Nationally-Ranked Gonzaga Pulls Away in Second Half, Downs Men's Basketball, 75-60

Nationally-Ranked Gonzaga Pulls Away in Second Half, Downs Men's Basketball, 75-60

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Nationally-ranked Gonzaga used balanced scoring and a second-half surge to pull away from Santa Clara men's basketball in Saturday's West Coast Conference matchup.

Josh Perkins scored 17 and Zach Norvell Jr. and Rui Hachimura added 16 points apiece for the No. 13/13-ranked Bulldogs who shot 60 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes to post a 75-60 win against the Broncos before a near record crowd at Leavey Center.

KJ Feagin posted a game-high 21 points and Henry Caruso added 11 for the Broncos (7-13, 4-4) who were hoping to build off Thursday's road win against San Francisco, but went cold in the second half.

Killian Tillie scored 12 and Johnathan Williams chipped in nine points and eight rebounds for the Bulldogs (17-4, 7-1) who out-scored Santa Clara 25-8 in the paint in the second half.

A layup by Feagin and 3-pointer from Henrik Jadersten pulled the Broncos within 54-46 with 12 minutes left, but Gonzaga reeled off the next 12 points with 10 coming in the paint. Hachimura sandwiched a pair of layups around a Tillie dunk and layup by Norvell Jr.

Santa Clara missed all five shots and both free throw attempts in that 4-minute stretch.

The game was played before a crowd of 5,011, which is the largest in the history of the facility. There were 5,092 fans in attendance vs. Gonzaga on March 1, 1999, when it was named Toso Pavilion.

After shooting 1-for-9 from the floor in Thursday's home loss to Saint Mary's, Perkins was near perfect, going 6 of 7 from the field, including 3-for-4 from behind the 3-point line. He also had four assists and four rebounds.

"They have so many weapons and they score inside and out and even when they miss the get on the boards," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "They're an outstanding team. They don't have any weak links on the floor. There's nobody that you can cheat off of to help on another guy easily, they're a top 10 team in the country for a reason."

Spurred on by a raucous crowd, the Broncos had a much better start than the first meeting between the teams this season when they fell behind 15-0 in Spokane en route to a 101-52 loss.

Hachimura's tipin increased the Bulldogs lead to 17-11, but the Broncos tied it at 19-all with back-to-back baskets from Feagin and Josip Vrankic who posted nine points, five rebounds and a career-high three blocked shots.

When Hachimura got free for a pair of dunks Gonzaga's lead grew to 25-19.

A layup by Vrankic and a putback on a fast break by Caruso pulled the Broncos within 31-27.

But after a Gonzaga timeout, Perkins nailed a 3-pointer to help the Bulldogs head into the locker room with a 36-29 lead.

After shooting 43 percent from the floor in the opening half, Santa Clara only connected on 38 percent in the final 20 minutes, not enough to keep place the deep Bulldogs.

Matt Hauser, KJ Feagin, Henry Caruso, Josip Vrankic and Emmanuel Ndumanya started for the 14th time this season, including eighth-straight contest.
• In a series which began in 1946, Gonzaga leads, 61-30. The Bulldogs have won the last 17 meetings. Santa Clara's last victory occurred on Jan. 20, 2011, when the Broncos downed the Bulldogs, 85-71, in Leavey Center.
• Vrankic's career-high three blocks all occurred in the first 8 minutes of the game.
• After posting a season-worst 21 turnovers in the opening meeting, Santa Clara only turned the ball over seven times on Saturday, its seventh game of the season with less than 10.
Shaquille Walters and Matt Turner missed their second-straight game due to illness.

The Broncos heads to Southern California for their next two games. They face San Diego on Thursday and Pepperdine on Saturday.

"I thought our guys really competed, I thought our guys really played hard. And for most of the game we played well. There were certainly some things as always that we could do better, that would've given us more of a competitive chance. But all in all, I'm very pleased with the effort and the overall play of the team. I think this week we took a step forward, and hopefully we can do the same thing moving forward next week."

Head coach Herb Sendek

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