College

Santa Clara Advances To CIT Finals

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Kevin Foster of the Santa Clara Broncos. (AP)

Kevin Foster of the Santa Clara Broncos. (AP)

DALLAS (AP) — Kevin Foster scored 35 points, Troy Payne added 15 and Santa Clara beat SMU 72-55 Friday night to reach the championship of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.

Santa Clara (23-14) will face Iona or East Tennessee State, who play Saturday. SMU (20-15), finished its first 20-win season since 1999-2000.

Mustangs coach Kevin Doherty is happy not to deal with Foster again.

“I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I can’t remember anyone being that good,” Doherty said. “He’s an unbelievable shooter. I don’t know how we could’ve guarded him any better.”

With the game tied at 51 with 7:44 left, Foster took over. He scored 13 points on a 21-4 run to close out the game.

Foster sealed the victory with a four-point play with 2:14 left. With two seconds left on the shot clock, he drained a 3 from the left wing while getting fouled to give the Broncos a commanding 66-54 lead.

“I actually get fouled a lot on 3s,” said Foster, who was one-point shy of his career high. “I’ve gotten used to it, and just have to focus on making the shot. I had a feeling I was going to get fouled there.”

Foster finished 13 of 23 from the field, including 8 of 10 on two-point shots.

“I still want him to be better,” Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating said. “He’s figuring it out, and he took better two-point shots. He’s a special player, and special players can carry a team in March.”

Robert Nyakundi finished with 14 points, and Collin Mangrum had 13 for SMU (20-15), which completed its best season under Doherty and reached the 20-win mark for the first time since 1999-2000.

SMU’s leading scorer, Papa Dia, played only 11 minutes—all in the first half. Dia, who entered averaging a team-high 18.7 points, sprained his ankle after receiving a hard foul by Ben Dowdell.

“I thought the play was excessive,” Doherty said. “It’s hard when your best player only plays 11 minutes.”

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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