Santa Clara (9-8) at Saint Mary's-CA (12-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Thursday, January 9, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McKeon Pavilion (3,500) -- Moraga, California. Television: CSN-BAY, ROOT-NW, RM. Home Record: USC 6-3, SMC 8-0. Away Record: USC 2-4, SMC 3-2. Neutral Record: USC 1-1, SMC 0-2. Conference Record: USC 2-2, SMC 2-1. Series Record: Santa Clara leads, 131-83-1.
GAME NOTES: A West Coast Conference rivalry will be renewed on Thursday night, as the Santa Clara Broncos take on the Saint Mary's Gaels at McKeon Pavilion.
The Broncos are making the trip to Moraga following an 86-81 overtime home victory over Loyola Marymount. That win was the second in the last three games for Santa Clara, which is just a game over .500 overall (9-8), and 2-2 in league play. The Broncos will be on the road this Saturday as well, taking on Pacific.
Saint Mary's has enjoyed more success this season, as the team is 12-4 overall, having claimed victory in three of its last four games. The most recent victory came outside of Division I play against William Jessup (84-46), but the Gaels are still 2-1 in WCC action. They are continuing a six-game homestand tonight, which continues against San Francisco on Saturday.
In this long-standing rivalry, Santa Clara holds a 131-83-1 advantage. However, Saint Mary's has won nine straight against the Broncos, including a season sweep in 2012-13.
Shooting from beyond the arc was the major reason Santa Clara was able to top LMU the last time out. The Broncos sank 10 shots from beyond the arc, while holding the Lions scoreless on seven attempts. Jared Brownridge nailed four shots from 3-point range and finished with 29 points.
Relying so heavily on explosive offensive efforts has not been a luxury afforded to Santa Clara very often. The Broncos are the third-worst scoring team in the WCC (73 ppg), while ranking dead last in shooting percentage (.434). They also struggle to get much production on the glass, where they also rank last in the league (33.5 rpg). The strength of the team is in the backcourt where the trio of Brandon Clark (17.1 ppg, 3.7 apg), Brownridge (15.9 ppg) and Evan Roquemore (11.9g, 3.9 apg) earn their keep. Clark tallied 26 points in the win over LMU.
As was to be expected, Saint Mary's dominated all phases of the game in its win over William Jessup. The Gaels sank 54.9 percent of their shots from the floor, including 11-of-24 from beyond the arc, and also had a 41-22 edge on the boards. Kerry Carter led the way with 19 points, hitting 5-of-8 tries from 3-point range.
Even though they do not rebound very well themselves, the Gaels are still enjoying a +5.5 edge on the glass, by holding foes to just 29.1 rpg, which ranks fifth-best in the country. In terms of scoring, they are solid enough, netting 75.7 ppg and shooting 47.5 percent from the floor. Brad Waldow (15.5 ppg, 6.9 rpg) heads the team in each category and is joined by three other players averaging double figures. Stephen Holt (13.3 ppg, 4.9 apg) is the second option and he often defers, which is a good thing considering he leads the team in assists. Beau Levesque (11.9 ppg, 5.4 rpg) and James Walker III (11.2 ppg) also figure in the mix.
The Gaels are a more balanced team than are the Broncos, and their record at home (8-0) really speaks for itself.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Saint Mary's-CA 78, Santa Clara 69
01/09 10:36:10 ET