Broncos Beat the Zags; Host Portland at 3 pm on Saturday
Behind Kevin Foster's career-high 36 points, Santa Clara downed Gonzaga 85-71 to defeat the Zags for the first time in 10 years at home (Feb. 22, 2001). With the win the Broncos improved to 11-9, 2-2 in conference play. The Broncos improved to 13-1 when Santa Clara scores 80+ points. The Bulldogs fall to 13-6, 3-1 in conference play. Santa Clara hosts Portland on Saturday afternoon at 3 PM in the Leavey Center.
"It's about time. We knew it was going to be emotional because we had a good crowd, that is what Gonzaga does for you. We have to build on it and not settle and we can enjoy it 3 ½ hours. If we you want to establish yourself in this league you have to go through Gonzaga – they have proven that. The bar is pretty high. We have been close at home and in the conference tournament. They played well and we played a little better. Having five guys in double figures is a good sign for us," said head coach Kerry Keating in the post-game press conference. (is this the biggest win for you at Santa Clara?) "Yeah I guess. We have beaten everyone else in Leavey but Gonzaga. I saw a senior in Brodie Angley trying to win the game my first year and we didn't. To get beat on the road pretty good by Saint Mary's, a very good team, and then to come back and beat Gonzaga is good for us."
Marc Trasolini on Foster's play: "I am really proud of him. He stepped up and he performed above everyone's expectations. It's a testament to his abilities."
Evan Roquemore on Foster's play: "All of his clutch shots were huge. They gave us the fire we needed on defense to make stops at the end of the game."
All five Bronco starters finished in double figures for the first time since six finished in double figures at CSU Northridge in Dec., 2010. Individually, Foster led the way scoring a career-high 36 points (11-20 from the field, 6-14 from three). It was the 6th most points at home for a Bronco in school history. Evan Roquemore scored 13, Troy Payne and Marc Trasolini 11 each and Ben Dowdell added 10. Payne and Dowdell led the Broncos with a team-high six rebounds. Payne also grabbed three steals.
Steven Gray led the Zags with 17 points and Robert Scare added 16 with seven boards.
The Broncos opened up a 7-0 lead early that included a Ben Dowdell layup three seconds into the game. Robert Sacre ended the run with a dunk at 16:24.
After trading baskets, Gray knocked down two free throws and Sacre threw down his second dunk of the night at 13:59 to make it 9-8 Broncos. Trasolini responded by sinking a three pointer at the other end to put the Broncos up by 4.
The team's traded point for the next several minutes. Dowdell finished a tough layup at 9:09 to put the Broncos up 20-17. The Zags responded with a Marquise Carter layup to cut the lead to two.
Roquemore and Trasolini knocked down a pair of free throws to put the Broncos up 24-19. However, Gray responded with a tough fade way to bring the Zags within three at 6:08. Elias Harris's emphatic dunk cut the lead to two at 5:18.
14 of 17 from the free throw line in the first half was the most the Broncos have made and shot since SCU went 15 of 19 vs. UNLV 12/5/09.
The teams traded free throws to open the half. Elias Harris layup at 18:24 gave the Bulldogs their first lead of the game. After trading points, Roquemore knocked down his first three of the game to put the Broncos up two.
Elias Harris converted a layup to equal the score, but Kevin Foster converted a layup plus the foul at 14:10 to put the Broncos back up by 3. After Gray knocked down a transition three Foster answered with one of his own to keep the Broncos up 3 at 12:33.
The Bulldogs and Broncos continued to trade baskets until David Stockton drilled a three to put the Zags up 3 at 9:45. After trading free throws, Foster found Payne inside for an easy layup to cut the Bulldog lead to one.
After the media timeout, Dowdell finished an and-one to put the Broncos up two. The two teams swapped points and Foster buried a three to put Santa Clara up five at 5:53.
After Sacre finished underneath the hoop, Foster got to the basket on a cross over to push the lead back to five. Foster answered Gray's three at 3:36 to keep the Broncos up 5.
Foster knocked down another three to put the Broncos up 8 at 2:35. The Zags would never get closer.