Men’s Basketball Claims Gritty Double Overtime Win Over USC

Men’s Basketball Claims Gritty Double Overtime Win Over USC

AUDIO: Garson Halftime Interview from KDOW-AM 1220 | HIGHLIGHTS: Men's Basketball Defeats USC

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Freshman Trey Wertz took over the game by scoring 17 of the team's final 19 points to help Santa Clara men's basketball outlast Southern California, 102-92, in double overtime on Tuesday.

Wertz, who finished with a game-high 28 points, scored 11 of the 13 Bronco points in the second overtime. The 6-foot-5 guard gave the Broncos (6-6) the lead for good at 89-87 with a layup to open the second extra session. After a made free throw by USC's Elijah Weaver cut the lead to one, Wertz followed with a 3-pointer to extend the Bronco lead to 94-90 with 2:23 on the clock and then iced the game making all six free throws down the stretch.

"The guys kept battling and persevered so tremendously with toughness and grit," head coach Herb Sendek said. "It truly was remarkable, the atmosphere here at Santa Clara."

After rallying from a 19-point deficit, the Trojans (5-6) missed their final six shots of the game from the field in their first visit to Leavey Center since 1983.

In the first overtime, USC took an 89-87 lead on Shaqquan Aaron's free throws with 11.9 seconds to go but Wertz drove down the court for the game-tying layup with 6.7 seconds left. The Charlotte, North Carolina, native scored six of the nine points in first extra session.

"Trey was tremendous down the home stretch," Sendek said. "We were asking him to do so much, almost without even a substitute. And what can you say. He made clutch play after clutch play down the home stretch for us."

Trailing 75-62 with 5:46 left in regulation, USC went on a 18-4 run and finally forged ahead on Jonah Mathews layup with 24 seconds left. With two seconds on the clock, Josip Vrankic was fouled and made one of two free throws to send the game to overtime tied at 80-all. Vrankic finished 8 of 10 from the line.

Santa Clara, playing with only seven healthy scholarship players, shot a season-high 53.1 percent from the floor with five scoring in double figures, including three with 20 points or more. Vrankic scored a career-high 22 and Tahj Eaddy had 21. Guglielmo Caruso finished with a career-high 12 points and Keshawn Justice chipped in 11.

Jordan Usher came off the bench to post 22 points and Jonah Matthews added 20 for the Trojans who dropped their fourth straight contest. Aaron had 17 points.

The Broncos out-rebounded the Trojans 48 to 40 including another double-digit rebounding effort by Josh Martin who pulled in a season-high 18 boards.

USC's Bennie Boatwright had 14 points and nine rebounds, but fouled out with less than 1 minute remaining in the first overtime. Leading scorer Nick Radocevic was disqualified with 6:57 left in regulation. He registered eight points and four rebounds in only 20 minutes.

Leading 15-12 midway through the first half, the Broncos went on a 10-0 run including five by Eaddy. The Broncos extended its lead to 38-19 before USC closed the gap to 42-31 at the half.

Eaddy led the way with 16 points and five assists on 6 of 8 shooting from the floor at the intermission.

USC was held to 39 percent shooting from the floor, including just 5 of 28 from behind the arc, in the game, but had 18 more shot attempts than the Broncos.

Wertz was 10-for-17 from the field, but did have eight turnovers though only one in the two overtime sessions.

Eaddy fouled out with 12 seconds left in the first overtime and the Broncos played the rest of the game with their only five remaining scholarship players. Caruso fouled out late in regulation.

• The Trojans lead the all-time series 23-9 as the teams met for the second straight year though only third time since 1983-84. The programs met nearly annually from the 1950s into the 60s and then played a pair of home and away series (1971-72/1973-74; 1982-83/1983-84). Santa Clara has won the last four played at home dating back to 1966.
• USC was the first Pac-12 school to play at Santa Clara since Washington State visited on Dec. 13, 2014. The Broncos knocked off the Cougars, 76-67.
• Santa Clara played its first double overtime game since falling to San Diego, 60-58, on Feb. 18, 2016. That game was also at Leavey Center.
• The Broncos had a season-low seven scholarship players available due to injury. Fallou Ndoye (foot) and KJ Feagin (broken hand) are out indefinitely. Juan Ducasse (knee) is out for the year. Ezekiel Richards (ankle) sat out tonight's game.
Josh Martin (47), Tahj Eaddy (45) and Trey Wertz (42) all played a career-high number of minutes. Josip Vrankic matched his career-high (40).
• Eaddy equaled his season-high with eight assists.

The Broncos play their final nonconference home game on Friday when Idaho visits Leavey Center.

"He is remarkable. There was a play toward the end of the first half where USC was shooting a free throw. The shot missed to the right, it was clearly Willie's rebound. Josh kept running, across the wing, pursuing the basketball, and snatched it all the way from where he was.

"All our guys go after the basketball, but for him it's a unique gift and trait."
- Herb Sendek on Josh Martin

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