Niesen Buzzer-Beater Sinks Spartans

Nov. 30, 2005

Final Stats |  Quotes | Rivalry Series

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) - Despite a delayed look at the replays by the game officials, there was no doubt in Travis Niesen's mind as he raced off the court that his layin as time expired was good.

The Mission Viejo, Calif. native scored on a driving left-handed layup as time expired to lift the Santa Clara men's basketball team to a 47-46 win at San Jose State Tuesday night.

The win provided Bronco head coach Dick Davey a 3-1 start to the season for only the third time in the last eight seasons and pulled SCU into a tie at the top of the West Coast Conference standings with sixth-ranked Gonzaga. Just as important, it gave Santa Clara three points in the annual Rivalry Series between the two schools.

Santa Clara, which limited the Spartans to just 28.6 shooting from the field, 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 of more than 3,000 and sending the Santa Clara players and fans into a post-game celebration.

It wasn't official until after the game referees spent roughly three minutes reviewing Niesen's shot on an in-house video system before declaring the Broncos the victor.

Niesen finished with a game-high 22 points and had 10 rebounds for Santa Clara, which travels to play at Mississippi State on Saturday. 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 at the United Spirit Arena in Lubbock, Texas.

San Jose State led most of the first half but was held without a field goal for more than 11 minutes in the second half and was held to a season-low in points. The Broncos took their first lead when Brody Angley was fouled on a three-point field goal and completed the four-point play to put Santa Clara ahead 24-22 with 4:43 remaining in the first half.

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 overcome a poor shooting night themselves with a tough defensive effort and rally for the win.

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.