Making their first appearance in the NIT since 1989, the Santa Clara Broncos (21-12) fall to the Washington State Cougars (20-14), 63-50, inside the Wallis Beasley Performing Arts Coliseum in Pullman, Washington in the First Round.
After a successful regular season, it was a disappointing effort tonight by the Broncos in the biggest postseason game since 1996.
Santa Clara made just 18-of-60 (30.0%) from the field, 3-of-23 (13.0%) from 3-point range and 11-of-15 (73.3%) at the free throw line. The Broncos committed 12 turnovers (17.6% of their possessions) which led to 13 points for Washington State. The Cougars also got seven second-chance points off nine offensive rebounds.
It was an uncharacteristic night by Santa Clara with the horrendous three-point shooting and the turnovers. It’s tough to win when you’re giving the opponent extra possessions and not being able to manufacture points in other ways when you’re struggling from distance.
Josip Vrankic finished with 19 points and 10 rebounds in his final game in a SCU uniform.
Jalen Williams also finished with 19 points. Was this his last game for Santa Clara? Or will he return for his senior season?
PJ Pipes, who had a really good regular season, finished the year with two clunkers to finish his collegiate career against Saint Mary’s in the WCC Tournament and tonight against Washington State. Pipes scored just three points on 1-of-11 from the field (1-of-7 from 3) and just 3 assists.
The offseason. Herb Sendek and staff need to continue working on the development on the roster. SCU’s bench only played in 21.6% of the minutes this year…only 21 teams had their bench play fewer minutes.
The Broncos lose Pipes and Vrankic, but with the team that they have and incoming recruits and the ever so popular transfer portal, will Santa Clara be able to get over the hump in 2022-23 and go dancing?