Men’s Basketball Claims 69-63 Overtime Win Over Portland On Saturday

Men’s Basketball Claims 69-63 Overtime Win Over Portland On Saturday

AUDIO: Sendek Postgame Interview on KDOW-AM 1220 | HIGHLIGHTS: Men's Basketball Controls the Paint, Defeats Portland

SANTA CLARA, Calif.Keshawn Justice scored a career-high tying 17 points, including the first four points of the extra session, to lift Santa Clara men's basketball to a 69-63 overtime win over Portland in a West Coast Conference matchup at the Leavey Center on Saturday night.

The Broncos (12-11, 4-5) never trailed in overtime and outscored the Pilots, 13-7, with nine of those points coming at the free-throw line.

Justice led five Broncos in double-digit scoring with Josh Martin pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds. Trey Wertz scored 15, Guglielmo Caruso tallied 12 points and Josip Vrankic and Tahj Eaddy had 10 apiece

Marcus Shaver Jr. led the Pilots with 15 points, including a pair of 3-pointers in the final 21 seconds to send the game to overtime.

In regulation, the Santa Clara held a 54-44 lead with 1:41 remaining, however, Portland (7-17, 0-9) finished with a flurry, draining four 3-pointers to tie the game at 56-all, including the game-tying three by Shaver Jr. that went around the rim and in 6.1 seconds left. Eaddy missed the front end of a one-and-one with 17 seconds left and the Broncos leading 56-53.

After Shaver Jr.'s game-tying three, Wertz raced the length of the court and drove into the lane and attempted to get a shot off, but there was no foul call when toward the Portland defense as the buzzer went off.

"Obviously, we allowed the game to get away from us in regulation by not converting some free-throws," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "Give Portland credit, I thought they made some really tough 3-pointerss and that combination sent us into overtime."

In the overtime session, Santa Clara scored the first six points, four of them on free throws by Justice. The Broncos were only 2-for-5 from the line in the final 1:06 of regulation.

Justice and Caruso combined to shoot 8 of 16 on a night when both teams struggled with its shooting as the rest of the Broncos shot 13 of 40. Overall, the Broncos connected on 38 percent from the floor with the Pilots hitting on just 35 percent.

"I thought we played really well," Sendek said. "I don't think we put the ball in the basket well, but I really liked the way we played. I thought we did a really good job, for the most part, on defense.

Santa Clara trailed 23-22 at the intermission but Caruso keyed a 14-7 run to start the second half, scoring nine of his points in that span. After the Pilots cut the Bronco lead to one, the Broncos went on a 12-2 run, including back-to-back 3-pointers by Justice and Wertz to give Santa Clara its biggest lead, 48-37 with five minutes left in the game. A lead the Broncos maintained until the final seconds of regulation.

Jojo Walker had 13 point with Josh McSwiggan and Theo Akwuba pulling down a team-high eight rebounds for the Pilots who lost their 10th-straight outing. McSwiggan had 11 points.

• In a series that began in 1946, Santa Clara leads 65-33. It has been a series of streaks in recent years. The Broncos have captured the last seven meetings, which followed a three-game winning streak for Portland. Santa Clara was victorious in the previous three before that nine-game stretch.
• Caruso had his fifth double-digit scoring outing of the season and registered a career-high nine rebounds.
• Martin posted his 10th double-digit rebounding effort of the season.

After three straight games at home, the Broncos hit the road for the next two, playing Pepperdine on Thursday and San Francisco on Saturday. 

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