The Broncos, who played three of their first four West Coast Conference contests on the road, finish a three-game WCC homestand vs. Bay Area rival San Francisco in a rematch of the CIT quarterfinals that Santa Clara won 95-91 up on the Hilltop March 22, 2011. The Dons visit the Leavey Center for the two teams first meeting on Thurs., Jan. 26 at 7 pm. The game will be televised regionally on COMCAST California with Ted Robinson and Dan Belluomini making the call. It is Santa Clara's third game in six days and the Broncos will finish at Pepperdine on Sat., Jan. 28 at 7 pm for their fourth game in seven days.
Santa Clara is 8-11 and 0-6 in the WCC this season. Santa Clara fell 74-62 to LMU in the Leavey Center on Monday. Evan Roquemore led the team with 17 points off the bench. Starting his second career game, Yannick Atanga dumped in 12 points with nine rebounds and Niyi Harrison scored 11 points with nine boards. The Broncos will again be without the services of leading scorer Kevin Foster. As a result of an incident this past weekend, Foster will be withheld from competition pending the outcome of the University's student judicial process (he also missed the LMU game).
USF is 13-9 and 3-5 in the WCC, including 1-4 on the league road this year. The Dons have four players in double figures: Angelo Caloiaro (14.0 ppg), Rashad Green (11.2), Perris Blackwell (11.1 ppg) and Michael Williams (10.4 ppg). Caloiaro also leads the team with 6.2 ppg and 1.8 spg.
This is the 209th meeting between the two Bay Area rivals dating back to Jan. 22, 1909 when Santa Clara won 19-11. SCU leads the all-time series 109-99, including 53-36 at home. Santa Clara has won nine of the last 13 games against USF, dating back to Feb., 2006. Santa Clara has only played Saint Mary's more times than the Dons and sport a 131-80 record vs. the Gaels.
Santa Clara dropped both games to the Dons last season during the regular season, but got the best of them in the post-season. Santa Clara defeated San Francisco March 22, 2011 in a hard-fought war, coming out on top 95-91 in the quarterfinals of the CIT. Santa Clara advanced to the finals of the CIT with a 72-55 semi-finals win over SMU in Dallas on March 25. They won the 2011 CIT title with a 76-69 victory at Iona on March 30, 2011.
Scoring 95 points in the CIT quarterfinals in Memorial Gym, Santa Clara was 10-0 when it scored 80+ last season. Its 45 points in the first half were the most for SCU since it scored 46 vs. Bethany on Jan. 3, 2011. Its 50 points in the second half were the most since it scored 60 points at CSU-Northridge on Dec. 22, 2010. The Broncos scored 90+ points in four games last season for the first time since 1990-91. The six turnovers vs. the Dons were the fewest turnovers Santa Clara has had since it turned the ball over five times vs. Saint Mary's Feb. 2, 2005.
Individually Santa Clara was led by a career-high 30 points by Evan Roquemore, including key free throws at the end of the game. Kevin Foster followed up with 27 points, hitting 12 of 15 from the free throw line, with a team-high five assists. Troy Payne added 12 points and nine rebounds and Ben Dowdell scored 11.
See and Hear
The USF game will be televised regionally on COMCAST California with Ted Robinson and Dan Belluomini making the call. The USF game 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 7 p.m. on KDOW 1220AM. 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.
The Broncos are 6-4 at home this season, 2-1 in neutral site games and 0-6 on the road. Its 6-0 home record to start the season was the best for Santa Clara since it started the 1988-89 season 7-0 on its home court.
The Broncos have three players averaging double figures: Kevin Foster leads team with 17.8 ppg, Evan Roquemore scores 14.2 ppg and Niyi Harrison 10.9ppg. Roquemore leads the team with 5.1 apg. Harrison leads the team with 6.5 rpg.
Three Broncos average double figures in conference play with Foster leading with 15.6 ppg, Harrison with 14.2 and Roquemore 13.5 ppg. Harrison is the leading rebounder in league play with 5.8 rpg and Roquemore leads the team with 3.7 apg. Harrison scored a career-high 23 points vs. No. 23 Saint Mary's on Jan. 21, a team-high in a league game this year.
Harrison has 10 7+ rebound games this year, pulling down nine rebounds with a career-high 23 points vs. Saint Mary's. He has three double-doubles in his career, John McArthur has two and Roquemore has one (points and assists).
Raymond Cowels III has 3+ threes in eight of the last 15 games, including a career-high six 3s vs. Villanova.
The Broncos are No. 11 nationally with 8.5 threes per game and also lead the WCC. The Broncos have shot 120 more threes than their opponents this season. SCU has shot 448 and the opponents have shot 328. In return, the Broncos have made 46 more than their opponents (162 to 116 made). Of the 1,102 shots attempted by the Broncos this year, 40.6 % have come beyond the arc. The opponents are shooting 35.4 percent beyond the arc and 31.6 percent of their field goal attempts are coming from beyond the arc.
With the loss of All-WCC forward Marc Trasolini (torn ACL), Santa Clara is one of the youngest teams 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). Prior to Foster being withheld, while the Broncos started three juniors and two sophomores, the next six players off the bench, including walk-on Jordan Akwenuke, are all freshmen and a freshman will most likely take Foster's place in the line-up. In addition to leadership, SCU is without its top three rebounders from last season (Trasolini and graduation of Ben Dowdell and Troy Payne).
Looking back, SCU finished last season 24-14 and won the post-season CIT with All-WCC guard Foster collecting MVP honors.
Evan Roquemore is averaging 5.2 apg, including 3.67 apg in league play. Roquemore is No. 43 nationally in apg and he is No. 2 in apg in league play as well. He has collected 7+ assists in six games this season and 4+ assists in 13 of 19 games.
This season he is leading the team in apg and also in free throw percentage, hitting 81.6 percent of his chances (80 of 98).Last season he broke the Bronco freshman assist record with 139, topping Brian Jones who scored 119 assists in 1996-97. Roquemore is shooting 83.3 percent from the free throw line this season after breaking the freshman records for free throws made (159) and attempted (193) last season, coming .001 from tying Steve Nash's record for free throw percentage. Nash was 82.5 percent from the free throw line in 1992-93 and Roquemore was 82.4 percent (159 of 193) last season.
Three-less Not Often
Kevin Foster has been a shooting machine on the Mission Campus. He has hit double figures in 70 of the last 74 games (94.5 percent). All told, he has hit double figures in 82 of 95 career games (86.3 percent). He has hit at least one three in 89 of 95 career games (93.6 percent). Foster has hit a three in 45 of his 46 career home games. The one game he didn't hit a three in: his freshman year he was 0-5 from beyond the arc vs. San Diego on Jan. 11, 2008.
Foster has 15+ points in 12 of 18 games this season including 26-point performances vs. New Mexico (Nov. 24) and Pacific (Dec. 17) and 22-point shows at BYU (Jan. 14) and vs. No. 23 Saint Mary's (Jan. 21). He is also lights out from behind the arc, having made 4+ threes in half of the games including six vs. UOP and EMU.
Foster was a strong nominee for the December WCC POM. Foster averaged 20.0 ppg, over two points higher than his career ppg. He finished with 32.9 mpg, up considerably from the 29.3 he averaged in November and nearly a minute more than what he averaged last season. He shot 44.4 percent from the field which was a significant increase from his November marks and also was an increase over his career shooting percentage of 38.9. He shot a blistering 46.8 percent from three point range. He added 3.14 apg while committing 2.57 topg and had 1.43 spg as well.
Last year Foster led the country in threes made, threes attempted and threes per game. He also led the league in scoring.
vs. No. 23 Saint Mary's
The 211th meeting between Saint Mary's and Santa Clara was hotly contested the entire game in front a capacity crowd of 4,700 fans in the Leavey Center on Saturday night with the Gaels edging the Broncos 93-77.
Santa Clara will host Loyola Marymount Monday night at 7 pm in the Leavey Center.
The Broncos were led by Niyi Harrison's career-high 23 points and nine rebounds. With Kevin Foster's 22 points, Foster has now moved to No. 4 all-time on the career points scored list in Santa Clara history. Evan Roquemore added 13 points and four assists. Foster added a team-high six assists. Robert Garrett scored three blocks.
Two Weeks Ago
Santa Clara dropped a pair of WCC games two weeks ago. It fell 75-62 vs. San Diego on Jan. 12 and then 95-78 in its first trip to Provo to meet up with the newest member of the West Coast Conference, BYU. Four Broncos scored in double figures in Provo, including Kevin Foster, who scored 22 to pass 2009 WCC Player of the Year John Bryant at No. 6 on the career points scored list (1,667 from 2005-09). Niyi Harrison was one off his career high as he scored 18 in the Marriott Center. Raymond Cowels III hit four threes in eight tries for 14 points and Evan Roqemore added 11.
Santa Clara fell 82-60 at No. 25 Gonzaga on Jan. 7 with Raymond Cowels III leading the charge with 13 points. Kevin Foster scored just nine points with no threes at Gonzaga which is pretty amazing considering his Santa Clara career. It was the first time he went without double figures since Jan. 27, 2011 at Pepperdine when he scored eight. It was the first time without a three since Feb. 5, 2011 at USF.
Niyi Harrison tied a career-high with 19 points off the bench at Portland on Jan. 7. He was 7 of 8 from the free throw line, tying a career-high with free throws made.
Brandon Clark came off the bench to dump in a career-high 16 points in Portland. He was 5 of 8 from the field (both career highs) and 5 of 6 from the free throw line (both career highs). He also tied his career high with five assists vs. the Pilots and played one less minute than his career high vs. Wagner on Dec. 30, 2011.
45th Annual Cable Car Classic
In its final non-conference game on Dec. 30, Santa Clara dropped a heartbreaker in the 45th annual Cable Car Classic title game, 64-62 to Wagner, thanks to an improbable acrobatic shot at the buzzer after coming back from 15 down in the final five minutes. Kevin Foster led all scorers with 20 points and Evan Roquemore added 17, including 14 in the second half. Niyi Harrison scored 10 and added nine boards while Raymond Cowels III grabbed a career-high nine rebounds.
In the Broncos 75-55 victory over EMU the day before, Foster led the Broncos with 25 points (6 of 10 from three point range). Harrison added a double-double, his third of his career, with 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Broncos. Harrison finished seven of nine from the free throw line. Brandon Clark, Yannick Atanga and Roquemore each added seven points while Roquemore dished out nine assists.
In the wake of Mark Trasolini's season-ending ACL tear, Niyi Harrison has stepped up and filled the frontcourt void admirably. The 6-9 junior has started all but two games while grabbing 8+ rebounds in 11 of 19 contests including a career-high 13 vs. EMU. He has also made significant growth offensively, scoring in double figures 12 times including a career-high 23 vs. No. 23 Saint Mary's and 19 point games vs. New Mexico and at Portland. He leads the team with three double-doubles.
The team's starting center, John McArthur, has pulled down 6+ rebounds in 6 of 19 games including a career-best 12 boards at Houston Baptist. He has two career double-doubles this season (vs. San Jose State and at Houston Baptist).
True freshman Robert Garrett and freshman-redshirt Yannick Atanga have both come off the bench to play inside as well. Atanga is the team's second-leading rebounder with 5.5 rpg. Garrett, who started the LMU game and collected a career-high three blocks vs. both LMU and No. 23 Saint Mary's, has averaged 6.8 mpg in 17 games with 1.2 ppg and 1.5 rpg.
Adding It Up
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 64 three-pointers 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 No. 3 on the West Coast Conference career threes made list with 311, passing Blake Stepp with 288 (2000-04) vs. Eastern Michigan on Dec. 29. He needs 53 to break the WCC career record held by Jeff Fryer of LMU (363, 1987-90) and 26 to move past Jared Stohl at No. 2 (336, 2007-11).
Foster's 311 threes made are also a Bay Area record and he hit the mark faster than Nash (took Foster 82 games to hit 263 threes and Nash set the record playing in 113 games). Foster is climbing up the Bronco career scoring list as well. At No. 4 with 1,691 points, he needs 46 points to catch school record holder Kurt Rambis (1,736, 1976-80, No. 21 on the WCC list). The WCC record is 2,490 by Hank Gathers (1987-90) when he averaged 28.0 ppg over his three year career with the Lions. Only six players have scored 2,000 points in West Coast Conference history.
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. In Dallas last March for its CIT game at SMU, the team stopped by the Timberwolves hotel, in town to play the Mavs that night, to say hello to former Bronco and then-NBA head coach Rambis. Rambis greeted each SCU 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."
Charity and Dishes
After being selected to the 76 Classic Five-Man All-Tournament team and leading the WCC in points and assists per game and free throw percentage, Evan Roquemore was named the WCC Player of the Week on Nov. 28. Nationally he was also named the Lou Henson Award Co-Player of the Week and the Jesuit Men's Basketball Co-Player of the Week.
At the 76 Classic, the sophomore averaged 22.7 points and eight assists per contest, shooting 52% from the floor. His 24 total assists are a new 76 Classic tournament record. In addition to the assists, he shot 95.7 percent from the free throw line at the Classic, hitting 22 of 23. It is a first-time honor for the sophomore from Henderson, Nev.
He led SCU to victories over New Mexico and Villanova Thanksgiving weekend, and a third-place finish at the 76 Classic. In the 79-76 OT win over pre-tournament favorite New Mexico, Roquemore poured in 26 points. Against Oklahoma, Roquemore posted a double-double with 27 points and 10 assists. He poured in 15 points and dished out nine assists in the 65-64 comeback win over Villanova. Santa Clara finished the final 2:56 minutes of the game on a 10-0 run to defeat the 'Cats with Roquemore hitting four clutch free throws with less than 10 seconds left to clinch the win.
Raymond Cowels III has had success from deep with seven games of 3+ threes including six vs. Villanova. He has also shot 83.3 percent or better from the line in six games, proving to be a reliable free-throw shooter.