Men’s Basketball Edged 69-68 Down the Stretch by Washington State

Men’s Basketball Edged 69-68 Down the Stretch by Washington State

PULLMAN, Wash. – Santa Clara men's basketball was in position for its best win of the season, a road victory against a Pac-12 Conference opponent, but the Washington State Cougars responded down the stretch behind the play of forward Josh Hawkinson and guard Charles Callison.

Hawkinson scored a team-high 21 points and Callison added 14 for the Cougars (6-5) who erased an 11-point deficit in the final seven minutes to come away with a 69-68 victory.

Jared Brownridge scored a game-high 25 points on 9 of 19 from the floor, including 15 in the second half, and Matt Hauser chipped in 17, but Santa Clara (5-7) went without a field goal for the final 6:25 to see its two-game winning streak end.

Callison also led the Cougars with five rebounds and four steals, but it was his lone block that may have been the play of the game. The senior guard, who harassed Brownridge on the defensive end throughout the game, atoned for missing the front end of a one-and-one with six seconds left and the Cougars clinging to a 69-68 lead by blocking Brownridge's potential game-winning jumper as time expired.

Hawkinson and Callison combined to score 11 of the team's final 13 points, all coming during a 14-0 run for the Cougars which enabled them to turn a double-digit deficit into a 69-66 lead with 21 seconds left in the game.

Jarvis Pugh hit a pair of free throws with seven seconds left to cut the Washington State lead to 69-68 and then Callison was intentionally fouled to set up the final sequence.

The Broncos twice built an 11-point lead in the second half on the strength of the long-range shooting of Brownridge who went 5-for-7 from behind the 3-point line in the final 20 minutes. He scored nine of the team's first 19 points in the second half, helping the Broncos turn a two-point halftime deficit into a 56-48 lead with less than 12 minutes remaining in the game.

Henrik Jadersten tipped in a Hauser missed jumper to increase the lead to 64-53 with 8:23 left. Two minutes later, Nate Kratch, who had a game-high 12 rebounds, scored on a jump hook in the lane for Santa Clara's final bucket of the game.

While the Cougars made their decisive run, the Broncos missed their final seven shots of the game, almost all with the shot clock running down as the Washington State defense was up to the challenge.

Santa Clara held a 35-27 rebounding advantage against the Cougars, who start 7-foot Conor Clifford in addition to the 6-foot-10 Hawkinson, the NCAA active career leader with 48 double-doubles. Hawkinson was held to a season-low four rebounds.

Clifford had 10 points in just 19 minutes of action and freshman guard Malachi Flynn added nine points and four assists for the Cougars who held a 36-20 edge on points in the paint.

Pugh was the only other player in double figures for the game, scoring 11 points, including nine in the first half, all from behind the 3-point line, when the Broncos were able to overcome an early eight-point deficit to tie the game five times and take the lead twice.

Pugh, Brownridge (10) and Hauser (10) combined to score 27 of Santa Clara's 34 first half points.

Washington State shot a blistering 58 percent in the first 20 minutes and 52 percent for the game, the second-highest total by a Santa Clara opponent this season (55 percent by UC Irvine, Nov. 30).

The Broncos connected on 12 of 27 from beyond the 3-point line. The 44 percent accuracy was the second-best mark of the season, trailing only the 45 percent recorded vs. Northern Colorado (Nov. 19).

The Broncos play their next two on the road. Next up is Valparaiso on Thursday (7 p.m.), followed by a trip to BYU on Dec. 29 for the West Coast Conference opener. Santa Clara faces San Francisco in the league home opener on Saturday, Dec. 31.

Notes: Today's game was the sixth all-time meeting between the teams with the Cougars now holding a 5-1 series lead … Brownridge (25 points) moved to 14th on the West Coast Conference career scoring list, passing Jeff Fryer of LMU (1986-90/1,922). Brownridge now has 1,935 career points  … Brownridge recorded seven or more made 3-pointers for the eighth time in his career, extending his own school record. Kevin Foster (2008-13) have five in his career, including the single-game record of nine (vs. Air Force, March 18, 2011) … Kai Healy made his first start of the season with Pugh coming off the bench for the first time … Matt Hauser (17) scored in double figures for the seventh time this season, all coming in the last nine games … each team used eight players … guards KJ Feagin (foot) and Evan Wardlow (hamstring), along with forward Matt Hubbard (ankle), all sat out with injuries for the Broncos … Washington State was without guard Viont'e Daniels (concussion) and Jeff Pollard (illness) … the Cougars had 19 assists (on 27 field goals), the most by a Santa Clara opponent this season … Washington State's eight turnovers were the fewest by an opponent this year.

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