Basketball Finishes Northwest Trip on Saturday at Gonzaga
Note: Saturday's game will be televised on KAYU-TV in Spokane. KHQ-TV in Seattle has an NFL playoff game that conflicts with the Bulldogs-Broncos matchup that necessitates the change in channel. The game will also be seen on ROOT SPORTS with fans advised to check their local listing for Saturday's game. KAYU-TV is Channel 3 on Spokane's Comcast cable and is Channel 28 on both DirecTV and Dish Network satellite providers.
Santa Clara finishes its first WCC road trip of the year on Sat., Jan. 7 when it visits Gonzaga for a 5 pm tipoff . This is the 77th meeting between Santa Clara and Gonzaga. Gonzaga leads the all-time series 45-31, including holding a 26-8 advantage in Spokane. Last season Santa Clara grabbed a 14-point win in Santa Clara on Jan. 20, 2011 and Gonzaga returned the favor in Spokane by winning 85-76 on Feb. 17, 2011. In its 85-71 win on ESPNU in mid January, the Broncos were paced by a career-high 36 points from Kevin Foster, the highest tally for a WCC player last season. He followed up that game by hitting eight threes last year in Spokane to finish with 29 points. Santa Clara's last win in Spokane: an 84-73 victory on Feb. 12, 2007, ending the nation's longest home winning streak at 50 games.
Santa Clara is 8-6 and 0-1 in the WCC this season and looking for its first win on the road this year. The Broncos fell 84-74 on Thursday evening at Portland with four Broncos scoring in double figures, including Niyi Harrison who dumped in 19 to tie a career high off the bench.
Gonzaga, ranked No. 25 nationally by the AP, is 12-2 and 2-0 in the WCC. The Zags were afforded their first three games at home on the 2012 WCC slate and have won the first two in convincing fashion: a 90-51 win vs. Portland on Dec. 28 and a 73-45 victory over Pepperdine on Jan. 5. Sandwiched between those two games they won 72-65 at Xavier on New Year's Eve.
See and Hear
The Gonzaga game will be shown locally in the state of Washington on KHQ-TV (Seattle station) and will be called by Tom Hudson and Matt Santangelo.
The Gonzaga 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 4:45 p.m. on KDOW1220. Anthony Passarelli is in his fifth season as the Broncos' play-by-play announcer. Passarelli will be joined on the broadcast by 6' 11 Phil Von Buchwaldt, a '96 Bronco alum who played during the Steve Nash years from 1992-96.
Out of the listening area, KDOW is streamed online at www.1220kdow.com.
Santa Clara, 8-6 and 0-1 in the WCC, is 6-1 at home this season, 2-1 in neutral site games and 0-4 on the road. Its 6-0 home record to start the season was the best for Santa Clara since it started the 1988-89 season 7-0 on its home court. Santa Clara is 7-1 when shooting better than the opposition from the field and 6-3 when shooting better beyond the three-point line.
The Broncos have three players averaging double figures: Kevin Foster leads team with 18.1 ppg, Evan Roquemore scores 14.5 ppg and Niyi Harrison 10.1. Foster is No. 3 in the country with 3.8 threes per game and ranked No. 48 nationally in scoring. Foster, who has 300 threes made in his career, passed Blake Stepp (Gonzaga, 2000-04) in the Broncos' 75-55 victory over Eastern Michigan to move to No. 3 on the WCC all-time threes made list. He moved to No. 8 on the Bronco career points scored list with 1,625, passing No. 9 Kyle Bailey (1,571, 2001-05) and No. 8 Ken Sears (1951-55, 1,586).
Roquemore dishes out a team-leading 5.9 apg and Niyi Harrison and Yannick Atanga are the leaders on the boards, pulling down 6.7 and 5.8 rpg, respectively. Foster has scored in double figures every game this season and Roquemore has hit double figures in 12 of the last 14 games dating back to last season. Harrison has had seven 7+ rebound games this season. Harrison has three double-doubles this season, John McArthur has two and Roquemore has one (points and assists). McArthur and Roquemore have started all 14 games and Cowels III, Harrison and Foster has started 13 of 14 this season. Cowels III has 3+ threes in five of the last 10 games, including a career-high six 3s vs. Villanova.
The Broncos are No. 8 nationally in threes made per game with 9.2 threes per game and No. 68 with 12.6 turnovers per game. They have shot almost 100 more threes than their opponents this season. SCU has shot 344 and opponents have shot 248. In return, the Broncos have made 42 more than their opponents (129 to 87 made).
With the loss of All-WCC forward Marc Trasolini (torn ACL), Santa Clara is one of the youngest teams 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 all freshmen. In addition to leadership, SCU is without its top three rebounders from last season (Trasolini and graduation of Ben Dowdell and Troy Payne).
Looking back, SCU finished last season 24-14 and won the post-season CIT with All-WCC guard Foster collecting MVP honors. Named to the 2011 pre-season All-WCC team this season for the third time after leading the country in threes (140) and the league in scoring (20.2 ppg) in 2010-11.
Last Time Out
Niyi Harrison tied a career-high with 19 points off the bench at Portland on Thursday. He was 7 of 8 from the free throw line, tying a career-high with free throws made.
Brandon Clark came off the bench to dump in a career-high 16 points in Portland. He was 5 of 8 from the field (both career highs) and 5 of 6 from the free throw line (both career highs). He also tied his career high with five assists vs. the Pilots and played one less minute than his career high vs. Wagner on Dec. 30, 2011.
45th Annual Cable Car Classic
The Broncos are finished with non-conference play this season and now turn their attention to the WCC as they welcome its newest member, BYU. In its final non-conference game on Dec. 30, Santa Clara dropped a heartbreaker in the 45th Cable Car Classic title game, 64-62 to Wagner, thanks to an improbable acrobatic shot at the buzzer after coming back from 15 down in the final five minutes. Kevin Foster led all scorers with 20 points and Evan Roquemore added 17, including 14 in the second half. Niyi Harrison scored 10 and added nine boards while Raymond Cowels III grabbed a career-high nine rebounds.
In the Broncos 75-55 victory over Eastern Michigan the day before, Foster led the Broncos with 25 points (6 of 10 from three point range). Harrison added a double-double, his third of his career, with 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for the Broncos. Harrison finished seven of nine from the free throw line. Brandon Clark, Yannick Atanga and Roquemore each added seven points while Roquemore dished out nine assists.
Adding It Up
Last season Kevin Foster tore through the WCC and Santa Clara record books with 140 threes made on 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 53 three-pointers and broke the career three-pointers made record set by Steve Nash (263, 119 games, 1992-96) vs. Oklahoma on Nov. 25. As a junior, he is No. 3 on the West Coast Conference career threes made list with 300, passing Blake Stepp with 288 (2000-04) vs. Eastern Michigan on Dec. 29. He needs 64 to break the WCC career record held by Jeff Fryer of LMU (363, 1987-90).
Foster's 300 threes made are also a Bay Area record and he hit the mark faster than Nash (took Foster 82 games to hit 263 threes and Nash set the record playing in 113 games). Consider this: Foster averages 3.3 threes per game during his career and if he plays in 31 games both this season and next season (regular season plus one WCC tournament game), he could hit more than 458. The NCAA record is 457 by J.J. Redick of Duke (457 in 139 games).
Foster is climbing up the Bronco career scoring list as well. At No. 8 with 1,625 points, he needs 124 to catch school record holder Kurt Rambis (1,736, 1976-80, No. 21 on the WCC list). If he stays on pace with 18.1 ppg this season, Foster would break the school record vs. rival USF on Jan. 26 in the second half. The WCC record is 2,490 by Hank Gathers (1987-90) when he averaged 28.0 ppg over his three year career with the Lions. Foster would need to average 17.6 ppg if he played in all 31 games this season and next to catch the record. Only six players have scored 2,000 points in West Coast Conference history.
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 Rambis 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."
Evan Roquemore has shot 80.0 percent or better at the free throw line in 8 of 14 games, including 8 of 8 vs. New Mexico and 8 of 9 vs. Villanova. Against Wagner in the Cable Car Classic Championship Roquemore converted a clutch four-point play, sinking a three while being fouled and nailing the free throw. Roquemore also has at least 4 assists in 11 of 14 games including a career-high 11 assists vs. UOP and 10 vs. Oklahoma.
After being selected to the 76 Classic Five-Man All-Tournament team and leading the WCC in points and assists per game and free throw percentage, Roquemore was named the WCC Player of the Week on Nov. 28. Nationally he was also named the Lou Henson Award Co-Player of the Week and the Jesuit Men's Basketball Co-Player of the Week.
The sophomore averaged 22.7 points and 8 assists per contest, shooting 52% from the floor. His 24 total assists are a new 76 Classic tournament record. In addition to the assists, he shot 95.7 percent from the free throw line at the Classic, hitting 22 of 23 and is No. 9 in the country this season. It is a first-time honor for the sophomore from Henderson, Nev.
Roquemore led the Broncos to victories over New Mexico and Villanova Thanksgiving weekend, and a third-place finish at the 76 Classic in Anaheim. In the 79-76 overtime win over pre-tournament favorite New Mexico in the opener, Roquemore poured in 26 points. Against Oklahoma, Roquemore posted a double-double with 27 points and 10 assists. He poured in 15 points and dished out nine assists in the 65-64 comeback win over Villanova. Santa Clara finished the final 2:56 minutes of the game on a 10-0 run to defeat the Wildcats with Roquemore hitting four clutch free throws with less than 10 seconds left to clinch the win over the Big East school.
Kevin Foster, the Broncos' most consistent scoring threat, has 15+ points in 10 of 14 games this season including 26 point performances vs. New Mexico and UOP. He is also lights out from behind the arc, having made 4+ threes in 8 of 14 games including six vs. UOP and Eastern Michigan.
Foster was a strong nominee for the West Coast Conference Player of the Month in December. Foster averaged 20.0 ppg, over two points higher than his career ppg. He finished with 32.9 mpg, up considerably from the 29.3 he averaged in November and nearly a minute more than what he averaged last season. He shot 44.4 percent from the field which was a significant increase from his November marks and also was an increase over his career shooting percentage of 38.9. He shot a blistering 46.8 percent from three point range. He added 3.14 apg while committing 2.57 topg and had 1.43 spg as well.
Last year Foster led the country in threes made, threes attempted and threes per game. He also led the league in scoring.
The team's starting center, John McArthur, has pulled down 6+ rebounds in 6 of 14 games including a career-best 12 boards at Houston Baptist. He has two career double-doubles this season (vs. San Jose State and at Houston Baptist).
In the wake of Mark Trasolini's season-ending ACL tear, Niyi Harrison has stepped up and filled the frontcourt void admirably. The 6-9 junior has started every game while grabbing 8+ rebounds in 8 of 14 contests including a career-high 13 vs. Eastern Michigan. He has also made significant growth offensively, scoring in double figures eight times including a 19 point game vs. New Mexico and at Portland.
He leads the team with three double-doubles in his career (one freshman year and two this season).
Raymond Cowels III has had success from deep with five games of 3+ threes including six vs. Villanova. He has also shot 83.3 percent or better from the line in five games, proving to be a reliable free-throw shooter.