Kerry Keating

Santa Clara head coach Kerry Keating offers students special deal for Saturday’s game against No. 10 Gonzaga

Leave a comment

Kerry Keating’s Santa Clara Broncos have been one of the nation’s biggest surprises, as they’re now 12-3 on the season following a 74-69 win over San Francisco in the WCC opener for both teams last night.

And just one week after taking on top-ranked Duke the Broncos will have another chance to make a statement both nationally and within the WCC as No. 10 Gonzaga visits the Leavey Center on Saturday night.

Just one problem: dorms don’t reopen until Sunday, meaning that the student section could lack the energy (and bodies) needed to give the Broncos a boost against the WCC preseason favorite.

With this in mind Keating made an appeal to the students following last night’s game, offering to reimburse students up to $100 if they have to book a hotel room in order to attend the game.

“We need all their energy,” Keating said. “And if any of them read this and any of them want to stay here and can’t have a room on campus … I want them to personally call the office and I will reimburse them up to $100 for a hotel room.”

Santa Clara, due in large part to the loss of both guard Kevin Foster (suspension) and forward Marc Trasolini (torn ACL during their preseason trip to Canada), went 0-16 in WCC play last season. With those two rejoining Evan Roquemore it was expected that the Broncos would be an improved team.

But at 12-3 and already having a win at Saint Louis to its credit, Santa Clara has the opportunity to announce itself as a worthy contender alongside the Bulldogs, BYU and Saint Mary’s with a win on Saturday.

In order to do so not only will Santa Clara need the students to show up en masse but they’ll also need to keep Gonzaga off the boards.

Mark Few’s team is rebounding 39.6% of its missed shots according to statsheet.com, with Kelly Olynyk (2.4 offensive rebounds/game), Elias Harris (1.9) and Mike Hart (1.6) leading the way. And there’s also the matter of slowing down guards Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr.

Coach Keating and his players have a tough task ahead of them on the court, and as evidenced by his gesture the Broncos would appreciate any help their “6th man” can provide.

Raphielle also writes for the NBE Basketball Report and can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

California tightens Pac-12 race with blowout of No. 11 Oregon

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
AP Photo/Ben Margot
Leave a comment

With No. 11 Oregon sitting atop the Pac-12 standings, Thursday night represented a great opportunity for California to add a quality win to its NCAA tournament résumé. Sure enough, Cuonzo Martin’s team took full advantage, getting off to a hot start and not looking back in an 83-63 victory.

The beating was a complete one, as the Golden Bears shot 55.7 percent from the field and 9-for-16 from three, playing aggressively on that end of the floor. Cal playing well at home isn’t a shock, as they’re now 15-0 at Haas Pavilion this season. What was shocking was the fact that they made Oregon look powerless to do anything about it. Jabari Bird produced his best game of the season, scoring 24 points, and three other Golden Bears managed to score in double figures as well.

Tyrone Wallace made his return to the lineup after missing nearly four weeks with a hand injury and that helped, but the bigger star at the point was junior Sam Singer. Singer dished out ten of Cal’s 19 assists on the night, at times passing up a quality shot opportunity to get a teammate an even better look. That’s what this team needs from him, especially with Wallace back in the rotation, and he’s more than capable of filling that role.

Cal executed better than Oregon and they also outworked the Ducks, rebounding 40 percent of their missed shots and scoring 27 second-chance points. In many of Oregon’s games in conference play their versatility has won out, as Dana Altman’s team can attack the opposition in a variety of ways from multiple areas. The tables turned Thursday night, giving Oregon a bit of a wake-up call heading into the stretch run.

Cal provided a reminder of what they’re capable of doing when clicking on all cylinders, and they’ve also managed to tighten up a race that appeared to have a clear favorite. As a result of Cal’s win Oregon is now tied with USC in the loss column, and the top seven teams are separated by a total of two games. The Golden Bears are part of that group due to their unblemished home record, and their ability to put it all together at Haas was never in question.

But if the Golden Bears are to play their way into a comfortable position in regards to the NCAA tournament and experience success once there, they have to figure out a way to take this level of play on the road (1-8 away from Berkeley). With four of their final seven games away from Berkeley, whether or not Cal can do so will determine their fate come Selection Sunday.

Auburn junior guard Kareem Canty to turn pro

Auburn guard Kareem Canty (1) screams in pain after being fouled during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 16, 2016, in Auburn, Ala. Auburn won 75-70.  (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
AP Photo/Brynn Anderson
Leave a comment

Auburn junior point guard Kareem Canty, the team’s leader in both points and assists, has missed the Tigers’ last two games as a result of a suspension handed down by head coach Bruce Pearl for a violation of team rules. Thursday night Canty announced via Twitter that he will be turning pro, ending his Auburn career with less than one full season of play.

In 21 games this season Canty averaged 18.3 points and 5.3 assists per contest, shooting 40.1 percent from the field and 36.1 percent from three. Given Auburn’s lack of perimeter depth Canty had ample opportunities to score from the point guard position, but he struggled in the four games following standout performances in wins over Kentucky and Alabama.

Auburn’s lost six straight since beating the Crimson Tide, most recently falling 71-45 at Tennessee Tuesday night. Without Canty, Bruce Pearl called upon TJ Lang and Bryce Brown as the perimeter starters in that game with Patrick Keim and New Williams playing a combined 33 minutes off the bench. They’ll continue to see those minutes moving forward.

As for next season, Auburn brings in four-star point guard Jared Harper and currently injured point guard Tahj Shamsid-Deen will be available as well.

Canty began his college career at Marshall, playing the 2013-14 season for the Thundering Herd before deciding to transfer. Canty committed to Auburn in mid-April of 2014, only to change his mind in favor of USF before making the switch back to Auburn.

Canty’s name wasn’t showing up in early draft projections, and making this decision while in the midst of a suspension likely won’t help matters when it comes to getting selected.