The Santa Clara Broncos came back from 11 points down at halftime, but the North Dakota State Bison found one more finishing kick and beat the Broncos 91-85 in the opening round of the 47th annual Cable Car Classic at the Leavey Center Friday night.
The Broncos (2-3) will play Rice (2-4) in the consolation game Saturday night at 6 p.m. North Dakota State (3-3) advanced to the championship game against Rider (2-2), which will be played at approximately 8:15 p.m. Saturday.
Brandon Clark tried to keep the Broncos in it with 32 points on 10-of-13 shooting, including 5-of-8 from 3-point range, but after Santa Clara tied the game 74-74, the Bison got the lead back at 79-75 to make it a two-possession game and then made enough free throws down the stretch to hang on for the win.
Jared Brownridge had 16 points for the Broncos and Evan Roquemore finished with 11 points and seven assists. Jerry Brown and Nate Kratch led Santa Clara with five rebounds apiece as the Broncos got clobbered on the glass by a 35-22 margin.
Taylor Braun scored 21 points, including hitting all 19 of his free throws, to lead North Dakota State and he also had eight rebounds.
The Bison absolutely won the game at the foul line, hitting 32-of-36 (88.9 percent) to just 19-of-28 (67.9 percent) for Santa Clara.
Lawrence Alexander added 15 points and eight boards for North Dakota State, Mike Felt also scored 15, Marshall Bjorklund had 13, TrayVonn Wright 12 and Kory Brown finished with 10.