Using an 18-3 run over six minutes in the second half, Santa Clara battled back from a 31-27 halftime deficit to defeat Sacred Heart 70-61 behind Brandon Clark's 30 points on Wednesday night in the Leavey Center.
The Broncos are 6-5 and the Pioneers are 2-10. Santa Clara heads to Las Vegas next for a 7:30 pm date with UNLV on Sun., Dec. 22 at the Orleans Arena. The game will be the third for the Broncos as part of the 13th annual Continental Tires Las Vegas Classic.
"We played three games in five days after finals and got away with three wins. That is big for us as we head to Las Vegas now," said Bronco head coach Kerry Keating. "We maintained our composure on the defensive end after not playing well in the first half. Brandon did a really good job of getting open as well."
Keating also praised the play of John McArthur, who has missed the past two weeks due to injury. "I am really proud of John's effort," added Keating. "I am hoping this gets him back to where he was at the beginning of the year."
The Broncos shot 42.3 percent from the field (22 of 52), including 30.0 percent from beyond the arc (6 of 20). They collected 41 rebounds, 13 assists, 5 steals, 8 blocks and 13 turnovers. The Pioneers shot 42.3 percent from the field (22 of 52), including 40.0 percent from beyond the arc (4 of 10). They collected 27 rebounds, 11 assists, 5 steals, zero blocks and 10 turnovers.
Individually the Broncos were led by Clark's 30 points, including five threes and 7 of 9 from the free throw line. He also added five rebounds and five assists. Evan Roquemore tied his season-best with 17 points, three assists and six turnovers. John McArthur, who missed the last four games due to an injury, collected a game-high 12 rebounds with seven points and three assists.
Sacred Heart was led by Evan Kelley's 20 points. Chris Evans added 12 points and De'von Barnett scored 10. Phil Gaetano and Louis Montes both collected six rebounds each.
The Broncos trailed 36-28 at 18:43 in the second half when Clark and Roquemore caught fire and broke the SHU zone as the Broncos went on an 18-3 run to take a 46-39 lead at 12:28. Clark scored a pair of threes and an inside basket during the span. Brown added a block at 12:51 to keep the run alive.
Sacred Heart scored seven of the next nine to pull within two at 9:59, 48-46 Broncos. Atanga stole the ball from a driving Evans and Brownridge was fouled taking it to the hoop. He hit both and SCU lead 50-46 with 8:37 left. Atanga scored twice in the lane to put SCU up 56-50 at 7:16.
Andrew Papenfus scored inside at 4:33 and Roquemore scored a pair of free throws to make the lead nine at 3:35, 60-51.
The first half featured four ties and five lead changes as the team's headed in for halftime with SHU leading 31-27.
Clark started the game with a three at 19:32 and then another at 17:31. The Pioneers then went on a 7-0 run in the next 1:40 to take a 7-6 lead. Roquemore's scored seven straight to put SCU up 13-9.
The Pioneers went on an 8-0 run over the next 1:15 to take a 17-13 at 10:30. SCU battled back on a 9-1 run to advance 22-18 at 7:40, including a three by Clark. De'Von Barnett gave SHU a 24-22 lead with a pair of free throws at 5:00.
McArthur's 13-footer from the corner tied it up 25-25 at 3:52. McArthur scored inside with 39.2 seconds left in the half and the score was 31-27 as the team's headed to the lockerroom. Clark led all scorers with 13 first-half points and McArthur had a team-high five boards.
Game Notes: The Broncos started Evan Roquemore, Brandon Clark, Jared Brownridge, Nate Kratch and Jerry Brown … John McArthur checked in for his first action in five games in the first half after suffering an injury in practice on Dec. 4.