December 28, 2008

Santa Clara hosts 42nd annual Cable Car Classic

Dec. 28, 2008

After a few days off for the holidays, the Broncos remain at home for the 42nd annual Cable Car Classic Dec. 29 and 30 when they take on Belmont in the first day of competition on Monday at 6 pm. All-time leading scorer Kurt Rambis' jersey will be retired at half-time of the Belmont game with Rambis, his family and a number of former teammates and staff on hand for the very special day! The first 500 fans will receive a commemorative 8 1/2 by 11 photo collage of Rambis.

James Madison will play UTEP in the 8 pm game on Mon,. Dec. 29 with the winners playing in the championship at 8 pm on Tues., Dec. 30 and the losers playing in the consolation game at 6 pm the same night.

42nd annual Cable Car Classic

Niagara won the 2007 Cable Car Classic with a 56-63 win over the Broncos. Niagara's Charron Fisher was named the MVP; and Santa Clara's Brody Angley and Ben Dowdell were named to the all-tournament team.

In 30 of the Classic's 41 years, the Classic has featured a team that would receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament just months later. Ten of the years it has featured multiple teams who would later advance to the NCAA. The 1995 Cable Car Classic proved to be one of the strongest fields with all four teams advancing to the 1996 NCAA Tournament in March. Penn State won the Cable Car Classic with Georgia Tech, Santa Clara and Bradley also making the post-season. Georgia Tech won the ACC title that year as well.

Those participating in past Cable Car Classics read like a who's who in college basketball history. From the Santa Clara teams of the 1960's and `70's that featured the talents of Bud Ogden, Dennis Awtrey and Kurt Rambis, and the USF squads, led by Kevin Restani, Winford Boynes and Bill Cartwright to traditional basketball powers such as Dean Smith's North Carolina Tar Heels featuring Michael Jordan and James Worthy, and the Ralph Sampson-led Virginia Cavaliers to the `90s with Stephen Marbury of Georgia Tech to this century's teams, including one of Air Force's best-ever teams in 2006.

"We have also had a lot of the elite coaches," said one of the founders, Art Santo Domingo. "Bobby Knight and then Mike Krzyzewski with Army, Frank McGuire with South Carolina, Jud Heathcote with Michigan State, Gene Keady with Purdue, Bobby Cremins of Georgia Tech, Hugh Durham with Florida State, Mike Montgomery with Stanford, Phil Martelli with St. Joe's, Dean Smith with North Carolina and Terry Holland with Virginia. Many of those coaches will find their way into the Basketball Hall of Fame."

Prior to

Just prior to the holiday break, Santa Clara fell 77-69 in its 78th meeting on the hardwoods with Stanford on Dec. 23. John Bryant pulled down a career-high 22 rebounds, scoring a season-high 27 points, collecting on 9 of 10 attempts at the free throw line. Perry Petty tied a career-high with 17 points and Marc Trasolini, who had missed the past three games with a sore back, brought down a career-high 10 rebounds and four assists.

Belmont, 5-4, in its last game, defeated defending Ohio Valley Conference champion Austin Peay, 72-62, on Dec. 22. Belmont went just 5-for-33 from three-point territory, but held the Govs to 30 percent field goal percentage shooting in the key road victory.

IF!

If the Broncos play UTEP, 6-4, it will be the two team's first meeting. UTEP won its second straight game on Dec. 20, topping I-10 rival New Mexico State, 84-69, at the Don Haskins Center. The Miners have posted a pair of two-game winning streaks this season, but have yet to win three straight games. UTEP's longest victory skein in 2007-08 was five in a row from Dec. 8-Dec. 29. That also represents the Miners' longest win streak under third-year head coach Tony Barbee.

If the Broncos play James Madison, 7-4, it will be the two school's first meeting.

The 2008-09 season is JMU's first under head coach Matt Brady. Brady came to JMU after being head coach for four years (2004-08) at Marist. The 1987 Siena graduate previously was an assistant at St. Joseph's (1993-2004), Wagner (1990-93), and Rhode Island (1987-89).

Listen up

The SCU-Belmont game will be broadcast live at 6 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 5:30 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.

Belmont

Three-point shooting prowess has long been Belmont's calling card, and 2008-09 has proven to be no exception. The Bruins currently lead the Atlantic Sun Conference in three-point field goals per game and three-point field goal percentage, ranking third and sixth in nation respectively through Dec. 21 games.

Alex Renfroe was named Atlantic Sun Conference Player of the Week Dec. 23. The Hermitage, Tenn. native is averaging 24.0 ppg and 6.0 rpg in his last three games. Renfroe scored a career-high 30 points in Belmont's 79-77 loss at then-No. 16 Tennessee Dec. 20.

Belmont has represented the Atlantic Sun Conference in the past three NCAA Tournaments, facing UCLA in 2006, Georgetown in 2007 and Duke in 2008. The Bruins gained considerable national notoriety in their narrow 71-70 loss to the three-time NCAA Champion Blue Devils this past March.

Leading the way

Bronco senior John Bryant is averaging a double-double this year and leads the team in points (18.5) and rebounds (12.8). Bryant leads the Broncos with 2.3 bpg and shoots 60% from the field. He has 32 double-doubles in his career, including eight this season (vs. CSU East Bay, vs. UAB, at Georgia, at Montana, at San Jose State, vs. Sacramento State, at UNLV and vs. Stanford). He is ranked the No. 7 center nationally by Rivals.com and has had twice collected 20+ points and 20+ rebounds in games this season (at San Jose State and vs. Stanford).

Two freshmen continue to hover around double-figures: Kevin Foster is averaging 10.8 ppg and James Rahon puts in 10 ppg off the bench. Rahon is shooting a team-leading 44% from the three-point line and Foster is the team's leading free-throw shooter at 90% (17 of 19).

SCU is scoring 62.0 ppg to the opponents 59.4; and shooting almost 45% from the field and 35% from the three-point line. The Broncos are out-rebounding their opponents by 5.1 rpg, but turning the ball over 15.8 times a game to their opponents own 13.1 turnovers per game. Santa Clara had just 10 turnovers vs. Sacramento State, vs. Notre Dame de Namur and at Pacific, its lowest totals since the Broncos turned the ball over nine times vs. Saint Mary's on March 4, 2007.

One of 2!

John Bryant and the late Nick Vanos are the only two Broncos to score at least 1200 points, collect 800+ rebounds and block more than 150 shots in their careers.

Bryant has 1,293 career points (No. 16), 838 rebounds (No. 5) and 190 career blocks (No. 1).

During his career from 1981-85, Vanos scored 1,399 points (No. 11), collected 876 rebounds (No. 3) and blocked 159 shots (No. 2). Vanos was first-team All-WCC in 1984 and '85.

Bryant is working to become the first Bronco since Kurt Rambis to collect 1,000+ rebounds and just the third in school history. Dennis Awtrey holds the school record with 1,135 rebounds (1967-70) and Rambis is second with 1,037 rebounds (1976-80).