BYU recovers from slow start, but not 2nd helped in (another) loss at Santa Clara

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

PROVO — BYU overcame an early 13-point deficit, but turned over another opportunity for a comeback win on Thursday night.

Keshawn Justice poured in 23 points, six rebounds and two assists; and Carlos Stewart added 21 points and three assists as Santa Clara knocked off BYU 83-76 in the Cougars’ final trip to the Leavey Center as members of the West Coast Conference.

Brandin Podziemski added 17 points and eight rebounds for the Broncos (16-5, 4-2 WCC), who earned just their eighth win all-time over the Cougars.

Spencer Johnson scored 17 points on 4-of-5 3-point shooting to go along with three rebounds, two steals and two assists, to help BYU (14-8, 4-3 WCC) recover from a torrid start with his fourth- straight game with double-digit scoring — a first for him since his freshman season at Salt Lake Community College.

Rudi Williams had 24 points and four assists with just two turnovers, and Dallin Hall added 12 points and three rebounds for the Cougars, who committed 19 turnovers and shot 42% from the field and 19-of-25 from the free-throw line.

BYU had more turnovers than made field goals, 15 to 10, in the first half. But Hall’s 3-pointer with a minute remaining pulled the Cougars as close as 31-26 before Podziemski’s step-back 3 at the horn gave Santa Clara an 8-point halftime advantage.

The Broncos got 11 points from Justice, and 9 points and four rebounds from Podziemski in the first half while holding the Cougars to 38% shooting and scoring 17 points off turnovers.

Johnson had 8 points to lead BYU at the break.

BYU opened the second half on a 9-0 blitz in 90 seconds, but Jaden Bediako converted from close range to retake the lead just 20 seconds after Hall’s go-ahead jumper.

Still, the Cougars connected on five of their first nine attempts to start the second half, including Jaxson Robinson’s triple that stretched the lead to 40-36.

Back-and-forth they went, until the Broncos led by as much as eight on Podziemski’s euro-step with 4:06 remaining to go up 68-60.

The Cougars could get no closer until Williams’ jumper with 1:19 left cut the deficit as low as 74-71. But the Broncos ended the game on a run to clinch a home win over BYU for the second-straight season.

This story will be updated.


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A proud graduate of Syracuse University, Sean Walker has covered BYU for since 2015, while also mixing in prep sports, education, and anything else his editors assign him to do.

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