SANTA CLARA, Calif. – After not playing for the last seven days due to final exams, Santa Clara men's basketball was able to shake off some early rust to post a convincing 75-50 victory over Cal State Easy Bay Saturday afternoon.
Nate Kratch scored a game-high 19 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the floor and Matt Hauser added 15 for the Broncos (4-6) who held the Pioneers to 21 percent (10 of 47) from the field over the final 34 minutes of the game.
Santa Clara, which snapped a four-game skid, opened the second half with a 12-3 run to build the lead to 50-31 with 14 minutes left. The lead eventually grew to 27 with five minutes remaining in the game.
Leading scorer Jared Brownridge scored 11 points on 4 of 7 from the floor. He also dished out a season-high tying six assists.
Center Emmanuel Ndumanya made his first start of the season and contributed six points and a game-high nine rebounds, helping the Broncos hold a 28-14 advantage on points in the paint against the Pioneers (7-2) who are members of the Division II California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA). The meeting with Santa Clara was an exhibition contest for Cal State East Bay.
Kai Healy came off the Santa Clara bench to post nine points and season bests in rebounds (six) and assists (four) in a season-high 30 minutes of action.
Leading scorer Micah Dunhour tallied a game-high 18 points on 7 of 11 shooting from the floor for the Pioneers. He hit his first six attempts of the game.
Led by Dunhour, Cal State East Bay was scorching from the floor in the early going, connecting on its first seven shots of the game to build a 20-10 lead.
"Dunhour, talk about being in a zone," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "He looked like Pete Maravich out there. He ended up with 18. Once we fell behind early, I thought our guys did a nice job regrouping and keeping our composure."
The work of Kratch and Hauser at the offensive end and an improved effort on defense helped turn the tide.
Kratch's 3-pointer with 5:33 left in the opening half snapped a 23-all tie, giving the Broncos their first lead since it was 7-5 three minutes in. That 3-pointer from Kratch came during a four-minute stretch when he and Hauser combined to score 13 straight points.
The Broncos closed the first half on a 28-8 run to build a 38-28 lead. The Pioneers connected on just one field goal in the final five minutes.
"By and large our defense was good," Sendek said. "The last few games our defense is showing signs of improving. We still have some individual flaws that we have to get better at but we're making fewer mistakes."
The Broncos, who had finals this week for the just ended quarter, are back in action Tuesday when UC Riverside visits Leavey Center. Tip for Santa Clara's final nonconference home game of the season is set for 7 p.m.
Notes: Today's game was the first regular season meeting between the teams. The two programs did face off on Nov. 14, 2008, in a preseason game with the Broncos prevailing 68-40 … Ndumanya's nine rebounds tied the most by a Bronco this season (Kratch vs. UC Irvine, Nov. 30; Pugh vs. Northern Arizona, Nov. 11) … Brownridge recorded just three field goal attempts in the first half, his second-lowest total of the season for the first 20 minutes of action ... Hauser poured in 12 points in the first half, a career high for points in a single period ...Hauser scored in double figures for the fifth time this season, all coming in the last seven games … Santa Clara only turned the ball over four times in the first 20 minutes which tied a season low ... Brownridge reached double figures in scoring for the 32nd-straight game … Sendek cleared the bench in the final few minutes with Johnny Sawyer and Will Burkett seeing their first-career action. Evan Crawford played in just his second-career game as did Akil Douglas.
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