Sports


Defense, free-throw shooting lift Gonzaga over BYU

Gonzaga got worked on the offensive boards. Didn’t matter. The Bulldogs didn’t shoot particularly well. It was of little consequence. They turned the ball over way too much. Painful, but not fatal.

What the Bulldogs did do was defend, hit several key 3-pointers in the first half and get to the free-throw line. That was more than enough to carry Gonzaga to a 74-63 West Coast Conference men’s basketball victory over cold-shooting BYU in front of 6,000 Thursday at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

The victory keeps Gonzaga’s chances of a 12th consecutive WCC title alive, but the Bulldogs (22-5, 12-3) need a win at San Diego on Saturday and a Saint Mary’s loss at San Francisco to share the crown with the Gaels. Saint Mary’s (24-5, 13-2) routed Portland 70-43. Regardless of Saturday’s outcomes, Saint Mary’s has clinched the top seed and Gonzaga the second seed and both will have byes into the semifinals of the WCC tournament next week in Las Vegas.

Gonzaga broke away in the first half with a 16-4 run, spurred by two 3-pointers by Kevin Pangos and one by Gary Bell Jr. The spurt boosted Gonzaga’s lead to 31-18 and the Bulldogs settled for a 37-27 advantage at half.

When the Bulldogs got the ball inside, they picked up fouls on BYU’s interior players and cashed in by making 12 of 15 free throws in the first 20 minutes. BYU was 11 of 44 from the field (GU had 47 attempts for the entire game in Saturday’s loss at San Francisco). The Cougars collected 15 offensive rebounds, but only converted them into eight points.

Gonzaga stretched its lead to 48-31 with another spurt fueled by Guy Landry Edi’s five points and Elias Harris’ four points. From there, the fouls and turnovers began stacking up for both teams. BYU (23-7, 11-4) rallied within seven on a couple of occasions, but Gonzaga held on to finish off an 8-0 record in WCC home games.

Harris led Gonzaga with 19 points and a career-high-tying 16 rebounds. Pangos finished with 18 points and Bell added 12 points. The Bulldogs made just 39 percent of their shots, but they were 6 of 13 on 3-pointers and 36 of 44 at the free-throw line (81.8 percent). Pangos made 10 of 13 free throws, Harris 10 of 12.

The Bulldogs committed 20 turnovers, 15 in the second half.

Brandon Davies paced BYU with 23 points and 10 boards. Matt Carlino had 18 points, but made just 7 of 23 shots and committed four turnovers. The Cougars made just 24 of 78 field-goal attempts (31 percent) and 6 of 28 3-pointers (21.4 percent).

Senior forward Noah Hartsock, who averages 17.3 points, played just 7 minutes. He injured his left knee in Saturday’s win over Santa Clara.

BYU grabbed 23 offensive rebounds to GU’s seven, but only had a 15-12 edge in second-chance points.

Gonzaga 74, BYU 63

 BYU (23-7, 11-4)—Davies 8-18 7-10 23, Abouo 4-13 1-3 10, Hartsock 0-0 0-0 0, Carlino 7-23 1-3 18, Winder 2-5 0-0 5, Cusick 1-5 0-0 3, Sharp 0-1 0-0 0, Zylstra 0-5 0-0 0, Rogers 0-1 0-0 0, Harrison 0-2 0-0 0, Austin 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 24-78 9-16 63.

Gonzaga (22-5, 12-3)—Landry Edi 2-4 1-1 5, Harris 4-6 10-12 19, Sacre 2-5 4-4 8, Pangos 3-10 10-13 18, Bell, Jr. 3-7 4-6 12, Carter 0-1 2-2 2, Stockton 0-0 0-0 0, Spangler 0-0 0-0 0, Monninghoff 1-4 0-0 3, Hart 0-1 2-2 2, Dower 1-3 3-4 5. Totals 16-41 36-44 74.

Halftime—Gonzaga 37-27. 3-Point Goals—BYU 6-28 (Carlino 3-9, Winder 1-3, Abouo 1-4, Cusick 1-5, Rogers 0-1, Austin 0-2, Zylstra 0-4), Gonzaga 6-13 (Bell, Jr. 2-3, Pangos 2-5, Harris 1-2, Monninghoff 1-3). Fouled Out—Austin, Davies, Sacre. Rebounds—BYU 46 (Abouo, Austin, Davies 10), Gonzaga 41 (Harris 16). Assists—BYU 7 (Carlino 3), Gonzaga 8 (Pangos 3). Total Fouls—BYU 28, Gonzaga 20. Technical—Davies. A—6,000.



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