PORTLAND, Ore. - Santa Clara men's basketball will look to solidify its seeding in next week's West Coast Conference tournament when it closes the regular season at Portland.
The Broncos and Pilots (7-23, 0-15) will face off at 7 p.m. in Chiles Center.
Santa Clara (15-14, 7-8), which is tied for fifth with Loyola Marymount and San Diego in the WCC standings, saw its two-game winning streak snapped on Thursday. James Batemon recorded 23 points, including 16 in the second half, to help rally LMU from a 20-point deficit to a 72-70 win over Santa Clara. Tahj Eaddy posted 28 points and Josip Vrankic added 22 for the Broncos who had only one field goal in the final 11:40 of the game and committed 16 turnovers.
Santa Clara could land anywhere between the fifth and seventh seeds in the tourney, with Pepperdine, currently eighth at 7-9, also factoring into potential tiebreakers.
• In the case of a three-way tie for fifth at 8-8, seeds would be 5) USD, 6) LMU, 7) SCU (USD .667 winning pct. in pod, LMU .500, SCU .333)
• In a three-way tie for sixth at 7-9, the seeds would be 6) Pepperdine, 7) San Diego, 8) LMU (PEP .750 winning pct. in pod, USD .500, LMU .250)
• In a four-way tie for fifth at 7-9, the seeds would be: 5) Santa Clara, 6) Pepperdine, 7) LMU, 8) San Diego (SCU .600 winning pct. in pod, PEP .500, LMU .500, USD .400 … PEP gains advantage over LMU by virtue of PEP win vs. 2-seed SMC)
Santa Clara is 4-6 on the road, including 2-5 in conference play, this season and Portland is 6-10 at home, including 0-7 against league foes.
• Tahj Eaddy (14.9 ppg) is first among four Santa Clara players scoring in double figures. Josip Vrankic is averaging 14.0 points and 6.3 rebounds (second on the team) per game, and ranks 10th in the West Coast Conference in field-goal percentage (52.3). Trey Wertz (12.0 ppg) and Keshawn Justice (10.0) are the top freshmen scorers in the WCC. Wertz is also sixth overall in assists (4.6 pg). Josh Martin is the leading rebounder at 8.0 per contest (fourth in the WCC) and the top 3-point shooter (40.6 percent) on the team.
• After a 1-5 start, the Broncos have gone 14-9 with a roster that receives 74.0 percent (1,474 of 1,992 points) of its offensive production from first-year players.
• Injuries have plagued the Broncos and shrunk the available scholarship players to nine (only eight for 19 games). Two-time All-WCC guard KJ Feagin (foot) and Juan Ducasse (knee) are out for the season. Fallou Ndoye (foot) returned to action against San Francisco (Feb. 9) after missing 19 games.
• Santa Clara ranks in the middle of the pack in the WCC in a number of statistical categories. However, the Broncos are third in blocked shots (3.6 pg), but 10th in both turnover margin (-3.2 pg) and steals (4.6 pg). The Broncos have been improving at the free-throw line. They rank eighth in the league (71.7), but after shooting 68.8 percent in the first 18 games, they are hitting at a 77.0 percent clip in the last 11.
• Portland is the only winless team in the conference, but two of its last seven games have gone to overtime, including the first matchup with the Broncos on Feb. 2. The Pilots outscored Santa Clara 12-2 in the final 1:41 of regulation, but the Broncos prevailed 69-63 behind a career-high tying 17 points from Justice. The Pilots rank 10th in the WCC in scoring (65.6 ppg), field-goal percentage (41.3) and rebounding margin (-5.3 pg).
• 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 | Portland|
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 PORTLAND SERIES...
In a series that began in 1946, Santa Clara leads 65-33. It has been a series of streaks in recent years. The Broncos have captured the last seven meetings, which followed a three-game winning streak for Portland. Santa Clara was victorious in the previous three before that 10-game stretch.
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) are 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. The Portland game can be heard on KTRB-AM 860. Click here to view broadcast outlets for the season.