February 19, 2009

Basketball Travels to USF Saturday

Feb. 19, 2009

With War Memorial Gymnasium celebrating 50 years this season, Santa Clara travels to San Francisco for a 7 pm match-up on Sat., Feb. 21 at USF with sights on making it eight straight wins over the Dons. The game will be called by Greg Papa and Dan Belluomini in the COMCAST-televised game.

The last time Santa Clara won at least straight vs. another WCC team: the Broncos won nine straight against LMU from 1999 - 2002. The Broncos longest win streak vs. a WCC team: they won 12 straight vs. Saint Mary's from 1968-1973.

Santa Clara defeated USF by 26 points on Jan. 23, winning 70-54. James Rahon scored a then-career high 21 points vs. USF and John Bryant added 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Santa Clara has won seven straight against the Dons, dating back to Jan., 2003. 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.

The Broncos are 14-14 and 6-5 in the WCC; and have won seven of their last eight games, including posting a 2-1 record on the road in league play. Last week Santa Clara fell 66-60 at Pepperdine on Feb. 12 and then won at LMU on 69-64. Bryant scored 25 points in back-to-back games in Los Angeles and Kevin Foster posted a team-high 26 points at LMU.

Santa Clara is led by the leading WCC Player of the Year candidate, Bryant, who averages a double-double with 18.0 ppg and 13.8 rpg. Bryant, who leads the nation in total rebounds, is No. 2 nationally in rebounds per game (13.8) and double-doubles (21).

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 and on pace to break at least five freshman records. Foster is second on the team with 14.2 ppg and Rahon is No 3 with 10.8 ppg. Trasolini is No. 2 on the team with 4.5 rpg and 1.4 bpg.

Dons

USF is 9-17 and 1-10 in the WCC. It's lone win in the WCC this season was a 73-53 victory vs. LMU on Jan. 31.

Last week USF lost at home on Feb. 12 to Portland, 72-67, and then followed it up with a four-point loss to No. 19 Gonzaga on Feb. 14, falling 78-73 in the last minute. Dior Lowhorn, who leads the WCC with 20.3 ppg, led all scorers with 23 points in the game vs. the Zags. While Gonzaga shot 60.0% from the field to USF's own 40.4%, USF only turned the ball over nine times and helped themselves to 16 Zags turnovers leading to 20 points on the scoreboard.

The Dons are led by first-year coach Rex Walters who is 40-50 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.

Listen up

The SCU-USF game will be broadcast at 7 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 6:30 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!

On the road

Ten of Santa Clara's 12 losses on the road this season were lost by a combined 39 points, averaging 3.9 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), at Pacific (63-57) and at Pepperdine (66-60).

Their four wins on the road were by a total of 13 points: a 71-68 win at Montana, a 59-56 win at San Jose State, a 64-62 overtime win at USD and a 69-64 win at LMU.

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.

Close

John Bryant has 45 double-doubles in his career, which is No. 2 of active players this season behind Washington's Jon Brockman, who has 54 career double-doubles. Bryant's 21 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, vs. Pepperdine, at USD, vs. Saint Mary's, at Pepperdine and LMU.

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.

Career Lists

John Bryant is the only Bronco in school history to score 1,500+ points, gather 1,000+ rebounds and block 200+ shots.

He needs 65 rebounds to top Dennis Awtrey's career school record 1,135 rebounds (1967-70); and he needs 24 rebounds to break Awtrey's single season record for rebounds with 409 (1969-70).

All three: 20+ some

20+ is a popular number of points to score with the Diaper Dandies this year as three of Santa Clara's freshman have hit that number 12 times this season. Kevin Foster has scored 20+ eight times, James Rahon 20+ three times and Marc Trasolini crossing the 20 point line once.

Kevin Foster hit a then-career-best 24 vs. Belmont on Dec. 29, scoring on 8 of 17 shots, collecting on 5 of 5 at the free throw line.

Foster then 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's 20+ games include 20 points vs. LMU, 26 in his second game vs. Saint Mary's and later 26 at LMU.

Marc Trasolini scored a career-best 24 points at UNH, 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.

On Jan. 23, James Rahon topped the 20 mark for the first time in his career when he scored 21 points in the win over USF. Rahon hit 7 of 14 shots, including 4 of 7 from the three point line and 3 of 4 from the free throw line. He added a career-high five assists for good measure.

Not to be out-done on Jan. 25 Rahon scored a career-high 25 points, hitting 6 of 12, including 5 of 9 from the three-point line and 8 of 8 from the free throw line.

Rahon did it again on Jan. 29 vs. LMU, scoring 25 points for the second straight game, including hitting 5 three pointers.

Our past

Michael Santos had a few special fans in the stands at the Pepperdine game in Malibu. Sitting with Santos' parents, Ron and Teres, were family friends Joe and Jennifer Montana. That's thee Joe Montana, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (2000) and a four-time Super Bowl Champion quarterback.

Santos isn't the only Bronco with famous folks around, having attended a couple football games at Notre Dame when he was younger with the Montana's. Nate Mensah trick-or-treated at Karl Malone's house while growing up in Salt Lake City, Troy Alexander played basketball at his gym in Dallas with Tony Romo, Phillip Bach's family is very familiar with Bill Gates and the list goes on.

Our needs

Kevin Foster has already broken the school record for threes made and threes attempted. At Pepperdine, James Rahon also broke the school record for threes made. Foster needs 17 points to break Kurt Rambis' freshman points scored record. Rahon is on track to break the school record for three point percentage.

Marc Trasolini needs just three blocks to break John Bryant's blocks record from his freshman year. See page 7 for the complete list of top 10 freshman records the three freshman climb each game.

Monsters

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 21 double-doubles this season and is No. 2 nationally behind Griffin, who has 22 (as of Feb. 16).

Bryant leads the country in total rebounds (386) and has already topped his total of 298 rebounds from last year already. This season he is leading the WCC in field goal percentage, rebounds, defensive rebounds, offensive rebounds and blocked shots this season; and he is No. 3 in scoring.

Bryant is No. 2 nationally in rebounds per game behind Griffin. Bryant is No. 14 in blocks nationally, No. 15 in field goal percentage and No. 72 in points per game.

Rebounds

Senior John Bryant 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 passed No. 2 Kurt Rambis (1,037 from 1976-80) in the Saint Mary's win and is No. 2 with 1,043 career rebounds. He needs 65 rebounds to break the school record set by Dennis Awtrey (1,135 from 1967-70). Playing the regular season out (three games) and at least one WCC Tournament game, Bryant will have to average 16.3 rpg to break the school record.

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 six games with 20+ rebounds. Bryant has four games this year with 20+ points and 20+ rebounds.

Fans Already Foster Fans

With Santa Clara and Saint Mary's as long-time rivals, freshman Kevin Foster must be a Bronco-fan favorite early. In his first trip to Moraga on Jan. 9 he scored a career-high 31 points. He was 11 of 19 from the field, including 5 of 9 from three point land. He also tracked down three steals and dished three assists.

In their second meeting, suffering from food poisoning for 24 hours prior, including spending game day in a hospital bed with an IV, Foster torched the nets again on Feb. 7 vs. Saint Mary's. Foster was 6 of 6 from the field, including a perfect 3 of 3 from beyond the arc in the first half, scoring 18 points. He finished the night with a second-best career effort of 26 points, on 9 of 12 from the field (4 of 5 from three point land).

After the game Foster said on playing through food poisoning: "The first part of the game was really tough. I couldn't really breath, so it made things hard. The trainers helped me out a lot, they were giving me a lot of water at timeouts. I was worried that I might not be able to play, but this was a game that I really wanted to play in. I played through it and we got the win."

On his success against SMC: "I try to treat every team the same and play the same way. I go out and play my own game and let things come to me through the game. My shot were falling tonight, so that helped me get going in the first half."