SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The inside-outside combination of senior center Ioannis Dimakopoulos and freshman guard John Edgar Jr. helped UC Irvine hold off Santa Clara men's basketball Wednesday.
Dimakopoulos scored 15 points on 7 of 12 attempts from the floor and Edgar Jr. added 13 on 5 for-6 shooting for the Anteaters (4-4), who connected on a season-best 55 percent of their field goal attempts, though suffered 17 turnovers.
Senior guard Jared Brownridge, who scored 28 points in the second half of Friday's loss to Vanderbilt, once again lifted the Broncos (3-5) in the final 20 minutes. He scored a game-high 20 points, including 14 in the second half, on 7 of 15 shooting from the floor, but his final attempt, an off-balance potential game-tying 3-pointer from the left wing was off target.
Santa Clara, which had only five turnovers, but shot a season-low 34 percent, trailed 55-45 with just more than seven minutes left in the game after Edgar Jr.'s final 3-pointer, but slowly chipped away.
A 3-pointer by Matt Hauser, who had 14 points and six assists, made it 56-52 with 3:38 on the clock and just more than two minutes later Brownridge canned another basket from beyond the 3-point line to make it a one possession game.
The Broncos held the Anteaters to just one field goal in the final 7:06, but weren't able to capitalize. Brownridge was unable to connect on a game-tying 3-pointer with 17 seconds left. UC Irvine's leading scorer Jaron Martin then missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 9 seconds left to set up Brownridge's final attempt.
Jarvis Pugh scored 12 points and Nate Kratch had a game-high nine rebounds, but had only five points on 2 of 13 shooting from the field for the Broncos who had only one turnover in the second half.
The 7-foot-2 Dimakopoulos (21) and Edgar Jr. (17) only logged a combined 38 minutes, but had nearly half of UC Irvine's points. Tommy Rutherford was next highest scorer with six points, though the Anteaters had 11 players see action.
Santa Clara played only eight players as Evan Wardlow (hamstring) and Matt Hubbard (ankle) sat out. Both have played limited minutes this season.
The Broncos led early in the game and then had to battle back later in the opening half.
Santa Clara hit three of its first four shots, but the Anteaters answered by going on a 21-4 run to build an 11-point lead with eight minutes left in the half. Pugh and Hauser ignited an 8-1 run with 3-pointers to cut the lead to 24-20 over a 1:25 stretch.
After UC Irvine went ahead by nine on a Dimakopoulos 3-pointer, the Broncos were able to close the first half on a 7-0 run, capped by a three-point play from Brownridge with 8 seconds left, to cut the deficit to 31-29.
Santa Clara plays its first road game of the season Saturday at San Jose State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.
Notes: UC Irvine has won all four meetings … Hauser knocked down a career-high four three-pointers and also dished out six assists, the fifth time in the last six games he has delivered five or more assists ... Kratch dished out a career-high four assists ... UC Irvine shot 54.5% from the field, its best mark of the season and an opponent game-high for the Broncos ... UC Irvine entered the game allowing opponents to shoot just 35.8 percent from the field, the ninth-best mark in the country. Its defense held Santa Clara to just 33.9 percent shooting ... Brownridge (1,881) moved from 18th to 15th on the West Coast Conference career scoring list, passing Adam Morrison of Gonzaga (2003-06/1,867), Daniel Kickert of Saint Mary's (2002-06/1,874) and Edgar Jones of Nevada (1975-79/1,877) ... the Broncos posted a season-high 10 steals and UC Irvine turned the ball over 17 times in total but Santa Clara only scored seven points off of those miscues ... each of Santa Clara's starters logged 34 minutes or more, including Pugh who went the distance.