Playing its final two WCC road games this season, Santa Clara travels down to Southern California for a pair of games at Pepperdine and LMU this weekend. Defeating both LMU and Pepperdine in Santa Clara in late January, Santa Clara will be looking for its first series sweep of both for the first time since 2011. The Broncos will play at Pepperdine on Thurs., Feb. 19 and then finish at LMU on Sat., Feb. 21. The 6 pm game with the Waves will be televised live on Wtv.com with Ari Wolfe and Brad Holland making the call. It 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 11-15 and 5-9 in the WCC. After winning four straight, including a 60-57 victory over Pepperdine on Jan. 24, the Broncos have lost five straight WCC games. In its only game last week, the Broncos were clipped in overtime at USF, 69-62, on Feb. 13.
Pepperdine is 15-11, including 8-7 in WCC play. Pepperdine was swept on its Northwest swing last weekend, losing 69-52 at Portland and then 56-48 at No. 3 Gonzaga. Pepperdine has two players averaging double figures: Stacy Davis (15.7) and Jett Raines (11.0).
Leading by as many as 12 points in the second half, the Broncos watched a last second game-tying Pepperdine shot go off the mark and escaped with their fourth straight win, 60-57, over the Waves Jan. 24 at the Leavey Center. Santa Clara led by 10 with 9:45 to play, but would score just one basket the rest of the way allowing Pepperdine to get within two points four times. The Broncos never surrendered the lead and escaped with the three-point victory after a potential game-tying three-point shot by Jeremy Major was wide as time expired.
The Broncos had three players reach double figures with Brandon Clark and Jared Brownridge leading the way with 13 points each and Nate Kratch adding 10. Stacy Davis led the Waves with 21 points and nine rebounds with Jett Raines scoring 13 and Lamond Murray Jr. 10.
SCU leads the series 72-57 vs. Pepperdine. Last season Pepperdine defeated the Broncos 70-61 on Jan. 2 in Santa Clara and then SCU returned the favor with an 86-78 drubbing in Malibu on March 1. Jared Brownridge had a monster day in Malibu as he tied his own freshman school record with seven threes, finishing with a freshman school record 38 points. SCU swept the season series in 2013 after the Waves did the same in 2012.
The Broncos have started the same five players the past 14 games. That line-up includes (career starts): Brandon Clark (63), Jared Brownridge (59) Denzel Johnson (37), Matt Hubbard (24) and Nate Kratch (19).
Clark has jumped 16 spots this season on the career points scored list and sits at No. 13 with 1,460 career points. He needs 112 points to pass No. 12 Kyle Bailey (1,571, 2001-05). 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.
Hubbard has played 23+ minutes 21 times this year. Johnson's 26 threes this season are two more than the previous three seasons combined (24). Kratch has played 25.2 mpg in 14 games as a starter this year compared to 15.8 mpg as a non-starter. With 14 points at USF, Brownridge scored double figures in his 11th straight game and 48th career game. He is ninth in the WCC in scoring with 14.6 ppg. He is third in the WCC with 69 three-point field goals and fifth with a 45.0 percentage from beyond the arc.
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 16.1 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 22 times this year. Clark has led the team in scoring 14 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. 13 on the career points scored list with 1,460. Brownridge has scored 947 career points. With 53 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 and the eighth Bronco to score his 1,000th career point under Kerry Keating. 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.
With his play at Pepperdine, Brandon Clark will move into a four-way tie for No. 5 on the career games played list. He will have played in 128 games, tying John McArthur (2010-14), Niyi Harrison (2009-13) and Ben Dowdell (2007-11). Clark's next obstacle: Kevin Foster sits at No. 4 with 133 games played.
Clark has scored 20+ points in 10 games this year, including 21 at USF on Feb. 12. Starting 63 career games, Clark has scored double figures 68 times in his career, including 23 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 (59 straight). He has scored double figures 48 times and has yet to be held scoreless. He scored 30+ three times last season but has yet to do it this season.
Clark (29) and 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.
Brandon Clark scored double figures in the ninth straight game at USF on Feb. 12. He is the sixth player in school history to score 1,450+ career points and dish out 385+ career assists (joining Kevin Foster, Brian Jones, Steve Nash, Evan Roquemore and Kyle Bailey). 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.
Twice named the WCC Player of the Week this season (Nov. 17, Jan. 24), Clark is an 83.7 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. 10 with 159 threes made; No. 9 in threes attempted with 457; and No. 10 with 388 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 69 this season, giving him 164 in his career - good enough for No. 9 on the Bronco career list. Hitting a three in 55 of his 59 career games, Brownridge needs two 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.