San Francisco (7-6) at Santa Clara (11-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 2, 10 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Leavey Center (4,700) -- Santa Clara, California. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: USF 5-1, SCU 8-2. Away Record: USF 1-2, SCU 3-1. Neutral Record: USF 1-3, SCU 0-0. Conference Record: USF 0-0, SCU 0-0. Series Record: Santa Clara leads, 109-101.
GAME NOTES: After going winless against the rest of the West Coast Conference last season, the Santa Clara Broncos try to get off on the right foot this time around as they host the San Francisco Dons at the Leavey Center on Wednesday night.
Coming up empty in 16 tries versus the WCC last season, Santa Clara became the 10th team in league history to go winless in conference play and the first since 2001. Prior to this past weekend, the Broncos had lost only two games, back-to-back overtime affairs versus Utah State and UC Santa Barbara.
On Saturday, SCU was pitted against top-ranked Duke and had the Blue Devils somewhat slightly dazed in the early going before eventually falling at Cameron Indoor by a score of 90-77.
As for the Dons, they most recently took the floor at home against Dominican and captured a 93-76 win, marking their highest-scoring output of the season. The win was the second in a row, following a five-game slide, that put the squad back over .500 and gave head coach Rex Walters the 100th victory of his career.
In one of the most heavily played series in college basketball, this game marks the 211th meeting, with the Broncos owning a 109-101 advantage. However, USF has won five straight regular-season meetings, including three in a row in Santa Clara.
Cole Dickerson ruled the paint against Dominican over the weekend, registering a healthy double-double with 30 points and 10 rebounds as the Dons recorded a 42-27 rebounding edge. Also scoring in double figures were De'End Parker with 20 points, to go along with seven assists and five boards, followed by Mark Tollefsen (19 points, eight rebounds) and Tim Derksen (11 points, nine rebounds) for a team that shot 55.9 percent from the floor. The leading rebounder for USF in all but two games, Dickerson is not only pacing the team on the glass with close to 12 rpg, he is also the top scorer with 15.4 ppg, just ahead of Parker who is coming in at 15.0 ppg thanks to his 52.6 percent shooting from behind the 3-point line. Cody Doolin (11.9 ppg), while not the most accurate long-range shooter the team has at just 29.2 percent, is the one who continues to put his teammates in scoring situations with his 80 assists over the course of 13 games.
Knocking down 12-of-22 shots from the floor, including 5-of-11 behind the 3- point line, against one of the most dominant programs in college basketball, Kevin Foster raised more than a few eyebrows in Durham, North Carolina against Duke over the weekend. Foster finished with a team-high 29 points in 35 minutes of action, one of four starters in double figures. Evan Roquemore followed with 17 points, while Marc Trasolini and Raymond Cowels III chipped in 10 points apiece. The Broncos let Duke off the hook in the second half when they allowed the Blue Devils to shoot 51.4 percent from the floor and head to the free-throw line 19 times. Foster leads the team in scoring after 14 games with his 18.9 ppg, but really that should be the case seeing as how he is averaging more than 16 field goal attempts per game and has taken 122 shots from behind the 3-point line alone, more than all but two of his teammates have taken from the floor overall. While Foster leaks out to the perimeter on offense, Trasolini handles the action in the paint with 15.9 ppg and 7.6 rpg.
The Broncos might be due for a let-down after competing so hard against top- ranked Duke, but even if that is the case Santa Clara should still come up with the win against an overmatched USF group.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Santa Clara 73, San Francisco 61
01/02 10:32:11 ET