Josip Vrankic and Tahj Eaddy each scored 16 points as Santa Clara defeated Washington State 79-71 Saturday afternoon in the Cougars’ annual game at the Spokane (Wash.) Veterans Memorial Arena.
Vrankic, who shot 7 for 10 from the field, and Eaddy, who had a team-high eight rebounds, led a balanced attack as the Broncos (8-6) won their fifth consecutive game.
Santa Clara’s Guglielmo Caruso scored 14 points, Keshawn Justice had 12 and freshman guard Trey Wertz added 10 points, a game-high seven assists and five rebounds.
CJ Elleby and Marvin Cannon each scored 19 for the Cougars (7-6), who lost their third straight game. Elleby had a team-high eight rebounds and Cannon shot 6 for 7 from the floor. Ahmed Ali added 11 points.
The Cougars played without senior forward Robert Franks, the Pacific-12 Conference’s leading scorer averaging 22.1 points per game, because of a hip contusion. Franks also missed a Nov. 14 loss against Seattle University earlier this season with an injury.
WSU might have missed Franks most on the defensive end, as the Broncos shot 58.5 percent from the field (31 of 53).
WSU did get senior guard Viont’e Daniels back after missing four games with a concussion. Daniels had three points and two assists in 13 minutes.
Santa Clara took a 40-36 halftime lead, as Caruso scored 12 points before the intermission. There were five ties and eight lead changes in the first half.
The Broncos opened the second half with a 12-4 run, capped by Eaddy’s 3-pointer, to extend their lead to 12 points.
The Cougars trimmed the lead to five at 59-54 on an Elleby layup with 11:45 remaining. WSU twice more got within five but could get no closer.
Both Santa Clara and Washington State head into conference play next. The Broncos will play host to San Diego on Thursday in their West Coast Conference opener; the Cougars start Pac-12 play next Saturday at Washington.
—Field Level Media