TCU, Santa Clara hope to extend hot starts


Texas Christian and Santa Clara aim to extend their respective hot starts when they meet Monday night in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., for the SoCal Challenge.

TCU (3-0) needed a boost at home from leading scorer Mike Miles last Thursday in Fort Worth, Texas, to come back from 13 down against Nicholls State, while 4-0 Santa Clara took down Cal Poly 87-57 on Friday night.

Miles, who is putting up 19.3 points and 4.3 assists per game, hit for 13 of his 16 points in the second half of the Horned Frogs’ 63-50 victory.

Miles shoots 43.9 percent from the field and 38.5 from 3-point range and is complemented by Emanuel Miller’s 11 points and 10 rebounds per game.

“We weren’t very good offensively to start,” TCU coach Jamie Dixon told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram after Thursday’s victory. “I wouldn’t say start to finish, but we finished the last 15 minutes much better offensively.”

“We haven’t been as good as I thought we’d be. We have work to do, but we got it done down the stretch and our defense kind of took over.”

Chuck O’Bannon, son of UCLA standout and NCAA champ (1995) Charles O’Bannon, extended his streak of at least one successful 3-pointer to nine consecutive games.

The TCU defense will be tested by the high-scoring Broncos, who enter Monday’s matchup averaging 88.8 points per game.

Coach Herb Sendek enjoyed his team’s ability to step up in the absence of Josip Vrankic (16.3 points, 6.7 rebounds and six assists per game), led Friday by Jalen Williams’ 26 points and the strong play of Jaden Bediako — Vrankic’s backup — who scored five points in 21 minutes.

Bediako helped key “a good team win,” Sendek said. “He’s playing with a lot of confidence right now. His teammates believe in him.”

Santa Clara already has defeated Stanford by 16 points and Nevada by 22 this season.

Sendek, in his sixth season at Santa Clara, is 36-21 over the past two-plus seasons and has won 493 games over 27-plus seasons.

–Field Level Media

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