Portland tops Santa Clara by 1

Jan. 17, 2009

Final Stats

In spite of making just one field goal in the final 12:44 of the game, Portland was able to hold on with free throws and defeated Santa Clara 53-52 Saturday night. Santa Clara moves to 7-13 and 0-4 in the WCC while Portland moves to 11-7 and 2-1 in the WCC.

After the last five of six games on the road, the Broncos finally return home for four straight, their longest homestand of the year. Santa Clara returns home on Fri., Jan. 23 to host USF at 8 pm in a nationally televised game on ESPNU.

"I told our team in the lockerroom it's a lot easier to play defense when you are making shots," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "We fought back and it's a credit to our guys and they are growing up. A game like this, we can't get caught up in the dos and don'ts of the game. We have to keep after it. We need to learn the ebb and flow of the game. We are taking steps and getting better. It might be hard to believe, but as we take these freshmen closer towards sophomores that's the way it is because we will be very young next year as well. When you are building a program that's the way it is. It's our 10th loss by two possessions or less - we have to believe we are doing the right thing and have to continue to get better."

John Bryant pulled in his 12th double-double of the year and the 37th of his career when he scored 15 points and grabbed 22 rebounds. Also scoring in double figures were freshmen James Rahon, who scored 12 and Kevin Foster who scored 20 points. It is the third game this season Bryant has pulled down 20+ rebounds and the fifth time this year Foster has scored 20+.

Down 43-26 at 12:39 in the second half, the Broncos went on an 11-0 run to get within six on Foster's free throws and good inside play by Bryant, who scored five during the stretch. The Broncos got as close as three with 4:09 left on the clock on a put-back by Dowdell who was fouled and made the free throw to make it 45-42 Pilots.

The Pilots, who only made one basket in the final 12:39 of the game (at 5:50), made good at the free throw line, knocking down six free throws the final 3:42 of the game.

Santa Clara had a chance at the end when Foster hit a three to make it 51-50 Pilots with less than five seconds to go., but T.J. Campbell sank two free throws and finished 8 of 10 for the night.

James Rahon's three with two seconds left went off the rim before John Bryant sank it to make it 53-52 Pilots as the buzzer went off.

In the first half the Broncos were down 7-2 before eight straight James Rahon points to take a 10-9 lead at 12:05. The Broncos went up 15-11 on free throws by John Bryant and Kevin Foster.

Bryant scored his 1,400th career point on a put back to make it 17-all at 5:03, moving to No. 11 all-time. Things unraveled a bit then for Santa Clara as the Pilots went to the lockerroom at halftime with a 29-21 lead off a 12-4 run.