Dec. 16, 2008
Winners of its last four games, Santa Clara, 5-4, travels to Las Vegas for a televised 7:30 pm game vs. UNLV on Wed., Dec. 17. The Runnin' Rebels, 8-2, have won three in a row, including a 70-61 win over Western Michigan on Sun., Dec. 14. They are hunting for head coach Lon Kruger's 100th win at UNLV. The game will be shown on Mountain TV with the call made by James Bates (play by play) and Dave Bollwinkel (analyst). The game will be shown on DISH TV channel 616 if you have the sports package.
The game will be played on UNLV's home floor, Thomas and Mack Arena, with Santa Clara returning to Vegas in March when it plays in the WCC Tournament at the Orleans Arena. The two schools are hooking up for the 15th time, with the series tied 7-7 and dating back to the 1969-70 season. The Broncos are 3-5 at UNLV. UNLV won the last match-up, 75-53, on Jan. 4, 2003 in Las Vegas.
In its last time out, Santa Clara defeated Notre Dame de Namur 67-47 on Sat., Dec. 13 behind Kevin Foster's 17 points, including 5 of 7 from beyond the arc. John Bryant put in 15 and James Rahon scored 13. Ben Dowdell collected a game-high 7 rebounds and Michael Santos added six.
The Broncos' third victory in the current streak was a 51-32 win over Sacramento State at home. The 32 points for the Hornets were the fewest a team had scored against SCU since Feb. 14, 1961 when Santa Clara defeated San Jose State, 30-29. It was also the fewest points Sacramento State had scored as a Division I team, dating back to 1991-92. In addition, the Broncos blocked 10 shots and had just 10 turnovers, both bests under second-year head coach Kerry Keating.
The Broncos won 71-68 at Montana Nov. 30 and then defeated cross-town rival San Jose State 59-56 on Dec. 3 behind John Bryant's 21 rebounds and 20 points.
Prior to the four-game winning streak, the Broncos played in the NIT Season Tip-off Tournament with 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).
Starting seven of the first eight games, freshman point guard Troy Alexander sat out the NDNU game after suffering a left shoulder sprain in the Sacramento State game. Alexander, who averages 21.3 mpg and leads the team with 2.5 apg, is listed as day to day. Marc Trasolini did not play vs. NDNU as he is nursing a sore back and is listed day to day.
The Santa Clara-UNLV game will be broadcast live via the Bronco Radio Network, which consists of KDOW 1220 AM and Broncos All-Access on the web at www.SantaClaraBroncos.com.
at UNLV UNLV is 4-2 at home this year with losses to CAL (73-55) and Cincinnati (67-65) during the Global Sports Classic. The Runnin' Rebels are led by the double-figure scoring trio of Wink Adams (14.2), Tre'Von Willis (10.1) and Rene Rougeau (10.1). Rougeau pulls down a team-leading 8.2 rpg and Adams leads the team with 2.9 apg.
They are led by head coach Lon Kruger who is in his fifth year at UNLV. He led the team to the 2008 NCAA Tournament with a 71-58 win over Kent State in the first round before falling 75-56 to eventual NCAA champion Kansas in the second round. Kruger was the head coach of the NBAs Atlanta Hawks from 2000-03 and before that was the head coach at Illinois, Florida, Kansas State and Pan American.
The Rebels return three starters and seven lettermen from a team that went 27-8 last year and finished second in the Mountain West at 12-4. They have won 24 straight MWC home games and were picked to win the league this year after winning the last two MWC conference tournament titles. Adams and BYU's Lee Cummard shared Preseason MWC Player of the Year honors, while Willis garnered Preseason Newcomer of the Year accolades.
The Runnin' Rebels were selected this past summer by ESPN.com as the eighth-most prestigious men's college basketball program since the NCAA Tournament field expanded to 64 teams in 1984-85.
Leading the way
Bronco senior John Bryant is averaging a double-double this year with 18.4 ppg and 12.0 rpg. He has 30 double-doubles in his career, including six this season (vs. CSU East Bay, vs. UAB, at Georgia, at Montana, at San Jose State and vs. Sacramento State). For the second straight week he is ranked the No. 7 center nationally by rivals.com.
Bryant leads the team with 12.0 rpg with sophomore Ben Dowdell averaging 4.2 rpg as the second-best. Bryant leads the Broncos with 2.3 bpg and 62% from the field with Foster knocking down 42% from beyond the arc.
SCU is scoring 61.3 ppg to the opponents 55.0; and shooting 47% from the field and 34% from the three-point line. The Broncos are out-rebounding their opponents by 6.1 rpg, but turning the ball over 15.2 times a game to their opponents own 13.4 turnovers per game. Santa Clara had just 10 turnovers vs. Sacramento State and then Notre Dame de Namur, its lowest totals since the Broncos turned the ball over nine times vs. Saint Mary's on March 4, 2007.
Santa Clara has held its last two opponents to 14 points in the first half. Sacramento State scored 14 in the first half and went on to score 18 points in the second half to finish 51-32 losers to Santa Clara on Dec. 6. NDNU scored 14 points in the first half vs. Santa Clara and fell 67-47 to the Broncos on Dec. 13.
The 14 points in the first half are the fewest a team has scored vs. the Broncos since Stanford scored 12 points in the first half of a 62-46 loss to Santa Clara, at Stanford, on Dec. 16, 2006.
Santa Clara has only turned the ball over 10 times in each of the last two games vs. Sacramento State and Notre Dame de Namur. Both are the fewest times the Broncos have turned the ball over under second-year head coach Kerry Keating.
In addition, the 45 rebounds Santa Clara collected at San Jose State in its 59-56 win were also a high under Keating's leadership.
Freshman Kevin Foster is the team's second-leading scorer in the early going this season, averaging 10.9 ppg. Foster has hit double figures five times this season, including four of the last fives games with a career-high 21 points vs. Arizona. He also pulls down 2.0 rpg with 1.8 apg.
His brother Rodney is a senior guard at Rice and he is working hard this season to match Kevin's numbers. Rodney is the team's second-leading scorer with 10.1 ppg and 3.3 rpg. He has baby brother on the assists as he dishes out 4.4 apg for the Owls, who are 3-5 this year.