LAS VEGAS – Santa Clara men's basketball made a furious rally in the second half, but was unable to sustain the pace to overcome Vanderbilt's healthy halftime advantage in the finale of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.
Jared Brownridge led the charge back, scoring a game-high 36 points, including 28 in the second half, for the Broncos (3-4), but Luke Cornet had 18 points and Riley LaChance added 17 on 6 of 7 field goals to lead the hot-shooting Commodores to a 76-66 win Friday at Orleans Arena.
Vanderbilt (3-3) shot 50 percent from the floor in the game, including 54 percent in the first half when it led by double digits for the final nine minutes.
But Brownridge scored 10 points during 21-5 run to open the second half, cutting the Commodores advantage to 46-44 with 10 minutes remaining in the second game in two days for both teams.
Jeff Roberson, who scored 12 points, then nailed a pair of 3-pointers and LaChance added another in less than a three-minute stretch to push the lead back to double digits.
Brownridge, meanwhile, scored nine straight points to keep the Broncos close. His jumper with 5:58 left cut the deficit to 59-53, but Kornet answered with a 3-pointer on the following possession.
The lead was chopped to seven with less than three minutes left on the clock, but the 7-foot Kornet scored five straight points and Santa Clara never got closer than eight the rest of the way.
Matthew Fisher-Davis scored 14 points on 3 of 6 shooting from the behind the 3-point line for Vanderbilt, which made a season-high 54 percent on 3-point attempts (15 of 28).
Brownridge was the only player in double figures for the Broncos, who shot 47 percent from the floor, including 52 percent in the second half. He connected on 12 of 13 from the free-throw line.
Nate Kratch had nine points, but picked up his fourth foul shortly after Santa Clara closed to within two in the second half.
"Our defense was our nemesis this evening especially in the first half," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "Vanderbilt was really on fire to their credit. They were making shots and in some instances difficult shots. They just were in that zone."
LaChance (5 of 5 FGs) and Fisher-Davis (4 of 6 FGs) combined to miss just two shots and scored 26 of the team's 41 points in the first half.
The lead ballooned to 21-9 with 8:49 on the clock and the Broncos were never closer than 10 the remainder of the first half. Santa Clara had eight of its nine turnovers in the opening 20 minutes.
"When we were down 18 at the half, giving up a four-point play at the end of the first half I thought our guys did a really good job of regrouping, keeping poised and composed, battled all the way back, eventually cut the lead to two," Sendek said.
However, Brownridge, Matt Hauser, Henrik Jadersten and Jarvis Pugh all played at least 36 minutes in the game and wore down with four subs played a combined 27 minutes.
"We went to our bench and tried to give Nate a minute or two with his foul trouble," Sendek said. "We tried to give a few other guys a few seconds blow, which is proving difficult because we don't have a lot of depth right now and the lead seemed to quickly bounce back to seven, to nine and we were never able to mount a formidable comeback."
Santa Clara is back in action Wednesday when UC Irvine visits Leavey Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Notes: Tonight's game marked the first meeting between the teams … Jared Brownridge (36 points), who earned a spot of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational tournament team, posted his ninth-career game of 30 or more points, the most in school history. He was tied with the school's all-time leading scorer Kevin Foster (2008-13/2,423) with eight apiece … Brownridge (1,861) moved from 20th to 18th on the West Coast Conference career scoring list, passing Omar Samhan of Saint Mary's (2006-10/1,846) and Quintin Dailey of San Franciso (1979-82/1,841).
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