SANTA CLARA, Calif. – Willie Caruso had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Trey Wertz scored 18 to help Santa Clara wrap up a perfect three-game homestand to start the season with a 70-62 nonconference men’s basketball victory over Washington State on Tuesday.
The Broncos (3-0) followed up wins over Division III UC Santa Cruz and Cal Poly by pulling away from the Cougars (1-1) in the second half as they opened the season with three straight wins for the first time since going 5-0 in 2012-13.
Isaac Bonton scored 19 points and CJ Elleby added 10, but Washington State’s offense struggled in coach Kyle Smith’s second game on the job.
The game turned in a stretch beginning early in the second half when the Cougars couldn’t buy a basket. Santa Clara used an 8-0 run over a span of more than 6 minutes as Washington State went 0 for 8 from the field with four turnovers.
Wertz capped that spurt with a layup that made it 54-44 before Bonton hit back-to-back layups. The Broncos answered with a 9-1 run capped by a layup by Caruso that made it 63-49.
Santa Clara made 6 of 8 shots to start the game before things tightened up on defense. The Broncos still had the edge at the half when Tahj Eaddy made a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to make it 41-38.
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