Defensive-Minded San Diego Outlasts Men's Basketball, 66-58

Defensive-Minded San Diego Outlasts Men's Basketball, 66-58

SAN DIEGO - In a matchup of teams tied in the West Coast Conference standings, San Diego used its trademark solid defense and timely scoring to down Santa Clara men's basketball.

Isaiah Wright tallied a game-high 21 points, including 15 in the second half, and Juwan Gray scored 14 for the Toreros who never trailed in knocking off the Broncos, 66-58, on Thursday.

Emmanuel Ndumanya posted a career-high 15 points, including 12 in the second half, for Santa Clara, which shot just 37 percent from the floor, including 3 of 13 from behind the 3-point line.

The Toreros (14-7, 5-4) entered the game having dropped four of their last five and Santa Clara (7-14, 4-5) had won four of its last five at Jenny Craig Pavilion.

San Diego twice led by nine early in the second half before the Broncos trimmed the lead to 39-37 on a 3-point play from Henry Caruso, but Wright scored the next five points, capped by his 3-pointer with 9:23 left.

The Broncos, who played without starting guards Matt Hauser for the final 30 minutes (foot injury) and KJ Feagin (fouled out) for the last 5 minutes, were never able to get closer than five points the remainder of the game.

Jarvis Pugh's 3-pointer with 1:04 left cut the deficit to 62-56, but that was the only field goal in five attempts for the Broncos in the last 2 minutes.

Isaiah Pineiro posted 11 points (4-for-4 from the floor) and seven rebounds, and Olin Carter III scored 10 for the Toreros who blocked seven shots and went 23-for-29 from the free-throw line, including 12 of 14 in the final 5 minutes.

Josip Vrankic posted a double-double with 13 points and a game-high 10 rebounds for the Broncos who forced 14 San Diego turnovers.

Feagin, the team's leading scorer, was held to nine points, but had four assists and none of the team's 10 turnovers.

San Diego entered the matchup ranked second in the NCAA in opponent 3-point field-goal percentage (26.9) and 14th in defensive field-goal percentage (39.0).

San Diego's defense was the story of the first half, forcing the Broncos to use the entire shot clock on a number of possessions.

A 3-pointer by Feagin, his only basket of the half, tied the game at 18-all with 5 minutes left, but the Toreros scored the next seven with Piniero capping it on a 3-point play.

Kai Healy, who was inserted in the starting lineup for Ndumanya against the smaller Toreros, scored seven of his eight points in the first half.

Vrankic, Caruso and Healy played the entire game.

San Diego led game for all but 15 seconds.

Matt Hauser, KJ Feagin, Henry Caruso, Josip Vrankic and Kai Healy started as a group for the first time this season. Healy made his first start of the season.
• In a series that began in 1953, Santa Clara leads, 46-37. The Broncoshave won seven of the last 11 meetings, including four of the most recent six in San Diego.
• This is Coaches vs. Cancer Suits And Sneakers Week. The Santa Clara coaching staff wore tennis shoes and suits during the game and will do the same in Saturday's game.
• Vrankic recorded his second-career double-double. He posted 12 points and a career-best 14 rebounds against Portland State (Dec. 9).
• San Diego's seven blocks were tied for the second-most by an opponent this season. USC had 10 on Dec. 14.
• The 29 free-throw attempts from the Toreros were the second-most by a foe this season. San Jose State had 34 on Dec. 21.


The Broncos remain in Southern California to face Pepperdine on Saturday. Tipoff is set for 3 p.m. from Firestone Fieldhouse.

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