Santa Clara returns home this weekend to the Leavey Center for a two-game set. It will host No. 2 Gonzaga at 8 pm on Thurs., Feb. 5 and then follow that game with a 5 pm game vs. Portland on Sat., Feb. 7. The Gonzaga game will be televised live on ESPN2 with Roxy Bernstein and Corey Williams making the call. 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.
SCU is 11-12 and 5-6 in the WCC. The Broncos are tied for fifth place with USD. The Bulldogs are 22-1 and 10-0 in the WCC. The Zags only loss was at then-No. 7 Arizona in overtime (66-63 on Dec. 6, 2014). With a balanced scoring attack, they have five players who score in double figures: Kyle Wiltjer (15.6), Kevin Pangos (12.2), Przemek Karnowski (11.0), Byron Wesley (10.5) and Domantas Sabonis (10.1).
Hosting A Top 2 Team
The Broncos are hosting the nation's No. 2 team for just the second time in Santa Clara on Thursday. No. 2 Stanford topped the Broncos 78-63 in the finals of the 34th annual Cable Car Classic on Dec. 30, 2000.
Santa Clara has hosted the No. 1 team four times over the years, including three different USF teams. The No. 1 North Carolina team, who defeated the Broncos 76-57 on Dec. 29, 1981 in the finals of the 15th annual Cable Car Classic, featured Michael Jordan and James Worthy. That Tar Heel team went on to win the NCAA title a few months later.
Broncos' History Hosting Top 2 Teams At Santa Clara
Opponent (Rank) Date Score
Stanford (2) + 12-30-00 63-78
North Carolina (1) + 12-29-81 57-76
USF (1) 1-29-77 70-71
USF (1) 2-24-56 44-80
USF (1) 2-14-55 52-66
+ Cable Car Classic
This will be the 85th all-time meeting between Santa Clara and Gonzaga with the Bulldogs holding a 52-32 record. The Zags are riding a nine-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.
In their last game, with the Broncos cutting the lead to just one with 5:48 left, No. 6/7 Gonzaga outscored SCU 14-2 to end the first half and SCU fell 79-57 in Spokane on Jan. 10. Matt Hubbard, who grew up less than an hour away in Colville, Wash., tied a career-high with 15, including a career-best five threes. Jared Brownridge added 14 and Denzel Johnson 10. Brandon Clark led the Broncos with seven boards, but scored just four on 2 of 9 shooting from the field.
Gonzaga had four players score double figures. Przemek Karnowski led the Zags with 18 points and nine boards. Kyle Wiltjer scored 16, Kevin Pangos had 13 with four assists and Byron Wesley added 11. Domantas Sabonis had 11 points and nine boards off the bench.
Awesome For Andrew!
Andrew Papenfus, recovering from brain surgery Oct. 6, 2014 to remove a golf-ball sized tumor, saw his first action of the year at BYU on Jan. 31. He played the final 3:58 of the game, collecting a rebound, a steal and shooting 0-2 from the field. None of those were personal bests for him, but the fact he was on the court less than four months after brain surgery is remarkable. It was an emotional moment for both Papenfus and his teammates and coaches, some of which had tears in their eyes.
Watch the EyeBronco video where he, Coach Keating and his teammates talk about his return to the court after the game at BYU.
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 on Oct. 6, 2014 was done by Dr. Mitch Berger and his team at UCSF in San Francisco. He has shocked doctors with how fast he has been able to recover - he was only in the hospital for four days. He couldn't move his right foot after surgery, but Papenfus quickly graduated from basic physical therapy.
WCC's Top Scoring Back-Court Returns
The Broncos return the WCC's top-scoring back-court in Brandon Clark and Jared Brownridge. Clark is averaging 16.0 ppg after scoring 16.9 ppg in 2013-14. Brownridge is averaging 14.4 ppg after leading the team with 17.2 ppg last year. Both have scored in double figures 19 times this year. Clark has led the team in scoring 12 times, Brownridge 10, Matt Hubbard twice and Nate Kratch once. Denzel Johnson and Jalen Richard both had a team-high 13 points at Portland to finish out the game scoring leaders.
Brownridge has scored 898 career points and would be the 33rd Bronco in school history to score 1,000 plus with 102 more points. On pace to do it this year, he would be the first true sophomore to do so. Kevin Foster scored his 1,000th career point as a redshirt-sophomore on Jan. 22, 2011 vs. Portland (he played six games in 2009-10 before he broke his foot and was redshirted). Foster closed out his Bronco career with 2,423 career points, second only in the WCC to Hank Gather's 2,490 career points.
Our 20s Together
Brandon Clark (29) and Jared Brownridge (20) both scored 20+ vs. LMU on Jan. 22. Brownridge tied a season-high with six threes. Scoring 20+ together is nothing new for the duo, as they did it five times last season and have done it twice this year.
Clark has scored 20+ points in nine games this season. Starting 60 career games, Clark has scored double figures 65 times in his career, including 22 games with 20 or more points the past two years. Prior his junior year, Clark hadn't scored 20+ points in a college or high school game since he scored 29 in an AAU game in eighth grade. He has also scored 30 or more three times during his career, including a season-high 31 points vs. CSU-Fullerton on Nov. 14.
Brownridge has scored 20+ points 18 times in his career, including three straight games earlier this season (vs. Rider, at SJSU and vs. Washington State). The 2014 WCC Newcomer of the Year, Jared Brownridge has started every game he has played in the past two years (56 straight). He has scored double figures 45 times and has yet to be held scoreless. He scored 30+ three times last season but has yet to do it this season.
Go For a Walk?
Jared Brownridge works as an EyeBronco reporter for the SCU Media Relations office and hosts his own YouTube series: "Long Walks With Jared". With a couple cameras filming their conversation, Brownridge walks around the picturesque Mission campus chatting with his subject. He recently interviewed WCC Commissioner Lynn Holzman and that "Long Walk" was released on the EyeBronco YouTube channel on Feb. 2 to rave reviews. Click here to watch.
Brownridge has also interviewed Santa Clara University President, Father Michael Engh, and two of his teammates: Dominic Romeo and Brandon Clark.
Next up? Former Bronco head coach Carroll Williams in late February. The Bronco head coach from 1970-92, Williams is the second-winningest coach in WCC history with 165 victories to his credit.
At No. 15 with 1,411 career points, Brandon Clark has climbed 14 spots on the all-time list since the start of the season. He is the sixth player in school history to score 1,400+ career points and dish out 370+ career assists (joining Kevin Foster, Brian Jones, Nash, Evan Roquemore and Kyle Bailey). Clark needs 27 points to move past No. 14 Bud Ogden (1,437, 1966-69).
1400+ Points, 372+ Assists
Name (Years) Pts. Assts.
Kevin Foster (2008-13) 2,423 464
Brian Jones (1996-01) 1,722 517
Steve Nash (1992-96) 1,689 510
Evan Roquemore (2010-14) 1,615 578
Kyle Bailey (2001-05) 1,571 452
Brandon Clark (2010-) 1,411 372
He was the 15th Bronco to score 1,400 career points (Jan. 29) and the 20th Bronco to score 1,300 points (Jan. 13). Clark joined the 1,000+ list last season when he scored 18 points at Pepperdine on March 1, 2014. He was the seventh Bronco to score his 1,000th career under Bronco head coach Kerry Keating.
The career 83.6 percent free throw shooter is just 14-20 (70.0 percent) in the last three games after having a streak of 29 straight makes snapped. Shooting almost 85 percent this season from the line (104 of 123), Clark is No. 3 on the Bronco career list. The record is held by Steve Nash (86.1 percent, 1991-96) and Russ Vrankovich is No. 2 (85.8 percent, 1961-64). Clark is tied at No. 9 on the career list with 124 games played (John Bryant, 2006-09); No. 10 with 152 threes made; No. 9 in threes attempted with 438; and No. 10 with 372 assists.
Clark had his streak of 25 straight games in double figures ruined on Nov. 19 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).
Clark was named the WCC Player of the Week on Jan. 26 for the second time this season. Clark hit a pair of free throws with 11 seconds left to ice the game vs. LMU on Jan. 22. He then added three free throws in the final 16 seconds of the Pepperdine victory on Jan. 24. Clark scored a WCC season-high 29 points vs. LMU and added 13 vs. Pepperdine.
Clark was named also 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.
Jared Brownridge has made 5+ threes nine times in his career, including seven threes twice last year (vs. La Sierra, 12/14/13 and at Pepperdine, 3-1-14). He led the team with 95 three pointers a year ago and has already hit 61 this season, giving him 156 in his career - good enough for No. 9 on the Bronco career list. The 61 threes are No. 2 in the WCC this year and his 43.3 percent shooting is No. 3. Hitting a three in 52 of his 56 career games, Brownridge needs 10 triples to pass No. 8 Brian Jones (165, 1996-01). He has hit 2+ threes in 41 games, 4+ in 19 games, 5+ in nine games and 6+ in 4 games His four career games with no 3s: 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.
Excelling from the line since a horrid 2 for 7 start to the season, Brownridge has since made 62 of his last 67 free throws (92.5 percent). He is No. 3 in the league at 86.5 percent this season. A preseason All-WCC pick this season, he set seven SCU freshman season records and three game records last year. His 567 points scored last year 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, USF 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.
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. With almost 60 family and friends in the stands, Hubbard tied a career-high with 15 points at No. 6/7 Gonzaga on Jan. 10, matching his output at Pacific on Dec. 29. He made five threes in nine tries up at the Kennel, also personal bests. Starting 21 games this season, he is second on the team with 4.5 rpg.
As a youngster, Hubbard was like many children, competing in a variety of sports including basketball, baseball, soccer, football and swimming. Hubbard proved to be quite a swimmer at a young age. Living close to the Canadian border, he traveled 25 miles north with his team, the Colville Sharks, for swim meets as part of the British Columbia Summer Swimming Association. As an eight year old he won the Canadian district meet in three events to advance to the Provincial Championships in Burnaby, B.C. At the National meet in August of 2004, Hubbard wore a U.S.A. swimming cap and won both the 50m breaststroke and 50m freestyle titles and finished fourth in the 100 freestyle. "I played a lot of sports. I really liked basketball and after awhile I got tired of swimming," said Hubbard. But said he does wonder what might have happened if he had stuck with it.
Hitting the books hard, Nate Kratch will graduate in June - finishing his undergraduate degree in Psychology in three years. Kratch will begin classwork on a Master's degree in the field of Psychology this fall and will have two years of eligibility remaining after redshirting his first year. His career goals include working in the field of Psychology or fitness training.
Kratch came off the bench the first 12 games, but has started the last 11. He was a rebound and a point shy of his first career double-double at USD on Jan. 29 (9 and 9). Averaging 25.1 mpg over the last 16 games, he is shooting 72.0 percent over the last six games (18 of 25), raising his field goal percentage to 54.0 percent, scoring 46 points. He has also grabbed 40 rebounds in the last six games (6.7 rpg), including his 200th career rebound at BYU.
He tied his career high with 11 boards vs. LMU on Jan. 22. He 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. He was 7 of 10 from the free throw line, also career bests. He has hit a career-high five field goals twice this year (vs. San Diego and at Portland). He also played a career-high 33 minutes in Portland.
Kratch made his first three on his first attempt in his first game for the Broncos last year. Kratch comes from a very athletic family. His maternal grandmother, Dorsey Anderson Dinkla, played professional basketball for the Redheads and was inducted into the Professional Basketball Hall of Fame in New York City at Madison Square Garden last year. She once scored 70 points in a high school game. His dad, Bob, played football at Iowa and went on to win a Super Bowl ring with the New York Giants in 1991. His mother, Kristi, was a high jumper at Iowa and cleared a personal best of 5'11. His older brother, Colby, played tight end at Toledo University and is now a graduate assistant for the Rockets. His younger sister, MacKenzie, strives to be a Division I hockey player. His paternal grandfather played baseball at Long Island University and two Kratch Uncles played football at Cornell and Central College.
Starting every game this season, Denzel Johnson is the third-leading scorer on the team, averaging 8.1 ppg. He has scored double-figures nine times this year, including a season-high 15 points vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 14. He has had at least one steal in 16 games this year, including a career-high four steals vs. Northeastern on Dec. 20, and leads the team with 28. Johnson played in his 100th career game on Jan. 3. He has made 34 starts during his four-year career. A versatile guard, he started 10 games his freshman year and then just one his junior year. He made his 25th three of the year at BYU on Jan. 31, surpassing his total from the previous three years (24). He is shooting 46.2 percent the last 12 games (18 of 39) from beyond the arc.
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.