BYU Drops Third Straight In Home Loss To Santa Clara

Feb 16, 2023, 9:31 PM | Updated: Feb 17, 2023, 12:17 am

PROVO, Utah – The penultimate WCC home game for BYU basketball was as forgettable as this season is becoming for the Cougars. BYU lost to Santa Clara, 81-74, at the Marriott Center.

It was the first time since December 2, 1972, that Santa Clara left Provo with a victory. Herb Sendek’s Broncos have now defeated BYU in three consecutive meetings.

The loss drops BYU to 16-13 overall on the season and 6-8 in West Coast Conference play. It puts BYU in danger of falling into the 7-10 seed range for the West Coast Conference Tournament, which would be in the opening round.

Next up for BYU is a road game at Saint Mary’s this Saturday, which held off a fiery comeback from San Diego on Thursday night.

Here’s a recap of how BYU dropped its third straight and third overall to Santa Clara on Thursday night.

Slow start for BYU basketball in the first half

Since Mark Pope became the head coach in 2019, BYU didn’t hit a three in the first half. The energy in the Marriott Center was low with the late arriving crowd, and the players didn’t do anything to heighten the excitement.

BYU was 0-of-7 from three and shot 39% from the field. Meanwhile, Santa Clara capitalized on the low energy in the building. The Broncos hit 54% of their shots from the field and 50% from three.

Former Illinois transfer Brandin Podziemski, who scored 30 points last week in a win over LMU, continued his hot scoring ways. “Podz” scored nine points in the first seven minutes and finished the half with 14 points.

The Broncos closed the first half on a 9-0 run to go into the halftime locker room with a 20-point lead at the break.

Santa Clara held BYU off in the second

BYU basketball improved its effort in the second half. They cut the Santa Clara lead to as low as seven late but could never recover from the hole they put themselves in to open the game.

Seldomly used reserve guard Trey Stewart gave BYU a spark off the bench scoring nine points in 10 minutes of action.

Santa Clara veteran Keshawn Justice hit a clutch three with 4:56 remaining that put the Broncos back up 13 after BYU knocked the lead down to 10, and the Marriott Center crowd was starting to come alive.

BYU didn’t help their comeback efforts with some key missed free throws down the stretch.

Rudi Williams scored 14 of his team-high 20 points in the second half. Near the end of the game, Williams appeared to injure his left ankle as he limped to the bench.

Podziemski led the way for Santa Clara, scoring 26 points, and Justice chipped in 19 to give the Broncos their first win in Provo since 1972.

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Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Drops Third Straight In Home Loss To Santa Clara