SANTA CLARA — Two dry spells, one in each half, choked the University of San Diego men's basketball team and led to a 64-58 West Coast Athletic Conference loss to Santa Clara Saturday.
The Toreros fell to 5-11 with their fourth loss in four conference games.
The first drought came in the first half, beginning with 6:30 left. USD was leading, 19-16, but Santa Clara scored nine consecutive points and went on to take a 27-24 halftime lead.
With 15:06 to play, USD again went cold. Ahead, 34-32, the Toreros allowed Santa Clara to score 10 consecutive points. Melvin Chinn's 3-pointer put Santa Clara ahead, 42-34.
Santa Clara eventually increased its second-half lead to 13 points, and USD couldn't come all the way back. Down, 53-40, with 6:18 to play, the Toreros made their final run and closed to within 60-58 on Danny Means' 3-point jumper with 10 seconds to play. But four Santa Clara free throws put the game away.
"We're a young and struggling team," USD Coach Hank Egan said. "We're on a death struggle every time out, and that is what we have to understand. We played hard tonight and hung in there, and hopefully that will help us when we get home. We've got to continue to keep making progress."
The Toreros outrebounded Santa Clara, 40-21, but turned the ball over 26 times to Santa Clara's 10.