SPOKANE, Washington – BYU men’s basketball lost for the second time in West Coast Conference play this season, falling 83-63 at Gonzaga on Thursday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Josh Sharp led the Cougars (15-6, 5-2 WCC) with a career-high 14 points, alongside Brandon Davies who scored 12 points in the second half to also end the game with 14. Matt Carlino was also in double-digits with 11 points and had a game-high four steals for BYU. Gonzaga (17-2, 5-0 WCC) was led by Kelly Olynyk and Elias Harris with 26 and 25 points, respectively. Olynyk was a perfect 9 of 9 from the field and 8 of 8 from the free-throw line.
Gonzaga was fired up in the first two minutes of the game, capitalizing on fast-break points and team defense to take an 11-3 lead over BYU. Out of the first timeout, Carlino knocked down a shot from the top of the arc to stop the bleeding and cut the Gonzaga lead to five with 17:36 remaining.
From the 17:03 to the 13:15 mark, neither team was able to find the basket. BYU was the first to score, ending the four-minute draught, when Carlino fed Sharp for the easy lay in. However, the Bulldogs answered quickly on their next possession to raise the score to 15-8 in their favor.
Davies scored his first points of the game at the 9:43 mark to finally put BYU in double-digit scoring, down 17-10. Two minutes later, Gonzaga extended its lead to 11 at 21-10 with two-straight field goals from Harris.
With five minutes remaining in the half, Carlino stole the ball and finished at the basket to cut the Gonzaga lead to 10 at 24-14. However, the Bulldogs extended their double-digit lead to 22 with a 12-0 run heading into the two-minute mark.
At 1:54, Sharp executed on a three-point play and then followed with another shot in the paint to become the only Cougar in double-digit scoring for the half with 10.
On the next Gonzaga possession, the Bulldogs were given four free shots due to a called personal foul and a technical foul on Sharp.
Heading into the locker room at halftime, BYU found themselves 19 points down at 40-21. BYU owed the deficit to poor shooting from the field. Gonzaga held BYU to only 8 of 31 shooting and didn’t allow Tyler Haws, who leads the WCC in scoring, to score a single point.
The second half started where the first left off as Brock Zylstra was called for a flagrant foul to give Gonzaga two shots and another possession to go up 44-22. Zylstra made up for the foul offensively when he hit BYU’s first 3-point shot since the 17:36 mark in the first half.
On the next BYU possession, Sharp used a three-point play to grab a new career-high in points at 14.
Gonzaga held its 20-point lead through the first seven minutes of the second half, but Carlino cut it to 18 with a steal and fast-break to spark a 5-0 run for the Cougars.
With 9:07 remaining, Davies finished at the basket and then Nate Austin followed through on Davies' missed free throw to bring the Cougars within 13 at 59-46.
At the 7:35-mark, Haws hit one of two free throws for his first and only point of the night to cut the Zag lead to 12 at 64-52.
Winder hit his first 3-pointer of the night with five minutes remaining and hit another two points on the next possession to put the score at 72-59. After that shot, Gonzaga took an 11-4 run to the buzzer to take the 83-63 victory.
BYU will travel to Portland on Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. PST matchup. The game will be broadcast live on ESPNU, KSL 102.7 FM and 1160 AM and BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143.