SPOKANE, Wash. – The BYU men’s basketball team was defeated 102-68 by No. 2 Gonzaga Saturday night at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
"I thought we competed really well and fought hard," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "We didn’t execute the way we needed to down the stretch. We’ve been really good and finished games really well the last two or three weeks but not tonight. Hopefully we can get back to a winning track on Saturday and before we go to the tournament."
Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws scored 18 points apiece while Nick Emery and Gavin Baxter each scored nine points. Childs added seven rebounds and one assist and Haws contributed eight assists and three rebounds. Emery tallied three rebounds and three assists while Baxter added six rebounds and three blocks.
The Bulldogs jumped to an early 11-4 lead with nearly 16 minutes on the clock. Haws and Childs hit back-to-back threes to cut into the deficit as Gonzaga led 17-13 with 13:55 remaining in the first half.
With 8:25 on the clock, a jumper by Childs kicked off a 7-0 run for the Cougars to bring the Bulldogs lead to five points, 31-26.
Childs drained a bucket from beyond the arc and was followed by a basket in the paint by Baxter and a trey by Emery to bring the score to 45-38, forcing a timeout by Gonzaga at the 1:20 mark in the first half.
At halftime, the Bulldogs held a 51-38 advantage after shooting 57.1 percent from the field compared to BYU’s 44.1 percent. Haws led the team with 11 points and Childs added 10.
Childs scored on the first possession of the second half. Despite Gonzaga answering on the other end of the court, Emery buried a long 3 pointer to make it a 10-point game, 53-43.
With 17:28 remaining in the game, Baxter converted on a 3-point play to bring the score to 58-47 but the Bulldogs continued to dominate on their offensive end of the court.
At the nine-minute mark, Gonzaga hit five free throws in a row then back-to-back layups to take a commanding 73-53 lead. The Bulldogs maintained control of the game from there and went on to take the win.
On the game, BYU shot 41.9 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from 3 and 61.5 percent from the free throw line. Gonzaga recorded 54.5 percent from the field, 45.0 percent from beyond the arc and 77.8 percent from the charity stripe.
The Cougars return to the Marriott Center for the final game of West Coast Conference action on Saturday, March 2. The game against San Diego will tipoff at 7 p.m. MST and will be televised live on BYUtv. Audio broadcasts can be heard on BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM), BYU Sports Network, KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.
TJ Haws totaled 18 points, three rebounds and eight assists. His eight assists tied his career, a number he has recorded six times in his career.
Yoeli Childs had 18 points, seven rebounds and one assist. He has scored in double figures in 29 of 30 games this season.
Gavin Baxter posted nine points, six rebounds and three blocks. He has totaled eight blocks in the last two games and three-plus blocks four times this season. Baxter now has a team-high 32 blocks, the fifth-most blocks in a season by a BYU freshman.
BYU forward Gavin Baxter
On responding to San Francisco’s loss
San Francisco’s loss hurt but when the next game is Gonzaga you can’t really let that hold you back if you want to have a chance at all, so we knew we needed to put that one behind us as hard as that is. I think we did a good job of shifting our focus from the loss and focusing on the next game.
On senior night against San Diego
I think first and foremost to just put this one behind us and then get ready for San Diego because they are a good team. The season is winding down so we can’t let that make us lose our focus. We have got to stay locked in until the end. San Diego is a good team and we just need to play well in our last home game.
On conference tournament play
We need to keep the mindset that our best basketball is ahead of us. We need to look forward to the future and give everything we’ve got in the tournament because that is really what matters. We need to make sure our mindset is right.
BYU head coach Dave Rose
On tonight’s game
I thought we competed really well and fought hard. We got to about that same stretch at the nine-minute mark just like the other night and we didn’t execute the way we needed to down the stretch. We’ve been really good and finished games really well the last two or three weeks but not tonight. Maybe we are a little bit tired down the stretch. Hopefully we can get back to a winning track on Saturday and before we go to the tournament.
On the focus moving forward
Our goal in practice is to get us prepared for San Diego. They led for the majority of the game there and they create a real challenge for us with their size and their sets. Then when we find out what the matchups will be it will be interesting because we will practice for four of five days without knowing who we are going to play. We will work on ourselves for a couple days and then get ready for the weekend.