Men's Basketball Claims Road Win, Downs Portland, 81-72

Men's Basketball Claims Road Win, Downs Portland, 81-72

Santa Clara Tickets | AUDIO: Jadersten Halftime Interview | VIDEO: Highlights vs. Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. - Santa Clara men's basketball received some much-needed low post production to claim a West Coast Conference road victory.

Center Emmanuel Ndumanya posted a career-high 23 points and forward Josip Vrankic tallied 19 points, including 16 after halftime, to help lead the Broncos to a gritty 81-72 over Portland on Thursday.

KJ Feagin totaled 15 points, including 13 in the second half, and seven assists, and Henry Caruso scored 11 for Santa Clara (10-17, 7-8), which shot 53 percent from the floor and led for nearly the entire second half, but was unable to pull away.

Marcus Shaver Jr. posted 19 points and D'Marques Tyson scored 16 off the bench for Portland (10-18, 4-11), which twice closed within two points in the last 3 minutes.

Shaver's two free throws trimmed the Santa Clara lead to 72-70 with 2:36 left, but two possessions later Ndumanya got free for dunk in a scramble in the paint and Feagin nailed two free throws in the last minute for a six-point advantage.

The Broncos made 5 of 6 from the line in the final 30 seconds and the Pilots, who lost their third-straight outing, missed their final five shots over the course of the last 2:36.

Ndumnanya, who was 9-for-12 from the floor, had 10 rebounds to post his second-career double-double.

The Broncos scored 38 points in the paint to register their highest scoring output in WCC play this season.

The Broncos led by seven points three times in the opening 10 minutes of the game, but Portland tied the score at 25-all on a layup from Tahirou Diabate with less than 4 minutes left in the first half and took a 35-32 edge into the locker room.

But Santa Clara came out firing in the second half.

Vrankic nailed three 3-pointers, all off Feagin assists, in the opening five minutes. Despite being a focal point of the Portland defesne, Feagin chipped in five points as the Santa Clara lead grew to 49-41, its largest until the final minute of the game.

The Broncos connected on 15 of 20 from the free-throw line, including 10 of 11 in the second half.


KJ Feagin, Kai Healy, Henry Caruso, Josip Vrankic and Emmanuel Ndumanya started as a group for the sixth time this season. Healy made his seventh-straight start. Matt Hauser (foot) missed his sixth-straight game. He was injured against San Diego (Jan. 25).
• In a series that began in 1946, Santa Clara now leads 64-33. It has been a series of streaks in recent years. The Broncos have captured the last six meetings, which followed a three-game winning streak for Portland. Santa Clara was victorious in the previous three before that eight-game stretch.
• Caruso, Feagin and Healy played all 40 minutes. Caruso has been off the floor for only 13 minutes in the last nine games.
• In addition to his career-high 23 points, Ndumanya posted a career-best nine field goals. His previous highs of 15 points and five field goals occurred vs. San Diego (Jan. 25, 2018). He played a season-high 35 minutes.

The Broncos play at Pacific on Saturday with tipoff set for 8 p.m.

"To KJ's credit, he did a great job to take what the defense yielded. They decided at times they were going to trap him on ball screens, face guard deny and for a good stretch of the second half they went box-and-one so they were determined to take him out of the game and he didn't let that psyche him out. He made his teammates better finishing with seven assists and one turnover.

"Our guys have gotten better. We're a lot of better than we were in other stages and intersections of this season. We're improving and we're doing that on an individual basis and certainly as a team."

Head coach Herb Sendek

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