Gritty Road Effort by Men’s Basketball Comes Up Short Against BYU

Gritty Road Effort by Men’s Basketball Comes Up Short Against BYU

AUDIO: Caruso Halftime Interview on KDOW-AM 1220

PROVO, Utah - Santa Clara put together a gritty road effort but it was not enough to knock off BYU.

Yoeli Childs scored a game-high 27 and TJ Haws recorded 16 points, including a clutch 3-pointer in the final 2 minutes, and eight assists to help the Cougars (11-8, 3-1) outlast the Broncos, 80-74, on Saturday in a West Coast Conference matchup.

Trey Wertz tallied 20 points, Keshawn Justice scored a career-high 17, all in the second half, and Josip Vrankic added 16 for the Broncos (10-8, 2-2) who went 11-for-24 from behind the 3-point line, but were out-rebounded 34-26.

Justice's driving layup cut a 12-point second-half deficit to 74-70. On the ensuing possession, Haws missed a layup attempt and Henrik Jadersten rebounded the ball and was fouled with 1:47 on the clock, but made only one of two from the free-throw line.

But Haws came up with the biggest shot of the game, nailing a 3-pointer from the right wing on the next possession to grow the lead to 77-71. The Broncos missed their next three shots from the floor and the Cougars hit three free throws in the final 25 seconds.

"I was definitely proud of our guys effort and I think we continue to show signs of improvement," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said.

BYU has won 17 of the last 18 matchups, but Santa Clara lost by 21 or more in its last four trips to Provo. This time the Broncos were within single digits for the final 11 minutes.

The Cougars shot 49 percent from the floor in notching their ninth win in 10 home games this season.

BYU scored the first seven points of the game and led by as many as 13 before the Broncos rallied.

Vrankic scored 11 in a row for Santa Clara to help cut the deficit to 33-28. His two free throws made it a 35-33 BYU lead with 55 seconds left in the first half, but Wertz was called for an intentional foul on a Childs breakaway and the Cougars tallied the final five points of the half.

A jumper from Childs gave the Cougars a 51-39 lead with 15 minutes left, but they were unable to pull away.

Tahj Eaddy, Santa Clara's top point producer, was held scoreless in the first half, but scored 10 in the final 20 minutes.

The Broncos three times cut the deficit to four in the final 5 minutes, but never got closer than three points.

• In a series that began in 1951, BYU leads 31-6. The Cougars have been victorious in the last three and a 76-68 home triumph by Santa Clara on Jan. 26, 2017, snapped a 14-game BYU winning streak.
• The Broncos lost their first game this season when scoring 70 or more points. They were 8-0 entering the contest.
Josip Vrankic had 10 rebounds to post his second-straight double-double. He had a career-high tying 22 points and 11 rebounds in Thursday's win over Pepperdine. He has five career double-doubles, including three this season.
Trey Wertz reached double figures for the first time in WCC play. He totaled only 19 points in the last three games.
Tahj Eaddy has scored in double figures in 10 straight games, but went just 2-for-12 from the field..

The Broncos continue their stretch of three in a row on the road. Next week, they will travel to Saint Mary's (Thursday) and Pacific (Saturday).

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