February 23, 2010

Santa Clara Travels to Portland Saturday

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara closes out the regular season with a trip to Portland for a rematch with the Pilots at 8 pm on Sat., Feb. 27. The Portland game will be shown on COMCAST and be called by Scott Lynn and Dustin Geddis.

Santa Clara is 11-19, including 3-10 in the WCC. Portland is 18-9 and 9-4 in the WCC. Portland defeated USF on Thursday night at home while Santa Clara fell at No. 15 Gonzaga.

Listen Here

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 7:45 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.

Bronco Leaders

SCU has two active players averaging double figures: Marc Trasolini (14.0 ppg) and Robert Smith (12.3 ppg). Trasolini has hit double figures 24 times this season, including three double-doubles (four career double-doubles). Smith has scored in double figures 21 times. 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 13.8 ppg and Smith has 13.1 ppg.

Smith leads the team with 3.2 apg, including 3.4 apg in WCC play. Smith had a career-high seven assists and eight rebounds in the USF game on Feb. 20.

Trasolini has 1.7 bpg; and swatted a career-high five blocks vs. then-No. 8 Gonzaga. Trasolini is averaging a team-leading 1.3 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 14 games this season, including a career-high vs. Menlo, 10 vs. LMU, nine at Pepperdine and vs. New Hampshire and Fresno State.

Youth

All season long the Santa Clara youth has been discussed with the Broncos featuring the seventh-youngest team in the country (statsheet.com). Of the nine active players on scholarship this year, Santa Clara has zero seniors, three juniors, two sophomores and four freshmen.

It is only fourth time in 61 years (starting line-ups were kept beginning in 1949-50) that Santa Clara does not have a senior starter. The last time there wasn't a senior starter: it was Steve Nash's junior year (1994-95). Nash, a two-time WCC Player of the Year, has gone on to win two NBA MVP awards. He played in his seventh NBA All-Star game on Feb. 14 as a starter. He also won the 2010 NBA Skills competition for the second time in his career. On Feb. 12, he became the first NBA player to ever light the Olympic Flame, hoisting the flame at the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games.

Using the same Bronco line-up nine of the last 10 games, if counting seniors as a four, juniors as a three, etc. -- with the current starters, it's the second-youngest starting line-up Santa Clara has had in 33 years. That line-up in 1976-77 included a freshman named Kurt Rambis, who went on to be the WCC Player of the Year and a multi-time NBA champion with the Lakers. He is currently the head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves. It is the fourth time in 33 years the starting line-up has scored a 12 or younger. The current Bronco line-up includes Michael Santos (3), Ben Dowdell (3), Troy Payne (3), Marc Trasolini (2) and Robert Smith (1).

Young Guns

Santa Clara is averaging 64.5 ppg this season with no seniors. More than 75 percent of Santa Clara's points this season, including those from sophomore Kevin Foster, are coming from its underclassmen. The top four active scorers are all underclassmen and if you throw in Foster, it's the top five. The top four active scorers include sophomore Marc Trasolini (14.0 ppg) and the freshmen trio of Robert Smith (12.3 ppg), Niyi Harrison (7.7 ppg) and Ray Cowels (7.4 ppg). Foster played in six games prior to breaking his foot and was lost for the season in the win at UC Santa Barbara. Foster had posted 19.8 ppg and 119 points through the first six games.

SCU's grabs 34.5 rpg this year. More than 59 percent are coming from underclassman with Trasolini leading the way with 6.2 rpg.

Keeps Climbing

Robert Smith is quickly running up the Santa Clara freshman records. His name is already etched in the record books in 11 categories (see complete list on page four of the notes). With at least two games remaining and 988 minutes played this season, Smith needs just 13 minutes played to break Kevin Foster's freshman record with 1,000 minutes played last season. Last year Foster broke junior Ben Dowdell's record of 890 minutes (2007-08). The previous record, prior to Dowdell, was 842 minutes played by Kyle Bailey (2000-01).

Smith will or has a chance to finish in the top three of the following Santa Clara freshman records:

Stat Smith Next Step Freshman Record

Points No. 4, 368 No. 3. 375, Brian Jones 486, Kevin Foster

FG Att. No. 2, 356 396, Kevin Foster

FT Made No. 2, 98 98, Brian Jones

FT Att. No. 3, 123 No. 2, 125, Kurt Rambis 142, Brian Jones

Assists No. 2, 93 119, Brian Jones

Steals No. 5, 31 No. 4, 34, Harold Keeling 49, Steve Kenilvort

Minutes No. 2, 988 1,000, Kevin Foster

Not to be overlooked, Ray Cowels is in the top 10 of two categories and Niyi Harrison also hits the list in two categories.

Shot Blockers

Marc Trasolini is working to follow in the footsteps of career blocks leader John Bryant. Trasolini, with 48 this season, needs two blocks to pass what Bryant put up his sophomore year (49, 2006-07) so it's conceivable he could go after Bryant's career record if Trasolini stays on an improving pace his junior and senior years. Bryant's career record is 246 over his four years.

The school record for blocks in a season was set by Bryant last season when he collected 84 swats. Trasolini tied John Bryant's freshman record with 37 blocks last season so has already topped his freshman total with at least three games left. Trasolini's 86 career blocks put him at No. 5 and he trails No. 4 Kurt Rambis (93, 1976-80) by seven blocks.

Freshman Niyi Harrison is quietly blocking shots this season as well. He has 21 on the season which is currently No. 5 on the all-time freshman list. He needs five to pass Jen Gordon, who blocked 25 shots in 1985-86, his freshman year.

Starters

The Broncos used their 14th starting line-up at Gonzaga for the 10th time in 11 games. 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 30 games this season is Troy Payne. SCU has 13 players who have appeared in a game this season, but only six players have played in all 30 games. They are: Trasolini, Smith, Harrison, Cowels, Payne and Santos.

Traz

Marc Trasolini is averaging 14.0 ppg this season - more than double what he scored his freshman campaign (6.7 ppg) when he shot 68.1 percent to break the school record for field goal percentage. He is also averaging 1.5 more rebounds a game than last season and a half of a block more each game as well.

He has 14 games with 15+ points this season. He has scored 20+ five times this year. 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.

Trasolini has hit 120 of 153 free throws this season, including hitting 61 of 76 free throws in the last 15 games (80.2 percent). More than 28 percent of Trasolini's points this year come from the charity stripe with Trasolini scoring a team-high 421 points this year. Last year 21 percent of his points came from free throws (43 of 64 made (67%); 201 points total scored).

He hit a career-high three three's at both Houston Baptist and Rice in December; and then vs. Gonzaga he was a career-best 4 of 6 from beyond the arc. He is 18 of 48 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 at least 10 three pointers a game because he has that much confidence in his shooting.