Las Vegas, NV – BYU came into tonight’s WCC Championship game attempting to avenge two regular season losses to Gonzaga. The Cougars lost by eight points at Gonzaga and by 14 points at home. That trend continued as the Zags used a late first half surge to take a nine-point halftime lead, then pulled away in the second half for a decisive 74-54 victory.
Killian Tillie continued his outstanding play, connecting on 9-0f-12 shots, including 3-of-4 from deep to lead the Zags with 22 points. Zach Norvell Jr. added 17 points, making 4-0f-8 three’s. Johnathan Williams (10 points) helped Gonzaga control the boards with 13 rebounds, his second straight game with double-figure rebounds. The Zags ended the game with a +9 rebounding advantage. Gonzaga connected on 46.8 percent of their shots and made half (13-of-26) of their three-pointers. BYU’s shooting averages were in the mid-30 percent range. Yoeli Childs continued his excellent play and led the Cougars with 20 points.
Gonzaga went on a 9-0 surge in the last two minutes of the first half to break open a tie game and take a 38-29 lead at halftime. Norvell Jr. came out hot from distance hitting three of his first four three-pointers, connecting on one at the end of the shot clock. Novell Jr. led the Zags at the half with 11 points. The 6-10 Tillie made 10 of his 11 shots last night but tonight missed his first attempt, an easy lay-up after a feed. However, Tillie was still solid, making 2-of-3 three-pointers and ending the half with 10 points. BYU’s Childs continued his stellar play. Childs, coming off a 33-point performance in last night’s win over St. Mary’s, connected on his first three shots from distance tonight extending his streak to 6-for-6 in the last two games. Childs came into the semifinals only making 19 percent (8-of-36) of his shots from long distance. He scored a game-high 18 points by halftime. Other than Childs, the Cougars shot only 25 percent in the half (5-of-20) while Gonzaga connected on 44.4 percent from the field including a solid 6-of-13 (46.2%) from distance. The Zags also had a +10 rebounding advantage, holding to Cougars to zero offensive rebounds.
BYU did not score over the first 5:03 of the second half. The Zags reeled off an 11-point run to take an 20-point lead with a little over 15 minutes remaining in the game. That sealed the game. Back-to-back 3’s from Tillie and Silas Melson helped extend Gonzaga’s lead to 26 points and they coasted to the win. BYU seems unlikely to get an NCAA bid while the Zags are projected as a No. 5 seed.
Tillie was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Tournament. The other members of the All-Tournament team were: Jock Landale (St. Mary’s), Childs (BYU), Williams (Gonzaga) and James Batemon (LMU).
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