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USF hoops beats down-freeway rival Santa Clara

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Nate Renfro throws down a dunk at Santa Clara on Saturday. (Courtesy Christina Leung/USF Athletics)

SANTA CLARA – For a few years, the games between the San Francisco Dons and Santa Clara Broncos were more of a rivalry in name than in reality.

Saturday night, it felt like a rivalry and USF ultimately came away with a 70-59 road win to even up the season series in the battle between Bay Area Jesuit rivals.

San Francisco (13-12, 5-7 WCC) held a 35-23 halftime lead, led by as much as 14 and never trailed, but had to fight off multiple Santa Clara runs, with the Broncos coming alive in the second half and using a 19-5 run to tie the game at 42 early in the second half, largely thanks to K.J. Feagin.

Feagin went scoreless in the first half but scored 15 in the final 20 minutes, including 11 during that run to tie the game.

“Feagin has our number,” said San Francisco head coach Kyle Smith. “He’s a really good player.”

Still, his run wouldn’t stop USF. After Henrik Jadersten tied the game with an and-1 followed by a 3-pointer, Jordan Ratinho put the visitors back on top with five straight points, connecting on one of the Dons’ seven 3-pointers on the night and following it up with a drive to the hoop. The sophomore shot 7-for-10 on the night.

The lead got up to seven before another surge by Santa Clara (8-16, 5-7). The Broncos scored the next six points on threes by Jarvis Pugh and Kai Healy. USF had an immediate response from Frankie Ferrari.

With the shot clock winding down, he drew a double team and found Matt McCarthy for the dunk, and answered a Feagin layup with a 3-point play to bring the lead back up to four.

Ferrari, who scored a game-high 19 points, came away with not only a rivalry win, but a victory over longtime friend and AAU teammate Henry Caruso. The two played at rival high schools, with Caruso winning all three meetings, and Caruso also came out on top three weeks prior at San Francisco after transferring from Princeton as a grad student.

“I got him a bunch of times in my backyard over the summer too,” said Ferrari.

After Bronco center Emmanuel Ndumanya controlled the paint in the first meeting, he held to six points on Saturday, with the efforts of McCarthy, Taavi Jurkatamm and Jimbo Lull playing a major factor.

“We paid more attention to him because he’s really come along as a scorer,” said Lull. “We tried to take away his right hand jump hook.”

Nate Renfro sealed the game with a wide-open three from the corner and a huge chasedown block on Caruso in the final minute.

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