The Gonzaga Bulldogs continued their dominance against the WCC, winning their 22nd straight at home in “the kennel”, pulling away in the second half to beat the BYU men’s basketball team Jan. 25 in Spokane, 84–69.
Gonzaga (18-3, 8-1) assisted 21 of 31 shots made from the field, nearly tripling the Cougar effort, who dished out just eight assists, less than half their season average. David Stockton weaved through the Cougars’ big men at will, scoring 14 points on 6-9 shooting and dropping seven assists.
Tyler Haws redeemed himself from last years’ one-point effort in Spokane, shooting 7-15 from the field for 23 points, including 8-9 from the free throw line. Kyle Collinsworth added 13 points on 6-12 shooting and grabbed seven rebounds. Eric Mika bounced back from a four point, four rebound night at Portland, to get a double-double on 12 points and 10 rebounds.
“It was another really great effort for our team on the boards tonight. A big focus was to crash the boards,” Mika said.
Gonzaga’s starting point guard Kevin Pangos got off to a slow start for the Bulldogs, scoring just three points in the first half, but caught fire in the second, totaling 24 points on 9-14 shooting, including 6-10 from three and adding seven assists.
“They were just better than us in the second half,” said BYU head coach Dave Rose. “There’s this huge difference tonight between the three point shots we gave up, compared to three point shots the other night. Pangos didn’t have a guy within ten feet of him.”
Mika commented on the Cougars not being able to stop big shooters.
“That’s a problem we’ve had all year,” Mika said. “We let big players go off for big games.”
Haws cradled the ball between two defenders for a layup to bring the Cougars within four points of the Bulldogs, but Kevin Pangos hit his fourth three-pointer of the second half immediately after to stretch the Zag’s lead back to seven, 59-54, and they continued to pull away.
Stockton added eight points early on for the Bulldogs, and Sam Dower added six points as part of a 7-0 run, giving the Zags an early 19-11 lead with 10:28 to play in the first half.
Mika was active on both sides of the floor early on, scoring four points as part of a 7-2 run by the Cougars, bringing them within three, 19-16, with 7:44 left until the break.
Haws scored 12 points on 4-7 from the field, including 3-4 from the line, to lead the Cougars in the first half. Collinsworth, off to a slow start Jan. 23 at Portland, added five points and five boards in the early going.
The Cougars, down as many as eight in the first half, tied it up at 27 off a Haws jumper with 3:55 left before halftime, but Stockton and Dower combined for the final eight points for the Zags to finish off the half, giving them a 35-33 halftime lead.
The Cougars let the game slip away after a Drew Barham three that stretched the Bulldog lead to 12 at the 6:47 mark. From that point, they traded baskets and played the foul game to the end.
“We’re getting really, really good games from these guys,” Rose said. “Every team that is playing us is playing one of their best games, and we’ve got to figure out a way to respond to it.”
BYU (13-9, 5-4) is back home for four straight games starting Thursday, Jan. 30 against Pacific (11-8, 2-6), who beat Pepperdine the same evening.