Holding Saint Mary's more than eight points under its average wasn't enough as Santa Clara fell 74-62 in Moraga. Santa Clara travels to San Diego for a 5:30 pm televised game on Sat., Feb. 6. The game will be televised on COMCAST.
Santa Clara is 9-16 and 1-7 in the WCC and Saint Mary's is 20-3 and 7-1 in the WCC.
"In the second half we didn't maintain our defensive intensity. We missed sme shots, they made some shots. We can't put our head down when that happens - we have to have a better defensive intensity the entire game. It's been the same song and dance since the UNLV game," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "We showed in a 20 minutes game we are good (tied at half-time), but that's not the game. One thing I'll say, we are playing hard and we are getting better. But we have to play smart against a team that is good as Saint Mary's - one that can pass and can shoot. We have to take care of the ball and our opportunities when we have them."
Santa Clara shot 43.3 percent, including 33,3 percent from beyond the arc. The Broncos collected 32 rebounds, seven steals and five blocks with 11 turnovers. Saint Mary's shot 45.6 percent, including 45.5 percent from beyond the arc. The Gaels collected 34 rebounds, eight steals and 10 blocks with nine turnovers.
Individually, Marc Trasolini scored 18 points and five rebounds; and Robert Smith added 16 points and three assists. Troy Payne led the Bronco effort with seen rebounds, four steals and three blocks. For SMC, Omar Samhan scored 22 points, adding 12 rebounds.
In the first half, Saint Mary's got out of the gates quick, taking a 6-0 lead at 18:43 and then an 11-2 at 17:18. They hit their first three three-pointers. And then went up 14-4 at 16:50. Robert Smith was whistled for a charge going to the basket at 16:15 and hit the bench with two fouls early.
Santa Clara then went on a 9-1 run of its own making. To start it, Trasolini made a spin move around Ben Allen to score his second basket of the night, making it 15-4 Saint Mary's at 15:33. Trasolini connected again under the basket, was fouled and made the free throw to make it 15-9 Saint Mary's.
Samhan quieted the Bronco rally with a put-back to make it SMC 17-13 at 11:31. But Harrison continued to mature by the minute and hit a jumper over the looming Samhan to make it 19-15 SMC at 11:00.
Santos took to the basket with time winding down to hit a jumper, making it 19-17 SMC at 15:57. Smith, who checked in for an injured Alexander (twisted ankle), hit a floater to tie it up 19-19 at 8:55.
The crowd went silent when Dowdell gave the Broncos the lead at 8:22 with an eight-foot jumper, making it 21-19 Santa Clara. Samhan tied it up 21-21 at 11:13, but Trasolini took a dandy pass from Smith to hit a three from the left wing to give the Broncos a 24-21 lead at 6:24.
Two Trasolini free throws made it 26-23 Broncos at 5:59. Santa Clara went ahead 30-25 at 3:46 with a Payne basket and Randy Bennett had seen enough of the Gaels and called a quick timeout.
Two SMC baskets and the game was tied at 1:25. Smith hit a jumper and then tied it back up 32-32 with two free throws, with the two teams hitting the lockerroom all knotted it up. In the first half Trasolini led the Broncos with 12 points and four rebounds, hitting three of three free throws in the first half. Samhan had 10 with six boards. SCU shot 45.2 percent and Saint Mary's shot 34.5 percent.
Saint Mary's busted out of the lockerroom the first four minutes on a 10-0 run at 15:56 when Keating called timeout. Sprinkled in their run were a couple three pointers.
Out of the timeout Trasolini hit a jumper and SMC scored a basket to make it 44-34 Saint Mary's at 13:18. Santos scored under the basket to make it 44-35 SMC. Harrison tipped it make it 48-38 at 11:33.
Samhan's very physical defensive play led him to eight straight points on the offensive end. Saint Mary's went on to hit back-to-back threes, its eighth and ninth of the game, to make it 60-44 SMC at 7:44.
Smith nailed a three to make it 62-47 SMC at 5:52; and then hit two free throws at 4:18 and give him double figures for the 18th time in 21 games. Smith made his second three of the night to make it 70-56 SMC at 1:02. Troy Payne stole the ball and gave it to Dowdell who laid it in for two points, 70-58. SMC turned the ball over on a travel and Santa Clara responded with a Cowels two-pointer to make it 70-60 SMC at 42.1.