PORTLAND, Ore. - In the final game of the regular season, Santa Clara fell 68-55 at Portland. Santa Clara will play San Diego in the first day of the WCC Tournament on Fri., March 5 at 8:15 pm in Las Vegas.
Santa Clara is 11-20 and 3-11 in the WCC. Portland is 19-9 and 10-4 in the WCC. Santa Clara finished the regular season in seventh place and Portland finished third.
Portland is the oldest team in the WCC and third-oldest team in the country while Santa Clara is the youngest team in the WCC and the seventh-youngest team in the country. The Pilots feature five seniors to the Broncos zero.
Santa Clara shot 48.9 percent, including 25.0 percent beyond the arc. The Broncos collected 24 rebounds, seven steals and two blocks with 18 turnovers. Portland shot 48.8 percent, including 46.7 percent beyond the arc. The Pilots collected 27 rebounds, 10 steals and one block with 16 turnovers. Santa Clara shot 14 free throws, making seven. Portland shot 27 free throws, making 19.
Individually Santa Clara was led by Michael Santos and Marc Trasolini, who both scored 14. The 14 points were one off of Santos' career high. Troy Payne led the Broncos on the boards with six rebounds. Robert Smith scored three points and was just 1 of 11 from the field, but broke Kevin Foster's Bronco freshman record with 1,020 minutes. Foster played 1,000 last season.
In the first half both teams opened with a three in the first minute and a half. Jared Stohl hit one at 18:57 and Smith hit one at 18:33. Ben Dowdell (17:20) and Trasolini (16:52) gave the Broncos a 7-3 lead with some fancy footwork under the basket.
A three by Michael Santos put the Bronco up 10-5 at 16:20. Trasolini hit the second of two free throws to put SCU up 11-5 at 15:29. Cowels hit a three at 13:20 to give SCU a 14-9 lead before Portland scored four straight to make it 14-13 Broncos.
Santos hit a jumper to make it 16-13 at 10:58 when Portland called its first timeout of the game. Trasolini put Santa Clara up by three again with one under the bsket at 9:35.
The Pilots tied it up 18-18 on a three by TJ Campbell at 7:37. After a Bronco turnover the Pilots hit a three to take the lead at 7:02, 21-18. Trasolini hit a two-pointer at 6:40 to bring it within one and then Santos scored while driving to the basket to give the Broncos back the lead at 6:03 and then a basket by Dowdell made it 24-21 3:23.
Robin Smeulders tied it up 24-24 with a free throw and then the two teams started to trade baskets.
Smeulders gave the Pilots the lead back at 2:33 before Troy Payne tied it up with a four-foot jumper at 2:20. TJ Campbell hit a three at 1:40 to make it 29-26 Pilots. Chris Cunningham hit a basket at 1:06.
Santos tied it up 30-30 with a basket at :10.86 on the clock. Portland missed a last-second three-pointer as the two teams hit the lockerrooms tied at 30 each. Santos had a game-leading nine points in the first half with Trasolini scoring seven. Portland had three players score six each. Santa Clara shot 56.5 percent to the Pilots own 50.0 percent in the first half. The 56.5 percent was the best Santa Clara shot in a first half since Santa Clara defeated Saint Mary's 70-52 on Feb. 7, 2009 and shot 60.0 percent in the first half.
The second half opened with a Pilot turnover and then a Bronco turnover. Trasolini was fouled in the midst of making a basket at 18:20 and then hit the free throw to take a 33-30 lead.
Campbell hit two free throws to give the Pilots a 34-33 lead at 16:57.
Santos hit a finger roll under the basket to give the Broncos back the lead at 16:40.
The two teams traded turnovers twice when the Pilots scored at 15:12 to take the lead, 36-35 and go on a 12-0 run. Campbell crushed a three to give the Pilots a 39-35 lead at 14:20 and then Stohl hit one at 12:16 to make it 44-35. Stohl pushed the lead to 46-35.
After going scoreless for almost five minutes, Niyi Harrison hit one under the basket at 10:54. The Pilots hit another basket to take a 50-37 lead at 9:41. The Pilots were on a 14-2 run.
Trasolini and Payne made back-to-back baskets to make it 52-41 Pilots at 8:03. Trasolini dumped it in at 5:17 and then Santos scored his 13th points of the night to make it 57-45 Pilots at 4:40.
Troy Alexander buried a three from the corner at 4:04. Dowdell followed that up with two free throws to make it 61-50 Pilots at 2:49. Payne stole the ball and Santos was fouled on the way up. Santos hit one to make it a 10-point Pilot lead at 2:34.
Alexander drove the basket and scored again to make it 62-53 Pilots at 1:55. The Pilots ended up winning 68-55.