SANTA CLARA, Calif. - KJ Feagin delivered one of the best performances of his career to help Santa Clara men's basketball overcome a double-digit second-half deficit and claim a much-needed West Coast Conference victory.
Feagin posted a career-high 32 points on 14 of 21 shooting from the floor and Broncos (9-17, 6-8) shot 58 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes on Saturday.
Henry Caruso scored 12, including the 1,000th point of his career, and grabbed nine rebounds, and Josip Vrankic added 10 points and a career-best four blocks for Santa Clara, which snapped a three-game losing streak.
Cameron Neubauer posted a season-high 18 points, but only two after halftime, and Isaiah Wright added 16 for the Toreros (16-10, 7-7) who were held to 38 percent shooting from the floor in the second half in a game that had five lead changes and two ties in the final 4 minutes.
After Isaiah Piniero's layup gave San Diego a 60-59 lead with 2:16 remaining, Feagin fed Vrankic for a 3-pointer on the left wing and the Broncos held on.
"That was a huge shot," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "It was great to see him go up with confidence and knock that down."
The Toreros made only two of their final six field-goals attempts following Pineiro's bucket and the Broncos were able to connect on all six free throws in the final 25 seconds.
Santa Clara erased an 11-point second-half deficit when a 14-2 run gave them a 41-40 lead.
Feagin had 24 of the team's first 39 points and then he finally got some help.
Caruso, Vrankic and Kai Healy combined for the next 16, helping the Broncos build a 55-46 lead with 7 minutes left.
Caruso scored 10 in the second half, Vrankic had nine and Healy had all eight of his points in the final 13 minutes.
San Diego erased Santa Clara's nine-point lead with a 10-0 run, capped by five points from Wright in a 30-second span.
Neither team led by more than one point between Wright's layup with 3:58 left and Vrankic's 3-pointer.
Wright and Pineiro had seven rebounds apiece. Wright also had a team-best five assists.
It was a sloppy defensive game through the first 10 minutes as the teams combined for 10 turnovers and less than 40 percent shooting from the floor.
But the Toreros warmed up behind the inside-outside play of Neubauer who tallied 16 points on 5 of 7 from the field including 3-for-5 from beyond the 3-point line.
San Diego hit 8 of 10 field-goals midway through the half to build a 29-19 lead with Neubauer scoring nine straight points in 1-minute, 30-second span.
After turning the ball over seven times in the opening half, Santa Clara had just three in the last 20 minutes.
Feagin scored 16 points in both halves.
The Broncos shot 53 percent from the floor in the game, their second-best effort in WCC action (55 percent vs. Pepperdine, Jan. 27).
HIGHLIGHTS | KJ Feagin and Josip Vrankic were straight �� �� �� late in today's @WCCSports victory over San Diego! FULL HIGHLIGHTS ▶️ https://t.co/4WfogHYJt2 #StampedeAhead #SCUBroncos #WCCHoops pic.twitter.com/pUsI0iWIGi— Santa Clara Hoops (@SantaClaraHoops) February 11, 2018
• KJ Feagin, Kai Healy, Henry Caruso, Josip Vrankic and Emmanuel Ndumanya started as a group for the fifth time this season. Healy made his sixth-straight start. Matt Hauser (foot) missed his fifth-straight game. He was injured in the first meeting with San Diego (Jan. 25). Shaquille Walters (family matter) was not available for the fourth-consecutive contest. Matt Turner (ankle) has missed the last two games.
• In a series that began in 1953, Santa Clara leads, 47-37. San Diego won the first matchup this season. Santa Clara has won eight of the last 12 meetings, including three of the last four in Leavey Center. In 2015-16, the Broncos won both meetings, but the teams split a pair of matchups in each of the previous two seasons. The teams have not met in the WCC Tournament since 2010.
• Santa Clara coaches wore pins in the game to recognize 'Autism Speaks Coaches Powering Forward,' an NABC initiative.
• Santa Clara was 16-for-19 from the free-throw line, including 11 of 11 in the second half.
• The Broncos posted a season-best seven blocked shots. They have 37 of their 63 blocks this season in the last eight games.
• In addition to his career-high point total, Feagin's 14 made field goals were a career-best (11 vs. Milwaukee, Nov. 15, 2015).
• Feagin (1,092) moved from 31st to 27th on the Santa Clara career scoring list. He passed Dan Weiss (1,070/1984-88), Brody Angley (1,074/2004-08) and Raymond Cowels III (1,090/2009-13).
• Caruso reached 1,000 career points in the game. He entered needing nine and hit the mark on a jumper with 7:05 left in the game. He now has 1,003 career points, including 690 in three-plus years at Princeton.
The Broncos play a pair of games on the road next week. They face Portland on Thursday and Pacific on Saturday.
"I thought our guys did a really good job of locking in during timeouts and carrying forward and executing some things that we were asking them to do. KJ obviously put us on his back and he really carried us here this afternoon, what a tremendous individual effort.
"We really played with a great sense of purpose. They kept their poise and composure when we were down early, and also kept their poise and composure when San Diego came back."
Head coach Herb Sendek