Men’s Basketball Bounces Back, Rolls Past Northern Arizona, 89-57

Men’s Basketball Bounces Back, Rolls Past Northern Arizona, 89-57

AUDIO: Halftime Interview with Gainey

SANTA CLARA, Calif.KJ Feagin scored a game-high 16 points, all in the first half, and Henry Caruso added 13 to lead a balanced offensive attack for Santa Clara men's basketball, which bounced back from a tough trip to Alaska by building an early lead and cruising past Northern Arizona, 89-57, on Thursday.

Emmanuel Ndumanya had a career-best 10 points and hauled in six rebounds, and Josip Vrankic scored 13 for the Broncos (2-5) who snapped a five-game skid by hitting 54 percent from the floor, including the second-most 3-pointers in school history.

Corey Brown scored 14 points and JoJo Anderson added 13 for the Lumberjacks (0-7) who shot 39 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 20 times, which led to 31 Santa Clara points.

The Broncos led by 24 midway through the first half and the Lumberjacks, who have eight newcomers on the roster, were never closer than 22 in the final 20 minutes.

Caruso (five), Matt Turner (four) and Matt Hauser (three) combined for 12 assists and no turnovers.

The Broncos, who dropped all three games at last week's GCI Great Alaska Shootout, had 22 assists on 32 field goals and connected on a season-best 17 3-pointers (on 35 attempts). In the school record book, that total trails only the 22 tallied in a 106-55 victory over Pepperdine on Feb. 16, 2017.

"We shot the ball well and for the most part defended with a purpose," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "It was a good win."

Santa Clara's hot start on offense was fueled by an attacking defense that forced 13 first-half turnovers, leading to 25 of their 46 points in the opening 20 minutes.

The Broncos hit 12 of their first 17 shots from the floor with Feagin providing the initial thrust on offense. He had 11 points as the Broncos built a 31-7 lead midway through the opening half. Ndumanya scored six points in the first six minutes of the game.

The Lumberjacks crept back within 15 twice, but the Broncos scored the final eight to build a 24-point halftime lead.

A inside bucket by Ndumanya with 15:58 left gave the Broncos a 52-27 lead. The Lumberjacks went without a field goal for nearly six minutes as the advantage grew to 32 and eventually 37 late in the game.

Feagin went 4-for-5 from behind the 3-point line, one of six players to connect at least twice from long range.

Vrankic had five rebounds and a career-best four steals.

Matt Hauser, KJ Feagin, Emmanuel Ndumanya, Henry Caruso and Josip Vrankic started for the fourth-straight contest.
• Santa Clara now holds a 3-1 lead in the series. The first three meetings occurred in a tournament. The Broncos defeated Northern Arizona, 72-61, in the 1985 Cable Car Classic and 67-64 in the 2016 Cable Car Classic, which was the coaching debut of Herb Sendek. The Lumberjacks knocked off Santa Clara, 88-72, in the 2009 West Coast Classic.
Emmanuel Ndumanya scored a career-high 10 points. He scored nine points three times in his career, the last against Cal Poly on Nov. 18.
• The Broncos surrendered the fewest points of the season (57) and Northern Arizona posted the lowest field-goal percentage (39.1) of an opponent.
• Santa Clara recorded a season-best nine steals.

The Broncos have a quick turnaround as Arkansas-Pine Bluff will in town Saturday to continue the three-game homestand. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

"Our guys got off to a great start and I thought we were really efficient on offense. We shot the ball really well, making 17-for-35 threes. Emmanuel really did a nice job in the post.

"We just do what we do. Since we started here together, whether we win or lose, our guys have been really good about trying to improve the next day. We did have a good practice yesterday and it carried over to today.

"It's really important for freshmen to get game minutes. (Shaquille Walters, Josip Vrankic and Matt Turner) guy need to be thirsty for every opportunity to improve every day. Those guys got good experience as they continue to come along. We need those guys to get better to improve our team."

Head coach Herb Sendek

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