LAS VEGAS -- It took an awkward layup with 1.4 seconds left to prevent Santa Clara from upsetting longtime nemesis Gonzaga and reaching the semifinals of the West Coast Conference tournament Saturday night.
David Stockton, son of former NBA great John Stockton, converted a right-handed layup on the left side to give the Bulldogs a 77-75 victory over the Broncos.
Gonzaga (26-6) advances to a Monday semifinal at the Orleans Arena against the winner of Saturday's late quarterfinal between Pepperdine and Saint Mary's.
Santa Clara (14-19) had tied it on Jared Brownridge's lone second-half field goal, a jumper from the left elbow with 9.1 seconds remaining.
Brownridge finished with 24 points.
"I'm thinking what we can be now, not what we almost were," Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating saud. "The biggest lesson we learned was our word, build. I'm excited mostly what word we are going to decide on next year and I know that these guys will put effort into that."
"This is a perfect opportunity to build off of, and that's been our word since the beginning of the season, build," Brownridge said. "We put ourselves in a good position so that nobody is going to want to mess with us (in the future)."
Sam Dower Jr., who won a game at Santa Clara during the regular season with a 3-point shot from the top of the key with 1.9 ticks left, tallied 23 points for the Bulldogs. He nailed all 15 free throws he attempted, including 10 over the final seven minutes.
"They make it tough when we play them," Dower said of the Broncos. "But we'll run through a brick wall for each other."
Evan Roquemore had cut Gonzaga's lead to 75-73 when he sank a short shot over Stockton on the right baseline and made the ensuing free throw after a foul was called on Stockton.
When Stockton tried inbounding to Gary Bell Jr. on the ensuing possession, Bell got tied up and turned it over with 31.5 seconds left.
"A mistake, but we didn't dwell on it," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.
Instead of bleeding the clock and taking the last shot of the game, however, Santa Clara worked it to Brownridge, who launched his tying jumper with just less than 10 seconds left.
That gave Stockton time to go the length of the court. All other options were covered, so Stockton knifed his way through the lane and banked it off the left side of the rim.
"That's where the opportunity was," Stockton said.
Gonzaga took its first lead of the second half with 41/2 minutes remaining, when Stockton sliced through the left side of the lane and banked in a layup for a 64-63 lead.
"It was truly a great win for us," Few said. "We had to dig as deep as we've had to all season. (Stockton) has a winning knack. I thought he'd be the best guy on a ball-screen situation."
Brownridge nearly matched his 20-point output from Thursday night's victory over Pacific in the first half against Gonzaga. The Broncos led 37-31 at the intermission, and 18 of those points were provided by their hotshot freshman guard from Aurora, Ill.
No fewer than five Bulldogs had the task of trying to defend, deny or pester Brownridge, and all required help. Often, the 6-foot-2 rookie zipped his foes through a phalanx of two or three screens on baseline curls.
In the second half, Gonzaga did the pestering on Brownridge with what morphed from a diamond-and-one to a box-and-one. Four defenders essentially took the Bronco nearest him, while one stuck to Brownridge like glue. He was always trying to shake free from a double team over the final 20 minutes.