Nov. 28, 2009
Game Story by Student Assistant Stephen Hobbs
Shaking up the Bronco line-up, Bronco head coach Kerry Keating started four freshmen today vs. Fresno State. The move worked as Santa Clara defeated Fresno State, 74-67, for the 20th time in school history. Santa Clara was led by Kevin Foster's 25 points off the bench.
SCU is 3-3 and Fresno State is 2-3. Santa Clara plays at UC Santa Barbara on Tues., Dec. 1 at 7 pm before returning home on Sat., Dec. 5 to host UNLV at 7 pm.
Keating said in practice on Friday he had the newcomers scrimmage against the returners and the team that won started today. "Fresno State is an extremely athletic team. We played very hard today and competed all day," said Keating.
SCU shot 38.1 percent, including 33.3 percent beyond the arc. SCU had 40 rebounds, nine steals, and three blocks with ten turnovers. Fresno State shot 46.8 percent, including 46.2 percent beyond the arc. Fresno State had 34 rebounds, five blocks and five steals with 20 turnovers.
Individually for Santa Clara, Foster had 25 points on the afternoon. This was the 14th time in his career that he has scored 20 points, and the 3rd time all season. Robert Smith had a career-high 17 points and six rebounds. Marc Trasolini added nine points and 12 rebounds, but fouled out of the game for the first time in his career. Raymond Cowels also added 13 points in the afternoon, ten of which came in the second half. Sylvester Seay led the Bulldogs with 26 points, nine rebounds and he was 10-12 from the free throw line. Paul George added 19 points and nine rebounds in the losing effort.
Santa Clara's starting lineup featured some different faces from the Bronco's last game with four freshmen starting (Chris Cunningham, Niyi Harrison, Smith and Cowels). Foster came off the bench for the first time since Nov. 25, 2008 against Arizona. In that game Foster scored 21 points in a 66-69 defeat. Also, Trasolini did not start for the Broncos for the first time all season.
In the first half Fresno State jumped to a quick 7-0 lead in the ball game after a three from Mychal Ladd with 18:22. However, the Broncos responded with their own 7-0 run with a three from Robert Smith at 17:25.
Although Foster did not start the game his presence off the bench was felt right away. Foster drained threes on back to back possessions and put the Broncos up 13-11 with 14:40.
Santa Clara continued the momentum with another run. The 11-3 run was highlighted by another three by Foster and a strong finish on a layup by Smith, which pushed the Bronco's lead to 24-16.
Fresno State trimmed the Bronco's lead down to five points with 3:23, but the Broncos again countered the Bulldogs attack. Foster nailed another three, his fourth in the half, and Raymond Cowels hit a three of his own with 15 seconds left on the clock. The score at halftime was 39-26.
Foster paced the Broncos in the first half with 16 points. He was 6-10 from the field and 4-7 from behind the three-point line. Smith added 13 points of his own and he was 3-5 from behind the three-point line. This was the first time all season that the Broncos had two players with double-digit scoring in the first half.
The Broncos scored 39 points in the first half, which are the most points that the Broncos have scored in a first half since they scored 48 points against USF on February 25, 2008. Santa Clara won the game 87-55.
To start the second half both teams battled back and forth. Paul George had five straight points for the Bulldogs to bring the Bronco's lead down to ten points.
Foster continued to hit from beyond the arc for the Broncos as he hit a shot to put the Broncos up by 13 with 12:00. But on the next possession Steven Shepp hit a deep three for the Bulldogs to cut the Bronco's lead to ten points.
The Bulldogs narrowed the gap to nine with 8:35 remaining after a dunk by Greg Smith. But Trasolini converted a three point play for the Broncos and pushed the lead back to double digits.
Two free throws by Paul George with 2:11 remaining cut the lead down to seven, but this was the closest that the Bulldogs would get.
This was the 30th meeting between Santa Clara and Fresno State. This is the 16th meeting between the two teams since 1980. Fresno State has won eight times and Santa Clara has won eight times Santa Clara leads the all-time series 20-10,