BYU falls to Gonzaga 90-57
PROVO, Utah — BYU men's basketball fell to the No. 2 Gonzaga Bulldogs 90-57 at the Marriott Center Saturday.
The loss is the Cougars' fourth straight, dropping them to 17-8 this season and 5-5 in West Coast Conference play.
“We’re really being tested, and we’re going to have to find some new creative answers," said BYU head coach Mark Pope. "We’ve got to reinvent ourselves a little bit. We have some really good players. We just have to find a little bit better way to do it. Tonight we had a tough time getting down hill, we were a little bit timid, our pace has gone away and it’s complicated without Te’Jon [Lucas] because he’s a primary ball handler.”
The Cougars shot 29.6 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from behind the arc. BYU was without Lucas in the game, who was injured against San Francisco. They had no answer for Gonzaga, who shot 52 percent from the field, outrebounded BYU 46-38, had 44 points in the paint, 12 steals, nine blocks and 21 fast-break points.
The Zags were led by Chet Holmgren who had 20 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and five blocks. Julian Strawther had 19 points. Andrew Nembhard had 15 points. Drew Timme had 13 points.
Gideon George led the Cougars with 14 points on 4-of-7 shooting, 3-for-5 from three, three rebounds, an assist and a steal. Seneca Knight was the other Cougar in double figures with 13 points, six rebounds and an assist.
Alex Barcello scored the first points of the game on a baseline inbounds play to get the Cougars on the board and George put BYU up 5-0 after hitting a left wing three.
Chet Holmgren scored the Bulldogs’ first points of the night on a driving floater which started to a 17-2 run giving the Zags a 17-7 lead.
Barcello broke BYU's almost three-minute scoring drought with an elbow jumper coming out of the timeout. After a Gonzaga bucket, Spencer Johnson scored his first points of the game before the Bulldogs stretched the lead to 12 with four straight points.
After the Johnson jump shot with 14:44 to go in the half, the Cougars went 4:35 scoreless and were down 27-9 before George hit a top-of-the-key three.
The Zags extended the lead to 36-13 before Atiki Ally Atiki got on the board for the first time in the game. Johnson got a scoop-and-score layup with 4:22 left, which led to Trevin Knell's first three of the game with 1:48 to go. George knocked down his third triple to cut the Bulldog lead to 47-23, which they took into halftime.
Knight scored his first points of the game with free throws in the opening minutes of the second half. Barcello hit a corner three with 16:16 left, and some life came back into the Marriott Center, with the Gonzaga lead still at 58-34.
Following the Barcello triple, the Zags made their next four field goal attempts and went on a 16-2 run and extend the lead to 74-36.
After the Gonzaga run, Knight scored back-to-back buckets for BYU, hitting a left-wing triple and then finding Ally Atiki for a cutting dunk. Barcello hit a runner from the right wing to give the Cougars six straight points. Knight hit a jumper from the right junction followed by a nifty up-and-under from George to extend the scoring streak to 11-straight points with 7:36 left.
After the BYU run, Gonzaga scored seven-straight points and extended the lead to 81-47. Knell hit a runner in the lane followed by three straight scores from Fousseyni Traore to cut the Bulldog lead to 86-55.
Two free-throws from Knight with 1:12 left were the final points for the Cougars as they fall to the Gonzaga Bulldogs 90-57.
Up next, the Cougars hit the road for three straight road games to try and get back into the WCC win column.