Hosting two nationally televised games this week, Santa Clara will entertain No. 23 Gonzaga on Thurs., Feb. 16 at 8 pm. The game vs. the Zags will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with Dave Flemming and Bob Valvano making the call. Santa Clara will then host WCC newcomer BYU on Sat., Feb. 18 at 4 pm in its first visit to the Leavey Center as a league member. The BYU game will be broadcast nationally on ESPNU with Mark Neely and Miles Simon making the call.
It will be the 78th meeting between Santa Clara and Gonzaga. Gonzaga leads the all-time series 46-31 with Santa Clara leading the series 22-13 at home.
Santa Clara dropped a 75-62 game in Spokane on Jan. 7, 2012. 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.
As a result of an incident on Jan. 21, Kevin Foster has been suspended by Santa Clara University for the remainder of the season as of Feb. 13. Foster has gone through the Santa Clara University student judicial process and the Office of Student Life informed Foster of the decision on Monday.
Foster has already missed seven games and will miss the remaining four regular season games and the WCC Tournament. Foster is the West Coast Conference's leading scorer with 17.8 ppg, including 3.56 threes per game.
Look and Listen
The Gonzaga game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with Dave Flemming and Bob Valvano making the call. Tip-off is set for 8:05 pm.
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 7:45 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.
Santa Clara and Gonzaga
Santa Clara is 8-17 and 0-12 in the WCC this season. It has lost 13 straight dating back to its 75-55 win over Eastern Michigan on Dec. 29, 2011. The losing streak started with a last-second miracle shot by Wagner on Dec. 30, 2011 with the Broncos falling 64-62 in the 45th annual Cable Car Classic Championship game. It is the longest losing streak in school history.
Santa Clara dropped both WCC games on the road last week. The Broncos lost at USF 85-69 on Thurs., Feb. 9 despite shooting 51.9 percent from the field, including 60.9 percent from beyond the arc (14 of 23). Raymond Cowels III led the team with a season-high 21 points. Denzel Johnson added 20 and Evan Roquemore 14. Brandon Clark, Johnson and Roquemore all had four assists each and Niyi Harrison collected a team-high seven rebounds. The Broncos then fell to No. 13 Saint Mary's 82-67 on Sat., Feb. 11 and didn't block a single shot for the first time since they blocked no shots in Santa Clara's 65-65 victory over Villanova on Nov. 27, 2011. Johnson led the team in scoring for the third time in six games with 17 points. Roquemore added seven assists.
Santa Clara is averaging 70.6 ppg, including 69.5 ppg in league play. The Broncos are giving up 75.1 ppg, including 82.4 ppg in league play. Santa Clara has lost 10 of its 12 WCC games by 10+ points. It lost by five at San Diego on Feb. 4 and by six to Portland on Feb. 2.
The Broncos have two current players averaging double figures: Roquemore scores 13.0 ppg and Harrison adds 11.7 ppg. Roquemore has a team-leading 5.3 apg. Harrison leads the team with 6.2 rpg and Yannick Atanga is second with 5.1 rpg.
Two current Broncos average double figures in conference play as Roquemore scores 13.0 ppg and Harrison collects 11.7 ppg. Harrison is the leading rebounder in league play with 5.6 rpg and Roquemore paces the team with 4.7 apg.
Johnson's 26 points off the bench vs. USF on Jan. 26 are the highest point total by a Bronco this year in a WCC game. He has scored 17+ in five of the last six games, including 20 at USF on Feb. 9 and 17 at then-No. 13 Saint Mary's on Feb. 11.
Harrison has 12 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 11 games this season, including a career-high six 3s vs. Villanova.
Gonzaga, ranked No. 23 nationally earlier this week, is 20-4 and 10-2 in the WCC. Gonzaga is averaging 73.9 ppg, including 73.9 ppg in league play. It's giving up 63.1, including a league-low 61.9 ppg. It has three players averaging double figures: Kevin Pangos, a WCC Player of the Year candidate, scores 13.9 ppg, Elias Harris 13.2 and Robert Sacre adds 11.8 ppg. Harris leads the team with 8.1 rpg and Pangos sets the pace with 3.5 apg.
Santa Clara is playing at least eight games televised on the ESPN network during the 2011-12 regular season, with five ESPN games during West Coast Conference play. Santa Clara played on ESPNU at BYU on Jan. 14, falling 95-78; on Feb. 2 when it fell 84-78 to Portland and on Feb. 9 on ESPNU when it fell 85-69 to USF. It has two more games on the ESPN network and they are both this week: vs. Gonzaga (Feb. 16, ESPN2) and vs. BYU (Feb. 18, ESPNU). In addition to five league games on the ESPN network, Santa Clara was 2-1 on the ESPN network at the 76 Classic Nov. 24-27 with wins over New Mexico and Villanova sandwiched between a loss to Oklahoma.
Need a Rabbit's Foot
Looking back for a second, Santa Clara finished last season 24-14 and won the post-season CIT with All-WCC guard Kevin Foster collecting MVP honors.
The Bad News: Santa Clara lost a couple important parts of the 2011-12 team within about 40 hours on two different continents in early September. First, signee/sophomore transfer Chris Caird suffered a torn ACL/MCL on Sept. 4 playing pick up in Iceland prior to the joining the team on Sept. 11. He was expected to play a key role for the Broncos this year. Due to the surgery and recovery, he didn't come to Santa Clara this year. Then on Sept. 6, All-WCC junior forward Marc Trasolini suffered a torn ACL in the first two minutes of Santa Clara's first game of its foreign tour in Trasolini's hometown of Vancouver at Trinity Western. Trasolini tore his ACL pushing off the ground on a five-foot jumper.
The Good News: Every Santa Clara player will return next season with the exception of senior walk-on Phillip Bach.
With that said, 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 for the last seven games and now the rest of the season, Santa Clara now tallies six total years of court time with its 10 available scholarship players. Six Years! 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).
At No. 13 Saint Mary's on Saturday night the Broncos started two juniors, one sophomore and two freshmen with Evan Roquemore coming in the game after the first few minutes (due to a sprained foot). Brandon Clark and Denzel Johnson both started at USF and at No. 13 Saint Mary's. The next five players off the bench, including walk-on Jordan Akwenuke, were all freshmen. Five freshmen have started in the last seven games, including Brandon Clark (started first career game vs. USF), Denzel Johnson (second career start at Pepperdine), Yannick Atanga (second career start vs. LMU), Robert Garrett (first career start vs. LMU) and Julian Clarke (first career start vs. LMU).
With Chris Caird and Marc Trasolini lost for the season and Kevin Foster gone from competition since Jan. 21, Kerry Keating had to look farther down the bench for help when Evan Roquemore was slowed by a sprained foot two weeks ago. In stepped freshman Demetri Posey, a freshman manager from Portland, Ore. Posey dressed for the first time at USF on Feb. 9 and will continue to dress the rest of the season. A graduate of Central Catholic High School, Posey, 5-10 and 175 pounds, played less than a minute at USF on Feb. 9.
Santa Clara hit 14 of 23 three-pointers on Feb. 9 at USF. It was the third time this season it has hit 14 threes with the Broncos hitting 14 vs. UC Merced on Nov. 11, 2011 and then vs. Oklahoma on Nov. 25, 2011. Sounds almost commonplace? Not so fast. It was one off tying the school record set by the Broncos on March 5, 2001 when they hit 15 vs. Gonzaga. Prior to this season, Santa Clara had hit 14 threes one other time in school history, at Pepperdine on Feb. 14, 2004.
Four players had three plus threes in the game. Denzel Johnson was 4 of 6 beyond the arc, Evan Roquemore was 4 of 8, Brandon Clark was 3 of 3 and Raymond Cowels III was 3 of 6.
The Broncos are No. 28 nationally in threes per game and also lead the WCC. The Broncos have shot 560 three pointers this year and the opponents have shot 408. In return, the Broncos have made 54 threes more than their opponents (206 to 152 made). Of the 1,451 shots attempted by the Broncos this year, 38.5% have come beyond the arc and they hit 36.8 percent beyond the arc. The opponents are shooting 37.3 percent beyond the arc and 30.0 percent of their field goal attempts are coming from beyond the arc.
Not Many Whistles
On Feb. 9 at USF the Broncos were a season-low 1 of 3 from the free throw line as compared to USF's 15 of 23 effort. It was the fewest number of free throws made since Santa Clara was 1 of 9 vs. Mississippi State on Dec. 20, 2003 in a 66-61 OT loss. It was the fewest free throws since it attempted three at LMU on Jan. 24, 1986 (was 2 of 3 in a 55-54 loss). The fewest under Keating previously: three made vs. San Diego on Feb. 23, 2008 and the fewest shot: five vs. Sacramento St. on Dec., 6, 2008.
Santa Clara has started eight different line-ups this season, including a new line-up on Feb. 9 with Brandon Clark replacing Evan Roquemore due to a strained foot (Roquemore did play). Santa Clara started the same line-up at then-No. 13 Saint Mary's: Clark, Denzel Johnson, Raymond Cowels III, Niyi Harrison and John McArthur.
The line-up of Kevin Foster, Roquemore, Cowels III, Harrison and McArthur has started a major of the games (15).
Santa Clara's leading scorer has been one of six players this year. Only once in 23 games did the leading scorer come off the bench (26 points, Denzel Johnson, vs. USF, Jan. 26). Foster has led the team in scoring 10 times (including tied with Cowels III once), Roquemore five times, Harrison and Johnson three times and Cowels III (with one of Cowel's leading-scoring games coming the night he and Foster scored 14 each vs. Pacifica) twice. McArthur had led the team in scoring once this season. Roquemore has a team-high 27 points this season vs. Oklahoma on Nov. 25. Foster scored 26 points twice (vs. New Mexico and vs. Pacific) and Johnson scored 26 (vs. USF) once, a career high.
Santa Clara's leading rebounder has been Harrison, Atanga or McArthur all but two games. Cowels III led the team in rebounding twice this season: at Gonzaga and at No. 13 Saint Mary's. Harrison has led the team 11 times and been tied for the team-lead four other times. Atanga has led the team 10 times and been tied for the team lead three times. McArthur has led the team three times and been tied for the team lead two times.
Roquemore has led the team in assists 15 times this season. Foster has led the team in seven games and Brandon Clark three times (including once being tied with Roquemore).
The Broncos need to score 80+ points each night! The Broncos have scored in the 80s three times this season, winning all three games (vs. UC Merced, vs. San Jose State and vs. Pacifica). It is 23-2 under Coach Keating in five years when scoring 80+.
The Broncos have scored between 60 and 79 points 20 times this year and their record is 5-15 in those games, including 1-8 when scoring 60-69. Coach Keating's record when scoring between 60 and 79 points in his five years is 43-50. When the team has scored between 60 and 69 he is 21-34. When scoring between 70 and 79 points in a game, he is 22-16 at Santa Clara.
When scoring less than 60, the Broncos are 0-2 this season (56 at UC Santa Barbara and 55 at Washington State). When scoring less than 60 under Coach Keating, the Broncos are 7-35 in the last five years.
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 with both coming 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 75-55 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. then-No. 23 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 5.32 apg, including 4.67 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 nine games this season and 4+ assists in 18 of 25 games. This season he is leading the team in assists with 133 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.
RCIII: Will It Catch On?
Raymond Cowels III has had success from deep range with 10 games of 3+ three-pointers including six vs. Villanova. He has also shot 83.3 percent or better from the line in eight games, proving to be a reliable free-throw shooter.
After playing 24.0 mpg with 7.3 ppg his freshman year with 11 starts in 32 games, Cowels III played 15.3 mpg, scoring 5.4 ppg last season, including starting nine of the 37 games he played in. This season he has started each of the 25 games the Broncos have played this season, averaging a single-season high of 26.4 mpg. He hit a then-single-season high 46 threes in his rookie season and already has 47 threes this season. He is shooting a career-high 41.6 percent from beyond the arc.
Much like then-freshman Kevin Foster scoring 31 points in his first WCC road game of his career at Saint Mary's on Jan. 9, 2009, freshman Denzel 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. He tallied 20 points at San Diego on Feb. 4 and 20 again at USF on Feb. 9. In addition, he scored a team-high 17 points at No. 13 Saint Mary's Feb. 11. Rewinding, he has scored 17+ points in five of the last six games.
Johnson was averaging 1.1 ppg after the Saint Mary's game on Jan. 21. Starting the last five games, Johnson has played double digit minutes in the past seven games. Not playing in the Pacific and Houston Baptist games, he had played double digit minutes just four times prior to the LMU game Jan. 24 (18 vs. UC Merced, Nov. 11; 19 at UCSB, Nov. 15; 11 vs. SJSU, Nov. 19 and 18 vs. Pacifica, Dec. 13). In the last seven games he has raised his average from 1.1 to 5.9 ppg and his mpg from 7.6 after the Jan. 21 game to 15.0 mpg prior to the Saint Mary's game on Saturday.
Dial back until his birth. 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 Wesleyan. The elder Johnson averages 13.0 ppg in 30.9 mpg and he has started all 23 games for the 19-4 Panthers. Kentucky Wesleyan was ranked No. 1 nationally in January after starting the season 14-0. They are currently ranked No. 12 nationally and it marks the 327th 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.
Kevin Foster has been a shooting machine on the Mission Campus. He has hit double figures in 70 of his last 74 games (94.5 percent). All told, he has hit double figures in 82 of his 95 career games (86.3 percent). He has hit at least one three in 89 of 95 career games (93.6 percent). Foster has hit a three in 45 of his 46 career home games. The one game he didn't hit a three in: his freshman year when he was 0-5 from beyond the arc vs. San Diego on Jan. 11, 2008.
This season he has hit 64 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 311, passing Blake Stepp with 288 (2000-04) vs. Eastern Michigan on Dec. 29. He needs 53 to break the WCC career record held by Jeff Fryer of LMU (363, 1987-90) and 26 to move past Jared Stohl at No. 2 (336, 2007-11).
Foster's 311 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). Foster is climbing up the Bronco career scoring list as well. At No. 4 with 1,691 points, he needs 46 points to catch school record holder Kurt Rambis (1,736, 1976-80, No. 21 on the WCC list). 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. Only six players have scored 2,000 points in West Coast Conference history.
Last year Foster led the country in threes made, threes attempted and threes per game. He also led the league in scoring.