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.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
1 Comment

Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Leave a comment

Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: