Taking eight days off for finals, the Broncos (5-2) travel to Pullman, Wash. to play Washington State (5-4) on Sun., Dec. 11 at 1 pm. Santa Clara is 0-3 lifetime vs. the Cougars: falling 60-38 in Pullman on New Year's Eve on Dec. 31, 1946; losing 82-71 vs. WSU as part of the Rainbow Classic on Dec. 28, 1973; and then the Broncos lost 85-79 in overtime Dec. 19, 2010 at home last season.
Prior to finals, Santa Clara defeated Cal State Northridge 71-58 behind Kevin Foster's 20 points and a career-high seven rebounds. Niyi Harrison put up his second career double-double (10 points, 11 boards). The Broncos have won four of their last five games, including wins at the 76 Classic vs. New Mexico and Villanova.
Washington State, which posted an 0-3 record at the same 76 Classic, has won three straight. In their last game, the Cougars' Reggie Moore came off a screen and hit a jumper from the corner with just under a second left to lift Washington State to a 66-64 victory at Idaho on Dec. 7. Idaho fought back from a 12-point deficit in the first half after shooting only 31 percent. The Vandals went 15 of 25 (60 percent) in the second half to help them come back. Last season the Cougars advanced to the 2011 NIT semi-finals before falling 75-44 to Wichita State behind the Golden State Warrior's first round draft pick, Klay Thompson.
Santa Clara has one player from the state of Washington: senior walk-on Phillip Bach comes to the Bay Area by way of Medina where he attended Bellevue High School in Bellevue, Wash. Washington State has three players from the Golden State: leading scorer Faisal Aden is from San Diego, freshman Chuks Iroegbu is from Elk Grove, and redshirt-sophomore D.J. Shelton is from Rialto, Calif.
With three starters averaging double figures, Santa Clara had two blow-out wins on its home court (vs. UC Merced and San Jose State) and an 89-58 loss at UC Santa Barbara, an NCAA Tournament team the past two years, prior to traveling to Anaheim. A loss to Oklahoma was sandwiched between wins vs. New Mexico and Villanova in Anaheim and the Broncos have since added the home win vs. Cal State Northridge on Dec. 3.
Foster leads the team with 17.4 ppg, Evan Roquemore dishes out a team-leading 6.0 apg and Harrison is the leader on the boards, pulling down 6.7 rpg. Freshman-redshirt Yannick Atanga is second on the team with 6.0 rpg. Foster has scored in double figures every game this season and Roquemore has hit double figures in six of the seven games. Harrison has had four 7+ rebound games this season.
With the loss of All-WCC forward Marc Trasolini (torn ACL), Santa Clara might be the youngest team in the country with its 11 scholarship players this season totalling eight years of total court time (no seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and five freshmen). While the Broncos start three juniors and two sophomores, the next six players off the bench, including walk-on Jordan Akwenuke, are all freshmen. In addition to leadership, SCU is without their top three rebounders from last season (Trasolini and graduation of Ben Dowdell and Troy Payne).
SCU finished last season 24-14 and won the post-season CIT with All-WCC First Team guard Kevin Foster collecting MVP honors. Foster was named to the 2011 pre-season All-WCC team this season for the third time in his career after leading the country in threes (140) and the league in scoring (20.2 ppg) in 2010-11.
See and Hear
The Washington State game in Pullman will also be broadcast via the Bronco Radio Network on both KDOW 1220 AM and Broncos All-Access at www.SantaClaraBroncos.com with the broadcast beginning at 12:45 p.m. Anthony Passarelli is in his fifth season as the Broncos' play-by-play announcer. Out of the listening area, KDOW is streamed online at www.1220kdow.com.
Santa Clara will return home to host Pacifica on Tues., Dec. 13 at 7 pm and then Pacific on Sat., Dec. 17 at 2 pm before traveling to Houston for a game at Houston Baptist on Dec. 21 at 5 pm Pacific.
The Broncos host the 45th annual Cable Car Classic on Dec. 29 and 30. Air Force tips off with Wagner at 6 pm on the 29th and the Broncos hook up with Eastern Michigan at 8:15 pm the same evening. The losers will play at 6 pm on Dec. 30 and the winner's will play for the Cable Car Classic at 8:15 pm. Santa Clara has won 15 titles, with its last title coming in a thrilling 89-88 overtime victory over UTEP on Dec. 30, 2008.
In 31 of the Classic's 44 years, the Classic has featured a team that would receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament just months later. For 10 years it has featured multiple teams who would later advance. 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 that year as well.
Nationally and in the WCC
On the national scene, the Broncos are No. 4 with 10.1 threes per game and No. 20 in field goal defense (No. 2 in the WCC). The Broncos lead the WCC in three pointers made (10.1) and free throw percentage (.727).
Individually, on the national level, Kevin Foster is No. 6 in threes made. Evan Roquemore is tied for No. 22 in assists, No. 24 in free throw percentage and No. 33 in threes made and three point percentage. John McArthur is tied for No. 31 in free throw percentage.
In WCC stats, Foster is No. 2 in ppg and Roquemore is No. 5. Foster leads the WCC with threes made as well.
* Niyi Harrison recorded his second career double-double with 10 points and 11 rebounds vs. Cal State Northridge. Harrison's only other previous double-double came during his freshman year against Northeastern on Dec. 29, 2009 when he finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
* Scoring 20 points in the win over Cal State Northridge, Kevin Foster went four from nine from behind the arc while adding a career-high seven rebounds and season-high six assists. Foster has now scored 19+ points in 38 of 84 games in his career.
* Evan Roquemore and Foster averaged 22.0 ppg and 17.8 ppg, respectively in the 76 Classic.
* Roquemore collected his first career double-double with 27 points and 10 assists vs. Oklahoma. He hit a career-high seven threes and was a perfect six of six from the free throw line. It was the 16th time in his career he has been perfect from the free throw line. It was the first time a Santa Clara guard has collected a double-double (points/assists) since Brody Angley had 24 points and 13 assists in SCU's 101-86 win vs. Pepperdine on Jan. 21, 2008. Roquemore is the first Bronco to score 25+ points and collect 10+ assists since Steve Nash collected 28 points and 12 assists in Santa Clara's 91-79 victory over Maryland in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 15, 1996.
* Foster broke Steve Nash's career three pointers made record with three threes vs. Oklahoma. Foster now has 268 threes in his career and is also No. 6 on the WCC list and No. 1 in the Bay Area.
* Harrison had a career high 19 points, playing a career-high 44 minutes vs. New Mexico
* Foster and Roquemore had 26 points a piece in the New Mexico win. Roquemore was a perfect 8 of 8 from the line.
* John McArthur collected his first career double-double vs. San Jose State with a career-best19 points (11 of 11 from the free throw line) and 10 rebounds.
* Harrison scored a career-high 18 points vs. San Jose State.
* Santa Clara made 14 threes vs. UC Merced. Led by Foster's five, Roquemore and Brandon Clark both chipped in four each.
Add up These Numbers
Last season Kevin Foster tore through the WCC and Santa Clara record books with 140 threes made on 380 threes attempted. His 3.68 threes per game led the nation and the 140 threes was good enough for No. 9 all-time in NCAA history.
This season he has hit 25 winners and broke the career three-pointers made record set by Steve Nash (263, 119 games, 1992-96) vs. Oklahoma on Nov. 25. As a junior, he is already No. 6 on the WCC career list. He needs 17 to jump to No. 3 and 92 to break the WCC career record held by Jeff Fryer of LMU (363, 1987-90).
Foster's 272 threes are also a Bay Area record and he hit the mark faster than Nash (took Foster 82 games and Nash set the record playing in 113 games). Foster is on pace to crush Fryer's WCC record as well (LMU, 368). Consider this: Foster has averaged 3.24 threes per game during his career and if he plays in 31 games both this season and next season (regular season plus one WCC tournament game), he could hit 450. The NCAA record is 457 by J.J. Redick of Duke (457 in 139 games) and he has a shot at that number if the Broncos advance in the post-season.
Foster is climbing up the Bronco career scoring list as well. At No. 10 with 1,493, he needs 244 to catch school record holder Kurt Rambis (1,736, 1976-80, No. 21 on the WCC list). He is averaging 17.4 ppg and if he plays 31 games this season and next, he could finish his career with 2,474 points . With just six players scoring 2,000 plus points in their careers in the WCC, the league record is 2,490 by LMU's Hank Gathers from 1987-90.
Foster's met Rambis on a number of occasions. His daughter Ali is a sophomore on the SCU volleyball team and Rambis had his jersey retired Foster's freshman year during the Cable Car Classic.
In Dallas last March for its CIT game at SMU, the team and coaches stopped by the Timberwolves hotel, in town to play the Mavs that night, to say hello to former Bronco and then-NBA head coach Kurt Rambis. Rambis greeted each player and staff member with a big handshake and a smile. When Coach Keating introduced Rambis to Foster, Foster smiled when Coach Keating said he was chasing his points scored career mark and Rambis remarked with a smile, "I hope you get it."
Home Sweet Home on ESPN Network
Santa Clara will play at least eight games televised on the ESPN network during the regular season, with five ESPN games during West Coast Conference play. Its ESPN games in the WCC include: at BYU (ESPNU, Jan. 14), vs. Portland (Feb. 2, ESPNU), at USF (Feb. 9, ESPNU), vs. Gonzaga (Feb. 16, ESPN2) and vs. BYU (Feb. 18, ESPNU).
In addition to five league games on the ESPN network, Santa Clara was 2-1 on the ESPN network at the 76 Classic. It defeated New Mexico and Villanova on ESPNU and fell to Oklahoma on ESPN2.