SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Santa Clara men's basketball received career performances from forward Jarvis Pugh and guard Matt Hauser, enabling the Broncos to pull away from Northern Colorado to claim an 88-72 victory Saturday in preliminary round action in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational.
Pugh scored a career- and game-high 26 points on 4 of 5 shooting from behind the 3-point line, while Hauser posted his first double-double with career bests of 16 points and 10 assists.
A 14-0 run by the Broncos (2-2) in the second half, with star guard Jared Brownridge on the bench with four fouls, helped propel them to the victory in Leavey Center.
Leading scorer Jordan Davis recorded a double-double for Northern Colorado (1-2) with 24 points and 10 assists. Chaz Glotta and Ibrahim Sylla each scored 15 points for the Bears who shot 50 percent from the floor in the game
Right after Pugh gave the Broncos a 51-50 lead with a four-point play, Brownridge picked up his fourth foul with 15:09 left in the game.
A three-point play by Jon'te Dotson on the ensuing possession gave Northern Colorado a two-point advantage, but that was their last of the game.
Hauser started the key spurt with a steal and feed to Pugh for a breakaway layup. Hauser also added a jumper and then his layup with just more than 10 minutes remaining increased the lead to 65-53.
The Bears later cut the deficit to single digits on a three-point play by Davis, but Brownridge, who had 11 points and six assists, came back in the game with seven minutes left and promptly fed Pugh for breakaway dunk. Hauser then connected on a 3-pointer for a 75-61 lead with less than five minutes left. Northern Colorado was unable to close the gap to single digits the remainder of the game.
"I just told our guys that I'm proud of how they responded when Jared picked his fourth foul up and we went on the run," Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek said. "I'm equally proud of how Jared responded. He didn't hang his head. He was a voice on the bench and was cheering for his guys. He came in the last seven minutes or so and finished the game strong."
Nate Kratch (17) and Kai Healy (11) also scored in double figures for the Broncos who shot a blistering 57 percent from the floor in the second half while turning the ball over only one time after nine in the first 20 minutes.
"I didn't give them any magical works or we didn't change what we do dramatically," Sendek said of the second-half surge. "We had some guys step up and play like they're capable of playing. The credit goes to those guys. Evan Wardlow really helped us tonight. He gave us some minutes, especially with Jared's foul trouble."
Wardlow saw first action in nearly a year due to injury and played 16 minutes off the bench, scoring seven points with one block and one assist.
Santa Clara came into the game shooting 26 percent from behind the 3-point line and nailed 14 of its 31 attempts (45 percent).
The Broncos trailed most of the first half. They led briefly when Hauser's 3-pointer gave them a 7-6 edge with 16:46 to go before halftime. But the Bears scored 10 of the next 13 points with Glotta providing five on a 3-pointer and layup.
Northern Colorado pushed the lead to 10 three times in the opening half. A dunk by Sylla with 2:05 left made it 40-30, but Healy answered with a corner 3-pointer to spark the Broncos to an 8-2 run to close the half, with Pugh nailing a buzzer beating 3-pointer.
Pugh went 9-for-10 from the floor and Kratch was 7-for-11, doing most of his damage in the first half with 12 points.
Santa Clara continues preliminary round action in the Continental Tire Las Vegas Invitational Monday when Sacred Heart visits Leavey Center. The first two games are at campus sites with the eight teams traveling to Las Vegas later in the week. The Broncos face Arizona on Thanksgiving Night and either Butler or Vanderbilt the following day in Orleans Arena.
Notes: Jared Brownridge and Nate Kratch each played in career game No. 100. That duo has played in every contest since the start of the 2013-14 season … Evan Wardlow entered the game at 11:43 of the first half for his first action since playing against Boston College on Nov. 29, 2015. He missed all but seven games last season with a wrist injury and then had knee surgery in the offseason. Most recently he's been recovering from a hamstring injury … Matt Hauser (16 points/10 assists) is the first Santa Clara player to post double digit points and assists sin the same games since Evan Roquemore (14 points/11 assists) against Pacific on Dec. 17, 2011 … the Broncos had five players in double figures for the first time in nearly two years (vs. Northeastern, Dec. 20, 2014).
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