SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Leading by as many as 12 points in the second half, the Broncos watched a last second game-tying Pepperdine shot go off the mark and escaped with their fourth straight win, 60-57, over the Waves in a West Coast Conference game Saturday at the Leavey Center.
Santa Clara improves to 11-10 overall and 5-4 in the WCC while Pepperdine drops to 12-8 and 5-4 in conference play. The Broncos hit the road for a pair of games next week beginning with a contest at San Diego on Thursday and end the trip at BYU Jan. 31.
Santa Clara led by 10 with 9:45 to play but would score just one basket the rest of the way allowing Pepperdine to get within two points four times. The Broncos never surrendered the lead and escaped with the three-point victory after a potential game-tying three-point shot by Jeremy Major was wide as time expired.
The Broncos shot 43.1 percent from the field (22 of 51), including 21.4 percent from beyond the arc (3 of 14). The Broncos added 92.9 percent from the foul line (13 of 14). They corralled 30 rebounds, 11 assists, 8 steals, 4 blocks and 12 turnovers.
"Twelve turnovers against pressure like that is really good," Broncos coach Kerry Keating said.
The Broncos had three players reach double figures with Brandon Clark and Jared Brownridge leading the way with 13 points each and Nate Kratch adding 10. Kratch hit all four of his field goals and is 10 of 11 over the last three games. Matt Hubbard had a team-high six rebounds.
Clark, Brownridge and Denzel Johnson all played better than 35 minutes. "We've had two heavy minute games," Keating added. "We have to do a good job of getting minutes down."
Pepperdine shot 39.6 percent from the field (19 of 48), including 0 for 11 from three-point range. From the foul line, they shot 86.4 percent (19 of 22). They tallied 28 rebounds, 11 assists, 4 steals, 3 blocks and 12 turnovers.
Stacy Davis led the Waves with 21 points and nine rebounds with Jett Raines scoring 13 and Lamond Murray Jr. 10.
A tip in by Hubbard gave the Broncos a 12 point lead, 43-31, with 15:37 remaining in the contest. An 8-2 Pepperdine run got the lead down to six with 12:42 left to play.
Kratch hit a layup off a nice dish from Brownridge to extend the lead back to double-digits at 51-41.
The Broncos would make just one of 11 field goals the rest of the way but connect on seven of eight free throws in the final four minutes.
Murray Jr. capped a 6-0 Pepperdine run to get within two, 53-51, with 5:09 left, but Johnson answered with a pair of free throws.
Another Murray Jr. basket, on a tip in of a missed Raines layup, got the Waves back within a pair, but Johnson answered again with a two free throws to put Santa Clara up four with just over three minutes left.
Major hit a layup to pull Pepperdine within two for the third time with 1:34 left but again the Broncos responded as Clark drained a pair from the stripe with 15.5 seconds on the clock. Clark would give the Broncos a three point lead making one of two free throws with 4.6 seconds remaining after a Davis jumper in the lane cut the lead to two for the final time.
The Broncos picked up the tempo following a shot clock violation on their first possession of the game and scored six straight points to take the lead.
Clark hit a jumper and had a nice dish to Kratch for a layup and Hubbard followed with a pair of free throws for a 6-1 lead. Santa Clara would hold the lead the remainder of the game.
Davis converted a three-point play to bring the Waves within 15-12 at 11:50, but the Broncos answered with a 14-3 run to take their largest lead of the game at 29-15.
Brownridge had eight of his 11 first half points during the spree hitting a pair of threes and two free throws, Kratch scored down low off a pass from Jarvis Pugh and Emmanuel Ndumanya hit a layup. Hubbard's layup at 6:25 gave the Broncos a 14-point advantage.
Santa Clara went cold following their run making only one of their next 10 field goals and Pepperdine took advantage. Raines scored five points during a 9-2 spurt over the next five minutes pulling the Waves within seven at 31-24 with 1:28 left in the half.
Johnson scored on a layup to squelch the rally and Clark went the length of the floor for layup following a steal as the Broncos scored the final four points in the half for a 35-24 lead at the break.
NOTES: Starters for the Broncos (career starts): Brandon Clark (58), Nate Kratch (14), Denzel Johnson (32), Jared Brownridge (54), Matt Hubbard (19) … Brownridge has scored at least 1 three pointer in 50 career games … he made his first three triples tonight … Johnson eclipsed the 500 career point mark with his 8 points … Kratch picked up a season high 2 steals … Brownridge now has 150 career rebounds after grabbing 2 tonight ... Ndumanya scored a career-high 8 points on 4 of 5 from the field ... The Broncos made 10 of their first 13 field goals.