SANTA CLARA, CA – In the Pioneers first game in a four game road trip on the West Coast, senior forward Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) scored his 1,000th career points but the Pioneers were dropped 71-60 to the Santa Clara Bulldogs Wednesday night at the Leavey Center in Santa Clara, Ca.
Red shirt junior guard Evan Kelley (Norwalk, CT) led the Pioneers with a team-high 20 points, while Chris Evans (Stamford, CT) added 12 points. For the second consecutive game freshman De'Von Barnett (Waldorf, MD) chipped in with ten points
Louis Montes (Brockton, MA) also added ten points, including his 1,000th career points on a lay-up in the first half. In 101 career games, Montes becomes the 37th Pioneer to score 1,000 points in his career. The senior forward also has over 500 rebounds in his career.
Brandon Clark scored a career-high 30 points, including 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc, for Santa Clara, while Evan Roquemore added 17 points.
The Broncos and Pioneers exchanged baskets for much of the first half with Sacred Heart attacking the rim and playing aggressive defense. Santa Clara jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, but Sacred Heart responded with seven straight points of their own to take a 7-6 lead with 15:56 remaining in the first half. Evans scored five of the seven for SHU on a three-pointer, followed by a lay-up in traffic.
Evan Roquemore knocked down a three-pointer for Santa Clara to halt the 7-0 SHU run and put Santa Clara back in front 9-7. Evans put in an 18-foot jumper to tie the game at nine with 14:32 remaining in the first half. Montes put in his 1,000th point lay-up and a foul at the 11 minute mark to give SHU a 14-13 lead. Clark knocked down his third three-pointer of the game to give Santa Clara a 22-20 lead with 7:29 remaining in the first. Sacred Heart closed the first half on an 11-5 run, including back-to back lay-ups from Kelley and sophomore Tevin Falzon to give SHU a 31-27 lead at halftime.
Evan Kelley scored the Pioneers first points of the second half, stepping back and knocking down a deep three to give SHU a 34-28 lead with 19:18 remaining in the game. Kelley was then fouled attempting a three-pointer on the Pioneers' next possession, making two of three free throws. Santa Clara came alive with a 7-0 run to cut the Sacred Heart lead to 36-35 with 17:18 left in the second half. The Broncos finally took the lead again on two Evan Roquemore free throws to take a 40-38 lead with 15:33 remaining in the second half.
Santa Clara would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way with Sacred Heart hanging around but unable to get over the hump. Evans knocked down his second three of the game cut the lead to 46-44 with 11:21 left in the second half. Back-to-back lay-ups by Yannick Atanga put Santa Clara up 54-46 lead with 7:16 remaining. The Pioneers got within five with 4:57 remaining on a Cole Walton free throw but that would be as close as they would get the rest of the way.
Sacred Heart and Santa Clara both shot exactly 42.3 percent (22-52) from the field, but Santa Clara put in two more threes and seven more free throws than the Pioneers.
In game two of the Continental Tires Las Vegas Classic, Sacred Heart heads to Las Vegas to take on the UNLV Running Rebels at the Thomas & Mack Center Friday night at 7:00 PST.