Santa Clara returns home to open 2015 and West Coast Conference play on the same day! The Broncos will host a 2 pm game with BYU on Thurs., Jan. 1. The game will be telecast on BYU-TV with Dave McCann and Blaine Fowler making the call. It will also be broadcast live on SantaClaraBroncos.com as part of the Bronco Radio Network. Anthony Passarelli is in his eighth season as the Broncos' play-by-play announcer.
Santa Clara is 6-7 and 1-1 in the WCC. BYU is 11-4 and 1-1 in the WCC. Santa Clara is 3-2 at home this season and the Cougars are 2-0 on the road. BYU is led by four players who average double figures including 2014 WCC Player of the Year Tyler Haws, who scores 22.1 ppg. Anson Winder (14.9), this week's WCC Player of the Week Kyle Collinsworth (13.6) and Chase Fischer (13.4) all average double digits as well. Collinsworth leads the team with 7.8 rpg.
Leading from wire to wire, with Denzel Johnson opening the game on with a 5-0 run, Santa Clara won 57-40 at Pacific on Dec. 27. Matt Hubbard scored a career-high 15 points and was three of three from beyond the arc. Jared Brownridge scored 14, including 4 of 6 from the three. He added a career high eight rebounds. Denzel Johnson had 10. In his first start this year, Nate Kratch had a career-high 11 rebounds. Brandon Clark scored nine, tying a career high with seven boards and six assists.
With BYU leading up-start Portland by 22 points in the middle of the second half, the Cougars held off the Pilots and won 97-88 on Dec. 27 in Provo. Not much of a defensive battle, both teams scored 50+ in the second half, with BYU tallying 54 and Portland 51. Five Cougars scored in double figures, including three with 21+ (Haws, 24; Winder, 22; and Collinsworth, 21).
Santa Clara is 5-21 vs. BYU all-time and has lost 10 straight games to the Cougars. The Broncos' last series win came on Dec. 2, 1972 when they defeated No. 12 BYU, 66-64, in Provo. The Broncos' last win vs. BYU in Santa Clara came almost 54 years ago and it was actually two wins on back-to-back days. The Broncos defeated BYU 64-53 on Dec. 8, 1961 and then 71-55 on Dec. 9, 1961.
Brownridge and Clark Lead The Broncos
The Broncos return the West Coast Conference's top-scoring back-court in Brandon Clark and Jared Brownridge. Clark is averaging 16.2 ppg after scoring 16.9 ppg in 2013-14. Brownridge is averaging 15.2 ppg this season after leading the team with 17.2 ppg last year. Clark has scored double figures in 11 of 13 games and Brownridge has done it 10 times this year. Brownridge has led the team in scoring seven times, Clark the other five games and Matt Hubbard once.
Starting every game this season, Denzel Johnson is averaging 8.2 ppg. He has scored double figures six times this season, including a season-high 15 points vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 14. His 22 steals on the year puts him at No. 4 in the WCC. He is No. 2 on the team with 427 minutes played, behind Jared Brownridge's 429 minutes played, and Johnson is No. 6 in the league. He has played in 98 games with 24 starts during his four-year career. A versatile guard, he started 10 games his freshman year and then just one his junior year.
136 Career Threes
Jared Brownridge has started each of the 46 career games he has played in dating back to last season and hit double figures in 36 of those games. He led the team with 95 three pointers a season ago and has already hit 41 this season. His 567 points last year scored shattered the SCU freshman record and placed him at No. 2 all-time in points scored for a Bay Area freshman (list includes SCU, Stanford, Cal, Saint Mary's, San Francisco and Pacific). He finished his freshman year with 24 points vs. Gonzaga in the WCC quarters, as the Broncos fell 77-75 on a last second layup by the Zags' David Stockton.
Brownridge has scored 30+ points three times, all last year. He has scored 20+ points 17 times in his career, including three straight games this season (vs. Rider, at San Jose State and vs. Washington State). He has scored five or more threes seven times in his career, including seven twice last year (7 vs. La Sierra, 12/14/13 and 7 at Pepperdine, 3-1-14).
20+ 5 Times This Year; 18 Times In Career
Brandon Clark has started 50 of the 114 games he has played in during his four-year career. Clark has scored 20+ points in five games this season, including 24 at Saint Mary's on Dec. 27 and a career-high 31 vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 14. Clark has scored double figures 57 times in his career, including 18 games with 20 or more points the past two years. His first two seasons he never scored more than 19. He also scored 30 or more three times during his career, including a season-high 31 points vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 14.
Clark had his streak of 25 straight games in double figures snapped at Utah State when he scored nine. The streak dated back to Dec. 13, 2013. It was the longest streak for a Bronco since Travis Niesen scored double figures in 22 straight games (Feb. 5, 2005-Jan. 21, 2006).
Back In, Not Again
Freshman-redshirt Emmanuel Ndumanya played seven minutes with a rebound at Saint Mary's on Dec. 27 after sitting out the last nine games with a left foot injury. In his next game, at Pacific, he scored a career-high four points with a rebound in nine minutes. The Anambra, Nigeria native grabbed 14 rebounds in his first two games, averaging 15.0 mpg.
The Broncos will be without the services of forward Yannick Atanga (6-8, 230) for the remainder of the year. He injured his knee in the opening half of the season vs. Cal State Fullerton and did not play vs. San Diego Christian, but did play 20 minutes at Utah State. After the game his knee swelled and an MRI determined he tore his ACL. Atanga had surgery to repair it on Dec. 16. It is expected he will apply for a sixth year.
With a block at Utah State on Nov. 19, Atanga sits at No. 5 all-time in SCU history with 94 career blocks. He passed former All-American Kurt Rambis (93, 1976-80). After leading the WCC in rebounds in 2012-13, Atanga was second on the team in rebounds last year with 5.0 rpg and led the team with 30 blocks. 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 2013. Sporting a 7-4 wing span, Atanga dreams of one day working for the United Nations as a peacekeeper in Africa.
Brandon Clark is No. 23 on the all-time points scored list with 1,253. He needs 28 points to move to No. 20 and will pass Ralph Ogden (1,280, 1967-70). Clark is tied for No. 3 all-time in free throw percentage. He has made 328 of his 395 free throws attempted, good for 83.0 percent. The school record is held by Steve Nash (86.1 percent, 1991-96).
Clark was named the WCC Player of the Week on Nov. 17, 2014. He 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. CSU Fullerton on Nov. 14. He had four career bests on the weekend as well. He was 15 of 16 from the free throw line vs. the Titans - marking a career best in makes and attempts. He is the only the seventh Bronco in school history to make 15+ free throws in a game. He scored 21 points vs. SDC on Nov. 15, collecting a career-high nine assists.
Sophomore Nate Kratch had career highs in both rebounds (11) and blocks (4) at Pacific on Dec. 27. He scored a career-high 15 points off the bench on Dec. 20 vs. Northeastern. His previous career high 11 points at Cal Poly on Dec. 7, 2013. He was seven of 10 from the free throw line, also career bests.
Kratch had come off the bench in all 12 games this season when he started at Pacific. Freshman Matt Hubbard added a few career bests in the Pacific game as well . He scored a career-high 15 points, tying career highs with five field goals made and three threes made. Starting 11 of the 13 games this season, he leads the team with 5.1 rpg.
Freshman Evan Wardlow scored a career-high eight points off the bench at Saint Mary's. Jared Brownridge had a career-high eight rebounds at Pacific and Brandon Clark tied a career-high with seven rebounds himself.