Santa Clara Basketball Travels South for 76 Classic Thanksgiving Weekend, Plays 3 Games in 4 Days on ESPN Network

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Click here to read Santa Clara's New Mexico game notes

Santa Clara travels south for Thanksgiving break, playing three games in four days as part of the 76 Classic.  Santa Clara (2-1) will play New Mexico (2-1) first on Thurs., Nov. 24 at 6 p.m. on ESPNU with Mark Neely and Miles Simon making the call.  Santa Clara is 2-4 vs. the Lobos. 

From rival high schools, junior Niyi Harrison (SCU, Bellarmine) and senior Drew Gordon (UNM, Mitty), faced each other just once in prep school with Gordon's team winning Harrison's junior year (photo).  Harrison was starting just his second career game in high school. Side note: the Bells won both games Harrison's senior year vs. Mitty (see photo in the PDF notes).

SCU will play either Washington State or Oklahoma on ESPNU on Fri., Nov. 25 at either 6:30 p.m. (loser's bracket) or 9 p.m. (winner's bracket).  It will play again on Sun., Nov. 26 at TBD on ESPN vs. one of four teams (Villanova, Boston College, Saint Louis or UC Riverside) 

The 76 Classic is being played at the Anaheim Convention Center and the participating schools have combined for a 16-7 record during the opening weeks of regular-season play.  Both Villanova (3-0) and Saint Louis (3-0) received votes in this week's AP and coaches polls.  The eight schools combined for an 11-0 record during "exhibition" play.

Bronco History vs. 76 Classic Field

School (Last Meeting) Record

Boston College (1991) 0-1 (0-1 H)

UC Riverside First Meeting

New Mexico (2004) 2-4 (1-4 A, 1-0 N)

Oklahoma (1983) 0-1 (0-1 N)

St. Louis (1991) 2-1 (1-0 H, 0-1 A, 1-0 N) 

Villanova (2003) 0-2 (0-2 N)

Wash. St. (2010) 0-3 (0-1 H, 0-1 A, 01- N))

With four starters averaging double figures, Santa Clara has had two blow-out wins on its home court (vs. UC Merced and San Jose State) and an 89-58 loss at UC Santa Barbara, an NCAA Tournament team the past two years.  With the loss of All-WCC forward Marc Trasolini (torn ACL), Santa Clara might be the youngest team in the country with its 11 scholarship players this season totalling eight years of total court time (no seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and five freshmen).  While the Broncos start three juniors and two sophomores, the next six players off the bench, including walk-on Jordan Akwenuke, are freshmen. In addition to leadership, the Broncos are without their top three rebounders from last season (Trasolini and graduation of Ben Dowdell and Troy Payne).

SCU finished last season 24-14 and won the CIT post-season tournament with All-WCC First Team guard Kevin Foster collecting MVP honors.  Foster was named to the 2011 pre-season All-WCC team this season for the third time in his career after leading the country in threes (140) and the league in scoring (20.2 ppg) in 2010-11.

The Lobos are 2-1 this season after wins vs. New Orleans and at Arizona State that were sandwiched around a 62-53 defeat vs. cross-state rival New Mexico State.  Head coach Steve Alford picked up his 100th win with the Lobos at Arizona State.  In his fifth season with New Mexico, he is 100-40, guiding the Lobos to postseason play every year (3 NIT, 1 NCAA). After back-to-back Mountain West titles in 2009 and '10 and a 22-win season last year, New Mexico was picked as the favorite to win the 2012 Mountain West crown. 

The Lobos return four starters including seniors A.J. Hardeman, UCLA transfer and Mitty graduate Drew Gordon and Phillip McDonald as well as sophomore Kendall Williams. The Lobos were 22-13 last season, advancing to the second round of the NIT. UNM was the only team last season to defeat the nation's No. 1 RPI team twice, beating the WCC's newest member BYU 86-77 in The Pit, and 82-64 in Provo. 

Alford led the Hoosiers to the 1987 NCAA title and was a two-time All-American at Indiana before making head coaching stops at Manchester College, Missouri State, Iowa and New Mexico over the past 21 years.

See and Hear 

The SCU-UNM game will be broadcast live nationally on ESPNU at 6 p.m. on Thurs., Nov. 24.  The New Mexico game will also be broadcast via the Bronco Radio Network on both KDOW 1220 AM and Broncos All-Access at www.SantaClaraBroncos.com with the broadcast beginning at 7 p.m. on a tape delay broadcast. Anthony Passarelli is in his fifth season as the Broncos' play-by-play announcer. Out of the listening area, KDOW is streamed online at www.1220kdow.com.  

You Guys

The Broncos are 2-4 vs. New Mexico and are meeting for the second time at a neutral site tournament over Thanksgiving. The two met during Thanksgiving weekend at the Great Alaska Shootout in Anchorage with the Broncos winning 54-50 on Nov. 25, 1983. 

In Albuquerque the Broncos have dropped four games by an average of 24 points each.  The last time the two played, Nov. 13, 2004 as part of the NABC Classic, the Lobos rolled to a 34-point win.  Santa Clara also dropped an opening round NIT game at UNM on March 16, 1989.

But Santa Clara's lone win in Albuquerque was a big one. Playing in the NCAA West Regional in Albuquerque, the un-ranked Broncos topped then-No. 6 New Mexico 86-73 on March 15, 1968.  The Broncos lost the following day to then-No. 2 UCLA 87-66 and finished the season 22-4.  UCLA went on to win the NCAA title by topping then-No. 1 Houston 101-69 on March 22, 1968.

History of SCU-UNM

at No. 6 UNM 72, SCU 54 12/3/66

SCU 86, at No. 6 UNM 73 3/15/68$

at UNM 91, SCU 62 12/19/70

vs. SCU 54, UNM 50 11/25/83&

at UNM 91, SCU 76 3/16/89

at UNM 93, SCU 59 11/13/04

$ - NCAA West Regional; & - Great Alaska Shootout

Fast Firsts

* John McArthur collected his first career double-double vs. San Jose State with a career-best19 points (11 of 11 from the free throw line) and 10 rebounds.

* Niyi Harrison scored a career-high 18 points vs. San Jose State.

* Santa Clara made 14 threes vs. UC Merced. Led by Kevin Foster's five, Evan Roquemore and Brandon Clark both chipped in four each.

* Santa Clara's six freshmen (not including walk-on Nick Lamson) are averaging 9.7 points and 3.4 rebounds off the bench in almost 13 minutes per game.  RS-Freshman Yannick Atanga leads the team with 7.7 rpg.

Climbing Quick

Last season Kevin Foster assaulted the WCC and Santa Clara record books with 140 threes made and 380 threes attempted.  His 3.68 threes per game led the nation and the 140 threes was good enough for No. 9 all-time in NCAA history.

This season he has hit 10 winners and is just seven threes from breaking the career record set by Steve Nash from 1992-96. Nash made 263 in his four years and Foster has 257.  He is already No. 8 on the WCC career list and needs 18 to hit the top 5 and 107 to break the WCC career record held by Jeff Fryer of LMU (363, 1987-90).

He is climbing up the Bronco career scoring list as well. At No. 12 with 1,415, he needs 32 to pass Mike Stewart at No. 10 (1,446, 1970-73) and 321 to catch school record holder Kurt Rambis (1,736, 1976-80).  

Foster's met Rambis on a number of occasions.  His daughter Ali is a sophomore on the SCU volleyball team and Rambis had his jersey retired Foster's freshman year during the Cable Car Classic.

In Dallas last March for its CIT game at SMU, the team and coaches stopped by the Timberwolves hotel, in town to play the Mavs that night, to say hello to former Bronco and then-NBA head coach Kurt Rambis.  Rambis greeted each player and staff member with a big handshake and a smile.  When Coach Keating introduced him to Foster, Foster smiled when Coach Keating said he was chasing his points scored career mark and Rambis remarked with a smile, "I hope you get it." 

WCC CAREER RECORD   Threes Made

1. Jeff Fryer (LMU 1987-90) 363

2. Jared Stohl (UOP 2007-11) 336

 3. Blake Stepp (GON 2000-04) 288

 4. Richie Frahm (GON 1997-00) 280

 5. Craig Davis (PEP 1985-90) 274

 6. Steve Nash (SCU 1993-96) 263

 7. Terrell Lowery (LMU 1989-92) 261

 8. Kevin Foster (SCU 2008-) 257


1000 Career Points Scored

1. Kurt Rambis (1976-80) 1,736

2. Harold Keeling (1981-85) 1,731

3. Brian Jones (1996-01) 1,722

4. Steve Nash (1992-96) 1,689

5. Dennis Awtrey (1967-70) 1,675

6. John Bryant (2005-09) 1,667 7. Londale Theus (1976-80) 1,643

8. Ken Sears (1951-55) 1,586

9. Kyle Bailey (2001-05) 1,571

10. Mike Stewart (1970-73) 1,446

11. Bud Ogden (1966-69) 1,437

12. Kevin Foster (2008-) 1,415

 

Career Three-Pointers Made

1. Steve Nash (1992-96)  263

2. Kevin Foster (2008-) 257
3.Kyle Bailey (2001-05) 225

 

Career Three-Pointers Attempted

1. Kevin Foster (2008-) 716

2. Kyle Bailey (2001-05) 679
3. Steve Nash (1992-95)  656

 

Perfect at Home

Santa Clara has played well at the Leavey Center so far this season, scoring 80+ in its two wins.  With three Bronco players knocking down four threes or more, Santa Clara defeated UC Merced 80-48 in its season opener on Fri., Nov. 11.   

The 14 threes made by the Broncos vs. UC Merced were the most since the Broncos made 15 vs. Gonzaga on March 5, 2001 and tied for the second-best mark in school history (14 vs. Pepperdine, Feb. 14, 2004).  It was a Leavey Center record as well, topping the 13 the Broncos made vs. Gonzaga twice (vs. Feb. 24, 2000 and vs. Jan. 6, 2005).  

Kevin Foster led the charge with five threes for 17 points and six assists as well. Foster led the country with 140 threes last season.  Evan Roquemore and Brandon Clark chipped in four threes each.  Clark was a perfect 4 of 4 beyond the arc in his rookie debut.

Eight days later, behind the 19 points and 10 rebounds of sophomore John McArthur, his first career double-double, Santa Clara defeated San Jose State 84-58 on Nov. 19. The Broncos are winners of eight of the last 10 vs. the Spartans.  McArthur was a perfect 11 of 11 from the free throw line and Coach Keating is 17-1 when Santa Clara scores 80+.

Santa Clara leads the series against SJSU 73-29.  Since 1980, Santa Clara has played San Jose State 30 times and Santa Clara has won 20 of those meetings.  The win was the first time in six meetings the home team won. 

 

Oh Canada!

The Santa Clara men's basketball team travelled to Vancouver, British Columbia Sept. 6-10, 2011 for its foreign tour. During its time in Vancouver, the team played four games vs. Canadian universities and posted a 2-2 record with three overtime games.

The team also did a lot of sightseeing: hiking up Grouse Mountain and also ziplining at the famous ski resort, broke into mini-teams to compete in the "Amazing Race - Bronco Style", walked across the Capilano Suspension Bridge and ate dinner at Marc Trasolini's home.

 

Will This Denzel Win An Oscar Too?

Denzel Johnson, like Denzel Washington, was supposed to be a girl. Well, at least that's what both sets of parents thought throughout the pregnancy so they never picked a boys name. So when the Johnson parents, CJ and Denise, had a son they were stuck. After some discussion in the hospital, they named their baby after the actor. A few years later CJ met Denzel Washington and he told him the story.  Washington laughed and said his parents had the same problem (no boys name picked) so they named the actor after the doctor who brought him into the world.

Johnson's older brother Brandon is a senior point guard (5-11, 190) at Kentucky Weselyan where he is averaging 10 ppg and 7 apg.  The team is 1-0 after playing early season exhibitions at South Carolina (lost 69-59) and Pittsburgh (lost 76-67). Last season he played in 24 games with five starts and averaged 3.1 ppg and 1.8 rpg in 15.5 mpg.

Athletics is in the Johnson family blood. Johnson's uncle Gary Payton played basketball at Oregon State and in the NBA with the Supersonics, Lakers and Heat.  His cousin Travis Davis played football at Notre Dame and in the NFL for the Jaguars and Steelers

 

Home Sweet Home on ESPN Network and 45th Annual Cable Car Classic

Santa Clara will play at least eight games televised on the ESPN network during the regular season, with five ESPN games during West Coast Conference play.  Its ESPN games in the WCC include: at BYU (ESPNU, Jan. 14), vs. Portland (Feb. 2, ESPNU), at USF (Feb. 9, ESPNU), vs. Gonzaga (Feb. 16, ESPN2) and vs. BYU (Feb. 18, ESPNU).

In addition to five league games on ESPNU/ESPN2, Santa Clara will also play in the 76 Classic where its opening-round game vs. New Mexico will be shown on ESPNU on Nov. 24.  Santa Clara will play either Oklahoma or Washington State on Fri., Nov. 25 and then its final game in the tournament will be vs. one of the following: Villanova, UC Riverside, Saint Louis or Boston College (ESPNU/2).  Each game of the 76 Classic will be shown on the ESPN family throughout the weekend. 

Santa Clara will also host the 45th annual Cable Car Classic - the longest-running annual university tournament in the country on Thur., Dec. 29 and Fri, Dec. 30. This year's tournament will feature the Broncos, Eastern Michigan, Air Force and Wagner. Historically, 31 times in its 44 seasons a team from the Cable Car Classic has advanced to the NCAA Tournament later in the season.

 

Microwave Cooks Hot

In Santa Clara's 88-75 win over Air Force on March 18, 2010, Kevin Foster broke the school record with nine threes, tying a career-high with 36 points.  He also had a career-high 36 in Santa Clara's 85-71 win over Gonzaga on Jan. 20, 2011.  Foster shattered the WCC single season threes made record with 140 last season and grabbed the country's top spot in threes made per game as well with 3.68.  

His 768 points last season are No. 6 on the WCC's single season points scored list as he finished as the leading scorer in a single season in the Bay Area as well.  He broke the school's single season mark for points scored, minutes played, threes made and threes attempted.  Foster was named first-team All-WCC and was named the WCC Player of the Month for February and March.  

Foster was nicknamed 'Microwave' by his father during his youth after the Detroit Piston's Vinnie Johnson.  Johnson earned the nickname 'the Microwave' from Celtics guard Danny Ainge for his ability to score many points in a short period of time, heating up the offense. Foster has scored 15+ points in 52 of 80 career games and he has scored 19+ in 35 career games.  

Dandy Duo Will Play Again Next Year As Seniors

With senior Marc Trasolini sidelined for the season with a torn ACL suffered on Santa Clara's foreign tour to his hometown in Vancouver, he will return for his red-shirt senior year in 2012-13.  Last season Trasolini and Kevin Foster combined for a number of firsts.  Foster was the first WCC sophomore ever and the 28th player in school history to score 1,000 career points on Jan. 20.  Trasolini was the 29th player to score 1,000 career points on Feb. 26. Foster is currently at No. 14 with 1,378 career points and Trasolini is at No. 24 with 1,096 points. Foster and Trasolini were the first duo to both hit 1,000 career points in the same year since then-seniors Jens Gordon and Mitch Burley did it in 1988-89.  Gordon scored 522 points to finish his career with 1,356 and Burley scored 377 to finish with 1,258 career points.  

Last season the Foster (766) - Trasolini (472) duo combined for 1,238 points as the No. 1 SCU Single Season Scoring Duo. They were just the seventh pair to hit 1,000 points in a season.  Foster was in the top five already, scoring 486 points his freshman year with WCC Player of the Year John Bryant scoring 596 (No. 4 with 1,082 points). 

How 'Bout Them Apples?

Santa Clara was 24-14 in 2010-11, winning the CollegeInsider.com Tournament by winning its final three games on the road (at USF, at SMU, at Iona).  The 24 wins were second best in school history with the 1968-69 team winning 27 games.

Santa Clara scored a school record 2,810 points in 2010-11, setting eight school records all told. They made a school record 273 threes and attempted 777. The previous records were 224 in 2003-04 and 662 attempts in 2003-04. 

Santa Clara made a school record 719 free throws and attempted 990. The school records were 606 made in 1968-69 and 858 attempted in 1968-69.

The Broncos broke the school record with 275 steals. The school record was 232 in 2009-10.  Other school records included 2,112 field goal attempts (topped 1,974 in 1969-70) and 787 personal fouls (topped 695 from 1986-87).