Written by Student Assistant John Nash '13
Santa Clara sophomore Kevin Foster broke the West Coast Conference single-season record for threes made in a magic night of shooting as Santa Clara downed Air Force 88-75 in the second round of the CollegeInsider.Com Post-season tournament at the Leavey Center. Foster has collected 129 threes this season, passing Jeff Fryer of LMU, who hit 126 in 1988-89. His 129 threes are No. 1 nationally for threes made and threes made per game. Foster's 688 points this season are already a Bronco school record and put him at No. 14 on the WCC single best list.
With the win, Santa Clara improves to 21-14, as Air Force finishes the season at 16-16 with 10 of its 15 Mountain West league games played against post-season teams.
Santa Clara will play the winner of the USF-Hawaii game to be played tomorrow night in Hawaii. Santa Clara's next game will be on Tues., March 22. If USF wins Santa Clara will play at USF. If Hawaii wins Santa Clara will host Hawaii.
"Air Force is a good shooting team and they run a disciplined style of offense that forces you to make good decisions. We did a good job of making some switches on defense because they were scoring a lot in the first half. We made sure we rebounded every miss. They only had two offensive rebounds and that gives us a good chance back on the offensive end," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "Kevin's performance speaks for itself. He took good shots and got himself into a rythmn. The guys did a good job of making offensive adjustments to Air Force's defensive adjustments to keep getting him good looks. Kevin breaking the record set by Jeff Fryer is a pretty high standard because LMU had some really good teams back then. Jeff took a lot of shots and made a lot of shots. It speaks to the good teams and players we have in this conference. Kevin has now set a good precedence for the next guy in line."
Keating on Foster saying he hasn't shot the ball well lately: "He wasn't shooting well and getting in the gym extra needs to be a habit and not just when you aren't shooting well. He still have a ways to go and if that's the realization - great - keep shooting."
"I really appreciate the people that showed up tonight," added Keating. "It's a unique circumstance. Any student that showed up tonight - two games during exam weeks - it's amazing. We know we are playing either Hawaii or USF and we will go from there. If we are back here or over at USF, the fact of the matter is we are still playing. Fifteen wins in Leavey says a lot about the crowd we have here supporting us."
Santa Clara shot 45.3 percent (24 of 53) from the field, including 48.1 percent from beyond the arc (13 of 27). The Broncos collected 41 rebounds, 17 assists, five steals and one block. They shot 73.0 percent from the free throw line (27 of 37) with 13 turnovers. Air Force shot 54.5 percent (24 of 44) from the field, including 52.6 percent from beyond the arc (10 of 19). The Falcons collected 16 rebounds, 16 assists, six steals and zero blocks. They shot 77.3 percent from the free throw line (17 of 22) with 12 turnovers.
Kevin Foster tied his career-high with 36 points, going 9-16 from three-point land. His nine three-pointers broke the Bronco school record for threes ina game and tied the Leavey Center single game record set by Dan Dickau of Gonzaga on Feb. 22, 2001. "The last couple of weeks I haven't been shooting as well as I could have. I have been working with the coaches before and after practice and it finally paid off," said Foster. "I don't really pay attention to records. It's nice, but they are meant to be broken. The important thing tonight is the win. I am really pleased we won."
"Kevin was making threes early so we kept feeding him the ball and they kept going in," Roquemore.
Michael Lyons scored 24 for Air Force, Derek Brooks added 14 and Evan Washington had 12.
Santa Clara jumped out to an early 10-2 lead, as Foster buried two three's early. Lyon's drilled a three from the corner, but Foster responded with his third three of the game at 15:14. Lyons converted two free throws, but Trasolini scored his first bucket of the game on a put-back to push the Santa Clara lead back to eight.
After a Falcon's free throw, Evan Washington buried a three pointer. Foster and Brooks went back and forth over the next several minutes as Brooks scored eleven straight and Foster tallied nine, all on three pointers. Roquemore finished an acrobatic layup, and after a Brooks three, Cowels III hit a three from the corner.
After a Falcons free throw, Cowels hit another three from the top of the arc. Fitzgerald responded to make the score 34-25 Broncos at 5:36. Lyons converted a tough turnaround fade, and Fitzgerald hit a three pointer to cut the lead to six.
After Brook's knocked down a pair of free throws, Foster converted a pull up jumper. Washington hit two more free throws, and Foster hit a deep three, breaking the WCC single season record with 1:10 remaining in the first. Fow buried a three with four seconds remaining, and the Broncos took a six-point lead into the break.
In the first half, Santa Clara shot 43.3 percent (13 of 30) from the field, including 58.8 percent from beyond the arc (10 of 17). The Broncos collected 19 rebounds, 10 assists and two steals. They shot 70.0 percent from the free throw line (7 of 10) with four turnovers. AFA shot 55.6 percent (10 of 18) from the field, including 70.0 percent from beyond the arc (7 of 10). The Falcons collected eight rebounds, nine assists and three steals. They shot 83.3 percent from the free throw line (10 of 12) with five turnovers.
Foster led the Broncos with a career-best 25 points in the first half, shooting 7 of 9 from the three-point line. Cowels scored eight and Roqumore added seven. Adam Brakeville paced the Air Force with 14 points and Michael Lyons and Evan Washington both added seven.
To start the second half, Lyons converted a tip in for the Falcons. After Trasolini's free throw, Niyi Harrison converted inside to make it 46-39 Santa Clara. After a Falcons three-pointer. Trasolini and Roquemore finished inside to make it 50-41 SCU. After both teams swapped free throws, Zack Bohannon banked in a runner and Lyons converted inside for the Falcons.
Troy Payne knocked down a pair, and Washington hit an off balance jumper. Foster knocked down a floater and a three, tying his career-high of eight three pointers. Cowels scored in transition and Santa Clara had a 63-49 at 12:21.
The teams traded points for the next couple minutes until Lyons scored a transition bucket. Broekhius converted a back door cut at 6:13 to make it 68-59. After the team's swapped buckets, Trasolini converted an old fashioned three point play to push the lead back to thirteen.
Fow hit a turnaround fade, and Bohannon scored on a cut. After swapping free throws, a driving Foster found Trasolini for three, and the Broncos led 78-67 at 2:34. After the teams exchanged free throws, Lyons buried a three and knocked down two free throws to cut the lead to nine with 57 seconds remaining. Foster's three with 12 seconds remaining gave him nine on the night!