Saint Mary’s (19-9, 9-6) at Santa Clara Broncos (12-16, 5-10)
Date: Saturday, February 22, 2014
Location: Leavey Center, Santa Clara, Calif.
Time: 1:00 PM PST
TV: CSN Bay Area
Last Matchup: Santa Clara 57, Saint Mary’s 55
James Walker III
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Santa Clara and Saint Mary’s will be a very interesting matchup, with both teams having a lot on the line. The first game between these two produced an instant classic, with Jared Brownridge hitting a three for Santa Clara with 1.2 seconds left to give them the 57-55 victory in Moraga. Since then, the Broncos have lost 8 of 10 games, while the Gaels remain towards the top of the league.
Santa Clara seems to have figured it out recently, winning 2 of its last 3 and barely losing to rival USF. On Thursday, they crushed a Pacific team that had a lot to play for, and they showed more balance offensively. Saint Mary’s, on the other hand, lost a key game on Thursday for 3rd place in the league to USF. They shot horribly from 3, going 5-26 (19%). A win would have tied them in the loss column for second in the league, but instead they are now in fourth, a full game behind USF.
Keys To The Game
Shoot the 3 Well
I know it is easy to tell a team to make shots in order to have success, but for Saint Mary’s it is very important for them in this game. Santa Clara looks forward to playing Saint Mary’s more than any team in the league, and they will be really amped to start the game. If Saint Mary’s can knock down shots early, they can maybe offset this intensity. Also, in their 6 league losses, Saint Mary’s is shooting just 19% from three, compared to 39% on the season.
Santa Clara has not been a good rebounding team this year, with a -6.4 rebounding margin during league play. Saint Mary’s beat them by 6 on the boards in Moraga, but the hot shooting of Brownridge and Clark was able to overcome this. On Saturday, they need Atanga, McArthur, and Brown to match the size of Saint Mary’s and get the rebounding edge.
Santa Clara looked the best they’ve looked all year on Thursday, with more balanced scoring than they have all year. Saint Mary’s is the superior team in regards to talent, but Santa Clara is the hotter team, and they know they can beat this team. Santa Clara has been playing a lot better at home, and I see that continuing on Saturday. Santa Clara 71, Saint Mary’s 58