Santa Clara (9-14, 1-5 WCC) hosts Portland (13-7, 4-2 WCC) on Sat., Jan. 30 at 7 pm. The game with the Pilots is just one of three Bronco league games not televised this year. Santa Clara lost 71-64 to No. 8 Gonzaga in the Leavey Center on Thursday; and Portland won 74-58 at USF the same night and has won three straight.
Bronco Fans of today and yesteryear, join us here at the Leavey Center Saturday afternoon at 3:30 pm for the annual Bronco Basketball Alumni game. Admission is free to all. Alumni currently expected to be participating include Bronco Greats Bud Odgen, Bill Duffy, Eddie Jo Chavez and many more. Come join the fun this Saturday at 3:30 right here at the Leavey Center.
The Portland game will be broadcast via the Bronco Radio Network on both KDOW 1220 AM and Broncos All-Access on the web at www.SantaClaraBroncos.com with the pre-game beginning at 6:45 pm. 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.
A little look in
Santa Clara has won seven of the last nine games in the Portland series and 26 of the last 31 meetings. They split the series last year with each team winning on their home floor.
SCU has two active players averaging double figures: Marc Trasolini (14.1 ppg) and Robert Smith (12.0 ppg). Kevin Foster averaged 19.8 ppg in his first six games, but he is out for the season with a broken foot. In league play, Trasolini leads the team with 13.7 ppg and Smith has 13.2 ppg. Smith has scored in double figures 15 of the last 18 games and Trasolini has hit double figures 18 times this season, including hitting 20+ in five games with two double-doubles.
Smith leads the team with 3.2 apg, including 3.7 apg in WCC play. He tied his career-high with six assists at LMU. Trasolini swats 1.8 bpg; and swatted a career-high five blocks vs. No. 8 Gonzaga.
Trasolini, who averages 6.3 rpg, and Troy Payne, who pulls down 6.0 rpg. Payne has 7+ rebounds in 11 games, including nine at Pepperdine and vs. New Hampshire and Fresno State; and he posted a career-high 15 vs. Menlo.
The Broncos are in the top two of WCC overall statistics in offensive rebounds per game (12.1) and steals per game (7.2). They are No. 3 in the league in blocked shots (3.9).
Marc Trasolini is in the top 10 of six categories. He is No. 2 with 1.8 bpg; No. 8 with 2.3 orpg, No. 7 in shooting .527 from the field; No. 8 with 6.4 rpg; No. 10 with 14.1 ppg and with 4.0 drpg. Troy Payne is No. 5 with 1.6 spg and No. 9 with 2.1 orpg.
The Broncos used their 13th starting line-up the past four games. 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. See chart below.
The Broncos have had 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 only player who has started in all 23 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 23 games. They are: Trasolini, Smith, Harrison, Cowels, Payne, Santos and Alexander.
vs. Dons and Zags
Marc Trasolini has had two straight career nights in WCC play.
At San Francisco on Jan. 23, he scored a career-high 26 points after going a career-high 10 of 15 from the field, hitting a three pointer and all five free throw attempts. A few nights later vs. No. 8 Gonzaga, Trasolini was a career-high 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. He also picked up a career-high five blocks.
Trasolini's success vs. the Dons shouldn't come as a surprise. Last season he was 11 of 12 in two games vs. USF. He also hit 7 of 10 free throw attempts and grabbed 12 rebounds. All told in three games vs. USF, Trasolini is averaging 17 ppg and is shooting almost 78 percent. He also averages 4.7 rpg and 1.7 bpg.
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 just 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.
Robert Smith has hit 17 of his 20 free throws in WCC play (85 percent) after hitting 55 of 81 (67 percent) in non-conference play.
As of Jan. 29, Santa Clara is No. 11 in the country in free throws made and No. 15 nationally in free throws attempted, according to statsheet.com. Santa Clara is 388 of 556 from the line this season, knocking down almost 70 percent of its attempts. It is scoring almost 26 percent of its points from the free throw line this year. To hit the top 10 single season chart, Santa Clara would need at least 538 made (1980-81) and 770 attempts (2000-01).
Last season Santa Clara hit 434 of 613 free throws, making 71 percent of those, but free throws only accounted for 20 percent of the team's total points.
Freshmen Keep Climbing Records List
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. He also broke Steve Nash's single season record, set when Nash was a senior, with 85 three-pointers, which was also a freshman record. In addition, 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 it's much of the same as three players in the top 10 of a number of categories.
Ray Cowels is in the all-time Bronco freshman records in four categories. Cowels' 33 three pointers made are No. 7 on the all-time list with at least nine 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 113 attempts and that puts him at No. 6. That record is also held by Foster, who attempted 232 shots beyond the arc last season. If the season ended today, Cowels would finish at No. 9 in free throw percentage, making 75.0 percent of his attempts this season (30-40).
Robert Smith is in the top 10 of eight Bronco freshman categories. Smith is No. 8 in three pointers made with 23 and No. 10 with 734 minutes played (tied with Michael Norman 1980-81) and with 23 steals (tied with Calvin Johnson from 2005-06). Smith's 92 three point attempts are No. 5 on the list. Smith's 72 free throws made are No. 5 and he is No. 4 with 101 free throws attempts, His 73 assists are No. 7 on the list. His 261 field goal attempts are No. 5 on the Bronco list. If the season ended today, Smith's 12.0 ppg would be good enough for No. 6 all-time on the Bronco freshman list.
Niyi Harrison has 112 rebounds and needs two more to jump into the top 10 for Bronco freshman. He is No. 7 on the freshman list with 14 blocks this season.
Marc Trasolini had a career-night at San Francisco on Jan. 23. He was 10 of 15 from the field, both career highs. His 26 points were also a career high. Trasolini has scored 20+ five times this season, including 22 vs. Harvard. He has scored 20+ six times in his two-year career. Trasolini's previous career-best was 24 points last year at New Hampshire on Jan. 4, 2009.
This season he hit a career-high three three's at both Houston Baptist and Rice; and then Thursday he was a career-best 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. He is 15 of 39 from three-point land after not attempting a single three his freshman campaign. Earlier this season, Bronco head coach Kerry Keating said he would like to see Trasolini shoot 10 three pointers a game because he has that much confidence in his shooting ability.
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. Gonzaga was the first time since the San Diego game that he didn't hit the free throw line. Trasolini has hit 91 of 114 free throws this season, including hitting 36 of 41 free throws in the last nine games. He has had no attempts four times this year: at San Diego State, vs. USD, at LMU and vs. Gonzaga. On the season, he is hitting almost 80 percent at the line. Better than 28 percent of Trasolini's points this year come from the charity stripe. Last year 21 percent of his points came from free throws (43 of 64 made (67%); 201 points total scored).
Trasolini is also working 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 41 blocks are 46 percent of the Broncos 90 blocked 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 10 games left. The school record for blocks in a season was set by Bryant last season when he collected 84 swats. Trasolini's five blocks vs. Gonzaga moved him up to No. 6 in the school's top 10 for a season. With his single block at Pepperdine, he moved past Kurt Rambis (1979-80) and Graves (1994-95). Even better, the 78 career blocks put him at No. 5 already and he trails Kurt Rambis (93, 1976-80) by 15 blocks.