SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Fresh off a road split last week, Santa Clara men's basketball opens its final homestand of the season on Thursday with a matchup against Saint Mary's.
Tipoff between the Broncos and Gaels is set for 8 p.m. in Leavey Center.
Two days later Jimbo Lull scored 16 and Charles Minlend tallied 14 points, including 11 in the second half, to lead a balanced attack for San Francisco, which was able to hold off Santa Clara, 78-72. Vrankic had 24 points and a career-high 15 rebounds, and Trey Wertz scored 17 for the Broncos who trailed by as many as 15 in the second half against the Dons.
Santa Clara is 9-5 at home, including 3-2 in West Coast Conference play, this season and Saint Mary's is 2-5 on the road, including three straight losses.
In the first meeting of the season, Jordan Ford posted 18 points and Malik Fitts scored 10 to go along with nine rebounds to lead a balanced offensive attack for Saint Mary's (15-10, 6-4) which downed Santa Clara, 75-55.
The Gaels are tied for third in the WCC standings and the Broncos are tied for sixth.
Santa Clara faces Pacific on Saturday and finishes the home slate on Saturday, Feb. 23 with a meeting against San Francisco.
• Tahj Eaddy (14.6 ppg) is first among four Santa Clara players scoring in double figures. Josip Vrankic is averaging 13.7 points and 6.7 rebounds (second on the team) per game. Trey Wertz (12.5 ppg) and Keshawn Justice (10.4) are the top freshmen scorers in the West Coast Conference. Wertz is also sixth overall in assists (4.6 pg). Josh Martin is the leading rebounder at 8.4 per contest (No. 3 in the WCC) and the third-most efficient 3-point shooter (41.7 percent) in the league.
• After a 1-5 start, the Broncos have gone 12-7 with a roster that receives 74.5 percent (1,293 of 1,735 points) of its offensive production from first-year players.
• Injuries have plagued the Broncos and shrunk the rotation to eight players. Five players have missed games this season. Two-time All-WCC guard KJ Feagin (foot) and Juan Ducasse (knee) are out for the season. Fallout Ndoye (foot) returned to action on Saturday against San Francisco after missing 19 games.
• Santa Clara ranks in the middle of the pack in the WCC in most statistical categories. However, the Broncos are third in blocked shots (3.6 pg), but 10th in both turnover margin (-3.5 pg) and steals (4.5 pg). They have improved holding on to the ball. Santa Clara averaged 14.7 turnovers in the first 17 games and that mark has dropped to 13.1 in the most recent eight.
• Saint Mary's shoots and rebounds the ball well. The Gaels rank second in the WCC in field-goal percentage (47.8) and are first in 3-point field-goal percentage (37.8). They also have the second-best rebounding margin in the league at plus-4.7.
• Guglielmo Caruso has averaged 13.3 points and 6.3 rebounds in the last three games ... the Broncos have shot a combined 50.0 percent from the floor in the second half of the last three games ... Vrankic is averaging 10.3 points (63 percent from the floor) and 6.7 rebounds in the second half of the last three contests ... Wertz is averaging 9.7 points (60 percent from the floor) in the final 20 minutes of those outings.
• The win over Washington State on Dec. 29, 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.
|Game Notes||Santa Clara | Saint Mary's|
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).
THE SAINT MARY'S SERIES...
Santa Clara and Saint Mary's are longtime rivals and original West Coast Conference members. The series began in 1910 and the teams will be playing for the 226th time, the most common opponent in Santa Clara history. The Broncos lead the series 135-90, but the Gaels have won nine of the last 11 meetings, including the last seven. Saint Mary's has won the last three in Leavey Center.
• In two games last week, Josip Vrankic averaged 25.0 points (on 67 percent shooting), 12.0 rebounds and 2.0 steals ... Trey Wertz is averaging 14.9 points on 47.6 percent shooting from the floor (40 of 84), including hitting 16 of 33 3-pointers (48 percent), in the last eight games ... Josip Vrankic has four of his five double-doubles this season in the last nine games ... Tahj Eaddy has hit 54 of his last 64 (84.4 percent) from the free-throw line, including 4 of 5 in the final 19 seconds in the victory vs. Pepperdine (Jan. 10) and all 12 attempts in the win over San Diego (Jan. 3).
• Santa Clara has been on the wrong side of the turnover differential in all but six games - San Jose State (Nov. 24), Idaho (Dec. 21), San Diego (Jan. 3), Pacific (Jan. 19), Portland (Feb. 2) and Pepperdine (Feb. 7).
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 missed the next 19 games. Ezekiel Richards (ankle) missed the USC game, but returned vs. Idaho (Dec. 21).
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 Saint Mary's 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. For questions, contact the Santa Clara Athletics ticket office at (408) 554-4660 or BroncoTickets@scu.edu. Doors to Leavey Center open one hour prior to tipoff.
Down to three home games left, including matchups with two #BayArea rivals. Thursday features the second meeting of the season against @saintmaryshoops. Come and join us at Leavey Center!— Santa Clara Men's Basketball (@SantaClaraHoops) February 13, 2019
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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.