December 5, 2009

Santa Clara loses a close one to No. 21 UNLV 66-63

Dec. 5, 2009

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Santa Clara took No. 21 UNLV down to the wire on Saturday night, but the Runnin' Rebels hit two free throws in the final seconds to win the game 66-63.

Santa Clara's leading scorer Kevin Foster did not play for the Broncos due to injury and he is out indefinitely. Marc Trasolini led the Broncos with 22 points, 11 coming from the free throw line. Santa Clara turned the ball over 21 times for the game while the Rebels only turned it over nine times.

SCU is now 4-4 on the season and UNLV moves 7-0. Santa Clara plays Dominican on Fri., Dec. 11 at 8:15 pm.

"I am really proud of our effort," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "We figured out quickly that we need to play really hard. I felt like our energy and effort was very good tonight, and we had a chance to win the game at the end."

Keating also added, "To lose someone that scores 20 points a game -our leading scorer (Foster) - and to be in the position to win at the end shows that we can really overcome adversity."

Santa Clara shot 40 percent, including 42.9 percent beyond the arc. The Broncos had 42 rebounds, five steals and four blocks with 21 turnovers. UNLV shot 41.4 percent, including 31.8 percent beyond the arc. UNLV had 28 rebounds, three blocks with nine turnovers.

Trasolini led the way with 22 points, five rebounds and three blocks. Robert Smith added 12 points for the Broncos, and Troy Payne finished with 10 of his own. Michael Santos collected nine rebounds along with seven points for the game. Individually for UNLV, Oscar Bellfield led the Rebels with 15 points and Tre'Von Willis added 14 points for the game.

The Broncos were led early in the first half by Raymond Cowels and Payne. They combined to score the first 12 points for the Broncos. Payne had eight points and Cowels had four with 14:50 remaining.

Smith knocked down two free throws to make the score 17-14 with 11:28, but Kendall Wallace tied the score at 17 with a three on the next possession. However, the Broncos would respond with a three of their own as Santos hit a three on the next possession to make the score 20-17.

Bellfield sunk a three with 6:05 to make the score 25-24 UNLV, the first time the Rebels led in the half.

Back-to-back threes by Smith and Trasolini put the Broncos up 31-27 with 4:52 in the half, and at 1:06 Santa Clara extended the lead to six, their biggest of the half, on a layup by Smith.

With 1.5 seconds in the half Trasolini converted a three point play and pushed the Bronco lead to 39-31 at the half.

The Rebels started the second half strong and went on a 14-4 run to make the score 45-43 UNLV with 14: 22 remaining. Niyi Harrison stopped the Rebels run with a layup with 14:10 left to tie the score.

Santos hit a three for the Broncos with 12:28 in the half to put Santa Clara back in front 48-45.

Both teams continued to go back and forth throughout the half. Robert Smith sunk a three for Santa Clara with 8:27 to put the Broncos up 53-52, but Bellfield finished a layup off of his own offensive rebound and put UNLV back in the lead with 7:50 remaining.

Troy Payne's layup with 4:52 left put the Broncos back in front 58-56, but Willis hit a three at 4:00 to put the Rebels in front 59-58.

Matt Shaw hit two free throws for the Rebels with 1:03 left to put UNLV up 64-61. Trasolini's free throws with 52.3 seconds left cut the Rebels lead down to 64-63. UNLV's Matt Shaw hit two free throws 3.8 seconds left on the clock to ice the game and give UNLV a 66-63 win.