December 5, 2008

Broncos return home to host Sacramento State after six-game road trip

Dec. 5, 2008

Traveling more than 8,000 miles since its last home game on Nov. 14, Santa Clara, 3-4, returns home from its six-game road trip to host Sacramento State, 1-5, on Sat., Dec. 6 at 7 pm. The six-game road streak was the longest the Broncos have played since they played seven straight on the road to begin the 2007-08 season, posting a 5-2 record.

Sacramento State will be playing its fifth road game of the season and has used six different line-ups this season. It won its first game of the year with a 82-70 win over UC Davis on Wed., Dec. 3. Loren Heath scored 31 points for the Hornets and Justin Eller collected a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds.

Santa Clara leads the series against Sacramento State, 5-0. SCU defeated Sacramento State 77-65 behind John Bryant's 26 points and 12 rebounds on Nov. 25, 2007 in Sacramento.

Blog Plea

After the game on Wednesday night, in his blog on the website John Bryant gave a shoutout to the Ruff Riders and all fans to come to the game on Saturday

"We want a W first and foremost on Saturday vs. Sacramento State. We need to get our rest between now and then. I know it's finals week for the students, but we really need our fans to come to the game on Saturday. I am ASKING, TELLING, BEGGING the Ruff Riders, PLEASE COME TO THE GAME ON SATURDAY! We need all the fans there because we are going to get it popping. Seriously, we are asking right now, right here for them to come out on Saturday night - Santa Clara vs. Sacramento State at 7 pm in the Leavey Center.

Before

Santa Clara won two straight on the road to finish up the six-game road trip. The Broncos won 59-56 at San Jose State Wed., Dec. 3 behind John Bryant's spectacular performance, grabbing a career-high 21 rebounds and 20 points. James Rahon added 11 points and Ben Dowdell snared eight rebounds in the win over the Spartans.

The 45 rebounds by the Broncos were the most under head coach Kerry Keating in his two year's as the Bronco head coach and the nine blocks tied the most-ever as well (three times under Keating).

Santa Clara now leads the series vs. San Jose State, 71-28.

Santa Clara won 71-68 at Montana on Sun., Nov. 30 behind Bryant's 28th career double-double when he scored 20 points and added 13 rebounds. Starting his first college game, freshman Kevin Foster posted 17 points and three rebounds. Freshman James Rahon added 12 points off the bench. Santa Clara leads that series 6-2, including winning three of the last four.

Santa Clara leads the series 6-2 vs. the Grizzlies.

Playing in the NIT Season Tip-off Tournament, the Broncos played two games in Arizona Nov. 17 and 18 (lost to UAB and Florida Atlantic) and two games at Georgia Nov. 24 and 25 (lost at Georgia and to Arizona).

LISTEN!

The Santa Clara-Sacramento State game will be broadcast live at 7 pm on Sat., Dec. 6 via the Bronco Radio Network, which consists of KDOW-AM 1220 and Broncos All-Access on the web at www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. The pregame show will begin at 6:30 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.

vs. Sac State

The Hornets are led by head coach Brian Katz and he is 1-5 in his first year at Sacramento State. Sacramento State returns two starters from a team that went 4-24 last year and finished ninth in the Big Sky Conference at 2-14. Loren Leath is averaging 16.5 ppg and Justin Eller is averaging 11.5 ppg and 7.3 rpg.

According to Luke Winn of Sports Illustrated, Sacramento State's roster contains, the most junior college transfers among all 347 Division I men's basketball teams. Of the 16 players on the Hornets' roster, 15 came to the program via the junior college ranks (No. 2 in the country is Texas-San Antonio (11) and Arkansas State (10)).

The Hornets brought in 12 new players this season, each being junior college transfers. Added to the four returners (three of which were JUCO transfers, one came from a prep school), the Hornets' roster is almost exclusively made up of players who attended junior college. In fact, Sacramento State is believed to also be the only Division I school in the nation that does not have one player that came directly from high school.

Nailbiters

Santa Clara's six games on the road this year have all been determined in the last two minutes. The four losses on the road this season were by a combined 16 points and three of those schools played in the post-season last year with Arizona and Georgia playing in the NCAA Tournament and UAB advancing to the NIT.

The Broncos lost by three to UAB (64-61), by four to Florida Atlantic (65-61), by six at Georgia (64-48) and by three to Arizona (69-66). Their two wins on the road were by three points each: a 71-68 win at Montana and then a 59-56 win at San Jose State. The Broncos are 2-2 in games decided by three points this season.

'91

John Bryant pulled down a career-best 21 rebounds, scoring 20 points in the win over San Jose State on Wed., Dec. 3. It is the first time a Bronco has notched 20-20 since Ron Reis scored 20 points with 20 rebounds in a 85-64 loss vs. UMASS at the Great Alaska Shootout on Nov. 29, 1991. The 7-2 senior center went on to average a double-double that season with 10.6 ppg and 4.9 rpg.

Bryant's falling 10-footer gave the Broncos a 56-54 lead with 1:25 to go at San Jose State. After Ben Dowdell went to the line for a 1-and-1 with 9.6 seconds left and missed, Bryant tipped the ball in to provide a three-point lead.

"I don't think he could have done that 365 days ago," Keating said, due to the 30 lbs. Bryant lost in the off-season.

Bryant also knocked down a season-best 6 of 7 free throws in the victory over the Spartans. He is shooting 82% from the line this year (23-28) after shooting 74% last year (130-175).

New The Broncos have eight newcomers this season with four true freshman playing considerable time. Seven of the eight have appeared in the first seven games with junior Decensae White expected to begin play after the Fall Quarter due to NCAA transfer rules. White transferred from Texas Tech last December after playing two seasons for the Red Raiders under then-coach Bobby Knight.

The seven newcomers are contributing: Troy Alexander (has started six of seven games); James Rahon (averaging 10 ppg off the bench); Kevin Foster (averaging 9.7 ppg and has started last two games); junior college transfer Perry Petty (scored a career-high 17 points vs. UAB); Marc Trasolini (averages 3.7 rpg and 1.4 bpg); Scott Thompson (was sidelined during the preseason and first three games with a sprained ankle); and walk-on Phillip Bach.

Not one of the newcomers, but sophomore Michael Santos played just 32 minutes in nine games last season as a walk-on, scoring just six points. He has been put on scholarship this year. After the Montana game, head coach Kerry Keating called Santos 'the glue that holds the team together'.

The following are a few of the newest Broncos' contributions (with Santos included).

MPG new: 61% of the minutes

PPG new: 59% of the points (four of the top five scorers)

RPG new: 46% of the rebounds

BSPG new: 45% of the blocks

APG new: 73% of the assists

Leading the way

Bronco senior John Bryant is averaging a double-double this year with 19.6 ppg and 12.6 rpg. He has 29 double-doubles in his career, including five this season (vs. CSU East Bay, vs. UAB, at Georgia, at Montana and at San Jose State). Freshman James Rahon puts in 10.0 ppg off the bench.

Bryant leads the team with 12.6 rpg with sophomore Ben Dowdell averaging 4.1 rpg as the second-best. Bryant leads the Broncos with 2.1 bpg. Leading the shooters is Bryant's 61% from the field with Foster knocking down 39% from beyond the arc.

SCU is scoring 62.0 ppg to the opponents 659.4; and shooting almost 47% from the field and an improved 36% from the three-point line. The Broncos are outrebounding their opponents by 6.0 rpg, but turning the ball over 16.7 times a game to their opponents own 12.7 turnovers per game.