SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Despite 20-plus points from Evan Roquemore and Kevin Foster, Santa Clara dropped its first contest of the year in an overtime thriller to Utah State. The Broncos and the Aggies combined for three-lead changes that forced overtime in the Leavey Center. Santa Clara finishes its six-game homestand on Saturday against UC Santa Barbara at 7 pm.
"I have to give Utah State credit for sticking in there. They stole one from us tonight," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "At the end of regulation we played 15 seconds of great defense and then let them hit that three with two seconds left to tie it up."
Keating said the loss was the first negative thing to happen to the team in eight months and how they would react is their next test as they continue to develop. "It's a great opportunity to see how we respond tomorrow in preparing for our game Saturday."
Santa Clara shot 42.1 percent from the field (24 of 57), including 30.4 percent from beyond the arc (7 of 23). Santa Clara made 23 of 33 free throws and Utah State made 17 of 23. SCU had 13 assists, 24 rebounds, 12 steals, four blocks and had 14 turnovers. Utah State shot 56 percent from the field (28 of 50), including 41.2 percent from beyond the arc (7 of 17). Utah State had 17 assists, 37 rebounds, nine steals, one block and had 25 turnovers.
The Broncos were led by Foster and Roquemore who score 27 and 23 points, respectively. Roquemore also added nine assists and a block. Foster, who leads the country in steals, tallied four. The Aggies were led by Jarred Shaw who amassed 15 points, eight rebounds and block. Danny Berger and Preston Medlin added 11 each.
Foster ignited the Santa Clara offense early. Within the first four minutes, Foster hit three three-pointers, including a four-point play after converting a triple that he was fouled on. After the first media timeout, Santa Clara led 14-4.
The Broncos continued with their early three-point fireworks when Roquemore converted Santa Clara's fourth three in five minutes. On defense, Foster picked up a steal and raced the length of the court for an easy layup.
Santa Clara's 10-0 run ended after Kyisean Reed caught the Bronco defense out of position and gave Utah State its first points in three minutes. The Aggies continued to battle and with 11:27 left in the half, Santa Clara led 21-10.
After the second media timeout, Utah State had cut the Santa Clara lead to 21-14 before Roquemore added two from the free-throw line. The Aggies defense forced a few Santa Clara turnovers and with 10:02 left, Santa Clara's lead had shrunk to five.
Yannick Atanga helped the Bronco offense get back on track with an old-fashioned three-point play. After a defensive stop, Denzel Johnson drove the lane and floated the ball over a leaping Aggie defender for an easy layup. After another Utah State turnover, McArthur hit a jumper to put the Broncos up 30-20.
Utah State battled back with a 12-0 run that would eventually give the Aggies their first lead of the game. After Butterfield converted one of two from the free-throw line, Berger hit a three-pointer that tied the 32-32. Reed gave the Aggies their first lead of the contest with 1:52 left in the half when he scored on a fastbreak layup.
"Early in the game we kept defending and got stops," said Keating. "At halftime we asked them to be a little bit tougher and play solid."
At halftime, the Broncos trailed 34-33.
In the first half, Santa Clara shot 44 percent from the field (11 of 25), including 30.8 percent from beyond the arc (4 of 13). SCU had seven assists, 12 rebounds, four steals, three blocks and had 12 turnovers. Utah State shot 44.4 percent from the field (12 of 27), including 30 from beyond the arc (3 of 10). The Aggies had eight assists, 18 rebounds, six steal and had 12 turnovers.
To begin the second half, Utah State scored seven unanswered points to lead 41-33 before Foster knocked down his fourth triple of the game to cut the Aggie lead to five. Roland TeNale and Foster traded layups before Butterfield knocked down a three. Roquemore answered with a layup and forced a turnover to give the Broncos possession trailing 46-40 heading into the first media timeout.
Trailing by eight, Foster hit his fifth three-pointer to pull Santa Clara within five, but Butterfield rallied the Aggies with two easy layups. Defensively, Foster picked up steals on two consecutive possessions and turned them into four easy points to push the Broncos within five.
With 9:34 remaining in the game, the Broncos were down 57-49 before Roquemore hit a jumper. Johnson picked off an in-bound pass and was fouled, hitting both free-throws. Johnson added a mid-range jumper that shrunk Utah State's lead to 58-55.
A Utah State foul in the bonus put McArthur at the line for a one-and-one opportunity. He hit the first and missed the second to put the Broncos within two.
Raymond Cowels III came up with a key steal that allowed Johnson to tie the game 58-58 with two free-throws.
On the next Utah State possession, Shaw hit a jumper. Roquemore answered with an easy layup to keep the contest even. The Broncos forced a turnover followed by Roquemore forcefully attacked the rim and got the bucket to fall despite being fouled. With 3:20 left in the game, Santa Clara had a 63-60 lead, their first lead since first half.
On the ensuring Aggie possession, Shaw traveled to give the Broncos the basketball. On offense, Roqeumore made an impressive teardrop layup to give the Broncos a three-point lead. Shaw fouled out on the next possession and Trasolini added one from the charity stripe.
With less than a minute left in the game, TeNale knocked down two from the free-throw line to put Utah State within two.
Roquemore broke the Utah State press to find Foster who hit a mid-range bucket to give Santa Clara a four-point cushion.
TeNale added a quick layup with 25 seconds left and Utah State called timeout.
The Aggies were forced to foul Johnson, who made one of two to give Santa Clara a three-point lead.
Utah State continued to battle and Medlin tied the game with a clutch three. At the end of regulation time, Santa Clara and Utah State were deadlocked 70-70.
In overtime, Utah State's Jordan Stone scored the first points of the period with two free throws. Foster hit one free throw to pull Santa clara within one, but Medlin hit a three-pointer to put the Aggies up by four.
Roquemore was fouled on a three-point attempt and made two free-throws to pull the Broncos within two.
Berger answered with two free throws that extended Utah State's lead to 77-73.
With just 25 seconds remaining, Trasolini scored in the paint to make it a two-point game. Utah State answered to push the Aggie lead to four, but Roquemore drilled a three with just 9.1 seconds left to cut the lead to one point.
The Broncos were forced to foul and Berger missed the first shot, but hit the second. Roquemore attempted a last-second three that skirted off the rim and the Broncos fell 80-78.
"It was a one possession game at the end and when you miss 10 free throws at home, bad things are bound to happen," said Keating. "We have to continue playing hard and fighting."