SANTA CLARA, Calif. - DJ Mitchell scored a game-high 18 points in his debut to pace six players with double-digit scoring to help Santa Clara men's basketball to a 97-52 win over UC Santa Cruz in the season opener on Tuesday night.
Mitchell, who sat out last season after transferring from Wake Forest, shot 7 of 9 from the field for the game with 14 of them coming in the first half on a perfect 6-for-6 shooting. He also tied for the team lead with seven rebounds along with freshman Jaden Bediako.
For the game, the Broncos shot 56 percent from the field including 75 percent on two-point attempts against Division III UC Santa Cruz, which was held to 33-percent shooting and made just two 3-pointers on 17 tries in an exhibition contest for the program.
The freshmen trio of Giordan Williams, Jalen Williams, and Bediako each had double-digit scoring debuts with 16, 13 and 12 points, respectively. Guglielmo Caruso and Trey Wertz chipped in with 11 points each as Wertz had a game-high five assists.
Santa Clara (1-0) opened the game with nine straight points and never looked back, extending the lead to 25-2 behind the hot-shooting hand of Mitchell and Giordan Williams who scored a combined 14 points on 6-of-6 field goals during the stretch.
The Banana Slugs closed the gap to 38-26 on a 3-pointer by Patrick Ramos with 4:07 remaining in the first half but Mitchell and Giordan Williams scored five points each to push the Broncos lead back up to 20 points at the half.
Just as they did in the opening half, the Broncos opened the second half on a 9-0 run to push their 52-32 halftime lead to as many as 47 points.
Ramos and Haakon Ullrich paced UC Santa Cruz with 11 points each. Avri Finch pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
• In a series that began in 2002, Santa Clara leads 3-0. The Broncos defeated the Banana Slugs, 93-70, on Nov. 25, 2002, which also happened to be a season opener. Santa Clara also knocked off UC Santa Cruz, 85-60, on Feb. 1, 2010.
• The four returning starters for the Broncos – Tahj Eaddy, Trey Wertz, Josip Vrankic and Guglielmo Caruso – opened the game along with DJ Mitchell, the transfer from Wake Forest.
• Mitchell's 18 points was a career high. He had 10 points vs. UNC Greensboro on Nov. 24, 2017.
Continuing a three-game homestand to open the season, the Broncos face Cal Poly on Friday. Tipoff is 7 p.m. from Leavey Center.