BYU comes up short on Senior Night in loss against Zags
Collinsworth led the Cougars (22-9, 13-5 WCC) with 15 points and 15 rebounds, falling just two assists short of a triple double. Fischer contributed 18 points including three baskets from 3-point range.
As a team BYU pulled down 40 boards, outrebounding the Zags (23-7, 15-3 WCC) by two. BYU shot 32.8 percent from the floor and 31.3 percent from the 3-point line.
"It was quite a game," head coach Dave Rose said. "Two teams that I thought were battling pretty hard. A lot on the line. I congratulate Mark Few, his staff and his team for another WCC championship. They’ve got a tremendous team and program. They’re on quite a roll right now. I feel for my guys. They fought hard. It wasn’t our best game, but we battled really hard."
In the final minute of play, Gonzaga had the ball and a two point lead but failed to score after a block by senior Nate Austin. With 18 seconds remaining and the shot clock turned off, Emery caught the inbound pass from under the basket and fired a 3 that fell short.
After BYU fouled, Gonzaga missed both free throws and Emery missed another 3-pointer on the following possesion. On the inbound Gonzaga was called for a charge and Domantas Sabonis fouled out of the game. BYU got the ball back with 3.5 seconds remaing but Gonzaga stole the ball on the inbound to hold on for the victory.
The Bulldogs opened the game with the first score before Emery knocked down a 3-pointer on the Cougars' opening possesion. Gonzaga answered with scores on the following two possesions before Collinsworth sank a 3-pointer. Gonzaga added another basket to take a 9-6 lead with 15 minutes remaining.
At the 14 minute mark the Cougars grabbed momentum with a score from Kyle Davis in the paint. On the defensive end, Collinsworth had a block and a steal before finding Seljaas for a 3-pointer to give BYU an 11-10 advantage.
Gonzaga answered with a 3-pointer before Fischer hit a stepback three to put BYU ahead 14-12. With Gonzaga ahead 18-17, Collinsworth had a layup from the left side and Emery nailed a 3-pointer and scored a fast break layup to cap a 7-0 run for the Cougars making the score 24-18 with nine minutes remaining in the first half.
After Gonzaga tied the score at 24, Corbin Kaufusi sank a hook shot in the paint to put the Cougars ahead 26-24.
The Zags went on a 13-2 run from 8:43 to the 2:56 mark to take a 31-26 lead as BYU went 1 of 9 during that span. With the tally 36-31 in favor of the Bulldogs, Fischer hit two free throws and converted a four-point play to cut the margin to 2 and BYU ended the half trailing 38-34.
Gonzaga opened the second half on an 8-4 run in the first three minutes to go up 46-38. At the 16 minute mark Collinsworth found Austin under the hoop for a dunk and BYU fought back to make the score 45-40 before the media timeout.
The Bulldogs extended the lead to double digits, but the Cougars were able to cut the deficit to five after a pair of free throws by Seljaas and a long ball from Fischer with 12:17 remaining in the first half. After two free throws by the Zags, Collinsworth drove baseline and dished the ball to a waiting Austin who threw it down to keep the Cougars within striking distance with 11:38 remaining, down 52-47.
With 9:10 remaining in the game, Fischer found daylight on a drive to the hoop and layed it in for the score before hitting a baseline tear drop on the following possesion to cut the Gonzaga lead to 8.
With the Cougars down by six, Kaufusi drew a foul to put the Cougars in the bonus and sank two free throws to cut the deficit to four, 60-56 with 6:23 to go. On the next possesion Seljaas found Emery who hit a deep trey to make the score 62-59 with 5:55 remaining in the game. Gonzaga scored twice before Seljaas also hit a three with 3:40 left to keep the Cougars within striking distance.
Trailing 68-63, Austin scored a layup and Fischer sank a 3-pointer following a Gonzaga basket to make the score 70-68 in favor of Gonzaga with 1:05 left.
BYU travels to Las Vegas for the West Coast Conference Championships next week. The Cougars will play the No. 6 seed on Saturday, March 5. Games will be televised on ESPN and BYUtv and can be heard on the Cougar IMG Sports Network on KSL 1160 AM and 102.7 FM and BYU Radio Sirius XM 143.