SAN JOSE, Calif. – Ryan Welage and Isaiah Nichols scored 12 points apiece leading a balanced scoring attack for San Jose State, which used a strong defensive effort to down Santa Clara men's basketball, 55-40, Saturday.
Leading scorer Brandon Clarke had just nine points in only 20 minutes due to foul trouble for the Spartans (4-3) who snapped a six-game losing streak to the Broncos.
Matt Hauser scored a game-high 14 points but leading scorer Jared Brownridge was held to just 11 for Santa Clara (3-6), which shot a season-low 28 percent from the floor and went scoreless for a 7:40 stretch from the end of the first half until there were nearly 13 minutes left in the game.
Brownridge was held to only 2 of 11 shooting from the floor, his lowest field goal total of the season. He came in averaging 28.0 points over the last four games.
The Spartans shot 46 percent from the floor and held a 24-10 edge on points in the paint. They held the Broncos to only three second-half field goals.
"I thought they did a great job of taking us out of our stuff," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "They really pressured us, they contested passing lanes; they played with a great sense of purpose and tremendous effort."
After turning the ball over just five times in Wednesday's loss to UC Irvine, the Broncos committed 16 against the Spartans who scored 18 straight points to turn a two-point deficit into a 42-26 advantage with 14:15 left in the game. Welage had eight points during that run.
The Broncos didn't get closer than 12 points the remainder of the game.
The storyline of the opening half was one of runs and scoring droughts for both teams.
After hitting seven of their first 12 shots from the floor to build a 19-10 lead, the Broncos followed by connecting on only two of their next 10 to enable San Jose State to engineer a 14-2 run.
Brandon Mitchell nailed a 3-pointer from the right wing with 8:42 left to start the flurry and when Gary Williams Jr. nailed a pair of free throws five minutes later San Jose State led 24-21. But Brownridge stopped a five-minute scoring drought by scoring the next five points, including a 3-pointer with 1:12 on the clock.
After picking up two early fouls, Clarke played only seven of the opening 20 minutes for the Spartans who had only one basket in the final 4:50 of the first half. They entered the game averaging 12.2 turnovers and committed 10 in the opening half.
Santa Clara is off until Saturday when Cal State East Bay visits Leavey Center. Tipoff is set for 2 p.m.
Notes: The Broncos lead the all-time series with San Jose State, 79-30 … forward Akil Douglas, a junior transfer from San Jose City College, saw his first career action, entering the game with 3:56 left in the first half … Brownridge (11) scored in double figures for the 31st straight game … Hauser (14) scored in double figures for the fourth time this season.
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