SPOKANE, Wash. - Santa Clara men's basketball continues its stretch of four straight road games on Saturday with a visit to top-ranked Gonzaga, which is in the midst of the school record 23 consecutive victories. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. (moved from its original 8 p.m. start time).
The Broncos (13-11, 7-4) won their third-straight road game Thursday by outlasting Portland, 60-45, behind 17 points from senior guard Jared Brownridge and a combined 27 from sophomore guards KJ Feagin (14) and Matt Hauser (13). Santa Clara held the Pilots to 34 percent shooting from the floor, including 1-for-11 on 3-pointers.
Gonzaga (23-0, 11-0), which defeated the Broncos, 88-57, on Jan. 19 in Santa Clara, is the lone remaining unbeaten team in Division I. The Bulldogs downed BYU, 85-75, Thursday, which enabled the Broncos to move into a tie for third with the Cougars in the WCC standings.
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 in scoring at 13.6 ppg, though he has only played in the last 12 contests after missing the first 12 due to injury. He's averaged 5.5 assists in WCC games, which ranks second among league players. Hauser is averaging 10.3 points and 5.3 assists per game, fourth overall in the WCC. Hauser's assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.5-to-1 is second in the league and No. 7 in the country. Kratch is fourth in scoring (10.3 ppg) and his team-high 6.8 rebounds pg (No. 6 in the WCC).
|Audio||KLIV AM-1590 (San Jose, Calif.)
|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. He is one of four first-year head coaches in the WCC and has a 3-0 mark in meetings with the others this season.
• 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); the 6-3 record after nine games the best since 2012-13 (also 6-3); current 7-4 mark is the best since 2006-07 (9-2) … Santa Clara's 76-68 win over BYU (Jan. 26) snapped a 14-game losing streak in the series, including all 13 in WCC action ... Santa Clara has won three straight on the road in the league (San Diego, Jan. 12; Pepperdine, Jan. 14; Portland, Feb. 2) for the first time since 2012-13 when it beat San Francisco (Jan. 17), Pepperdine (Jan. 19) and San Diego (Jan. 26)… this year's wins vs. San Diego and Pepperdine also marked the first victories in back-to-back road games overall and in WCC play in almost four years (San Francisco, Jan. 17, 2013; Pepperdine, Jan. 19, 2013).
• Jared Brownridge (2,159) ranks second in school history and sixth on the WCC all-time scoring list. He needs 10 points to reach Anthony Ireland of LMU (2,169/2010-14) in fifth. Brownridge is also second (1,178) on the list for scoring in WCC games. He needs 12 points to equal Hank Gathers of LMU (1,190/1988-90) as the all-time scoring leader in league 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 third 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 12 contests. Feagin has averaged 14.2 points, 5.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds in 36.0 minutes during the last nine games. The Broncos are 8-4 since Feagin returned to the lineup.
Hanging on To The Basketball...
Santa Clara has the best turnover margin in the WCC (+2.04 per game), just ahead of Gonzaga (+2.00), and the third-best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4-to-1). Those factors have helped offset an offense scoring 66.4 points per game (No. 10 in the league). However, the Broncos are allowing just 65.0 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 5.3 per game and KJ Feagin is averaging 5.5 per contest, though he's only played 12 games and out of official rankings. The Broncos average 14.6 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 overall in the WCC in assist percentage (61.8) and first in league games (66.5).
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 nine games that trio has been on the floor, the Broncos have posted a 7-2 record with Brownridge averaging 22.0 points on 46.1 percent shooting from behind the 3-point line. They have combined for 67.3 percent of the team's points (410 of 609) and 86.0 percent of the assists (113 of 136), as well as shooting 44.9 percent on FGs and 43.2 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), BYU (Jan. 26) and Portland (Feb. 2). 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).
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 23-0 record, including 11-0 in WCC play. Junior point guard Nigel Williams-Goss leads the team in both scoring (15.6 points per game) and assists (4.8 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 51.0 percent from the field, the fifth-best mark in the nation, and only allow its opponents to shoot 36.8 percent which is the No. 2 mark in the country. The Bulldogs rank No. 1 nationally in scoring margin (+23.2).
The Gonzaga Series...
The series began in 1946 and Gonzaga leads, 57-30. The Bulldogs have won the last 13 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 24 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. 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 22 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 42 of the last 46 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 seven games ... Brownridge went 4-for-29 (13.8 percent) on 3-pointers in the opening four games but has been more himself the last 20, hitting 80 of 188 (42.5 percent) ... Hauser has scored in double figures 13 times this season (11 of his last 15 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 15. Kratch is also averaging 8.46 rebounds in the last 13 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 17. He assumed the starting center role in the Cal State East Bay game (Dec. 10) and has been in the opening lineup the last 15 games, averaging 4.2 points and 5.6 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 12-3 this season when connecting on at least 43 percent from the field and 9-2 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 7-3 on the year when nailing 10 or more from beyond the 3-point line ... Santa Clara is 5-1 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 Phil Von Buchwaldt (color) will call the action vs. Gonzaga 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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