No. 1 Gonzaga pulls away from shorthanded BYU in 2nd half for 92-69 win
Cougar forward Yoeli Childs, who had missed the previous three games due to a dislocation of the index finger on his shooting hand in practice on Jan. 7, was unexpectedly dressed and warming up. His status was reported as a game-time decision — and it appeared that he might play. But as it turned out, Childs and his bandaged finger didn’t play.
SPOKANE, Wash. — As BYU faced No. 1 Gonzaga Saturday at The Kennel, much of the night’s drama happened before tipoff.
Cougar forward Yoeli Childs, who had missed the previous three games due to a dislocation of the index finger on his shooting hand in practice on Jan. 7, was unexpectedly dressed and warming up. His status was reported as a game-time decision — and it appeared that he might play.
But as it turned out, Childs and his bandaged finger didn’t play.
With or without him, the top-ranked Zags, who lead the nation in scoring, are tough to beat.
They proved that again with a dominating 92-69 victory over the shorthanded Cougars.
BYU guard TJ Haws scored a team-high 17 points and Jake Toolson added 16.
But as a team, the Cougars shot 6 of 20 from 3-point range and they were out-rebounded 38-21.
Gonzaga was led by Killian Tillie’s 22 points.
BYU trailed by as many as 13 in the first half and was down by seven at halftime.
With 15 minutes remaining in the game, Gonzaga star Filip Petrusev suffered an ankle injury and was taken to the locker room.
But without him for much of the second half, the Zags flexed their muscles.
The Cougars hung around but couldn’t overcome the Zags’ ability to make plays around the basket and score.
A Corey Kispert 3-pointer with seven minutes remaining gave Gonzaga a 16-point lead, 71-55.
That lead increased to as many as 25.
With the win, Gonzaga earned its 33rd consecutive regular-season conference game, surpassing Pepperdine for the West Coast Conference record, a mark the Waves set from 1991-1993. It is currently the longest streak of its kind in the nation.
Overall, the Zags have now won six straight against BYU.
Gonzaga improved to 20-1 overall and 6-0 in the West Coast Conference. BYU dropped to 14-6 and 3-2.
The Cougars took an early 6-2 lead and kept things close over the first eight minutes of the game.
Then Gonzaga turned it on thanks in large part to its offensive rebounding and second-chance points.
Meanwhile, the Cougars also struggled with one of their strengths — 3-point shooting. BYU didn’t hit its first 3 until Zac Seljaas came through with 1:15 left in the first half.
The Zags led by as many as 13 points twice but the Cougars didn’t fold.
Down 35-22 with three minutes left in the half, BYU finished with a 9-3 spurt to cut the deficit to 38-31 at halftime.
At that point, Gonzaga had an 8-1 edge on the offensive boards. The Cougars were 1 of 8 from 3-point range at intermission.
BYU travels to Pacific next Thursday.