SANTA CLARA, Calif. – After wins in four of its last five games, Santa Clara men's basketball is home for the next four, including three contests against the top teams in the West Coast Conference, beginning Thursday when fourth-ranked Gonzaga visits Leavey Center. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.
The Broncos (10-9, 4-2), who are in tied for third place in the WCC standings, are coming off a pair of road wins. Senior guard Jared Brownridge scored a game-high 20 points, including the game-winner, in a thrilling 59-57 victory over San Diego on Thursday. Two days later, he scored 30 points, including 21 in the second half, to help Santa Clara down Pepperdine, 75-61. Brownridge's driving layup with 1:07 left proved to be the game-winner against San Diego. He went 5 of 7 from behind the 3-point line in the final 20 minutes against the Waves to lead the Broncos to a 50-point, second-half outburst.
Gonzaga (17-0, 5-0) is the lone unbeaten team remaining in NCAA Division I behind a lineup with seven players averaging at least 8.8 ppg and 16 minutes of action.
Brownridge, who earned WCC Player of the Week on Monday, leads four Santa Clara players in double figures at 17.9 ppg, which ranks fourth in the league. Feagin is second on the team at 14.7 ppg, though he has played in only the last seven games after missing 12 due to injury. Hauser, who served as the primary point guard when Feagin was out, is averaging 10.4 points (third on the team) and a team-best 5.2 assists per game, which ranks No. 5 in the WCC. Hauser's assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.7-to-1 is first in the league and No. 6 in the country. Kratch is fourth in scoring (10.3 ppg) and his team-high 6.7 rebounds per game ranks sixth in the league.
|Audio||KLIV AM-1590 in San Jose
|Game Notes||Santa Clara | Gonzaga|
• Herb Sendek is in his first season as Santa Clara head coach after three successful stops leading Division I programs. Sendek, one of the three youngest coaches to reach 400 career victories, is in his 23rd season as a head coach. He compiled a 413-295 (.583) record, including 39 victories against top 25 teams, at Arizona State, North Carolina State and Miami (Ohio). Sendek was a coach of the year in the Pac-10, Atlantic Coast Conference and Mid-American Conference.
• The Broncos are off to their best start in WCC play since 2010-11 when they began 6-2 … Santa Clara just won two straight on the road in the league for the first time since 2013-14 when it beat Portland, 76-68, on Dec. 30, and Saint Mary's, 57-55, on Jan. 9 … the wins vs. San Diego (Jan. 12) and Pepperdine (Jan. 14) marked the first victories in back-to-back games overall and in WCC play in almost four years. The Broncos defeated San Francisco, 85-54, on Jan. 17, 2013, and Pepperdine, 83-76, two days later.
• Last week, Jared Brownridge, the second-leading scorer in school history (2,056), moved up three spots to eighth on the WCC all-time scoring list, passing Bo Kimble of LMU (2,010/1987-90), Jim McPhee of Gonzaga (2,015/1986-90) and Johnny Dee of San Diego (2,046/2011-15). With 30 points vs. Pepperdine on Saturday, Brownridge notched his 11th career 30-point game. He needs four more points to reach Forrest McKenzie of LMU (2,060/1981-86) in seventh place. Brownridge (1,075) ranks fourth in scoring in league only games and needs five points to reach Anthony Ireland of LMU (1,080/2010-14) in third. In the 70-42 win over Portland (Jan. 5), Brownridge became only the second Bronco and 11th player in conference history to reach 2,000 career points. Brownridge is also fourth among active leading scorers in NCAA Division I.
Feagin's Return Gives Backcourt A Boost...
Guard KJ Feagin, the team's starting point guard and an All-WCC Freshman team pick last year, suited up for the first time this year in the Valparaiso game (Dec. 22). Feagin broke a bone in his foot during the first week of preseason practice and missed the opening 12 games. He has played in the last seven contests, gradually increasing his workload. Feagin has averaged 18.0 points, 5.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 49 percent from the floor in 35.8 minutes during the last five games. The Broncos are 5-2 since Feagin returned to the lineup.
Hanging on To The Basketball...
Santa Clara has the best turnover margin in the WCC (+2.4 per game) and the third-best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4-to-1). Those factors have helped offset an offense scoring 67.3 points per game (No. 10 in the league). However, the Broncos are allowing just 64.5 ppg, which ranks third in the conference. Santa Clara is 9-2 this season when scoring 65 or more points. Guards Matt Hauser and KJ Feagin, the primary ballhandlers, have been able to hold on to the basketball. During six WCC games, they have combined for just 14 turnovers while dishing out 52 assists.
Jared Brownridge is the team's top scoring threat, posting 17.9 points per game, which ranks fourth in the West Coast Conference. But that total and his shooting accuracy increases with fellow guards Matt Hauser and KJ Feagin in the lineup. Feagin was out for the first 12 games of the season with a foot injury and Hauser recently missed nearly all of two contests with a concussion. In the five games that trio has been on the floor, the Broncos have posted a 4-1 record with Brownridge averaging 21.6 points on 48 percent shooting from behind the 3-point line. They have combined for 65.9 percent of the team's points (46.4 of 70.4) and 81.3 percent of the assists (61 of 75), as well as shooting 46.1 percent on FGs and 44.2 percent from the behind the 3-point line in games against Valparaiso (Dec. 22), BYU (Dec. 29), USF (Dec. 31), San Diego (Jan. 12) and Pepperdine (Jan. 14). The production of those three was on display in last week's 59-57 win vs. San Diego as Brownridge (20), Feagin (19) and Hauser (10) combined for 49 points (83.1 percent), 11 of the team's 13 assists (84.6 percent) and only three of the 10 turnovers (30 percent).
Gonzaga is under the direction of Mark Few who is in his 18th season as head coach. The Bulldogs are the last undefeated Division I team with a 17-0 record, including 5-0 in WCC play. Junior point guard Nigel Williams-Goss leads the team in both scoring (15.9 points per game) and assists (4.9 pg). However, the Bulldogs have a very balanced attack with six additional players averaging at least 8.0 points per game. Gonzaga is atop the league in nearly all the key statistical categories and among the best in the nation in many. Gonzaga shoots 50.9 percent from the field, the third-best mark in the nation, and only allow its opponents to shoot 37.9 percent which is the No. 6 mark in the country. The Bulldogs rank No. 3 nationally in scoring margin (+21.7).
The Gonzaga Series...
The series began in 1946 and Gonzaga leads, 56-30. The Bulldogs have won the last 12 meetings. Santa Clara's last win occurred on Jan. 20, 2011, when the Broncos downed the Bulldogs, 85-71, in Leavey Center.
• Guard Jared Brownridge and forward Nate Kratch are the only players to start all 19 games. Brownridge is averaging more than 37 minutes and Kratch 33-plus per game. Guard Matt Hauser is averaging nearly 35 per game, but played just two minutes vs. Portland (Jan. 5) after leaving due to a concussion and sat out against LMU (Jan. 7). Brownridge played 30 minutes against Northern Colorado (Nov. 19) due to foul trouble and a season-low 28 at BYU (Dec. 29), but has played at least 33 minutes in the other 17 contests. Hauser has played less than 34 minutes only three times. Brownridge (49), Kratch (48) and Hauser (46) nearly played the entire Valparaiso game (Dec. 22). Brownridge, Kratch and Kai Healy played all 40 minutes vs. LMU (Jan. 7) ... Brownridge had his 32-game double-figure scoring streak snapped when he was held to seven points in a 75-50 win over UC Riverside (Dec. 13). Brownridge, who has scored in double figures in 37 of the last 41 games, including 20 or more points in 22, snapped out of a mini-slump (single-digit scoring in two straight games) with 20 vs. San Diego (Jan. 12) and 30 against Pepperdine (Jan. 14) ... Brownridge went 4-for-29 (13.8 percent) on 3-pointers in the opening four games but has been more himself the last 15, hitting 60 of 139 (43.2 percent) ... Hauser has scored in double figures 10 times this season (eight of his last 11 games), including a career-high 18 vs. UC Riverside. He scored in double figures four times in 2015-16 ... after reaching double figures in three of the first nine games, Kratch has scored at least 10 points in seven of the last 10. He is averaging 12.0 points and connecting on 50 of 104 FGs (48.1 percent) in the last 10 contests. Kratch is also averaging 9.0 rebounds in the last seven games and missed a double-double by one carom vs. BYU (Dec. 29), USF (Dec. 31) and LMU (Jan. 7) ... after not seeing action in the first seven games, junior center Emmanuel Ndumanya has played in the last 12. He assumed the starting center role in the Cal State East Bay game (Dec. 10) and has been in the opening lineup the last 10 games, averaging 3.5 points and 5.9 rebounds ... junior forward Jarvis Pugh has scored in double figures in five contests this season after reaching 10 points just twice in his previous 42 career games. But Pugh has missed the last three games with a foot injury and is out indefinitely ... sophomore forward Henrik Jadersten has scored in double figures five times this season after only three occurrences in 2015-16
• Santa Clara has been trying to find some consistency shooting from the floor. The Broncos, who rank ninth in the WCC in FG percentage (42.8), have connected on 50 percent or more in three games and less than 40 percent six times. The team is 9-2 this season when connecting on at least 43 percent from the field and 7-2 when hitting 40 percent or higher from behind the 3-point line. Conversely, Santa Clara is just 4-8 when the opposition shoots 45-plus percent from the field ... Santa Clara averages 9.6 made 3-pointers per game (No. 2 in the WCC). The Broncos are 6-3 on the year when nailing 10 or more from beyond the 3-point line ... Santa Clara out-rebounded Washington State, 35-27, on Dec. 17 and posted its top rebounding outings of the season in the previous two games, grabbing 41 against both Cal State East Bay (Dec. 10) and UC Riverside (Dec. 13). But the Broncos have the lowest rebounding margin in the WCC (-3.4 pg).
Tickets: Click here to purchase tickets online or contact the ticket office weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. at (408) 554-4660 or BroncoTickets@scu.edu. Group discounts are also available through our ticket office sales and service consultants. Doors to Leavey Center, as well as its ticket office, will be open 90 minutes prior to the start of the Gonzaga game.
Parking: Parking is $10 in the main campus parking structure, which is located on Palm Drive through the main entrance. The Leavey Center parking lot, located on Accolti Way off El Camino Real, is reserved for season-ticket holders. Click here for a campus map and parking restrictions.
Radio/Live Stream: Anthony Passarelli (play-by-play) and John Stege (color) will call the action vs. Gonzaga via KLIV AM-1590 in San Jose. All Broncos home games and West Coast Conference contests (not on an ESPN platform) will also be streamed through TheW.tv (local blackout restrictions apply for games broadcast over the air). KLIV AM-1590 is the broadcast outlet for 25 Santa Clara games this season and a selected few will can be heard on KSCU FM-103.3 and KDOW AM-1220.
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