Las Vegas, NV – Did anyone ever had any questions whether senior guard David Stockton has ice in his veins? They found out, as did 7,688 others on Saturday night when the senior guard sank the game-winning layup with two seconds left to lift top-seeded Gonzaga past No. 9 seed Santa Clara in the West Coast Conference tournament quarterfinals 77-75.
The Zags (26-6) who trailed much of the game retook the lead (68-67) on senior forward Sam Dower’s layup with 2:52 to go. Santa Clara (14-19) tied the score once again at 75 on freshman guard Jared Brownridge’s jumper with 10 seconds left, setting up Stockton’s game winning coast-to-coast drive.
Dower finished the night with 23 points, and tied a WCC championship record by hitting 15-of- 15 from the free throw line. Sophomore center Przemek Karnowski contributed 16 points and 12 rebounds, while junior guard Gary Bell Jr. had 13 points for the Bulldogs, who ended up shooting 53 percent from the field.
Santa Clara who played exceptionally throughout most of the game was led by Brownridge’s 24 points on 4-of-7 shooting from long-range. Junior guard Brandon Clark also chipped in 14 points in the Bronco defeat.
With the game all knotted up at 22 with less than six minutes left in the first half, Saint Mary’s (22-10) and fiery Head Coach Randy Bennett decided they had enough of the salty Waves, and blew the game open with a 19-4 run that was ended by senior guard Stephen Holt’s 3-pointer that drove their lead to 41-26 with 1:37 left before half-time.
Senior forward Beau Levesque and Holt both finished out the game with 15 points apiece for the Gaels, who shot 50 percent from the field and will face top-seeded and long-time WCC rival Gonzaga in the semifinals Monday. Waldow shot exceptionally well on the night. 6-of-7 from the field and 9-of-12 from the foul-line also caused two key Pepperdine post-players to be in foul trouble most of the night.
Pepperdine (15-16) came out and fought hard, outscoring the Gaels 41-39 in the second half, was unable to overcome Saint Mary’s late first half run and had their season come to an end.
Freshman guard Amadi Udenyi led the Waves with 13 points, sophomore forward Stacy Davis added 12 points and junior guard Malcolm Brooks finished with 10.
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