Robert Smith led all scorers with 17 points and Portland, with three players in double figures, defeated the Broncos 74-52. Santa Clara is now 9-15 and 1-6 in the WCC and Portland is 14-7 and 5-2 in WCC.
"We always expect to have a chance to win in every game, but everyone has to be ready to play," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "We didn't play a sustained-enough effort in the first 20 minutes and they shot the ball well and we didn't tonight.
"We have to be able to score from the perimeter and our guards did not play well enough tonight," added Keating.
Marc Trasolini finished with 10 points and three rebounds. Niyi Harrison finished with nine points, four rebounds, and two blocks. Chris Cunningham finished with a career-high seven points on the night, playing a career-high 22 minutes.
Jared Stohl led Portland with 16 points. Luke Sikma had 16 points and 12 rebounds on the night. T.J. Campbell finished with 13 points.
Santa Clara has the seventh-youngest team in the country and Portland has the third-most experienced team in the country as the most experienced team in the WCC (statsheet.com).
Santa Clara shot 36.0 percent from the field, including 21.1 percent from beyond the arc. The Broncos collected 28 rebounds, eight steals and four blocks with 13 turnovers. Portland shot 50.9 percent from the field, including 58.8 percent from beyond the arc. The Pilots collected 38 rebounds, four steals and 15 turnovers.
Trasolini opened the game with a bucket for the Broncos at 19:11 and a three by Smith at 17:45 put the Broncos up 5-3. A bucket by Knutson put the Pilots in the lead 8-7, but Smith knocked down another three at 13:10 to put Santa Clara in front 10-8.
Troy Alexander nailed a three at 10:42 to put the Broncos in front 15-10. Sikma scored on back-to-back possessions for Portland to cut the Bronco's lead to 17-16, and a bucket by Smeulders put the Pilots in front 18-17 at 8:10.
Two free throws by Smeulders and a three by Jared Stohl put the Pilots in front 25-19 with 5:20 remaining. Harrison hit a free throw at 3:05 to cut the score to 30-20.
Sikma scored the next five points for the Pilots and extended their lead to 35-20 with 2:31. Stohl nailed another three for the Pilots at 1:20, but Smith responded with a bucket at 1:00. The score at the half was 42-22.
Trasolini converted three point plays on back-to-back possessions to start the second half and he cut the Pilot's lead to 45-27. Smith hit two free throws to cut Portland's lead to 45-30 at 18:30.
Ray Cowels made a jumper at 12:12 but the Pilots still held 57-38 lead.
Chris Cunningham, who was on the floor with three other freshmen much of the second half, made layup at 8:07 and hit a free throw at 7:38 to put the score at 61-43. Smith knocked down another three for the Broncos with 5:45 left.
Cunningham hit made another layup with 3:16 left.