SANTA CLARA, Calif. – In the 46th Cable Car Classic championship game, the Santa Clara men's basketball team beat Wagner by a final of 69-45 in a rematch of the previous year's title game. It was the 16th Cable Car title for the Broncos. Wagner was looking to become just the second team other than Santa Clara to win back-to-back Cable Car Classic titles. USF accomplished the feat in 1975-76.
The win moves Santa Clara to 11-2 overall and drops Wagner to .500 at 5-5. The 45 points allowed was the second-lowest this season for the Broncos. They held Pacific Union to 42 points in a 77-42 win on Dec. 8.
The Broncos return to the court on Dec. 29 at Duke at 9 a.m. Pacific. The game will be broadcast nationally on ESPN2.
"Marc is a really good scorer, inside and out," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "Ray and Kevin were struggling offensively and it's good to know we can win when Kevin scores two points and still play well offensively as team."
The MVP, Marc Trasolini, and Evan Roquemore, both named to the All-Tournament team, led the way for Santa Clara with 23 and 16 points, respectively. Trasolini shot 8-13 from the field including 3 -4 from three.
"This win was huge for us. Watching our team, sitting on the bench (tore his ACL in Sept., 2012) - I felt helpless," said Trasolini. "We have been looking forward to this rematch all year and we took it to them. We never focus too much on the offensive end -- defense and energy is huge for us and it was tonight. We head to No. 1 Duke with a lot of confidence after the last couple of days."
Roquemore added four threes and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds with 16 points - adding his first career double-double this year and the third of his career. Brandon Clark had 13 points off the bench and two assists. Kevin Foster scored just two points and was 0-4 from beyond the arc, the first time since Jan. 7, 2012 at Gonzaga that he was held without a three.
Santa Clara shot 41.5% (22-53) from the field and forced 17 Seahawk turnovers. Wagner shot 30.0% (15-50) from the field and was led by Marcus Burton who had 10 points. Kenny Ortiz added nine points while Jonathon Williams grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
"For Evan to have a double-double on rebounds and points is good - he leads the league in assists," added Keating. "Brandon also played really well. He had two fantastic practice leading into the Cable Car and I always think when you practice that well, you play well, too. Brandon has the confidence and the ability to be a really good player for us and we were happy to see him win the Sixth Man Award tonight."
Trasolini opened the scoring at the 19:24 mark with a little jump-hook in the lane to put Santa Clara up 2-0. A minute and a half later he put the Broncos up 5-0 with a three from the right corner.
The next trip down the court Roquemore nailed a three off a screen from Robert Garret to extend the Santa Clara run to 8-0 over the first three minutes.
kenny Ortiz finally got Wagner on the board with a layup at the 16:03 mark to cut into the Santa Clara lead and make the score 8-2 Broncos.
Wagner didn't score again for nearly four minutes when Marcus Burton made a runner in the lane to make the score 10-4.
Two Foster free throws and a offensive put-back by Ray Cowels III put Santa Clara up by double digits for the first time on the night at 14-4.
Burton hit the first Seahawks' three of the night but the Broncos answered with a Trasolini dunk at the other end at 7:18 that made the score 16-7.
The Broncos built up a 12-point lead on Roquemore's second three of the night and an offensive rebound and layup by Cowels III at the 5:09 mark.
Santa Clara went on a 15-3 run over five and a half minutes to build a 31-12 lead with just under a minute remaining in the half.
Ortiz made a layup and Burton hit a three as time expired to end the first half with the score 33-19 in favor of Santa Clara.
Trasolini led the way in the first half for Santa Clara with 14 points on 6-9 shooting including 2-2 from downtown. As a team Santa Clara shot 41.9% (13-31) from the field and nailed five threes. The Broncos' stifling defense held Wagner to just 24.1% (7-29) from the field. Burton had a team-high eight points for the Seahawks while Jonathon Williams had a game-high six boards.
On the first possession out of halftime Trasolini hit his third three pointer of the game to put the Broncos up 36-19. The next time down the court Santa Clara grabbed two offensive rebounds and Roquemore nailed a three to extend the Santa Clara lead to 39-20.
Cowels III nailed a three ball at the 12:30 mark to stretch out the Bronco lead to 18 points at 46-28.
Santa Clara took a 20-point lead for the first time at 8:38 on a pair of free throws by Trasolini. Brandon Clark extended the lead to 52-30 with a layup after slashing into the lane.
Trasolini continued his impressive tournament with a layup and a foul at the 6:16 mark to extend the Santa Clara lead out to 24 points at 55-31.
Santa Clara would go on a 10-1 run over more than four minutes to lead 56-31.
Wagner ended the run with a layup by Mario Moody.
The Broncos put in their reserves for the last four minutes of the game and Kyle Perricone nailed a three with 2:06 remaining in the game. Santa Clara ended up with a 69-45 win.
All-Cable Car Classic Team
1. Marc Trasolini*, Santa Clara
2. Evan Roquemore, Santa Clara
3. Marquiz Baker, Alcorn State
4. Jalen Jones, SMU
5. Jonathon Williams, Wagner
Kevin O'Connor Most Inspirational Player Award – Evan Roquemore, Santa Clara
D.J. Frandsen "6th Man" Award – Brandon Clark, Santa Clara
* - MVP