Santa Clara continues to travel in the Northwest as it moves on to Spokane to play at No. 6/7 Gonzaga on Sat., Jan. 10 at 5 pm. The game will be telecast on Comcast Bay Area and the ROOT Rocky Mountain Networks with Gonzaga announcers Greg Heister and Richard Fox making the call. The game will also be broadcast live on KLIV 1590 AM and 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 7-9 and 2-3 in the WCC. Santa Clara is 2-4 on the road this season, including 1-2 in the WCC. Gonzaga is 15-1 and 4-0 in the WCC. The Zags are 8-0 at home, including 1-0 the McCarthey Center during WCC play. The Zags only loss was at then-No. 7 Arizona in overtime (66-63 on Dec. 6, 2014).
Our Opponent, Last Time
This will be the 84th all-time meeting between Santa Clara and Gonzaga with the Bulldogs holding a 51-32 record. The Zags are riding an eight-game series win streak. SCU's last win over the Zags came on Jan. 20, 2011 with an 85-71 decision in the Leavey Center. That win broke a 10-game home losing skid to Gonzaga.
Their last meeting proved to be a hard fought battle with the Broncos walking away broken-hearted. Jared Brownridge sank a 10-footer with 10 seconds left, but Gonzaga's David Stockton scored a lay-up with 1.4 seconds left to lift the Zags to a 77-75 victory in the West Coast Conference quarterfinals in Las Vegas on March 8, 2014.
Brownridge led the Broncos with 24 points, including four threes. Brandon Clark scored 14 points. The Bronco seniors finished their careers on a high note individually as Evan Roquemore added 12 points and four rebounds; Jerry Brown collected nine points and had seven rebounds and John McArthur scored eight points.
Sam Dower scored 23 for the Zags, including a perfect 15 of 15 from the free throw line. Gary Bell, Jr. had 13 points and Przemek Karnowki scored 16 points with 12 boards.
With Portland dominating the boards (34-17), the Pilots beat Santa Clara 78-61 in the Chiles Center. on Thursday night. Four Broncos finished in double figures for the first time since their 76-67 Washington State victory on Dec. 13, 2014. Jalen Richard led the Broncos with a season-best 13 points, adding four assists. Denzel Johnson collected 13 and Nate Kratch had 10 points, all in the second half. Jared Brownridge scored 10, including two threes. Jarvis Pugh led the Broncos with four rebounds.
Hitting 12 threes, on 52 percent shooting from the field, No. 6/7 Gonzaga topped San Francisco 88-57 Thursday night in Spokane. The Zags were led by a trio: Kevin Pangos scored 17 points, Przemek Karnowski 16 and Kyle Wiltjer 15. Kruize Pinkins scored 20 for USF, who have now dropped four straight. Gonzaga won the battle of the boards by collecting 39 to USF's 26.
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 15.3 ppg after scoring 16.9 ppg in 2013-14. Brownridge is averaging 13.8 ppg this season after leading the team with 17.2 ppg last year. Clark has scored double figures in 13 of 16 games and Brownridge has done it 12 times this year. Brownridge has led the team in scoring seven times; Clark six times; and Matt Hubbard and Nate Kratch once each. Denzel Johnson and Jalen Richard tied for the team's scoring leader at Portland with 13 each to finish out the game leaders.
Still Looking For 60th Double Figures Game
Brandon Clark has started 52 of his 117 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 49 career games he has played. He has scored double figures 38 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 45 this season, giving him 140 in his career, good enough for No. 9 on the Bronco career list. He needs 26 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). He set seven SCU freshman season records and three game records last year.
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.
Jalen Richard tied a career-best with four assists and scored a season-high 13 points at Portland on Jan. 8. His points were two off his career best from the first game his career (15 vs. Bethesda, Nov. 8, 2013). He has 19 pts. on 7-10 FG (.700) in his last 2 games played, surpassing his total (16) from the first 14 games
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 14 games this season, he leads the team with 5.1 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 four.
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 is No. 20 on the all-time points scored list with 1,287, passing No. 20 Ralph Ogden at Portland (1,280, 1967-70) at Portland. He needs 113 points to pass No. 15 Nick Vanos (1,399, 1981-85). Clark joined the 1,000 career points scored list last season when he scored 18 points at Pepperdine on March 1, 2014. He is moving up four other career lists as well. Clark is tied for No. 9 on the career list with 137 threes made (Mitch Burley, 1985-89); No. 9 on the career threes attempted with 397; and No. 10 with 349 career assists. With five more games played he will jump into the top 10 list in that category as well, tying Brody Angley (2004-08) and 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 338 of his 405 free throws attempted, good for 83.5 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 five 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 8.3 ppg. He has scored double figures seven 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 511 minutes played, behind Jared Brownridge's 529 minutes played. Johnson played in his 100th career game on Jan. 3 vs. San Diego. He has made 26 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).
Jared Brownridge (27) and Brandon Clark (23) scored 20+ points each in SCU's 68-60 win vs. Rider on Nov. 30. Brownridge had a season-high six threes. They narrowly missed the feat again vs. Washington State with Brownridge scoring 25 and Clark adding 19. Scoring 20+ together is nothing new for the duo of Brownridge and Clark, as they did it five times last season. The first time was Nov. 16, 2013 when Brownridge scored 21 and Clark added 23. The last time was Jan. 28, 2014 when Brownridge dropped 30 and Clark added 20.
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 who played a year of football at Notre Dame University.
Senior Andrew Papenfus is recovering from brain surgery in early Oct. Papenfus suffered a seizure in mid-June at Santa Clara during a Bronco Basketball camp drill. Tests revealed he had a golf ball sized tumor in the left side of his brain. He was given the choice to wait to have the surgery and play this season or have the surgery immediately. Because they couldn't guarantee it wouldn't grow, up-regulate, Papenfus decided to have brain surgery as soon as the surgeon could get it on the schedule. "Why take the risk," said Papenfus.
The five hour surgery was done at UCSF in San Francisco by Dr. Mitch Berger and his team. He has shocked doctors with how fast he has been able to recover. He was only in the hospital for four days. Papenfus has already graduated from basic physical therapy (he couldn't move his right foot after surgery) and is working on sports rehabilitation. His hope is that he will be able to play this season and is shooting for a West Coast Conference debut. He began limited-contact practice with the team again on Jan. 7, 2015.