The Santa Clara Broncos sneaked by the South Florida Bulls 66-65 in a thrilling consolation game at the Las Vegas Classic.
South Florida (8-4) led for most of the second half, but thanks to the Bulls’ horrendous free throw shooting, the Broncos (7-6) hung around before taking the lead on a 3-point shot from Jared Brownridge with 53.8 seconds left. Brownridge then iced the game with a pair of free throws with 10.8 seconds left. However, it took a defensive stand to seal the victory as SCU stopped South Florida’s Victor Rudd twice on the last possession. SCU forward Jerry Brown blocked Rudd’s driving shot, which forced Rudd into a desperation 3-pointer which fell short.
SCU’s Brandon Clark led a balanced attack with 12 points, followed by Brownridge (10 points), reserve Jalen Richard (10 points), John McArthur (nine points) and Evan Roquemore (eight points). Brown pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Broncos, with Richard grabbing seven boards. Roquemore dished out five assists.
South Florida led for most of the second half, but couldn’t connect on free throws consistently, making only 9-of-24 (37.5 percent). The Bulls’ inside attack was working, as Rudd posted 19 points and 9 rebounds. Chris Perry (13 points), John Egbunu (11 points), and Shemiye McLendon (10 points) also scored in double figures, while Egbunu posted 11 rebounds for a double-double. Corey Allen Jr. dished out four assists but was shut out of the scoring column despite sporting a 13.6 point per game average.
SCU shot 38.2 percent (21-of-55) from the field, 35.0 percent (7-of-20) behind the 3-point line, and 85.0 percent (17-of-20) from the free throw line.
South Florida shot 55.1 percent (27-of-49) from the field, 33.3 percent (2-of-6) behind the 3-point line, and 37.5 percent (9-of-24) from the charity stripe. USF out-rebounded SCU 37-31.
SCU travels to Spokane, Wash., for a road game against Gonzaga on Saturday to open West Coast Conference play. Tipoff is 5 p.m. Pacific. The game will be televised on ESPNU.