Broncos End Regular-Season With Loss To No. 4 Gonzaga
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -Blake Stepp had 14 points and eight assists to help Gonzaga beat Santa Clara 80-64 Saturday night in the final college basketball game in the Martin Centre and the season finale for both teams.
It was the 18th win in a row for Gonzaga (25-2, 14-0 West Coast Conference), extending a school record, and it also completed the team's first undefeated run through the WCC. The Bulldogs will be the top seed in next week's WCC tournament.
Santa Clara (14-15, 6-8) lost for the sixth consecutive time to Gonzaga and will enter next week's WCC Tournament as the event's number five seed. The Broncos will play eighth-seeded San Diego in the first round on Friday night.
Gonzaga's five seniors, Stepp, Cory Violette, Kyle Bankhead, Tony Skinner and Richard Fox, all scored as the Bulldogs raced to a 22-5 lead in the first seven minutes.
"The way they shot early in the game, I though they'd beat us by 50 points," Santa Clara coach Dick Davey said. "They made a couple of stretch runs and we couldn't keep up."
Scott Dougherty's 3-pointer capped a 9-0 run that brought Santa Clara to 32-23, late in the first half. But, Stepp hit a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws for a 37-26 halftime lead.
Bankhead's 3-pointer sparked a 13-0 Gonzaga run midway through the second half for a 59-35 lead. The Broncos went on a 21-9 run that brought them to within 14 late in the game. Perkins hit three-staright treys in a 1:07 span during the run. However, the Broncos were forced to foul late in the game and Gonzaga maintained their lead.
It was the final game in the Martin Centre, the 4,000-seat bandbox that has been Gonzaga's home court since 1965. The Bulldogs posted a 397-104 record in the gym. Next season they move next door to a new 6,000-seat arena, the $23 million McCarthey Athletic Center.