Balance proved more valuable than a talented one man band in the first WCC Tournament quarterfinal.BYU
Santa Clara's season played out over the course of 40 minutes this afternoon in Las Vegas. Jared Brownridge went for 30 points and led a furious second half comeback attempt that ultimately fell short. No other Bronco hit double digits in the scoring column. BYU, on the other hand, played with extreme balance.
Nick Emery (15 points) was one of five Cougars to hit double figures.
The start was rocky for both teams, but especially Santa Clara. Players not named Jared Brownridge went for two quick airballs and some unforced turnovers. Even Brownridge had a rocky start, opening two of 12 from the field before catching fire in the final minutes of the first half. Santa Clara was scoring just 0.37 points per possession until Brownridge got going.
It wasn't a blowout because BYU managed just 0.93 points per possession at that point.
The Cougars took a ten point lead into the break thanks to their 18 to three advantage scoring from distance, including a Zac Seljaas (11 points) swish at the horn.
That ten point lead quickly evaporated as the always aggressive Brownridge started seeing his shots fall. He scored 18 of his 30 points in the second half. Less than five minutes after the break the Broncos cut BYU's lead to a single point. Things stayed close for a while until the Cougars managed to keep Brownridge from driving.
A few foul calls sent the BYU faithful into hysterics but ultimately the ten minute long foul fest benefited the Cougars. Brownridge was kept on the perimeter, where he was far from effective aside from drawing fouls.
Senior point guard Kyle Collinsworth played another solid game for the Cougars with 13 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Fellow senior guard Chase Fischer added 14 points.
At 11-20 the Broncos season is over. BYU (23-9) will advance to play the winner of No. 6 Portland vs. No. 2 Gonzaga on Monday.