SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara men's basketball plays its final nonconference contest against one of its biggest rivals. The Broncos will meet San Jose State on Thursday in the lone game of the Cable Car Classic, which is in its 51st season. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. in Leavey Center.
The Broncos (3-8) have dropped their last three after winning two in a row and the Spartans (2-8) have lost five straight.
• In Monday's three-game homestand opener, Joe Burton posted 14 points to lead three players in double figures for Valparaiso, which used a balanced attack to outlast Santa Clara, 76-68. Nine Valpo players scored four or more points and five had at least four rebounds as the Crusaders shot a season-best 56 percent from the floor. Junior guard KJ Feagin matched his season-high with 24 points and senior guard/forward Henry Caruso added a season-best 22 for the Broncos.
• On Thursday, junior forwards Bennie Boatwright (21 points/11 rebounds) and Chimezie Metu (20 points/11 rebounds) each had double-doubles to lead USC to an 82-59 victory over Santa Clara, in just its second road game of the season. Freshman Josip Vrankic scored 15 points and Feagin added 10 for the Broncos who shot a season-low 31 percent from the floor.
• The Broncos, playing their third game in eight days, will enjoy some home cooking through the end of the year as they are in a stretch of six of seven games in Leavey Center.
• Feagin leads the team and ranks second in the WCC in scoring (18.5 ppg) on 50.7 percent shooting from the floor. Caruso is second on the team in scoring (13.5 ppg) and first with 7.0 rebounds per game, No. 7 in the league. Vrankic (11.3 ppg) and junior guard Matt Hauser (10.0) are also scoring in double figures. Vrankic ranks second on the team in rebounding (5.4 pg) and Hauser is second in the WCC in assist-to-turnover ratio (2.16-to-1) and averages 4.3 assists pg, No. 8 in the league.
• The Broncos have generally held on to the ball, registering just 11.5 turnovers per game and possessing a +2.5 turnover margin per game (first in the WCC), as well as shooting the ball from the floor (45.6 percent) at a decent clip, but opponents are shooting 49.9 percent from the floor, including 44.2 on 3-pointers.
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YEAR TWO UNDER SENDEK
The Broncos are in their 111th year of existence, including second under Herb Sendek, who has been successful in each of his three previous head-coaching stops. With a resume that includes 18 postseason appearances and three conference coach of the year awards, Sendek, was one of the three youngest coaches with 400 or more career victories He is in his 24th season as a collegiate head coach with stops at Arizona State, North Carolina State and Miami (Ohio).
• Santa Clara and San Jose, which plays in the Mountain West Conference, will be playing for the 110th time. Last season, Ryan Welage and Isaiah Nichols scored 12 points apiece leading a balanced scoring attack for the Spartans, who used a strong defensive effort to down the Broncos, 55-40, at home. Matt Hauser scored a game-high 14 points but leading scorer Jared Brownridge was held to 11.
• Welage, a junior forward, is averaging a team-best 17.7 ppg for the Spartans, one of the top rebounding teams in the nation. They own a +8.0 rebounding margin per game, No. 28 in the NCAA. Freshman forward Keith Fisher is second on the team in both scoring (8.4 ppg) and rebounding (5.7 pg).
THE SAN JOSE STATE SERIES
The Broncos lead the all-time series 79-30 with victories in six of the last seven matchups. The teams are meeting for the 23rd consecutive season (since 1995-96) and in 35 of the last 36 years (since 1982-83). The 109 games played are the sixth highest total of any Santa Clara opponent and most against a nonconference foe. Last year, the Spartans snapped a six-game Bronco winning streak in the series.
KJ Feagin has reached double figures in scoring in all 11 games and Henry Caruso in nine ... Caruso, a 76-percent free-throw shooter at Princeton, has connected on 90.2 percent (46 of 51) from the line this season ... Feagin has connected on 19 of 38 from behind the 3-point line in the last six games ... Josip Vrankic has started the last eight games and scored in double figures in six of the last seven ... Caruso has connected on 22 of 40 (55 percent) field goal attempts during the last four games ... Matt Hauser, who has scored in double figures six times, has struggled from the field the last two games (2 of 11) after hitting 15 of 23 in the previous two, but has 12 assists and just one turnover in the last two outings ... Vrankic averaged 19.0 minutes in the four games and 31.0 in the last seven ... Caruso played all but 1 minute, 34 seconds in a three-game stretch (Cal Poly on Nov. 18, through Alaska-Anchorage, Nov. 23). He was subbed out for 17 seconds in the second half of the Idaho contest (Nov. 22) and for 1:17 in the first half vs. Alaska-Anchorage (Nov. 23).
Anthony Passarelli (play-by-play) and John Stege (analyst) will call the action during the season on radio and through TheW.tv at home. All Broncos home games and West Coast Conference contests (not on an ESPN platform) will also be streamed through TheW.tv (local blackout restrictions apply for games broadcast over the air). There will be 22 games on KDOW AM-1220 or KTRB-AM 860 this season. Thursday's game can be heard on Livestream.com. View the 2017-18 schedule for broadcast outlets.
Single-game and mini-plan ticket options for WCC home games are available for purchase. For questions, contact the Santa Clara ticket office weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. at (408) 554-4660 or BroncoTickets@scu.edu. Doors to Leavey Center will be open 60 minutes prior to the start of the game.
FAN EXPERIENCE PACKAGES
Group-ticket options and Fan Experience Packages are available through the Santa Clara ticket office, which is open weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Contact Jesse Moreno, one of our sales and service consultants, at (408) 554-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org for further details.
Parking is $10 in the main campus parking structure, which is located on Palm Drive through the main entrance (500 El Camino Drive). The Leavey Center parking lot, located on Accolti Way off El Camino Real, is reserved for season-ticket holders. Click here for a campus map and parking restrictions.