Dec. 28, 2005
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Travis Niesen had 23 points and a career-high 14 rebounds to lead Santa Clara to a 63-61 victory over UC Riverside in the first round of the Cable Car Classic on Wednesday night.
Rickey Porter scored 22 points to lead UC Riverside (0-9), which dropped its 13th straight dating to last season. The Highlanders are off to their worst start since their first season in 1954-55.
The Highlanders lost their previous eight games by an average of 19.5 points.
Santa Clara plays Bucknell, a winner over Boston University, in Thursday's championship game at 8 p.m.
Niesen converted a three-point play with 5 1/2 minutes left to play to give Santa Clara a 60-48 edge and complete a 24-10 run over a 10-minute span.
The Broncos held off a late charge from UC Riverside, which scored 15 of the final 18 points to draw within the final margin heading into the final minute.
Porter had a final shot for the Highlanders but missed a 3-point attempt with time running out.
The Highlanders led 23-16 late in the first half, their largest lead of the season against a Division I opponent. UC Riverside held a 13-point halftime edge against Division III Puget Sound last week.
The Broncos fell just one blocked shot short of tying the school record for most in a game with 13 against the Highlanders.