BYU upsets Gonzaga, ends Zags’ bid at unbeaten regular season

The Gonzaga bench and guard Nigel Williams-Goss, left, on the court, feel the pain of their first loss in the finals seconds against BYU, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Senior Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) heads to the court during the senior nigh ceremony, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Before the game, Gonzaga students try to get the attention of BYU basketball players during warmups, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga coach Mark Few doesn’t like a call against Przemek Karnowski during the BYU game, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski dives for a loose ball with BYU center Corbin Kaufusi, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams attempts a dunk over BYU center Corbin Kaufusi (44), Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Josh Perkins roars with delight after hitting a 3-point shot against BYU, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guards Josh Perkins and Rem Bakamus celebrate a Perkins 3-point shot against BYU, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Josh Perkins (13) rips a rebound away from BYU center Corbin Kaufusi (44) and forward Eric Mika, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss (5) shoots the ball as BYU guard Elijah Bryant (3) defends during the first half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) defends against a shot by BYU forward Eric Mika (12) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
BYU guard TJ Haws (30) runs into the defense of Gonzaga guard Silas Melson (0) and Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss (5) during the first half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Silas Melson (0) looks for a passing lane as BYU forward Davin Guinn (24) defends during the first half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) takes a shot as BYU center Corbin Kaufusi (44) defends during the first half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) is fouled under the basket during the first half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) takes a shot as BYU forward Eric Mika (12) defends during the first half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams (3) moves the ball during the first half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss (5) regains control of the ball as BYU guard Elijah Bryant (3) defends during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Zach Collins (32) shoots at the ball as BYU forward Eric Mika (12) defends during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga head coach Mark Few speaks to the ref after being called for a technical foul during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Zach Collins (32) reaches for rebound with BYU center Corbin Kaufusi (44) and BYU forward Eric Mika (12) during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss (5) stops a shot by BYU center Corbin Kaufusi (44) during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
BYU forward Eric Mika (12) is called for a flagrant foul on Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
BYU forward Eric Mika (12) competes for a rebound with Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams (behind) and Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
After a Zags turnover, Gonzaga guard Jordan Mathews (4) and Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) give each other support during the waning few minutes of the game during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
BYU forward Eric Mika (12) competes for a rebound with Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams (behind) and Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss (5) is fouled by BYU guard Nick Emery (4) during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
A stunned GU student section looks on in disbelief after BYU beat the Zags 79-71, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
BYU celebrates beating Gonzaga 79-71 during the second half of an NCAA basketball game, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams (3) defends against BYU Elijah Bryant (3)Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga forward Johnathan Williams dunks on BYU Eric Mike, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga senior Joe Keane is all Zagged up for the BYU game, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Members of the Kennel Club get wound up for the Gonzaga/BYU game, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss is crushed under the basket by BYU forward Eric Mika (12) and Corbin Kaufusi, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga Kennel Club members can’t hide their sorrow in the final moment against BYU, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss (5) and Josh Perkins head to the bench during a timeout in the final moment against BYU, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
BYU forward Eric Mika (12) and Elijah Bryant (3) celebrate after defeating Gonzaga, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
BYU forward Eric Mika celebrates a basket against Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga fans try to distract BYU forward Eric Mika during a free throw, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guards Nigel Williams-Goss (5), Silas Melson (0) and Jeremy Jones wear the loss on their faces to BYU, Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Dan Pelle / The Spokesman-Review)
Gonzaga guard Josh Perkins (13) covers his face after the Zags lost 79-71 against BYU, Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)
Seniors Gonzaga guard Jordan Mathews (4), Gonzaga center Przemek Karnowski (24) and Gonzaga guard Rem Bakamus (15) thanks the crowd after a bitter loss to BYU , Sat., Feb. 25, 2017, in the McCarthey Athletic Center. (Colin Mulvany / The Spokesman-Review)

It was a rout, then a ballgame and ultimately a nailbiter.

BYU scored the last 10 points to pull off a 79-71 upset over No. 1 Gonzaga in front of 6,000 Saturday at the McCarthey Athletic Center, handing the Zags’ their first loss in the regular-season finale.

The Zags (29-1, 17-1 WCC) fell on Senior Night for the third straight year, two of those to BYU (21-10, 12-6).

“BYU deserves a lot of credit,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “They played us tough, played us physical, made some big shots and big plays down the stretch and we didn’t.

“We left a lot hanging out there. We missed a lot of free throws and turned the ball over too much to win a close game like that.”

Gonzaga finished 16 of 29 from the free-throw line.

The Zags saw an early 16-point lead melt away, but used an 8-2 spurt to take a 58-46 advantage with 13:26 left.

The Cougars mounted another comeback and took one-point leads on three occasions with less than 8 minutes remaining. It was just the third time Gonzaga has trailed in the second half this season.

“They haven’t had anybody have the lead on them in the second half for quite a while,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “I thought that would be a big emotional thing for us, and an emotional thing for them to have to respond to it.”

Gonzaga regained the lead on Przemek Karnowski’s spin move and bank shot with 6:50 remaining. A pair of Jordan Mathews’ free throws put GU on top by three but TJ Haws drained his fifth 3-pointer to tie it.

“We just said we need to take it one possession at a time,” Haws said. “We got stops and started making baskets at the other end.

“That first (3-pointer) goes in and that hoop gets a little bigger. I just tried to stay aggressive and I got some open looks.”

BYU’s Elijah Bryant tied it with a layup with 1:46 remaining. Sophomore center Eric Mika, who finished with 29 points and 11 rebounds, made a 16-foot jumper. After a GU turnover, Corbin Kaufusi hit a putback.

The Zags turned it over again and BYU wrapped it up with four straight free throws.

Gonzaga looked like it was going to run BYU off the court early, bolting in front 18-2.

But the Cougars weathered GU’s fast start by tightening up defensively, knocking down shots – 9 of 12 in one stretch – and collecting the offensive rebound when they missed.

Mathews scored four points and Johnathan Williams and Nigel Williams-Goss each added three-point plays as Gonzaga bumped its lead to 41-35 at half. The Zags made 59.3 percent of their field-goal attempts but were stung by seven turnovers and 7-of-16 shooting from the free-throw line.

Gonzaga made just 33.3 percent of its second-half shots. The Zags finished 3 of 16 beyond the 3-point arc.

Senior Night struggles

Gonzaga has dropped three straight Senior Night games. BYU knocked off Gonzaga 73-70 two years ago, dropping the Zags to 29-2. Saint Mary’s beat Gonzaga 63-58 last year in the home regular-season finale and the Cougars pulled off another upset, 79-71, on Saturday.

“Obviously it didn’t go as we had hoped,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “Gosh, we might have to change how we do these Senior Nights. We haven’t been very good on them.”

Senior guard Jordan Mathews scored 12 points. Senior center Przemek Karnowski had 10 points and six rebounds. Senior guard Rem Bakamus logged two minutes in his first career start.

“It sucks,” junior guard Nigel Williams-Goss said. “I don’t know what else to say.”