Jesuit basketball.

The Jesuit Basketball Spotlight pilot project is a nationwide effort to identify basketball games between Jesuit schools during the upcoming 2009-2010 season, and, through those games, bring greater positive awareness to Jesuit education and mission. Santa Clara, USF, Gonzaga and Loyola Marymount are all Jesuit schools and its athletic departments are all working with this project this year. This project was developed by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU) in response to member institutions wanting to spread the word of Jesuit higher education through the more than 90 basketball games in which Jesuit institutions play each other (men and women) this season.

For more information, please see their website: http://www.ajcunet.edu/jesuitbasketball.

Preview

Santa Clara is 8-13 and 0-4 in the WCC after dropping both games in Los Angeles last weekend. SCU fell 61-60 at Pepperdine on Jan. 14 and then 81-70 at LMU on Jan. 16.

SCU is searching for its first WCC win in 2010. It is the second straight year they have started conference play with an 0-4 record. Last season Santa Clara strung together five straight WCC wins after its 0-4 start. Santa Clara finished 7-7 in the WCC last season when it finished fourth. In 2009 Santa Clara advanced to the semi-finals of the WCC Championship before falling to eventual champion Gonzaga.

USF is 7-12 and 2-1 in the WCC after splitting in L.A. last weekend. USF defeated LMU 70-67 on Jan. 14 and then fell 83-68 at Pepperdine on Jan. 16.

Santa Clara defeated USF by 26 points on Jan. 23, 2009, winning 70-54; and then SCU fell 67-66 in overtime in San Francisco on Feb. 21, 2009. The 2010 Bronco team is a very youthful team with Kevin Foster out of the season with a broken foot since its seventh game of the year as Santa Clara returns 24 percent of the 70 points it scored in its first win over USF on Jan. 23, 2009. In the overtime loss at War Memorial Gym in late February, the eventual WCC Player of the Year, John Bryant collected, 17 points with 12 rebounds while the freshman duo of Marc Trasolini and Kevin Foster scored 16 and 20 points, respectively. Both were named to the WCC All-Freshman team with Foster picking up the WCC Freshman of the Year.

Santa Clara has two active players averaging double figures: Marc Trasolini (13.6 ppg) and Robert Smith (12.2 ppg). In league play, Smith leads the team with 14.5 ppg, Trasolini has 11 ppg and Ray Cowels puts up 10.5 ppg. Smith has scored in double figures 14 of the last 16 games and Trasolini has hit double figures 16 times this season with two double-doubles.

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 3.1 apg, including 3.5 apg in WCC play. He tied his career-high with six assists at LMU. Trasolini swats 1.6 bpg. They are led on the boards by Trasolini, who averages 6.7 rpg, and Troy Payne, who pulls down 6.1 rpg. Payne has 7+ rebounds in 11 games, including nine at Pepperdine and vs. New Hampshire and Fresno State and a career-high 15 vs. Menlo.

Watch/Listen

The USF game will be televised live on COMCAST at 5 pm. The game will also be broadcast via the Bronco Radio Network on both KDOW 1220 AM and Broncos All-Access on the web at www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Anthony Passarelli is in his third season as the Broncos' play-by-play announcer.

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, hosted by Chetan Chaudhari. If you are out of the listening area, KDOW is streamed online live at www.1220kdow.com.

Gaining Experience

The Broncos have had 10 different players start at least one game this season and 13 different players have seen action this season. Six of the 10 players have started at least 10 games overall. In WCC games, eight players have started at least one game out of the 10 who have seen action on the court.

The Broncos used their 13th starting line-up of the season at Pepperdine and then used the same line-up at LMU. That line-up 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 21 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 21 games. They are: Trasolini, Smith, Harrison, Cowels, Payne, Santos and Alexander.

Youth Served Again

SCU is the seventh-youngest team in the country and the youngest in the WCC at 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.

Rewriting the Bronco Freshman Records

Kerry Keating and his freshmen have literally re-written the Bronco record books the last three years as Keating and his staff's recruiting efforts have more than paid off in building the Bronco base.

In Keating's first year then-freshman Ben Dowdell broke the freshman school record with 890 minutes played. He also finished in the top 10 of four other categories.

Last season the Bronco freshmen broke or tied seven records. Kevin Foster shattered five on his own, including breaking Kurt Rambis' 32-year old record with 486 points scored. Marc Trasolini broke or tied three of his own, including the single season record for field goal percentage along with the freshman record, hitting 68.1 percent.

And this year looks to be no different. Ray Cowels has already jumped into the all-time Bronco freshman records in two categories. Cowels' 33 three pointers made are No. 7 on the all-time list with at least 11 games to go. The school record was set by Kevin Foster when he hit 85. Cowels is in the top 10 of three-pointers made with 106 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 No. 10 in three pointers made with 22 and his tally is tied with Brody Angley (2004-05). Smith's 87 three point attempts are No. 7 on the list.

Smith's 70 free throws made are No. 5 and he is No. 4 with 99 free throws attempted. His 65 assists are No. 10 on the list.

His 238 field goal attempts are No. 9 on the Bronco list. If the season ended today, Smith's 12.2 ppg would be good enough for No. 6 all-time on the Bronco freshman list.

Niyi Harrison has 105 rebounds and needs nine more to jump into the top 10 for Bronco freshman and if the season ended today, his 81.1 percent free throw shooting mark would be No. 2 on the list behind Steve Nash's own 82.5 percent in 1992-93.

Free Chances

Robert Smith has hit 15 of his 18 free throws in WCC play (83 percent) after hitting 55 of 81 (67 percent) in non-conference play.

As of Jan. 20, Santa Clara is No. 6 in the country in free throws made and free throws attempted, according to statsheet.com. Santa Clara is 367 of 528 from the line this season, knocking down almost 70 percent of its attempts. It is scoring almost 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.

Santa Clara is on pace to hit 507 of 729 free throws with at least 11 games remaining. It would be the most since Santa Clara hit 514 of 714 attempts in 2004-05. To hit the top 10 single season chart, Santa Clara would need at least 538 made (1980-81) and 770 attempts (2000-01).

Santos

Michael Santos started his seventh straight game at LMU. Starting is not something new for Santos as he started 18 of the 33 games he played in last year. Entering the USF game he is averaging 6.1 ppg and 2.8 rpg, playing 23.6 mpg. Since working his way into the line-up as a starter, he is averaging 8.1 ppg, 3.1 rpg and 1.7 apg while playing 31.1 mpg. As a starter he is 16-20 from the free throw line, good for 80 percent. Coming off the bench in the previous 14 games Santos was hitting 57 percent of his free throws (16 of 28).

He hit career-highs with seven of 10 free throws at LMU on Jan. 16. 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 tied a career-high for the sixth time with four assists vs. Pepperdine. He 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) and field goals attempted (8). He also tied then-career a career high with three steals; and had a career high in free throws made and attempted, which he topped at LMU. He had a career-high nine rebounds vs. UNLV on Dec. 5 and played a career-high 36 minutes vs. Wofford vs. Dec. 30.

Rebounds

Santa Clara is averaging 2.8 more rebounds a game in conference play than its opponents (35.0 rpg to 32.2 rpg). Last year the Broncos averaged 35.4 rpg in league play as compared to the opponent's own 32.5, but John Bryant averaged 15.1 rpg in league play. This year its "rebound by committee" with Marc Trasolini grabbing 6.5 rpg, Troy Payne 5.0 rpg and Niyi Harrison 4.5 rpg. Trasolini finished with 4.0 rpg in league play as a freshman.

Santa Clara's 267 offensive rebounds rank No. 17 in the country, according to shatsheet.com. Santa Clara has collected 20 more offensive rebounds than its opponents this year (267 to 247), but have pulled down three fewer defensive rebounds (476 to 479).

Traz

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 1.6 bpg. His 34 blocks are almost half of the team's total, as the Broncos have blocked 76 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 11 games left. 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 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. He has had no attempts three times this year: at San Diego State, vs. USD and at LMU. On the season, he is hitting almost 79 percent at the line. Better than 30 percent of Trasolini's points this year come from the charity stripe.

He has made eight field goals in four games during his career, with the latest being his 8 of 13 effort at LMU. 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.

Foster Out Indefinitely

Santa Clara's leading scorer Kevin Foster, the West Coast Conference's second-leading scorer this season, is out indefinitely with a right foot injury. Foster has a fracture of the fifth metatarsal that required surgery on Sat., Dec. 19. Foster injured his foot in the final minutes of Santa Clara's 79-68 victory at UCSB on Dec. 1.

Prior to his injury, Foster was second in the league in scoring and led the WCC in steals and three-pointers made; and Foster was averaging 19.8 ppg, playing 31.5 mpg with 2.2 spg and 2.8 rpg. He led the Broncos in scoring in each of the six games he played this season, including a season-high 25 points in the 74-67 win over Fresno State on Nov. 28.

Foster was named to the preseason WCC all-conference team after being named the WCC Newcomer of the Year last season, breaking Steve Nash's single season record with 85 three pointers. He was also named a Freshman All-American, to the WCC All-Freshman team and All-WCC honorable mention. He averaged 14.7 ppg and 2.4 rpg last season, breaking Kurt Rambis' freshman scoring record with 486 points.