SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Tournament MVP Orlando Robinson had 22 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots to help Fresno State beat Santa Clara, 59-52, in the championship game of the SoCal Challenge on Wednesday night at JSerra High.
Jordan Campbell added 12 points and several momentum-changing plays for Fresno, including a blocked shot that he followed with an emphatic windmill dunk in transition.
Fresno (5-0), which led for more than 33 minutes, locked down on defense, had a considerable advantage at the free-throw line and held Santa Clara (5-1) to a season-low 36 percent from the field to help offset its own shooting woes.
The Broncos, who shot 55% during their 5-0 start, made four of their first five shots but just 14 of 45 the rest of the night. Fresno shot just 32.7% overall (16 for 49), but its defense and free-throw shooting (22 for 25) were enough to overcome that.
“We maintained our defensive intensity,” Fresno coach Justin Hutson said. “All our guys would’ve liked to make a few more shots, we were capable of making a few more shots. Gotta give Santa Clara some credit for that also, but we didn’t hang our head when we didn’t make shots, we still got down and made stops.”
Fresno outscored Santa Clara 32-27 in the second half with 17 of those points coming via free throws. The Broncos were just 9 for 12 from the line for the night, and Fresno also outscored them 16-7 in points off turnovers, committing just eight turnovers while forcing Santa Clara into 15.
Isaiah Hill’s 3-pointer with less than eight minutes into the game (his only basket on 10 attempts) gave the Bulldogs a 16-13 lead and they never trailed again. Robinson’s layup with 13:36 left in the second half gave Fresno its first double-digit lead at 40-29.
Keshawn Justice made back-to-back 3-pointers to get Santa Clara within 53-49 with 1:22 left, but Fresno iced the win at the free-throw line.
Fresno is off to its best start since the 2015-16 season when the Bulldogs also opened 5-0, later won the Mountain West Conference Tournament and reached the NCAA Tournament.
PJ Pipes and Justice paced the Broncos with 12 points each while Jalen Williams added 10. Parker Braun pulled down a game-high 10 rebounds.
In other games …
TCU 73, Pepperdine 64: Mike Miles (16 points) continued his streak of scoring in double figures in every game this season to lead TCU past Pepperdine.
Emanuel Miller added 15 points and 10 rebounds and scored on a hook shot and a jump shot wrapped around a missed Pepperdine basket to help squelch the Waves’ late rally. His burst of four points in 23 seconds was part of an 8-3 run as TCU (4-1) kept some distance on Pepperdine after the Waves had closed to 56-53.
The win was No. 100 for Coach Jamie Dixon since he took over the Horned Frogs program. Dixon became the fifth head coach with 100 wins at TCU.
Charles O’Bannon added 12 points as nine of 11 Horned Frogs scored. TCU was just 3 for 18 from 3-point range but shot 50% overall (27 for 54) and dominated the boards, outrebounding Pepperdine 38-22.
Jan Zidek scored 17 points to lead four Waves (2-5) in double figures. Houston Mallette added 15 with three 3-pointers. Mike Mitchell had 10 points and eight assists and Jadé Smith added 10 points.
TCU went on a 10-2 run over four minutes late in the first half to take a 32-27 halftime lead after eight lead changes and a tie, holding the Waves to two free throws in the final 4:48 of the half.
Utah Valley 74, Nicholls State 63: Connor Harding and Blaze Nield each scored 13 points as Utah Valley had six players score in double figures.
The Wolverines (5-1) built a 16-0 lead and extended the margin to 22 points (44-22) by halftime. Utah Valley had 13 assists on 24 field goals.
Devante Carter scored 17 points in reserve for the Colonels (4-3) and Emmanuel Little grabbed 10 rebounds.
Cal Poly (SLO) 67, Idaho 63: Kyle Colvin recorded a double-double with a career-high 28 points and 10 rebounds and Cal Poly edged Idaho 67-63.
Brantly Stevenson had 10 points and eight rebounds for Cal Poly (2-4), which snapped its four-game losing streak. Kobe Sanders added seven rebounds.
Mikey Dixon had 18 points for the Vandals (1-5), now owners of a four-game skid. Trevante Anderson added 11 points and Philip Pepple Jr. blocked four shots.
(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)