Las Vegas, Nev. – Brandon Clark and Jared Brownridge combined for 52 points but it wasn't enough to prevent the Broncos from dropping a heart-breaking defeat for the second straight season in the quarterfinals of the WCC tournament, falling 78-76 to BYU on a last-second basket Saturday night at the Orleans Arena.
Santa Clara ends its season at 14-18 while BYU moves to 24-8 and will play Portland Monday in a semifinal round matchup.
With the game tied at 76, BYU's Tyler Haws sank a jumper from just above the free throw line with 2.5 seconds left to give the Cougars their 14th consecutive win over the Broncos.
A desperation mid-court heave from Clark came up short ending the Broncos season.
Last year it was Gonzaga's David Stockton who threw the dagger, scoring a layup with 1.4 seconds remaining lifting the Bulldogs to a two-point win in the semifinals.
Santa Clara shot 45.8 percent from the floor (27 of 59), including 45.5 percent from three-point land (10 of 22). The Broncos added 80 percent from the free throw line (12 of 15). They collected 32 rebounds, dished out 11 assists and added 6 steals, 3 blocks and 9 turnovers.
Brownridge drained 6 of 11 three-pointers to lead the Broncos with a season-high 29 points and Clark reached 20 for the 25th time in his career scoring 23. Denzel Johnson added 12 points and Nate Kratch had a team-high 7 rebounds and 4 points.
BYU shot 44 percent from the floor (22 of 50), including 33.3 percent from three-point land (5 of 15). The Cougars added 76.3 percent from the free throw line (29 of 38). They collected 36 rebounds, dished out 12 assists and added 6 steals, 3 blocks and 9 turnovers.
Haws led all scorers with 30 points making 11 of 12 free throws and BYU outscored Santa Clara 29 to 12 at the stripe. Kyle Collinsworth added 15 points.
With the score tied 36-36 at halftime, kratch and Jarvis Pugh started the second half with consecutive buckets pushing the Bronco lead four at 17:55.
A 6-0 BYU run put the Cougars up 42-40 at 16:28.
A pair of Clark free throws tied it up 42-42 at 14:58. Collinsworth scored inside and Johnson followed to tie it up 44-44 at 14:16. Haws and Johnson traded jumpers before Haws crushed a three to make the BYU lead three, 49-46, at 13:14.
A pair of Brownridge free throws was matched by a basket by Kaufusi. BYU went up eight, 56-48, on a dunk by Collinsworth and a three by Anson Winder at 11:01.
Clark's hree-point play cut the lead to five at 10:19, 56-51 BYU. Winder matched him at the free throw line with two of his own at 10:12, 57-51 BYU.
Brownridge's sixth three of the day cut it to four, 58-54, at 9:42. After a couple BYU free throws, Clark scored again at 9:12.
After a Collinsworth free throw, Brownridge scored a three point play at 8:40 to cut it to three, 61-58, at 8:40. Matt Hubbard's three at 7:16 cut the lead to five, 67-62, but BYU added two more from the free throw line to make it 69-63.
Clark crushed a three from the corner to cut it to three at 5:59 and then hit a free throw at 5:36 to cut it to two, 69-67, at 5:29.
Haws made one of two from the line to make it three at 5:23, 70-67. Two straight BYU offensive fouls and Johnson hit a couple of free throws to cut the lead to one, 70-69, at 4:17.
But BYU's 4-0 run made it 74-69 at 3:53. Isaac Neilson missed both free throws at 2:59.
Clark hit a runner in the lane and drained a three from way out with a minute left to pull the Broncos within two at 76-74.
A clutch defensive play earned a tie for the Broncos with just over a half minute left when Pugh knocked the ball loose from Skyler Halford and Brownridge scooped up the loose change darting down the court for a game-tying layup.
In the first minute of the game, Collinsworth and Haws scored their first field goals and Brownridge hit a triple at 19:22. After Kratch blocked Haws' shot, Brownridge converted his second triple at 18:35.
Clark scored from six feet out and then the teams traded one-point leads over the next four minutes. Johnson's floater at 14:05 gave SCU the lead, 14-13, at 13:39.
The third triple by Brownridge made it 17-13 Broncos, but Fischer matched him to pull BYU within a point again at 11:43. Brownridge scored for the first time inside the arc to make it 19-16 Broncos at 11:25.
After Skyler Halford scored at 10:04, Stephen Edwards crushed a triple at 9:41 to put the Broncos up by four, 22-18. BYU tied it up with two sets of free throws over the next couple of minutes. But back-to-back baskets by Clark, whose right eye was heavily bandaged from earlier, made it four again at 7:34.
Kratch hit a pair of free throws after a Halford bucket and the lead was four again, 28-24, at 5:25.
BYU tied it up with four straight points, but again Brownridge's bucket put SCU up 30-28 at 4:15. His fourth triple at 2:51 made it a five-point Bronco lead at 2:51. Out of BYU's own timeout, the Cougars' 7-0 run gave them a two-point lead at 1:20, 35-33.
Brownridge's fifth triple came with 49 seconds left in the half to put SCU back up by one, 36-35. After a BYU free throw, the teams were tied 36-36 at the half. Brownridge had 19 points (5 of 6 from three) and Haws had 14.
NOTES: Santa Clara starters: Brandon Clark (68), Jared Brownridge (64), Denzel Johnson (41), Nate Kratch (23) and Jarvis Pugh (14) ... Brownridge fell one three-pointer shy of his career-best and made 6 or more threes for the sixth time in his career ... Johnson scored his 600th career point ... Clark fell one point shy of 1,550 for his career ... Santa Clara lost both regular season games to BYU by a combined 56 points.