Santa Clara (13-18) vs. Pacific (15-14)
GAME NOTES: In the second first-round matchup of the West Coast Conference Tournament, the ninth-seeded Santa Clara Broncos will meet up with the eighth- seeded Pacific Tigers at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.
The winner of this first-round clash will move on to face the top seed in the conference tournament - the Gonzaga Bulldogs.
Santa Clara won its regular-season finale, an 86-78 victory over Pepperdine, on Saturday. But the Broncos still dropped three of their final five games heading into the conference postseason, and finished the year with a 6-12 mark in the WCC.
Pacific also ended its season on a high note with a 68-65 victory over Portland on Saturday, but prior to that contest, it had lost four consecutive games. The Tigers finished the season with a 6-12 conference ledger, similar to Santa Clara.
The Broncos own a hefty lead in the all-time series with Pacific, 90-42. The two programs met twice during the season, with each team earning a win on its respective home court.
Santa Clara went way up on Pepperdine at the end of the first half on Saturday, owning a 47-31 lead at the intermission. The Waves came storming back in the second half, but ultimately the 16-point halftime deficit was way too much from which they could recover. Jared Brownridge dominated for Santa Clara, netting a game-high 38 points with seven rebounds and two steals. Brandon Clark chipped in 18 points with eight assists, and Jerry Brown added 11 points and six rebounds. The Broncos shot 42.9 percent from the floor in the win.
Clark was a saving grace for the Broncos this season, averaging a team-best 17 ppg, which fit into third in the conference. Brownridge was tied for fourth in the conference standings at 16.9 ppg, and Evan Roquemore chipped in 10.4 ppg. Clark's 110 assists topped the team, but the Broncos' 70.5 ppg was second worst in the league. The team gave up the exact number of points it averaged on offense, allowing opponents to score 70.5 ppg through 31 games played.
Crucial free throws by Andrew Bock gave Pacific its first lead of the second half against Portland with 2.9 seconds left to play. The Pilots simply couldn't hold it all together late in the game, allowing the Tigers to get to the free-throw line in the closing seconds. Trevin Harris scored 19 points to pace Pacific, while Bock contributed 11 points, five rebounds and six assists. The Tigers hit 40.4 percent of their field goal tries in the contest, and connected on 92.3 percent of their free-throw attempts.
This is Pacific's first season as a member of the West Coast Conference, and first go at the conference postseason. Bock paced the Tigers with an 11.3 ppg average, adding a team-best 3 apg. Tony Gill (11.2 ppg) and Sama Taku (10.8 ppg) each scored in double figures for Pacific. Gill led Pacific with a 5.8 rpg mark on the year as well. The Tigers sported the best free-throw percentage in the league, connecting on 77.1 percent from the charity stripe.
This game is going to be a toss-up, considering each team won at home during the season. The 86-point outburst against Pepperdine is an encouraging sign for Santa Clara, while Pacific hasn't scored more than 68 points since early on in February.
GAME NOTES: In the second first-round matchup of the West Coast Conference
Tournament, the ninth-seeded Santa Clara Broncos will meet up with the eighth-
seeded Pacific Tigers at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.Fact Stats
FACTS & STATS: Site: Orleans Arena (7,471) -- Las Vegas, Nevada. Television:
BYUtv. Home Record: Santa Clara 7-9, Pacific 8-5. Away Record: Santa Clara
5-8, Pacific 4-8. Neutral Record: Santa Clara 1-1, Pacific 3-1. Conference
Record: Santa Clara 6-12, Pacific 6-12. Series Record: Santa Clara leads,
90-42.Game Date and Time
Thursday, March 6, 11 p.m. (ET)Predicted Outcome
Santa Clara 76, Pacific 68