SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Jordan Ford scored 23 points to lead Saint Mary's to a 66-55 win over Santa Clara men's basketball in a West Coast Conference game on Thursday.
Saint Mary's (16-10, 7-4), which never trailed, opened the second half with a 15-2 run to extend its halftime lead to 48-28, eventually pushing the advantage to as many as 23.
Ford, the leading-scorer in the league, had 14 points in the second half when the Broncos managed only one field goal in the opening 7 minutes.
Malik Fitts scored 16 points and Tanner Krebs added 13 for the Gaels who held a 39-24 rebounding edge and outscored the Broncos, 34-20, in the paint.
Tahj Eaddy scored 13 points and Trey Wertz chipped in 11 to lead Santa Clara (13-13, 5-7) which stayed within striking distance in the opening half, keeping the deficit within single digits.
Santa Clara chipped away at the Gaels lead in the second half, getting to within 12 points with under 4 minutes remaining. The final margin was as close as the Broncos got in the final 18 minutes.
The Broncos limited the Gaels, who entered the game as the top 3-point shooting team in the conference, to just 26-percent shooting from behind the arc, but committed 14 turnovers.
Josip Vrankic, who averaged 25.0 points and 12.0 rebounds in two games last week, went 0-for-4 from the floor and scored a season-low two points for the Broncos.
Jordan Hunter had 10 rebounds and a career-high five blocks for the Gaels who snapped a three-game road losing streak.
• Santa Clara and Saint Mary's are longtime rivals and original West Coast Conference members. The series began in 1910 and the teams played for the 226th time, the most common opponent in Santa Clara history. The Broncos lead the series 135-91, but the Gaels have won 10 of the last 12 meetings, including the last eight. Saint Mary's has won the last four in Leavey Center.
• Wertz scored in double figures for the ninth-straight game.
The Broncos continue their final homestand of the season on Saturday when Pacific visits Leavey Center. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m.