Second-Half Rally Falls Short, Cal Defeats Men’s Basketball

Second-Half Rally Falls Short, Cal Defeats Men’s Basketball

BERKELEY, Calif. – A poor opening half was too much to overcome for Santa Clara men's basketball in its first meeting with California in 12 years.

Matt Bradley posted 16 points and Juhwan Harris-Dyson came off the bench to score 14 with four steals for the Bears who held off a second-half rally to down the Broncos, 78-66.

Trey Wertz tallied all of his career-high 16 points in the second half and Tahj Eaddy scored 13 for the Broncos (1-5) who had a season-worst 22 turnovers, leading to 34 Cal points.

The Bears (2-3), who had five players in double figures, made their final seven field-goal attempts.

After trailing by 16 in the opening half, the Broncos pulled within one point with 7 minutes left and then 61-58 on an Eaddy 3-pointer, but the Bears reeled off the next 11.

Bradley started the flurry with a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws from Austin made it a 14-point cushion with 1:33 left.

Andre Kelly and Paris Austin scored 13 apiece, and Justice Sueing posted 11 points for the Bears.

Josip Vrankic had 12 points for Santa Clara, which shot 46 percent from the floor in the game, including 56 in the second half.

"We did a better job of doing what we do," head coach Herb Sendek said of the team's play in the second half.

But California was even more proficient in the final 20 minutes, nailing 16 of 26 attempts (62 percent) from the field. The Bears shot 54 percent in the game with Harris-Dyson making all but one of eight attempts from the floor. Kelly and Bradley were each 5 of 7 from the field.

The Bears raced out to an early lead, posting the first 14 points of the game. The Broncos missed their first six attempts from the floor and turned the ball over seven times in the opening 8 minutes.

Sueing's dunk made it 21-5 with 9:08 left in the first half.

Eaddy's jumper trimmed the deficit to 27-17, but the Bears scored four of the final six points of the half, one in which Santa Clara turned the ball over 14 times. Cal scored 19 points off those miscues.

"We didn't play very well in the first half," Sendek said. "I thought Cal did a good job of taking us out of what we wanted to do. Perhaps no stat was more significant than the 22 turnovers."

Wertz went 6-for-10 from the floor, but the Cal defense forced him into eight turnovers.

Eaddy had four assists, but was just 4-for-14 from the field.

• The Bears lead the all-time series 45-28, but the teams met for the first time since 2006.
• The Broncos didn't score their first basket until there was 12:14 left in the opening half. Josip Vrankic had a left-handed bucket in the lane.
• Santa Clara won the rebounding battle (33-24) for the second time this year (also vs. Prairie View A&M, Nov. 9). Josh Martin had a season-high 14 rebounds.
Fallou Ndoye injured his foot in Saturday's San Jose State game and he did not play. Henrik Jadersten started in his place. It marked Jadersten's ninth-career start and first since Dec. 3, 2016 against San Jose State.
• One bright spot for the Broncos was their free-throw shooting. They entered the game hitting 56 percent on the season and connected on 17 of 23 (74 percent), including 13-for-16 (81 percent) in the final 20 minutes.

• The Broncos begin a seven-game homestand on Thursday against Jackson State. Tipoff is 7 p.m. in Leavey Center. Santa Clara faces Northern Arizona on Saturday with a start time of 4 p.m.

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