Broncos Drop WCC Matchup To Gonzaga, 71-66

Feb. 27, 2003

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SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) - Blake Stepp scored a team-high 16 points, including two key three-point shots in the final three minutes, to help lift league-leading Gonzaga to a 71-66 victory over Santa Clara Thursday night.

Stepp's three-pointer from the right with 2:48 remaining gave Gonzaga (21-7, 11-2) a 65-62 lead, and his second three-pointer from the same spot with 52 seconds left made it 68-64. He later added a free throw at 0:24 for a 70-66 Bulldog lead.

The outcome wasn't decided, though, until Santa Clara's Ethan Rohde missed a long three-point shot with nine seconds left, and Gonzaga rebounded the loose ball.

The game was close throughout. In the second half, Santa Clara's Bakari Altheimer scored 14 of his game- and career-high 21 points to help keep the Broncos (13-13, 4-9) in the game.

Santa Clara held a 31-28 halftime lead. Gonzaga led most of the first half and held a 22-16 advantage with 9:33 to go. But the Broncos tied the game at 24 on a three-point shot by Brandon Rohe with 3:32 left and took a 29-26 lead on a three-pointer by Rohde with 1:16 remaining.

Ronny Turiaf scored 12 points for Gonzaga, and Zach Gourde scored 10. Cory Violette of the Bulldogs had eight rebounds to tie Santa Clara's Jim Howell for the game high. Howell and Rohde each scored 11 points for the Broncos.

Gonzaga has won four of its last five games, while Santa Clara has lost six of its last eight. Santa Clara out-rebounded Gonzaga 37-32. Gonzaga was 15-22 from the foul line, while Santa Clara was just 10-19.