SANTA CLARA -- Playing three Division I teams in five days might have seemed like a tall order, but the chance to develop the Cal State Stanislaus men's basketball team this early in the season has proved priceless.
The Warriors improved with each game, and the preseason exhibition triple play ended with Monday night's 69-68 victory over Santa Clara at Leavey Center.
The win was the Warriors' first over a Division I program since beating UC Irvine in 2005-06.
Five Warriors scored in double figures with Rick Cardoso leading the way with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Duane Jones, J.R. Cassita and Calvin Westbrook each had 12 and Heath Colvin 10.
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"You know, our guys didn't look intimidated at all. When they came out it was like, 'We can do this,' " Warriors coach Keith Larsen said. "Maybe it was because we played three games in five days and that was the plan on paper when we put it on the schedule."
The Warriors opened with exhibition losses to Pacific (81-59) and Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo (97-89).
On Monday night, it was the Warriors' defense coming up big in the final two Santa Clara possessions.
With possession of the ball and 17.8 seconds left coming out of a timeout, Santa Clara tried to work it inside to 6-foot-10-inch center John Bryant. And like the previous possession, the Warriors responded defensively as Colvin tipped the ball away as time expired.
The Broncos tried a similar play on their previous possession, attempting to feed a pass to the 305-pound Bryant, but Casey Fletcher intercepted the pass to allow the Warriors to milk some clock before taking a timeout with a one-point lead.
Santa Clara managed to regain control by forcing a turnover in front of the Warriors' bench and called time out with 17.8 seconds left to set up the final sequence.
"Interesting enough, we are not a good zone defense team, but with people fouling out we had to do what we had to do," Larsen said. "They figured it out and cut in front of (Bryant)."
Bryant finished with 25 points and seven rebounds to lead the Broncos. Mitch Henke scored 15 points.
Stanislaus led for most of the game after taking the advantage at 11-9. Santa Clara, however, rallied back after two Bryant free throws with 6:39 remaining in the second half to take a 57-56 lead before a seesaw battle ensued.
After a shaky start, the Warriors played well in the first half, taking control with fast breaks, hitting 3-pointers and taking advantage of poor shooting by the Broncos.
A Westbrook fast-break layup at 6:15 gave Stanislaus a 28-18 lead. The Warriors led 35-25 at the half with the help of 12 points and seven rebounds from Cardoso. Against Cal Poly on Saturday, Cardoso had 23 points and 14 rebounds.
Santa Clara shot 32.3 percent in the first half with Bryant scoring nine points on 4-of-10 shooting.
Stanislaus opens the regular season next week with two games at the Seattle University Tournament in Seattle.