SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Trey Wertz had a season-high 24 points and DJ Mitchell scored a career-best 20 to propel a foul-plagued Santa Clara men's basketball team to an 87-75 win over Southeast Missouri at the Cable Car Classic on Friday.
Santa Clara (7-1) shot 55 percent from the floor and the same from behind the 3-point line with Wertz and Mitchell leading the way on combined 16-for-22 shooting overall.
Southeast Missouri (2-4) had five players score in double figures, paced by Alex Caldwell with 16 points. Caldwell also had five of the team's nine steals.
With three of the Bronco starters and key reserve Jaden Bediako on the bench in foul trouble, the Redhawks trimmed a double-digit deficit to 55-49 on Skyler Hogan's free throws with 11 minutes remaining in the game.
Wertz and Mitchell combined to score 10 of the next 14 Broncos points to push the lead to 72-55, their biggest of the game.
A layup from Sage Tolbert trimmed the lead to 76-67 with 2:26 left, but Wertz nailed a 3-pointer and went 3-for-4 from the free-throw line down the stretch.
Tahj Eaddy had 12 points against his former team and Josip Vrankic chipped in nine for Santa Clara, which won for the fourth-straight time and remained perfect (7-0) at home. Leading scorer Guglielmo Caruso was held without a point in just 10 minutes of action due to foul trouble.
Hogan had 12 points and DQ Nicholas scored 11 for the Redhawks.
The Broncos, who will play for the championship of the 52nd edition of the tournament on Saturday, started fast led by Wertz. The sophomore guard scored eight of the first team's first 10 points and Santa Clara led 19-7 on a layup from Bediako.
The Redhawks trimmed the advantage to 26-20 on a free throw from Nicholas, but the Broncos held them scoreless for the final 3 minutes of a fast-paced first half and built a 43-30 edge on Mitchell's 3-pointer with 1:10 left.
Early in the second half, Wertz, Mitchell and Caruso all picked up their third fouls. Caruso was tagged with his fourth with 18 minutes left in the game.
Mitchell had 15 points and Wertz 11 in the second half.
Each team was whistled for 25 fouls but only one player, Oscar Kao of Southeast Missouri, fouled out.
The Redhawks went 25-for-33 from the foul line. The Broncos were 13 of 22.
• This was the first-ever meeting between the teams. They do have one tie as Tahj Eaddy spent the 2016-17 season at Southeast Missouri.
• Santa Clara, which has won 13 of its last 14 nonconference home games, is off to its best start since opening with the same mark in 1997-98. The Broncos have won their last nine home games overall, dating to last season. That mark is tied for the fifth longest stretch in the history of Toso Pavilion/Leavey Center (since 1975-76)
• The Broncos blocked a season-high tying six shots and registered at least five for the fourth straight game and fifth overall this season. They entered the game second in the WCC in that category at 4.1 per contest.
The Broncos play their third and final game in the Cable Car Classic on Saturday. Tipoff between Santa Clara and Cal State Fullerton is set for 3:30 p.m. Preceding the game will be Denver and Southeast Missouri who will face off at 1 p.m.