Las Vegas, NV – Gonzaga (28-6) jumped out to a 21-point lead in the first half and made things very difficult for a BYU team that typically likes to be the squad who to jump out to early leads. In the second half, BYU got some help as key Gonzaga players got into foul trouble and started to chip away at the lead. However, the Bulldogs had an answer for every BYU run and sealed up its 13th WCC Tournament title and 16th straight NCAA Tournament bid by winning 75-64.
Offensively, Gonzaga built a quick nine-point lead and kept it flowing behind Sam Dower, who had 14 points on 7-of-11 shooting in the first half. Defensively, Gonzaga was just too good, contesting every BYU shot inside and out, which forced the Cougars to struggle, missing 11 of their first 15 shots and ended the first half shooting 9-of-27.
Gonzaga slowed down a little bit in the second half, but held BYU back as they continued to struggle shooting throughout the conference tournament and showed defensively that they have a serious weakness if forced out of their 2-3 zone and into a man-to-man defense. It is a bad time of the college basketball year to be shooting poorly plus, being exposed defensively and BYU can attest to that.
Sam Dower Jr. led Gonzaga with 20 points and 13 rebounds, and Gary Bell Jr. had 14 points. David Stockton dished out seven assists and had three steals to finish off one of his better 3-game performances during his career.
BYU (23-11) was led by Tyler Haws’ 24 points, and Kyle Collinsworth added 13 before leaving with a right leg injury in the second half. The Cougars now have a long five-day wait until selection Sunday. BYU’s resume for 2013-2014 is formidable with key wins vs. Stanford, Texas and Gonzaga and some close loses to Iowa State, Wichita State and Oregon. However, their conference loses to LMU, Pepperdine, Pacific, and Portland hurts their chances as does struggling to finish off LMU and beating San Francisco in OT during the tournament. Either way it was an exciting season for the West Coast Conference and its players, coaches and fans.
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