USF Dons vs. Santa Clara Broncos Preview


USF Dons (9-16, 3-10) vs. Santa Clara Broncos (11-14, 5-8)

Date and Time: Thursday, February 12 at 8:00 PST

Location: War Memorial Gym, University of San Francisco Campus

TV: ESPNU (Roxy Bernstein and Corey Williams)

Audio: (Pat Olson and Jim Brovelli)

Meet the Teams

San Francisco

Coming off a loss to Gonzaga Saturday where the Dons played close to the Zags for most of the game, the Dons have reason to feel pretty good in the lead up to their game at home against Santa Clara. The Broncos dropped their last game to Portland at home in fairly embarrassing fashion, imploding ever so slightly. Portland swept both Cali games (playing San Francisco last Thursday.) This means the Broncos will have retooled during practice this week.

If Santa Clara rolls into War Memorial gym a bit overconfident because they beat USF by 6 points last go round (70-64) they might be in for a surprise. The Dons are starting games more skillfully and could run up a nice lead. Through the season and certainly on display Saturday night was the Dons ability to not squander their lead and have been staying closer to their opponents.  If USF can close out strong, they will find themselves with the W.

Mark Tollefsen led USF last Saturday night against Gonzaga with 18 points. Kruize Pinkins is always productive as is Tim Derksen, Matt Christiansen and Devin Watson. Corey Hilliard has been a solid presence off the bench adding 13 points in the Gonzaga, Matt Glover too. This team plays well even if they are losing. In any other conference, the team would higher in the league standings than they are in this week’s WCC standings.

Santa Clara

Like Portland, Coach Kerry Keating boasts a 100% graduation rate for his players. Senior forward Dominic Romero was honored for his impressive commitment to giving back to his community and those around him by being named to the Allstate NABC Good Works team. Romero will travel to Indianapolis for the NCAA Final Four games to participate in a community service project with 4 other Division I basketball players selected in the Indianapolis community.

More from West Coast Convo

Scoring and assist leader Brandon Clark together with Jared Brownridge, 2014 WCC Newcomer of the Year will be the focus of containment efforts for USF. Clark usually walks away with 20 points, Brownridge sinks three’s like nobody’s business. Guard Denzel Johnson is another Santa Clara player to keep an eye on with his quick steals from opponents that lose track of the basketball for a  millisecond.

Andrew Papenfus was medically cleared to participate in the USF game. Papenfus had brain surgery in June of 2014 to remove a benign brain tumor and returned to the basketball court during the January 31st game against BYU. He had to suspend his participation in practices and games on February 2nd until his doctors ran tests to give him the go ahead to resume play. That he is playing basketball is flat amazing and inspirational, let alone playing for a DI WCC team.