Portland Holds Off Santa Clara, 64-58

March 1, 2008

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PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) -- The Santa Clara Broncos came back from a late 10-point deficit to take a two-point lead, but the Portland Pilots scored the final eight points to grab a 64-58 victory at the Chiles Center Saturday night. Mitch Henke led the Broncos with 21 points.

The Pilots (9-20, 3-10) seemingly had the game in control with a 56-46 lead with 7:47 remaining. But the Broncos (14-14, 6-7) scored 12 unanswered points over the next five minutes, a string that was capped by Mitch Henke's driving basket, to take a 58-56 lead with 2:40 left.

It was the last time Santa Clara scored.

Portland then turned to Sikma, who started for most of the season but has now become an effective player off the bench. He was scoreless for the first 18 minutes of the second half before hitting his 3-pointer that gave Portland the lead for good at 59-58 with 1:47 left.

A minute later, Taishi Ito pushed Portland's lead to 61-58 with a pair of free throws, then Sherrard Watson hit one of two foul shots 10 seconds later to make it 62-58. After a miss at the other end, Santa Clara was forced to foul and Sikma hit two more free throws to account for the final score.

In addition to his nine points, Sikma had a game-high 10 rebounds. Robin Smeulders led the Pilots with 12 points, and Jared Stohl added 11 points for the winners. Henke led all scorers with 21 points and Ben Dowdell added 15 for the Broncos.

Santa Clara managed to hang close by making a season high 25 of 36 attempts from the foul line while Portland was just 10 of 14. But the Broncos shot just 32.6 percent from the field while Portland made 46.9 percent of its attempts.

SCU takes on the Gonzaga Bulldogs on Monday, Mar. 3 at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane, Wash. The game tips off at 8:30 p.m. and will be televised live on EPSN2. Fans can also listen to the game on 1220 KNTS and SantaClaraBroncos.com.