Despite Bronco junior Kevin Foster breaking Steve Nash's career three-pointers made record and a career night for sophomore Evan Roquemore, Santa Clara mounted a furious rally to pull within six with 45.8 seconds left after being 25 down in the second half, but fell 85-73 to Oklahoma in the winner's bracket of the 76 Classic in Anaheim, Calif.
Santa Clara will be play annual NCAA tournament contender Villanova on Sun., Nov. 27 at 3:30 pm on ESPNU. Santa Clara is 3-2 and Oklahoma is 4-0.
"Too bad this isn't a 20 minute game after the first 20 minutes because we played well in the second half," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "We are learning lessons. If you aren't ready to go from the start and when things speed up it will be tough. We learned that lesson the hard way two weeks ago at UC Santa Barbara, but I think we responded better tonight. I am excited that we stuck in there tonight. I want them to grow up faster, with no seniors, and they can't."
"This tournament is about getting better and continuing grow, but our goal was to win the title. Now we will play a very good Big East team in Villanova and I am excited about that challenge for this team," added Keating.
Foster has 265 career threes, which is No. 1 in the Santa Clara record books and No. 6 in the WCC record books all-time. He already has the career threes attempted record and shattered the WCC single season mark last year with 140 threes, good enough for No. 9 on the all-time NCAA list and No. 1 nationally in 2011.
"I would have really liked to win tonight," said Foster. "It's cool, but i really wanted to win and play for a championship. I am excited I broke a record, but I really wanted to win tonight."
"It's a culmination of a lot of time and effort and work. Kevin is going through a process of his own this year after last season where he was so successful and he is the center of attention now. The guys look to him to set the tone on the offensive end. He has an uncanny ability to make threes," said Keating. "We hope he keeps making them and spreads that lead (record) out."
Roquemore led all Bronco scorers with a season-high 27 points. He made a career-high seven threes (old high was five twice) and also had a career-high 10 assists (old high was eight). In addition, he was perfect from the free throw line at 6 of 6. It was the 16th time in his career he has been perfect from the line.
"I got on the attacking end a little more," said Roquemore. "It helped me get a little more open in the second half and I started knocking down shots."
Foster added 19 points, scoring all three threes in the second half. He has scored 19+ points in 37 career games. He also added three assists. Raymond Cowels III had 11 points with three threes.
Santa Clara shot 35.3 percent from the field (24 of 68), including 42.4 percent from beyond the arc (14 of 33). They collected 33 rebounds, 17 assists, four steals, two blocks and nine turnovers. They shot 84.6 percent from the free throw line (11 of 13) and didn't shoot their first free throw until 32 minutes into the game.
Oklahoma shot 46.7 percent from the field (28 of 60), including 31.3 percent from beyond the arc (5 of 16). They collected 49 rebounds, 10 assists, one steal, four blocks and 11 turnovers. They shot 75.0 percent from the free throw line (24 of 32).
Oklahoma was led by Steven Pledger's 26 points.
The Sooners opened the game on a 4-0 run before Harrison scored a five-foot jumper at 17:42. Cowels connected on a three at 17:21.
Harrison scored inside at 15:23 and Foster tossed it in on a break-away steal at 14:16.
The Sooners answered and took a 19-9 lead on strong inside play on a 10-2 run.
McArthur's bucket at 9:15 halted a four-minute scoreless streak for SCU.
Roquemore crushed a three at 9:32, but Neal answered with a three and then Neal slammed one home to make it a 10-point lead.
Cowels three and Foster's jumper cut the lead to five with 5:46 left.
The Sooners then went on an offensive barrage of their own over the next 5:11, going on an 18-0 run to take a 42-19 lead into the lockerroom at halftime, including a layup by Newell at the buzzer.
In the first half Santa Clara shot 25.8 percent from the field (8 of 31), including 25.0 percent from beyond the arc (3 of 12). Cowels led the team with six points and Harrison had four rebounds.
In the first half Oklahoma shot 52.9 percent from the field (18 of 34), including 50.0 percent from beyond the arc (3 of 6). Pledger led the team with 12 points and Fitzgerald had nine rebounds to lead the Sooners.
The Sooners opened with a bucket inside at 19:51.
Foster tied Nash's record with a three at 18:55 and then Roquemore scored his own three at 17:25. The Sooners took a 21 point lead at 17:34. Cowels rebounded his own shot for a lay-up at 16:17 and hit a three at 14:13.
Fitzgerald dunked with authority and Blair hit two free throws to put OU up 22.
Roquemore kept playing and crushed a three off a J. Clarke steal at 12:54. Atanga scored on a sweet pass inside from B. Clark. Roquemore hit another three at 11:03 and trailed 58-40, but OU answered with one of its own.
B. Clark hit a three at 10:11. B. Clark shot the Broncos first free throws of the game at 8:24, making both. McArthur hit the line at 7:12 and scored one, 63-46 Sooners. Foster was fouled when Osby went over his back and he hit both at 6:43.
Fletcher's three at 5:20 made it 20 points again. Roquemore drained his fifth three of the game at 4:48.
Foster broke Nash's career threes record at 3:43 with the Broncos on a 6-0 run.
The Broncos pulled within 10 at 1:19 on Roquemore's three, making it a career-high six, 76-66 Sooners.
Roquemore followed with two free throws at 1:00 to make it 10 again after a pair by the Sooners.
Foster's bucket at with 45 seconds left pulled SCU within six. The Sooners shot free throws at the end to the game.