SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara men's basketball held Washington State to 33 percent shooting from the field and Guglielmo Caruso paced the Broncos with a career-high 22 points to push them to a 70-62 win on Tuesday night at Leavey Center.
Caruso hauled down a career-high matching 10 rebounds to post his second straight double-double while Trey Wertz chipped in with 18 points and also had career-high nine rebounds as the team won for the second-consecutive time against the Pac-12 Conference foe.
The game was tightly contested until Santa Clara (3-0) went on an 8-0 run in the middle of the second half to pull ahead 54-44 when four different Broncos scored. But back-to-back baskets by Isaac Bonton, who scored 19, ended a six-minute drought for Washington State (1-1) before Keshawn Justice's 3-pointer put the Broncos back up by nine with 8:18 remaining in the game.
For Justice, it was his first points of the season after returning from an opening-game ankle injury.
The Broncos, off to their best start in six years, pushed the lead up to as many as 14 points but got careless with the ball, turning it over couple of times to allow the Cougars to cut the deficit to 63-56. Santa Clara finished with 21 turnovers compared to 14 for the visitors.
The Broncos compensated for the turnover disparity outscoring the Cougars 34-22 in the paint and by shooting 47 percent from the floor.
Santa Clara made five of its last six free throws to keep the Cougars at bay and finished going 15-for-17 for the game to secure the victory.
In the opening half, Eaddy closed it out on a 3-pointer with a second left to give the Broncos a 41-38 lead. Despite outshooting the Cougars 57 to 39 percent, the Broncos were only up by three points as Washington State made two more 3-pointers and five more free throws.
Bonton also had four assists and preseason All-Pac-12 selection CJ Ellerby was held to 10 points as the two combined to shoot just 11 of 34 from the field, including 1-for-12 from behind the arc.
The Broncos outrebounded the Cougars 43-34.
• The Broncos are off to their first 3-0 start since 2012-13 when they opened 5-0.
• The Cougars lead the series 5-3 record but the Broncos have won the last two. They won last year's meeting, 79-71, in Spokane.
• DJ Mitchell pulled down a career-best eight rebounds, but struggled on offense after scoring 18 in each of the first two games. He tallied three points on just 1-for-6 from the floor.
• Guglielmo Caruso has scored in double figures in all three games this season and dating back to last year, nine of his last 12. He scored 10 or more in just four of his first 22 contests.
INTERVIEW | Trey Wertz (@_TDub3) and Willie Caruso (@GuglielmoCaruso) discuss Tuesday night's win over @WSUCougarMBB which pushed the team's record to 3-0 with another @pac12 foe - @StanfordMBB - on tap Saturday. #TeamFirst #StampedeAhead pic.twitter.com/Sr8diIjbCW— Santa Clara Broncos (@SCUBroncos) November 13, 2019
The Broncos hit the road for the first time this season with a short trek to Stanford to face the Cardinal in another Pac-12 conference matchup on Saturday. Tipoff is 7 p.m.