PROVO, Utah – BYU fell to No. 6/6 Gonzaga 79-65 in the last regular season game of the season Saturday night at the Marriott Center.
"First of all, congratulations to Gonzaga for winning the championship," BYU assistant head coach Tim LaComb said. "We competed with them in stretches, but they had several guys step up and make plays and that's what championship teams do. We were happy with some moments. In the first half it could've gotten away from us, but our guys really showed some character and got that thing back. We just have to move forward and get ready for next week and the tournament."
Yoeli Childs led the Cougars on offense with 19 points and eight rebounds. Elijah Bryant followed with 16 points, coupled with four rebounds and three assists. Jahshire Hardnett tied his career-high of two 3-pointers and added 11 points altogether.
A Hardnett 3-pointer was the first basket of the game, putting the Cougars up 3-0, but Gonzaga went on to score two more baskets, taking a 4-3 advantage.
After a jumper from Childs, the Bulldogs went on a 16-3 run, putting BYU behind by double-digits, 20-8 with 12:51 remaining on the clock in the first half.
The Cougars brought the score within six points after an 8-0 run, 26-20 with 8:43 left, but Gonzaga capitalized on BYU fouls and again increased their lead to double-digits, 32-22.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Bryant brought the Cougars within two points with 2:17 to go in the first half, 38-36.
The Bulldogs closed out the first half with a 3-pointer and the Cougars went into halftime behind, 43-38. At the end of the half, BYU was shooting 48 percent from the field while the Zags were shooting 57 percent.
Gonzaga opened up the second half with a three-pointer making the score 46-38. The Bulldogs continued to push their lead as they increased it to double-digits at 52-41.
Gonzaga quickly took control of the game going up by 21 points with 9:00 left on the clock, 69-48. A 9-4 run for the Cougars brought the score within 14 points, but ultimately the Bulldogs took the win, 79-65.
At the conclusion of the game, BYU shot 38.6 percent from the field compared to the Zags 55.4 percent.
The Cougars will now prepare for the West Coast Conference Championships in Las Vegas. The quarterfinal round begins on Saturday, March 2.