PROVO, Utah – Despite TJ Haws’ 29 points, BYU men’s basketball fell to No. 1/1 Gonzaga 85-75 Thursday night at the Marriott Center in front of a sellout crowd.
"That's a good team," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "I think our guys competed hard, especially when they weren't individually playing their best at times. No matter how discouraged they got, they continued to compete and play hard. That's a good sign, especially for a young team. I'm glad we got it close in the second half because it looked in the first half like it might get away from us."â€‹
Haws led the Cougars with 29 points, hitting four treys in the process. Eric Mika contributed a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Elijah Bryant and Yoeli Childs chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Childs gave BYU (16-8, 7-4 West Coast Conference) its first points of the game as Gonzaga (23-0, 11-0) led early 4-2.
A Haws jumper followed by a Bryant 3-pointer then got the Cougars back within a point, trailing 9-8.
The Bulldogs countered with an 11-2 run, with help from a trio of treys, to extend the lead to double digits at 20-10.
BYU then went on a scoring drought for more than three minutes before Haws hit a jumper from the right side to cut into the advantage with Gonzaga ahead 29-14.
With the Bulldogs up 36-21, scoring remained stagnant with tight defense on both sides, as neither team scored a field goal in four minutes of play.
A Mika bucket gave the Cougars the final points of the half as Gonzaga led 42-26 at the break.
Nick Emery stole the ball and picked up an assist as Haws hit a 3-pointer in transition, forcing a Bulldog timeout, as BYU cut into the lead, down 45-33.
Haws and Mika each made a pair of shots from the charity stripe to cut the lead to eight, 45-37, but a quick 8-0 Gonzaga run extended its lead back to double digits at 58-40.
Davin Guinn followed with a 3-pointer, steal and transition layup to give the Cougars five-straight points, down 58-45.
BYU then went on another four-minute stretch without a field goal before Haws hit back-to-back 3-pointers to kick start the Cougars, down 66-58 with under eight minutes to go.
A Childs bucket kept BYU within nine, before Mike muscled his way to the rim for another bucket with the Cougars down just six, 76-70 with under two minutes to play.
The late rally proved too little, however, as the Bulldogs pushed their way to an 85-75 win.
BYU stays home at the Marriott Center, facing Portland Saturday, Feb. 4, at 7 p.m. MST. The game will be televised live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.
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