BYU COUGARS

Three Observations From BYU’s Loss To Gonzaga In WCC Championship

Mar 9, 2021, 9:26 PM | Updated: 9:41 pm
BYU Matt Haarms...
BYU Matt Haarms

PROVO, Utah – The BYU Cougars put up a good fight in the WCC championship game against the Gonzaga Bulldogs, but they came up short losing 88-78.

BYU looked fantastic in the first half scoring 53 points. The Cougars led by 12 at the break in large part due to hot shooting. They were 21-of-31 from the field and 9-of-13 from deep.

Unfortunately, they weren’t able to hold on in the second half, only scoring 25 points.

Gonzaga outscored them by 22 points after the break to secure another WCC title.

It was an admirable performance from the Cougars, but there inability to score consistently in the second half was the main reason they lost in the championship game.

Here are my three observations from the final game before selection Sunday.

1. Trevin Knell bench scoring

Once a starter, Knell has been a revelation off the bench in the last month of the season.

He poured in 20 points to lead all Cougar players.

Knell was red hot from behind-the-arc making 5-of-10 attempts from downtown.

I love the confidence we’ve seen from Knell to finish the season. His shooting stroke is pure and he’s firing when open.

2. Gideon George “flexin”

George has been one of the pleasant surprises this season. He transferred in from New Mexico Junior College.

I’m not sure anybody thought he would be starting by years end.

He was outstanding against Gonzaga in the championship game scoring 11 points.

His defensive was notable as well. He helped hold Corey Kispert to only three points in the first half.

Early in the second half he drove on Kispert, knocking him to the ground while finishing a lay- up.

George flexed on Kispert after making the basket.

You have to love his swag and confidence. He’ll play a big role for this team in the upcoming NCAA tournament.

3. Free throw disparity

I’m not one to blame the officials, but the free throw disparity played a huge role in the outcome of this game.

Gonzaga shot 20 more free throws, making 11 more than BYU.

They were called for 10 less fouls than the Cougars.

I have a hard time believing one team is significantly more foul happy than another, especially in a championship game.

It’s not the reason BYU lost. At the end of the day, the Cougars didn’t make enough shots in the second half.

However, officiating needs to be better. I hardly noticed them in the first half. They were blatantly apparent in the second half.

You can hear Matt Baiamonte every Saturday on KSL Newsradio for Cougar Sports Saturday from 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. or you can find him on Twitter here.

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