The Santa Clara Broncos took a quick break from WCC play on Tuesday to face NAIA Saint Katherine College. While the Broncos weren’t as dominant as you would hope for against a lower-tier opponent, they eventually opened up a small double-digit lead and cruised through the second half without much threat of an upset.
Dec 28, 2013; Spokane, WA, USA; Santa Clara Broncos guard Brandon Clark (3) takes a warm up shot before a game against the Gonzaga Bulldogs at McCarthey Athletic Center. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
The 77-63 final score was still surprising however as it doesn’t really reflect the overall dominance of the Broncos. While it’s a lopsided score that reflects how the Firebirds never got very close in the second half, the stats would suggest a much wider margin of victory. The Broncos had a very good night with wide advantages in every major category.
Despite being a weak rebounding team, their superior athleticism as a NCAA Division 1 team playing a NAIA opponent showed with a 37-22 advantage on the glass. They also had a great shooting night going 54.9% from field goal range and 42.9% from three point range. Brandon Clark had a game-high 22 points and tied Nate Kratch with a game-high 8 rebounds.
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Jared Brownridge and Matt Hubbard were the other two Broncos with double-digit points. Santa Clara has started to form a decent core of players behind the high-scoring Brownridge and Clark, and that core did most of the damage on Tuesday. This should be a good confidence booster for a team that is off to a slow start in conference play and had dropped two in a row coming into this game.
The Broncos return to WCC play on Saturday as they host San Francisco. To have a chance of being relevant this season, they are facing a couple must-win games starting with the struggling Dons. The Broncos then host last place Loyola Marymount next Thursday before a big game against red hot Pepperdine next Saturday.