Thomas van der Mars scored a career-high 28 points as the Portland Pilots defeated the Santa Clara Broncos by a score of 76-64. The game was close until midway through the second half when Portland went on a run led by van der Mars that put the game out of reach. Ryan Nicholas had 13 points and 10 rebounds, second most on the team to van der Mars’ 11 rebounds. Kevin Bailey scored 10 points on 5/8 shooting, while freshman point guard Alec Wintering had 10 points, 6 assists and 0 turnovers.
Santa Clara was led by freshman Jared Brownridge, who scored 20 points and dished out 5 assists. Off the bench, Jerry Brown contributed 11 points and 7 rebounds, while Evan Roquemore added 6 assists. Brandon Clark had one of his worst shooting games of his career, going 1/11 from the field.
KEYS TO THE GAME
X - Quick start a necessity: The Broncos got down 11-4 before the first media timeout. Then, when Brown and Roquemore came in the game, they were asked to make up points at a rapid rate instead of holding on to a lead. While those two did a decent job in this game, the energy they spent in the first half making up the deficit allowed Portland to go on a huge run in the 2nd half.
✓ - Big men need to produce: And that’s exactly what happened. Thomas van der Mars lived on the foul line and Ryan Nicholas had a solid 4/8 shooting game, and both were effective, which led to the victory. Guard scoring was limited for the Pilots tonight, but that was okay because the frontcourt made the scoring up.
Evan Roquemore vs. Alec Wintering: Both had 6 assists, Roquemore had 1 turnover to Wintering’s 0, but Alec Wintering scored 10 points to Roquemore’s 5, and led his team to the victory. Therefore, Wintering was the winner of this matchup.
Portland got a crucial road victory to gain some momentum heading into what will be their most difficult league game of the season. Not only are they playing Gonzaga at the Kennel (which is extremely difficult), the Zags will have the revenge and motivation factors as they lost to Portland at the Chiles Center earlier this season.
Santa Clara just needs to get multiple players playing well at the same time. They cannot just have one player on fire and many others a non-factor. The Broncos will make the difficult road trip to San Diego and BYU next week, and will hope to split that trip if possible.