The basket finished a back-and-forth game in which each team took control in the second half, only to see it slip away.
Trailing 57-54 with 6:58 remaining, San Jose State outscored Santa Clara 11-6 to lead 65-60 with 3:04 left. Forward Carlton Baker scored seven of the Spartans' points during the stretch.
Santa Clara's Kyle Bailey then hit three consecutive three-point shots to give the Broncos a 69-65 lead with 1:06 remaining.
Hawkins made two free throws for the Spartans at 0:51 to make it 69-67. Bailey was called for an offensive foul with 27 seconds left, and Baker followed by making a driving shot from the lane with 15 seconds left to tie the score.
However, Baker was called for a foul after the shot, sending Santa Clara's Cord Anderson to the foul line. Anderson missed the front end of the one-and-one, and San Jose State drove for what proved to be the winning basket.
Baker led all scorers with 19 points, and had six rebounds. Keith West added 12 points for San Jose State (2-1) of the Western Athletic Conference.
Brandon Rohe led Santa Clara (3-1) of the West Coast Conference with 18 points, while Bailey scored 14.
Hawkins, the Spartans' Eric Walton and Santa Clara's Jim Howell had seven rebounds apiece.
Santa Clara led most of the first half and held a 30-28 halftime advantage. The Broncos hit only five of 15 foul shots in the half, but made five three-point shots. San Jose State had none. Santa Clara made only 9 of 22 shots in the game.
The official SJSU web site story:
Hawkins' jumper gives San Jose State 71-69 win over Santa Clara
Santa Clara, Calif.- Guard Brandon Hawkins hit a 17-foot jumper from just beyond the free throw line with 3.9 seconds to give San Jose State University a 71-69 victory over Santa Clara University.
The Spartans' win was the team's first over the Broncos in six years and just the second in the last 11 seasons over the crosstown rival.
This year's game between the two teams was eerily similar to last year's that Santa Clara won 65-63. One team gets off to a great start, but eventually lets the other team back in the game. The outcome is not decided until a perimeter jumper in the final seconds.
"They put the ball in my hands. I made the shot and the the right decision," said Hawkins, who finished with eight points including four in the final minute of the game. "I was open. The basket looked big and the ball went in the hole."
"Once we rebounded the ball, I didn't want to interrupt the flow of the game," said San Jopse State coach Phil Johnson, who reinserted Hawkins in the starting lineup after not starting him against Menlo College. "I wanted Brandon to be aggressive and make a play. I didn't want him to shoot a long bomb. He got to 15 feet and made the shot."
Santa Clara (3-1) scored the game's first nine points, all on three-point baskets. Hawkins finally got the San Jose State (2-1) on the scoreboard at the 15:17 mark with his only basket of the half as the Spartans rallied to tie the game at 13-13 with 11:01 left before intermission.
Neither team led by more than four points the rest of the way as there were 14 ties and 15 lead changes.
The bench support was big for the Spartans on both ends of the court. Oudie Baker came off the bench to spark the Spartans' offense in the first half with 10 of his game-high 21 points.
Reserve guard Bim Okunrinboye did not take a field goal attempt, but came in the game after Hawkins and Antonio Lawrence had picked up their third personal fouls in the first half, and shut out Santa Clara's Kyle Bailey, who was averaging 18 points a game.
"We had some guys who came off the bench and gave us a lift," said Baker, who did not start for the first time this season. Forward Keith Everage scored six points and pulled down four rebounds in 17 minutes and freshman guard Joe Calderon hit a key three-point basket to the Spartans ahead briefly midway through the second half.
San Jose State trailed 30-28 at halftime, but was ahead 61-57 with 4:43 remaining after a Keith West lay-up on a Hawkins' assist. That's when Santa Clara went on a three-point shooting barrage.
Reserve Brandon Rohe, who led the Broncos in scoring with 18 points and made all four of his three-point basket tries, quickly answered with his final three of the night.
Bailey, who hit the game-winning three-pointer in last year's game and had only five points on 2-of-11 shooting, scored Santa Clara's last nine points to finish with 14, all on three's to put the Broncos ahead, 69-65, with 1:04 to go.
"With the way they shoot the ball, there was no lead to protect," said Johnson, about Santa Clara making 12-of-21 from three-point range. "We were fairly patient, but we were attacking (on offense)."
The Spartans scored the final six points of the game as Hawkins coaxed Bailey into a two-shot foul and made both free throws.
Baker tied the game at 69-69 with 15.4 seconds let on a drive down the left of the key to the basket, but was called for a foul after he released the ball.
Santa Clara, which made just 9-of-22 free throws, could not convert as forward Cord Anderson missed his only try of the game setting up Hawkins' game-winning basket.
"Both teams played well in the clutch, They came up with the big play at the end of the game," said Santa Clara University coach Dick Davey.
The Spartans' also had their best free throw shooting night of the season making 15-of-20 tries. San Jose State also helped itself committing just two of its season-low 13 turnovers in the second half.
San Jose State returns to action, Wednesday, December 4, in a non-conference game at Saint Mary's. Game time is 7:00 p.m.
The San Jose Mercury News Story on the SJS win:
Three-pointer seals SJSU's thrilling victory
HAWKINS DELIVERS WINNER OVER SCU
By Gabe Leon
Special to the Mercury News
The battle in this rivalry came down to the final seconds. Again.
But this time San Jose State came out on top when Brandon Hawkins nailed a 17-foot jumper from the top of the key with 3.9 seconds remaining, lifting the Spartans to a 71-69 victory over Santa Clara at the Leavey Center. That ended the Spartans' six-game losing streak to the Broncos.
``It was a big win for us for many reasons,'' San Jose State Coach Phil Johnson said. ``We're trying to build a tradition here and create an atmosphere that's exciting. It was a huge win for our players and fans.''
Hawkins said Johnson wanted the ball in his hands, and he was happy to come through.
``I'm just glad that I was able to make the right decision when it counted most,'' Hawkins said. ``I was able to get a good look, and the basket looked real big on that shot.''
Santa Clara (3-1) had a final opportunity, getting the ball to last year's hero, Kyle Bailey. But Bailey, who nailed a winning three-pointer in the 2001 game, came up short on another three-point try.
``Kyle's made big plays for us before,'' Santa Clara Coach Dick Davey said. ``Even tonight down the stretch he was clutch, but the last one just didn't go in for us.'' San Jose State ``defended the play well, and I give them credit for making it a difficult shot to make.''
Before Hawkins' winner, Bailey looked as if he would doom the Spartans (2-1) yet again.
His team trailing 65-63, Bailey made three consecutive three-pointers to put Santa Clara ahead 69-64 with 51 seconds left. San Jose State responded with two free throws by Hawkins and a basket by Oudie Baker to tie the score. After Cord Anderson's missed free throw with 15 seconds left, the Spartans regained possession.
``When we were down late in the game, Coach just told us to be patient and play our game,'' said Baker, who had a game-high 21 points. ``We didn't panic, we played smart, made some big baskets and the rest is history.''
Santa Clara got off to a hot start, opening with a 9-0 run on three-pointers by Bailey, Ethan Rodhe, and Brad Anderson.
Hawkins finally scored for the Spartans five minutes into the game. But Santa Clara took advantage of early foul trouble by the Spartans to increase its lead to 12-2.
After starting the game shooting 1 for 8, and with Hawkins and Baker saddled by two fouls each, the Spartans got hot.
Led by Keith West's six points, San Jose State went on an 11-1 run, tying the score 13-13 with 11 minutes remaining.
San Jose State took its first lead, 20-18, on two free throws by Moises Alvarez.
Trailing 24-21, it was Santa Clara's turn to play catch-up.
Brandon Rohe, who led Santa Clara with 18 points, nailed a clutch three-pointer, tying the score. The Broncos went into halftime with a 30-28 lead.