BYU COUGARS

BYU Basketball Can’t Handle No. 2 Gonzaga In Loss

Feb 5, 2022, 10:10 PM | Updated: 10:35 pm
BYU Cougars - Gonzaga Bulldogs...
Chet Holmgren #34 of the Gonzaga Bulldogs rips a rebound away from Fousseyni Traore #45 of the BYU Cougars during the first half of their game February 5, 2022 at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah — BYU Basketball couldn’t handle No. 2 Gonzaga, dropping their fourth straight game in a 90-57 route by the Zags. In one of the worst stretches for BYU in recent memory, the Cougars continue to fall in the West Coast Conference standings. As does their NCAA tournament hopes.

BYU had no answer for the nation’s best offense as Gonzaga had five players score in double-digits. Chet Holmgren was impressive against the Cougars, posting a double-double of 20 points, 17 rebounds, six assists and five blocks.

Gideon George led BYU with 14 points, shooting 3-5 from three. As a team, the Cougars shot 30% from the field and 23% (6-26) from three. Seneca Knight added 13 points and six rebounds in the game.

BYU Falls Behind Gonzaga Big In First Half

With no Te’Jon Lucas, who was unavailable for the game, BYU had another new starting lineup. Seneca Knight moved into the starting five and the Cougs once again got off to a nice start with a new look. BYU started got off to a 5-0 start with the Marriott Center jumping. But Gonzaga quickly got things moving, going on their own 12-0 run.

One of the nation’s best offense, the Zags had it rolling for most of the first half. Gonzaga had multiple runs in the half that helped them expand their lead. Freshman phenom Chet Holmgren was dominant in the half, with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks. His size and length was too much for BYU’s undersized frontcourt.

Meanwhile, BYU struggled from the floor in the first half. The offense seemed stagnant at times, with ball movement stalled well beyond the three-point line. As a team, BYU shot 25% from the field and made just 4-15 shots from three. Gideon George had a nice half for the Cougars, leading the team in scoring with 10 points. Unfortunately for BYU, no one else couldn’t get anything going on on offense in the half.

BYU never caught momentum in the first half. At one point in the half, Gonzaga led by 30 points. They battled down the stretch, but couldn’t chip away significantly at the Gonzaga lead. The Zags led BYU at half, 47-23.

BYU Can’t Overcome Gonzaga In Second Half

BYU started the second half getting to the free throw line. After attempting just two free throws in the first half, six of their first eight points came from the line. They attacked the rim and racked up early fouls on the Zags.

Gonzaga rallied and went on another run, this time a 16-2 run that extended the lead to almost 30 points. The Zags sucked the air out of the Marriott Center, killing any chance for a BYU comeback. The Cougars responded with an 11-0 run of their own, but they still trailed big.

The size and length of Gonzaga was a challenge for BYU throughout the night. For the game, the Zags outscored the Cougars in the paint 44-22. In the second half, Gonzaga was led by national player of the year candidate Drew Timme. Timme had 11 points in the half, to lead the Zags, after scoring just two in the first 20 minutes.

Seneca Knight scored all 13 of his points in the second half, attacking at the basket and picking up free throws. The deep ball never fell consistently for BYU in the game, they shot just 18% (2-11) in the second half from three.

BYU faltered down the stretch on a night in which they were simply outmatched. Gonzaga cruised to a 90-57 victory in the Marriott Center.

BYU’s Next Opponent

BYU (17-8) hits the road next week as their next three games will be in California. The Cougars travel to Los Angeles for a Thursday night matchup against Loyola Marymount (9-12). They’ll tip-off at 9:00 p.m. (MDT) at Gersten Pavilion in Los Angeles, CA. You can listen to the game on KSL NewsRadio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM.

Dallen Graff is a KSL Sports Contributor. He is the Producer of Cougar Sports Saturday (SUBSCRIBE) on KSL NewsRadio. Follow him on Twitter.

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