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Steve Nash jersey night helps Santa Clara Broncos end 26-game losing streak to Gonzaga

In a historic game honoring their greatest player, Steve Nash, the Santa Clara Broncos stunned No. 21 Gonzaga with a one-point victory.

Santa Clara Broncos hall-of-fame guard Canadian steve Nash fires up the Leavey Center crowd before against Gonzaga
Santa Clara Broncos hall-of-fame guard Canadian steve Nash fires up the Leavey Center crowd before against Gonzaga - Photo: Ezra Shaw

In a sea of Steve Nash’s No. 11 vintage classic jersey, the Santa Clara Broncos serenaded their greatest all-time basketball player with an epic win and court rush.

In a rare occurrence not witnessed since 2011, and with the presence of the legendary Steve Nash, Santa Clara surprisingly defeated the ranked No. 21 Gonzaga Bulldogs 77-76.

Thanks to the Santa Clara Broncos’ athletic department, 800 replica Nash jerseys were given away and the players also wore the Broncos’ throwback jersey themselves. As a result, a sold-out crowd of 4,200 packed the Leavey Center to the rafters for Nash’s first appearance at a home game in a very long time.

Amidst the lively atmosphere inside the arena, with their Hall of Fame point guard and legendary coach, Dick Davey, sitting courtside, the Broncos led from wire to wire. However, another Canadian point guard, Ryan Nembhard, helped rally Gonzaga from an eight-point halftime deficit by assisting and scoring on the Bulldogs’ 19-6 run, taking a 63-58 lead with 10:48 remaining.

As the game came down to crunch time, Nembhard smoothly controlled the tempo and calmly drained two clutch mid-range jumpers to push his impressive point total to 15 of his 21 points in the second half. The six-foot guard also contributed with five assists, four rebounds, and two steals, but failed to potentially seal the game in the late stages.

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Santa clara guard adama apha bal celebrates the broncos win over gonzaga with teammates and fans on steve nash jersey night
Santa Clara guard Adama-Apha Bal (middle) celebrates the Broncos win over Gonzaga with teammates and fans on Steve Nash jersey night – Photo: (AP Photo/Jeff Chi)

Trailing 76-75 following a missed free-throw opportunity to tie the game, the Broncos fouled Nembhard with 12.7 seconds remaining. He missed the front end of a one-and-one, leaving the door open for Santa Clara to snap its long-standing 26-game losing streak that dates back to Jan. 20, 2011.

Six-foot-seven French junior national team guard, Adama-Alpha Bal, raced down the court and scored the go-ahead basket with 4.6 seconds remaining as Santa Clara beat No. 21 Gonzaga by one point.

Coming into tonight, Gonzaga was 48-2 in its last 50 games against Santa Clara and had not lost to the Broncos in 13 years.

Undefeated at 3-0 in the West Coast Conference (WCC) play for the first time in 20 years, Santa Clara (12W-6L) has already stacked up wins against Oregon and Gonzaga. They will look to continue their streak against a tough St. Mary’s squad in their next game.

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Gonzaga (11-5, 0-2 road) is expected to drop out of the AP poll for the first time in 144 weeks.

Starting with Kenny Sears in the 1950s, the Santa Clara men’s basketball program consistently developed NBA talent right up until the mid 1970s-1980s. After an eleven-year draft absence, Nash became the face of the West Coast program when he was selected 15th overall in the 1996 draft.

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Under the leadership of head coach Herb Sendek for eight years, the team has seen an increase in Canadian basketball prospects choosing the Leavey Center as their home. They have also achieved consecutive first-round selections in the NBA Draft, with Jalen Williams being the No. 12 pick in 2022 and Brandin Podziemski being the No. 19 pick in 2023.

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