SCU opens WCC slate at home vs. USD and Saint Mary's

Jan. 6, 2010

Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

Santa Clara (8-9) will host San Diego (7-9) in the first televised game of the year, also the first WCC game of the year, on Fri., Jan. 8 at 8:30 pm. The game will be broadcast on COMCAST-TV with Ted Robinson and Eric Musselman making the call.

Good seats remain for San Diego and Saint Mary's. The Saint Mary's game is on Sun., Jan. 10 at 7 pm.

It is SCU's 58th season in the WCC and the two teams 66th career meeting. Santa Clara leads the series vs. USD, 36-29, and it is a series that began in 1963. The two teams split the series last season, with both winning on each other's home floor before Santa Clara defeated USD at the WCC Championship, 80-69 behind John Bryant's 27-rebound performance. USD swept the season series in 2007-08, Santa Clara swept the season series the year before and the two split in 2005-06. San Diego won the first meeting 66-65 on Dec. 19, 1963; and Santa Clara has won the last two.

Santa Clara finished 7-7 in the WCC last season when it finished fourth. SCU advanced to the semi-finals of the WCC Championship before falling to eventual champion Gonzaga.

Listen

The San Diego game will be broadcast at 8:30 pm via the Bronco Radio Network on both KDOW 1220 AM and Broncos All-Access on the web at www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. The pregame show will begin at 8:15 pm. Anthony Passarelli is in his third season. In addition, Kerry Keating can be heard on KDOW 1220 AM on Sunday evenings from 8:30-9 pm in his radio spotlight on The Sports Ramble, hosted by Chetan Chaudhari. If you are out of the listening area Bronco fans, KDOW is streamed online live at www.1220kdow.com.

Last Time Out

Marc Trasolini scored 20+ points for the fourth time this season, but it wasn't enough as Santa Clara fell to Harvard 74-66 on Jan. 4 in front of a sell-out crowd at the Leavey Center. The crowd of 4,700 people was the largest Leavey Center crowd ever for a non-conference game.

Trasolini finished with 22 points. Robert Smith had 14 points, the 11th time in 12 games he has finished in double figures. Ray Cowels scored with 11 points.

Seniors Brandon Johnson, Chris Lewis, and Roberto Mafra, with their combined 57 points, helped San Diego to a 74-64 victory over Florida A&M on Jan. 3.

Johnson, coming off a 31-point effort on Dec. 31 at Mississippi State, had a game-high 23 points against the Rattlers. He also dished out seven assists, increasing his career total to 468 and passing David Fizdale to sit on top of the school's career assists list.

Mafra and Lewis both established new highs in scoring as well, as Lewis scored a season-high 17 on 5-of-7 shooting, including 4-of-5 from beyond the arc. Mafra, averaging 13.8 ppg his last six games, scored a career-high 17 points with a game-high eight rebounds. Matt Dorr also reached double-digits in points for the Toreros (7-9) after contributing 10.

Different Line-ups

The Broncos used their 10th starting line-up of the season vs. Harvard. It included Robert Smith, Michael Santos, Troy Payne, Niyi Harrison and Marc Trasolini. They have had nine different players start in a game this season. See chart below.

The only players who have started in all 17 games this season are Robert Smith and Troy Payne. The Broncos have 13 players who have appeared in a game this season, but only seven players have played in all 17 games. They are: Trasolini, Smith, Harrison, Cowels, Payne, Santos and Troy Alexander. The Line

Santa Clara is No. 2 in the country in free throws made and No. 3 in the country in free throws attempted, according to statsheet.com. Santa Clara is 316 of 452 from the line this season, scoring almost 70 percent of its attempts. It is scoring almost 28 percent of its points from the free throw line this year. In addition, Santa Clara's 221 offensive rebounds rank No. 11 in the country.

Minutes, Blocks

Robert Smith is ranked No. 22 in the country among the nation's freshmen with 30.8 mpg, according to bbstate.com. He has started every game this season and played a career-high 37 minutes vs. San Jose State. He is the team leader in both minutes and with 3.0 apg as well.

Marc Trasolini is ranked No. 14 among the nation's sophomores with 1.8 bpg according to bbstate.com. He leads the team in blocks and with 6.7 rpg.

Younger

Santa Clara is the eighth-youngest team in the country; and it is the youngest team in the WCC with an average of 1.87, according to statsheet.com. Portland has the oldest team in the WCC with an average of 3.61 and it is the third-most experienced team in the country. The average is figured on the sum of minutes each player plays is multiplied by their class year (Freshmen=1, Sophomore=2, Junior=3 and Senior=4) and is divided by the total team minutes.

SCU was quite young last year as well. According to STATSHEET.COM (March 2, 2009), the Broncos had the 38th youngest team in the NCAA last year of the 342 Division I teams, which means 89% of the Division I teams had a more-experienced starting five than SCU.

Leading

SCU has three players averaging double figures: Kevin Foster (19.8 ppg - out indefinitely), Marc Trasolini (14.2 ppg) and Robert Smith (11.6 ppg). Smith leads t the team with 3.0 apg. Trasolini leads the team with 1.8 bpg.

They are led on the boards by Trasolini, who average 6.7 rpg, and Troy Payne, who pulls down 6.4 rpg. Payne has 7+ rebounds in nine games, including nine vs. New Hampshire and Fresno State and a career-high 15 vs. Menlo.

20+

Marc Trasolini has scored 20+ four times this season, including 22 vs. Harvard. He has scored 20+ five times in his two-year career. His 22 points both vs. Harvard and vs. No. 21 UNLV were his second-best efforts this season after he scored 23 points vs. Menlo on Nov. 16. Trasolini had a career-high 24 points last year vs. UNH on Jan. 4, 2009.

Trasolini has scored in double figures 14 times this season and has two double-doubles. In 17 games he has scored no fewer than seven points (vs. SJSU). He has made eight field goals in three games during his career, with the latest being his 8 of 9 effort vs. Harvard. He was 1-1 from beyond the arc in that game as well. He hit a career-high three three's at both Houston Baptist and Rice last month.

Trasolini has hit 79 of his 100 free throws this season, including hitting 24 of 27 free throws in the last four games. On the season, he is hitting almost 80 percent at the line. In addition, more than 32 percent of Trasolini's points this year come from the charity stripe.

He tied his season-high with three blocks vs. Harvard and currently has 1.8 bpg. His 31 blocks are more than half of the team's total, as the Broncos have blocked 61 shots this season. Trasolini tied John Bryant's freshman record with 37 blocks last season so he is already on pace to top his freshman total with at least 15 games to go. The school record for blocks in a season was set by Bryant last season when he collected 84 swats. He needs three more blocks to enter the school's top 10 for a season and would be tied with Kurt Rambis (1979-80) and Brandan Graves (1994-95).

Cowels off the bench

Raymond Cowels scored 24 points off the bench vs. Wofford and for his efforts was named to the Cable Car Classic All-Tournament team. It was a career high for Cowels in the following categories: points (24), field goals made (8), three pointers made (5) and field goal percentage (.667). He tied his career high with three a assists as well.

Cowels 24 points were the most for a Bronco off the bench since Marc Trasolini scored 24 vs. New Hampshire on Jan. 4, 2009. Looking for a better performance off the bench for a Bronco? Brandon Rohe scored 29 points on Dec. 27, 2002 in Santa Clara's 70-63 win over Mississippi Valley State. It was the most for a freshman since Kevin Foster scored 26 at LMU on Feb. 14, 2009 in Santa Clara's 69-64 win over the Lions in Los Angeles.

Cowels had started the last eight of nine games before coming off the bench vs. Wofford. Prior to the Wofford game, Cowels had been struggling, hitting five threes in the six previous games combined. The five threes also tied Kevin Foster's high from last season as well.

Smith

Freshman Robert Smith continues to be productive offensively as he has scored in double digits 11 of the last 12 games. Smith scored a career-high 17 points vs. New Hampshire, including three threes, and vs. Fresno State; was a career-high 6 of 8 from the free throw line in the win at UCSB and added 16 points vs. SJSU.

Additionally, Smith was five of eight from the free throw line at Houston Baptist including two key free throws to help preserve the lead in the last seconds. In Santa Clara's game vs. SJSU on Dec. 23, Smith played a career-high 37 minutes, scoring 16 points with a career-high seven rebounds and five assists. Smith had a career-high six assists vs. Wofford.

Smith was named to the Cousy Watch List as the top point guard in the country on Dec. 16. He was one of two point guards on the list from the WCC. The other was Gonzaga's Matt Bouldin.

Arms

Santa Clara has seven players with wingspans at least an inch longer than their own height. According to Bronco strength and conditioning coach Joe Siara, Marc Trasolini, who measures 6' 9, has the longest wingspan on the team, measuring at 7' 1 1/4 - more than three inches longer than his body. Kevin Foster and Raymond Cowels measure at 6'2, but have wingspans at 6'6; Nate Mensah is 6'3 with a wingspan of 6'5; Chris Cunningham measures at 6'8 with a wingspan of 6'9 1/2; Troy Payne measures at 6'6 with a wingspan of 6'7 1/2; and Robert Smith measures at 6'0 with a wingspan of 6'1 1/4.