In its lone game this week, Santa Clara will play at San Francisco on Thurs., Feb. 12. The 8 pm game will be televised live on ESPNU with Roxy Bernstein and Corey Williams making the call. It will also be broadcast live on KDOW 1220 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.
SCU is 11-14 and 5-8 in the WCC. After USF, the Broncos will travel to Pepperdine on Feb. 19 before playing their final WCC road game on Feb. 21 at LMU. USF is 9-16, including 3-10 in WCC play. USF has lost five straight and are 6-16 over the last 22 games after starting the year 3-0. USF has three players averaging double figures: Kruize Pinkins (15.0), Mark Tollefsen (14.5) and Tim Derksen (11.5).
The Broncos have allowed five of the last six teams to shoot 51.2 percent or better. On the bright side, when the Broncos defeated USF on Jan. 17, SCU shot 47.6 percent from beyond the arc to USF's 18.2 percent. And SCU shot better than 80 percent from the free throw line, while USF managed to shoot just 58.3 percent.
In the two team's first meeting this year (1-17-15), Brandon Clark scored 23 points and Jared Brownridge added 18 as Santa Clara won 70-64 in the Leavey Center. SCU and USF will meet for the 216th time with the Broncos leading the all-time series 112-103. Santa Clara is looking to sweep the season series for the second time in three years. USF swept the series last season.
Since the formation of what is now the WCC in 1952-53, Santa Clara and USF have played 138 times with SCU holding a 70-68 lead in all games. USF leads 63-62 in regular season conference action with Santa Clara holding a 4-2 lead in WCC tournament games. SCU won the only postseason tournament matchup, 95-91, at USF on Mar. 22, 2011 in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament and the two team's have split six Cable Car Classic games. Santa Clara and USF are two of three original conference members, along with Saint Mary's, and the two played the first conference game at the Cow Palace on Jan. 6, 1953 with USF posting a 59-48 win.
Kerry Keating posted his first career WCC road win at USF on Jan. 28, 2008 and is 9-8 all-time vs. USF. Denzel Johnson has two of his three career 20-point games vs. USF. He scored a career-high 26 points (1/26/12) and added 20 in the next game (2/9/12). Jared Brownridge had back-to-back 30 point performances vs. BYU (1-18-14) and at USF (1-25-14) last season. He hit five threes on the Hilltop and was nine of 10 from the line.
Brandon Clark has jumped 15 spots this season on the career points scored list and sits at No. 14 with 1,439 points scored. Clark is tied for top honors in the WCC with 15 free throws made vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 14. His 29 points vs. LMU on Jan. 22 are the second-highest total in WCC play this season.
Matt Hubbard has played 23 minutes 20 times this season. Denzel Johnson's 26 threes this season are two more than the previous three seasons combined (24). Nate Kratch plays 26.2 mpg in his 13 games as a starter as opposed to 15.8 mpg as a non-starter in 12 games this year. Emmanuel Ndumanya played a career-high 25 minutes vs. Portland on Feb. 7, attempting a career-high seven shots, making two.
In overall stats, Jared Brownridge is No. 3 in the WCC in three point field goal percentage, threes made and minutes played. In WCC games this season, Brownridge is No. 3 in threes made and Kratch is No. 3 in offensive rebounds.
Santa Clara has the top four-year APR average in the West Coast Conference. Under Coach Keating, SCU has had a 100 percent graduation rate the past seven years. The following are expected to graduate in June: Andrew Papenfus, Denzel Johnson, Brandon Clark, Yannick Atanga and Nate Kratch. Atanga will have a double degree in French and political science and hopes to begin a master's degree if his sixth year's granted. Kratch is graduating in three years and will begin grad school this summer.
Clark and Brownridge Lead the Offense
The Broncos return the WCC's top-scoring back-court in Brandon Clark and Jared Brownridge. Clark is averaging 15.9 ppg after scoring 16.9 ppg in 2013-14. Brownridge is averaging 14.6 ppg after leading the team with 17.2 ppg last year. Both have scored in double figures 21 times this year. Clark has led the team in scoring 13 times, Brownridge 11, 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.
Clark is No. 14 on the career points scored list with 1,439. Brownridge has scored 933 career points. With 67 more points scored, he would be the 33rd Bronco in school history to score 1,000+. 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.
Romeo Named To Allstate NABC Good Works Team
As just one of five Division I men's players, senior forward Dominic Romeo was named to the Allstate NABC Good Works Team on Feb. 10. For the third year, this prestigious award pays tribute to college basketball players at all levels for their impressive commitment to giving back to their communities and positively impacting the lives of those around them. From improving environmental sustainability on college campuses to helping impoverished communities overseas, the service accomplishments of this year's team are some of the most impressive to date.
Romeo will attend the 2015 NABC Convention and the Final Four in Indianapolis, where the Good Works team will participate in a community project benefitting the host city. In his first season as a walk-on with SCU after graduating from Notre Dame in 2014, Romeo is working on his Master's degree in Theology. He graduated magna cum laude from UND in 2014 with a double major in Chinese and Political Science. He was a walk-on defensive end for the Fighting Irish football team (2012 season). As an undergrad he spent time volunteering in Honduras, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda and the USA's Appalachian region. He also traveled to China three times and wrote his senior thesis on grassroots Democratic movements in rural China. Proficient in Mandarin Chinese, he was president of Notre Dame's Political Science Honors Society and founded Notre Dame's first-ever Chinese Language Club. His career goal is to be a medical doctor in a developing country.
Brandon Clark has scored 20+ points in nine games this year. Starting 62 career games, Clark has scored double figures 67 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.
Jared Brownridge has scored 20+ points 19 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, Brownridge has started every game he has played in the past two years (58 straight). He has scored double figures 47 times and has yet to be held scoreless. He scored 30+ three times last season but has yet to do it this season.
Brandon Clark scored double figures in the eighth straight game vs. Portland on Feb. 7. He is the sixth player in school history to score 1,400+ career points and dish out 380+ career assists (joining Kevin Foster, Brian Jones, Nash, Evan Roquemore and Kyle Bailey). Clark needs eight points to move past No. 13 Mike Stewart (1,446, 1970-73) on the career points scored list. 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 is the seventh Bronco to score his 1,000th career point under Kerry Keating.
Twice named the WCC Player of the Week this season (Nov. 17, Jan. 24), Clark is an 83.6 percent career free throw shooter. He is No. 3 on the career list; and the record is held by Steve Nash (86.1 percent, 1991-96) with Russ Vrankovich sitting at No. 2 (85.8 percent, 1961-64). Clark is No. 9 on the career list with 126 games played; No. 10 with 156 threes made; No. 9 in threes attempted with 451; and No. 10 with 380 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).
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 67 this season, giving him 162 in his career - good enough for No. 9 on the Bronco career list. Hitting a three in 54 of his 58 career games, Brownridge needs four triples to pass No. 8 Brian Jones (165, 1996-01). He has hit 3+ threes in 30 games, 4+ in 20 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.
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.
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. 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.
Andrew Papenfus saw his first action of the year at BYU on Jan. 31 after recovering from brain surgery Oct. 6, 2014 to remove a golf-ball sized tumor. 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.
On the evening of Feb. 2, Papenfus had a setback and after having tests run and consulting with doctors, it was determined he should take a couple weeks off from practice and play. The tests run all came back fine and he is healthy, but he is out for the USF game. Looking back, 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.
Starting every game this season, Denzel Johnson is the third-leading scorer on the team, averaging 8.1 ppg. He has scored double-figures 10 times this year, including a season-high 15 points vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 14. He has had at least one steal in 17 games this year, including a career-high four steals vs. Northeastern on Dec. 20, and leads the team with 29. Johnson played in his 100th career game on Jan. 3. He has made 36 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).
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.