Santa Clara Travels to San Diego Thurs., Feb. 5; host sold-out Saint Mary's game on Sat., Feb. 7

Feb. 4, 2009

Winning its last four games, Santa Clara will travel to San Diego on Thurs., Feb. 5 for the USD game at 6:30 p.m. The SCU-USD game will be telecast live locally in the Bay Area on COMCAST and the call will be made by local San Diego announcers Steve Quis and Jim Brogan. Santa Clara will then return home Sat., Feb. 7 to host Saint Mary's in a COMCAST-televised game at 8 p.m. The Saint Mary's game is a sell-out.

Santa Clara leads the series vs. USD 34-29 in a series that began in 1963. USD swept the season series last season, Santa Clara swept the season series the year before and the two split in 2005-06. San Diego won the first meeting 66-65 on Dec. 19, 1963; and also won the last meeting, 55-50, on Jan. 11, 2009.

The Broncos, 11-13 and 3-4 in the WCC, defeated LMU (82-56) and Pepperdine (64-52) last week in league play. They are led by one of the leading WCC Player of the Year candidates, John Bryant, who averages a double-double with 17.1 ppg and 13.5 rpg. Freshmen Kevin Foster, James Rahon and Marc Trasolini continue to make quick work of the SCU freshmen records with all three climbing up the top 10 lists of a number of categories. Foster is second on the team with 13.5 ppg and Rahon is No 3 with 11.4 ppg.

San Diego, 12-10 and 4-3 in the WCC, has lost three straight in the WCC (vs. Saint Mary's, at Portland and at Gonzaga) after piecing together a six-game winning streak, including a 4-0 record to start league play. The Toreros are led by Gyno Pomare, who scores 14.1 ppg and grabs 6.6 rpg, and Trumaine Jackson, who puts in 12.0 ppg. Pomare is USD's all-time leading scorer with 1,592 points during his four-year career. Matt Dorr is the only USD player to start every game this season and Rob Jones was named to the 2008 All-WCC Freshman team. USD is playing without senior stand-out Brandon Johnson who ruptured his Achilles' tendon on Dec. 6 vs. SDSU and is out for the season.

Listen up

The SCU-San Diego game will be broadcast at 6:30 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 6 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!

Giants

Ken Pomeroy of KenPom.com breaks down all kinds of numbers on his website weekly (as of Feb. 1). SCU is No. 19 in the country in block percentage. In addition to team statistics KenPom.com also breaks down individual play. In his Offensive Ratings statistics, a measure of personal offensive efficiency developed by Dean Oliver, John Bryant is No. 12 nationally (114.9) and tops the WCC.

On the website, Bryant is ranked No. 1 nationally in defensive rebounding percentage and No. 3 in offensive rebounding percentage. He tops the WCC in both. Bryant is No. 1 in the WCC in block percentage and No. 25 nationally.

Bryant, Naismith Trophy Top 50 Finalist, Grabs 1000th rebound +

Leading the country with 323 total rebounds this season, John Bryant has been named one of the Top 50 Finalists for the Naismith Trophy. On the national level, Bryant is ranked in the top 20 of three categories. Bryant is No. 2 with 13.6 rpg, No. 10 with 2.7 bpg and No. 18 in field goal percentage (60.0%). He is averaging a double-double with 17.1 ppg and 13.5 rpg in 29.5 mpg.

Bryant is the only Bronco in school history to score 1,400+ points, gather 1,000+ rebounds and block 200+ shots. On the Santa Clara career list: Bryant is No. 1 in career blocks (226), No. 3 in career rebounds (1,008) and No. 9 in career points (1,481).

The 6' 11, 275 San Pablo, Calif. native grabbed his 1,000th career rebound in the second half vs. Pepperdine, a defensive rebound at 11:58. With that rebound, he became the third Bronco in school history to reach that milestone and the 14th in WCC history. Bryant is the 10th player in Bay Area history to reach 1,000 career rebounds, and the first since Stanford's Tim Young accomplished the feat in 1999. Bryant needs 30 rebounds to pass No. 2 Kurt Rambis (1,037 from 1976-80) and 127 rebounds to break the school record set by Dennis Awtrey (1,135 from 1967-70). Playing the regular season out and at least one WCC Tournament game, Bryant will have to average 15.8 rpg to break the school record.

On the career points list, Bryant needs 275 points to break Kurt Rambis' school record (1,736 point from 1976-80).

He has twice tied his career-high with 22 rebounds at the Leavey Center, also the facility record set by Kurt Rambis vs. Saint Mary's in a 90-73 SCU win on Feb. 5, 1977. He has seven games with 20+ rebounds. Bryant has three games this year with 20+ points and 20+ rebounds.

On the road

Nine of Santa Clara's 11 losses on the road this season were lost 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.

Their Blake, Our Bryant

Both John Bryant and Oklahoma's Blake Griffin, a 6-10, 251lb. sophomore forward for the No. 2 Sooners, continue to have monster seasons. Bryant has 17 double-doubles this season and is No. 2 nationally behind Griffin, who has 18 (as of Feb. 4). Griffin and Bryant are leading the country in another stat as well. Offensively, Griffin and Bryant are the only two players in the country who are shooting 60% or better with at least 275 attempts. Griffin has 283 attempts and is shooting 63.6%. Bryant has 275 attempts and is shooting 60.0%.

Bryant has 40 double-doubles in his career. Bryant's 17 double-doubles 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, at Gonzaga, at Portland, vs. USF, vs. Houston Baptist, vs. LMU and vs. Pepperdine. 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.

Bryant was the WCC Player of the Week after averaging 18 rpg, 17 ppg and 4.5 bpg on Dec. 8; and again on Jan. 26 after averaging 19 ppg, 16.5 rpg and 3.5 rpg for the week.

In an article that appeared on SI.COM Jan. 30, writer John Gasaway lists him as one of the stars of his All-Underrated Team. Gasaway says of Bryant:

Meet the best defensive rebounder in the country, better than Blake Griffin or DeJuan Blair. When he's on the floor, Bryant gets to 35 percent of opponents' misses. He's also a very good shot-blocker. That's enough to merit consideration for my team right there, but Bryant's also a load for opponents on offense, hitting 59 percent of his twos and dominating the offensive glass. While Bryant might be All-Underrated nationally, he's no secret in the WCC and faces constant double- and even triple-teams, making his production all the more impressive.

Show No Fear

The Bronco freshmen are proving to be some of the top youngsters in the WCC. Marc Trasolini leads the WCC in all games in field goal percentage and blocked shots. In WCC games he leads freshmen in the league in field goal percentage and is No. 2 in blocked shots. Trasolini is No. 5 in the league's overall stats with 1.5 bpg.

Kevin Foster leads WCC freshmen all games in scoring and James Rahon leads WCC freshmen all games and WCC games in three-point percentage. In WCC all games stats of the 'Big Kids' Foster is No. 3 with 2.5 three pointers made per game and is No. 3 in WCC games with 2.7 3PTpg. Rahon is right on his heels at No. 4 in WCC games with 2.4 3PTpg.

25

James Rahon has scored a career-high 25 points in two of the last three games and 20+ each of the last three of four games. To tally 25 vs. Houston Baptist he was 6 of 12 from the field, including 5 of 9 from the arc. He was 8 of 8 from the free throw line. To tally 25 vs. LMU he was 8 of 12 from the field, including 5 of 6 from the three-point line. Rahon was 4 of 6 from the charity stripe, missing his last free throw attempt which would have given him a career-high 26 points. Rahon has made 17 three pointers in the last four games, averaging 4.25 3PTpg in that span.

26

Prior to defeating Pepperdine by 12 on Jan. 31, SCU had beaten its last three opponents by 26 points each. The Broncos defeated USF 70-54, Houston Baptist 85-59 and LMU 82-56. The Broncos are 4-0 this year when they score 80+ points and 6-1 under Coach Keating in the last two years.

Top Three

Santa Clara is in the top three of six categories in the latest WCC all games stats, leading the way in rebounding defense. In all games, the Broncos lead the WCC in rebounding defense (29.6). They are No. 3 in scoring defense (62.5); field goal percentage (45.8%); field goal defense (40.8%); blocked shots (4.96); and defensive rebounds (23.96).

In WCC games only, the Broncos No. 2 in field goal percentage (46.4%); field goal percentage defense (37.7%); three-point field goal defense (29.4%); blocked shots (5.14); steals (6.57); and defensive rebounds (26.00).

Being Petty

Perry Petty is No. 5 in the WCC with 3.2 apg and No. 5 with 1.5 spg as well. Petty, who has started 11 games for the Broncos this season, is averaging 7.4 ppg and 2.8 ppg in 24.8 mpg. The junior transfer from Allen County Community College in Kansas averaged 21 ppg last season on his way to being named to the Jayhawk Conference first-team and a Region VI honorable mention selection.

90% older

With the Broncos starting three freshmen the last few games it appears they are one of the younger teams nationally this season. According to Robbie Allen of STATSHEET.COM (Feb. 4), the Broncos have the 36th youngest team in the NCAA this year of the 342 Division I teams, which means 90% of the Division I teams have a more experienced starting five 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 2.16 years while LMU is No. 2 at 2.07 (No. 24 nationally) and Pepperdine is the WCC's youngest at 1.77 (Tied-No. 7 nationally).

On the flip side, also according to Allen's figures, the three oldest 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, SMC is No. 43 and GU is No. 49.

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.

Not tired of John yet?

John Bryant has 323 rebounds this season, topping his total of 298 rebounds from last year already. Last season he led the WCC in rebounding with 9.6 rpg. This season he is leading the WCC in field goal percentage, rebounds and blocks per game this season; and he is No. 3 in scoring.

Bryant was named to the 2008 pre-season COLLEGEHOOPS.NET Mid-Major All-America second team. Bryant was named to the 2008 preseason All-WCC team after picking up first team honors last year.

Trashing Them

Bronco fans remember these Diaper Dandies names: Kevin Foster, James Rahon and Marc Trasolini. They are getting ready to make history in the SCU freshman record books.

In the LMU game Kevin Foster broke the school record for three pointers attempted and three pointers made. The previous records were 51 three pointers made and 145 three pointers attempted by Brandon Rohe in 2002-03. Foster has already racked up 59 makes on 157 attempts.

Look for Rahon to also break the freshman record for threes made as he has 49 already this season (record was 51) and could break the freshman school record as he is shooting 43.0% from beyond the arc. The top three point percentage was set by Steve Nash in 1992-93 when he shot 40.8% from the three point line.

Maybe even more impressive for Foster and Rahon to be breaking the three point records: the three point line was moved out from 19 feet, 9 inches to 20 feet, 9 inches this season.

Trasolini is climbing up the rebounding and blocks freshmen school record charts as well. He needs six more blocks this season to break the school record for a freshman. The record was set in 2006 when John Bryant blocked 36 shots his rookie campaign. Bryant is now the all-time blocks leader for the Broncos with 226 denies. Trasolini has 99 rebounds this season and needs 15 more to hit the top 10 for a freshman.

Highs

The Broncos knocked down 12 three-pointers vs. Pepperdine on Jan. 31, its second-straight time to hit 12 three-pointers in a home game vs. Pepperdine. It was a season-high for the Broncos, and also ties a two-year high under Coach Keating.

Santa Clara collected 11 blocks vs. LMU, a two-year high under Keating. Santa Clara hit a season-high 89 points vs. UTEP and the Broncos are shooting better than 46% from the field. Their defense is allowing 63.4 ppg which is No. 77 in the NCAA (Feb. 1). The Broncos block 5.2 shots per game and are ranked No. 28 nationally. They are out-rebounding their opponents by 4.5 rpg and they are ranked No. 68 in the NCAA. But the Broncos turn the ball over 3.7 more times than their opponents. Santa Clara is ranked No. 319 in the nation in turnover margin.

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.

The Broncos collected 48 rebounds vs. Houston Baptist, a high under head coach Kerry Keating; and the most since the Broncos grabbed 49 rebounds vs. Holy Names on Nov. 14, 2006.

SCU held two straight home opponents to 14 points in the first half this year. Sacramento State scored 14 in the first half and went on to score 18 points in the second half to finish 51-32 losers to SCU on Dec. 6. NDNU scored 14 points in the first half vs. Santa Clara and fell 67-47 to the Broncos on Dec. 13. The 14 points in the first half were the fewest a team has scored vs. SCU since Stanford scored 12 points in the first half of a 62-46 loss to SCU, at Stanford, on Dec. 16, 2006.