LAS VEGAS – Jared Brownridge once again led the way against a nationally-ranked Arizona Wildcats squad, but it wasn't enough as Santa Clara basketball fell short Thursday in third-round play of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.
Lauri Markkanen scored 16 points and Kobi Simmons added 14 for the No. 8/9-ranked Wildcats (5-0) who won 69-61, but had to battle to remain perfect on the season.
Brownridge scored a game-high 25 points on 6 of 14 shooting from behind the 3-point line for the Broncos (3-3) who trailed by one with just more than four minutes left in the game and still just three with under three to go.
Brownridge's final 3-pointer of the game cut the Arizona deficit to 64-61, but Simmons hit a long fallaway bucket on the next possession.
Santa Clara missed its final four shots and the Wildcats hit three of their four free throws in the final 33 seconds.
Nate Kratch and Henrik Jadersten had 10 points apiece for the Broncos who connected on 12 of 31 from behind the 3-point line. Jadersten was 4-for-5 from the floor, but was limited to 14 minutes because of foul trouble.
Dusan Ristic scored 12 points for the Wildcats who out-rebounded the Broncos 37-26, but only held an 18-12 advantage on points in the paint despite sporting a starting five of two 7-footers. The Wildcats did block a season-high eight shots in the game.
The Wildcats connected on 48 percent from the field in the game against Santa Clara's 1-2-2 zone.
"I thought we played good basketball against an outstanding team," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "We kept our turnovers down we didn't shoot a high percentage in the second half. There were a few open looks that we needed to convert if we were actually going to get over the hump, but I thought all in all our guys played good basketball."
Coming off two straight double-doubles, Matt Hauser had just five points, but posted a game-high eight assists and only two turnovers in 38 minutes of action. The Broncos turned the ball over 10 times as opposed to 12 for the Wildcats.
Santa Clara only went to the free-throw line seven times, hitting five. The Wildcats hit only 12 of 19 attempts from the line, including just 9-for-16 in the second half.
The Broncos went without a field goal for more than three minutes early in the second half and the Wildcats took advantage. They hit six of their first 11 field goals after the break, building a 46-38 lead.
Laurie broke a four-minute field goal drought for the Wildcats by hitting a 3-pointer from the wing that pushed the lead to 55-46 with 10 minutes left but Jarvis Pugh and Kratch answered with 3-pointers for Santa Clara.
Brownridge had 16 points in the first half, but was held to nine during the final 20 minutes and was only 2-for-7 from behind the 3-point line. Both came in the final three minutes of the game.
Brownridge scored a career-high 44 points against Arizona in last year's Wooden Legacy. The Broncos took the No. 11/10-ranked Wildcats to overtime before falling 75-73.
The senior guard scored a season-best 32 points in Monday's win against Northern Colorado during campus site action in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.
"Jared looks like he's back to who he is," Sendek said. "He's really played well for us the last two games."
The Broncos trailed by 10 points eight minutes into the game before rallying behind Brownridge's hot shooting. The senior started a 12-3 flurry with his first 3-pointer and then added two more from long range to tie the game at 25-all with 7:18 left in the first half.
The Broncos never led in the game, but tied it for the third time at 27-all. A Brownridge running layup chopped the Arizona lead to 32-31 with less than three minutes to go before halftime.
Santa Clara closes out play in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational Friday, facing Vanderbilt at 5 p.m. in Orleans Arena. The game will air nationally on FOX Sports 1 (FS1).
Notes: With 25 points, Jared Brownridge (1,825) moved from 23rd to 20th on the West Coast Conference career scoring list, passing Clint Richardson of Seattle (1976-79/1,803), Darrell Tucker of San Francisco (1999-03/1,805) and Matt Santangelo of Gonzaga (1997-00/1,810).
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