College Basketball

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Santa Clara (7-6) at (24) Gonzaga (10-2)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 28, 8 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000) -- Spokane, Washington. Television: ESPN U. Home Record: Santa Clara 5-2, Gonzaga 6-0. Away Record: Santa Clara 1-3, Gonzaga 1-0. Neutral Record: Santa Clara 1-1, Gonzaga 3-2. Conference Record: Santa Clara 0-0, Gonzaga 0-0. Series Record: Gonzaga leads, 49-30.

GAME NOTES: The West Coast Conference slate tips off on Saturday night, as the 24th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs play host to the Santa Clara Broncos at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

At 7-6, Santa Clara has endured an up-and-down campaign, but it has been surging in recent weeks with wins in four of its last five games. The Broncos closed out their non-conference slate on Monday night with a 66-65 victory over South Florida in the Las Vegas Classic to move above .500 for the first time since mid-November.

Gonzaga took a tumble in the latest AP poll due to its 72-62 loss at Kansas State last Saturday, which halted a six-game win streak. Despite the setback, the Bulldogs are still an impressive 10-2 this season, including an unblemished 6-0 on their home floor.

The Bulldogs lead the all-time series with Santa Clara, 49-30. The Broncos have won only twice versus Gonzaga in the past 29 matchups, dating back to 2001.

Trailing by eight points with under four minutes to play in their most recent game, the Broncos finished with an 11-2 run, punctuated by a pair of Jared Brownridge free throws with 11 seconds left to lift them to a 66-65 win over USF. They shot just 38.2 percent from the floor on the evening, but they made up for it by committing just eight turnovers and by piecing together a strong 17-of-20 showing at the foul line. Brandon Clark led the way with 12 points. Brownridge and Jalen Richard each poured in 10 points, while Jerry Brown corralled 11 rebounds.

On the season, Santa Clara sports a +5.2 scoring margin despite getting outshot by its opponents from the field, 45.9 percent to 43.4 percent. It earns its biggest advantage in the takeaway battle, forcing 3.3 more turnovers than it commits. Clark (15.8 ppg) and Brownridge (14.7 ppg) act as the team's go-to scoring options. The duo has combined to drain 61 3-pointers, with Brownridge connecting on his long-range attempts at a 44.6 percent rate. Evan Roquemore (11.3 ppg, 3.9 apg) and Brown (9.3 ppg, 6.8 rpg) are also integral parts of the starting lineup.

Although Gonzaga was able to take a brief lead with nine minutes left in its latest game following a Kevin Pangos layup, it could not enjoy it for long as Kansas State ripped off a quick 7-0 run to distance itself. The Zags shot an impressive 48 percent from the field, but ultimately fell short by making just 7-of-15 from the foul line and by losing the turnover battle, 12-4. Pangos was impressive in defeat with 14 points and six assists. Drew Barham netted 13 points off the bench, while Przemek Karnowski and David Stockton put up 10 points apiece.

Despite putting together arguably their worst offensive performance of the season, the Bulldogs are still one of the nation's best in terms of scoring efficiency, netting 85.3 points per game (15th in the country) on 52.2 percent shooting from the field (third) and 43.5 percent from 3-point range (fifth). They've also been stellar at the defensive end, holding opponents to just 40.8 percent field goal shooting for 70.8 points per game. Pangos scores a team- best 18.3 points per game, doing a large chuck of his damage from beyond the arc (39-of-83), and he also boasts an outstanding 3.53 assist-to-turnover ratio. Gary Bell, Jr. (13.5 ppg) is a marksman from long range as well (30- of-61), while Sam Dower (13.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and Karnowski (9.8 ppg, 8.0 rpg) man the paint.

Santa Clara has been trending upward in recent weeks, but it will face its most difficult challenge to date today in Spokane. Gonzaga will try to put its most recent loss in the rearview mirror by getting its WCC slate off on the right foot.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Gonzaga 88, Santa Clara 72

12/28 10:45:21 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 9
DUR 1
 
Final
MIA 101
CHA 97
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR
 
Final
ATL 3
MIA 1
Final
CHC 5
ARI 7
Final
COL 10
SFG 12
Final
OAK 0
TEX 3
Final
SEA 5
HOU 3
Final
PIT 2
CIN 5
Final
CLE 5
KAN 3
Final
WAS 5
ANA 4
Final
TOR 8
BAL 10
Final
DET 4
CWS 6
Final
TAM 4
MIN 6
Final
BOS 5
NYY 1
Final
NYM 3
STL 2
Final
MIL 5
SDP 2
Final
LOS 5
PHI 2
12:05pm Today
CLE
KAN
 
12:35pm Today
PIT
CIN
 
1:08pm Today
DET
CWS
 
1:10pm Today
TAM
MIN
 
1:10pm Today
NYM
STL
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
ARI
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
SDP
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
BAL
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
NYY
 
8:10pm Tonight
HOU
OAK
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
 
Final
MIA 101
CHA 97
Final
SAN 92
DAL 113
Final
HOU 105
POR 112
7:00pm Tonight
ATL
IND
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
OKC
10:30pm Tonight
GSW
LAC
Final
CLB 4
PIT 3
Final
DAL 4
ANA 2
Final
CHI 4
STL 3
8:00pm Tonight
DET
BOS
9:30pm Tonight
MIN
COL
10:30pm Tonight
LOS
SJS
Final
CHR 9
DUR 1
 
7:05pm Tonight
CHR
DUR