Bradley’s late scoring lifts Cal past Santa Clara 78-66
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Matt Bradley scored 11 of his season-high 18 points in the final 6½ minutes and California pulled away to beat Santa Clara 78-66 on Monday night.
Juhwan Harris-Dyson also had 12 points including a soaring one-handed dunk late in the second half for Cal. Justice Sueing added 11 points and six rebounds. Andre Kelly scored 13.
Coming off back-to-back losses to St. John’s and Temple in the Legends Classic, the Golden Bears (2-3) jumped out to an early double-digit lead then had to hold on after the Broncos made a late push.
Bradley’s scoring down the stretch made the difference in the first meeting between the two Northern California schools since 2006.
After Trey Wertz made a 3-pointer to pull Santa Clara within 59-55, Bradley made a layup to start a 13-3 run. Bradley also had a 3-pointer and scored on consecutive layups, and Harris-Dyson followed with his dunk to make it 72-58.
Wertz scored 16 points for Santa Clara (1-5). Tahj Eaddy and Josip Vrankic had 12 points apiece.
Darius McNeill got the Bears going early with consecutive steals leading to a pair of fastbreak layups. Sueing added a pair of free throws and a thunderous one-handed dunk off a feed from Paris Austin that put Cal up 21-5.
Sueing had another dunk early in the second half and made a 3 that pushed the Bears lead to 40-25.
Santa Clara got off to a sluggish start. The Broncos had seven turnovers in the first seven minutes and didn’t score until Vrankic’s layup with 12:15 left in the first half.
Santa Clara: The Broncos showed some grit in coming back after being down by 16 in the first half, but they continue to sputter offensively, a trend that’s followed Herb Sendek’s team since losing leading scorer KJ Feagin to a broken left hand on Nov. 15. Santa Clara outrebounded Cal 33-24 but committed 22 turnovers.
California: It wasn’t easy, as nothing seems to be for coach Wyking Jones’ team. The Bears needed Bradley’s late lift to scrape by against a team it dominated the entire first half. Kelly is finding his rhythm. As the Bears search for a collective vibe, Kelly’s work down low will be key.
Santa Clara: The Broncos return to Leavey Center for the start of a seven-game homestand beginning Thursday against Jackson State.
California: The Bears will take a short 20-minute trip to St. Mary’s where they’ll play the Gaels for the second consecutive year. The two teams will play again at Haas Pavilion in 2019.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/tag/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25