Men’s Basketball Edged By Loyola Marymount, 66-56, in WCC Road Contest

Nate Kratch (courtesy LMU Athletics)
Nate Kratch (courtesy LMU Athletics)

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LOS ANGELES - Coming off a pair of West Coast Conference home wins, Santa Clara men's basketball was in position for its first league road victory, but Loyola Marymount made plays down the stretch against a depleted Broncos lineup.

Shamar Johnson posted all 12 his points in the second half and Stefan Jovanovic came off the bench to score a team-high 14 for the Lions (8-7, 1-3) who claimed a 66-56 win on Saturday afternoon.

KJ Feagin (21) and Nate Kratch (19) combined for 40 points for the Broncos (7-8, 2-2), but they only got five field goals from the other five players who saw action. Starting guard Matt Hauser (concussion protocol) and reserve forward Jarvis Pugh (foot) were injured in Thursday's 70-42 win over Portland and sat out.

Brandon Brown, LMU's leading scorer, was held to nine points, but contributed five of the team's 15 assists and helped defend Jared Brownridge, Santa Clara's top point producer, who only scored five on 1-for-11 shooting from the floor.

Feagin's 3-pointer cut the LMU advantage to 54-53 with 4:44 remaining in the game, but the Lions scored the next seven points. Johnson hit a jumper in the lane and Kevin Amayo had a steal and dunk on the following possession to increase the lead to 59-53.

The Broncos, who had won five of their last seven games, including last two WCC contests, made only one of their final nine field-goal attempts.

LMU connected on 7 of 8 free throws in the final 48 seconds to close out their first conference win. The Lions had lost four of their previous five, including the last two by a combined six points.

Brownridge, Kratch and Kai Healy were in the game for the entire 40 minutes, while only Amayo (32) played more than 30 for the Lions. Amayo had nine of LMU's 39 bench points.

The Lions were also missing a key player as second-leading scorer Buay Tuach, who had started the previous 14 games this season, did not see action.

Emmanuel Ndumanya had a season-high seven points and four rebounds for Santa Clara before fouling out with six minutes left.

LMU used an 11-1 run, spanning the end of the first half and beginning of the second, to regain the lead.

Johnson tallied five of the team's first seven points after halftime, helping the Lions to a 35-29 lead with 17:26 left.

The Broncos cut the deficit to one seven more times in the following 10 minutes of action, but were unable to regain the lead, which had reached 10 in the first half. They had 11 turnovers in the game, including six in the second half, which led to 10 points for LMU.

Santa Clara got the quick start it needed on the road, but was unable to sustain the momentum.

Feagin helped the Broncos build 12-2 advantage by knocking down his first three attempts from behind the 3-point line, but the Lions responded with a 13-2 run led by Jovanovic and Steven Haney who combined for 10 points. Haney's second three in the flurry gave the Lions a 15-14 lead.

Neither team led by more than two points the remainder of the half until the Broncos took a brief 28-24 edge when Brownridge nailed a 3-pointer - his lone bucket of the game - and Kratch, who was 8 of 13 from the field, followed with a jumper.

Feagin (13) and Kratch (10) had 23 of the team's 28 first half points.

Santa Clara play a pair on the road next week, facing San Diego Thursday and Pepperdine Saturday.

Notes: Today's game was the 144th meeting in the series, which began in 1937. The Broncos hold an 87-60 lead. LMU snapped a three-game winning streak in the series for Santa Clara … Brownridge, the second-leading scorer in school history (2,006), needs four points to crack the WCC's top 10 all-time list. Bo Kimble of LMU (1987-90) is currently 10th with 2,010. Brownridge entered the game fourth among active leading scorers in NCAA Division I … Kratch had a season-high three blocked shots … Brownridge's five points was a season low … Healy (40) eclipsed his career high in minutes played. He had a career-high tying 34 in Thursday's win against Portland … Feagin played a season-high 39 minutes, in just his fifth game back from a broken bone in his foot … Evan Wardlow (hamstring) missed his seventh-straight game.

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