NICEVILLE, FLA.— Junior guard Adama Bal scored a career-high 25 points, including 21 in the second half, as Santa Clara held off Oregon, 88-82, in the semifinal round of the Emerald Coast Classic Friday night at Raider Arena on the campus of Northwest Florida State College.
The Broncos, who improved to 6-0, advanced into Saturday’s championship game and will face Ohio State which earlier knocked off No. 15 Alabama.
“He (Adama) was spectacular,” said Santa Clara head coach Herb Sendek. “He drew fouls, had assists… just a tremendous performance and certainly supported by many contributions by his teammates.”
Santa Clara shot 51.7 percent (31-60) from the floor and won the rebounding battle against the Ducks, 39-36.
Guard Keeshawn Barthelemy led Oregon with 17 points, while forward Kwame Evans Jr., had 16 points and a team-high six rebounds.
Oregon grabbed its first lead of the game at 46-44 on a three-point play by reserve Mahamadou Diawara with 16:17 left
Santa Clara later countered with an 8-0 run to grab a 63-57 advantage with 10:06 and never looked back.
Oregon could only come as close as three points on several occasions. But a three-point basket from Bal and a free throw by Christoph Tilly gave Santa Clara an 82-71 lead with 2:04 left.
Tilly finished with 18 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Guard Carlos Marshall Jr. and received Tyeree Bryan had 12 points apiece,
A contributing factor to the Broncos victory was scoring 16 points off Oregon turnovers.
“That’s how this squad is going to win,” Sendek. “It’s going to be a team effort night in and night out. “I was really proud of our effort in beating an outstanding team on a neutral court.”