PROVO, Utah — The night might have been about BYU in Provo — the Cougars defeated the Broncos 78-57 — but the night also belonged to Andrew Papenfus. The Bronco senior played the game's final four minutes – his first time on the court since undergoing brain surgery on Oct. 5, 2014.
Papenfus suffered a seizure in mid-June at Santa Clara during a Bronco Basketball camp drill. Tests revealed he had a golf ball-sized tumor in the left side of his brain. He was given the choice to wait to have the surgery and play this season or have the surgery immediately. Because doctors couldn't guarantee it wouldn't grow, up regulate, Papenfus decided to have brain surgery as soon as the surgeon could get it on the schedule. "Why take the risk," Papenfus said.
The five-hour surgery was done at UCSF in San Francisco by Dr. Mitch Berger and his team on Oct. 5. Papenfus shocked doctors with how fast he has been able to recover. He was only in the hospital for four days following surgery. Papenfus couldn't move his right foot after the surgery, but quickly graduated from basic physical therapy. He started practice with the team on Jan. 7.
BYU now leads the all-time series 23-5. The Broncos haven't defeated the Cougars since 1972.
Santa Clara is 11-12 and 5-6 in the WCC. BYU is 17-7 and 7-4 in the WCC. Santa Clara returns home to the Mission campus to host No. 3 Gonzaga on Thu., Feb. 5 at 8 p.m. on ESPN2/ESPNU (channel TBA by WCC).
Santa Clara shot 34.4 percent from the field (21 of 61), including 18.2 percent from beyond the arc (4 of 22). The Broncos added 68.8 percent from the foul line (11 of 16). They collected 37 rebounds, 12 assists, five steals, three blocks and eight turnovers.
BYU shot 40.7 percent from the field (22 of 54), including 51.7 percent from beyond the arc (15 of 29). The Cougars added 67.9 percent from the foul line (19 of 28). They collected 45 rebounds, 17 assists, six steals, five blocks and 11 turnovers.
Tyler Haws led the Cougars with 21 points. Chase Fischer had 18, and Anson Winder and Skyler Halford added 13 each. Halford had seven assists and Ryan Andrus added eight boards.
Down 35-29 at halftime, Kratch opened the second half with a basket inside to cut the lead to four. An 8-2 run by BYU, with a basket by Kratch, put BYU up 10, 43-33 at 17:33.
Brownridge's first three at 16:55 and then a floater at 16:32 cut the lead to five, 43-38. The sophomore has a three in 52 of 56 career games.
BYU answered with an 18-0 run on six straight threes to build a 23-point lead at 11:23, 61-38. Back-to-back inside buckets by Brownridge stopped the run, but a pair of free throws by Haws put BYU up by 24, 66-42, at 9:27.
Fischer's three at 7:22 gave BYU 14 threes on 23 attempts and BYU led 69-44. Papenfus checked in at 3:58 to receive his first playing time since brain surgery on Oct. 5, 2014.
Kratch and Haws traded inside baskets to open the game. A Hubbard triple at 18:07 was followed by Kratch's three-point play to give SCU an 8-4 lead at 16:58.
Hubbard scored a pair of free throws and after a Halford basket inside, Clark scored with a second left on the shot clock as SCU led 12-6.
BYU scored a 12-2 run to take a 16-12 lead at 12:17.
Johnson crushed a three from the corner to pull SCU within a point at 10:20.
Held scoreless for more than three and a half minutes, BYU then hit three straight threes over a 1:20 stretch to take a 10-point lead, 25-15, at 8:15. Evan Wardlow scored at 7:06 to stop the 9-0 BYU run.
With Clark scoring from eight feet out, Ryan Andrus made a pair of free throws and Winder scored inside as BYU led now by 11, 31-20, at 4:20.
Johnson's bucket cut the lead to nine, but Haws three made free throws pushed the lead to 12, 34-22, at 3:41. Clark hit his own pair at 2:49 and then crushed a three at 2:28 to cut the lead to seven, 34-27.
After Halford missed a pair of free throws with 2.1 seconds left, BYU took a 35-29 lead to the locker room at halftime. Clark had nine points. Emmanuel Ndumanya and Brownridge grabbed four boards each. Haws had 12 points and Andrus had four boards. BYU was 12 of 20 from the line, SCU was 4 of 6.