Men Travel To Vegas For WCC Championship

Men Travel To Vegas For WCC Championship

Santa Clara Game Notes

Santa Clara will travel to Las Vegas for the West Coast Conference Championship this week.  As the No. 7 seed, Santa Clara will open the tournament vs. LMU, the No. 10 seed, on Fri., March 6.  The 8 pm game with the Lions will be televised live on BYUtv with Dave McCann and Blaine Fowler making the call.  It will also be broadcast live on KLIV 1590 AM and the Bronco website, SantaClaraBroncos.com, as part of the Bronco Radio Network.  Due to Anthony Passarelli's obligations with the Earthquakes, David Gentile, the school's Video Manager, will serve as the Broncos' play-by-play announcer throughout the tournament.  Gentile is a 2012 Gonzaga graduate who has broadcast Bronco baseball and men's and women's soccer the last two years. Prior to coming to Santa Clara he did two seasons of minor league baseball. 

SCU is 13-17 and finished 7-11 in the WCC.  SCU held Saint Mary's scoreless the final 2:06 of Senior Night with Brandon Clark hitting a pair of free throws at 1:01 and Jared Brownridge scoring the game winner with 7 seconds left.  Garrett Jackson's three at the buzzer was off the mark. There were 10 lead changes and 10 ties in the game vs. the Bay Area Rivals.

Clark finished with 21 and Brownridge and Denzel Johnson added 17 each.  Jarvis Pugh had a game-high 10 rebounds.  For Saint Mary's, leading scorer Brad Waldow was held to just five points.  Kerry Carter led the Gaels with 19 and Jackson scored 13 with Calvin Hermanson adding 12 off the bench.  Desmond Simmons collected a team-high nine boards.

LMU is 8-22 and finished 4-14 in the WCC.  LMU has lost six straight games, including a 65-49 rivalry game at Pepperdine on Feb. 28.  LMU hit just 10.0 percent from beyond the arc, scoring just two of 20 attempts.  David Humphries led the team with 11 points and 10 boards.  Marin Mornar added 10. 

Vs.

Santa Clara and LMU have faced each other eight times at the WCC Championship since 1988.  LMU has won five of those meetings, but the Broncos have won three of the last four match-ups.  In their last meeting, LMU knocked the Broncos out of the 2013 WCC Tournament with a 60-58 victory on March 6, 2013.   

Santa Clara leads the LMU series 88-57.  SCU swept the season series for the first time since 2011.  Short-handed, the Lions battled within two points with 36 seconds left, but SCU finished the game off by making five of six free throws to beat LMU 70-63 on Feb. 21 in Los Angeles.  Jared Brownridge scored 28 points with three assists and two steals.  Denzel Johnson scored 13 and Brandon Clark and Jarvis Pugh added 10 each.  Pugh hauled in nine boards and had five assists. Johnson added seven boards.  Matt Hayes finished with 20 points, including six threes.  Godwin Okonji had 15 points with five boards.  David Humphries had 16.

Clark (29) and Brownridge (20) both scored 20+ in the 65-62 victory vs. LMU on Jan. 22.  Scoring 20+ together is nothing new for the duo, as they did it five times last year and have done it twice this year. 

WCC Honors

Three Broncos were honored Tuesday when the West Coast Conference announced its league honors, including sophomore Jared Brownridge, senior Brandon Clark and freshman Matt Hubbard.  Three Broncos were honored earlier in the week for their work in the classroom.

Brownridge was named First Team All-WCC after becoming the first true Bronco sophomore and just third in WCC history to score 1,000+ career points. It is the seventh time a Keating-player has been honored on the All-WCC First Team and Brownridge is the only sophomore to be honored this year.  Averaging 15.4 ppg, Brownridge scored the game winner vs. Saint Mary's on Saturday.  Starting every game of his career (63), he has scored double figures in 15 straight games heading to the WCC Tournament.  He is fifth in the league in FT percentage (85.6%) and has made 22 of his 24 FT attempts in the last four games.  He is sixth on the season list this year with 82 threes, ranking second in the WCC in threes made and threes made per game (2.7).  Brownridge has scored 1,028 career points, good enough for No. 31 on the career list. The WCC Newcomer of the Year last season, Brownridge led the team with 17.2 ppg his freshman year.

Twice named the WCC Player of the Week this year, Clark was named to the All-WCC Honorable Mention team for the second straight year.  He is just the sixth player in school history to score 1,500+ points (1,507), 160+ threes (160) and 400+ assists (401).  Clark became the 13th player in school history to score 1,500+ career points when he scored 21 points in the win over Saint Mary's Saturday.  It was his 11th 20+ game this season and the 24th of his career. He is 20 of 21 from the free throw line in the last six games.  On the Bronco career list, he is No. 3 in free throw percentage (84.1), No. 5 in free throws made (391), No. 5 in games played (131) and No. 10 in assists (401). He has played in all 131 games of his career, making 67 starts.

Hubbard was named to the WCC All-Freshman team. He is the seventh player under Keating to receive the honor.  Hubbard has played in all 30 games, starting 24.  He recorded his first career double-double in the victory over San Diego Jan. 3 (12 points, 11 boards).  He tied a career-high with 15 points at Gonzaga on Jan. 10, hitting five threes.  He also scored 15 vs. Pacific on Dec. 29.

A league-high three Broncos were named to the West Coast Conference All-Academic List, including First Team member Nate Kratch.  Kratch was one of just 10 named to the First Team.  He carries at 3.32 grade point average in Psychology.  Kratch is finishing his degree in June, graduating in three years. He will begin graduate school in the summer as he has two seasons left after this year.

Andrew Papenfus and Dominic Romeo were also named to the WCC All-Academic Honorable Mention list.  Papenfus carries a 3.25 GPA and will graduate in June with a degree in Marketing.  Romeo, who graduated Magna cum laude with a 3.84 GPA as a double major in Political Science and Chinese from Notre Dame in Spring 2014, carries a 3.8 GPA in his graduate work in Theology.  Romeo was named to the Allstate NABC Good Works team in February and will travel to the Final Four in Indianapolis in early April as part of the honor. 

Line-Up

The Santa Clara starting line-up is expected to be Brandon Clark, Jared Brownridge, Denzel Johnson, Nate Kratch and Jarvis Pugh. Pugh has started three of the past four games in place of Matt Hubbard, who has started 24 games this season.  Coming off the bench due to Senior Day, Pugh collected a career-high 10 rebounds and eight points in the win the over Saint Mary's on Feb. 29.  Pugh was just a rebound away from his first career double-double when he scored a career-high 10 points and nine boards at LMU.  He has played in all 29 games this season, starting 14, and averages 18.9 mpg.

Clark has jumped 16 spots on the career points scored list this season and sits at No. 13 with 1,507 career points.  He needs 65 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 third-highest total in WCC play this season.

Johnson's 34 threes this season are seven more than the previous three seasons combined (24).  Prior to Senior Night, Kratch had started 17 straight games for the Broncos and leads the team with 4.6 rpg in 21.0 mpg.  With 17 points vs. SMC, Brownridge scored double figures in his 15th straight game and 52nd career game.  

Clark and Brownridge Lead the Offense

Brandon Clark is averaging 15.5 ppg after scoring 16.9 ppg in 2013-14.  Brownridge is averaging 15.4 ppg after leading the team with 17.2 ppg last year.  Brownridge has scored in double figures 26 times year and Clark follows closely at 25 times.  Clark has led the team in scoring 15 times this year, Brownridge 14, 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.  

Brandon 

Climbing up the career charts, with 1,507 points, 401 assists and 160 threes made, Brandon Clark is the sixth player in school history to score 1,500+ points, dish 400+ assists and make 160+ threes, joining Kevin Foster, Steve Nash, Kyle Bailey, Evan Roquemore and Brian Jones.  With 21 points in the win vs. Saint Mary's on Feb. 28, he became the 13th player to score 1,500 career points.  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 84.1 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 has scored 20+ points in 11 games this year, including 21 at USF and 21 vs. Saint Mary's.  Starting 67 career games, Clark has scored double figures 71 times in his career, including 24 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.

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).  

33rd

With a three-pointer from the elbow at 9:01 in the first half vs. Pacific on Feb. 26, Jared Brownridge is the 33rd Bronco to score 1,000 career points.  He scored 567 his freshman year and 461 this year.  Brownridge is the first true sophomore in Santa Clara history and just the third player in WCC history to do so his first two years (no redshirt season).  Brownridge is the eighth Bronco to score his 1,000th career point under Kerry Keating.  The last to do so: Brandon Clark joined the 1,000+ list last season when he scored 18 points at Pepperdine on March 1, 2014.

The first WCC player was USF's Winford Boynes.  He scored 1,074 his first two seasons. He collected a USF freshman record 542 points in 1975-76 and added 532 points in 1976-77.  The second was the late Quintin Dailey, also of USF.  Dailey scored 393 points his rookie year (1979-80) and 693 his sophomore year when he was named the WCC Player of the Year (1980-81).  Kevin Foster scored his 1,000th career point for the Broncos 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.

Brownridge scored double figures in the 15th straight game when he collected 17 vs. Saint Mary's.  Brownridge has scored 20+ points 20 times in his career, including three straight games this season (vs. Rider, at SJSU and vs. Washington State). The 2014 WCC Newcomer of the Year, he has started every game he has played in the past two years (63 straight).  He has scored double figures 52 times and has yet to be held scoreless.  He scored 30+ three times last season but has yet to do it this season.

Brownridge has made 5+ threes 10 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 triples a year ago and has hit 82 this season, giving him 176 in his career - good enough for No. 8 on the Bronco career list.  He has hit 3+ threes in 33 games, 4+ in 22 games, 5+ in 10 games and 6+ in 5 games.  Hitting a three in 58 of his 63 career games, Brownridge needs 16 threes to pass No. 7 Ethan Rohde (2002-05, 192).  His five career games with no threes include: 0-8 at Pep 2-19-15; 0-5 vs. USD 1-13-15; 0-6 at BYU 2-16-14; 0-1 vs. GU 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 single game records last year.  His 567 points scored last year shattered the 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.   

A Communication major, 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 interviewed WCC Commissioner Lynn Holzman in January.  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.  The Bronco head coach from 1970-92, Williams is the second-winningest coach in WCC history with 165 victories to his credit.  

Andrew

Andrew Papenfus, who was named to the All-WCC Academic team on Feb. 27, 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 had not played since the BYU game when he started Senior Night vs. Saint Mary's.  He gave the Bronco a big lift in his five minutes of play when he snarred two steals, a rebound and assist.

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 up regulate (grow), he decided to have brain surgery as soon as the surgeon could get it on the schedule.  "Why take the risk," he said. 

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.

Nate

Hitting the books hard, Nate Kratch will graduate in June - finishing his undergrad degree in Psychology in three years.  Kratch will begin classwork on a Master's degree in the field of Psychology this fall and has two years of eligibility remaining after redshirting his first year.  His career goals include working in the field of Psychology or fitness training.  Carrying a 3.32 GPA in Psychology, Kratch was named to the WCC All-Academic First Team on Feb. 27

Santa Clara has the top four-year APR average in the WCC.  Under Kerry 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 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 made his first three on his first attempt in his first game for the Broncos last year as he 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.

Dom

One of five Division I men's players, Dominic Romeo was named to the Allstate NABC Good Works Team on Feb. 10.  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.  Romeo was also named to the WCC All-Academic Team on Friday.

Playing in six games, 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).  

Matt

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 contribution at Pacific on Dec. 29.  He made five threes in nine tries up at the Kennel, also personal bests.  Starting 24 games this season, he is second on the team with 4.0 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 Hubbard said he does wonder what might have happened if he had stuck with it.

Denzel 

Starting every game this season, Denzel Johnson is the third-leading scorer on the team, averaging 8.6 ppg.  Making 41 starts during his career, he started 10 games his freshman year and once his junior year.  He has scored double-figures 14 times this year, including a season-high 17 points vs. Saint Mary's. He has one steal in 22 games this year.  He collected his 100th career assist on Feb. 19 and played in his 100th career game on Jan. 3.  

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. 

Kai

SCU was expecting to redshirt Kai Healy this year, but announced Nov. 24 he would play this year. He responded with four points and three boards in 19 minutes at Michigan State.  He started and scored a key three pointer in Santa Clara's win vs. Rider on Nov. 30.   He scored a career-high 12 points vs. Cal Poly on Dec. 23, 2014, hitting five field goals, including two threes (both career highs).  He also hit a key three vs. USF on Jan. 17, helping the Broncos to a 70-64 victory.  Healy has played in 21 games this season and averages 2.7 ppg, playing 10.9 mpg.  He is 8 of 18 from three-point range. 

Healy was born in Indianapolis, Ind. and moved to Australia prior to his fourth birthday. His father is a Notre Dame graduate and his mother an Indiana graduate.  He is a 2013 graduate of The Scots College in Sydney, Australia.  His team lost 82-76 to Lake Ginninderra (LG) in the national high school title game in 2013.  Healy had 25 points on 10 of 11 shooting from the field, including making 4 of 5 beyond the arc.  Dante Exum scored 19 points with 15 assists for the opposition.  LG had a 17-point third quarter time lead reduced to four points inside the final two minutes before collecting the victory.  Healy's team defeated Exum's three of the five times they played during their prep career.  Exum went on to be the fifth overall pick by Utah in the 2014 NBA Draft.

Yannick: Sixth Year Efforts

The Broncos have been without the services of fifth-year forward Yannick Atanga (6-8, 230) the entire year.  He injured his knee in the first half of the season opener vs. Cal State Fullerton and did not play vs. San Diego Christian.  He did play 20 minutes at Utah State on Nov. 19.  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.  He will graduate in June with a double degree in French and political science with hopes of beginning work on a master's degree this summer.

With a block at Utah State, 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.

The 2015 Signees

Santa Clara head men's basketball coach Kerry Keating announced the 2015 Bronco signing class on Wed., Nov. 12, 2014.  

Name Pos. Hgt. Wgt. Hometown/High School

Matthew Hauser G 6-1 165 Thousand Oaks, Calif./Thousand Oaks

Henrik Jädersten F 6-11 230 Sollentuna, Sweden/Solna Gymnasium

Tony Lewis F 6-8 260 San Antonio, Texas/ Central Catholic

Bryson Lockley F 6-7 195 Houston, Texas/Cy-Fair

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