Men host Dominican on Friday; travel to Houston to play Houston Baptist and Rice next week

Dec. 10, 2009

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Santa Clara (4-4) will play Dominican College (2-5), a Division III school, for the first time in school history on Fri., Dec. 11 at 8:15 pm. Santa Clara will play the second game of a doubleheader with the Bronco women who will host CSU Bakersfield at 6 pm.

Santa Clara fell 66-63 to No. 21 Las Vegas on Sat., Dec. 5. The Runnin' Rebels moved up to No. 17 this week with their perfect 7-0 record. In its last game on Dec. 5, DC fell 76-63 vs. Northwest Nazarene after dropping an 82-54 game vs. Montana State Billings the day before.

Dominican hasn't played a home game this year as it is 0-2 on the road and 2-3 on a neutral court. They have played in three neutral site tournament's including playing on the home court of Seattle Pacific. The other two tournaments were hosted by Notre Dame de Namur and Dixie State College of Utah.

After the Dominican game Santa Clara will travel to Houston on Saturday with games at Houston Baptist (1-7) on Mon., Dec. 14 and another at Rice (4-4) on Wed., Dec. 16 before returning home to host eight straight home games. The eight-game home stretch begins with Pacific (6-1) on Dec. 21 at 7 pm in the Leavey Center. They will close the eight-game home stretch with their first two WCC games of the year: San Diego on Jan. 8 and Saint Mary's on Jan. 10. The eight-game home stretch is the longest the Broncos have played since the Broncos played nine straight home games dating back to Dec. 20, 2003-Jan. 22, 2004. They posted a 5-4 record during that stretch.

The Penguins

Penguin head coach Bret Tovani is in his fifth year at Dominican College and he boasts a 66-59 record during that span. He has one starter, five letterwinners and nine newcomers on a team that went 16-13 last season. DC, located in San Rafael, Calif., plays in the Pacific West Conference and finished third last year in its league with an 11-5 record.

Bryan Austin is the team's leading scorer and he is averaging 19.1 ppg. Alex Ward also averages double-figures and puts in 11.9 ppg. Ward is the team's leading rebounder with 5.9 rpg and Xander McNally leads the team with 6.0 apg.

Starting Here

The Broncos have had eight different players start in a game this season and have had to use six different line-ups, mainly due the injuries of Ben Dowdell (leg) and Kevin Foster (foot). The only players to have started in all eight games this season are Robert Smith and Troy Payne. The Broncos have 13 players who have appeared in a game this season, but only seven have played in all eight games.

Leading Scorer Out Indefinitely

Santa Clara's leading scorer Kevin Foster, the West Coast Conference's second-leading scorer this season, is out indefinitely with a right foot injury. Foster has a fracture of the fifth metatarsal that will require surgery in Santa Clara over the holidays.

Foster injured his foot in the final minutes of Santa Clara's 79-68 victory at UCSB on Dec. 1. He did not play in the 66-63 loss to No. 21 UNLV Dec. 5.

After the UNLV game, Bronco head coach Kerry Keating said he will know more specifically how long Foster will be out after they talk to the doctor post-surgery. Keating added an injury like Foster's normally requires 2-3 months of recovery prior to any contact.

"Obviously we are very disappointed for Kevn," said Keating. "Kevin was playing 31 minutes a game and as our leading scorer, he will hard to replace. This will give him a chance to rehab the injury, get fully recovered and continue to find himself on and off the court as the leading scorer of a young team. It's hard for everyone, but we can't stop or slow down. With Kevin out it will give our young guys more time on the court."

"Injuries happen and we know this will be difficult for Kevin. It will be difficult for the entire team," continued Keating. "If it's a season-ending injury, he will be able to redshirt which is a real positive in this situation. We will have nine scholarship players when Ben Dowdell, who missed the last four games with a calf injury, returns next week. We just have to keep working hard and continuing to get better."

Foster is second in the league in scoring and leads the WCC in steals and three-pointers made. This season Foster was averaging 19.8 ppg, playing 31.5 mpg with 2.2 spg and 2.8 rpg. He has led the Broncos in scoring in each of the six games he's played this season, including a season-high 25 points in the 74-67 win over Fresno State on Nov. 28.

Foster was named to the preseason WCC all-conference team this year after being named the WCC Newcomer of the Year last season, breaking Steve Nash's single season record with 85 three pointers. He was also named a Freshman All-American, to the WCC All-Freshman team and All-WCC honorable mention. He averaged 14.7 ppg and 2.4 rpg last season, breaking Kurt Rambis' freshman scoring record with 486 points.

Youth Movement

A team that features no seniors and now eight underclassmen, SCU starts a very young team after the leg injury to three-year starter Ben Dowdell in the Pacific game and it was made a lot younger last week when it was announced leading scorer Kevin Foster was out indefinitely following an injury late in the UCSB victory.

In its 66-63 loss to No. 21 UNLV on Dec. 5 SCU started three freshmen (Raymond Cowels, Robert Smith and Chris Cunningham), a sophomore (Marc Trasolini) and a junior transfer (Troy Payne).

According to STATSHEET.com, Santa Clara is the seventh-youngest team in the country; and it is the youngest team in the WCC with an average of 1.87. Portland has the oldest team in the WCC with an average of 3.61 and it is the third-most experienced team in the country. 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.

Double Figures

Santa Clara has three players averaging double figures: Kevin Foster (19.8 ppg - out indefinitely), Marc Trasolini (13.6 ppg) and Robert Smith (10.6 ppg). They are lead on the boards by Troy Payne, who averages 8.0 rpg, and Trasolini, who grabs 6.9 rpg. Payne puts out a team-leading 2.8 apg and 1.9 spg. Payne has 8+ rebounds in four games, including nine vs. Fresno State. Smith follows Payne behind with 2.1 apg. Trasolini leads the team with 1.9 bpg.

Eazy

Freshman point guard Robert Smith has come on strong in the last four games as he has scored in double digits in four consecutive games. In this stretch he is averaging 13.3 points per game and shooting 14 of 38 from the field (37%), including 6 of 14 from beyond the arc (43%). Smith is also 18 of 24 from the free throw line in this stretch (75%).

Toast

Michael Santos was a force in the middle against UNLV as he pulled down a career-high nine boards. His previous high was six vs. Notre Dame de Namur on Dec. 13, 2008. Santos also played a season-high 30 minutes against the Rebels. His career-high was 36 minutes vs. Arizona on Nov. 25, 2008.

Traz

Marc Trasolini has scored in double figures in six times and has one double-double this season. In eight games he has scored no fewer than eight points (at Pacific). He is averaging 13.6 ppg, good for second on the team. He is also second on the team with 6.9 rpg.

Trasolini leads the team with 1.9 bpg, collecting more than half of the teams blocks. Trasolini has 15 of the 28 blocks Santa Clara has collected this season.

After John Bryant led the country with 28 double-doubles last year, finishing his career with 50 even, Trasolini's two double-double are the only career double-doubles on the current Bronco roster.

The 22 points vs. No. 21 UNLV on Dec. 5 was his second-best effort this season after he scored 23 points vs. Menlo on Nov. 16. He scored a career-best 24 points at New Hampshire Jan. 4, 2009. All three games he shot 10+ free throws, making 8+. His totals in those three games follow:

Game FTM FTA PTS SCORED

at UNH 10 12 24

vs. MC 8 10 23

vs. UNLV 11 14 22

On Paper

Santa Clara is allowing 8.0 three pointers per game, which is 322nd of the 334 Division I teams. Dominican is shooting 2.7 threes per game.

Santa Clara is grabbing 37.5 rpg and Dominican is collecting 28.7 rpg. Santa Clara is allowing its opponents 38.9 rpg and Dominican is allowing its opponents 39.7 rpg.