Santa Clara (17-6) at BYU (17-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 2, 9 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Marriott Center (3,500) -- Provo, Utah. Television: BYUtv. Home Record: Santa Clara 11-4. BYU 10-1. Away Record: Santa Clara 6-2, BYU 5-3. Neutral Record: Santa Clara 0-0, BYU 2-2. Conference Record: Santa Clara 4-3, BYU 7-2. Series Record: BYU leads, 18-5.
GAMES NOTES: In a critical West Coast Conference bout the Santa Clara Broncos will be matched up with the BYU Cougars at the Marriott Center on Saturday night.
Few teams have been as hot in WCC play as Santa Clara which rides into this contest with wins in five straight games, four coming against league foes. The most recent win was a dominant 70-46 rout of Portland that has the Broncos at 17-6 overall and thanks to the recent surge in fourth place in league play (5-3). Santa Clara won't be afraid to be on the road as it is 6-2 in away contests this season. A three-game homestand awaits the Broncos next with bouts against Saint Mary's, San Diego and Pepperdine.
BYU rebounded for a tough stretch where it lost two of three games by posting consecutive victories on the road over Portland (85-67) and Pepperdine (63-61). With those two wins BYU has an identical overall record as the Broncos, with an impressive 7-2 mark in league play. BYU certainly has the homecourt advantage on their side in this contest as they are 10-1 at the Marriott Center with the lone loss coming against No. 7 Gonzaga. BYU travels to play San Diego next.
The Cougars have to feel confident going into this game as they already posted an 82-64 win against Santa Clara on its home floor this season. It was the seventh straight win for the Cougars since 1986 against the Broncos. BYU also leads the all-time series, 18-5.
The Broncos were solid on both ends of the floor in their win against Portland. Santa Clara shot an even 50 percent in the contest while holding the Pilots to just a 25 percent success rate. The Broncos also had a 40-26 edge in rebounds led by the double-double of Marc Trasolini (23 points, 11 rebounds).
On the season the Broncos have enjoyed a sizable scoring differential (+11.3) thanks to their solid efforts on the offensive end. Santa Clara is ranked fourth in the conference in points per game (76.6 ppg) while shooting at a nearly 45 percent clip from the floor. The Broncos are also second in the WCC and 15th nationally in assists (16.2 pg). Kevin Foster (19.0 ppg, 4.4 apg) and Evan Roquemore (12.7 ppg, 6.2 apg) are to blame for how smoothly the Broncos have been able to move the ball as each is among the top five players in the conference in assists. Opponents can't ignore Trasolini (15.8 ppg, 8.4 rpg) either as he provides energy in the frontcourt with his ability to score and rebound.
BYU escaped with a win over Pepperdine when they captured a defensive rebound off a missed free-throw with a second remaining. Matt Carlino came up big in crunch time in the contest scoring five of his 12 points in the last 1:03 including a 3-pointer that put the game out of reach.
For the Cougars scoring has also proved to be not much of an issue. BYU is putting in 77.3 points per game while shooting at a 45.7 percent rate from the field. Each of those marks is the third best in the conference. BYU actually leads the conference in assists (16.3 pg) and rebounds (39.3 pg) with each of those totals among the 30 best in the country. Tyler Haws (20.5, 4.8 rpg) is the most explosive offensive force on the squad as he proved against Pepperdine by scoring 21 points. As the WCC's leading scorer he has reached the 20-point plateau in eight of the last 10 games. Brandon Davies (18.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg) is another prolific scorer as well as a dominant force on the interior, while Carlino (10.6 ppg, 4.4 apg) is more of a supplementary scorer while running the point.
When these teams met earlier this season BYU had its way with Santa Clara. That result is unlikely to change with the Cougars now playing at home where they have been dominant all season.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: BYU 83, Santa Clara 71
02/02 11:03:53 ET