The Santa Clara Broncos defeated the Portland Pilots 76-68 on Monday afternoon at the Chiles Center. Santa Clara was led by their trio of starting guards, Evan Roquemore, Brandon Clark, and Jaren Brownridge, who eached scored 20 points. Portland was led by their much improved center Thomas van der Mars, who scored 23 points, and Ryan Nicholas who scored an efficient 12 points to go along with 13 rebounds. Kevin Bailey also added 19 points for the Pilots, but did so on just 5/14 shooting.
The Broncos closed out the first half on a 22-11 run to take a 6 point lead into the locker room. The Pilots got the deficit as close as 3 points in the waning minutes of the game but were never able to climb all the way back.
REVISITING KEYS TO THE GAME
X – Get Ryan Nicholas going early: Nicholas had only 2 points in the first 13 minutes of the game. The Pilots had many turnovers during that early span, and Kevin Bailey missed several shots as well. Ryan Nicholas is the most reliable scorer the Pilots have, so their guards need to be looking for him early and often for the Pilots to reach their full potential
✓ – Evan Roquemore’s floor leadership: While 6 assists and 4 turnovers is nothing to write home about, Roquemore’s performance today was much better than his 3 assists and 7 turnovers against Gonzaga. He did a good job working with his fellow perimeter starters and did not force many shots from the outside, leading to his 5/7 shooting beyond the arc. More performances like this one will keep the Broncos close against any league opponent despite being picked to finished last in the preseason.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
79%: The three leader scorers on each team scored 79% of the points in this game. No one outside of Santa Clara’s top three scorers scored more than 6 points, while no one outside of the Pilots top three scored more than 4 points. Both teams will need other scorers to step up if they want to win against better competition in the league.
The Pilots should be disappointed by their perimeter defense. They knew Santa Clara got nearly all their points from their starting guards and they still let all three of them go off for 20 points. If the Pilots struggled against these guards, I am worried to see how they will do against Haws/Collinsworth/Carlino when they face BYU.
Santa Clara should be proud of a good road win against a team that has played fairly well recently. While it would’ve been nice to see Jerry Brown get going, Yannick Atanga did an admirable job trying to replace Brown’s production. The Broncos were clearly upset by the preseason predictions and are using it as motivation to do well in the West Coast Conference, which they have so far.