February 5, 2010

Men travel to San Diego Saturday for 5:30 pm TV game

  Behind the Scenes with the Broncos - Welcome to Michael  Santos' World

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Santa Clara (9-16, 1-7 WCC) plays at San Diego (9-15, 2-6 WCC) on Sat., Feb. 6 at 5:30 pm. The USD game will be televised on COMCAST and called by Steve Quis and Jim Brogan. The game is on Comcast Sports Net Plus in the Bay Area (COMCAST digital channel 410, AT&T Universe 768, DirecTV 699 and Dish Network 441).

It is the two team's 67th career meeting. In a series that began with a 66-65 victory by USD on Dec., 19, 1963, Santa Clara leads the all-time series, 36-30. San Diego won 55-46 in the two team's the last meeting in Santa Clara on Jan. 8, 2010. The two teams split the series last season, with both winning on each other's home floor before Santa Clara defeated USD at the WCC Championship, 80-69, behind John Bryant's 27-rebound performance. USD swept the season series in 2007-08, Santa Clara swept the season in 2006-07 and the two split in 2005-06.

Holding Saint Mary's more than eight points under its average wasn't enough as Santa Clara fell 74-62 in Moraga on Thursday night. Marc Trasolini scored 18 points and added five rebounds; and Robert Smith added 16 points and three assists. Troy Payne led the Bronco effort with seven rebounds, four steals and three blocks.

San Diego has lost six of its last seven games, including a 72-70 overtime loss to San Francisco on Thursday evening at Jenny Craig Pavilion. Brandon Johnson scored a team-high 25 points and Chris Lewis splashed an overtime-forcing three with 11.8 seconds remaining in regulation to push the game to overtime. The two teams both had nine threes, 30 rebounds and 14 turnovers, but USF was 11-13 from the line while USD was 11-19.

Listen Here

The San Diego 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 5:15 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.

Leaders

SCU has two active players averaging double figures: Marc Trasolini (14.1 ppg) and Robert Smith (12.4 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 14.0 ppg and Trasolini has 13.8 ppg. Smith has scored in double figures 18 of the last 21 games and Trasolini has hit double figures 20 times this season, including hitting 18+ in seven 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 1.7 bpg; and swatted a career-high five blocks vs. No. 8 Gonzaga. Niyi Harrison and Trasolini are both averaging a team-leading 1.8 bpg in league play.

Trasolini averages a team-leading 6.1 rpg and Troy Payne is second with 5.8 rpg. Payne has 7+ rebounds in 12 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 as of Feb. 5. They are No. 3 in blocked shots (4.0) 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 1.7 bpg; No. 6 in shooting .527 from the field; No. 8 with 2.1 orpg and in free throw percentage at 81.0 percent; and No. 9 with 14.1 ppg and 6.1 rpg.

Niyi Harrison is No. 9 with 2.0 orpg and Robert Smith is No. 9 with 3.1 apg and No. 10, playing 32 mpg. Troy Payne is No. 3 with 1.6 spg and No. 9 with 2.0 orpg.

In WCC statistics Santa Clara is No. 2 in free throw percentage (70.0 percent), with 4.8 bpg and 6.8 spg.

In WCC statistics, Payne, Trasolini, Harrison, Ben Dowdell and Smith are among the WCC leaders. Payne leads the WCC with 2.1 spg and is No. 10 in blocked shots with 0.9 bpg. Harrison and Trasolini are tied at No. 3 with 1.5 bpg. Trasolini is No. 2 in free throw percentage (90.5 percent) and No. 6 in field goal shooting, at 51.9 percent. Smith is No. 4 in free throw percentage (.875), No. 6 with 34.4 mpg, No. 9 with 14.0 ppg and No. 10 with 3.4 apg. Dowdell is No. 9 with 2.0 orpg.

 

Free Chances

Building a WCC All-Freshman team-type campaign this season, Robert Smith has hit 21 of his 24 free throws in WCC play (87.5 percent) after hitting 55 of 81 (67 percent) in non-conference play. Marc Trasolini, a member of the WCC All-Freshman team last year, has been a master at the free throw line during WCC play as well, hitting 90.4 percent of his chances (19 of 21 chances). He is hitting 81.0 percent of his chances overall (98 of 121). Trasolini was 67.2 percent free throw shooter as a freshman (43 of 64).

As of Feb. 5, Santa Clara is No. 21 in the country in free throws made and No. 18 nationally in free throws attempted, according to statsheet.com. Santa Clara is 407 of 582 from the line this season, knocking down almost 70 percent of its attempts. It is scoring better than 25 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.

Not Here

Marc Trasolini is working to follow in the footsteps of career blocks leader John Bryant. Trasolini currently has 1.7 bpg. His 43 blocks are better than percent of the Broncos 99 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 80 career blocks put him at No. 5 already and he trails Kurt Rambis (93, 1976-80) by 13 blocks.

Niyi Harrison is quietly blocking shots this season as well. He has 17 on the season which is currently No. 6 on the all-time freshman list, passing Nic Vanos' 15 in 1981-82. He needs three 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 25 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 65.1 (2010)

* Increased points scored from 1,620 (2009) to 1,628 (2010)

* Increased free throws made per game from 12.1 (2009) to 16.3 (2010)

* Increased free throws made total from 303 (2009) to 407 (2010)

* Increased free throws attempted total from 440 (2009) to 582 (2010)

* Increased free throw percentage from .689 (2009) to .699 (2010)

* Decreased turnovers per game from 16.6 (2009) to 15.4 (2010)

* Increased forced turnovers per game from 12.7 and 318 total (2009) to 14.8 (2010) and 369 total

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

Traz

Marc Trasolini continues to put up big numbers this season. He has seven games with 18+ points this season, including the 18 he scored at Saint Mary's on Thursday.

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 16 of 42 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 98 of 121 free throws this season, including hitting 39 of 44 free throws in the last 10 games (88.6 percent). He has had no attempts four times this year: at SDSU, vs. USD, at LMU and vs. Gonzaga. On the season, he is hitting better than 81 percent at the line and almost 28 percent of Trasolini's points this year come from the charity stripe with Trasolini scoring a team-high 352 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 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 are in the top 10 of a number of categories. See left for the current freshmen. Ray Cowels is in the all-time Bronco freshman records in four categories. Robert Smith is in the top 10 of nine Bronco freshman categories and Niyi Harrison is in the top 10 of two categories. See the above Game Notes for the complete list on page four.

 

Starters

The Broncos have used their 13th starting line-up of the season the past six 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.

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 25 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 25 games. They are: Trasolini, Smith, Harrison, Cowels, Payne, Santos and Alexander.