Santa Clara hits the road for six straight games starting on Wed., Nov. 19 when the Broncos play at Utah State. The 5 pm game (Pacific) will be shown on ROOT TV with Jerry Schemmel and Joe Cravens making the call. The audio broadcast can also be heard on the SCU website, SantaClaraBroncos.com, with Anthony Passarelli in his eighth year as the Voice of the Broncos.
The Broncos enter the week with a 2-0 record, following wins against Cal State Fullerton, 89-72, on Nov. 14 and San Diego Christian, 70-58 on Nov. 15. They defeated Cal State East Bay 82-72 in exhibition play on Nov. 7. Santa Clara is led by WCC Player of the Week Brandon Clark (Nov. 17), who has scored double figures in 25 straight games, dating back to last season (Dec. 18, 2013). It is the longest streak for a Bronco since Travis Niesen scored double figures in 22 straight games (Feb. 5, 2005-Jan. 21, 2006).
Utah State, 2-0, defeated Weber State 72-61 at home on Nov. 14. They overcame a seven point deficit at the half to beat Illinois State 60-55 in Normall, Ill. on Nov. 16. David Collette (17) and Darius Perkins (14) led Utah State in scoring and Jalen Moore collected nine rebounds. It is the seventh time the Aggies have started 2-0 under head coach Stew Morrill, entering his 16th season at the helm. USU also played two exhibitions, defeating Texas A & M-International 77-70 on Oct. 31 and Arkansas-Fort Smith 64-57 on Nov. 7.
Utah State leads the all-time series with the Broncos 5-3. In the two team's last meeting, despite 20-plus points from Kevin Foster (27) and Evan Roquemore (23), Santa Clara dropped its first contest of the year in an overtime thriller vs. Utah State on Nov. 28, 2012. With just 25 seconds remaining in overtime, Marc Trasolini scored in the paint to make it a two-point game. Utah State answered to push the Aggie lead to four, but Roquemore drilled a three with just 9.1 seconds left to cut the lead to one. The Broncos were forced to foul and Danny Berger missed the first shot, but hit the second. Roquemore attempted a last-second three that skirted off the rim and SCU fell 80-78.
The Broncos return their top two scorers this season in guards Jared Brownridge (17.2 ppg) and Brandon Clark (16.9 ppg). Clark is averaging 26.0 ppg with Brownridge adding 12.5 ppg this season.
Brownridge led the team with 95 three pointers a season ago. His 567 points scored shattered the Bronco freshman record and placed him at No. 2 all-time in points scored for a Bay Area freshman. He finished his freshman year with 24 points vs. Gonzaga in the WCC quarterfinals, as the Broncos fell 77-75 on a last second layup by the Zags' David Stockton. It was his 14th game with 20+ points, which put him at No. 3 on SCU's single season list for 20+ points a game.
Clark hit 86.8 percent of his free throws (145-167) and finished No. 14 on the single season points list with 557. He had 12 20+ point games last season and he also became the 32nd Bronco in school history to score 1,000 career points.
Santa Clara also welcomes back senior starters Denzel Johnson (4.2 ppg) and Yannick Atanga (3.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg). Johnson is averaging 11.5 ppg this season and Atanga is pulling down 4.0 rpg. Atanga did not play vs. San Diego Christian and is listed as day-to-day. It was the first time in his 104 game career that he missed a game.
Playing in all 33 games last year as freshmen, Jalen Richard (3.9 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 1.4 apg) and Nate Kratch (3.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 1.2 apg) also return. The Broncos will lean on these six returning players at the start of the season to help the first-year Broncos adjust to playing at Santa Clara.
Clark Named WCC POW
After strong performances on the opening weekend, Brandon Clark was named the West Coast Conference Player of the Week on Nov. 17. Clark set a school record for points scored in a season opener with 31, including 15 of 16 from the line, in the Broncos' win vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 14.
Clark, a 2014 Honorable Mention All-WCC guard, had four career bests on the weekend as well and his 52 points in the two wins moved him to No. 26 on the career points scored list (1,094). He shot 50 percent from the three point line (4 of 8) and 85 percent from the free throw line (18 of 21).
He was 15 of 16 from the free throw line - marking a career best in makes and attempts vs. Cal State Fullerton. He is the only the seventh Bronco in school history to make 15+ free throws in a game. The East Chicago, Ind. native was just one point off his career best with the 31 points.
He scored 21 points vs. San Diego Christian on Nov. 15, collecting a career-high nine assists. He also grabbed a career-best nine rebounds.
Clark was second on the team and fourth in scoring last season in the WCC (16.9 ppg). He has a streak of 25 straight games with double figures – the longest streak for a Bronco in more than five years. Last season he collected 13 games of 20+ points after not having a 20-point game his first two years.
The Broncos welcome four true freshmen to their team, forward Matt Hubbard from Colville, Wash., guard Stephen Edwards from Muskogee, Okla., forward Evan Wardlow from Lake View Terrace, Calif., and guard Kai Healy from Sydney, Australia. In addition, the Broncos have two redshirt freshmen, forward Jarvis Pugh from Murphy, Texas and center Emmanuel Ndumanya from Anambra, Nigeria. In the offseason, the team also added forward Dominic Romeo, a graduate student from Notre Dame with one year of eligibility left. The Broncos are expecting to redshirt Healy this season.
Brandon Clark is No. 26 on the all-time points scored list with 1,094. He needs 27 to move to No. 25 (Scott Lamson, 1,120, 1981-85). He needs 187 points to move to No. 20 (Ralph Ogden, 1,280, 1967-70).
Clark is tied for No. 3 all-time in free throw percentage. He has made 285 of his 342 free throws attempted, good for 83.3 percent. The school record is held by Steve Nash (86.1 percent, 1991-96).
The Broncos will travel to Orlando, Fla. to take on Tennessee in their opening game of the Orlando Classic on Nov. 27. The tournament will take place on at the ESPN World Wide of Sports Complex Nov. 27-30.
Last season, Tennessee posted 24 wins and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament. This contest will be the Broncos' second matchup against a 2014 NCAA tournament team. Santa Clara will have traveled to East Lansing, Mich. to play No. 18 Michigain State on Nov. 24. The Spartans won 29 games and advanced to the Elite 8 last season.
Based on their results against Tennessee, the Broncos will match up with either Kansas or Rhode Island the next day. If the Broncos match up against No. 5 Kansas, they will play their third 2014 NCAA tournament participant within the same week. The Broncos will also play on Sunday and that match-up will be determined through the first two games.
Santa Clara will also host the 48th annual Cable Car Classic from Dec. 17-23, which is an annual event held at the Leavey Center. The tournament begins on Dec. 17 with Northeastern and Cal Poly. The Broncos open with Northeastern on Dec. 20 and close with 2014 Big West tournament champions and NCAA tournament participant Cal Poly on Dec. 23.
Yannick Atanga is tied for No. 5 all-time in Santa Clara history with 93 career blocks. He needs one more block to pass No. 5 Kurt Rambis (93, 1976-80). Atanga had 30 blocks last season. After leading the WCC in rebounds in 2012-13, Atanga was second on the team in rebounds last year with 5.0 rpg. He has collected 10+ boards in 11 career games. A native of Yaounde, Cameroon, Atanga spent time playing with the Cameroon National Team in China as part of a four-nation tournament in the summer of 2013. Playing basketball since he was 12 years old and now sporting a 7-4 wing span, Atanga dreams of one day working for the United Nations as a peacekeeper in Africa.
Career Blocked Shots
1. John Bryant (2005-09) 246
2. Marc Trasolini (2008-13) 176
3. Nick Vanos (1981-85) 159
4. Jens Gordon (1985-89) 133
5. Yannick Atanga (2010-) 93
Kurt Rambis (1976-80) 93
7. Robert Garrett (2011-) 81
8. Brendan Graves (1994-96) 70
9. Mike Norman (1980-84) 65
10. Rhea Taylor (1988-92) 63
Season records kept only since 1978-79