Santa Clara hosts USF on Friday at 8 pm

Jan. 21, 2009

Playing five of its last six on the road Santa Clara finally returns home to host a four-game home stand, its longest of the season. First up it welcomes its travel partner, San Francisco, on Fri., Jan. 23 at 8 pm. The ESPNU nationally-televised game will feature Steve Physioc and Krista Blunk making the call.

Santa Clara has won six straight against the Dons. The Broncos have swept the last two season series including last season's wins: an 87-55 win on Feb. 25 in Santa Clara and a 66-48 win at USF on Jan. 28. The Broncos have knocked San Francisco out of the West Coast Conference Tournament in 2000, '04, '05 and '08. Santa Clara did so on March 8, 2008 with a 51-50 win over the Dons after two John Bryant free throws with three seconds left to advance to the WCC semi-finals.

Dons forward Dior Lowhorn and Broncos forward Decensae White both played at Texas Tech before transferring to San Francisco and Santa Clara, respectively.

The Broncos are 7-13 and 0-4 in the WCC. Opening its WCC slate with the first three of four on the road, Santa Clara lost its last WCC game at Portland, 53-52. John Bryant gathered his 13th double-double of the season with 22 rebounds and 15 points. The young crowd made a big contribution as well. With two freshmen playing 40 minutes each, Kevin Foster and James Rahon scored 20 and 12 points, respectively. Another freshman, Marc Trasolini, added three blocks. USF is 8-11 and 0-4 in the WCC. Last week USF lost at Portland, 78-60, and at Gonzaga, 85-51. USF is led by first-year coach Rex Walters who is 39-44 in his three season as a head coach, including 30-31 in the two previous seasons at Florida International. A Bay Area native, Walters was the Big Eight Conference Male of the Year in 1993 after leading Kansas to the Final Four. Junior Dior Lowhorn leads the WCC with 20.1 ppg. Manny Quelada scores 11.2 ppg with a team-leading 3.2 apg. Lowhorn also tops USF with 6.1 rpg.

Listen up

The SCU-USF game will 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 7:30 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 (17.1), rebounds (12.6), blocks (2.5) and shooting percentage (58%). He is ranked the No. 9 center nationally by Rivals.com and has collected 20+ points six times and has had 20+ rebounds in three games this season. He scored a season-high 33 points vs. UTEP and collected a career-high 22 rebounds vs. Stanford and at Portland. The 22 rebounds by Bryant vs. Stanford 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 13.3 ppg and James Rahon puts in 9.6 ppg starting the last three games. Foster is the team's leading free-throw shooter at 81% (34 of 42).

Santa Clara hit a season-high 89 points vs. UTEP and it is shooting 45% from the field. The Broncos are out-rebounding their opponents by 3.8 rpg, but turning the ball over 3.6 more times than their opponents. In fact, in the latest NCAA stats (Jan. 18), Santa Clara is ranked No. 315 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 has 13 double-doubles this season (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, at Gonzaga and at Portland). Bryant has 37 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.

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 five times this season.

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.

Only ONE Bryant!

John 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).

Bryant needs to score 26 more points to jump into the career points top 10 as he has 1412 and Bud Ogden at No. 10 has 1,437 (1966-69). Bryant is in a number of career top 10 lists. See below.

Blocks No. 1 (212)

Rebounds No. 3 (936)

Field Goal Percentage No. 5 (56.9%)

Field Goals Made No. 6 (566)

Games Started Tied-No. 8 (93)

Personal Fouls No. 8 (305)

NCAA Lists

In NCAA statistics released on Jan. 18 John Bryant is ranked nationally in three categories: No. 4 in RPG, No. 22 in blocked shots and No. 32 in field goal percentage.

FRESH MEN

With the Broncos starting three freshmen the last few games it appears they are one of the younger teams nationally this season. True. According to Robbie Allen of STATSHEET.COM, the Broncos have the 38th youngest team in the NCAA this year of the 342 Division I teams, which means 89% of the Division I teams have a more experienced roster than the Broncos. But, SCU isn't even the youngest team in the WCC this year. Santa Clara has an average age per minute of 2.15 years while LMU is No. 2 at 2.07 (No. 24 nationally) and Pepperdine is the WCC's youngest at 1.78 (No. 8 nationally).

On the flip side, also according to Allen's figures, the three oldest team's in the WCC: Saint Mary's with an average age per minute of 3.09 is No. 1, Gonzaga is No. 2 at 3.07 and San Diego is No. 3 at 2.73. Nationally, of the team's ranked by most experience, Saint Mary's is No. 40 (top 88%) and Gonzaga is No. 47 (top 86%).

Santa Clara's opponent on Sunday, Houston Baptist, is the most experienced team in the NCAA according to statsheet.com with an averaged age per minute of 3.72 (1 is a freshman, 4 is a senior).

Not so much

Nine of Santa Clara's 11 losses on the road this season are by a combined 33 points, averaging 3.6 more points for the opposition.

The Broncos lost by one at Saint Mary's (63-62) and at Portland (53-52); 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.

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.

More on the youngsters

Freshmen Kevin Foster, James Rahon and Marc Trasolini are all on pace to break a few Santa Clara freshmen records this season. Please see page seven for the complete top 10.

Foster is on pace to break Kurt Rambis' freshman scoring record of 414 points as Foster has scored 265 points. Foster is in the hunt for a few other records (the record is in parenthesis): he has 47 three pointers made (51), 127 three pointers attempted (145), 24 steals (49) and 13.3 scoring average (15.3).

James Rahon is also climbing the freshmen record charts. Rahon is in the top 10 for scoring average at 9.6 (15.3), has 161 field goals attempted (317), 32 three pointers made (51), 84 three points attempted (145) and .38% from the three point line (40.8%).

Finally, Trasolini is on pace to break the blocks freshman record set by John Bryant in 2006. Trasolini has 25 and Bryant blocked 37 his freshman campaign.

Tough

Playing 12 2008 post-season 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 (L, 55-50), 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, L, 95-53) and at San Diego (Feb. 5). UAB (Nov. 17, L 64-61) advanced to the second round of the NIT last season.

His shadow

Freshman Kevin Foster is the team's second-leading scorer this season, averaging 13.3 ppg and hitting 43% from the field. Foster has hit double figures 12 times this season with a career-high 31 points at Saint Mary's. He also pulls down 2.1 rpg and dishes out 2.0 apg.

His brother Rodney is the senior point guard at Rice University (Dallas, Texas) and he is working hard this season, too. As of Jan. 21, Rodney is the team's second-leading scorer with 9.8 ppg, shooting almost 37% and gathers 3.0 rpg. He has baby brother on the assists as he dishes out 4.2 apg for the Owls, who are 6-11 this year.

The two would be able to play a tight game of H-O-R-S-E. Kevin is shooting a team-leading 81% from the free throw line, while Rodney leads his team at 85.5% from the charity stripe.