The Broncos held Eastern Michigan scoreless for a nine-minute stretch in the first half and cruised to a 75-55 win over the Eagles in the first round of the 45th Cable Car Classic in the Leavey Center. The Broncos (8-4) advance to play Wagner (9-3) in the Cable Car Classic Championship at 8:15 tomorrow evening (Fri., Dec.30). Wagner defeated Air Force 72-61 earlier in the evening. Air Force will play Eastern Michigan at 6 pm on Fri., Dec. 30.
Santa Clara improves to 8-4 on the season while Eastern Michigan falls to 5-8.
The title game Friday night will feature two head coaches who graduated from Seton Hall and spent time together under then-head coach P.J. Carlesimo with the Pirates. Danny Hurley graduated in 1996 and Kerry Keating in 1993. Wagner defeated Air Force 72-61 to advance to the Championship game. Air Force will play Eastern Michigan at 6 pm on Fri., Dec. 30.
The Cable Car Classic is the longest-running holiday tournament in country with at least one team advancing to the NCAA Tournament 31 of its 44 years. Ten years it has featured multiple teams who would later advance in the post-season. 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. Santa Clara is 51-37 overall and has won 15 titles.
Wagner, who defeated No. 15 Pitt 59-54 on Dec. 23, is headed up by Hurley and the coaching staff features Hurley's brother, former Duke hero Bobby Hurley. They feature three players in double figures.
This will be the first meeting with the Seahawks, who are located in Staten Island, NY and play in the Northeast Conference.
Winning its last Cable Car Classic title in 2008, Santa Clara defeated UTEP 89-88 with a thrilling overtime victory over the Miners on Dec. 30, 2008 as All-American John Bryant scored MVP honors.
"We are going to win our games with defense and that is what we try to stress to our guys all the time. We wanted to extend our lead in the first half by getting multiple stops in a row," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "Niyi responded well tonight. He got to the free throw line, had a double-double and gave us really good minutes. It's good to know he can respond like that and maintain it."
Foster passed Blake Stepp (Gonzaga, 2000-04) to move to No. 3 on the WCC all-time threes made list and has 292. He moved to No. 8 on the Bronco career points scored list, passing No. 9 Kyle Bailey (1,571, 2001-05) and No. 9 Ken Sears (1951-55, 1,586). Foster now has 1,596 career points.
The Eagles were led by Darrell Lampley's 14 points. J.R. Sims added 10 points off the bench for Eastern Michigan. Matt Balkema finished with nine points and 3 rebounds for the Eagles.
Eastern Michigan shot 36.4 percent (20 of 55) from the field, including 31.3 percent from beyond the arc (5 of 16). The Eagles collected 24 rebounds, nine assists, nine steals and four blocks. They shot 71.4 percent from the free throw line (10 of 14) with nine turnovers.
John McArthur opened the scoring for the Broncos with a midrange jumper. Foster hit a three from the top of the arch. Riley hit a midrange Jumper for the Eagles but Harrison responded on the other end. Roquemore followed up with a three from the right wing, giving the Broncos a 10-2 lead at 16:31. The Eagles throw down a monstrous alley-oop from Da'shonte Riley and Darrell Lampley converted a bucket to cut the lead to four.
Yannick Atanga responded with a dunk of his own and converted one of two at the line to give the Broncos a 13-6 lead at 12:09. After a pair of Eastern Michigan buckets, Harrison knocked down a free throw. Jordan Akwenuke responded with a bucket of his own, and Niyi Harrison through down a jam to push the lead back to eight. Foster pushed the run to 8-0 with a three from the right side.
Foster continued the run with a bank shot from the left side to make the score 23-10 at 3:57. JR Sims knocked down a pair of free throws at 1:19 to end a nine minute scoreless drought for the Eagles. Sims followed up those free throws with a transition three on the right wing but Brandon Clark responded with a pair of free throws to make the score 24-15.
In the first half, Santa Clara shot 45.0 percent (9 of 20) from the field, including 33.3 percent from beyond the arc (3 of 9). The Broncos collected 18 rebounds, seven assists, two steals, and no blocks. They shot 66.6 percent from the free throw line (4 of 6) with nine turnovers. Eastern Michigan shot 28.0 percent (7 of 35) from the field, including 20.0 percent from beyond the arc (2 of 10). The Eagles collected 11 rebounds, two assists, one block and five steals. They shot 100.0 percent from the free throw line (2 of 2) with six turnovers.
Foster led all scorers with eight points while Roquemore added four assists for the Broncos. Darrell Lampley led the Eagles with five points.
Foster opened up the scoring in the second with a three from the top of the key. McArthur hit a pair of free throws, and Niyi Harrison threw down his second dunk of the game for a quick 6-0 run out of the break. Dailey responded for Eastern Michigan with a put-back but Foster responded with a transition jumper.
McArthur's free throws stretched the Broncos lead to 36-22 at 14:55 in the first. After the teams swapped points Foster knocked down his fourth three of the game. Roquemore and Sims swapped threes before Brandon Clark gained separation with a pump fake and knocked down a three.
Green knocked down a jumper to cut the Broncos lead to 46-32. The teams swapped points over the next several couple minutes until Foster buried a three from the right corner. After an Eagles bucket Foster nailed a three from the same spot on the floor and converted an and-one bucket to push the lead to 61-42 at 6:45.
Niyi Harrison knocked down a pair of free throws and after a pair of Eagles free throws Evan Roquemore beat the shot clock with a shot on the left baseline. The Eagles never got closer than 20 the rest of the way. Phillip Bach, Nick Lamson, and Kyle Perricone all checked into the game with a minute remaining.