With Kevin Foster and Evan Roquemore each scoring 26 points and Niyi Harrison hitting a career-high 19, Santa Clara defeated New Mexico 79-76 in overtime in the first round of the 76 Classic. It was Foster's 36th career game with 19+ points.
Roquemore's 26 points were a season-best. He hit 4 of 7 from the three point line and was a perfect 8 of 8 from the free throw line. Harrison scored a career-best 19 points following 18 points vs. San Jose State on Nov. 19. Santa Clara is 3-1 and New Mexico is 2-2. New Mexico leads the series 3-4. It is the Broncos second Thanksgiving Day win over the Lobos with the last one coming in Nov. of 1983 at the Great Alaska Shootout.
"It was a heck of a game, got a lot of respect for Steve Alford and New Mexico, a team that people expect to play in the postseason. We are happy that we got a chance to compete against them. We have a really young team, but we grew up a little bit, showing some resiliency tonight. We came out with a great win," Bronco head coach Kerry Keating said. "We were on a good flow early on offensively. We were taking good shots in the early part of the game, and had a good lead at halftime. I liked the way Kevin shot the ball in the first half. In the second half they came out swinging, by throwing a good punch, taking one back, and to still throw one back for the win."
"We had a great focus in our practices before and after the San Jose State game with a real defensive mindset. We have internal things that we hold accountable to us and they're defensive-based and they were emphasized this week, and the players carried that over. We did a good job on the defensive end," added Keating. "The quick lesson they were able to learn in a week and a half time on what happens if you don't do what your job is, that gives me hope. It's always good to learn lessons after the win."
Santa Clara shot 43.8 percent from the field (21 of 48), including 44.0 percent from beyond the arc (11 of 25). They collected 29 rebounds, 11 assists, two steals, one block and 14 turnovers. They shot 76.5 percent from the free throw line (26 of 34).
Foster scored 26 points on 5 of 12 shooting from the three and 9 of 13 from the free throw line. It was his 20th career game with 19+ points. Foster is one three from tying Steve Nash's career record for threes made as a Bronco (263). Foster is No. 7 all-time on the WCC threes made list in a career, passing LMU Terrell Lowery.
"Any victory is a big one; take it one game at a time," said Foster. "The media was saying that New Mexico was going to win this whole tournament. We have a chip on our shoulder and bring it every day. It was a full team effort and we hope we could keep that going."
Roquemore's 26 points were a season-best. He hit 4 of 7 from the three point line and was a perfect 8 of 8 from the free throw line. He also added a game-high 5 assists.
"With my experience last year, that really helped. Coming this year, with a lot of freshmen, it helps be more of a leader than I thought I was going to be. That extra pressure has helped me accelerate my comfortability on the floor," said Roquemore.
Harrison scored a career-best 19 points following 18 points vs. San Jose State on Nov. 19. Harrison was 7 of 10 from the free throw line and he had a team-best 7 rebounds.
"I felt we started off the game really well," said Harrison. "Got some stops, but they're a good team and made a run. I'm just proud of how our team responded and battled back."
Raymond Cowels III had five points, including two clutch free throws at the end of overtime.
New Mexico shot 36.0 percent from the field (18 of 50), including 42.9 percent from beyond the arc (9 of 21). They collected 34 rebounds, 12 assists, two steals, four blocks and 11 turnovers. They shot 93.9 percent from the free throw line (31 of 33).
Tony Snell had 18 points and four points, but five turnovers for the Lobos. Hugh Greenwood added 14 points and Mitty graduate Drew Gordon had 11 points and 10 boards.
"They (Santa Clara) just came out blazing hot, got up on us early and we just had to climb back," said Gordon. "A lot of our younger players did a good job. Tony (Snell) did well and Hugh (Greenwood) did an amazing job. We're off to a rough start but coach prepared us for everything that we needed. When they hit however many threes they hit in the beginning of the game, it's tough to come back from."
"We were prepared," said Greenwood. "The coaches set us up really well. They (Santa Clara) made some shots. We let them get going early. We knew who the threats were but we couldn't do anything about it. We keep using this excuse but it's still early in the season so we have to learn from this."
Early in the first half, John McArthur picked up two fouls in the first 36 seconds and was on the bench most of the rest of the half.
Roquemore's three followed Gordon's two free throws. Harrison dunked the ball at 17:54. Roquemore hit another three at 16:33 to put SCU up 8-2.
Harrison went inside, scored and was fouled, making the three-point play to put SCU up 11-2 at 15:59.
Foster hit back-to-back threes, including a four-point play on the second one to put SCU up 18-7 at 14:52.
Foster hit his third three of the game from way out at 13:10. Harrison's free throw made it 22-10 at 12:31.
Cowels crushed a three to make it 25-12 at 11:31. The Lobos scored at 10:53.
Harrison scored a put-back after a Lobos three to make it 27-17 at 8:29. He followed that with a huge dunk to put SCU up 12 at 7:47.
New Mexico went on a 6-0 run the next four plus minutes to cut the Broncos lead to seven before Foster dumped a floater in at 3:28 to make it 31-22.
Foster's fourth three of the game made it 34-22 at 2:42.
The Lobos scored four straight in the last minute before Harrison was hammered inside shooting and he sank one to put SCU up 35-26 at 17.3 and that was the score at halftime.
Santa Clara shot 54.5 percent from the field (12 of 22), including 63.6 percent from beyond the arc (7 of 11). They collected 13 rebounds, 7 assists and eight turnovers. They shot 66.7 percent from the free throw line (4 of 6).
Foster led the Broncos with 15 first-half points, including 4 of 7 from beyond the arc. Harrison added 11.
New Mexico shot 32.1 percent from the field (9 of 28), including 37.5 percent from beyond the arc (3 of 8). They collected 17 rebounds, 7 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and six turnovers. They shot 83.3 percent from the free throw line (5 of 6).
Gordon was New Mexico's leading scorer in the first half with six.
New Mexico started the second half on a 9-0 run to tie it up at 15:32, 35-35. Harrison hit a free throw to give the Bronco a 36-35 lead at 15:09. Foster hit a pair at 14:50 to make it 38-35 Broncos.
Foster returned the favor and fouled Adams when shooting a three and he hit each of them to tie it up 38-38 at 13:59.
Brandon Clark crushed a three from downtown to put SCU up again 41-38 at 13:29. Clark's basket was the first field goal for the Broncos since Foster hit a three with 2:42 left in the first half.
Greenwood danced in the lane to tie it up 41-41 at 12:47. McArthur's fantastic screen with a couple ticks on the clock and Roquemore sank a three at 12:14, 44-41 Broncos.
Foster's fifth three went in at 11:29. Foster's three put him in seventh place on the WCC career threes list, passing Terrell Lowery of LMU (1989-92, 261).
Harrison scored a three-point play at 10:52 to put SCU up by seven, 50-43. After a pair of Logo free throws, Roquemore scored two of his own at 8:53, 52-45 Broncos.
Gordon scored two free throws at 8:41, 52-47 Broncos. Roquemore threw a floater in from two feet out, but the Lobos answered with a three, 54-50 at 8:01.
Roquemore sank two free throws to put SCU back up six at 7:01, but the Lobos answered with a bucket at 6:48. Atanga took a charge at 6:01 to give SCU the ball. Foster was fouled on the offensive end and sank one, 57-52 Broncos at 5:45.
Snell crushed a three at 5:18 to pull the Lobos within one. Harrison answered in the lane to make the lead four at 5:01. Foster was fouled by Snell, his third in a minute, and Foster hit both to make it 61-55 at 4:41.
UNM scored at 4:48. Demetruis Walker fouled Foster shooting and he sank both, 63-57 Broncos at 4:18.
Hardeman sank four straight free throws between two trips to the line to pull the Lobos within two at 3:41.
Walker fouled out when he clipped Roquemore and he sank both to make the lead four at 2:41. A sweet pass by Foster to McArthur put the Broncos up by six at 1:48, 67-61.
Greenwood's three made it 67-64 at 1:37.
McArthur fouled out with 31 seconds left. Snell's three tied it up 67-67 with 20 ticks left.
Keating whistled for time with 2.4 seconds left. Foster's eight-foot jumper went off the backboard. Overtime.
Hardeman picked up his fourth fourth foul on Roquemore and he sank both. Snell gave the Roquemore gave it back to Santa Clara with a three at 4:16, 72-70 Broncos.
Snell sank two free throws at 3:57 to tie it.
The Lobos were playing with three players with four fouls each: Hardeman, Greenwood and Snell.
Williams sank two to put UNM up two at 2:54, 74-72. Roquemore scored quickly to tie it up at 2:35. Snell fouled out at 2:21.
Foster made a sweet pass to Harrison, but he was fouled by Hardeman, his fifth at 1:59. Harrison made both, 76-74 Broncos at 1:53.
Cowels was hammered by Phillip McDonald with 27.7 seconds left on the defensive end and he sank both to put SCU up 78-74. Timeout Broncos.
B. Clark fouled Jamal Fenton with 20.1 seconds left and he hit both, 78-76 Broncos.
Foster was fouled with 18.4 seconds left on the inbound pass and made one, 79-76 Broncos.