Santa Clara holds off USC in double overtime 102-92
SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — Trey Wertz implored his teammates to stay positive after Santa Clara wasted a big lead in the final minutes of regulation. Then the Broncos freshman took over in overtime to make sure they stayed upbeat.
Wertz scored 11 of his 28 points in the second overtime, Josip Vrankic had a career-high 22 points and Santa Clara held on after blowing a 19-point lead in regulation, beating Southern California 102-92 on Tuesday night.
Tahj Eaddy added 21 points and eight assists, Willie Caruso had 12 points and Josh Martin grabbed 18 rebounds for Santa Clara (6-6).
“I just kept telling them, ‘This is our game. We can’t give it away,’” Wertz said. “I tried to keep them positive and then did my part.”
The Broncos had previously lost to Pac-12 teams Washington and California before sending the Trojans to their fourth straight loss.
Wertz paved the way after being mostly silent in regulation, outscoring USC in the two overtimes 17-12. Wertz had six points in the first overtime then scored all but two of Santa Clara’s 13 points in the second extra period.
“He just really stepped up and made some big plays,” Broncos coach Herb Sendek said. “It’s a great moment for our guys. We’ve battled a tremendous amount of adversity this year.”
Jordan Usher scored 22 points for USC. Jonah Mathews added 20 points and Shaqquan Aaron had 17 points.
USC (5-6) rallied from 15 points down in the final six minutes of regulation to force overtime but the Trojans missed a chance to win in the first extra period, then managed only three points in the second.
“It’s an unfortunate way to lose a game,” USC coach Andy Enfield said. “In the second overtime we only scored three points and our guards just couldn’t make a shot. That’s on us as coaches.”
Southern California: This is a tough one to swallow for Enfield’s team. The Trojans had only one stretch where they were effective and really struggled in both overtimes. It didn’t help that their two leading scorers this season, Nick Rakocevic and Bennie Boatwright, were on the bench in the second overtime after fouling out.
Santa Clara: A huge win for the Broncos after they had come up short in three previous games against teams from the Power Five conferences. Santa Clara nearly let this one slip away but showed grit down the stretch, especially Wertz who was phenomenal in the two overtimes.
USHER ON IN
USC’s highlights were few and far between for the most part but Usher provided one when he powered through the lane for an emphatic one-handed dunk early in the second half. The play drew a big reaction from the crowd at Leavey Center. Usher was fouled by Martin and made the free throw to complete the three-point play.
Wertz had eight of Santa Clara’s 19 turnovers and had to handle the point guard duties after Eaddy fouled out in the first overtime.
HE SAID IT
“I watched a lot of film on them, I’ve never seen them play this well.” Boatwright, referring to the Broncos.
Southern California: The Trojans return home to host Southern Utah on Friday, the first meeting between the two schools.
Santa Clara: Hosts Idaho on Friday to end a nine-game homestand, the Broncos longest in nine seasons.
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