Spokane, WA – “I was really pleased with the effort of the guys… they never stopped fighting.” The sentiment of Coach Dave Rose after traveling north to take on the undefeated WCC conference leaders in Gonzaga. It also is the only thing that can be said in a positive note for the Cougars.
This game was a good ole fashioned whooping.
Out of the gate, Gonzaga came swinging for an early knockout and create a gap to keep the pesky Cougars at bay. The Bulldogs are all too familiar with BYU coming into town and spoiling senior night three of the last four years. Rui Hachimura, a certified star and future 1st round NBA draft pick, scored the Zags first 6 points and finished the night with 23 and 10 rebounds. The Cougars staggered back after every Zag punch in the first half but did themselves no favors as they continued their turnover ways in the first half with eight. Those turnovers became 14 Gonzaga points which were one point more than the halftime lead. For the second straight game, the Cougars will finish with more turnovers than assists (15 TO to 13 assists).
Every time Dave Rose and the Cougs looked like they were making a run and making it close again, the Zags shut it down with a great play or run of their own. When BYU cut the lead to a 5-point deficit midway through the first, Zach Norvell would have an 8-0 run all by himself to extend the lead. The second half brought little good news as the Zags put on the afterburners and blew past the Cougars in dramatic fashion. Outscoring BYU 51-30 in the second half and forcing the issue with physical play in the paint, the Zags showed why they will most likely be the number 1 team in America on Monday.
Every aspect of the game went to Gonzaga, but the biggest number disparity was in free throws. The Zags made 21 and attempted 27 while BYU made 8 but only attempted 13. Those numbers might be due to a little hometown cooking for Gonzaga but even taking that away this game was not close, nor was it ever really in doubt for Gonzaga.
Some numbers and facts of note:
This is the worst loss in the Dave Rose head coaching era by 34 points. The prior record was held by Saint Mary’s in the 2016 WCC Tournament when BYU lost 81-50, or 31 points.
Gonzaga is undefeated this year when leading at halftime 23-0.