SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Freshman Jared Brownridge scored Santa Clara's first five points of each half and led four Broncos in double figures with a game-high 25 as a new era of Santa Clara basketball got off to a victorious start with an 84-39 win over Bethesda University of California in the season opener Friday night at Leavey Center.
The Broncos won their fourth consecutive season opener while Bethesda dropped to 0-2 on the season.
For the first time in five seasons the Broncos did not have Kevin Foster or Marc Trasolini on the floor. Along with Raymond Cowels III, Niyi Harrison and Kyle Perricone those five graduated players combined for 13,455 minutes played, 6,188 points scored, 2,149 rebounds, 705 assists and 492 steals.
Alan Marsh led the Flames with 10 points and five rebounds while Jamelle Holieway chipped in with six points.
Brownridge drained a three on Santa Clara's first possession and added a pair of free throws for an early 5-4 lead. He totaled 18 first half points as the Broncos pulled away from the scrappy Flames and held a 42-19 lead at the break.
"I had a lot of jitters in the exhibition," Brownridge said. "For a freshman to start the first game – I was very humble. This second game I felt like I got a lot of the jitters out."
The Flames responded to Brownridge's opening bucket and took their only lead of the game at 4-3 on consecutive baskets in the paint from Myron Davis and Alan Marsh two-and-a-half minutes into the contest.
Brownridge's free throws ignited a 7-0 run and put Santa Clara ahead for good. His 3-pointer at 15:15 gave the Broncos a 10-6 lead.
In just their second season of competition, Bethesda hung close and was within nine at 22-13 following a putback in the lane by Holieway with 7:04 remaining.
That forced a 30-second timeout from the Broncos and they responded. Santa Clara closed out the half on a 20-6 run to take a 23-point lead at the break.
Robert Garrett's two-hand dunk off a nifty spin move on the baseline and a pair of free throws led to the Broncos scoring the final eight points of the first half.
The second half started much the same as the first as Brownridge sank his fifth triple of the game just 13 seconds in. Following a Yannick Atanga block at the other end, Brownridge raced down the court for a layup starting Santa Clara on a 27-7 run over the first 11:17 of the second half.
Brownridge hit 5 of 10 three-point shots in the game, falling one made three short of tying the Santa Clara freshman record and was 7 of 12 from the field while making all six of his free throw attempts and dishing out a game-high six assists.
"It didn't have anything to do with my stroke," Brownridge said of his shooting prowess. "It had to do with all my teammates – making good passes, setting screens and being ready. It was a lot of fun tonight."
As a team the Broncos shot 83.1 percent from the charity stripe making 23 of 28 tries and hit 49.1 percent of their field goals (26 of 53). They held the Flames to 31.4 percent shooting from the field (16 of 51) and forced 19 turnovers.
Atanga grabbed a game-high nine rebounds and Garrett totaled six points, seven rebounds, two blocks and a steal in just nine minutes of action.
Santa Clara will host cross-town rival San Jose State next Tuesday in a double-header with the women's game starting at 5:30 and the men's game tipping off at approximately 8:00 p.m.
NOTES: Santa Clara starters were Brandon Clark, Jalen Richard, Jared Brownridge, John McArthur and Yannick Atanga ... Brian Jones holds the Santa Clara single-game freshman record for points with 34 against Marquette on Nov. 29, 1996 ... Bethesda University of California is located in Anaheim and is a member of the National Christian College Athletic Association (NCCAA). The basketball program is in just its second season of existence ... The Flames lost 76-43 at San Diego Christian on Nov. 5. Santa Clara beat SDC 89-60 on Nov. 2.