Men travel to SMC Thursday for 8:30 pm TV game

  Saint Mary's Shootaround, Who hit the half-court post-practice shot? And Coach Ware's three keys to the game

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Santa Clara (9-15, 1-6 WCC) travels to Moraga on Thurs., Feb. 4 for an 8:30 pm COMCAST-televised contest at Saint Mary's (19-3, 6-1 WCC). The Saint Mary's game will be called by Jim Kozimor and Eric Musselman.

Santa Clara then plays at San Diego on Sat., Feb. 6 at 5:30 pm. USD is 9-14 and 2-5 in the WCC prior to its home game vs. USF on Thursday. The USD game will be televised on COMCAST as well.

Saint Mary's won its first meeting with the Broncos, 21-18, on Feb. 26, 1910 and won 80-72 in the last meeting on Jan. 10, 2010. In that game, Santa Clara turned the ball over just seven times as compared to Saint Mary's own nine turnovers. It was the fewest number of turnovers the Broncos have had under coach Kerry Keating and it was the lowest number since they turned the ball over five times vs. Saint Mary's on Feb. 11, 2005.

The two teams won on their own home floors to split the series last season. Santa Clara leads the all-time series 131-75. It will be the 207th meeting. The 207 meetings are the most the Broncos have faced a team in 103 years of basketball. USF follows closely behind with 204 games vs. Santa Clara and the Broncos boast a 108-96 career record vs. the Dons.

Listen Here

The Saint Mary's 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 8:15 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.

Santa Clara returns home

Santa Clara returns home Thurs., Feb. 11 for a 7 pm game vs. LMU. The Broncos then host Pepperdine at 7 pm on Sat., Feb. 13. The LMU and Pepperdine games are two of the three WCC games not televised on the Bronco schedule this year.

Leaders

SCU has two active players averaging double figures: Marc Trasolini (13.9 ppg) and Robert Smith (12.3 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, Smith leads the team with 13.7 ppg and Trasolini has 13.1 ppg. Smith has scored in double figures 17 of the last 20 games and Trasolini has hit double figures 19 times this season, including hitting 20+ in five games with two double-doubles (three career double-doubles).

Smith leads the team with 3.1 apg, including 3.4 apg in WCC play. He tied his career-high with six assists at LMU. Trasolini has 1.8 bpg; and swatted a career-high five blocks vs. No. 8 Gonzaga. Niyi Harrison and Trasolini are both averaging 1.6 bpg in league play.

Trasolini averages a team-leading 6.2 rpg and Troy Payne is second with 5.8 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.

In the WCC

The Broncos are No. 2 in WCC overall statistics with 7.2 steals per game. They are No. 3 in the league in blocked shots (3.9) and offensive rebounds per game (12.0).

Marc Trasolini is in the top 10 of six categories in overall WCC statistics. He is No. 2 with 1.8 bpg; , No. 7 in shooting .526 from the field; No. 8 with 6.2 rpg and with 2.2 orpg; No. 9 in free throw percentage at 80.5 percent; and No. 10 with 13.9 ppg.

Niyi Harrison is No. 10 with 2.0 orpg and Robert Smith is No. 9 with 3.1 apg. Troy Payne is No. 5 with 1.5 spg and No. 9 with 2.1 orpg.

In WCC statistics Santa Clara is No. 2 with 4.7 bpg and 6.7 spg. The Broncos are No. 3 by allowing 69.6 ppg (scoring defense) and with a +0.0 turnover margin.

In WCC statistics, Payne, Trasolini, Harrison Ben Dowdell, and Smith are among the WCC leaders. Payne leads the WCC with 1.9 spg. Harrison and Trasolini are tied at No. 3 with 1.6 bpg. Harrison is No. 4 hitting .556 percent of his shots. Trasolini is No. 3 in free throw percentage (.889), No. 7 in field goal shooting, at .515 percent. Smith is No. 5 in free throw percentage (.864), No. 5 with 34.4 mpg and No. 10 with 3.4 apg. Dowdell is No. 9 with 1.9 orpg.

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.

Free Chances

Robert Smith has hit 19 of his 22 free throws in WCC play (86.4 percent) after hitting 55 of 81 (67 percent) in non-conference play. Marc Trasolini has been a master at the free throw during WCC play as well, hitting 88.9 percent of his chances (16 of 18 chances). He is hitting 80.5 percent of his chances overall (95 of 118). Trasolini was 67.2 percent free throw shooter as a freshman (43 of 64).

As of Feb. 1, Santa Clara is No. 14 in the country in free throws made and No. 14 nationally in free throws attempted, according to statsheet.com. Santa Clara is 400 of 575 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.

Blockers

Marc Trasolini is working to follow in the footsteps of career blocks leader John Bryant. Trasolini currently has 1.8 bpg. His 42 blocks are almost 49 percent of the Broncos 94 blocked shots this season.

Trasolini tied John Bryant's freshman record with 37 blocks last season so has already topped his freshman total with at least eight 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. 7 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 79 career blocks put him at No. 5 already and he trails Kurt Rambis (93, 1976-80) by 14 blocks.

Niyi Harrison is quietly blocking shots this season as well. He has 16 on the season which is currently No. 6 on the all-time freshman list, passing Nic Vanos' 15 in 1981-82. He needs four more to pass Sean Denison's 19 in 2003-04.

Last Year to This Year

There are some interesting comparisons after Santa Clara's first 24 games last year and then this year. The following are a few of the positives for the Bronco men's basketball team:

* Increased attendance from 20,586 (2009) to 29,933 (2010)

* Increased points per game from 64.8 (2009) to 65.2 (2010)

* Increased points scored from 1,556 (2009) to 1,566 (2010)

* Increased free throws made from 11.9 (2009) to 16.7 (2010)

* Increased free throw percentage form .685 (2009) to .696 (2010)

* Decreased turnovers per game from 16.5 (2009) to 15.5 (2010)

* Increased forced turnovers per game from 12.8 and 307 total (2009) to 15.0 (2010) and 360 total

* Increased steals per game from 6.1 (2009) to 7.2 (2010)

Traz

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 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 vs Gonzaga 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.

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 with Trasolini scoring a team-high 334 points this year. Last year 21 percent of his points came from free throws (43 of 64 made (67%); 201 points total scored).

 

3 in Bronco Freshman Records List

Kerry Keating and his three freshmen classes are literally re-writing the Bronco record books the last three years as he 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.

Three freshmen this year are making quick work of the Bronco freshman records. Ray Cowels is in the all-time Bronco freshman records in four categories. Cowels' 34 three pointers made are No. 7 on the all-time list with at least eight games to go. The school record was set by Kevin Foster when he hit 85. Cowels is in the top 10 of three-pointers attempted with 114 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 nine Bronco freshman categories. Smith is No. 10 in three pointers made with 26 and with 24 steals. Smith is No. 8 with 765 minutes played. Smith's 99 three point attempts are No. 7 on the list. Smith's 74 free throws made are No. 4 and he is two from passing Kevin Foster last season (75, 2008-09). Smith is No. 4 with 103 free throws attempts, His 75 assists are No. 7 on the list. His 272 field goal attempts are No. 5 on the Bronco list and his 97 field goals made are No. 9 on the list. If the season ended today, Smith's 12.3 ppg would be good enough for No. 6 all-time on the Bronco freshman list. See the game notes above for a complete list of each record.

Niyi Harrison has 116 rebounds are No. 10 on the list. He is No. 6 on the freshman list with 16 blocks this season.

Starters

The Broncos have used their 13th starting line-up of the season the past five games. The line-up includes 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 to the right.

The Broncos have had 13 different players have seen action this season. Six of the 10 players have started at least 10 games overall. The only player who has started in all 24 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 24 games. They are: Trasolini, Smith, Harrison, Cowels, Payne, Santos and Alexander.