Coulda. Woulda. Shoulda. That’s been the general theme for BYU Basketball this year, and that theme played out tonight in Las Vegas as the Cougar Cagers fell to Gonzaga in the WCC Championship Game, 75-64.
The first half of this game is what killed BYU tonight. The first 10 minutes to be exact. BYU was down by as much as 20 points in the first half, and BYU could never catch up.
The second half, BYU outplayed Gonzaga, but it was too little too late. As Gonzaga answered every time BYU tried to cut the deficit.
If you told me Kevin Pangos wouldn’t hit a field goal the entire game, I would have thought BYU wins by 10 or more points. Pangos didn’t a FG tonight, yet the Zags still won getting big performances from Sam Dower and Gary Bell Jr.
BYU will now wait till Selection Sunday to find out their post-season fate. Will the Cougars get in to the NCAA Tournament? I think they will, but they will likely be one of those last four in. There is no guarantees when you put your fate into the hands of the committee. Tonight didn’t help BYU’s cause with the eye test. A loss to the Zags doesn’t hurt the computer ratings, but for anyone who watched this game, BYU didn’t look good. Then you add the loss of Kyle Collinsworth who suffered a knee injury, and all of a sudden BYU is trending in the wrong direction heading into the big dance. With all that said though, the Cougars still find their way in.
But tonight will still go down as a blown opportunity. How often will we see Gonzaga average like this again? The Zags have been a mediocre team this year. BYU has been the hottest team in the WCC over the past 10 games, while the Zags have been crawling to the finish. This was BYU’s chance to win a conference tournament title for the first time since 2001. They fell short, and will have to wait until next year to have another shot at a WCC Tournament crown.
Tyler Haws earned all-tournament honors for his play during this tournament. A lot of that was based on the fact that it was Tyler Haws, and there was very few players to pick from this year. Haws was average during the tournament. Hate to say it, but he was. Ended up with 24 points tonight, but his signature mid-range game was off tonight and throughout the entire tournament. Cost BYU dearly not having that against the Zags, and almost cost them against USF on Monday night.
We will look back on this tournament and always say, golden opportunity that was lost.