SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Riding a five-game winning streak, its longest in six years, Santa Clara men's basketball opens West Coast Conference play against San Diego for the first time since 2010.
The Broncos and Toreros (11-4) will face off on Thursday at 7 p.m. in Leavey Center.
On Saturday, Santa Clara (8-6), which shot a season-best 59 percent from the floor, closed out nonconference action with a 79-71 road win against Washington State behind Tahj Eaddy and Josip Vrankic who each notched 16 points to lead five players in double figures.
With seven victories in the last eight games, Santa Clara has matched its best stretch since 2012-13 (Dec. 8 through Jan. 2). The Toreros are also on a roll having won six of their last eight contests.
• Tahj Eaddy (15.8 ppg) is first among four Santa Clara players scoring in double figures. Josip Vrankic is averaging 13.8 points and 5.9 rebounds (second on the team) per game. Vrankic also ranks third in the WCC in blocked shots (1.5 pg). Trey Wertz (12.6) ranks first on the league freshman scoring list. Keshawn Justice, another freshman, is scoring at a 10.4 point-per-game clip. Josh Martin is the leading rebounder at 9.6 per contest (No. 2 in the WCC) and is the most efficient 3-point shooter (45.9 percent) in the league.
• The Broncos have improved both offensively and defensively. They have averaged 81.2 points in the last eight games after posting 64.0 in the first six. In addition, Santa Clara opponents have been held to 26.4 percent shooting from behind the 3-point line in the last eight contests. The Broncos rank third in the WCC in 3-point FG defense (29.9 percent).
• Injuries have plagued the Broncos and shrunk the rotation to eight players. Five players have missed games this season, including three currently on the shelf. Two-time All-WCC guard KJ Feagin (foot) and Juan Ducasse (knee) are out for the season. Fallou Ndoye (foot) is out of action indefinitely,
• 75.1 percent (777 of 1034 points) of the team's offensive production has come from first-year players.
• Saturday's win over Washington State gave the Broncos a pair of victories over Pac-12 Conference schools in the same season for the first time since 1997-98. Santa Clara also snapped a streak of 11 straight road/neutral site losses to Pac-12/Pac-10 schools. The last victory occurred at Stanford (62-46) on Dec. 16, 2006.
• Santa Clara and San Diego had three common nonconference opponents this season with the same results in each matchup. Each defeated Jackson State and Washington State, and lost to Washington. In addition, the Broncos and Toreros played four Pac-12 programs and produced 2-2 marks. San Diego defeated Colorado at home and lost to Oregon on the road.
• Wertz has 146 points in the last nine games (16.2 pg) after registering 28 in the first five (5.6 pg) of the season ... Eaddy has hit 26 of his last 30 (86.7 percent) from the free-throw line ... Eaddy, Justice and Vrankic have each scored in double figures during the current five-game winning streak.
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YEAR THREE UNDER SENDEK...
The Broncos are in their 112th year of existence, including third under Herb Sendek, who has been successful in each of his three previous head-coaching stops. With a resume that includes 18 postseason appearances and three conference coach of the year awards, Sendek, was one of the three youngest coaches with 400 or more career victories. He is in his 25th season as a collegiate head coach with stops at Arizona State, North Carolina State and Miami (Ohio).
ABOUT SAN DIEGO...
The Toreros are led by first-year head coach Sam Scholl, a former Santa Clara assistant. Seniors Isaiah Pineiro (20.3 pg) and Olin Carter III (17.4 pg) rank fourth and seventh, respectively, in the WCC in scoring. Isaiah Wright, another senior, is averaging 13.2 points and 5.0 assists (t-4th in WCC) per game.
THE SAN DIEGO SERIES...
In a series that began in 1953, Santa Clara leads, 47-37, with wins in eight of the last 12 meetings. The teams split two matchups last season and in 2016-17. Santa Clara has won three of the most recent four in Leavey Center. The last five meetings have been decided by a total of 21 points.
Six players, including five current ones, have suffered injuries. Juan Ducasse will miss 2018-19 after having knee surgery in August. Matt Hauser, who would have been a senior, decided not to play this season due to a foot injury. Henrik Jadersten suffered a stress fracture in his foot in the preseason and did not return until the second game of the season. KJ Feagin has suffered two injuries with the second one knocking him out for the year. He suffered a broken bone in his left hand against UC Irvine (Nov. 15) and was ruled out indefinitely. On Dec. 28, Feagin had season-ending surgery on his right foot. Fallou Ndoye suffered a torn tendon in his foot against San Jose State (Nov. 24) and is out indefinitely. Ezekiel Richards (ankle) missed the USC game, but returned vs. Idaho (Dec. 21).
INTERVIEW | Coach Sendek discusses Saturday's win over @WSUMensHoops, the team's resurgence to claim wins in 7 of the last 8 games and opening @WCCsports play on Thursday against @USDMbb. #SCUBroncos #StampedeAhead #WCCHoops pic.twitter.com/22YT4VgI9k— Santa Clara Men's Basketball (@SantaClaraHoops) January 3, 2019
Anthony Passarelli (play-by-play) and John Stege (analyst) call the action during the season on radio and through TheW.tv at home. All Broncos home games and West Coast Conference contests (not on an ESPN platform or BYUtv) will also be streamed through TheW.tv (local blackout restrictions apply for games broadcast over the air). This season at least 25 games will air on either KDOW-AM 1220 or KTRB-AM 860. The remainder can be heard on Livestream.com. Thursday's game against San Diego can be heard on KDOW-AM 1220. Click here to view broadcast outlets for the season.
Single-game and gameplan options are available for remaining games. In addition, there is a buy one, get one FREE Holiday ticket special available for the West Coast Conference opener vs. San Diego (Jan. 3). For questions, contact the Santa Clara Athletics ticket office at (408) 554-4660 or BroncoTickets@scu.edu.
FAN EXPERIENCE PACKAGES
Group-ticket options and Fan Experience Packages are available through the Santa Clara ticket office, which is open weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Contact Jesse Moreno, one of our sales and service consultants, at (408) 554-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Parking is $10 in the main campus parking structure, which is located on Palm Drive through the main campus entrance (500 El Camino Drive). 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.