SCU vs. Gonzaga at 6:30 pm tonight on ESPN2!

March 8, 2009

As the fourth seed at the West Coast Conference Tournament at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas, Santa Clara advanced to the semi-finals on Sun., March 8 to play WCC Regular Season Champion Gonzaga at 6:30 pm on ESPN2. Gonzaga is 24-5 and was 14-0 in league play under 10th-year head coach Mark Few.

To advance, Santa Clara defeated 2008 WCC Tournament Champion San Diego, 80-69, on Sat., March 7 behind John Bryant's 27 rebound-24 point game, including a sterling 12 of 12 from the charity stripe. Bryant's 27 rebounds, a WCC Tournament record, were the third most by a Bronco in school history and the most since Fred Lavaroni grabbed 28 rebounds vs. St. Mary's on Feb. 15, 1971. His 20+/20+ performance was a national-leading sixth of the year.

The winner of the Santa Clara-Gonzaga game will advance to play the winner of the Portland-Saint Mary's game in the WCC Championship on Mon., March 9 at 6 pm on ESPN. Santa Clara was 1-1 vs. both Portland and Saint Mary's this year.

The Broncos are 16-16 and finished fourth at 7-7 in the WCC. Santa Clara has lost 12 two possession or less games this year and are one of eight teams nationally with three or more 1 point losses this season.

Santa Clara is led by the WCC Player of the Year, John Bryant, who averages 18.2 ppg, 14.3 rpg and 2.6 bpg in 31.1 mpg. He was the first Bronco since Steve Nash (1995 and '96) to be named to the All-District First Team. He is ranked No. 2 nationally in offensive efficiency (bbstate.com). Bryant leads the nation in 25 double-doubles (tied with Oklahoma's Blake Griffin), total rebounds, rebounds per game and with six 20+ point/20+ rebound games this season. Bryant has 15 straight double-doubles, dating back to Jan. 11, 2009; and he is the 27th player in NCAA history to post at least 15 straight double-doubles. It is the longest streak since then-Wake Forest center Tim Duncan pulled down 17 straight in 1997. Duncan has gone on to win four NBA titles with the Spurs and two MVP awards.

Freshman Kevin Foster was tabbed as the WCC Co-Newcomer of the Year and was also named to the All-WCC Honorable Mention Team. Foster, James Rahon and Marc Trasolini were all named to the five-man WCC All-Freshman team. The trio continues to make quick work of the SCU freshmen records with all three climbing up the top 10 lists of a number of categories. They have broken or tied seven SCU freshman records thus far (see page 4).

Foster is second on the team with 14.7 ppg and Rahon is No 3 with 11.0 ppg. Trasolini is shooting a team-best 68.1% from the field and is No. 2 on the team with 4.7 rpg and 1.3 bpg. Trasolini is the No. 1 freshman nationally in field goal percentage and the No 2 freshman nationally in points per shot. He is No. 4 nationally in all classes in field goal percentage and No. 6 in all classes in points per shot (bbstate.com).

SCU posted an 0-2 record vs. GU this year. Gonzaga leads the overall series 40-30 and the Bulldogs are 5-1 vs. SCU on a neutral court. Gonzaga is led by a trio in double figures: Josh Heytvelt (15.2 ppg), Matt Bouldin (13.8 ppg) and Austin Daye (12.6 ppg) with Heytvelt grabbing a team-high 6.8 rpg. Jeremy Pargo dishes 5.1 apg.

Listen up

The SCU-USD/Gonzaga 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.

27!?!

How big were Bryant's 27 rebounds vs. San Diego Saturday? ** It was the most rebounds in an NCAA game in more than three years. Louisiana Tech's Paul Millsap had 28 rebounds vs. San Jose State on Feb. 15, 2006.

**It was the most for a Bronco since 1971 (28, Fred Lavaroni, Feb. 15, 1971 vs. Saint Mary's).

** Broke Dennis Awtrey's 39-year-old Bronco career record of 1,135. Bryant now has 1,142. He also moved to No. 3 all-time in Bay Area history, passing No. 4 Bill Cartwright.

** Broke the WCC tournament single-game record of 20, set by USF's Darryl Johnson in 1992. Santa Clara's previous WCC record was 17 by Jens Gordon vs. LMU on March 6, 1989.

** Grabbed three more rebounds than the entire San Diego team and out-rebounded USD counterpart Gyno Pomare 27-0!

** Side-note: he made 12 of 12 free throws and set a Santa Clara WCC Tournament record with the 12 made, breaking a 22-year-old record set by Dan Weiss, who did it twice in 1987.

Ice Ice Baby

Playing team-leading minutes vs. San Diego, Kevin Foster played 39 minutes and John Bryant 35. What did they get for their efforts? The duo was joined by Ben Dowdell for an ice bath in the whirlpool tub at the Orleans Arena. Ice bath? Why? According to Santa Clara athletic trainer Scott Heinrichson it helps reduce lactic acid build-up which cuts down on soreness and aids with recovery especially when potentially playing games three straight days.

When asked how it feels, Foster responded: "Not good, but it helps. I took a couple in high school, but I do it more often now in college."

More is Better

John Bryant, named the WCC Player of the Year on Monday and to the All-District Team on Thursday, is No. 3 on the Bay Area career rebounds list. He passed Bill Cartwright (1976--79, 1137 rebounds) and Dennis Awtrey (1968-70, 1135 rebounds) on Saturday vs. San Diego with his 27 rebounds. No. 1 Bill Russell (1,606) and No. 2 Ollie Johnson (1,323), both of USF, are out of reach. He is No. 6 on the Bay Area single season list and needs 13 more rebounds to move past Ollie Johnson at No. 3 (469 in 1965). Russell at No. 1 (609, 1956) and No. 2 (594, 1955) are most likely out of reach.

Bryant has 49 double-doubles in his career and is No. 2 of active players behind Washington's Jon Brockman, who has 57 career double-doubles. Bryant has 15 straight double-doubles, dating back to Jan. 11, 2009. It is the longest streak since then-Wake Forest center Tim Duncan pulled down 17 straight in 1997. Duncan has gone on to win four NBA titles with the Spurs and two MVP awards. He is only the 27th player in NCAA history to grab 15 straight double-doubles or more.

Bryant's national-leading 25 double-doubles this year include (points/rebounds; tied with OU's Blake Griffin): vs. CSU East Bay (19/11), vs. UAB (17/15), at Georgia (13/12), at Montana (20/13), at San Jose State, (20/21) vs. Sacramento State (14/15), at UNLV (12/11), vs. Stanford (27/12), vs. UTEP (33/17), at Harvard (14/11), vs. San Diego (19/12), at Gonzaga (12/11), at Portland (15/16), vs. USF (18/10), vs. Houston Baptist (20/21), vs. LMU (12/22), vs. Pepperdine (19/10), at San Diego (23/20), vs. Saint Mary's (21/15), at Pepperdine (25/12), at LMU (25/16), at USF (17/12), vs. Gonzaga (16/11), Portland (22/21) and vs. San Diego (24/27).

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 is No. 1 nationally in rebounds per game, No. 11 in field goal percentage, No. 14 in blocks and No. 70 in points per game (as of March 7). He leads the country in total rebounds (457), setting the single season school record vs. Portland. He broke Dennis Awtrey's career school record (1,135, 1968-70) with his 27 boards on Saturday and now has 1,142 career rebounds.

Bryant Balls II

John Bryant is the only Bronco in school history to score 1,600+ points, gather 1,100+ rebounds and block 200+ shots.

Bryant is on a number of career top 10 lists at Santa Clara:

Bryant Next on the SCU List # to Tie No. 1
Blocks No. 1 (245)    
Rebounds No. 1 (1,142)    
Games Played No. 2 (123) Bailey, 127 (2001-05) 4
Games Started No. 4 (105) Rambis, 107 (1976-80) 11
Field Goals Made No. 4 (650) Keeling, 675 (1981-85) 62
Field Goal Percentage No. 5 (57.7%) Awtrey, 58.0% (1967-70) 60.6 (No. 1)
Points Scored No. 6 (1,654) Awtrey, 1,675 (1967-70) 82
Personal Fouls No. 7 (334) Jones, 339 (1996-01) 62
He is also on a number of single season record lists as well:
Blocks No. 1 (83)    
Rebounds No. 1 (457)    
Points No. 5 (583) Keeling, 585 (1983-84) 36
Field Goals Made No. 6 (221) Theus, 224 (1978-79) 19
Field Goal Percentage No. 10 (59.9%)  
Minutes No. 10 (995) Keeling, 997 (1984-85) 95

More than, Less than

The Broncos are 5-0 this season when scoring 80-89 points and 7-1 in Keating's two-year history. In fact when scored 70+ the Broncos are 8-1 this season and 15-2 under Keating.

But, when scoring between 50-69, the Broncos are 8-14 this season and 16-26 in Keating's watch.

Youth Served

With the Broncos starting three freshmen this season it appears they are one of the younger teams nationally this season. According to Robbie Allen of STATSHEET.COM (March 2), the Broncos have the 38th youngest team in the NCAA this year of the 342 Division I teams, which means 89% of the Division I teams have a more experienced starting five than the Broncos.

On the flip side, also according to Allen's figures, the two oldest in the WCC: Saint Mary's, with an average age per minute of 3.16 is No. 1 and Gonzaga is No. 2 at 3.07. Nationally, of the team's ranked by most experience, Saint Mary's is No. 34 and Gonzaga is No. 49.

15x: 20+ some

20+ is a popular number of points to score three of Santa Clara's freshman have hit that number 15 times this season. Kevin Foster has scored 20+ 11 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 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 was 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, later 26 at LMU, hit 20 at USF and vs. Gonzaga and 21 vs. San Diego.

Marc Trasolini, who is second on the team on in rpg and bpg, 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.

On the road

Eleven of SCU's 13 losses away from the Leavey Center this season were lost by a combined 40 points, averaging 3.6 more points for the opposition. They lost by one at Saint Mary's (63-62), at Portland (53-52) and at USF (67-66 in to); three vs. UAB (64-61) and vs. Arizona (69-66); by four vs. Florida Atlantic (65-61) and at UNH (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 five wins on the road were by a total of 24 points: a 71-68 win at Montana, a 59-56 win at San Jose State, a 64-62 overtime win at USD, a 69-64 win at LMU and an 11-point win (80-69) vs. San Diego.

Two games were a bit different. SCU lost 95-53 at Gonzaga on Jan. 15, its worst loss ever in WCC play. SCU 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.

Tough

Playing 13 2008 post-season teams, the schedule included 12 vs. NCAA Tournament teams. Santa Clara hosted five home games vs. 2008 NCAA Tournament participants: Stanford (L, 77-69), Belmont (W, 83-80), San Diego (L, 55-50), St. Mary's (W, 70-52) and Gonzaga (L. 81-73).

SCU played six other 2008 NCAA Tourney participants on the road: at Georgia (L, 54-48), vs. Arizona (L, 69-66), at UNLV (L, 78-66), at Saint Mary's (L, 63-62), at Gonzaga (L, 95-53), at San Diego (W, 64-62 (ot) and vs. San Diego in the WCC Tournament (W, 80-69).

UAB (L 64-61) advanced to the second round of the NIT last season.

Foster Shatters Records

Ben Dowdell broke Kurt Bailey's single season freshman minutes played record with 890 minutes, topping Bailey's 842-minute effort in 2000-01. Dowdell held the record for less than a season, as Kevin Foster broke the record three minutes into the Portland game and now has 971 minutes played this season.

Foster broke Kurt Rambis' freshman school record for points scored on Sat., Feb. 21 at USF. The record has stood for 32 years and Rambis' jersey was retired in Dec., 2008 officially with a ceremony. Rambis, the 1980 WCC Player of the Year who went on to star with the Los Angles Lakers, is the career points leader with 1,736 points and was No. 2 in career rebounds (1,037) until John Bryant passed him earlier this month.

Foster now has 469 points in his rookie campaign and topping Rambis' 414 points (1976-77). In addition at the USF game, Foster broke the freshman field goals attempted record set by Rambis the same season. Foster has 378 to Rambis' 317.

Earlier in the season Foster broke the freshman school record for three pointers attempted and three pointers made. He has made 82 and the old record was 51 by Brandon Rohe (2002-03). He has attempted 224 three pointers and the previous record was 145, also by Rohe.

Foster leads WCC rookies with 14.7 ppg in all games and with 16.5 ppg in WCC games.

Foster is No. 3 on the SCU rookie list in steals (41 this season, record is 49), No. 3 in free throws made (73, record is 98) and No. 5 in assists (has 80, record is 119).

Shooter Who Can Block

Marc Trasolini, named to the WCC All-Freshman team on Monday, tied John Bryant's SCU freshman record for blocks with 37 at USF. If the season ended today, Trasolini would shatter both the SCU individual single-season record and SCU freshman record as he is shooting 68.1% from the field. Trasolini is averaging 6.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg and 1.3 bpg.

Flat-Out Shooter

James Rahon, named to the WCC All-Freshman team on Monday, broke the old three pointers made record earlier in mid-February (he has 55, the record was 51). He is No. 2 currently at 39.9% in three-point percentage with only Steve Nash's 40.8% his freshman season (1992-93) better than Rahon. Rahon is third on the team with 11.0 ppg. He has 1.3 apg, is shooting almost 79% from the free throw line and leads the team in three-point field goal percentage.