Santa Clara (5-5) fell to Northeastern (7-3) 78-72 in the Broncos opening game of the Cable Car Classic today, handing the Broncos their first loss at the Leavey Center this season and ending the teams three game winning streak. Cal Poly knocked off Northeastern 60-58 on Dec. 17 in the tournament tip-off.
SCU allowed the Huskies to shoot 58.7 percent from the field and 50.0 percent from field; the Broncos inability to get stops on the defensive end of the floor was their ultimate downfall. Santa Clara only shot 44.1 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from 3-point range in the loss, failing to keep pace with the Northeastern offense.
Jared Brownridge led SCU with 18 tonight, while Nate Kratch, Denzel Johnson, Matt Hubbard and Brandon Clark chipped in 15, 13, 12 and 10 points respectively. Hubbard was a rebound away from a double-double with the freshman forward finishing with nine boards. Johnson dished out six assists to lead the Broncos.
Clark, the Broncos leading scorer this season, struggled mightily against the Huskies, connecting on only four of his 17 attempted shots and none of his attempted 3-pointers. SCU needs its two stars Brownridge and Clark to both be on their games in order to win tough games in conference play, which is quickly approaching.
Northeastern was paced by Scott Eatherton, who finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. The redshirt junior also blocked four shots. David Walker, Caleb Donnelly, Quincy Ford and T.J. Williams provided quality scoring on top of Eatherton’s 20 with 16, 13, 12 and 11 points respectively.
Santa Clara will wrap up the Cable Car Classic on Tuesday as the Broncos match up with Cal Poly. Going through the tournament hosted by the university without a victory would be a devastating result heading into WCC play. SCU travels to Saint Mary’s on Dec 17 to start conference play.