VALPARAISO, Ind. – Jared Brownridge scored a team-best 30 points, including eight after the end of regulation, to lead Santa Clara men's basketball to a thrilling 87-80 double overtime victory over Valparaiso Thursday in the final nonconference game for both teams.
The Broncos (6-7) hit seven of eight free throws in the final 28 seconds of the second overtime to seal the win over the Crusaders (9-3) whose only two losses this season were to Oregon and Kentucky, a pair of top 10 teams. Valparaiso had won 38 of its last 40 home games.
Brownridge snapped a 78-all tie with 1:11 left in the second overtime on a driving layup. After Valparaiso's Alec Peters, who scored a game-high 35 points, missed a 3-pointer, Matt Hauser hit a pair of free throws.
Shane Hammink scored on a layup with 24 seconds left to cut the Valpo deficit to 82-80. Following a pair of free throws by Brownridge, Peters turned the ball over in the backcourt on a missed exchange. Santa Clara's Kai Healy picked it up and was fouled. He hit both free throws with 21 seconds left to seal the win, the first away from home this season for the Broncos.
"I couldn't be more proud of a group of guys than the men we're blessed to coach," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "We've said all along that we want a program that's easy to cheer and one that we can all be proud of. I can't think of a group that's easier to cheer for or be proud of than our guys."
Brownridge connected on 10 of 19 from the field, including 6-for-11 from behind the 3-point line, to post his 10th-career game of 30 or more points, extending his own school record.
Hauser scored 17 and Nate Kratch produced a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
Hammink was the only other player in double figures for the Crusaders with 23 points. He and Peters played the entire 50 minutes. Brownridge (49), Kratch (48) and Hauser (46) weren't far behind Valpo's top duo in minutes played.
"Our two seniors (Brownridge and Kratch) were heroic," Sendek said. "A double-double for Nate and Jared, what more can you say, he scratches for 30. Just a great team effort, but those two seniors helped light the way for us."
Brownridge had a chance to win the game in regulation and Peters at the end of the first overtime.
Kratch's hook shot with 1:38 left in regulation tied it at 70-all. Then turnovers by each team set up a final possession for Santa Clara, but Brownridge was off target with a 3-pointer from the left side with two seconds left.
KJ Feagin, playing in his first game of the year after breaking a bone in his foot in the preseason, had a chance to snap a 74-all tie at the end of the first overtime. He missed a runner from the left side with 28 seconds left. The Crusaders held for the final shot, but Peters missed badly on a 35-foot 3-pointer with five seconds left.
The Broncos shot 46 percent from the floor and only had 11 turnovers, including one by Hauser, the primary ball handler. Brownridge had five assists and one turnover.
An All-West Conference freshman team choice last season, Feagin played 22 minutes, scoring five points and dishing out four assists in a game neither team led by more than five in the final 17 minutes.
"It was great to have KJ back," Sendek said. "He's rusty, but you could see the uphill battle without him. His 22 minutes proved to be one of the differences."
Santa Clara only allowed Valparaiso to tie the game three times in the first 33 minutes of action.
While the Broncos hit only one of six from the floor during a three-minute stretch, Valpo made five straight to take a 54-51 lead, its first of the game, with 11:45 remaining in regulation.
A Brownridge layup briefly regained the lead for the Broncos at 58-56.
Peters twice gave the Crusaders a five-point cushion in the final six minutes, but Brownridge tied the game at 68-all with 3:23 left.
Brownridge and Peters entered the game as two of the top five active NCAA Division I point producers. Peters was second with 1,964 points and Brownridge fifth at 1,935.
After suffering a disheartening loss at Washington State Saturday, the Broncos needed to shoot well and get off to a good start, especially playing on the road against a program that reached the postseason the last six years.
Brownridge playing near his hometown of Aurora, Illinois, had six points, helping the Broncos lead 8-0 with just more than two minutes off the clock.
The Broncos led by as many as 10 points in the first half, but Peters led the comeback by scoring 14 of the team's first 18 second-half points.
The Broncos open West Coast Conference play at BYU on Thursday. Santa Clara faces San Francisco in the league home opener two days later.
Notes: Tonight's game was the first-ever meeting between the schools. They will play again next season in Santa Clara … Santa Clara played its 18th multiple overtime game in school history and snapped a five-game losing streak in extra session contests … Brownridge had roughly 40 family and friends at the game. Valparaiso is located about 80 miles southeast of the his hometown of Aurora, Illinois … Brownridge (30 points) moved to 12th on the West Coast Conference career scoring list, passing Jose Slaughter of Portland (1978-82/1,940). Brownridge now has 1,965 career points … the 35 points by Peters was the most by a Santa Clara opponent this season. The previous high was 24 by Jordan Davis of Northern Colorado (Nov. 19) … Peters attempted 28 field goals. Only seven opposing players have ever launched more in a game against Santa Clara. Greg Goorjian of Loyola Marymount holds the record with 36 field-goal attempts on Feb. 18, 1983 … Peters also had 15 attempts (hitting six) from behind the 3-point line. Only Jeff Fryer of Loyola Marymount with 18 on Feb. 24, 1989, and Mike Hill of Pacific Union with 16 on Dec. 12, 2015, ever had more against the Broncos … Hauser (17 points) has scored in double figures in six straight games.
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