BYU Men’s Basketball starts WCC play with loss to No. 1 Gonzaga
BYU Men’s Basketball began West Coast Conference play on Thursday after a two-week break, falling to the No. 1 team in the nation, Gonzaga, 86-69 in Spokane, Washington.
Four Cougars reached double-digit points but BYU wasn’t able to overcome Gonzaga’s dominant play on both ends of the floor. BYU’s leading scorer, Alex Barcello, was held to 3-for-11 shooting and 1-for-4 from the three in the game.
Gonzaga came out with intensity on both ends of the floor, limiting the Cougars to just two points in the opening five minutes. The score was 23-2 in favor of the Bulldogs with 12:50 to go in the first half.
BYU struggled to shoot the ball early, making just one of its first 10 shots from the field. Spencer Johnson hit the Cougars’ first 3-pointer of the game eight minutes into the first half to make the score 25-7, but BYU was unable to stop the scoring barrage from Gonzaga, going down 30-7 with 10:43 to go in the first half.
Matt Haarms completed an and-one to get the Cougars to 10 points midway through the first half but still found themselves down by 20, 30-10. BYU was able to prevent a complete blowout and put together a 10-2 run late in the first half capped off by a 3-pointer from Caleb Lohner, cutting the lead to 13, 39-26, with four minutes until halftime.
Gonzaga responded with a 13-0 run, however, to re-establish a 20-point lead and go into the locker room up 52-29 at the half. Haarms led the Cougars with seven points at the break, with Lohner adding six off the bench.
BYU was unable to cut into the lead after halftime, but Lohner continued to be a bright spot as the first Cougar to reach double digits on the night with 10 points early in the second half.
The Gonzaga lead grew to 31, 73-42 with 12:09 left in the game. Gideon George was another positive on the night for the Cougars, joining Lohner in double figures with 11 points in the second half, while adding five rebounds and BYU’s only block to that point.
Richard Harward was the fourth Cougar in double digits with 12 points as BYU brought it within 20 late in the game, with a final score of 86-69.
BYU’s next game on the schedule is Jan. 14 against Saint Mary’s on the road.