Santa Clara travels to the Northwest to continue West Coast Conference play this weekend at Portland and at No. 6 Gonzaga.The Broncos will first play at Portland on Thurs., Jan. 8 with a 7 pm tipoff. The game will be telecast on the Wtv.com with Roxy Bernstein and Bill Krueger making the call. Krueger, who spent 13 years in the Major Leagues, made his big league debut with the Oakland As in 1983 and spent five years with the club before moving on. The game will also be broadcast live on the Bronco website, 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 7-8 and 2-2 in the WCC. Santa Clara is 2-3 on the road this season, including 1-1 in the WCC. Portland is 10-5 and 1-2 in the WCC. The Pilots are 5-2 at home, including 0-1 in the Chiles Center in WCC play.
Santa Clara leads the all-time series with Portland 58-31. SCU has won the last three of four vs. the Pilots after losing four straight. Last year the Broncos split the season series with the Pilots, with each team winning on the road. Portland won 76-64 in Santa Clara on Jan. 29, 2014 after the Broncos won 76-68 on Dec. 30, 2013 in Portland. Winning handily in Portland, Santa Clara's guard trio of Evan Roquemore, Brandon Clark and Jared Brownridge each scored 20 points a piece, including each hitting 5 of 6 from the free throw line. While a number of Bronco teams have featured 20+ points from two Bronco players in a single game, it is believed no guard trio has scored 20+ points in a single game in school history.
Two years ago the Broncos swept the season series for the first time since 2007 and the 17th time overall. Santa Clara owns a 24-20 record in games played in Portland. SCU had lost five straight at the Chiles Center, but have won two straight. They came away with a 75-63 victory on Feb. 23, 2013 and then won 76-68 on Dec. 30, 2013 the next season.
With Brandon Clark making four free throws in the final 46.8 seconds of the game, Santa Clara beat San Diego 59-56 on Jan. 3 in the Leavey Center. Clark is No. 3 all-time in career free throw percentage at 83.4 percent. Matt Hubbard picked up his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. It was the first double-double by a Bronco since Jerry Brown went for 16 and 10 against San Jose State on Nov. 12, 2013. Nate Kratch had 14 points and eight rebounds while Clark chipped in with 13. Jared Brownridge tied a career-high with seven assists.
With a 15-1 run over 3:02 late in the second half, Portland chipped away at No. 7 Gonzaga's 21-point second-half lead to make it 75-70 GU at 1:58. But with a jumper by Kevin Pangos and a three-point play by Przemek Karnowski, the Zags held on to finish off the Pilots for an 87-75 victory before a sellout crowd Jan. 3 at the Chiles Center. UP played without leading scorer Kevin Bailey (foot) for the eighth straight game. Thomas van der Mars had 17 points and eight rebounds..
Top Scoring Back-Court in the WCC Returns
The Broncos return the West Coast Conference's top-scoring back-court in Brandon Clark and Jared Brownridge. Clark is averaging 15.7 ppg after scoring 16.9 ppg in 2013-14. Brownridge is averaging 14.1 ppg this season after leading the team with 17.2 ppg last year. Clark has scored double figures in 13 of 15 games and Brownridge has done it 11 times this year. Brownridge has led the team in scoring seven times, Clark six times and Matt Hubbard and Nate Kratch each once.
Looking For His 60th Double Figure Game
Brandon Clark has started 52 his 116 career games. Clark has scored 20+ points in five games this season, including 24 at Saint Mary's on Dec. 27. Clark has scored double figures 59 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).
The 2014 WCC Newcomer of the Year, Jared Brownridge has started all of the 48 career games he has played in. He has scored double figures 37 times and has not been held scoreless in a single game. He led the team with 95 three pointers a year ago and has already hit 43 this season, giving him 138 in his career, good enough for No. 9 on the Bronco career list. He needs 28 to pass No. 8 Brian Jones (165, 1996-01).
He was 0-5 from beyond the arc vs. San Diego on Jan. 3. The last time he went without a three: he was 0-6 beyond the arc at BYU on Feb. 16, 2014. He has hit at least one three in 44 of his 48 career games (no threes: 0-5 vs. San Diego 1-13-15; 0-6 at BYU 2-16-14; 0-1 vs. Gonzaga 1-29-14; and 0-3 vs. Sacred Heart 12-18-13).
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 earlier this season (vs. Rider, at SJSU 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).
Brownridge works as an EyeBronco reporter for the SCU Media Relations office and hosts his own series: "Long Walks With Jared". With a couple cameras filming their conversation, Brownridge walks around the picturesque Mission campus interviewing his subject. He has interviewed teammates Dominic Romeo and Brandon Clark; and Dec. 19 he interviewed the SCU President, Father Michael Engh. Through an invitation on @SCUBroncos Twitter, WCC Commissioner Lynn Holzman has agreed to come to campus soon for one. Named to the Kyle Macy All-American team last year as a finalist for National Freshman of the Year, he was named as one of the preseason candidates for the Lou Henson Award earlier this month. He was also named to the 2014 10-man preseason All-WCC list. He set seven SCU freshman season records and three game records his rookie season.
Matt Hubbard is the only Bronco on the active roster with a double-double. With 12 points and a career-high 11 boards, he snared the first of his career vs. San Diego on Jan. 3. Hubbard had a number of career bests vs. Pacific on Dec. 29. He scored 15 points, making three triples and tying a career-high with five field goals made. Starting 13 of the 15 games this season, he leads the team with 5.3 rpg.
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. He hit a career-high five field goals vs. San Diego Jan. 3, also playing a career-high 33 minutes. Kratch came off the bench the first 12 games, but has started the past three.
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. Brownridge also tied a career-high with seven assists vs. San Diego.
Denzel Johnson had a career-high six steals and six assists vs. Northeastern on Dec. 20.
Brandon Clark, No. 6 in the WCC this season with 15.7 ppg, is No. 21 on the all-time points scored list with 1,278. He joined the career points scored list last season when he scored 18 points at Pepperdine on March 1, 2014. He needs three points to move to No. 20 and will pass Ralph Ogden (1,280, 1967-70). He is moving up three other career lists as well. Clark is tied for No. 10 on the career list with 136 threes made; No. 9 on the career threes attempted with 388 and No. 10 with 347 career assists. With six more games played he will jump into the top 10 list in that category as well, tying Brody Angley (2004-08) and Mitch Burley (1985-89) at 122 career games played.
He was six of six from the free throw line vs. San Diego on Jan. 3, making four key free throws in the final 47 seconds to seal the victory. Clark is No. 3 all-time in free throw percentage. He has made 336 of his 403 free throws attempted, good for 83.4 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.
Freshman-redshirt Emmanuel Ndumanya has played in four straight games after sitting out nine straight games with a left foot injury. Prior to his injury, 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 had torn 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.
Starting every game this season, Denzel Johnson is averaging 8.0 ppg. He has scored double figures six times this season, including a season-high 15 points vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 14. His 25 steals on the year puts him at No. 4 in the WCC. He is No. 2 on the team with 485 minutes played, behind Jared Brownridge's 492 minutes played. Johnson played in his 100th career game on Saturday. He has made 25 starts during his four-year career. A versatile guard, he started 10 games his freshman year and then just one his junior year.
Johnson and Academy Award winner Denzel Washington share a similar story on their first names. While pregnant with Johnson, the doctor told his parents he was going to be a girl and were thrown two pink baby showers for a girl. When Johnson was born, they were surprised to find out he was a boy and had no name! After a lot of conversation, they chose the name Denzel, after Denzel Washington.
Fast forward to years later, when Johnson's father, C.J., met Denzel Washington. When Johnson told him why they named his son after Washington, the actor laughed. Washington's parents were also told he was going to be a girl and when he was born, they had no name for him. After debating, his parents named him after the doctor who delivered him.
Like his namesake, Johnson enjoys his time in front of the camera. Johnson is in his third year of working as an EyeBronco reporter for SCU Media Relations. He is in his second year of hosting Bronco Weekly Sports Wrap, a weekly YouTube show on Bronco Athletics (youtube.com/EyeBronco).