Santa Clara at Gonzaga
Game Time: 5:00 p.m. PST
Live Stats: ESPN.com
Teams Records: GU – 10-2 – SCU – 7-6
Leading Scorers: GU – Pangos 18.3 – SCU – Clark 15.8
Leading Rebounders: GU – Karnowski 8.0 – SCU – Brown 6.8
Leading Distributors: GU – Stockton 4.7 – SCU – Roquemore 3.9
Gary Bell Jr.
This particular WCC opening Saturday matchup features the tale of two different teams. One team – the Santa Clara Broncos (7-6) – comes in winning 3 out of their last 4 games, including a last second victory over South Florida. On the other hand, Gonzaga (10-2) is coming into WCC play on a bit of a sour note after falling to Big-12 adversary Kansas State.
*Fun fact: Gonzaga had not lost to a Big-12 team since 2010-2011 to – guess who – the No. 3 ranked Kansas State Wildcats. The Bulldogs were 8-0 against the Big-12.
Anyways, this will be a telling game for both teams. Gonzaga needs to prove to the rest of the conference that it is still the top dog in the conference. Santa Clara need to show everyone it can still compete even though Foster, Cowels III and Trasolini have moved on. Two very different motives, but it will make for one very good game.
Matchup of the Game – The Backcourts
Each team’s strengths are their
backcourts, and it will be very interesting to see how they matchup with each other.
From a defensive standpoint, the Santa Clara backcourt is a mismatch for that of Gonzaga. The Broncos feature two guards – Brandon Clark and Evan Roquemore – that can put the ball on the floor and bull their way to the rim. The other member of the SCU backcourt, Jared Brownridge, is more of a shooter, but can still score in a myriad of ways.
It will be interesting to see who Gonzaga’s defense ace Gary Bell Jr. marks during this matchup. Will he guard the Broncos primary ball handler and playmaker Roquemore? Will he matchup with the fantastic freshman scorer Jared Brownridge? Although it is unlikely he takes on Brandon Clark, it is a possibility with the way he can get to the bucket.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, Santa Clara will have its hands full with Gonzaga’s guards. Bell, Pangos and Stockton are the starters, but there is much more than just those three. Kyle Dranginis and Gerard Coleman are also dangerous players that can score in bunches. Santa Clara plays a lot of man-to-man defense, and they will possibly be given their biggest test on the perimeter against the GU guards.
About all we know about the Status of Gonzaga forward Samuel Dower Jr. is that his X-rays are negative and that he is day-to-day. With the Christmas Holiday being directly after the Kansas State game, a little uncertainty about his injury is to be expected. However, with Gonzaga’s history of divulging inside information to the media and the public, there is a very good chance that Dower’s status will not be known until right before tip-off.
However, Dower himself did give us this bit of information, although it should be taken with a grain of salt.
Who will step up in the Santa Clara frontcourt
Senior forward Jerry Brown has had some nice games this season, but who else will step up beside him? Nate Kratch, John McArthur and Yannick Atanga have some nice qualities.
The Broncos need a consistent scoring threat beside Jerry Brown to take pressure off their guards and Brown.