No. 10 Gonzaga (14-1, 1-0) visits Santa Clara (12-3, 1-0) Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in the Leavey Center. The game will be televised on Root Sports.
The Stats – These teams can fill it up. Gonzaga entered the week ranked 9th in the nation in scoring (81.8), while Santa Clara sat 24th (78.7). The Broncos have only failed to reach 70 points once, while doing a good deal of their damage from deep. Santa Clara averages 8.4 threes a game, good enough for 26th most in the country. A handful of teams have caught fire from deep against GU – who allows over seven makes each game – but in Thursday’s win over Pepperdine the Waves only connected on two. If Mark Few’s guys can keep Santa Clara’s shooters in check, they should be on track for a 2-0 start in the WCC.
The Stars – The Broncos lay claim to one of those great statistical nuggets; they are the only team in the nation with three active 1,000-point scorers. Senior guard Kevin Foster is the country’s 2nd leading career scorer at 1,977. He’s joined by 6-foot-9-inch forward Marc Trasolini and junior guard Evan Roguemore. Foster’s leads the way at 19.1 per game. His 2.9 steals leads the WCC, while he and Roguemore combine to average over 10 assists. GU fans are familiar with Foster’s capabilities, following his 36-point outburst in a win over the Zags in 2011. Meanwhile, Trasolini’s numbers are similar to those of Elias Harris and Kelly Olynyk at 15.7 points and 7.8 boards. Speaking of Gonzaga’s posts, it should come as no surprise that those two paced GU in their win over the Waves, combining for 34 points. ‘E” and Olynyk are the team’s scoring leaders, both hovering over 15 a game. And you can’t forget about Sam Dower, who averaged 17.5 points in two meetings with SCU last year. After facing some tough, physical, athletic frontcourts in the first two months, not a whole lot should phase them in the WCC. That said, the Broncs do boast a seven-footer in Robert Garrett that gets solid minutes and will try and get in the Bulldogs’ way.
The Storylines – Foster’s big game two Januarys ago marked SCU’s last victory over Gonzaga. A year ago the Zags handed Santa Clara a pair of double-digit defeats. The Broncos are 9-2 at home, with their 12 total wins already surpassing last year’s total of eight. Their league-opening win over San Francisco was welcome news following an 0-16 campaign last season. Kerry Keating’s team appears to be much-improved. They’ll find out exactly how much better they’ve gotten Saturday against a GU team that’s taken 25 of their last 27 meetings.