December 22, 2009

100th meeting: Broncos Play San Jose State for 100th time on Wednesday

Dec. 22, 2009

Santa Clara Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Santa Clara's (7-5) continues its eight-game home stretch when it hosts cross-town rival San Jose State (5-5) in the two school's 100th all-time meeting on Wed., Dec. 23 at 7 pm in the Leavey Center. In its last game Santa Clara defeated Pacific 54-53 on Dec. 21. On the same night San Jose State lost 93-69 at Northern Colorado.

SCU has won six of the last seven vs. the Spartans. SCU and San Jose State have won each other's home court the last three meetings. Prior to that trio of games, Santa Clara won five games straight against the Spartans from Dec. 3, 2003 - Dec. 8, 2007.

In its last meeting, SCU won at San Jose State, 59-56, on Dec. 3, 2008. The two split the series in 2007-08 with both winning on the other's floor. SCU won 73-63 at SJSU on Dec. 8, 2007 and then SCU lost 62-59 at home on Jan. 7, 2008.

Santa Clara leads the series against SJSU 71-28. Since 1980, Santa Clara has played San Jose State 27 times and Santa Clara has won 18 of those meetings.

The Broncos will close out the eight-game home stretch with two WCC games: USD on Jan. 8 and SMC on Jan. 10. The stretch is the longest SCU has played since SCU played nine straight home games dating back to Dec. 20, 2003-Jan. 22, 2004. It posted a 5-4 record in that stretch.

Listen up

The San Jose State 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.

In addition, Kerry Keating can be heard on KDOW 1220 AM on Sunday evenings from 8:30-9 pm in his radio spotlight on The Sports Ramble, hosted by Chetan Chaudhari. If you are out of the listening area Bronco fans, KDOW is streamed online live at www.1220kdow.com.

Attention All Santa Clara Basketball Fans

Single Game Gonzaga tickets are ON SALE NOW. The highly anticipated match between Santa Clara and Gonzaga will most likely sell out for the 6th year in a row. Reserved tickets are $40 and General Admission are $30. Tickets will go fast, so call 408-554-4660 or go online (www.santaclarabroncos.com) to place an order. WCC Packs will be on sale until January 4th. The WCC Pack includes a ticket to all 7 home WCC games. WCC Packs sell for $99 (Reserved) and $69 (General Admission).

More than just the City's Braggin' Rights

Coach Keating is 13-6 vs. the State of California in his three years as the Bronco head coach in non-conference play. The Broncos are 6-1 this season; they were 3-2 in 2008-09 and 4-3 in 2007-08.

San Jose State is the last non-conference California team Santa Clara will play this season. The Broncos play nine games vs. eight teams from California this year before it starts WCC play on Jan. 8 vs. San Diego. Those nine include the following games: at CSU Bakersfield (84-81), vs. Menlo (79-55), at San Diego State (53-86), at Pacific (57-84), vs. Fresno State (74-67), at Santa Barbara (79-68), vs. Dominican (69-65), vs. Pacific (54-53) and vs. San Jose State (Dec. 23).

Leading

SCU has three players averaging double figures: Kevin Foster (19.8 ppg - out indefinitely), Marc Trasolini (14.7 ppg) and Robert Smith (10.8 ppg). They are led on the boards by Troy Payne, who averages 7.0 rpg, and Trasolini, who grabs 6.7 rpg. Payne and Robert Smith are tied as the active team leaders with 2.5 apg. Payne has 8+ rebounds in five games, including nine vs. Fresno State. Trasolini leads the team with 1.9 bpg.

Starting Here

The Broncos used their seventh starting line-up of the season in the win at Houston Baptist and stuck with it for the game at Rice and the win vs. Pacific: Robert Smith, Raymond Cowels, Troy Payne, Niyi Harrison and Marc Trasolini.

They have had eight different players start in a game this season, mainly due youth and the injuries of Ben Dowdell (leg) and Kevin Foster (foot). The only players to have started in all 12 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 12 games.

Foster 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 required surgery on Sat., Dec. 19.

Foster injured his foot in the final minutes of Santa Clara's 79-68 victory at UCSB on Dec. 1. 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.

Foster was second in the league in scoring and led the WCC in steals and three-pointers made; and Foster was averaging 19.8 ppg, playing 31.5 mpg with 2.2 spg and 2.8 rpg. He led the Broncos in scoring in each of the six games he 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 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.

Traz

Marc Trasolini has scored in double figures 10 times this season and has two double-doubles as well. In 12 games he has scored no fewer than eight points (at Pacific) in each game and has scored 20+ three times this year after accomplishing that feat just once last year. He has scored 22 points in two of the last three games vs. UNLV and vs. Dominican. 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 14.7 ppg, good for second on the team. He is also second on the team with 6.7 rpg.

Trasolini leads the team with 1.9 bpg, collecting more than half of the teams blocks. Trasolini has 23 of the 43 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.

Wins vs. Losses

Santa Clara's win vs. Pacific highlighted its contradictory status in the wins-losses column this year.

In the seven wins, the Broncos averaged 15.3 turnovers per game, including 12 vs. Pacific. But in the five losses they are averaging 20.0 turnovers per game. In addition, the Broncos averaged 72.4 points per game in the seven wins with the opponents scoring just 64.9. In the five losses Santa Clara averaged 60.4 ppg and the opponents have averaged 78.8 ppg.

Santa Clara is shooting almost 69 percent this season from the free throw line. Oddly enough, the Broncos are shooting better from the line in losses than wins, but hit the line twice as much in wins. In wins this year, Santa Clara is shooting almost 65.5 percent from the line (152-232). In losses this year, Santa Clara is shooting 75 percent (72-96).

The 10 turnovers committed by the Broncos in the victory vs. Fresno State were the fewest made on the season, including just three in the second half. 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.

Arms

Santa Clara has seven players with wingspans at least an inch longer than their own height. According to Bronco strength and conditioning coach Joe Siara, Marc Trasolini, who measures 6' 9, has the longest wingspan on the team, measuring at 7' 1 1/4 - more than three inches longer than his body. Kevin Foster and Raymond Cowels measure at 6'2, but have wingspans at 6'6; Nate Mensah is 6'3 with a wingspan of 6'5; Chris Cunningham measures at 6'8 with a wingspan of 6'9 1/2; Troy Payne measures at 6'6 with a wingspan of 6'7 1/2; and Robert Smith measures at 6'0 with a wingspan of 6'1 1/4.

Younger

A team that features no seniors and now eight underclassmen after losing leading scorer Kevin Foster indefinitely to a broken foot, SCU starts a very young team. The past three games Santa Clara started three freshmen (Raymond Cowels, Robert Smith and Chris Cunningham/Niyi Harrison), a sophomore (Marc Trasolini) and a junior transfer (Troy Payne).

According to STATSHEET.com, Santa Clara is the sixth-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.

Eazy Streak Continues and the Cousy

Robert Smith has come on strong recently as he has scored in double digits in seven consecutive games until he scored just six points in the win over Pacific. In the seven game stretch he averaged 13 points per game and shot 28 of 72 from the field (39%). Smith was also 26 of 38 from the free throw line in that stretch (68%).

Smith was five of eight from the free throw line at Houston Baptist including two key free throws to help preserve the lead in the last seconds. During the seven-game streak Smith scored a career-high 17 points vs. Fresno State and was a career-high 6 of 8 from the free throw line in the win at UC Santa Barbara.

Smith was named to the Cousy Watch List as the top point guard in the country last week. He is one of two point guards on the list from the West Coast Conference. The other is Gonzaga's Matt Bouldin.