Slow Start Dooms BYU Again As No. 1 Gonzaga Rolls To 82-71 Victory

Feb 8, 2021, 11:10 PM | Updated: 11:11 pm
BYU - Gonzaga - Drew Timme - Caleb Lohner...
Brigham Young Cougars forward Matt Haarms (3), Gonzaga Bulldogs forward Drew Timme (2) and Brigham Young Cougars forward Caleb Lohner (33) fight for the ball during a basketball game at the Marriott Center in Provo on Monday, Feb. 8, 2021. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)
(Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball hosted a No. 1 team in the Marriott Center for only the second time in program history as they welcomed the Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Zags, who have given everyone headaches this year, caused more headaches for BYU on Big Monday.

BYU jumped out to a slow start as they did in Spokane in The Kennel. After that, they never could threaten Gonzaga enough to make the Zags concerned.

Gonzaga rolled to an 82-71 victory, getting revenge for last year’s loss at the Marriott Center. BYU falls to 15-5, 6-3 in West Coast Conference play. No. 1 Gonzaga improves to 19-0, 10-0 in WCC play.

2nd Half – BYU never gave up, but it became the Jalen Suggs show

Gonzaga 82, BYU 71 (0:00): BYU had a chance to end the game with a single-digit deficit, but the Cougars fouled late giving the Zags a chance to extend their streak of 23 consecutive victories with a double-digit win.

The Cougars gave great effort till the bitter end of a difficult loss.

Gonzaga 72, BYU 58 (5:21): Mark Few calls a timeout after BYU pops off for an 8-0 run.

Gonzaga 70, BYU 49 (7:37): The Jalen Suggs show took place in the Marriott Center. Suggs got up to 22 points and extended the Gonzaga lead to a game-high 21 points.

Suggs might be the best player on an opposing team to roll through the Marriott Center in my opinion since Baylor’s Perry Jones III in 2011.

Gonzaga 59, BYU 44 (11:59): BYU got the deficit down to eight, but couldn’t capitalize.

Spencer Johnson had a wide-open three that came up short. Would have cut the hole down to five. Then the Zags reeled off a 7-0 run to go back up 15.

BYU has only two field goals than turnovers so far. Gonzaga is +13 over BYU in points off turnovers.

Gonzaga 50, BYU 40 (15:48): 

Halftime Notes

  • Alex Barcello is tied with Drew Timme for a game-high in scoring with 12 points.
  • Gonzaga shot 50% from the field to BYU’s 40%.
  • BYU only made three three-pointers in the first half.
  • The Cougars closed the half with 10 turnovers to Gonzaga’s six.
  • Gonzaga had a +8 advantage in points in the paint (20-12).

1st Half – BYU/Gonzaga – Slow Start for Cougs

Gonzaga 41, BYU 31 (HALF): BYU cut the deficit to nine, and Brandon Averette had a wide-open three that could have cut the hole to six points. It rimmed out and went out of bounds. Nembhard on the other end then hit a bucket to get the Zags back up 11.

Caleb Lohner then closed out the first half with a pair of free throws, going 1-2 from the charity stripe to cut it to 10. While Lohner was shooting his free throws, there was a loud Gonzaga fan screaming at the top of their lungs that I’m convinced threw him off on his second free throw attempt.

Gonzaga 36, BYU 23 (3:50): Despite the big lead in favor of Gonzaga, the Zags haven’t played the cleanest game. They have six turnovers. But BYU has outdone them with nine of their own.

Gonzaga 32, BYU 19 (7:05): Brandon Averette opened up this portion with a three, BYU’s first three-point make of the game. BYU cut the deficit to six, and then Gonzaga popped off a 5-0 run by Drew Timme and Jalen Suggs with a three.

Suggs, a projected NBA lottery pick, is even better to watch in person. His speed is elite—one of the fastest players to come through the Marriott Center in the past 25 years.

There was a unique double foul call at the 8:18 mark with Richard Harward and Florida transfer Andrew Nembhard battling under the hoop.

Alex Barcello then hit a rainbow three with the shot clock expiring.

Gonzaga 19, BYU 10 (11:44): The game started to settle down for BYU as the Zags hot shooting to open came to a little bit of a halt.

Alex Barcello came out of the timeout with a driving left-hand bucket to give the Cougars their second field goal of the game.

Gideon George was called for a questionable second could with 14:29 remaining in half. He had the inside position on Gonzaga’s Watson.

Caleb Lohner gave BYU some good minutes with his defense on Corey Kispert.

Gonzaga 15, BYU 2 (15:49): I mentioned it in my storylines article previewing the game, BYU needed a good start. This was not a good start.

BYU/Gonzaga Pregame

BYU brought out the same starting lineup that they used in a 105-point outing against Portland last Thursday. Gideon George and Caleb Lohner will be in the starting five with Alex Barcello, Brandon Averette, and Matt Haarms.

In the pregame, BYU guard Jesse Wade was catching up quite a bit with Gonzaga guard/forward Corey Kispert. The two were teammates at Gonzaga as freshmen during the 2017-18 season.

No fans are in attendance for this game, but for the first time this season, the BYU cheer squad is here at the Marriott Center for tonight’s second all-time game in the Marriott Center against a No. 1 team.

BYU signee Jake Wahlin from Timpview attended tonight’s game to watch the Cougars take on the No. 1 Zags.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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Slow Start Dooms BYU Again As No. 1 Gonzaga Rolls To 82-71 Victory