Wagner (9-3) at Santa Clara (8-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 30th, 11:15 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Leavey Center (4,700) -- Santa Clara, California. Television: None. Home Record: Wagner 4-1, Santa Clara 6-0. Away Record: Wagner 4-2, Santa Clara 0-3. Neutral Record: Wagner 1-0, Santa Clara 2-1. Conference Record: Wagner 1-1, Santa Clara 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Santa Clara Broncos are the host team of the Cable Car Classic, and they will battle the Wagner Seahawks in the championship game of the event this evening. This is the longest-running holiday tournament in country with at least one team advancing to the NCAA Tournament in 31 of its 44 years.
Wagner made national headlines by beating a ranked Pittsburgh team on the road last week and followed that thrilling win with a 72-61 triumph over Air Force last night as part of this event. The Seahawks are now 9-3 overall and have won four of their last five games. They are members of the Northeast Conference and are 1-1 in league play thus far.
As for Santa Clara, it last won this event in 2008, and the team enters tonight's title affair with an 8-4 overall record. The Broncos had no trouble disposing of Eastern Michigan last night, defeating the Eagles by a 75-55 final to mark their third win in the last four outings. Santa Clara is a member of the West Coast Conference and has yet to open league play.
This game marks the first-ever meeting between Wagner and Santa Clara on the hardwood.
In last night's victory over Air Force, four of Wagner's five starters reached double figures in scoring. Latif Rivers led the way with 21 points on the strength of a 5-of-9 effort from three-point range, and Tyler Murray finished with 11 points. Noafall Folahan and Kenneth Ortiz pitched in 10 points apiece for the Seahawks, who hit all 20 of their free throws in the affair and committed a mere nine turnovers. A 36-21 rebounding advantage clearly helped the cause as well. Overall this season, Wagner is generating 73.2 ppg while allowing just 64.2 ppg to opponents. Rivers leads the club in scoring with 14.0 ppg, but his 39.1 percent shooting from the field needs to improve. Murray, a 50 percent shooter, provides 12.9 ppg.
Kevin Foster and Evan Roquemore are counted on to be productive at the offensive end every time out for Santa Clara. Foster is netting a team-best 18.5 ppg, and that output would be even better if not for his 39 percent shooting from the floor. As for Roquemore, he provides 14.3 ppg and 6.25 apg. The Broncos are averaging 72.6 ppg while allowing 69.4 ppg to opponents. Foster was tremendous in last night's matchup with Eastern Michigan, as he poured in 25 points on the strength of his 6-of-10 shooting from three-point range. Niyi Harrison added 13 points and 13 boards for the Broncos, who got nine assists from Roquemore. The standout guard turned the ball over just once, and Santa Clara shot 52.2 percent from the field while earning big advantages in both points from the foul line (19-10) and rebounding (39-24).
Wagner is playing with a wealth of confidence, but the Seahawks will fall narrowly tonight to Santa Clara. The Broncos are a solid team that is undefeated in front of the home crowd this year.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Santa Clara 69, Wagner 65
12/30 10:37:47 ET
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