SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara men's basketball, the No. 4 seed in the West Coast Conference Tournament, opens play Saturday against fifth-seeded San Francisco . The teams split the regular-season series with each winning at home. The Broncos and Dons (20-11, 10-8) last met in the WCC Tournament at the conclusion of 2007-08 with Santa Clara securing a 51-50 victory.
The winner of Santa Clara-USF, a matchup of the two most improved teams in the league, will play either No. 1 seed Gonzaga, No. 8 Pepperdine or No. 9 Pacific in one of Monday's semifinals. Pepperdine and Pacific play in Friday's first round with the winner facing Gonzaga on Saturday.
The Broncos (16-15, 10-8) have four players averaging in double figures led by Jared Brownridge, a three-time first-team All-WCC choice. He ranks third in the league in scoring (17.3 ppg). He is first in the WCC and 15th nationally averaging 3.2 3-point field goals per game. KJ Feagin, a 2016-17 second-team All-WCC pick, is second on Santa Clara in scoring at 14.6 ppg and first in 3-point shooting (49.0 percent), though he has only played in the last 19 contests after missing the first 12 due to injury. Feagin is averaging 15.2 points (sixth in the WCC) and 4.4 assists per game (fifth) in league games. Only Gonzaga's Nigel Williams-Goss (17.9/4.7) is averaging at least 14 points and producing 4.0 or more assists in WCC games. Matt Hauser is averaging 10.2 points and 5.3 assists per game, third overall in the WCC. Hauser's assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.4-to-1 is first in the league and No. 8 in the country. His four double-doubles are the most by a WCC guard this season. Nate Kratch is averaging 10.7 ppg and a team-high 6.6 rebounds pg (No. 7 in the WCC). His 42.1 3-point FG percentage ranks fourth in the WCC. He is averaging 16.0 points while shooting 57.9 percent from the floor during the last five games.
|TV||CSN Bay Area, Spectrum SportsNet, ROOT NW, BYU.tv
|Video||TheW.tv | Twitter
|Audio||KLIV AM-1590 (San Jose, Calif.)
|Game Notes||Santa Clara | San Francisco|
• Santa Clara, which has had seven players miss time due to injury, has already eclipsed its win total (11) from last season and posted the best overall turnaround in the West Coast Conference. The Broncos finishing above .500 in league play for just the third time in the last 10 years, including first since 2012-13. The Broncos have posted a 5.0 game improvement so far this season compared to 2015-16 when they were 11-20. San Francisco is second at 4.5 games (15-15 in 2015-16). Santa Clara also had the best turnaround in league play with a three-game improvement (7-11 in 2015-16). Gonzaga, USF, LMU and San Diego each had a two-game increase in win total.
• 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.
• Jared Brownridge (2,253) ranks second on the school's all-time scoring list and fourth in WCC history . Brownridge (1,272) is also the all-time scoring leader in WCC games. In addition, the senior is third among active leading scorers in NCAA Division I.
Three Players Earn All-WCC Honors...
Senior Jared Brownridge joined rare company with his third-straight appearance on the All-WCC First Team, while sophomore KJ Feagin earned a spot on the second team despite missing 12 games due to injury. He was a member of the 2015-16 WCC All-FreshmanTeam. Senior Nate Kratch secured honorable mention recognition. Brownridge is just the fourth player in school history to earn three straight first-team All-WCC honors, joining:
• Ken Sears (1952-53, 1953-54, 1954-55)
• Dennis Awtrey (1967-68, 1968-69, 1969-70)
• Harold Keeling (1982-83, 1983-84, 1984-85)
Sharing the Basketball...
Santa Clara has two of the top assist producers in the WCC with Matt Hauser ranking third at 5.3 per game and KJ Feagin is averaging 4.4 per contest, though he's only played 19 games and out of official rankings. The Broncos average 14.5 assists pg (No. 5 in the WCC), but they are among the best in the league based on assists per made field goals. The Broncos are second overall in the WCC in assist percentage (61.6) and first in league games (64.3).
Hanging On To The Basketball...
Santa Clara has the No. 1 turnover margin in the WCC at plus-1.9 per game and the third-best assist-to-turnover ratio (1.4-to-1). The Broncos average just 10.5 turnovers per game (No. 14 in the country) and have the No. 3 steal percentage (6.1) in the nation, according to KenPom.com. Those factors have helped offset an offense scoring 66.5 points per game (No. 9 in the league). However, the Broncos are allowing just 64.9 ppg, which ranks third in the conference. Santa Clara is 12-2 this season when scoring 65 or more points.
Broncos in the WCC Tourney...
Santa Clara has a 27-28 all-time record in the West Coast Conference tournament, which began with the 1986-87 season. The Broncos have won two tournament titles, at the conclusion of the 1986-87 and 1992-93 seasons. They have a 6-2 mark against USF in the tourney.
Scouting San Francisco...
Head coach Kyle Smith has led the San Francisco Dons to a 20-11 overall record, including 10-8 mark in WCC play. Senior guard Ronnie Boyce leads the team in scoring at 12.8 points per game. Junior forward Chase Foster (10.3 ppg) and freshman guard Charles Minlend (10.1 ppg) are the other two double-figure scorers for USF. The Dons have attempted 802 3-pointers on the season, the highest mark in the WCC and the 10th-most in the nation. Their 9.3 3-pointers made per game is also second in the league and a No. 33 in the country.
The San Francisco Series...
The series began in 1908 and the Broncos hold a 113-107 lead. The 220 meetings are the most of any Santa Clara opponent. The Dons have captured six of the last eight games between the teams, though the Broncos snapped a three-game series losing streak with a 72-58 win on Dec. 31.
• Guard KJ Feagin has scored in double figures in 14 of the last 17 games. In the last seven games, he's averaged 16.1 points on 54.9 percent shooting from the floor, including 64.9 percent on 3-pointers (24 of 37) ... guard Jared Brownridge and forward Nate Kratch are the only players to play all 31 games, starting each one. Brownridge is averaging 36.9 (No. 7 in the nation) and Kratch 33.8 minutes per game. Guard Matt Hauser is averaging 35.3 game (No. 3 in the WCC), 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 28 of the other 29 contests. Hauser has played less than 34 minutes only six times ... Hauser has posted more than two turnovers just four times season and he dished out 10 or more assists in five games. He currently ranks ninth (154) on Santa Clara's all-time single season assist list ... 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 has scored in double figures in 47 of the last 53 games, including 20 or more points in 26 ... Hauser has scored in double figures 17 times this season, 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 13 of the last 22 ... Kratch has four double-doubles on the season (at Valparaiso, Dec. 22; vs. BYU, Jan. 26; at Pacific, Feb. 11; vs. San Diego, Feb. 18) 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 24. He assumed the starting center role in the Cal State East Bay game (Dec. 10) and has been in the opening lineup the last 22 contests ... Ndumanya has posted double-digit rebounding efforts in five of the last eight games, including the four of five. He is averaging 10.0 rebounds in the last five games ... 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 until playing vs. Saint Mary's Saturday, Pugh had missed the last 14 games with a foot injury suffered vs. Portland (Jan. 5).
• Santa Clara has searched for consistency shooting from the floor. The Broncos, who rank seventh in the WCC in FG percentage (43.7), have connected on 50 percent or more in five games and less than 40 percent 10 times. The team is 15-4 this season when connecting on at least 43 percent from the field and 12-3 when hitting 40 percent or higher from behind the 3-point line. Conversely, Santa Clara is just 6-12 when the opposition shoots 45-plus percent from the field ... Santa Clara averages a WCC-high 9.6 made 3-pointers per game. The Broncos are 9-3 on the year when nailing 10 or more from beyond the 3-point line ... Santa Clara is 7-1 this season when out-rebounding its opponents, but the Broncos have the lowest rebounding margin in the WCC (-3.8 pg).
Radio/Live Stream: Zack Bayrouty (play-by-play) and John Stege (analyst) will call the action vs. San Francisco 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 served as the broadcast outlet for 25 Santa Clara regular-season games this season. Others were heard on KSCU FM-103.3 and KDOW AM-1220.
Tickets: Santa Clara's allotment is sold out. Remaining tickets can be purchased though Orleans Arena.
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