November 13, 2008

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS! Men's Basketball Opens Season vs. CSU East Bay Fri., Nov. 14

Nov. 13, 2008

Santa Clara opens its 102nd season of Bronco basketball and the second under head coach Kerry Keating on Fri., Nov. 14 with a 7 pm contest vs. CSU East Bay at the Leavey Center. The two teams last played on Jan. 4, 1994 with Santa Clara coming away with a 79-58 victory. Santa Clara is 1323-923 in its 101 years of basketball, including 444-310 in the West Coast Conference.

Coach Keating is looking for his second-straight opening day win as a head coach and the school's fifth straight opening day win.

Santa Clara basketball games are broadcast live via the Bronco Radio Network, which consists of KDOW-AM 1220 and Broncos All-Access on the web at www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. Anthony Passarelli is in his second season as the men's play-by-play announcer after six seasons of handling those duties for SCU women's basketball.

The home of Santa Clara Bronco basketball, KDOW 1220 AM, will host Coach Keating in a weekly half-hour radio spotlight from 8:30 - 9:00 pm on Sundays. This week he will talk about the 2009 signing class and the NIT Season Tipoff Tournament. The Sports Ramble, hosted by Chetan Chaudhari, runs on KDOW 1220 AM from 8 - 10 pm on Sunday evenings.

vs. CSU East Bay

Santa Clara is 8-0 vs. CSU East Bay, but it's listed in the Santa Clara record books as CSU Heyward. The California State University Board of Trustees approved a proposal to rename the campus to California State University, East Bay on Jan., 26, 2005. The name was chosen to reflect the university's new, broader mission to serve the region of the greater East Bay.

CSU East Bay head coach Will Biggs is in his 13th season with the Pioneers, collecting a 177-125 record along the way. CSU East Bay returns four starters and 12 letterwinners for a team that finished at 14-13 last year.

The Pioneers are member of the NAIA II. CSUEB will begin competition in NCAA Division II and the California Collegiate Athletic Association as a "scheduling partner" for the 2009-2010 athletic year, with eligibility for conference championships when the NCAA approves it for "active status." The CCAA membership includes San Francisco State, Sonoma State, Chico State, Humboldt State, CSU Monterey Bay, CSU Stanislaus, Cal Poly Pomona, CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU Los Angeles, CSU San Bernardino, and UC San Diego.

Broncos Win Lone 2008 Exhibition

In Santa Clara's lone exhibition of the year it defeated CSU Monterey Bay 93-65 on Fri., Nov. 7. John Bryant collected 20 rebounds, adding 19 points in 31 minutes of play. Also collecting double figures were Calvin Johnson who scored 14 points, hitting 4 of 7 from beyond the arc; Ben Dowdell who scored 14 points with three rebounds; and Perry Petty, who collected 17 points, hitting 10 of 14 free throws with five steals and four assists.

SCU took an 18-9 lead at the 11:27 mark in the first half before CSU MB came charging back on a 15-4 run to take the lead 24-22 at the 7:59 mark. The rest of the first half was back and forth with the Otters taking a 37-34 lead before Dowdell hit a jumper and Johnson hit a three to make it 39-37 Broncos at the half. The second half was all Broncos with CSU MB drawing first blood to tie the game at 39-39 with 19:40 in the second stanza before SCU went on a scoring fit of its own, taking a 52-39 before the Otters hit their next basket almost six minutes later at 13:52.

SCU, with five newcomers seeing time on the court, had nine players play 20+ minutes. SCU shot 54.2 % from the field to CSUMB's 43.9%.

If only

The Otters were whistled for 37 fouls in the exhibition and the Broncos converted on 34 of 52 from the charity stripe. The 37 fouls would have been a school record for opponents if exhibitions counted (36 fouls were called on St. Martin's vs. Santa Clara on Nov. 27, 1981). In addition, the 52 free throws shot would have been second-all-time for the Broncos and the most shot since Santa Clara shot 58 free throws against Loyola Marymount on Jan. 11, 1991.

Baby-Stepping Broncos

The Broncos welcome seven newcomers this year including four freshmen. All four true freshmen played in the exhibition, with James Rahon starting the game. Rahon, Marc Trasolini and Kevin Foster all scored seven points each in their first action on the hardwood. Troy Alexander and Phillip Bach added two points. JUCO transfer Perry Petty scored 17 points with four assists and five steals off the bench. Petty showed the competition it should think twice when fouling him - he hit 10 of 14 from the charity stripe.

Everyone on the Bronco roster played in the exhibition but two. Texas Tech Decensae White will be eligible to play after the fall quarter and freshman redshirt Scott Thompson is currently sidelined with a sprained ankle.

Ballers

Playing as many as 11 games vs. 2008 post-season tournament teams, including 10 vs. NCAA Tournament teams, Santa Clara will also host the 42nd annual Cable Car Classic - the longest running annual university tournament in the late December. The Cable Car Classic, Mon, Dec. 29 and Tues., Dec. 30, will include James Madison, Belmont and UTEP.

Santa Clara will host five home games vs. 2008 NCAA Tournament participants: Stanford (Dec. 23), Belmont (Dec. 29), San Diego (Jan. 11), St. Mary's (Feb. 7) and Gonzaga (Feb. 26). SCU will travel to four other 2008 NCAA Tourney participants: at UNLV (Dec. 17), at St. Mary's (Jan. 9), at Gonzaga (Jan. 15) and at San Diego (Feb. 5). SCU could play Arizona, a 2008 NCAA Tournament team, in the NIT Season Tip-off tournament and additional teams the next week in the NIT Season Tip-Off (Nov. 24-28). UAB (Nov. 17) advanced to the second round of the NIT last season.

In addition, the Bronocs schedule includes six teams in the top 50 CBSSports.com RPI and Gonzaga has been ranked as high as No. 10 in preseason national polls.

Bronco Tour Not Set

The Broncos will play in eight different states and 14 different cities in 2008-09, with the second week of the NIT Season Tipoff Tourney location to be announced Nov. 20. The sites currently include:

1. California (San Jose, Santa Clara, Stockton, San Diego, Los Angeles, Malibu and Moraga)

2. Arizona (Tucson)

3. Montana (Missoula)

4. Nevada (Las Vegas)

5. Massachusetts (Boston)

6. New Hampshire (Durham)

7. Washington (Spokane)

8. Oregon (Portland)

Not back

Santa Clara graduated all four seniors last year in Brody Angley, Josh Higgins, Okey Mbanugo and Mitch Henke. In addition, Jonathan Gunderson, Andrew Zimmerman, Cedric Latimer, Zac Tiedeman and Dominic Johnson did not return this season. With those nine went:

PPG lost from last year: 50% of the points (two of the top three scorers)

RPG lost from last year: 47% of the rebounds

BSPG lost from last year: 26% of the blocks

APG lost from last year: 75% of the assists

Angley, who was named first-team All-WCC last season along with John Bryant, is playing professional basketball in Switzerland this year.

Armed

Three Broncos have wing spans longer than their body when measured from fingertip to fingertip:

John Bryant is listed at 6' 11 and has a wingspan of 7' 5 (+6 inches).

Marc Trasolini is listed at 6' 9 and has a wingspan of 7' 3 (+6 inches).

Decensae White is listed at 6' 6 and has a wingspan of 6' 7 (+1 inch).

Joe Cool

Take away 30 pounds from one + add 78 pounds of muscle on seven others = a stronger, more fit basketball team. Santa Clara hired Joe Siara this past summer to revamp the basketball strength and conditioning program and he got to work quick as the head strength and conditioning coach. Siara, who spent the last two years under Florida basketball strength coach Matt Herring during two of the Gators post-season runs (2007 NCAA title, 2008 NIT Final Four), helped implement the program that helped John Bryant lose 30 pounds in the off-season.

Flipping the dials on the scales the other way, Siara also helped a few players put on needed bulk as well. Those gaining weight include: Decensae White (10 pounds), Calvin Johnson and Mike Santos (14 pounds each), Ben Dowdell (13 pounds, losing 2% body fat), Scott Thompson (11 pounds), and Marc Trasolini and Phillip Bach (8 pounds each).

Honored

Rivals.com preseason power rankings - which ranks the top players in the nation at each position - ranks John Bryant at No. 9 nationally among centers with Hasheem Thabeet of UCONN heading the list. Bryant and Gonzaga's Jeremy Pargo (point guard) are the only two WCC players listed in the top 10 of the five-position list.

Bryant was also named to the 2008 pre-season COLLEGEHOOPS.NET Mid-Major All-America second team. Bryant led the West Coast Conference in rebounds and blocks and was second in scoring as a junior and was recently named to the preseason All-WCC team after picking up first team honors last year.

California's Bragging Rights

Santa Clara will play six teams from California this year before it starts WCC play on Jan. 9 at Saint Mary's: vs. CSU East Bay (Nov. 14), at San Jose State (Dec. 3), vs. Sacramento State (Dec. 6), vs. Notre Dame de Namur (Dec. 13), at Pacific (Dec. 20) and vs. Stanford (Dec. 23).

Kerry Keating was 4-3 vs. non-conference California teams last year and if you throw WCC teams into that mix, Keating finished 10-8 vs. the state of California in 2007-08.

Take a STEP back

After much discussion and debate, the three-point line has been moved back from 19' 9 to 20' 9. While many considered the addition of the three-point line in 1986 a radical change, the move this year was done to `keep things in proportion'.

A little 'more' Bryant

* John Bryant reached 1,000 points in his junior season for the Broncos with 18 points on Feb. 23 vs. San Diego. He was the 27th player in school history to accomplish the feat. He hit the 1,000-point barrier with a put back against San Diego for his last basket of the game. He begins the 2008-09 season in 23rd place all-time with 1,071 points. He needs four points to move past Brody Angley at No. 22 with 1,074 points and 112 points to pass Scott Lamson at No. 20 (1,120 points from 1981-85).

* Bryant enters his senior year with 685 rebounds, good for No. 10 on the career list, after pulling down 298 rebounds in 2007-08.

* He already holds the school record with 162 career blocked shots and set the single-season record last season with 76 blocked shots.

* Bryant notched 15 double-doubles last season and enters his senior year with 24 career double-doubles.

* He had nine double-doubles in 14 conference games in 2008. He earned them against Saint Mary's (2), Loyola Marymount (2), at San Diego, San Francisco (2), vs. Portland and at Pepperdine, but just missed a double-double vs. Pepperdine with 14 points and nine rebounds. Bryant averaged a double-double in conference games with 18.1 ppg and 10.3 rpg.

* Also had double doubles against Cal State Monterey Bay (Nov. 9), Sacramento State (Nov. 25), San Jose State (Dec. 8), Montana (Dec. 17) and Denver (Dec. 28). He also picked up a double-double in the first round of the 2008 WCC Tournament, collecting 25 points with a personal-best 17 rebounds in the 51-50 win over USF.

* Bryant had five double-doubles in 2006-07 and four double-doubles as a freshman during the 2005-06 season.

Starting with Ben

Ben Dowdell started 29 of 30 games as a freshman last year, only coming off the bench in the 87-55 win over San Francisco (Feb. 25). He played 28 minutes in that game, scoring 21 points, hitting 8 of 12 shots.

He broke freshman single-season record for minutes played with 890 (previous was Kyle Bailey in 2000-01 with 842 minutes played). He finished in the top 10 of the following freshman records: points (10th), rebounds (9th), field goals made (9th), free throws made (6th), free throws attempted (3rd), assists (9th) and steals (10th).