Men’s Basketball Wins Fifth Straight, Downs Washington State on the Road

Men’s Basketball Wins Fifth Straight, Downs Washington State on the Road

AUDIO: Sendek Postgame Interview on KTRB-AM 860

SPOKANE, Wash. – A balanced offensive attack and solid defense helped Santa Clara men's basketball earn its second win over a Pac-12 Conference opponent this season.

Tahj Eaddy and Josip Vrankic each posted 16 points to lead five players in double figures for the Broncos, who held off Washington State, 79-71, on Saturday at Spokane Arena.

CJ Elleby and Marvin Cannon each scored 19 for the Cougars (7-6) who played without Robert Franks, the leading scorer in the Pac-12 Conference, and were held to 44 percent shooting from the field.

Guglielmo Caruso posted a career-high 14 points, Keshawn Justice added 12 and Trey Wertz scored 10 to go with a game-high seven assists for Santa Clara (8-6) which claimed its fifth-straight win by shooting a season-best 59 percent from the floor, including 9 of 20 from behind the 3-point line.

The Cougars trimmed a 12-point second-half lead to 59-56 with under 12 minutes left on a bucket from Elleby, but the Broncos went on an 11-4 run keyed by two inside baskets from Vrankic and five points from Josh Martin.

Washington State, which lost its third-straight outing, cut the deficit to six on three occasions in the final 5 minutes, but Santa Clara answered each time.

Ahmed Ali, who had 11 points, scored to make it 75-69, but Eaddy hit a fadeaway jumper in the lane with 1:36 left.

The Broncos, who downed two Pac-12 Conference opponents in the same season for the first time in 21 years, hit six of their final eight from the field and shot 63 percent in the final 20 minutes.

Last week Santa Clara defeated USC, 102-92, in double overtime.

"I'm really proud of the guys' effort coming off the holidays," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "They executed offensively for the most part throughout the game. In the second half, I think they took it to another level against both the zone and the man.

The Cougars, who lost for the first time at home this season in eight games. They hit only 2 of 11 from beyond the 3-point line after halftime and connected on only one of their final eight from the floor in the game.

Eaddy's 3-pointer gave the Broncos a 22-17 lead 6 minutes into the game, but the Cougars scored the next eight points.

Justice nailed a 3-pointer with 12:06 left in the first half, giving the Broncos a 31-30 lead, one they never relinquished.

• The Cougars own a 5-2 record in the series and lost for the first time at home in four games. The teams met for the fifth time in the last nine years.
• Robert Franks, the leading scorer for Washington State (22.1 ppg), did not play due to a hip injury.
• The last time the Broncos beat a pair of Pac-12 schools in the same season was 1997-98 (then the Pac-10). They won at Oregon, 67-58, on Nov. 29, and defeated Oregon State, 68-55, on Dec. 6.
• Santa Clara snapped a streak of 11 straight road/neutral site losses to Pac-12/Pac-10 schools. The last victory occurred at Stanford (62-46) on Dec. 16, 2006.
• The Broncos were without assistant coaches Scott Garson and Ryan Madry who each became new parents this week. Mardy and his wife, Katherine, had their second child, a boy - Caden Charles – on Christmas night. Garson and his wife, Amy, also welcomed their second child, a girl - Maya Luna – on Thursday.
Guglielmo Caruso has been the hottest shooter for the Broncos of late. He set his new career-high of 14 points by connecting 6 of 8 from the floor. Over the last five games, Caruso has shot 20 of 26 (76.9 percent) from the floor. He also had three blocks and has 12 of his 15 on the season in the last six games.
Josh Martin had five assists, to go along with seven points and six rebounds. Martin has posted 15 assists and only three turnovers in the last four games.

The Broncos open West Coast Conference play on Thursday when San Diego visits Leavey Center. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m.

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