Nov. 15, 2009
Santa Clara (1-0) opens the regular season home slate vs. Menlo College, playing its season opener, on Mon., Nov. 16 at 7 pm. It is the first meeting between the two schools as Menlo College plays in the California Pacific Conference and is one of two Division II opponents on the Bronco schedule this year. Dominican College is the other and the Broncos will play the Penguins on Dec. 11.
Santa Clara will then travel to San Diego State on Thurs., Nov. 19 for the first of four games as part of the West Coast Classic. Despite playing 170 games vs. WCC competition, it will be the first meeting between SCU and SDSU. San Diego State (1-0) defeated Division II UC San Diego on Saturday. Prior to hosting Santa Clara, the Aztecs will play at Saint Mary's at 11 pm on Mon., Nov. 16 as part of ESPN College Hoops Tip-Off Marathon. SDSU defeated SMC last year, 70-66, to advance to the NIT semi-finals where it fell 76-62 to Baylor.
Santa Clara, opening the season with a true road game for the first time since 2003, defeated CSU Bakersfield, 84-81, on Fri., Nov. 13 behind Kevin Foster's 21 points. Santa Clara had four players score in double figures: Foster (21), Troy Payne (15), Niyi Harrison (12) and Marc Trasolini (10). Head coach Kerry Keating is now 2-1 in season openers.
Santa Clara, which features no seniors and nine underclassmen, is led by Foster, a preseason All-WCC honoree by the league's coaches, and Trasolini, a WCC All-Freshman team honoree last year. SCU returns two starters and seven letterwinners; and features six newcomers.
Santa Clara was 16-17 in Keating's second Bronco season last year. They posted a 7-7 record in the WCC, finishing in fourth place. The Broncos advanced to the WCC Tournament semi-finals before falling to eventual champion and then-No. 14 Gonzaga. Santa Clara was led last year by the WCC Player of the Year, John Bryant, who was later named to the AP All-American team (honorable mention) after leading the country in rebounds during the regular season as well as double-doubles. Bryant graduated last year as the school's career leader in rebounds and blocks as he finished sixth overall in points.
The SCU-Menlo College 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 6:45 pm. Anthony Passarelli is in his third season as the Santa Clara men's basketball play-by-play announcer after six seasons of handling those duties for SCU women's basketball.
* Marc Trasolini scored 20+ once last year when he scored 24 points, going 10 of 12 from free throw line, and grabbed 10 rebounds. It was his lone double-double of the year. After John Bryant led the country with 28 double-doubles last year, Trasolini's lone double-double is the only career double-double on the roster as the Broncos start play this season.
* In the game at CSU Bakersfield on Nov. 13, Santa Clara started two juniors (one, Payne, is a transfer), two sophomores and a freshman. Of the 200 minutes played, SCU saw those wearing the Bronco uniform for the first time play 58 percent of the minutes. Two starters, Payne (33 minutes) and Smith (32 minutes) were joined by three other newcomers off the bench in Niyi Harrison (29 minutes), Ray Cowels (14 minutes) and Chris Cunningham (8 minutes). Of the 84 points scored, 50 percent were scored by newcomers with Payne leading the way with 15.
* The Broncos were very young last year as well. According to Robbie Allen of STATSHEET.COM (March 2, 2009), the Broncos had the 38th youngest team in the NCAA last year of the 342 Division I teams, which means 89% of the Division I teams had a more-experienced starting five than the Broncos.
Menlo College is beginning its first season under first-year head coach Matt Davis; and returns six letterwinners and three starters. The Oaks were 8-19 overall and 5-11 in conference last year. Menlo ended its season last year with a 72-63 to Dominican in the second round of the California Pacific Conference Tournament.
Its only exhibiton this season proved to be only a little more than Menlo College was ready for as the Oaks fell 63-45 at Sacramento State on Nov. 6.
Menlo trailed 31-18 at the break after Sacramento State sunk a three-pointer to end the first half, but were within six points (47-41) with less than eight minutes to play. The Oaks cold shooting night turned frigid down the stretch, however, as they went without a field goal for almost nine minutes to end the game.
Senior Tim Kees led Menlo with 21 points in 29 minutes. Kees hit 6 of 13 from the field, was 8-8 from the charity stripe and added a team-high six rebounds. Junior-transfer Drew Davis scored 11 points, adding five rebounds and two steals. The Hornets shot 40 percent to Menlo's 30 percent, but made as many free throws as the Oaks (13) in 10 more attempts.
After playing in nine different states and 15 different cities in 2008-09, Santa Clara will play in just four states this season with 27 of its 31 regular season games in the Golden State. They will travel out of state to play just four games: two in Houston: at Houston Baptist (Dec. 14) and at Rice (Dec. 16); and at Gonzaga (Feb. 25) and at Portland (Feb. 27).
The WCC Tournament will be played in Las Vegas, Nev. for the second straight year.
Santa Clara will play six games vs. 2009 post-season teams: at San Diego State on Nov. 19 (NIT Semi-Finals), vs. UNLV on Dec. 5 (NIT), vs. Saint Mary's on Jan. 10 and at Saint Mary's on Feb. 4 (NIT second round); and vs. Gonzaga on Jan. 28 and at Gonzaga on Feb. 25 (NCAA Sweet 16).