COSTA MASNAGA, Italy – Strong guard play and an impressive third quarter helped propel the Santa Clara men's basketball team to a 68-57 victory over Basket Lecco Saturday evening in the second of three games during the Broncos' 10-day Italy Exhibition Tour.
Sophomores KJ Feagin (17) and Matt Hauser (15) combined for 32 points and senior Jared Brownridge added 14 for the Broncos who improved to 2-0 on the trip by downing another one of Italy's B League teams.
That trio of guards combined to shoot 54 percent from the floor, including 8-for-10 from the behind the 3-point line, in the four-quarter, 40-minute contest played under international rules.
"Our three guards – Matt, KJ and Jared - played well together," head coach Herb Sendek said. "We went with a smaller lineup with Jarvis [Pugh] at the four and they played well together."
After trailing for the entire first half, the Broncos took a 32-31 lead, their first of the game, on a Brownridge 3-pointer at the 9:48 mark of the third quarter. That 3-pointer, the first of his three in the second half, began a 20-4 run which broke the game open. Santa Clara built the lead to 65-44 with 6:35 left in the game.
"Our defense really ignited our run in the second and third quarters," Sendek said. "After giving up 22 points in the first quarter, the second quarter nine, the third quarter nine and that allowed us to come over the deficit and build a nice lead."
Feagin was 4-for-4, all in the second half, from the behind the 3-point line.
"KJ's shot looks really good," Sendek said. "I think he's really worked to continue to improve that."
Hauser had 12 of 15 points in the first half and helped spark the offense in the second quarter off the bench.
"We really want to push the ball in transition and he was attacking," Sendek said. "His conditioning level for August is really outstanding and I think it allows him to sustain a higher level of play for longer periods of time."
Senior Nate Kratch had just three points, but again controlled the glass for the Broncos with a team-best 12 rebounds, including seven offensive. In Thursday's 78-61 win against Piombino-Venturina, Kratch tallied 13 rebounds.
The Broncos shot 42 percent from the field, including 9-for-15 on 3-pointers.
Henrik Jadersten, a Swedish native who had his family in attendance, scored five points and had five rebounds. Pugh and Kai Healy also scored five points apiece. Pugh and Brownridge each had six rebounds.
Tony Lewis was second on the team with nine rebounds. He and fellow forward Julian Roche each had two points.
The Broncos play their final game on the trip Sunday when they face Brescia Leonessa of the Italian A League in Brescia, which is roughly 100 kilometers from where the team is staying in Lake Como.
Santa Clara arrived in Italy Sunday, flying into Rome where they stayed until Tuesday. From Wednesday through Friday, the team was based in Florence. Venturina, site of Thursday's game, is roughly a two-hour drive southwest from Florence. The team traveled to Lake Como Friday.
Notes: The game was played in Palestra Comunale in Costa Masnaga, which is about a 30-minute drive from Lake Como … Feagin, Brownridge, Pugh, Kratch and Emmanuel Ndumanya started in the game … all 13 healthy players saw action … Evan Wardlow (knee) and Matt Hubbard (ankle) are still recovering from offseason surgeries and will not play on the trip … after connecting on only 7 of 17 free throws (41 percent) in Thursday's game, the Broncos improved to 11-for-16 (68 percent) … Hauser was 5-for-6 from the line, with all of his attempts coming in the second quarter when he tallied seven points … the Broncos hit seven of their eight 3-pointers in the second half.
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