FACTS & STATS: Site: Firestone Fieldhouse (9,000) -- Malibu, California. Television: WCC Digital. Home Record: Santa Clara 9-4, Pepperdine 5-3. Away Record: Santa Clara 4-2, Pepperdine 3-5. Neutral Record: Santa Clara 0-0, Pepperdine 1-0. Conference Record: Santa Clara 2-3, Pepperdine 1-3. Series Record: Santa Clara leads, 68-56.
GAME NOTES: The Santa Clara Broncos look to string wins together when they visit Firestone Fieldhouse to face the Pepperdine Waves in West Coast Conference action.
Santa Clara will be looking to avenge Pepperdine's sweep of the 2011-12 season series. The Broncos still hold a 68-56 edge in the all-time series.
Kerry Keating's Broncos will be much tougher the take down this season. Santa Clara, which finished last season with an 0-16 WCC record, completed an 85-54 rout of San Francisco on Thursday behind a brilliant, 27-point, 10-rebound display by senior guard Kevin Foster. The victory improved the Broncos to a 13-6 overall record including their 2-3 mark in league play. Foster is leading the team and ranks third in the WCC in scoring at 19.7 ppg. Senior forward Marc Trasolini missed last season due to injury, but he has returned to post career-highs of 15 points and 8.2 rebounds per tilt, while Evan Roquemore chips in 13.3 points to go along with his conference leading total of 120 assists (6.3 per game).
The trio has helped the Broncos average 77.8 points per game on 44.2 percent shooting from the floor. Defensively, Santa Clara has the third highest allowed scoring average in the WCC with 67.9 points surrenders per outing. It is coming off one of its best defensive performances, as the Dons shot 16-of-50 from the field and committed 15 turnovers on Thursday. In addition to Foster, Raymond Cowels III (17) and Roquemore (10 points, five assists) both reached double figures. The Broncos sank 14-of-30 from 3-point range to coast to the triumph.
The Waves are also a much better unit than last season, as they are one win away from matching the 2011-12 campaign's total. Marty Wilson's squad is 9-8 overall, but just 1-3 in WCC play after its 62-50 setback to San Diego on Jan. 12. Pepperdine rallies behind Lorne Jackson, who is third in the conference in scoring with 16.6 ppg. The senior guard is joined in double figures by Stacy Davis (10.7 ppg, 7.2 rpg) and Jordan Baker (10.6 ppg, 3.3 apg). The Waves have lost three of their last four games and have clearly been a different team since senior guard Caleb Willis (4.7 apg) was deemed ineligible before the start of the semester.
The offense continued to stall without Willis versus San Diego, as Pepperdine committed 18 turnovers in the contest and netted a season-low 18 points in the first half. The team went 1-of-10 from beyond the arc, and none of the Waves scored in double digits, as Davis and Jackson has nine points apiece.
Pepperdine should be able to get back on track offensively against the usually generous Broncos. Jackson is being forced to handle the ball more with his point guard out of the lineup, but it is only a matter of time before he finds a way to make it work.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Pepperdine 70, Santa Clara 66
01/19 10:37:03 ET
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