After a tightly contested first half of play, the Santa Clara men's basketball team regrouped and executed in the second half to down the CSUEB Pioneers 82-72 in the lone exhibition game for the Broncos this season. The Broncos will return to the hardwood on Nov. 14 to open up the regular season at home against Cal State Fullerton. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. inside the Leavey Center.
The Broncos shot 45.8 percent from the field (22 of 48), including 43.8 percent from three-point land (7 of 16). The Broncos added 67.4 percent from the foul line (31 of 46). They corralled 38 rebounds, 11 assists, 5 steals, 5 blocks and 12 turnovers. The Pioneers shot 41.7 percent from the field (25 of 60), including 37.5 percent from beyond the arc (9 of 24). From the foul line, they shot 56.5 percent (13 of 23). They collected 35 rebounds, 14 assists, 5 steals, 4 blocks and 9 turnovers.
Individually the Broncos were led by sophomore Jared Brownridge. The Santa Clara guard led the team with 23 points, including 9 of 10 from the free-throw line. He added 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Brandon Clark scored 15 including 6 of 6 from the free-throw line. He added 3 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Yannick Atanga had 10 points and 9 rebounds. Matt Hubbard had 11 points off the bench.
CSUEB was led by Nick Grieves. He scored 22 points and added 7 rebounds. Juawnn Springfield had 14 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Ryan Okwudibonye had 10 points.
CSUEB opened up the ballgame scoring on their first three possessions but Santa Clara answered. Atanga opened up the scoring for the Broncos with a put back floater after corralling the offensive rebound. Jarvis Pugh followed with a drive and score from the top of the key to close the deficit to 7-6, Pioneers in control in the opening moments. Clark nailed both attempts from the charity stripe to give the Broncos their first lead, 8-7. After the Pioneers converted on a jumper from inside the key, Brownridge responded by finding the bottom of the net with his first three-pointer of the year. Santa Clara's sophomore guard finished second on the squad last season shooting 43.6% from beyond the arc.
Brownridge connected on all three attempts to build the Santa Clara lead and put the Broncos up 14-9. Brownridge continued to facilitate the offensive flow on the next possession, setting up freshman Matt Hubbard for the baseline floater. However, CSUEB kept it tight and prevented Santa Clara from running away with the lead.
Santa Clara stepped up its pressure on defensive end. After stealing the ball on the inbound, senior Denzel Johnson pushed the ball the length of the court and fed freshman Evan Wardlow for the layup.
Marcus Norman responded with a banked three-pointer from the top of the key, putting the score at 25-20 in favor of Santa Clara halfway through the first half. Patrick Marr connected on his two free-throw attempts to cut the deficit back to eight. On the following possession, Springfield drove through the paint and cut the lead to six after finishing with the layup. The Pioneers continued to regain the momentum with a block of Brownridge's three-point attempt. The Broncos regrouped after the inbound, kicked the ball out to Brownridge who nailed the three from the right wing, extending the lead to 33-24.
Kratch stripped the ball from a driving Pioneer, kicked it out to Brownridge who pushed the ball upcourt, pulled up from the left wing and drained a three to give the Broncos some breathing room up 40-34. In the final two minutes, CSUEB connected from the foul line and Grieves nailed another three to close the deficit once again. Heading into the locker room, the Broncos found themselves up by three, 42-39.
In the first 20 minutes of play, Santa Clara shot 41.7% from the field, including 50.0% from three-point land. Brownridge led the Broncos with 16 points. Grieves led all scorers with 17 points after shooting 5-for-8 from three-point range.
Opening up the second half, Brownridge cut through the paint, kissed the ball off the glass and converted on the lay up while drawing the foul. However, he was unable to convert the old-fashioned three-point play. Atanga denied the Pioneers once again with his second block of the night but Grieves continued his streaky shooting by nailing a two-pointer from the corner of the paint. With 16:37 remaining, the Broncos found themselves up by five, 46-41.
CSUEB closed the lead after Springfield stripped Jalen Richard in the Santa Clara backcourt and finished the breakaway layup. After both teams failed to convert from the field on their next few possessions, Santa Clara still led 49-45 with 13:04 left in the second half.
After Nate Kratch broke the cold streak by splitting two free-throw attempts. CSUEB responded with a fade away jumper from the baseline. Johnson answered right back with a three-pointer from the corner. With 11:48 remaining, Santa Clara controlled the lead 55-47.
The Broncos pushed the lead to 12 after Hubbard converted on two shots from the foul line. Springfield closed the lead once again after driving to the basket, drawing contact and finishing the high-arching floater. The junior guard drilled the foul attempt, putting the score at 59-50 with just under 10 and a half to play.
With seven minutes remaining, Brownridge found a wide open Atanga down low, executed a well-timed bounce pass and Atanga did the rest. On the following inbound, Clark stole the inbounds, flipped up the shot and converted, putting the Broncos ahead 72-54.
After the media timeout, Clark converted on two free-throws to give the Broncos a 20 point advantage. CSUEB countered with a jumper from the corner of the paint and mid-range jumper to cut the lead to 16 before Clark connected on two-pointer of his own to keep the Broncos out front.
Emmanuel Ndumanya denied a Springfield layup attempt and sent his shot attempt into the front row of the bleachers. Both teams continued to get after it, battling back and forth in the final minutes. With two and half to play, Springfield converted an old-fashioned three-point play to put the scored at 77-64 in favor of the Broncos.
In the final two minutes, CSUEB closed the lead to 13 once again with a made mid-range jumped from the baseline. Team ball movement from Santa Clara on the next possession ended in a made three-point from Hubbard. CSUEB answered with a three of their own on their next possession. Grieves connected on another three-pointer in the final 30 seconds to cut the lead to 10.