The Santa Clara Broncos flirted with pulling off the biggest upset in this college basketball season. Still, they ultimately fell to the top-ranked Duke Blue Devils, 90-77. SCU senior Kevin Foster had a torrid first half with 18 points, and capped off an outstanding game with 29 points to lead the Broncos. Despite encountering double teams, Foster was able to shoot 12-of-22 from the field, including 5-of-11 behind the three-point arc. Foster also had a strong overall game, pulling down five rebounds and dishing out four assists, albeit committing five costly turnovers.
However, Duke’s (12 – 0) size in the paint and perimeter shooting by Seth Curry proved to be too much for the pesky Broncos (11 – 3). Curry shot 12-of-18 from the field, including 4-of-7 on treys en route to a season-high 31 points. Mason Plumlee provided the damage inside, scoring 22 points and grabbing 13 rebounds for a strong double-double that included multiple highlight reel dunks. Quin Cook and Ryan Kelly chipped in 15 and ten points, respectively. Kelly also posted a double-double by adding 11 rebounds, while Cook added five rebounds. Cook tied with Plumlee for the team lead in assists with five apiece.
Duke shot 49.2 percent (31-of-63) from the field, 50.0 percent (7-of-14) behind the three-point line, and 63.6 percent (21-of-33) from the free throw line. Duke controlled the glass with a 36 to 26 advantage in rebounds.
Santa Clara was able to keep the score close until Duke made a late-game run to finally pull away from the Broncos. SCU held a brief four-point lead in the second half to keep the nationally-televised game interesting before Duke imposed their will by creating turnovers on the defensive end, and converting on subsequent fast-break opportunities at the other end.
Santa Clara’s Evan Roquemore also had a strong overall game, scoring 17 points and pulling down a team-leading six rebounds. Marc Trasolini and Raymond Cowels III chipped in with ten points each, while Trasolini also compiled five rebounds.
Santa Clara shot 45.9 percent (28-of-61) from the field, 33.3 percent (9-of-27) behind the 3-point line, and 80.0 percent (12-of-15) from the free throw line. However, it was the disparity in rebounding and at the free throw line which foiled Santa Clara’s plans for a huge upset of the storied Duke program.
Next up for the Broncos are the USF Dons on January 2nd at the Leavey Center. Tip-off is 7 pm Pacific time.