Men’s Basketball Sinks Pepperdine On Last Second Free Throws

Men’s Basketball Sinks Pepperdine On Last Second Free Throws

VIDEO: Highlights vs. Pepperdine | VIDEO: Eaddy, Vrankic Break Down Pepperdine Win

AUDIO: Sendek Postgame Interview on KDOW-AM 1220

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Tahj Eaddy posted a game-high 28 points, including sinking the game-winning free throws with 1.9 seconds left, to give Santa Clara men's basketball a 67-64 win over Pepperdine in a West Coast Conference game on Thursday night to pick up its seventh win in the last eight games. 
Eaddy, who had 24 points in the second half, was fouled attempting a 3-pointer after Pepperdine (8-9, 1-2) tied up the game at 64-all with eight seconds remaining on a Colbey Ross layup. Ross, who was fouled on the play, missed the free throw setting the stage for Eaddy's heroics. The sophomore received the inbounds pass, dribbled to the 3-point line before getting fouled by Kessler Edwards. 
Eaddy, who had made 39 of his last 44 free throws, calmly sank all three. Ross had a desperation heave from behind halfcourt at the buzzer that hit the rim.
"Tahj was nothing short of sensational in the second half," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek. "What can you say? He just got it going. Josip (Vrankic) tag-teamed with him and those two guys kind of got us over the hump tonight."
Josip Vrankic recorded a double-double with a career-high tying 22 points on 9 of 11 shooting from the floor and 11 rebounds for the Broncos (10-7, 2-1) who shot 51 percent from the floor to claim their sixth-straight home win. Eaddy and Vrankic combined to shoot 19 of 26, including 6 of 8 from behind the 3-point line.

Eaddy and Vrankic (10) combined for 34 of the team's 38 second-half points. Vrankic also had eight rebounds in the final 20 minutes. Eaddy scored the last nine points of the game for the Broncos who overcame 16 turnovers.
Kessler Edwards and Ross each had 13 points and recorded double-doubles for Pepperdine, which connected on 11 of 23 from behind the 3-point line, but were just 3-for-11 in the second half. Ross dished out 10 assists and Edwards pulled down 11 rebounds.
"We adjusted how we were defending in ball switches and that probably was as significant as anything in helping with the 3-point shooting," Sendek said. "And the truth always lies someone in the middle where they made a couple in the first half that they missed in the second half."
Trailing by eight at the half, Santa Clara slowly chipped away behind Eaddy's hot shooting. He hit 8 of 10 from the floor in the second half. Eaddy's back-to-back 3-pointers put Santa Clara up 48-47 at the 11:56 mark to give the Broncos a lead it retained until Ross tied up in the final seconds. 
The Waves raced to its first-half lead on lights out shooting when they made 8 of 12 3-pointers but were stymied in the second half.  For the game, Pepperdine shot 40 percent from the floor. 

Darnell Dunn, Kameron Edwards and Eric Cooper Jr. each had eight points for the Waves.

Outside of Eaddy and Vrankic, the remaining six Broncos who entered the game combined for only 17 points. Keshawn Justice led the way by scoring six. .

• The Broncos hold a 78-60 lead, including wins in five of the last six, in a series that began in 1956. Santa Clara has won the last five against the Waves at home.
• Eaddy has scored in double figures in 10 straight games.
• Vrankic posted his fourth career double-double, including second of the season. He had 17 points and 14 rebounds against Northern Arizona (Dec. 1).
• The Waves connected on 47.8 percent (11 of 23) of their 3-point field goal attempts, the best accuracy for a Santa Clara opponent this season. The Broncos had held their last seven foes to 33.3 percent or lower. Pepperdine entered the matchup averaging a WCC-best 8.9 made 3-pointers per game.

The Broncos travel to BYU on Saturday. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. Pacific.

"I don't care what conference you're in, once you're in conference play, every game is a great game. It's competitive, and the parity in college basketball is remarkable, with a few outliers in the given year.
- Herb Sendek

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