Cougars fall to Gonzaga in WCC championship game
LAS VEGAS – BYU men’s basketball fell 75-64 to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference championship game on Tuesday in the Orleans Arena.
"Our guys fought really hard," BYU basketball coach Dave Rose said. "It wasn't as efficient as we've been, but our guys were battling and playing hard. The energy of the guys and the effort, especially trying to overcome that deficit was there. It's kind of the personality of this group. They've been resilient all year long."
Tyler Haws finished with a game-high 24 points, 11 of 11 from the free-throw line, to go along with five assists. Kyle Collinsworth added 13 points and six rebounds before leaving the game with an injury to his right knee with under 11 minutes to play.
Frank Bartley IV contributed nine points, 2 of 2 from beyond the arc, and four rebounds off the bench, while Eric Mika added eight points and 10 rebounds. Matt Carlino finished with eight points and two assists.
Haws and Collinsworth were each named to the WCC All-Tournament Team for their performance in the three games. Haws scored 20 points or more in each game, including hitting 29 of 30 free throws, while Collinsworth recorded double-doubles in the quarters and semifinals before leaving halfway through the second half in the final.
The Cougars trailed 20-9 early on with Haws making the first points for BYU on a layup in transition at the 18:53 mark. Mika recorded a block at the 13:46 mark after scoring two buckets and assisting Nate Austin for a layup. Gonzaga extended its lead to 16 before Bartley connected on a 3-pointer with 9:26 left in the half.
Haws completed a three-point play, but BYU still trailed the Bulldogs 32-19 at the 7:02 mark. Gonzaga went on a 6-0 run to make it a 19-point game until Haws’ trip to the free throw line cut Gonzaga’s lead to 38-21. Collinsworth scored the last four points of the half on a dunk at the 1:11 mark and a layup two seconds before halftime to trail Gonzaga 44-27 at the break.
Haws’ putback and Collinsworth’s dunk brought the Cougars within 16 points at the 17:54 mark. Gonzaga retook a 20-point lead until Haws’ alley-oop to Collinsworth at the 14:03 mark. After trailing 55-35, BYU put together a 10-0 run that was ignited by Bartley’s jumper with 13:11 remaining. Haws drained a corner 3-pointer at the 11:52 mark to bring the Cougars within 13 points.
With 10:29 remaining in the game, Carlino’s trip to the charity stripe capped the run and cut Gonzaga’s deficit to 55-45. Carlino answered a Gonzaga bucket with an alley-oop to Mika for the dunk at the 9:17 mark. Bartley made another 3-pointer to make it a nine-point game with 4:09 left.
Haws’ free throws brought BYU within eight points with less than three minutes left, but BYU didn't get any closer. Carlino’s drive down the lane made it 71-62 in Gonzaga’s favor.
BYU outrebounded the Bulldogs 42-31 and outscored them in the paint 32-26, but allowed Gonzaga to finish with a 52.1 shooting percentage to its 35.6 percent.
The Cougars await “Selection Sunday” on Sunday at 4 p.m. MDT on CBS in hopes of getting an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.