Santa Clara travels to San Diego to take on the host Toreros at 4 pm on Sat., Feb. 4. The game will be shown n COMCAST with Steve Quis and Jim Brogan making the call. San Diego is 8-14 this season, including 3-7 in the WCC and 4-6 at home.
Playing its 73rd game, in a rivalry that began with a 66-65 victory by USD on Dec., 19, 1963, Santa Clara leads the all-time series 39-33, including 17-16 in San Diego. Santa Clara and San Diego have split the season series three straight years, with each winning on the other's floor all three years. San Diego won 75-62 earlier this season in Santa Clara's first home league game on Jan. 12. Santa Clara knocked San Diego out of the 2009 WCC Tournament and San Diego returned the favor in 2010. USD swept the season series in 2007-08, Santa Clara swept the season in 2006-07 and the two split in 2005-06.
and San Diego returned the favor in 2010.
Santa Clara will again be without the services of leading scorer Kevin Foster. As a result of an incident Jan. 21, Foster will be withheld from competition pending the outcome of the University's student judicial process (he also missed the LMU, USF, Pepperdine and Portland games).
Look and Listen
The San Diego game will be televised regionally on COMCAST with Steve Quis and Jim Brogan making the call. Tip-off is set for 4 pm.
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 3:45 p.m. on KDOW 1220AM. 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.
Youth Being Served
Every Santa Clara player will return next season, with the exception of senior walk-on Phillip Bach. With the loss of All-WCC junior forward Marc Trasolini (torn ACL) prior to the season, Santa Clara is one of the youngest teams in the country with its 11 scholarship players this season totalling just eight years of total court time (no seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and five freshmen). With no Foster in the lineup currently, Santa Clara now tallies six total years of court time with its 10 available scholarship players. Six! In addition to leadership, SCU is without its top three rebounders from last season (Trasolini and graduation of Ben Dowdell and WCC Defender of the Year Troy Payne).
Against San Diego, the Broncos will start two juniors, two sophomores and a freshman. The next five players off the bench, including walk-on Jordan Akwenuke, are all freshmen. Five freshmen have started in the last four games, including Brandon Clark (started first career game vs. USF), Denzel Johnson (first career start at Pepperdine), Yannick Atanga (second career start), Robert Garrett (first career start vs. LMU) and Julian Clarke (first career start vs. LMU).
Santa Clara is 8-14 and 0-9 in the WCC this season. The Broncos are playing their first three straight road games (at USD Feb. 4, at USF Feb. 9 and at SMC Feb. 11). Santa Clara fell 84-78 to Portland on Thursday night.
The Broncos have three players averaging double figures: Kevin Foster leads team with 17.8 ppg, Evan Roquemore scores 13.7 ppg and Niyi Harrison 10.9 ppg. Roquemore leads the team with 5.4 apg. Harrison leads the team with 6.2 rpg and Yannick Atanga is second with 5.2 rpg.
Three Broncos average double figures in conference play with Foster leading with 15.6 ppg, Harrison with 13.1 and Roquemore 12.6 ppg. Harrison is the leading rebounder in league play with 5.6 rpg and Roquemore paces the team with 4.6 apg.
Johnson's 26 points off the bench vs. USF on Jan. 26 are the highest point total by a Bronco this season in a WCC game and he followed that up a week later with 18 points vs. Portland on Feb. 2.
Harrison has 11 7+ rebound games this year, pulling down nine rebounds with a career-high 23 points vs. Saint Mary's. Raymond Cowels III has 3+ threes in 10 of the last 18 games, including a career-high six 3s vs. Villanova.
The Broncos are No. 24 nationally in threes per game and also lead the WCC. The Broncos have shot almost 150 more threes than their opponents this season. SCU has shot 508 and the opponents have shot 359. In return, the Broncos have made 51 more than their opponents (182 to 131 made). Of the 1,281 shots attempted by the Broncos this year, 39.6% have come beyond the arc and they hit 35.8 percent beyond the arc. The opponents are shooting 36.5 percent beyond the arc and 20.2 percent of their field goal attempts are coming from beyond the arc.
Santa Clara is averaging 71.0 ppg, including 70.0 ppg in league play. It's giving up 74.9 ppg, including 83.4 ppg in league play. Each of its eight losses in the West Coast Conference this season have been by double digits.
Looking back for a second, SCU finished last season 24-14 and won the post-season CIT with All-WCC guard Foster collecting MVP honors.
Combining points and rebounds, Niyi Harrison has three double-doubles in his career and John McArthur has two, both this season. Combining points and assists, Evan Roquemore has two, also both this season.
Harrison has two double-double's this season: his first this season was in Santa Clara's 71-58 victory over Cal State Northridge when he scored 10 points and had 11 rebounds. His second this season was in the win over Eastern Michigan on Dec. 29 when he collected 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds. His first career double-double came during his freshman year against Northeastern on Dec. 29, 2009 when he finished with 13 points and 11 rebounds.
Harrison has "missed" a double-double three times this season with nine rebounds in those games. Those games: 10 points, nine rebounds vs. Wagner; 23 points, nine rebounds vs. Saint Mary's and 11 points, nine rebounds vs. LMU.
McArthur's two double-doubles both came this season. He scored 19 points with 10 rebounds vs. San Jose State and then collected 12 points and 12 rebounds at Houston Baptist.
Roquemore's first career double-double was vs. Oklahoma when he scored 27 points and added 10 assists. He collected his second career double-double vs. Pacific when he scored 14 and dished out a career-high 11 assists.
Evan Roquemore is averaging 5.36 apg, including 4.56 apg in league play. Roquemore is No. 46 nationally in apg and he is No. 2 in apg in league play as well. He has collected 7+ assists in seven games this season and 4+ assists in 15 of 22 games. This season he is leading the team in apg, with 118 overall.Last season he broke the Bronco freshman assist record with 139, topping Brian Jones who scored 119 assists in 1996-97. He broke the freshman records for free throws made (159) and attempted (193) last season, 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.
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 eight 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.
On Thanksgiving weekend he led SCU to victories over New Mexico and Villanova, and a third-place finish at the 76 Classic. In the 79-76 OT win over pre-tournament favorite New Mexico, 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 'Cats with Roquemore hitting four clutch free throws with less than 10 seconds left to clinch the win.
Raymond Cowels III has had success from deep with nine games of 3+ threes including six vs. Villanova. He has also shot 83.3 percent or better from the line in seven games, proving to be a reliable free-throw shooter.
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 had a break-out performance of his own when he scored 26 points off the bench vs. USF on Jan. 26. In a career-high 34 minutes, Johnson was a career-best 12 of 18 from the field, including a career-best 2 of 5 from beyond the arc vs. the Dons. Even more amazing, he didn't shoot any free throws in the game. He followed that up with 18 points vs. Portland on Feb. 2.
Johnson's older brother Brandon is a senior point guard (5-11, 190) at Kentucky Weselyan. The elder Johnson averages more than 11.0 ppg in over 30.0 mpg and he has started all 20 games for the 17-3 Panthers. Kentucky Weselyan was ranked No. 1 nationally in January after starting the season 14-0. They are currently ranked No. 7 nationally and it marks the 325th time the Panthers are in the Top 25 since the rankings started in 1961.
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