Santa Clara Men's Basketball Hosts San Diego Thursday in Home West Coast Conference Opener
Note: Ruff Riders -- You can pick up your ticket for the Saint Mary's game (vs. SMC on Sat., Jan. 21 at 8 pm) as you depart the San Diego game after the game is over.
Hosting its first home league game of the year, Santa Clara entertains San Diego at 7 pm on Thurs., Jan. 12. Playing its 71st game, in a rivalry that began with a 66-65 victory by USD on Dec., 19, 1963, Santa Clara leads the all-time series 39-31, including 22-14 in Santa Clara. Santa Clara has won just twice in the last six tries at the Leavey Center, an 80-72 victory on Feb. 17, 2007 and then 60-56 on Feb. 12, 2011. Santa Clara swept the season series twice in the last 14 years (2007 and '11). Prior to last season, Santa Clara and San Diego split the season series three straight years, with each winning on the other's floor all three years. Santa Clara knocked San Diego out of the 2009 WCC Tournament and San Diego returned the favor in 2010.
Santa Clara is 8-7 and 0-2 in the WCC this season after falling 84-74 at Portland and 82-60 at No. 25 Gonzaga last week. The Broncos play three of their first four WCC contests on the road and travel to Provo, Utah on Sat., Jan. 14 for a 5 pm contest (Pacific) with BYU on ESPNU. The Broncos, facing the Cougars for the first time in the WCC, are 5-15 vs. BYU.
San Diego is 5-10 and 0-3 in WCC play. They have lost six straight games as they head for the Bay Area. They started league play with an 88-52 loss at BYU and followed up with two home losses to Saint Mary's (78-72) and LMU (79-68). They are led by fifth-year head coach Bill Grier who is 60-85 in his USD career.
See and Hear
The San Diego 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 KDOW1220. 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.
Santa Clara, 8-7 and 0-2 in the WCC, is 6-1 at home this season, 2-1 in neutral site games and 0-5 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.
The Broncos have a couple players averaging double figures: Kevin Foster leads team with 17.5 ppg and Evan Roquemore scores 14.1 ppg. Foster leads the league in ppg and threes per game as well. Roquemore is second in apg in the WCC and third in mpg.
Four Broncos average double figures in conference play with Brandon Clark leading the team with 14.0 ppg. Evan Roquemore is second with 12.0 and Kevin Foster and Niyi Harrison are both third with 10.5 ppg.
Foster is No. 5 in the country with 3.5 threes per game and ranked No. 66 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 is No. 8 on the Bronco career points scored list with 1,634, 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, which is ranked No. 27 nationally, and Niyi Harrison and Yannick Atanga are the leaders on the boards, pulling down 6.3 and 5.5 rpg, respectively.
Harrison has seven 7+ rebound games this year. He has three double-doubles in his career, John McArthur has two and Roquemore has one (points and assists). Raymond Cowels III, McArthur and Roquemore have started all 15 games and Harrison and Foster have started 14 of 15 this season. Cowels III has 3+ threes in six of the last 11 games, including a career-high six 3s vs. Villanova.
The Broncos are No. 9 nationally in threes made per game with 9.0 threes per game. They have shot almost 100 more threes than their opponents this season. SCU has shot 363 and opponents have shot 265. In return, the Broncos have made 42 more than their opponents (135 to 93 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.
Evan Roquemore is averaging 5.87 apg, including 5.50 apg in league play. Roquemore is No. 2 in the league and No. 27 nationally in apg. He has collected 7+ assists in six games this season and 4+ assists in 12 of 15 games. Last season he broke the Bronco freshman assist record with 139, topping Brian Jones who scored 119 assists in 1996-97. Roquemore is shooting 82.2 percent from the free throw line after breaking the free throws made (159) and attempted (193) last season as a freshman, coming .001 from tying Steve Nash's record for free throw percentage. Nash was 82.5 percent from the free throw line in 1992-93 and Roquemore was 82.4 percent (159 of 193) last season.
Three-less Not Often
Kevin Foster has been a shooting machine on the Mission Campus. He has hit double figures in 67 of the last 71 games (94.3 percent). All told, he has hit double figures in 79 of 92 career games (85.8 percent). He has hit at least one three in 86 of 92 career games. Foster has hit a three in 43 of his 44 career home games. The one game he didn't hit a three in: his freshman year he was 0-5 from beyond the arc vs. San Diego on Jan. 11, 2008.
Foster, the Broncos' most consistent scoring threat, has 15+ points in 10 of 15 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 15 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.
Santa Clara fell 82-60 at No. 25 Gonzaga on Jan. 7 with Raymond Cowels III leading the charge with 13 points. Kevin Foster scored just nine points with no threes at Gonzaga which is pretty amazing considering his Santa Clara career. It was the first time he went without double figures since Jan. 27, 2011 at Pepperdine when he scored eight. It was the first time without a three since Feb. 5, 2011 at USF.
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
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 challenge the NCAA record set 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 1,634 points, he needs 115 to catch school record holder Kurt Rambis (1,736, 1976-80, No. 21 on the WCC list). If he stays on pace with 17.5 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 17.7 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: POW for WCC Nov. 28
Evan Roquemore has shot 80.0 percent or better at the free throw line in 8 of 14 games (didn't go to free throw line at Gonzaga), 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 12 of 15 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.
At the 76 Classic, 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. 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.
The team's starting center, John McArthur, has pulled down 6+ rebounds in 6 of 15 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).