SANTA CLARA — Too many of Santa Clara's missed shots fell into the wrong hands on both ends of the court Thursday night.
As a result, the Broncos fell to Pepperdine 70-61 in their West Coast Conference home opener before 1,431 at the Leavey Center.
Able to keep pace with Pepperdine for much of the contest, the Broncos (8-8, 1-2 WCC) might have engineered a much different outcome had they not taken ill-advised shots that Waves players pulled down, SCU coach Kerry Keating said.
"We had three or four shooting turnovers that were not open shots, and that hurt us," Keating said. "We didn't get to the free-throw line nearly enough, we didn't finish in the paint nearly enough, and we tried to get it all back on shots. We can't do that."
Things didn't go much better off the defensive glass as Pepperdine center Brendan Lane, a 6-foot-9 senior transfer from UCLA, repeatedly turned rebounds into points for the Waves (10-5, 3-0). Lane finished with 26 points and 17 rebounds.
"He was at UCLA for a reason," Keating said. "His five offensive rebounds were a killer. He took three or four point-blank shots off offensive rebounds, and that's a problem that has to be addressed, or else it's going to be the same-old, same-old every time."
Freshman Jared Brownridge led a trio of Santa Clara guards who scored in double figures, netting 18 points, including a game-high four 3-pointers. Sixteen of Brownridge's points, however, came in the first half.
Junior Brandon Clark scored 12 of his 16 points in the second half, and senior Evan Roquemore added 13 points.
After trailing 38-33 at halftime, Santa Clara fell behind by nine points early in the second half and might have been down by more had Clark not scored eight of the Broncos' first 10 points.
Slowly but surely, SCU chipped away at Pepperdine's lead and eventually tied the score at 55 on freshman guard Jalen Richard's underhanded layup with 8:24 remaining.
The Broncos nearly took the lead four minutes later when Clark sank a layup after taking a pass into the key. The referees made a controversial offensive-foul call on the play, however, and the basket was nullified.
SCU never recovered after that.
"That was the heartbreaker for us," Clark said. "Us being a young team, we have to learn how to come back and make that next play."
Saint Mary's (10-4, 1-1 WCC) at Portland (9-6, 1-2),
7 p.m. CSNBA