LAS VEGAS - With a convincing 85-54 victory over LMU on Friday night, Santa Clara advances to the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference Championship. The Broncos will now face No. 2 seed BYU on Sat., March 7 in Las Vegas at the Orleans Arena. The 8 pm game with the Cougars will be televised live on ESPN2 with Beth Mowins and Stan Heath making the call. It will also be broadcast live on KDOW 1220 AM and the Bronco website, SantaClaraBroncos.com, as part of the Bronco Radio Network. David Gentile is serving as the Broncos' play-by-play announcer throughout the tournament. Gentile is a 2012 Gonzaga graduate who has broadcast Bronco baseball and men's and women's soccer the last two years. Prior to coming to Santa Clara he did two seasons of minor league baseball.
The Two Of Us
SCU is 14-17 and finished 7-11 in the WCC. Santa Clara shot 55.0 percent in the 31-point victory over LMU, getting 19 points from both Jared Brownridge and Brandon Clark. Brownridge was 5 of 8 from beyond the arc. Jarvis Pugh added a career-high 12 points with seven boards and six assists..
Clark is averaging 15.6 ppg after scoring 16.9 ppg in 2013-14. Brownridge is averaging 15.5 ppg after leading the team with 17.2 ppg last year. Brownridge has scored double figures 27 times this year and Clark follows closely with 26 games. Clark has led the team in scoring 16 times this year, Brownridge 15, Matt Hubbard twice and Nate Kratch once. Denzel Johnson and Jalen Richard both had a team-high 13 points at Portland to finish out the game scoring leaders.
BYU is 23-8 and finished 13-5 in the WCC. BYU finished the regular season with a bang, beating then-No. 3 Gonzaga 73-70 in Spokane last Saturday. BYU features four players who average double figures: Tyler Haws (21.9), Kyle Collinsworth (13.5), Anson Winder (13.3) and Chase Fischer (13.0).
BYU leads the all-time series with SCU 23-5. SCU has lost 12 straight games to the Cougars. The Broncos will be facing BYU in the West Coast Conference Championship for the first time. The Broncos' last series win came on Dec. 2, 1972 when they defeated No. 12 BYU, 66-64, in Provo. The Broncos' last win vs. BYU in Santa Clara came almost 54 years ago and it was back-to-back days. SCU defeated BYU 64-53 on Dec. 8, 1961 and then 71-55 on Dec. 9, 1961.
BYU won both games against the Broncos this year. The Cougars won 81-46 in Santa Clara on New Year's Day and then 78-57 on Jan. 31 in Provo.
A Communication major, Jared Brownridge works as an EyeBronco reporter for the SCU Media Relations office and hosts his own YouTube series: "Long Walks With Jared". With a couple cameras filming their walk, Brownridge walks around the picturesque Mission campus chatting with his subject. He interviewed WCC Commissioner Lynn Holzman in January. Brownridge has also interviewed Santa Clara University President, Father Michael Engh, and two of his teammates: Dominic Romeo and Brandon Clark. Next up? Former Bronco head coach Carroll Williams. The Bronco head coach from 1970-92, Williams is the second-winningest coach in WCC history with 165 victories to his credit.
Climbing up the career charts, Brandon Clark is the sixth player in school history to score 1,500+ points, dish 400+ assists and make 160+ threes, joining Kevin Foster, Steve Nash, Kyle Bailey, Evan Roquemore and Brian Jones. With 21 points in the win vs. SMC Feb. 28, he became the 13th player to score 1,500 career points. He was the 15th Bronco to score 1,400 career points (Jan. 29) and the 20th Bronco to score 1,300 points (Jan. 13). Clark joined the 1,000+ list last season when he scored 18 points at Pepperdine on March 1, 2014.
Santa Clara has the top four-year APR average in the WCC. Under Kerry Keating, SCU has had a 100 percent graduation rate the past seven years. The following are expected to graduate in June: Andrew Papenfus, Denzel Johnson, Brandon Clark, Yannick Atanga and Kratch. Atanga will have a double degree in French and political science and hopes to begin a master's degree if his sixth year's granted.
The bench erupted like they had won the lottery on Friday night when Andrew Papenfus hit his first basket of the year, a three-pointer, with 1:13 left in the LMU game. He later added two free throws to finish with five points. Papenfus saw his first action of the year at BYU on Jan. 31 after recovering from brain surgery Oct. 6, 2014 to remove a golf-ball sized tumor. He played the final 3:58 of the BYU game, collecting a rebound, a steal and shooting 0-2 from the field. None of those were personal bests for him, but the fact he was on the court less than four months after brain surgery is remarkable. It was an emotional moment for both Papenfus and his teammates and coaches, some of which had tears in their eyes.
Papenfus had a setback on Feb. 2 and after having tests run and consulting with doctors, it was determined he should take a couple weeks off from practice and play. The tests run all came back fine and he is healthy, but he had not played since the BYU game when he started Senior Night vs. Saint Mary's. He gave the Broncos a big lift in his five minutes of play when he snarred two steals, a rebound and assist.
Looking back, Papenfus suffered a seizure in mid-June at Santa Clara during a Bronco Basketball camp drill. Tests revealed he had a golf ball sized tumor in the left side of his brain. He was given the choice to wait to have the surgery and play this season or have the surgery immediately. Because they couldn't guarantee it wouldn't up regulate (grow), he decided to have brain surgery as soon as the surgeon could get it on the schedule. "Why take the risk," he said.
The five-hour surgery on Oct. 6, 2014 was done by Dr. Mitch Berger and his team at UCSF in San Francisco. He has shocked doctors with how fast he has been able to recover - he was only in the hospital for four days. He couldn't move his right foot after surgery, but Papenfus quickly graduated from basic physical therapy.
The Santa Clara starting line-up is again expected to be Brandon Clark, Jared Brownridge, Denzel Johnson, Nate Kratch and Jarvis Pugh. Pugh has started four of the last five games in place of Matt Hubbard, who has started 24 games this season. Pugh scored a career-high 12 points with seven boards and five assists vs. LMU on Friday. Coming off the bench due to Senior Day, Pugh collected a career-high 10 rebounds and eight points in the win the over Saint Mary's on Feb. 28. Pugh was just a rebound away from his first career double-double when he scored 10 points and nine boards at LMU. He has played in all 31 games this season, starting 15, and averages 19.3 mpg.
Three Broncos were honored Tuesday when the WCC announced its league honors. Jared Brownridge was named First Team All-WCC after becoming the first true Bronco sophomore and just third in WCC history to score 1,000+ career points. It is the seventh time a Keating-player has been honored on the All-WCC First Team and Brownridge is the only sophomore to be honored this year. Averaging 15.6 ppg, Brownridge scored the game winner vs. Saint Mary's on Feb. 28. Starting every game of his career (64), he has scored double figures in 16 straight games Shooting 85.8 percent from the line, he has made 24 of his 26 FT attempts in the last five games. He is fourth on the season list this year with 87 threes. Brownridge has scored 1,047 career points, good enough for No. 30 on the career list. The WCC Newcomer of the Year, Brownridge led the team with 17.2 ppg his freshman year.
Twice named the WCC Player of the Week this year, Brandon Clark was named to the All-WCC Honorable Mention team for the second straight year. He is just the sixth player in school history to score 1,500+ points (1,526), 160+ threes (163) and 400+ assists (406). Clark became the 13th player in school history to score 1,500+ career points when he scored 21 points in the win over Saint Mary's Feb. 28. It was his 11th 20+ game this season and the 24th of his career. He is 21 of 23 from the free throw line in the last seven games. On the Bronco career list, he is No. 3 in free throw percentage (84.2), No. 5 in free throws made (393), No. 5 in games played (132) and No. 10 in assists (406). He has played in all 132 games of his career, making 68 starts.
Matt Hubbard was named to the WCC All-Freshman team. He is the seventh player under Keating to receive the honor. Hubbard has played in all 31 games, starting 24. He recorded his first career double-double in the victory over San Diego Jan. 3 (12 points, 11 boards). He tied a career-high with 15 points at Gonzaga on Jan. 10, hitting five threes. He also scored 15 vs. Pacific on Dec. 29.
A league-high three Broncos were named to the WCC All-Academic List, including First Team member Nate Kratch. He carries at 3.32 grade point average in Psychology. Kratch will graduate in June, finishing his degree in three years. He will begin grad school in the summer as he has two years left to play after this season.
Andrew Papenfus and Dominic Romeo were also named to the WCC All-Academic Honorable Mention list. Papenfus carries a 3.25 GPA and will graduate in June with a degree in Marketing. Romeo, who graduated Magna cum laude with a 3.84 GPA as a double major in Political Science and Chinese from Notre Dame in Spring 2014, carries a 3.8 GPA in his graduate work in Theology. Romeo was named to the Allstate NABC Good Works team in February and will travel to the Final Four in Indianapolis in early April as part of the honor.
Brandon Clark has jumped 16 spots on the career points scored list this season and sits at No. 13 with 1,526 career points. He needs 46 points to pass No. 12 Kyle Bailey (1,571, 2001-05). Clark is tied for top honors in the WCC with 15 free throws made vs. Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 14. His 29 points vs. LMU on Jan. 22 are the third-highest total in WCC play this season.
Twice named the WCC Player of the Week this season (Nov. 17, Jan. 24), Clark is an 84.2 percent career free throw shooter. He is No. 3 on the career list; and the record is held by Steve Nash (86.1 percent, 1991-96) with Russ Vrankovich sitting at No. 2 (85.8 percent, 1961-64).
Clark has scored 20+ points in 11 games this year, including 21 at USF and 21 vs. Saint Mary's. Starting 68 career games, Clark has scored double figures 72 times in his career, including 24 games with 20 or more points the past two years. Prior his junior year, Clark hadn't scored 20+ points in a college or high school game since he scored 29 in an AAU game in eighth grade. He has also scored 30 or more three times during his career, including a season-high 31 points vs. CSU-Fullerton on Nov. 14.
Clark had his streak of 25 straight games in double figures ruined on Nov. 19 at Utah State when he scored nine. The streak dated back to Dec. 13, 2013. It was the longest streak for a Bronco since Travis Niesen scored double figures in 22 straight games (Feb. 5, 2005-Jan. 21, 2006).
With a three-pointer from the elbow at 9:01 in the first half vs. Pacific on Feb. 26, Jared Brownridge became the 33rd Bronco to score 1,000 career points. He scored 567 his freshman year and 480 this year and is already No. 30. Brownridge is the first true sophomore in Santa Clara history and just the third player in WCC history to do so his first two years (no redshirt season). Brownridge is the eighth Bronco to score his 1,000th career point under Kerry Keating. The last to do so: Brandon Clark joined the 1,000+ list last season when he scored 18 points at Pepperdine on March 1, 2014.
The first WCC player was USF's Winford Boynes. He scored 1,074 his first two seasons. He collected a USF freshman record 542 points in 1975-76 and added 532 points in 1976-77. The second was the late Quintin Dailey, also of USF. Dailey scored 393 points his rookie year (1979-80) and 693 his sophomore year when he was named the WCC Player of the Year (1980-81). Kevin Foster scored his 1,000th career point for the Broncos as a redshirt-sophomore on Jan. 22, 2011 vs. Portland (he played six games in 2009-10 before he broke his foot and was redshirted). Foster closed out his Bronco career with 2,423 career points, second only in the WCC to Hank Gather's 2,490 career points.
Brownridge scored double figures in the 16th straight game when he collected 19 vs. LMU. Brownridge has scored 20+ points 20 times in his career. The 2014 WCC Newcomer of the Year, he has started every game he has played in the past two years (64 straight). He has scored double figures 53 times and has yet to be held scoreless. He scored 30+ three times last season but has yet to do it this season.
Brownridge has made 5+ threes 11 times in his career, including seven threes twice last year (vs. La Sierra, 12/14/13 and at Pepperdine, 3/1/14). He has hit 5+ threes vs. LMU in three career games. He led the team with 95 triples a year ago and has hit 87 this season, giving him 181 in his career - good enough for No. 8 on the Bronco career list. He has hit 3+ threes in 33 games, 4+ in 22 games, 5+ in 11 games and 6+ in 5 games. Hitting a three in 59 of 64 career games, Brownridge needs 11 threes to pass No. 7 Ethan Rohde (2002-05, 192). His five career games with no threes include: 0-8 at Pep 2-19-15; 0-5 vs. USD 1-13-15; 0-6 at BYU 2-16-14; 0-1 vs. GU 1-29-14; and 0-3 vs. Sacred Heart 12-18-13.
A preseason All-WCC pick this season, he set seven SCU freshman season records and three single game records last year. His 567 points scored last year shattered the freshman record and placed him at No. 2 all-time in points scored for a Bay Area freshman (list includes SCU, Stanford, Cal, Saint Mary's, USF and Pacific). He finished his freshman year with 24 points vs. Gonzaga in the WCC quarters, as the Broncos fell 77-75 on a last second layup by the Zags' David Stockton.