March 4, 2001
By BERNIE WILSON
AP Sport Writer
SAN DIEGO (AP) - Virtually invisible the first 33 minutes, senior guard Brian Jones led an amazing comeback as Santa Clara rallied from 13 points down to stun Pepperdine 84-78 in a West Coast Conference semifinal Sunday night.
Jones made two 3-point shots and 5 of 9 free throws down the stretch to finish with 15 points and lead third-seeded Santa Clara (20-11) into Monday night's championship game for the WCC's automatic NCAA tournament berth. The Broncos will play either No. 1 seed Gonzaga or No. 4 San Diego.
Second-seeded Pepperdine (21-8) was hoping for a repeat trip to the title game, where it lost to Gonzaga in overtime last year.
Pepperdine seemed to have this one well in hand, having led by 19 points in the first half and by 67-54 with 10 minutes to play.
The Waves had totally frustrated Jones, a three-time All-WCC performer and Santa Clara's leading scorer at 16 points a game. He had made just three free throws and was 0-for-7 from the field, including four misses from behind the 3-point line, until hitting a 3-pointer with 6:50 left to pull the Broncos to 70-66.
Jones' second 3 pulled the Broncos to 73-72 with 5:23 to go, and they took the lead for good at 76-75 with 2:53 left on a free throw by Jamie Holmes.
Jones was 5-of-8 from the line in the final 1:08.
The Broncos made nine 3-pointers in the second half, the final one by Kyle Bailey with 4:26 left that gave them a 75-73 lead, just their second of the game and their first since 6-5.
Brandon Armstrong had a game-high 21 for Pepperdine and David Lalazarian added 17.
Jones also had five assists to give him 514 career assists, breaking Steve Nash's school record by four.
The Waves gained control with a 23-5 run late in the first half that gave them a 44-25 lead, their biggest of the night.
Lalazarian made three 3-point shots in the first half, and his four-point play capped a 23-5 run for a 44-25 lead with 2:13 before halftime.
Lalazarian was knocked to the ground by Ross with 9:14 left in the game, suffering a cut over his left eye that left the court bloodied. He was taken to the locker room for treatment and later returned.