The 211th meeting between Saint Mary's and Santa Clara was hotly contested the entire game in front a capacity crowd of 4,700 fans in the Leavey Center on Saturday night with the Gaels edging the Broncos 93-77. Santa Clara falls to 8-10, 0-5 in WCC play while the Gaels improve to 19-2, 8-0 in conference action. Santa Clara will host Loyola Marymount Monday night at 7 pm in the Leavey Center.
"We got taken out of the flow of the game and couldn't get going early in the second half. Against Gonzaga and BYU and now Saint Mary's we did what we wanted to do in the first half, but this very young team needs to be able to string it together 20 minutes and then 30 minutes and then 40 minutes," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "The key to the game was their offensive rebounds. We had a chance at stops at key moments and couldn't make them. It's hard to get into the flow of the game when Saint Mary's shot 45 free throws - including 30 in the second half."
"Niyi and Kevin both played really hard - they all did. We had a good week of practice. We played hard, we worked together and we played for each other as well," continued Keating.
With Kevin Foster's 22 points, Foster has now moved to No. 4 all-time on the career points scored list in Santa Clara history. Foster now as accumulated 1,691 points in his Santa Clara career, passing Dennis Awtrey (1,675 points) for 5th and Steve Nash (1,689 points) in the game. Next up is Brian Jones with 1,722 at No. 3.
Santa Clara shot 42.2 percent from the field (27 of 64), including 41.2 percent from beyond the arc (7 of 17). They had eight turnovers and shot 64.0 percent from the free throw line (16 of 25). They collected 38 rebounds, 13 assists, two steals and seven blocks.
The Broncos were led by Niyi Harrison's career-high 23 points and nine rebounds. Evan Roquemore added 13 points and Foster added a team-high six assists. Roquemore chipped in four assists and Robert Garrett added three blocks.
Saint Mary's shot 47.0 percent from the field (31 of 66), including 31.3 percent from beyond the arc (5 of 16). They had five turnovers and shot 57.8 percent from the free throw line (26 of 45). They collected 53 rebounds, 13 assists, five steals and three blocks.
Matthew Dellavedova led the Gaels with 26 points and seven assists in 40 minutes of play. Jordan Page added 19, while Rob Jones (14 points and 15 rebounds) and Brad Waldow (14 points and 16 rebound) added double-doubles
The Broncos and Gaels came out hot as Fosters off-balance jumper at 16:24 tied the game at 11. Foster drilled a stack back transition lead to give the Broncos a 14-11 lead. Walker converted a tip-in, but Roquemore hit an and-one to push the lead to four. The teams continued their frantic pace over the next couple minutes capped by Roquemore's three to make it 22-19 Santa Clara.
Clark hit a double clutch shot along the right baseline, but Dellavedova continued to have his way on the inside in the paint. After swapping buckets, Atanga tipped out an offensive rebound and Foster made the Gaels pay with a deep NBA range three. The Gaels would respond with a Waldow free throw and Stephen Holt transition three to make it 29-26 SCU. Harrison and Jones swapped buckets before Foster found a slashing Garrett on the inside. The pace slowed before Beau Levesque nailed a three from the right wing. Williams and McArthur swapped buckets but Jordan Page began to heat up, scoring the 7 of the next 9 points for the Gaels.
Foster drilled a free throw and Garrett converted a bucket plus one to cut the lead to one at 2:25. Dellavedova converted inside and after a Clark free throw Foster buried a three from the left wing to give the Broncos the lead. Garrett had a huge block and Roquemore finished in transition to give the Broncos a 47-44 lead with a minute to go. Rob Jones finished inside, and the Broncos took the lead to the locker room up 47-46.
In the first half Santa Clara shot 54.3 from the field (19 of 35), including 55.6 percent from beyond the arc (5 of 9). They had three turnovers and shot 50.0 percent from the free throw line (4 of 8). They collected 13 rebounds, seven assists, and four blocks. Individually Santa Clara Kevin Foster's 15 points and three assists. Roquemore scored eight, while Harrison and B. Clark added seven. Garrett provided some enormous minutes off the bench, finishing the half with four points, four rebounds, and three blocks.
Saint Mary's shot 43.6 percent from the field (17 of 39), including 28.6 percent from beyond the arc (2 of 7). They did not turn the ball over, while adding nine assists, three steals, and three blocks. The Gaels shot 66.7 percent from the free throw line (10 of 15). Dellavedova led SMC with 12 points and five assists while Rob Jones added 11 points and eight rebounds.
After Waldow's bucket, Harrison knocked down a pair of free throws and Jones converted an easy lay up. Dellavedova converted inside but Harrison converted a huge slam inside to answer. Roquemore buried a three off of a screen and Niyi Harrison threw down a tomahawk jam running the floor to give Santa Clara a 56-52 lead. Foster was fouled while shooting a three and knocked down two of three at the line.
Dellavedova answered with a three from the left corner. Dellavedova knocked down a floater and Waldow knocked down an and-one but Foster drilled a transition three from the right wing to answer. Waldow knocked down two free throws but the Broncos reclaimed the lead at 64-61 with free throws from Roquemore and Cowels III.
The Gaels responded, stringing together an 11-2 run over then next few minutes to lead 72-66 at 7:51 remaining. Jordan Page finished with the left hand off glass and Page knocked down a three to give the Gaels a double digit lead at 5:27. Harrison's dunk at 3:30 cut the lead to 12 but the Broncos were unable to get closer than ten.