SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Jared Brownridge, the school's most accurate 3-pointer shooter, shook off an early season shooting slump to guide Santa Clara men's basketball to an 84-74 victory over Sacred Heart Monday in preliminary round action in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.
Brownridge scored a season- and game-high 32 points on 11 of 21 shooting from the floor, including a 7-for-15 effort beyond the 3-point line, and fellow guard Matt Hauser posted his second-straight double-double with 14 points and a career-high 11 assists.
Nate Kratch (11) and Henrik Jadersten (10) also hit double figures in scoring for the Broncos (3-2) who won their second straight game with another hot shooting second half.
After shooting 58 percent from the floor in the second half of Saturday's 88-72 victory vs. Northern Colorado, the Broncos connected on 60 percent in the final 20 minutes against Sacred Heart.
Quincy McKnight, who came in averaging 25.0 points per game, scored 20 and dished out 11 assists, and Joseph Lopez added 15 points and nine rebounds for the Pioneers (1-3) who out-rebounded Santa Clara 41-24, but committed 18 turnovers, leading to 20 points.
The game was tied twice early in the second half before Brownridge sparked a 10-2 run with eight points, including a pair of 3-pointers, the final one giving the Broncos a 58-49 lead with 14:12 left in the game.
McKnight's layup trimmed the advantage to five less than two minutes later, but Santa Clara pushed the lead to 63-53, the first time in double digits, on a Brownridge 3-pointer with 10:35 remaining.
De'von Barnett's layup with a little more than six minutes left chopped the Sacred Heart deficit to 72-67, but Tony Lewis came off the bench due to foul trouble on the frontline and promptly connected on a pair of inside baskets. The Pioneers never got closer than eight the remainder of the contest.
Brownridge hit four of his first five shots in the game and the Broncos led 28-22 before the Pioneers rallied to score eight straight, taking their first lead since the opening two minutes. Neither squad led by more than two the rest of the first half until Hauser's 3-pointer off one of Brownridge's five assists gave the Broncos a 41-38 lead with 22 seconds on the clock.
Brownridge, a career 41-percent 3-pointer shooter (No. 1 in school history), entered the game having connected on only 4 of 29 this season from behind the arc. He went 4-for-8 in the first half. He hit at least seven 3-pointers in a game for the seventh time in his career.
"It was so great to see Jared shoot the basketball and score like we all know he's capable of," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "He's had a brilliant, amazing, breath-taking career here and the elephant in the room is that he hasn't started his senior year well. He's been in that proverbial slump. To see him catch fire tonight was good for all of us. He was really hitting his shots and that really helped us get going on offense."
Hauser had his second-straight strong game taking care of the ball. He committed just two turnovers in 39 minutes against Sacred Heart and had one (to go with 10 assists) in 39 minutes vs. Northern Colorado. Hauser had a career-high 16 points vs. N. Colorado.
The Broncos had 22 assists on their 30 made field goals and shot 55 percent in the game, which helped offset the Pioneers holding a 46-24 edge in points in the paint while shooting 46 percent from the floor.
"Our challenge right now is really on the defensive side of the ball," Sendek said. "We're not pleased with where we are there. It seems like I'm holding my breath on every pass and every bounce. We've got to be a lot better than we've been."
Santa Clara continues play in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational Thursday. The Broncos face No. 8/9 Arizona at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Santa Clara then plays either Butler or Vanderbilt the following day. Both games will air nationally on FOX Sports 1 (FS1).
Long Distance: Jared Brownridge (7 of 15) was just one off his career high in made 3-pointers. He posted eight against Pacific (Dec. 21, 2015) and nailed seven in a game for the sixth time in his career. Kevin Foster, the school's all-time leading scorer (2,423 points), had nine against Air Force on March 18, 2011. Brownridge now has 290 career 3-point field goals (second in school history). Foster made 431 from 2008-13. Brownridge's 40.7 percent 3-point accuracy is still first in school history, with Steve Nash second at 40.1.
Notes: Nate Kratch (11 points) scored in double figures for the second-straight game. He had 17 against N. Colorado on Saturday … Matt Hauser has a 7.0-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio in the last two games … not only were the Broncos out-rebounded 41 to 24, but they also did not record one at the offensive end. Sacred Heart had 14 offensive rebounds and out-scored Santa Clara 14-0 in second-chance points … Santa Clara posted a season-high eight steals, including a career-best three by Hauser.
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