The game

The annual Gonzaga game on Feb. 5 promises to electrify the campus. Here’s what you need to know before tip-off.

A second and a half can break a lot of hearts—just ask any of the Broncos faithful. Twice last season SCU came within a tick and change of securing a massive upset over West Coast Conference rival Gonzaga, only to fall just two points short.

With the Bulldogs making their annual trip to the Mission Campus, here’s what you need to know before tip-off, 8 p.m. on Thursday.

A BIT OF HISTORY

This will be the 85th meeting between SCU and Gonzaga, with the Bulldogs holding a 52-32 advantage. While SCU has come close several times, the last win in the series came on Jan. 20, 2011, an 85-71 win at home.

GONZAGA TOOK ROUND ONE

The Bulldogs are ranked No. 2 in the country and looked every bit the powerhouse earlier this year, handling SCU 79-57 on Jan. 20 in Washington.

“There is only so much you can control against a team like that. You have to take care of the ball and can’t turn it over. Our turnovers turned into 28 points for them,” said Broncos head coach Kerry Keating. “There isn’t a better point guard in the country than Kevin Pangos. He is the most all-around player in our league.”

THIS GAME’S GOT BACKCOURT

Santa Clara has the highest scoring backcourt in the WCC as sophomore Jared Brownridge ’17 and senior Brandon Clark ’15 have combined for about 30 points a game. The guard duo have been widely recognized for their game, with Brownridge earning WCC honors as the top freshman in the conference last year, and Clark being the only two-time WCC Player of the Week so far this season.

Gonzaga boasts the aforementioned Pangos, an incredibly efficient player who leads the WCC in assists-to-turnover ratio.

As you can imagine with strong guards in play, a lot of action will take place beyond the arc. The Broncos and Bulldogs are two of the top three WCC teams in 3-pointers, with both teams averaging over seven long-distance buckets each game.

SCU IS HEATING UP

Santa Clara won the next four games following their loss to Gonzaga. This saw the Broncos climb into the top five of the WCC, break the .500 mark, and make serious progress after an uneven first half.

GONZAGA IS REALLY TALL

The Bulldogs boast two 7-footers, plus 6-foot-10 Domantas Sabonis, the son of former NBA big man and Portland Trail Blazers legend Arvydas Sabonis.

“Gonzaga will have a size advantage on just about everybody in the whole country,” Keating said following this season’s first game against Gonzaga.

HOW CAN YOU WATCH?

The best seats are always in the Leavey Center (get tickets here), but you can also watch the game on ESPN2.

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