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BRYANT TOO MUCH AS SANTA CLARA KNOCKS OFF MENS BASKETBALL
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Santa Clara big man John Bryant tallied 14 points, 15 rebounds and six blocked shots to lead Santa Clara to a 51-32 victory over Sacramento State in a non-conference, low scoring men’s basketball game Saturday evening at the Leavey Center.
Sacramento State finished with season lows in points (32), field goals made (10), field goal percentage (.250) and assists (3). In fact, the Hornets’ 32 points and 10 field goals made were the team’s lowest total since making the jump to Div. I in 1991-92. The previous low for points was 33 scored against Stanford during the 1992-93 season.
However, Sacramento State’s defensive effort was impressive, limiting Santa Clara to just 51 points, three off the Broncos’ season low of 48 scored against Georgia. The Broncos scored just 27 points in the first half, and 24 more in the second half and were limited to 42.0 percent shooting from the field and 25.0 percent from beyond the three point line. In addition, the Broncos attempted just five free throws the entire night.
With the loss, Sacramento State dropped to 1-6 this season, including an 0-5 mark on the road. Santa Clara and Sacramento State were playing for just the sixth time ever, and the Broncos have now won every meeting between the two teams.
Santa Clara won its third straight, and improved to 4-4. The Broncos, who also won on the road against Big Sky Conference opponent Montana earlier this year, were playing just their second home game of the season and first since Nov. 14.
“Obviously we didn’t score the way we wanted, but I thought we put together our best defensive effort of the season,” Sacramento State first-year head coach Brian Katz said. “Our kids are getting mentally tougher on the defensive end and they are buying into our system.”
Bryant, who stands at 6-foot-11 and weighs 275 pounds, entered the night with season averages of 19.6 points and 12.6 rebounds per game. He was one of two Santa Clara players to score in double figures, and five of his 15 rebounds came on the offensive end. Bryant had nearly half of Santa Clara’s total of 34 rebounds and he scored 12 of his 14 points inside the paint.
Santa Clara jumped out to a 4-0 lead (on a pair of Bryant buckets) and never trailed the entire game. Sacramento State closed to within, 6-4, on a pair of free throws from Justin Eller with 16:20 left in the first half, but that was as close as the team would get the rest of the evening. Santa Clara, which took a game-high 44-24 lead with 7:30 remaining in the game, led by double figures the final 23:57 of the contest.
Bryant (14) and Kevin Foster (13) combined for 27 of Santa Clara’s 51 points as no other Bronco scored more than eight. Besides Marc Trasolini going 1-for-1 from the field, Bryant (6-for-10) was the only player from either team that shot better than 50 percent from the field.
For Sacramento State, senior Loren Leath was the only player in double figures as the shooting guard finished with 10 points on 4-of-9 shooting, including 1-of-4 from beyond the three-point line. Eller had six points and five rebounds, and junior point guard Jared Stigall added five points and five rebounds. Eller, Stigall and Antonio Flaggs were the only Hornets to record an assist as each player finished with one.
Sacramento State shot just 10-for-40 from the field, including 5-of-22 in the first half and 5-of-18 in the second half. Conversely, Santa Clara shot 21-of-50 from the field, but just 8-of-25 in the second half.
After using a different starting lineup during each of the first six games of the season, the Hornets’ starting five remained the same for the second straight game. That fivesome consisted of Mike Marcial, Leath and Flaggs at guard, Eller at forward and Mike Edwards at center.
Sacramento State returns to action on Tuesday, Dec. 9, when the team hosts Utah Valley at 7:05 p.m. The game will mark the fourth contest in eight days for the Hornets as they will also be playing just their third home game of the year. Sacramento State is 1-1 all-time against Utah Valley with the teams’ last meeting coming during the 2005-06 season.
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