SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Willie Caruso had 22 points and 10 rebounds and Trey Wertz scored 18 to help Santa Clara wrap up a perfect three-game homestand to start the season with a 70-62 victory over Washington State on Tuesday night.
The Broncos (3-0) followed up wins over Division III UC Santa Cruz and Cal Poly by pulling away from the Cougars (1-1) in the second half as they opened the season with three straight wins for the first time since going 5-0 in 2012-13.
Isaac Bonton scored 19 points and CJ Elleby added 10 but Washington State struggled offensively in coach Kyle Smith's second game on the job.
The game turned in a stretch beginning early in the second half when the Cougars couldn't buy a basket. Santa Clara used an 8-0 run over a span of more than six minutes as Washington State went 0-for-8 from the field with four turnovers.
Wertz capped that spurt with a layup that made it 54-44 before Bonton hit back-to-back layups. The Broncos answered with a 9-1 run capped by a layup by Caruso that made it 63-49.
Santa Clara made 6 of 8 shots to start the game before things tightened up defensively a bit. The Broncos still had the edge at the half when Tahj Eaddy made a 3-pointer in the closing seconds to make it 41-38 at the break.
Washington State: After scoring 27 points in the opener, Elleby shot just 4 for 14 this game before fouling out. His night got off to a bad start when he was called for an offensive foul for kicking out his leg, negating a made 3-pointer. That was one of 14 turnovers for the Cougars, who had just three in the season opener.
Santa Clara: The Broncos came into this season with high hopes after returning their top five scorers from a team that went 16-15 a year ago. They hoped to get off to a fast start with seven of their first eight games at home and have done that so far, even getting a win against a Pac-12 team.
Washington State: Host Idaho State on Sunday.
Santa Clara: Visit Stanford on Friday night.