Nov. 30, 2009
Santa Clara (3-3) travels to UC Santa Barbara (4-0) on Tues., Dec. 1 for a 7 pm match-up at The Thunderdome. SCU returns home to host No. 21 UNLV (5-0) on Sat., Dec. 5 at 7pm.
Both teams are coming off Saturday wins. With a starting line-up that featured four freshmen, the Broncos defeated Fresno State 74-67 at home in their final game as part of the West Coast Classic. UC Santa Barbara defeated West Coast Conference rival LMU 89-84 in Los Angeles. The Gauchos are 2-0 vs. the WCC this season as they defeated USF 76-65 on Nov. 23 in Santa Barbara.
SCU leads the all-time series with the Gauchos 14-9; and the Broncos are looking for their fourth-straight win over the undefeated Gauchos. Winning the Cable Car Classic in the last meeting, Santa Clara defeated the Gauchos 61-59 on Dec. 29, 2001 when Kyle Bailey was named the MVP.
The 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 play-by-play announcer.
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. They turned it up a notch in the win over Fresno State on Nov. 28, starting four freshmen (Smith, Harrison, Chris Cunningham and Raymond Cowels) and a junior transfer (Payne).
According to STATSHEET.com, after six games Santa Clara is 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 3.60. 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.
The 10 turnovers committed by the Broncos were the fewest made on the season, including just three in the second half. The Broncos had 56 turnovers in their prior three games combined.
The Broncos have had 10 turnovers five times under Coach Keating with the last time being 10 vs. Gonzaga Feb. 26, 2009. The last time Santa Clara turned the ball over fewer than 10 times: it had nine turnovers in the 63-47 victory vs. Saint Mary's on March 4, 2007 in the WCC Championship semi-final game that pushed SCU to the finals.
Santa Clara has been a tale of two teams this year. In the three wins, the Broncos averaged 12.3 turnovers per game, but in the three losses they are averaging 18.7 turnovers per game. In addition, the Broncos averaged 79.0 points per game in the three wins and just 60.7 in the three losses.
A Quick Look Back
* The Fresno State game was the first time Kevin Foster didn't start for the Broncos since the third game of the season last year against Arizona on Nov. 24, 2008. He came off the bench to score 21 points. Marc Trasolini came off the bench for the first time since
* Santa Clara led 39-26 at the half. The 39 points were the most for a Santa Clara team since it scored 48 in an 87-55 win over USF on Feb. 25, 2008. They had two players in double figures in the first half for the first time this year.
* Santa Clara had three players in double figures: Foster with a season-high 25, Smith had a career-high 17 points and Raymond Cowels with a career-high13 points.
Santa Clara has three players averaging double figures: Kevin Foster (20.2 ppg), Marc Trasolini (12.0 ppg) and Robert Smith (10.3 ppg). They are lead on the boards by Troy Payne, who averages 8.7 rpg and puts out a team-leading 3.2 apg. Foster is the team leader with 2.2 spg and Trasolini the leader with 1.7 bpg, collecting 10 of the 21 blocks Santa Clara has collected this season.
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. Foster has scored in double figures in each of the games he's played in, leading the team in scoring in all five games; and he has scored 20+ in three of those. Payne has 8+ rebounds in four games, including nine vs. Fresno State.
UC Santa Barbara
UC Santa Barbara will be hosting its fourth home in five tries this season vs. Santa Clara. A panel of media members picked UCSB to finish second in the Big West Conference in 2009-10. Long Beach State was tabbed as the league favorite. The Gauchos received six first-place votes and totaled 179 points in the poll while Long Beach received 17 first-place votes and 209 points. Defending league champion Cal State Northridge finished third in the poll with 130 points.
UC Santa Barbara has three players averaging double-figures this season including Orlando Johnson (19.8 ppg), James Nunnally (14.3 ppg) and James Powell (11.0 ppg). Johnson leads the team with 8.0 rpg and Will Brew puts out a team-leading 3.5 apg.
Kevin Foster has scored 20+ points three times on the young season and nine times in his last 12 games spanning his first two years. He has scored 20+ 14 times in his career, including 11 times last year, including five of the last eight games of the season. He has a career-high five three pointers five times. In addition, Foster scored 19 vs. Menlo. He has scored double figures in 28 of 38 career games.
Foster was nicknamed 'Microwave' by his father during his youth the Detroit Piston's Vinnie Johnson. Johnson earned the nickname 'the Microwave' from Boston Celtics guard Danny Ainge for his ability to score many points in a short period of time, heating up the offense.
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 (SOS) was No. 2 nationally. On Nov. 22 its RPI slipped to No. 258 and its SOS to No. 296. On Nov. 25 its RPI moved up to No. 73 and its SOS was No. 78. As of Nov. 30, its RPI slipped to No. 226 and its SOS is No. 185: Both should take a hit again as UC Santa Barbara's RPI is No. 214 and its SOS is No. 349.
Santa Clara leads the WCC with 14.8 offensive rebounds per game and with 8.3 steals per game. They also lead the WCC with a turnover margin of +2.2. Individually Kevin Foster is No. 1 with 2.2 spg and 3.8 three pointers per game; and No. 4 with 20.2 ppg. Troy Panye is No. 2 with 8.7 rpg, No. 1 with 3.0 orpg and tied for No. 4 with 5.7 drpg. Niyi Harrison and Marc Trasolini are No. 2 behind Payne with 2.8 orpg