SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Hard-nosed defense and four double-digit scorers led by DJ Mitchell with 18 points lifted Santa Clara men's basketball to a 77-63 win over Cal Poly on Friday night at Leavey Center.
Mitchell led the team in scoring for the second straight game on an efficient 6-for-9 shooting from the floor and 5 of 6 from the line. Gugliemo Caruso posted his first career double-double with 15 points and game-high 10 rebounds. Tahj Eaddy also tallied 15 points while Josip Vrankic chipped in with 14.
Santa Clara (2-0) held Cal Poly (0-1) to 40 percent shooting from the floor even though three starters got into early foul trouble when Caruso, Mitchell and Trey Wertz each picked up two fouls in the first nine minutes of the opening half.
With the trio of starters sitting on the bench and the game tied at 13-all, Eaddy and Josip Vrankic picked up the slack to combine for 11 points to give the Broncos a 24-20 advantage.
Broncos head coach Herb Sendek re-inserted Mitchell on the floor with six minutes left where he subsequently scored five points to push the lead to nine.
Santa Clara shot 48 percent from the field in the first half while stifling the Mustangs to just 30 percent including 2 of 14 to close the half.
In the second half, the Broncos continued their strong defensive play holding the Mustangs to only one field goal in the first four minutes but Santa Clara shooting also went cold. But they helped themselves from the line, hitting 23 of 28 from the charity stripe in the second half as the Broncos were never threatened. The lead fluctuated between seven and 15 points before the final margin of 14.
Junior Ballard led the Mustangs with 17 point but needed 14 shots, making five. Keith Smith and Kyle Colvin each had seven boards to lead Cal Poly.
Trey Wertz once again led the Broncos in assists with five.
For the game, the Broncos had a 28 to 12 advantage in made free throws and forced 16 Mustangs turnovers.
• In a series that began in 1978, Santa Clara leads 5-4.
• Caruso's 10 rebounds eclipsed his previous career-high of nine rebounds last season.
AUDIO | Listen to @HerbSendek on KDOW-AM 1220 in @calpolymbb postgame interview presented by @ROATweets— Santa Clara Men's Basketball (@SantaClaraHoops) November 9, 2019
�� Thought team competed on defense
�� Will be a team with good scoring balance
�� Sewer rats? ��
▶️ https://t.co/qXpmZVmQwB#TeamFirst #StampedeAhead #WCCHoops pic.twitter.com/WzczudufS5
The Broncos wrap up the three-game homestand against Pac-12 conference's Washington State on Tuesday. Tipoff is 7 p.m. from Leavey Center.