Men’s Basketball Drops Opener at the Vancouver Showcase

Men’s Basketball Drops Opener at the Vancouver Showcase

AUDIO: Eaddy Halftime Interview on KTRB-AM 860

VANCOUVER, B.C. - Despite playing without is top scorer, Santa Clara men's basketball put forth its best effort of the season, but it was not enough in the opening game of the Vancouver Showcase as Washington pulled away for an 82-68 win on Sunday.

The Broncos had no answer for Jaylen Nowell who matched his career high with 32 points on 11 of 15 shooting. Dominic Green came off the bench to register 13 points, including a pair of late 3-pointers that helped seal it for the Huskies (3-1).

Josip Vrankic posted a career-high 21 points and Keshawn Justice scored 15 off the bench for the Broncos who were only 4-for-19 from behind the 3-point line and struggled from the free-throw line.

The Broncos, playing without senior guard KJ Feagin who is out indefinitely with a broken bone in his hand, hit a 56-percent clip from the free-throw line in the opening two games and that trend continued as they connected on only 12 of 21.

With three and sometimes four freshmen on the floor at the same time in the second half, Santa Clara still managed to pull within 66-56 on a layup from Vrankic after trailing by as many as 19.

But Green nailed a pair of 3-pointers while Santa Clara missed three straight from the field and never got within 14 in the final 3 minutes.

"I think offensively our guys tried to execute the game plan and thought they did a good job of moving the ball and playing unselfishly," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendel said. "We left far too many points at the free-throw line and didn't make enough shots. More than that I think we needed to play better than we did defensively."

The Huskies shot 48 percent from the floor in the game and connected on 26 of 34 free throws.

Nowell was 11-for-15 from the floor, including 4 of 6 from behind the 3-point line.

"We put them to foul line way too many times and obviously Nowell was the x-factor, he was tremendous tonight," Sendek said.

Santa Clara will have to make do without a two-time All-West Coast Conference player in Feagin who suffered his injury in Thursday's 61-49 loss to UC Irvine. Trey Wertz started in his place and posted six points and five assists.

Tahj Eaddy had a season-high 14 points on 5 of 11 from the floor.

Eight of the nine Santa Clara players who saw action suited up for the team for the first time this season. Only Vrankic played a year ago.

• Santa Clara and Washington met for the seventh time, but first since 2002. The Huskies have 6-1 series lead, including a victory in the only other neutral site meeting, a 74-62 triumph in the 1953 NCAA Tournament. The win sent the Huskies to the Final Four.
Tahj Eaddy and Keshawn Justice have scored in double figures in all three games.

• The Broncos face Minnesota on Tuesday (6 p.m.) in their final game in the tournament, which is being held at Vancouver Convention Centre.

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