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Adama-Alpha Bal, Santa Clara too strong for Washington State


Adama-Alpha Bal scored 23 points and Santa Clara held off a late comeback to defeat Washington State 69-61 Saturday at the Jerry Colangelo Classic in Phoenix.

Johnny O’Neil had 13 points and 10 rebounds for the Broncos (8-4), who snapped a three-game skid and improved to 3-1 against Pacific-12 Conference teams this season. Carlos Marshall Jr. added 10 points.

Isaac Jones led Washington State (8-2) with 16 points. Andrej Jakimovski added 14 and Myles Rice scored 12 for the Cougars, who had a six-game winning streak come to an end.

It was the fourth time this season Bal has scored more than 20 points, all against Pac-12 teams. The transfer, who averaged just 2.0 points in two seasons at Arizona, scored 23 in an 89-77 victory at Stanford on Nov. 14, 25 in an 88-82 win versus Oregon at the Emerald Coast Classic in Florida on Nov. 24 and 22 in an 84-69 loss at California on Dec. 2.

Bal was 6-for-9 from the field, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range, and made all eight of his free-throw attempts.

Bal scored 15 points in the first half Saturday as the Broncos took a 39-23 lead.

The Cougars were up 16-12 with 13:55 left in half before Santa Clara went on a 23-1 run.

Kymany Houinsou’s fast-break dunk off a turnover with 2:56 left in half was the first Washington State field goal since Jakimovski’s 3-pointer with 14:42 remaining.

The Cougars used a late 10-0 run to pull within 60-54 with 2:23 remaining.

WSU’s Jones made a dunk with 49 seconds left to cut Santa Clara’s lead to four points, but the Broncos went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line the rest of the way to close out the victory.

Santa Clara shot 41.1 percent from the field (23 of 56) while limiting the Cougars to 33.3 percent (22 of 66).

Broncos sophomore 7-footer Christoph Tilly, who averages 8.3 points and 4.2 rebounds, didn’t play for undisclosed reasons.

–Field Level Media

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