SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – Tournament MVP Orlando Robinson had 22 points, eight rebounds and four blocked shots, helping Fresno State beat Santa Clara, 59-52, in the championship game of the SoCal Challenge at Jessore High on Wednesday night.
Jordan Campbell added 12 points and several pace-changing plays for Fresno, including a blocked shot, after which he sank a vigorous windmill in the transition.
Fresno (5–0), who locked the defense for more than 33 minutes, had a substantial advantage at the free-throw line and held Santa Clara (5–1) off the field by a season-low 36 percent. Help her overcome her own shooting woes.
The Broncos, who scored 55% during their 5-0 start, shot four of their first five shots but made only 14 of 45 the rest of the night. Fresno shot only 32.7% (16 for 49) overall, but its defense and free-throw shooting (22 for 25) were enough to take it away.
“We kept up our defensive intensity,” Fresno coach Justin Hutton said. “All our guys would love to have a few more shots, we were able to have a few more shots. Santa Clara has to give some credit for that too, but we didn’t bow our heads when we didn’t shoot, yet we got down and stopped. ,
Fresno knocked out Santa Clara 32-27 in the second half, with 17 points coming from free throws. The Broncos were just 9 for 12 off the line for the night, and Fresno also outscored them 16-7 in point-of-turnovers, while forcing Santa Clara to 15, making just eight turnovers.
With less than eight minutes into the game, Isaiah Hill’s 3-pointer (his only basket on 10 attempts) gave the Bulldogs a 16-13 lead and they were never behind again. Robinson’s layoff with 13:36 in the second half gave Fresno their first double-digit lead at 40-29.
Keshavan Justice scored back-to-back 3-pointers to get Santa Clara to within 53-49 with 1:22, but Fresno won at the free-throw line.
Fresno is on its best start since the 2015–16 season when the Bulldogs also started 5–0, later winning the Mountain West Conference tournament and reaching the NCAA Tournament.
PJ Pipes and Justice led the Broncos 12–12 points, while Jalen Williams added 10. Parker Braun pulled down a game-high 10 rebound.
In other games…
TCU 73, Pepperdine 64: Mike Miles (16 points) continued his streak of scoring double digits in every game this season and led TCU ahead of Pepperdine.
Emanuel Miller added 15 points and 10 rebounds and wrapped a hook shot and jump shot around a missed pepperdine basket to help halt the Waves’ late rally. Their blast of four points in 23 seconds was part of an 8-3 run as TCU (4-1) held some distance at Pepperdine when the waves closed at 56-53.
100 for coach Jamie Dixon as he took over the Horned Frogs program. Dixon became the fifth head coach at TCU with 100 wins.
Charles O’Bannon added 12 points as nine of the 11 Horned Frogs. TCU was just 3 for 18 from a 3-point range, but 50% overall (27 for 54) and dominated the board, with Pepperdine going 38-22.
Jan Zideck scored 17 points and led four Waves (2-5) in double digits. Houston Mallet added 15 with three 3-pointers. Mike Mitchell had 10 points and eight assists and Jade Smith added 10 points.
TCU scored 10-2 in the first half with a four-minute delay and stopped Waves on two free throws in the final 4:48 of the half, to take a 32-27 halftime lead after eight lead changes and a tie.
Utah Valley 74, Nichols State 63: Conor Harding and Blaise Neal scored 13 points as Utah Valley had six players in double digits.
The Wolverines (5-1) took a 16-0 lead and expanded the margin to 22 points (44-22) at halftime. Utah Valley made 13 assists on 24 field goals.
Devante Carter scored 17 points in reserve for the colonel (4-3) and Emmanuel Little took 10 rebounds.
Cal Poly (SLO) 67, Idaho 63: Kyle Colvin recorded a double-double with a career-high 28 points and 10 rebounds as Cal Poly beat Idaho 67-63.
Brantley Stevenson had 10 points and eight rebounds for Cal Poly (2-4), breaking his four-game losing streak. Kobe Sanders added seven rebounds.
Mickey Dixon had 18 points for the Vandals (1-5), who now own a four-game skid. Trevante Anderson added 11 points and Philippe Peppel Jr blocked four shots.