Portland wins WCC tournament opener 74-70

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LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Ryan Nicholas scored a career-high 24 points to lead Portland to a 74-70 victory Wednesday night over Santa Clara in the opening game of the West Coast Conference tournament.

Kevin Bailey scored 13 and Riley Tanner added 12 points for the eighth-seeded Pilots (7-23), who advance to play No. 5 seed San Francisco on Thursday.

The ninth-seeded Broncos (8-22) cut the Pilots' lead to 72-70 on two free throws by Evan Roquemore with 57 seconds left. But Roquemore committed a turnover with 7 seconds left and after a timeout, Riley's dunk put the game away for Portland.

Roquemore led Santa Clara with 21 points. Niyi Harrison scored 15 and Raymond Cowels III added 11 points for the Broncos, who were winless in the conference's 16-game regular season schedule.

The WCC's top two seeds, Saint Mary's and Gonzaga, have byes into Saturday's semifinals.