SANTA CLARA, Calif. - Santa Clara men's basketball started the new year where it left off in 2018.
Tahj Eaddy had a career-high 30 points to lead the Broncos to their sixth-straight win, a 68-56 victory over San Diego in Thursday's West Coast Conference opener.
The Broncos (9-6, 1-0) picked up their eighth win in the last nine games thanks to a dominating effort by Eaddy who single-handedly outscored the Toreros (11-5, 0-1) in the first half. The sophomore had 21 points in the opening 20 minutes, to help the Broncos race to a 35-18 lead.
Santa Clara, which was plagued with foul trouble in its eight-man rotation, went without a field goal for the final 4 minutes of the game, but forced two turnovers and a pair of missed shots by San Diego in the final 1:10 to hold off the rally.
For the game, Eaddy shot 8 of 16 from the floor and a perfect 12 of 12 from the line.
"Tahj was feeling out of this world," head coach Herb Sendek said. "What a great performance. Not only was he sensational on the offensive end, he was tremendous on the defensive end as well."
"I tend to roll the dice and play guys with foul trouble, especially this team because we don't have a lot of options at a number of positions," Sendek said. "There's no sense saving the fouls. There was a period of time where we tried to play offense-defense."
Trailing by 17 at intermission, San Diego opened the second half with a 11-2 run to cut the Bronco lead to eight but Henrik Jadersen answered with a 3-pointer to push the edge back to by double digits. San Diego got to within six points in the final two minutes but the Broncos closed out the game making 6 of 8 free throws in the final 1:20 and finished the game 22 of 27 from the charity stripe
The Broncos held Torero seniors Isaiah Pineiro (12) and Olin Carter III (nine) to 21 points combined, 16 below their combined season averages. The duo entered the game ranked fourth and seventh, respectively, in the WCC in scoring, but shot a combined 7 of 22 from the floor.
Tyler Williams had 19 points for the Toreros who had won six of their last eight games, but turned the ball over a season-high 20 times. Yauhen Massalski had a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Piniero had a career-high 16 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season.
The Toreros played without starting guard Isaiah Wright who injured his wrist.
Santa Clara took control of the game from the tipoff, jumping out to a 6-0 lead and extended it to a 20-point advantage midway through the first half on 46 percent (13 of 28) shooting from the floor while holding the Toreros to just 33 percent, including 0 of 7 behind the arc. Santa Clara also took advantage of Torero miscues scoring 17 points off 11 turnovers.
The Santa Clara winning streak matches its longest in six years. The Broncos won six in a row from Dec. 8-22, 2013.
• Santa Clara leads the series 48-37, with wins in nine of the last 13 meetings. The teams split both matchups last season and in 2016-17. Santa Clara has won the last four in Leavey Center. The previous five meetings were decided by a total of 21 points.
• Eaddy's previous career-high scoring mark was 23 points against San José State (Nov. 24, 2018).
• Martin recorded his eighth double-digit rebounding outing this season.
AUDIO | Too busy celebrating in Leavey Center after Thursday's @wcchoops season-opening win to hear Coach Sendek's postgame interview on either KDOW-AM 1220 or @TheWtv? Don't worry. You can listen now. ��️https://t.co/I14ylEtat5 #StampedeAhead pic.twitter.com/1oNvbXhj7I— Santa Clara Men's Basketball (@SantaClaraHoops) January 4, 2019
The Broncos play at Gonzaga on Saturday at 6 p.m.
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