Strong Second Half Sends Men’s Basketball Past Northern Arizona, 81-74

Strong Second Half Sends Men’s Basketball Past Northern Arizona, 81-74

AUDIO: Vrankic Halftime Interview on Livestream | VIDEO: Eaddy, Martin Discuss Win over Northern Arizona

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Josh Martin and Josip Vrankic each had double-doubles, and Tahj Eaddy posted a game-high 22 points to lead a balanced scoring attack for Santa Clara men's basketball, which came from behind to defeat Northern Arizona, 81-74, on Saturday.

Vrankic had 17 points and a career-high tying 14 rebounds, and Martin scored 12 and hauled in 13 boards for the Broncos (3-5) who rallied in the second half, outscoring the Lumberjacks, 49-33, on 54-percent shooting and dominating the boards (22-11).

"Those guys [Josh and Josip] really played outstanding basketball between them," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "Twenty-seven combined rebounds certainly stands out. It was great."

Carlos Hines posted 19 points and Ted McCree added 15 for Northern Arizona (2-4), which shot 47 percent from the field, but only went 6 of 22 from behind the 3-point line.

Trailing 41-32 at the half, the Broncos slowly chipped away at the Lumberjacks lead, getting to within one point on Henrik Jadersten's 3-pointer. However, Northern Arizona pushed its lead out to 62-55 on Davon Bolton's jumper with 9:21 remaining. The Broncos then went on a 10-0 run on a pair of baskets by Trey Wertz sandwiched by Vrankic and Martin 3-pointers.

Northern Arizona tied the game at 65-all on a Hines' 3-pointer, his first bucket since the opening half, but a pair of Vrankic free throws put the Broncos up for good, 67-65. Santa Clara closed the game scoring its last eight points from the free-throw line and went 18 of 22 from the charity stripe, including 14-for-16 in the second half.

Coming off a career-high 33 points in Thursday's win over Jackson State, Wertz tallied 17 points and had five of the team's 19 assists.

Eaddy (5 of 7) and Martin (3 of 4) shot a combined 8-for-11 from behind the arc to keep the Broncos in the game as it trailed by as many as 10 points in the opening half when the Lumberjacks connected on 52 percent from the floor.

The final 20 minutes was a different story on the defensive end for the Broncos who held NAU to 41 percent from the field, including 2 of 8 from behind the 3-point line.

"We spent the majority of halftime talking about our defense," Sendek said. "We tweaked our game plan a little bit to try and increase our aggressiveness and then refocused our team on what was available to us on the offensive end."

Hines carried the Lumberjacks for the first 9 minutes of the game scoring 16 of the team's 18.

His layup snapped a 16-all tie and the lead grew to 32-24 on a jumper from McCree.

The Broncos scored five in a row, but McCree's 3-point play increased the lead to 39-29 with 3 minutes left in the half.

Josip Vrankic (17 points/14 rebounds) and Josh Martin (12 points/13 rebounds) became just the second Santa Clara duo to post double-doubles in the same game in the last nine years. Matt Hauser (18 points/10 assists) and Kai Healy (10 points/10 rebounds) performed the feat against UC Riverside on Dec. 13, 2016, and Marc Trasolini (16 points/10 rebounds) and Troy Payne (12 points/10 rebounds) did it on Feb. 11, 2010 vs. Loyola Marymount.

• The Broncos hold a 5-1 series lead over the Lumberjacks, who play in the Big Sky Conference. The teams met for the third-straight season.
• For the third-straight game, the Broncos had only eight scholarship players available due to injury. Fallou Ndoye is the latest addition to the list. He suffered a torn tendon in his foot against San Jose State (Nov. 24) and is not expected to return until later in the season. Juan Ducasse (knee) is out for the year and KJ Feagin (broken hand) is out indefinitely.
• Along with his 10th-career double-double, including second this season, Josh Martin dished out a career-high seven assists.  .
• The Broncos had 19 assists on 26 made field goals.
• Martin has hauled down 41 rebounds in the last three games and is averaging a team-high nine rebounds a game this season.

With finals taking place next week, the Broncos are off until Friday when Idaho State visits Leavey Center as Santa Clara continues its season-long seven-game homestand. Game time is 7 p.m. Two days later, Sonoma State and Santa Clara will meet at 2 p.m. .

Connect with the Broncos on Social Media
• Athletics: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | YouTube | Snapchat
• Men's Basketball: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Snapchat