SANTA CLARA -- A record-setting crowd watched Santa Clara push No. 10 Gonzaga on Saturday night.
But the Broncos couldn't solve 7-footer Kelly Olynyk, who scored a career-high 33 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to pace Gonzaga's 81-74 victory in front of a Leavey Center-record crowd of 4,907.
"Olynyk had a great game. He put on a lot of pressure on us," Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating said. "We just didn't do a good enough job defending him straight up."
Olynyk, a junior, used a redshirt season last year to improve his game after seeing regular playing time his first two seasons. He has come back to lead Gonzaga (15-1, 2-0 West Coast Conference) in scoring and rebounding.
"He changed his body, he made himself better mentally," Bulldogs coach Mark Few said of Olynyk.
Olynyk's effort overshadowed the performance of Santa Clara's Kevin Foster, who became the first player in school history to reach 2,000 points. He finished with 29 for the game and has 2,006 for his career.
Foster's effort wasn't enough and reflected some of the struggles for the Broncos (12-4, 1-1), who made just 7 of 23 shots from 3-point range. Foster shot 2 of 12 from beyond the arc.
"We like to make 10 of those and not seven," Keating said. "If we can get to nine or 10, it's a little bit different."
Olynyk announced his presence early when he grabbed the opening tipoff and raced to the bucket for an uncontested dunk. He had 17 first-half
Foster also had 17 points in the first half for the Broncos, and his three-point play with 5:36 left in the half capped an 8-0 run to give Santa Clara a 30-29 lead.
Gonzaga followed with an 8-0 spurt, which helped build a 41-34 halftime lead.
Santa Clara never led in the second half but got within a point on a Brandon Clark's 3-pointer with 13:24 to play. But Gonzaga followed that with a 10-0 run to lead 62-51.
As the Bulldogs surged to take control, the Broncos struggled to score inside against Gonzaga's formidable frontcourt. Santa Clara shot 41 percent for the game against Gonzaga's 55 percent.
The Broncos still kept it close and were within four on several occasions. But each time Santa Clara closed the gap, Olynyk was there to answer. He scored eight straight points for Gonzaga down the stretch.
"It's really important to make plays down the stretch," Olynyk said. "I knew in this game I was feeling good, my confidence was real high, and I knew I was going to make plays if my team needed me to."
Santa Clara's Marc Trasolini had 19 points and nine rebounds, but the rest of the Broncos' frontcourt struggled. Robert Garrett fouled out with zero points. Yannick Atanga came off the bench to grab nine rebounds, but he also fouled out, mostly as a result of trying to defend Olynyk.
The Broncos' record home crowd came while the school is on winter break. Last week, Keating offered to pay up to $100 in hotel costs for students who came back early for the game. The dorms do not open until Sunday.
"The crowd was great," Keating said. "I wish it was like that all the time. I've been trying to tell people for six years that we're always playing in here, so I don't understand why we can't have that type of support."
Follow Jimmy Durkin on Twitter at twitter.com/Jimmy_Durkin.