Alcorn State (2-9) at Santa Clara (9-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 21, 11:15 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Leavy Center (4,500) -- Santa Clara, California. Television: None. Home Record: Alcorn State 1-3, Santa Clara 6-2. Away Record: Alcorn State 1-6, Santa Clara 3-0. Neutral Record: Alcorn State 0-0, Santa Clara 0-0. Conference Record: Alcorn State 0-0, Santa Clara 0-0. Series Record: Santa Clara leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Santa Clara Broncos are set to host the 46th Annual Cable Car Classic as they take on the Alcorn State Braves in the opening round on Friday.
The Braves come in on a five-game losing streak with the most recent setback coming at home on Wednesday by 16 points to the Detroit Titans. Alcorn State is 2-9 with six of the losses coming by double-digit margins and one them courtesy of a Division II opponent. Coach Luther Riley is having trouble locating a successful offensive system as his squad is managing just 58.4 points per game on 39.3 percent field goal shooting. The Braves are also being outrebounded by an average margin of 7.6 boards and giving up 68.4 ppg.
Santa Clara is off to its best start since 1988-89 through 11 games with a 9-2 record thanks to its current four-game winning streak. The Broncos ended a two-game losing slide that consisted of overtime defeats to Utah State and UC Santa Barbara with a rout of Pacific Union. They then took down San Jose State, Pacific, and most recently, Cal Poly. Coach Kerry Keating has instilled an uptempo theme this season which has led to 80.5 ppg on 46 percent shooting from the floor. Santa Clara is limiting its opponents to 66.2 ppg with an average of 18 turnovers.
The Broncos earned a 73-47 win over Alcorn St. on Dec. 9, 1988 at the Indiana Classic in the only meeting between the schools.
Alcorn State shot 44.2 percent from the field its last time out, but scored only 58 points due to an ice cold 2-of-12 performance versus Detroit in a slower paced game. The Titans converted a much more efficient 44.2 percent of their field goals including 8-of-22 from three-point range. Anthony Nieves and Ian Francis netted 13 points each for the Braves. LeAntwan Luckett, who leads the team in scoring with 12.5 ppg, contributed 11 points on 5-of-12 shooting in the loss. Nieves (11.5 ppg) is chipping in 11.5 ppg, but he has also committed a team-high 42 turnovers. Josh Nicholas plays a big role in the middle for ASU with a team-best 5.4 rebounds and 1.8 blocks per outing.
The Broncos were aggressive their last time out which yielded a 23-of-28 performance at the charity stripe. They also held a 30-25 edge in the rebounding battle and assisted 19 of their 21 makes from the floor. Senior forward Marc Trasolini led the way with 24 points, seven rebounds, and three rejections. Kevin Foster had a cold shooting performance and went 3-of-15 from the field for 10 points, but he dealt out seven assists and swiped four steals. Foster is having a tremendous senior campaign with 20.2 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.4 steals per game. Trasolini is also a consistent contributor with 15 points and 7.8 boards per outing. Evan Roquemore is doing an excellent job of getting everyone involved (6.5 apg), while also scoring 14.1 ppg.
Santa Clara should have no trouble running past Alcorn State to the next round, where it could face either SMU or Wagner. The Broncos are one of the most improved teams in the NCAA this season and will need to build as much momentum as possible before their upcoming Dec. 29 trip to Duke.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Santa Clara 78, Alcorn State 60
12/21 10:32:48 ET