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Gonzaga Basketball

Nigel Williams-Goss scores 33 points as No. 1 Gonzaga holds off BYU, moves to 23-0

Gonzaga guard Nigel Williams-Goss (5) shoots against BYU forward Yoeli Childs during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017, in Provo, Utah. Gonzaga defeated BYU 85-75. (Jeff Swinger / Associated Press)

PROVO, Utah – In the first half, No. 1 Gonzaga looked a lot like No. 5 Gonzaga in January and No. 11 Gonzaga back in November.

In the second half, Gonzaga was challenged and Nigel Williams-Goss responded.

The Zags took the suspense and a boisterous crowd of nearly 19,000 at the Marriott Center out of it early. BYU made several spirited rallies in the second half but Williams-Goss delivered clutch basket after clutch basket to lead GU to a hard-fought 85-75 victory.

Gonzaga, in its first game since moving to the top spot in both polls earlier this week, established a school record with its 23rd consecutive victory and remain Division I’s lone unbeaten team.

The Zags (23-0, 11-0 WCC) hold a one-game lead over Saint Mary’s.

Williams-Goss had four big baskets to help Gonzaga regain momentum after the Cougars had closed within 49-40 with 15:08 remaining. He finished with a game-high 33 points, his second highest output of the season.

  • Also today: Take a look at Gonzaga’s 85-75 win over host BYU by the numbers

The Cougars (16-8, 7-4) refused to go away. TJ Haws, who scored 23 second-half points, led several BYU charges. His 3-pointer cut GU’s lead to 66-58 with 7:04 remaining.

BYU was within 70-62 when Williams-Goss drained a long 3-pointer.

The Cougars got as close as six, 76-70, but Williams-Goss connected four free throws.

The Zags dominated the first half. They led 20-10 after consecutive 3-pointers by Josh Perkins.

The margin grew to 13 on another Perkins 3-pointer and 19 after Killian Tillie hit a pair of free throws. Tillie returned after missing the previous two games with a sprained ankle.

Gonzaga settled for a 42-26 halftime lead.