Nov. 27, 2009
Santa Clara (2-3) hosts WAC member Fresno State (2-2) on Sat., Nov. 28 at 2 pm. Santa Clara is playing the Bulldogs for the 30th time and leads the series 19-10. Since 1980, SCU has played FSU 15 times: Fresno State has won eight times and Santa Clara has won seven times. After losing four straight to the Bulldogs dating back to 1996, Santa Clara won the last meeting between the two schools with a 69-64 victory on Nov. 29, 2003 at home.
The SCU-Fresno State game will be broadcast at 2 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 1:45 pm. Anthony Passarelli is in his third season as the Santa Clara men's basketball play-by-play announcer.
Youth Being Served
A team that features no seniors and nine underclassmen, SCU starts a very young team after the leg injury to three-year starter Ben Dowdell in the Pacific game. In its Nov. 25 loss vs. Northern Arizona, SCU started two freshman (Niyi Harrison and Robert Smith), two sophomores (Kevin Foster and Trasolini) and one junior transfer (Troy Payne). It was Harrison's first career start.
According to STATSHEET.com, after five games Santa Clara joins two other teams as the eighth-youngest team in the country; and it is the youngest team in the WCC with an average of 1.90. Of note, Portland, who defeated UCLA 74-47 on Thursday, has the oldest team with an average of 3.58. The average is figured on the sum of minutes each player plays is multiplied by their class year (Freshmen = 1, Sophomore = 2, Junior = 3 and Senior = 4) and is divided by the total team minutes.
The Broncos were quite young last year as well. According to 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.
SCU has two players averaging double figures: Foster (19.0 ppg) and Trasolini (12.6 ppg). They are lead on the boards by Payne, who averages 8.6 rpg and puts out a team-leading 3.4 apg. Foster is the team leader with 2.8 spg and Trasolini the leader with 1.6 bpg.
In its last outing on Nov. 23, Fresno State fell 62-58 to San Diego State as part of the West Coast Classic. Fresno State head coach Steve Cleveland, in his sixth season with the Bulldogs, is 65-65. Fresno State, 13-21 in 2008-09 and 3-13 in the WAC, was picked sixth by the league coaches and seventh by the media in its league after finishing ninth last season. They return six lettermen and three starters.
Fresno State has three players averaging double-figures this season including Paul George (17.5 ppg), Greg Smith (16.0 ppg) and Sylvester Seay (13.3 ppg). Both George and Smith average a team-leading 8.0 rpg each and guard Steven Shepp puts out a team-leading 4.2 apg. George and Seay were honored by the WAC coaches as preseason second-team All-WAC honorees. Smith has earned three double-doubles in his first four games. In just four games as a Bulldog, Smith leads the nation in field goal percentage (27-33, 81.8%).
Who is In: the West Coast Classic
SCU is playing its final game of the West Coast Classic on Saturday. The Classic represents five different Division I conferences including the West Coast (Santa Clara), the Mountain West (San Diego State), Big Sky (Northern Arizona), Big West (Pacific) and WAC (Fresno State). The West Coast Classic is considered one of the first of its kind because each school gets to host two home games. Santa Clara will host two games in the exempt event this season and can host an event like this once every five years.
WCC Happy Thanksgiving
The WCC had a lot to be thankful for on Thanksgiving. Wednesday Gonzaga topped Cincinnati to win the Maui Invitational, 61-59 in OT. Just hours later, San Diego upset No. 25 Oklahoma at the Great Alaska Shootout, 76-64. Portland then capped off the run by beating UCLA by 27 points at the 76 Classic, 74-47 on Thursday. It wasn't the first win vs. the Pac-10. Earlier this month, the Pilots defeated Oregon and LMU won at USC.
Top Broncos This Season
Marc Trasolini has scored double figures in four times and has one double-double. His two career double-doubles are the only two on the team.
Early in the season a team's RPI and strength of schedule can jump up and down on the scale and Santa Clara is a perfect example. On Nov. 19, the Bronco RPI was No. 1 and strength of schedule was No. 2 nationally. On Nov. 22 its RPI slipped to No. 258 and to No. 296 in strength of schedule. On Nov. 25 its RPI moved up to No. 73 and strength of schedule was No. 78.
Fresno State's RPI is No. 178 and strength of schedule is No. 312.
Foster: 13x 20+
Kevin Foster has scored 20+ points twice in the young season and eight times in his last 11 games spanning his first two years. Foster scored 20+ points 11 times last year, including five of the last eight games of the season. He has a career-high five three pointers four times.
Foster scored 19 vs. Menlo - just one point off his 13th game of 20+. He has scored double figures in 27 of 37 career games.
Santa Clara has been a tale of two teams this year. In the two wins, the Broncos averaged 13.5 turnovers per game, but in the three losses they are averaging 18.7 turnovers per game. In addition, the Broncos averaged 81.5 points per game in the two wins and just 60.7 in the three losses.
Santa Clara has been outrebounded in four of five games this season. In the first three games they had 37+ rebounds, but the last two games they had 28 (Pacific) and 26 (NAU). Opponents have 40+ rebounds against the Broncos in four of five games.
More than, Less than
Santa Clara is 1-0 when scoring 80+ points this year. SCU was 5-0 last season when scoring 80-89 points and are now 8-1 under Keating. When they score 70+, the Broncos are 17-3 under Keating, but 0-1 this year. But, when scoring between 50-69, the Broncos are 0-2 this season, 8-14 last season and 16-28 in Keating's watch.
Santa Clara shot 81.3% from the line at San Diego State, making 13 of its 16 free throws. Ben Dowdell was 4-4 and Troy Payne was 3-3. The Broncos shot 81.3 percent or better seven times last year, including four of their last five games. They shot a season-high 1.000 at UNLV, hitting 11 of 11 tries from the charity stripe. It was the Broncos best showing since they shot 1.000 at San Francisco on Feb. 16, 2000 when they made 16 of 16 free throws.
Santa Clara leads the WCC with 14.4 offensive rebounds per game. But, they are second-to-last with 22.6 defensive rebounds per game.
It is second in steals with 8.2 spg.
Individually Kevin Foster is No. 1 with 2.8 spg and 3.5 three pointers per game; and No. 4 with 19.0 ppg. Troy Panye is No. 1 with 3.0 orpg and No. 3 with 8.6 rpg.
A little review
Santa Clara fell 88-72 to Northern Arizona on Nov. 25. The Broncos had three scorers in double figures: Kevin Foster had 14, Robert Smith added 13 and Marc Trasolini had 12. Troy Payne led the team with eight rebounds and Robert Smith added a career-high 5 assists.
Santa Clara fell 84-57 at Pacific on Nov. 22. The Broncos were led by Foster's season-high 22 points. Santa Clara shot 33.3 percent in the game with a season-high 10 steals and 10 assists. The Tigers shot 55.6 percent overall; and in the second half they shot 77.3 percent from the field and 88.9 percent from beyond the arc (8 of 9).
The Broncos, playing short-handed, fell 86-53 to San Diego State on Nov. 19. Niyi Harrison led the team with 14 points and seven rebounds. Cowels added 11 and Trasolini scored 10, collecting a team-high eight rebounds and two blocks. Payne had four steals, seven points and five rebounds. San Diego State put five scorers in double-figures including the game's leading scorer Billy White who had 17.
SCU played at SDSU without its leading scorer, Foster, who did make the trip due to academic obligations. Chris Cunningham also did not travel due to an injury he sustained in the game at CSU Bakersfield.
SCU defeated Menlo College 80-58 on Nov. 16. The 58 Santa Clara rebounds vs. Menlo were the most for a Bronco team since Santa Clara collected 61 vs Cal State Stanislaus in a 97-53 win on Nov. 19, 2005. In addition, the 45 free throws attempted by the Broncos vs. Menlo were the most Santa Clara has shot since it shot 47 vs. USF on Jan. 14, 1993. Trasolini's 23 points and 12 rebounds led the Broncos with his second career double-double and his first three-pointer on his first-ever attempt. Payne added a career-high 15 rebounds with Robert Smith scoring in double-figures (13) for the first time.
SCU, opening the season with a true road game for the first time since 2003, defeated CSU Bakersfield, 84-81, on Nov. 13 behind Foster's 21 points - all scored in the second half. Santa Clara had four players score in double figures: Foster (21), Payne (15), Harrison (12) and Trasolini (10). Kerry Keating is 2-1 in season openers.