PORTLAND, Ore. – Jared Brownridge scored a game-high 17 points and KJ Feagin added 14 for Santa Clara men's basketball, which was able to outlast Portland, 60-45, Thursday night in West Coast Conference action.
Matt Hauser chipped in 13 points and had a game-best seven assists, and Emmanuel Ndumanya posted a game-high 10 rebounds for the Broncos (13-11, 7-4) who have won five of their last seven games and are now tied for third in the WCC standings after BYU's loss to Gonzaga.
Gabe Taylor and Jazz Johnson each scored 10 points for Portland (9-14, 2-9), which has lost nine straight, the last five without starting point guard Alec Wintering, who is out for the season with a knee injury.
Santa Clara has won three in a row on the road after dropping six of their first seven away from home.
Brownridge's 3-pointer with 12:25 left increased the lead to 47-34, but Taylor cut it to eight a little more than one minute later on his own 3-pointer.
From there, neither team could hit a field goal. The Broncos missed seven straight from the floor and the Pilots nine in a row during more than seven minutes.
Hauser hit three free throws and Brownridge finally broke the drought on a layup with 3:28 to go, pushing the lead to 53-39 and Portland never cut the deficit to single digits.
"The defense in the second half was really good," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said.
The Broncos hit 44 percent from the floor, including 9 of 19 from behind the 3-point line. They held the Pilots to 34 percent, including 1-for-11 on 3-pointers. Portland entered the game as the second-best 3-point shooting team in the league at 38 percent.
"We left ourselves exposed for drives, especially in the first half," Sendek said. "I thought our guys adjusted and did a much better job in the second half and only gave up 16 points. The first half we were beat off the dribble too much."
Santa Clara got off to a strong start, but it came at a price as the frontline was in early foul trouble.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Hauser and Evan Wardlow helped the Broncos build a 22-10, but the Pilots slowly chipped away, scoring mostly from the free-throw line where they connected on 15 of 21 attempts in the first half.
However, Henrik Jadersten (4), Ndumanya (3) and Wardlow were each whistled for at least three fouls.
But the Broncos were able to increase a six-point halftime by nailing seven of their 12 field goals in the second half.
Brownridge ended up fouling out of the game, but closed the night 7 of 12 from the field.
Only eight players saw action for the Broncos with Nate Kratch, Ndumanya and Hauser playing the entire second half.
The injury bug continued for the Broncos. Hauser broke his nose early in the first half, but played 38 minutes and had just one turnover. Feagin also twisted his ankle in the final moments of the game after hitting a 3-pointer.
Santa Clara continues its stretch of four straight road games Saturday against top-ranked Gonzaga. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and the game will air nationally on ESPN2.
Team: Tonight's game was the 95th game in the series, which began in 1946. Santa Clara won its fourth straight against the Pilots and now lead, 62-33. … Portland's 25 free throws were the second most by an opponent this season Gonzaga 28 in its 88-57 win on Jan. 19 … the Pilots had one made 3-pointer, which the fewest by a foe this season. Four other opponents made three, including Portland on Jan. 5 … the Broncos improved to 12-3 this season when connecting on at least 43 percent from the floor and 9-2 when hitting 40 percent or higher from behind the 3-point line … Santa Clara out-rebounded its sixth opponent this season and is now 5-1 when accomplishing that feat.
Individual: Hauser has scored in double figures in 12 times this season, including 12 of his last 15 games … Brownridge (2,159) is now 10 points away from fifth place on the WCC all-time scoring list. Anthony Ireland of LMU (2,169/2010-14) is currently fifth. Brownridge (1,178) also needs just 12 points to match Hank Gathers of LMU (1,190/1988-90) as the all-time scoring leader in WCC games.
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