SAN FRANCISCO – Jimbo Lull scored 16 and Charles Minlend tallied 14 points, including 11 in the second half, to lead a balanced attack for San Francisco, which was able to hold off Santa Clara men's basketball, 78-72, on Saturday.
Santa Clara was behind by 10 with less than 5 minutes remaining and made its final push.
Vrankic had a bucket and Wertz scored on a layup to trim the San Francisco (18-6, 6-4) lead to 67-63 with 2:56 left.
After empty possessions by each team, Lull nailed a jumper and Minlend, who made a number of key baskets in the second half, hit a runner with 59 seconds to go.
Frankie Ferrari had 14 points, including a 6 of 6 effort from the free-throw line in the final 39 seconds, and Nate Renfro added 11 for the Dons who were out-rebounded 40-26 and went only 6-for-22 from behind the 3-point line, but forced the Broncos into 17 turnovers.
San Francisco, which snapped a three-game losing streak, out-scored Santa Clara 23 to 9 off turnovers. Those losses all came on the road and the Dons have been impressive at home, improving to 12-1 on the season.
Guglielmo Caruso had 10 points before fouling out, one of three Santa Clara players to get disqualified.
"Hard fought game," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "The difference was a couple possessions."
Minlend started and ended the key stretch of the game.
He had a layup after the Broncos took a one-point lead on a pair of free throws from Tahj Eaddy, who was held to just four points on 1 of 8 shooting from the floor, and capped an 18-2 run with a 3-pointer with 9:43 to go that gave the Dons a 59-44 lead.
The Broncos pulled within 61-57 on a 13-2 run, but the Dons scored the next six points.
Santa Clara had the start it wanted on the road.
Henrik Jadersten's 3-pointer gave the Broncos an early 12-7 lead.
The game was tied three times before the Dons eventually pulled ahead 30-24 on a pair of Jamaree Bouyea free throws.
But the Dons went 3 minutes without a field goal and Vrankic helped pull the Broncos within one point with less than 2 minutes to go before halftime. He had 15 points in the half, including seven of the final 10 for the Broncos.
"(Josip has) had a number of really good games," Sendek said. "I just thought it was a really good team effort on our part tonight. Did we make mistakes? Absolutely. Did we play perfect? Of course not, but our guys competed and played good basketball."
• The series began in 1908 and the Broncos hold a 115-109 lead. The 224 meetings are the second-most of any Santa Clara opponent (226 vs. Saint Mary's). The teams have split the last six meetings.
• Fallou Ndoye made his first appearance since November. He has missed the last 19 games with a torn tendon in his foot. Ndoye, a graduate transfer from CSU Bakersfield, had two points in 12 minutes off the bench.
• The Broncos lost for just the second time this season when scoring 70 points. They are now 9-2 when clearing 70.
• Vrankic had his fifth 20-plus scoring outing of the season and fifth double-double. He matched his season-high with three steals, but did commit a team-high five turnovers.
• Caruso had his seventh double-digit scoring outing of the season, including third straight.
The Broncos play the next three at home beginning with Thursday matchup against Saint Mary's Tipoff is set for 8 p.m.