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3 keys in the BYU Cougars’ 88-78 loss to the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs in the WCC championship game

Brigham Young Cougars forward Caleb Lohner (33) has his shot knocked away by Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Joel Ayayi (11) as BYU and Gonzaga play in the finals of the West Coast Conference tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.
Brigham Young Cougars forward Caleb Lohner (33) has his shot knocked away by Gonzaga Bulldogs guard Joel Ayayi (11) as BYU and Gonzaga play in the finals of the West Coast Conference tournament at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Tuesday, March 9, 2021.
Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

The BYU Cougars led the top-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs for much of the way in the West Coast Conference championship game on Tuesday night in Las Vegas but the Bulldogs asserted themselves down the stretch to get the win and stay undefeated on the season.

Here are three keys from the contest.

  • The Cougars led by 12 at halftime after shooting the lights out in the first 20 minutes, but it was tied at 73 with just over four minutes to go and then Gonzaga scored the game’s next nine points to take control.
  • After shooting 9 of 13 from behind the 3-point line in the first half, BYU went just 2 of 15 in the second half. The Bulldogs went 6 of 13 from deep in both halves.
  • Gonzaga got at least 13 points from every starter, with Jalen Suggs’ 23 points leading all scorers. Eight of those came during the crucial late stretch. Trevin Knell led the Cougars with 20 points off the bench, Alex Barcello had 15 and Matt Haarms 13.