What happens in Vegas stays in … Santa Clara?
OK, so the marketing line doesn’t really work, but the Santa Clara Broncos closed the first half on a 13-4 run to take a six-point lead and steadily pulled away from the Radford Highlanders Monday night at the Leavey Center for a 75-62 in the first game of the Las Vegas Classic.
The Broncos (5-5) will host Sacred Heart on Wednesday night before heading to Las Vegas for the championship round of the tournament Sunday and Monday.
Santa Clara led by as many as 13 in the second half before the Highlanders (6-3) made a run, closing to within four at 60-56 on Kion Brown’s layup with 5:58 remaining.
But the Broncos scored the next nine points, capped by a Jared Brownridge jumper with 1:45 to go, to eliminate any doubt.
Brownridge paced Santa Clara with 21 points. Jerry Brown added 16 points and Evan Roquemore tossed in 12 to go with five assists. Nate Kratch grabbed 10 boards for the Broncos and Yannick Atanga blocked two shots.
R.J. Price led Radford with 16 points, Javonte Green had 12 and Brandon Holcomb scored 10. Jalen Carethers had seven rebounds for the highlanders and Rashun Davis handed out four assists.
The Broncos tip off with Sacred Heart (2-8) at 8 p.m. Wednesday in the second of two regional games in the tournament. Santa Clara will play UNLV on Sunday and either South Florida or Mississippi State on Monday.