Dec. 13, 2009
Santa Clara's game at Houston Baptist will be live on the internet (www.SantaClaraBroncos.com). If you are following on the Bronco website the pregame will begin live at 5:20 pm and the game will tip off at 5:35 pm Pacifc. If following it on the radio, the game will be tape-delayed on KDOW 1220AM. The pregame will start at 6 pm Pacific on pregame with tipoff at 6:15 pm. FYI - Houston Baptist does not run game-tracker on the internet for its games.
Santa Clara (5-4) travel to Houston this week to play at Houston Baptist (1-8) on Mon., Dec. 14 and then another game at Rice (4-4) on Wed., Dec. 16 before returning home to host eight straight home games. Santa Clara defeated Houston Baptist 85-59 on Jan. 25, 2009 in the two school's only meeting. Rice won the only meeting between the two teams, finishing the Broncos off 74-56 on Dec 21, 1981.
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 Houston Baptist game will be broadcast at 5:35 pm (Pacific) 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 5:15 pm. Anthony Passarelli is in his third season as the play-by-play announcer.
Last Time Out
Behind Marc Trasolini's second double-double of the year (22 points, 11 rebounds), Santa Clara defeated Dominican 69-65 on Dec. 11.
Andrew Gonzalez had a game-high 25 points but it wasn't enough as the HBU Huskies fell to visiting UMKC by a score of 102-87 at Sharp Gym on Dec. 12.
The Huskies have three players averaging double figures: Andrew Gonzalez (17.3 ppg), Mario Flaherty (13.9 ppg) and Wendell Preadom (12.8 ppg). They are led on the boards by Flaherty's 8.8 rpg.
The Broncos have had 8 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 nine 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 nine games.
Leading Scorer Out Indefinitely In what might have been a Homecoming of sorts won't be. Santa Clara's leading scorer and Houston native 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.
Turn the Page
Putting a microscope on this year's first nine games and comparing it to last year's first nine games, it's obvious Santa Clara's faster style of play is helping Santa Clara grab more steals, rebounds and hit the line more often than last season. Even though the Broncos are averaging more ppg, they need to work on their shooting from the field.
Santa Clara has 22 more steals after its ninth game this year than it did last year at the same juncture. Santa Clara has 77 steals this season, led by Troy Payne's 2.1 spg.
Santa Clara is going to the free throw line twice as much as they did last year at this point. Santa Clara was shooting 71 percent from the free throw line last year, hitting 84 of 118. This year they are shooting 69 percent from the free throw line, hitting 178 of 259.
Santa Clara had 295 rebounds up to this point last year and currently it has 336. Santa Clara's John Bryant led the country with 14.3 rpg last year in the regular season.
Santa Clara was shooting almost 47 percent last year and is shooting just 40 percent currently. The Broncos are currently scoring 70.0 ppg and their opponents 73.3 ppg. Last season, at the same mark Santa Clara was scoring 61.3 ppg, but opponents were only scoring 55.0 ppg.
A team that features no seniors and now eight underclassmen, SCU starts a very young team after three-year starter Ben Dowdell missed four games due to a leg injury and it was made a lot younger Dec. 1 when it was announced leading scorer Kevin Foster was out indefinitely following an injury late in the UCSB victory.
According to STATSHEET.com, Santa Clara is the eighth-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.
Santa Clara has three players averaging double figures: Kevin Foster (19.8 ppg - out indefinitely), Marc Trasolini (14.6 ppg) and Robert Smith (11.2 ppg). They are lead on the boards by Troy Payne, who averages 8.0 rpg, and Trasolini, who grabs 7.3 rpg. Payne puts out a team-leading 3.0 apg, posting five vs. Dominican and 2.1 spg, grabbing four vs. Dominican. Payne has 8+ rebounds in five games, including nine vs. Fresno State. Smith follows Payne behind with 2.1 apg. Trasolini leads the team with 1.8 bpg.
Eazy Does It
Freshman point guard Robert Smith has come on strong in the last five games as he has scored in double digits in five consecutive games. In this stretch he is averaging 13.3 points per game and shooting 20 of 51 from the field (39%), including 7 of 17 from beyond the arc (41%). Smith is also 21 of 30 from the free throw line in this stretch (70%).
Marc Trasolini has scored in double figures seven times and has two double-doubles this season. In nine games he has scored no fewer than eight points (at Pacific) and has scored 20+ three times this year after only accomplishing that feat just once last year. He has scored 22 points in each of the last two games vs. UNLV and vs. Domnican. He tied his career high with eight field goals vs. Dominican, also hitting eight shots vs. USF on Feb. 21, 2009.
On the year he is averaging 14.6 ppg, good for second on the team. He is also second on the team with 7.3 rpg.
Trasolini leads the team with 1.8 bpg, collecting almost half of the teams blocks. Trasolini has 16 of the 35 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. The first three games he shot 10+ free throws, making 8+, but was just a perfect 6-6 vs. Dominican.
Santa Clara entered the Dominican shooting 31 percent from the three point line, but went only 1-12 from beyond the arc, shooting 8.3 percent. It's their worst performance from the three point line since they were 1-12 vs. USF on March 8, 2008, but the Broncos won the WCC Tournament game vs. the Dons 51-50 behind John Bryant's 25 points and 17 rebounds.
Inside the arc though, Santa Clara shot 57 percent, making 20 of 35 field goals.