Dec 16, 2003
CHENEY, Wash. (AP) - Brendon Merritt scored 18 points and Marc Axton added 17 Monday night to lead Eastern Washington to a 75-65 victory over visiting Santa Clara.
The Eagles (3-6), who snapped a three-game losing streak, shot 23-for-26 from the free throw line in the game as compared to Santa Clara's 6-for-10 showing. Eastern is 3-0 at home and 0-6 on the road.
Jim Howell topped Santa Clara (6-3) with 12 points and six rebounds. The Broncos had won six in a row and had outrebounded their opponents in each of their last seven outings prior to tonight. EWU won the battle of the boards by a 30-27 margin.
"We thought we had a pretty good handle on what they were going to do," said Bronco Head Coach Dick Davey. "They played harder than anyone we've played this year and when they had some adversity, they did a good job of picking up their game. They really did give us a lot of problems.
"We need to regroup pretty quickly because we have a tough game Wednesday at Oregon."
Santa Clara plays Wednesday night at the University of Oregon in a 7 p.m. tipoff in Eugene. The game will be broadcast in the Bay Area on KSFB-AM (1220) as well as on the Internet at www.SantaClaraBroncos.com. In addition, the game will be televised in Oregon as well as on ESPN's Full Court pay per view package.
Santa Clara led 24-23 in the first half before Eastern went on a 16-0 run, capped by a pair of Axton 3-pointers. Alex Kargbo's 3-pointer at the buzzer - Santa Clara's only points in the final 5:54 of the first half - narrowed Eastern's lead to 39-27.
The Broncos pulled within seven with 6:37 left after two Jordan Legge layins, but Josh Barnard sandwiched a Howell free throw with a pair of 3-pointers to boost Eastern's lead to 62-50 with 4:24 to go. The Eagles' remaining 13 points came on free throws, including 7 of 8 by Merritt.
The Broncos played without key point guard Kyle Bailey, who has an ankle injury. He is questionable for Wednesday's game at Oregon. Bailey's replacement, Brandon Rohe, scored 10 points in his first start of the season.