MORAGA -- Jared Brownridge insisted the final play was drawn up for anyone, but Santa Clara coach Kerry Keating was glad the ball ended up in his freshman guard's hands.

With the clock winding down and the Broncos trailing by one Thursday night at McKeon Pavilion, Brownridge drilled a last-second 3-pointer to give the Santa Clara men's basketball team a 57-55 victory over Saint Mary's. It was the Broncos' first win over the Gaels since 2009.

"I just so happened to get the ball," said Brownridge, an Aurora, Ill., native. "I just knew that with five seconds left we had to get a shot up, and I knew that I had my coach's trust and my team's trust. All I had to do was knock it down."

Brownridge, who finished with 23 points, got the ball on an inbounds play with five seconds left. He dribbled to the top of the arc, where he drained his big shot in front of a crowd of 3,500.

"We had enough time to get the ball in his hands, and credit to the team for getting him open on the side out of bounds," Keating said. "That's a feat in itself. ... I'm just happy for our players to support him like that. I think it's going to lead to some great things."

Brownridge's shot came after Stephen Holt had given Saint Mary's a 55-54 lead on a 3-pointer with 21 seconds left.

Saint Mary's (12-5, 2-2 West Coast Conference) led Santa Clara (10-8, 3-2) by as many as 13 points in the first half before Brownridge and Brandon Clark rallied the Broncos back.

When Clark got a 3-pointer to bounce in with 11:59 left, the Broncos had their first lead of the game.

Brad Waldow, who finished with 17 points, 14 rebounds and five blocks, kept the Gaels close behind, scoring eight straight points. But Brownridge got a fortuitous bounce on a 3-pointer with under two minutes to play to extend Santa Clara's lead to 54-49.

It was the first home loss of the season for Saint Mary's, which played its final game without suspended coach Randy Bennett.

"We were a shot away from doing a really nice job during this stretch," said Eran Ganot, who went 3-2 as Saint Mary's acting head coach during Bennett's suspension. "Perspective is always big."

Clark finished with 20 points and five rebounds for Santa Clara. He was particularly hot early in the second half when the Broncos came back from a 29-20 halftime deficit.

But the star was Brownridge, who was coming off a 29-point effort in an overtime win over Loyola Marymount in Santa Clara's last game.

"His mentality and his humbleness is about as good for a freshman as I've ever had," Keating said.

Beau Levesque and James Walker III added 12 points each for Saint Mary's, which had defeated Santa Clara in its last nine meetings and its last six at home.

"Our ability to bounce back is going to be key," Ganot said. "We did after Hawaii, we did after Gonzaga."

saturday's games

USF (11-6, 4-1 WCC) at Saint Mary's (12-5, 2-2), 3 p.m. CSNCA
Santa Clara (10-8, 3-2 WCC) at Pacific (9-6, 0-4), 1 p.m. CSNCA