BYU’s Wins Over Gonzaga Have Been Major Upsets

Jan 30, 2019, 4:50 PM
Nate Austin #33 of the Brigham Young Cougars blocks a shot by Silas Melson #0 of the Gonzaga Bulldo...
Nate Austin #33 of the Brigham Young Cougars blocks a shot by Silas Melson #0 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs as Zac Seljaas #2 of the Cougars defends during a semifinal game of the West Coast Conference Basketball tournament at the Orleans Arena on March 7, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Gonzaga won 88-84. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – It seems like every year since entering the West Coast Conference in 2011, the Gonzaga game is always one that BYU fans have circled on their calendars.

Although the Bulldogs have dominated the series as WCC foes with a 14-5 record, BYU’s wins have been hard fought, thrilling and in some cases, quite surprising.

2012: BYU 83, Gonzaga 73

In the first meeting between the two schools as conference opponents, the Cougars hosted the Bulldogs, which featured two future NBA players in Robert Sacre and David Stockton (son of Utah Jazz legend, John) at the Marriott Center on Feb. 2, 2012.

BYU had four players in double-figure scoring, led by Noah Hartsock, who had a game-high 24 points to go along with 14 rebounds to complete an impressive double-double.

Sacre had 11 points to compliment seven by Stockton but the Bulldogs were buried early as the Cougars built a 38-24 halftime lead. Gonzaga played a much better second half, but the Cougars prevailed in the end with an 83-73 victory.

Later on, however, the Bulldogs got the better of the Cougars, eliminating them in the semifinals of the conference tournament before going on to lose in the final in overtime to Saint Mary’s.

2014: BYU 73, Gonzaga 65

In 2014, the Cougars welcomed the No. 25-ranked Bulldogs to the Marriott Center and knocked them off with a big second half performance.

The Cougars played tight defense, forcing Gonzaga into 16 turnovers.

“You just can’t do that on the road,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of the turnovers. “You cannot do that on the road anywhere, let alone here.”

Anson Winder led the Cougars with 17 points while Matt Carlino added 15 points off the bench.

Stockton again played and had a forgettable performance with just two points.

The two teams would meet again in the finals of the conference tournament, where Gonzaga dominated en route to a 75-64 championship victory.

2015: BYU 73, Gonzaga 70

In 2015, BYU came into “The Kennel” in Spokane and snapped the No. 3-ranked Zags 41-game home winning streak with a thrilling 73-70 victory.

After the score was tied at halftime, the Cougars pulled ahead by 10 in the waning minutes before a 20-11 run by Gonzaga to bring the score to 71-70.

After a pair of free throws by the Bulldogs, BYU’s Ryan Andrus was fouled on the inbounds. He knocked down both shoots with 1.5 seconds remaining to give the Cougars some breathing room before Gonzaga heaved a desperation shot at the buzzer that clanked off the iron.

BYU was led by Kyle Collinsworth with 20 points.

Bryon Wesley paced Gonzaga with 17 points.

It would be the lone conference loss of the year for Gonzaga as the Bulldogs rolled to another conference championship with a 91-75 victory over BYU in the final game of the conference tournament.

2016: BYU 69, Gonzaga 68

In 2016, BYU freshman guard Nick Emery hit the biggest basket of his young collegiate career to give BYU the win over No. 25-ranked Gonzaga in early season conference play.

With 1:37 remaining, the Cougars were trailing 67-66 when Emery knocked down a 3-pointer to put the Cougars ahead 69-67. It was the only made basket of the game for Emery and it couldn’t have come at a better time.

“Nick just stayed in the present,” BYU forward Kyle Collinsworth said after the game. “As soon as he had that ball he just knocked it down.”

BYU then held Gonzaga to just one made free throw in the final minute and half to knock off the Bulldogs on the road for the second straight season.

Collinsworth led the Cougars with 20 points.

Kyle Wiltjer, who went on to a short NBA stint with the Houston Rockets, led the Bulldogs with 35 points in the loss.

Later on, Gonzaga would again put an end to BYU’s season with a 88-84 victory over the Cougars in the semifinals of the conference tournament. The Bulldogs would go on to win the tournament with a 85-75 win over Saint Mary’s in the finals.

2017: BYU 79, Gonzaga 71

Behind 29 points by Eric Mika, the Cougars pulled off the biggest win in program in 2017 when they defeated the No. 1-ranked, undefeated Bulldogs on the road in a shocking 79-71 victory.

Up to that point, the Bulldogs were 29-0 and were thought to have a legitimate shot at an undefeated season and a deep run in the NCAA Tournament.

The Cougars and Mika, played the role of spoilers in the big win.

Mika scored on 10-of-14 shots from the field with his biggest shot coming to put the Cougars up 73-71 with a minute left. From there, the Cougars held the Zags scoreless the rest of the way en route to the upset.

Although they were huge underdogs going into the game, Mika said after the game that his team believed they could win the whole time.

“I think all of us did and that was a big thing,” Mika said. “I don’t think a lot of teams, especially in our conference, believe 100 percent that they’re going to come in and do that.”

It was one of only two losses for Gonzaga that season. The Bulldogs’ only other defeat came later in the NCAA Tournament Final Four, where they lost to North Carolina in the championship game.

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