Santa Clara 47, San Jose St. 46
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP)—Travis Niesen scored on a driving layup as time expired, lifting Santa Clara to a 47-46 win over San Jose State on Tuesday night.
The Broncos had not scored for more than three minutes until Niesen made the game-winning shot near a crowd of Spartan defenders underneath the basket, stunning the San Jose crowd and sending the Santa Clara players into a frenzied celebration.
Officials spent three minutes reviewing Niesen’s shot before declaring the Broncos’ win official.
Niesen finished with a game-high 22 points and had 10 rebounds for Santa Clara (3-1). It’s the fifth career double-double for Niesen, the Broncos’ leading scorer this season who is averaging 25.3 points over his last three games.
Alex Elam had 15 points and six rebounds for San Jose State (3-2), which had won three straight since a season-opening defeat at the hands of Texas Tech.
San Jose State led most of the first half but went without a field goal for more than 11 minutes in the second half and was held to a season-low in points while shooting 28.6 percent from the floor.
Kevin Fleming’s short jumper with 25 seconds left put the Spartans ahead 46-45 but San Jose State could not hold the lead. The Spartans fouled the Broncos twice before Niesen drove the left side of the lane and scooped the ball into the basket as time ran out.
Niesen also played a key role in holding San Jose State leading scorer Demetrius Brown to seven points. Brown entered the game averaging 15.8 points a game.
Santa Clara led 28-24 at halftime but fell behind when San Jose State opened the second half with an 8-2 run. The Spartans went cold offensively, though, and the Broncos were able to rally for the win.
Santa Clara struggled getting into its rhythm early and didn’t get on track until Brody Angley sank a 3-pointer and was fouled by San Jose State’s Julian Richardson with 4:43 left. The four-point play gave the Broncos their first lead of the game and they took a 28-24 edge into halftime.
The Spartans, who entered the game riding their first three-game winning streak since 2003, came out looking ready to extend that success. San Jose State led 20-15 but shot just 27.6 percent from the floor in the first half and made just two shots from the field over the final eight minutes.