SANTA CLARA, Calif. - After four straight at home, Santa Clara men's basketball hits the road for the next four games, beginning Thursday with Portland, which is mired in an eight-game losing streak. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. from Chiles Center.
The Broncos (12-11, 6-4) have won four of their last six, with the two losses to top 25 teams, including Saturday's 72-59 defeat at the hands of No. 21/21 Saint Mary's. On Thursday, Santa Clara secured its biggest victory of the Herb Sendek era by knocking off BYU, 76-68, for the first time since the Cougars joined the West Coast Conference. Senior guard Jared Brownridge scored a game-high 25 points, including 14 in the second half, while senior forward Nate Kratch and sophomore guard KJ Feagin tallied 16 each for Santa Clara, which drained a season-high tying 14 3-pointers. But just two days later, a short bench and poor shooting by the Broncos combined with deadly accuracy by the Gaels was too much to overcome.
Portland (9-13, 2-8) has been hurt by a season-ending injury to senior guard Alec Wintering who averaged 19.5 ppg (third in the WCC) in his 18 games.
Brownridge leads four Bronco players in double figures at 18.5 ppg, which ranks fourth in the league. He is first in the WCC and 10th nationally averaging 3.5 3-point field goals per game. Feagin is second on the team at 13.5 ppg, though he has only played in the last 11 contests after missing the first 12 due to injury. He's averaged 5.9 assists in WCC games, which ranks first. Sophomore guard Matt Hauser, who missed the Saint Mary's game with the flu, is averaging 10.2 points and 5.2 assists per game, fourth overall in the WCC. Hauser's assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.4-to-1 is second in the league and No. 8 in the country. Kratch is fourth in scoring (10.5 ppg) and his team-high 6.8 rebounds pg (No. 6 in the WCC).
|TV||ROOT Northwest, CSN Bay Area, Spectrum SportsNet
|Audio||KLIV AM-1590 (San Jose, Calif.)
|Game Notes||Santa Clara | Portland|
• 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. Sendek will be facing another first-year head coach in Portland's Terry Porter.
• Santa Clara has already eclipsed its win total (11) from last season ... the 4-2 start in WCC play was the best since 2010-11 (opened 6-2) and the 6-3 record after nine games the best since 2012-13 (also 6-3) … Thursday's win vs. BYU snapped a 14-game losing streak in the series, including all 13 in WCC action ... Santa Clara recently won two straight on the road in the league (San Diego, Jan. 12; Pepperdine, Jan. 14) 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 … those road wins also 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.
• Jared Brownridge (2,142) ranks second in school history and sixth on the WCC all-time scoring list. He needs 27 points to reach Anthony Ireland of LMU (2,169/2010-14) in fifth. Brownridge is also second (1,161) on the list for scoring in WCC games. 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 11 contests, gradually increasing his workload. Feagin has averaged 14.3 points, 6.4 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 35.9 minutes during the last eight games. The Broncos are 7-4 since Feagin returned to the lineup.
Hanging on To The Basketball...
Santa Clara has the second-best turnover margin in the WCC (+2.1 per game), trailing only Gonzaga (+2.3), and the third-best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4-to-1). Those factors have helped offset an offense scoring 66.7 points per game (No. 10 in the league). However, the Broncos are allowing just 65.9 ppg, which ranks third in the conference. Santa Clara is 10-2 this season when scoring 65 or more points.
Sharing the Basketball...
Santa Clara has two of the top assist producers in the WCC with Matt Hauser ranking fourth at 5.2 per game and KJ Feagin averaging 5.7 per contest, though he's only played 11 games and out of official rankings. The Broncos average 14.7 assists pg, which is fifth in the league, but they are among the best in the conference based on assists per made field goals. The Broncos are second in assist percentage (61.8) overall in the WCC and first in league only games (67.0).
Jared Brownridge is the team's top scoring threat, posting 18.5 points per game (No. 4 in the WCC). 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 earlier this month Hauser missed nearly all of two contests with a concussion. Hauser also missed the Saint Mary's game with the flu. In the eight games that trio has been on the floor, the Broncos have posted a 6-2 record with Brownridge averaging 22.3 points on 46.6 percent shooting from behind the 3-point line. They have combined for 66.7 percent of the team's points (366 of 549) and 85.4 percent of the assists (105 of 123), as well as shooting 44.6 percent on FGs and 42.2 percent from the behind the 3-point line in games against Valparaiso (Dec. 22), BYU (Dec. 29), USF (Dec. 31), San Diego (Jan. 12), Pepperdine (Jan. 14), Gonzaga (Jan. 19), LMU (Jan. 21) and BYU (Jan. 26). The production of those three was on display in the 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).
First-year head coach Terry Porter and his Portland Pilots sit at 9-13 on the year. The Pilots are entering the matchup with the Broncos on an eight-game losing streak. Portland defeated Pacific and Pepperdine in the first two WCC games of the year and have lost the other eight, the last four without leading scorer Alec Wintering who is out for the season. He averaged 19.5 points (third in the WCC; No. 48 in the nation) and 5.6 assists per game (second in the WCC; No. 26 in the country). Sophomore guard Jazz Johnson is second on the team in scoring, pouring in 16.5 points per game. The Pilots connect on 7.1 three-pointers per game and shoot 38.0 percent from beyond the arc, the second-best mark in the league.
The Portland Series...
The series began in 1946 with Santa Clara leading, 61-33. The Broncos won both games last season, snapping a three-game series winning streak for the Pilots. The Broncos captured the previous three.
• Guard Jared Brownridge and forward Nate Kratch are the only players to start all 23 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 last time out vs. Portland (Jan. 5) after leaving due to a concussion. 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 21 contests. Hauser has played less than 34 minutes only three times ... 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 41 of the last 45 games, including 20 or more points in 25, snapped out of a mini-slump (single-digit scoring in two straight games) with 20 or more in five of the last six games ... Brownridge went 4-for-29 (13.8 percent) on 3-pointers in the opening four games but has been more himself the last 19, hitting 75 of 174 (43.3 percent) ... Hauser has scored in double figures 11 times this season (10 of his last 14 games), including a career-high 18 vs. UC Riverside (Dec. 13). 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 nine of the last 14. Kratch is also averaging 8.8 rebounds in the last 12 games. He has two double-doubles on the season (at Valparaiso, Dec. 22; vs. BYU, Jan. 26) and missed 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 16. He assumed the starting center role in the Cal State East Bay game (Dec. 10) and has been in the opening lineup the last 14 games, averaging 4.0 points and 5.4 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 seven games with a foot injury suffered vs. Portland (Jan. 5) and is out indefinitely.
• Santa Clara has been trying to find some consistency shooting from the floor. The Broncos, who rank seventh in the WCC in FG percentage (42.9), have connected on 50 percent or more in four games and less than 40 percent seven times. The team is 11-3 this season when connecting on at least 43 percent from the field and 8-2 when hitting 40 percent or higher from behind the 3-point line. Conversely, Santa Clara is just 5-10 when the opposition shoots 45-plus percent from the field ... Santa Clara averages 9.6 made 3-pointers per game (No. 1 in the WCC). The Broncos are 7-4 on the year when nailing 10 or more from beyond the 3-point line ... Santa Clara is 4-1 this season when out-rebounding its opponents, but the Broncos have the lowest rebounding margin in the WCC (-3.7 pg).
Radio/Live Stream: Anthony Passarelli (play-by-play) and John Stege (color) will call the action vs. Portland on KLIV AM-1590 in San Jose, California. All Broncos home games and West Coast Conference contests (not on an ESPN platform or televised by BYUtv) will also be streamed through TheW.tv (local blackout restrictions apply for games broadcast over the air). KLIV AM-1590 is serving as the broadcast outlet for 25 Santa Clara games this season and a selected few can be heard on KSCU FM-103.3 and KDOW AM-1220.
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