Gonzaga Hosts BYU in Regular Season Finale


This is going to be a big game.  No.  Scratch that.  This is going to be a ginormous game!  In their final matchup of the season, the Gonzaga Bulldogs will face the rival BYU Cougars on senior night in the Kennel.  This game is going to be an emotional roller coaster, so be prepared to laugh, cry, cheer at the top of your lungs, and be thankful for the great game of basketball.

The importance of this game is paramount for both teams.  Gonzaga is trying to get its second one seed in the NCAA tournament in school history.  Losing this game would be detrimental to achieving that position.  BYU is currently positioned in the next four out in Joe Lunardi’s Bracketology.  If BYU beats the Zags that would be helpful for their NCAA tournament hopes.

Tyler Haws has been on a tear lately.  If BYU hopes to win, he will have to continue playing at a high level.  If Gonzaga hopes to win, they will have to shut him down.

I could easily give you the stats about star players from each team.  I could tell you how many assists Kevin Pangos had in his last game or how many rebounds Haws averages this season, but that’s not what this game is about.  This will be a game of emotion. BYU and Gonzaga have played very emotional games against each other in the past and I expect tonight to be no different.

It is senior night for Gonzaga.  Three seniors, Gary Bell Jr., Kevin Pangos, and Byron Wesley will be graduating this year.

Byron Wesley transferred from USC and was able to play right away.  He has been an extremely important piece in Gonzaga’s game.  He has brought intensity to the Zags on offense and defense.  He is a great slasher.  Wesley brought scoring to the three position.  This is something that the Zags have not had in a while.  He is a great team player.  When it’s his time to shine he can go in and but up big points.  When some else is hot, Wesley can recognize that and feed them the ball.  The thing that amazes me the most about Byron Wesley is his ability to score in traffic and with contact.  He drives to the hoop and even if there are three defenders collapsing on him Wesley is able to contort his body and make a shot, often drawing a foul as well.  Wesley made an immediate difference for the Zags.  I will remember him as a player with great strength and finishing ability.

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Gary Bell Jr. has played at Gonzaga for four years.  He is one of the nicest guys on the team.  During my freshman year I had a class with Bell Jr.  I talked to him a few times and he was always nice to everyone around him. On the court Bell Jr. will be remembered as one of the best defenders in Gonzaga history.  He is also an incredible three point shooter.  This season he has really developed into a smart player.  He has been driving to the basket more.  He is constantly reliable.  Even though Bell Jr. doesn’t always put up big numbers (though he is completely capable) he is an integral part of Gonzaga’s game.  Bell Jr. has improved every year.  He will definitely be missed.  He is from Kent, WA and has made the state of Washington and Zag fans everywhere proud.

Kevin Pangos is one of the most prolific shooters in Gonzaga history.  He holds the record for most three point shots made in school history.  He along with Bell Jr. have been apart of one of the best backcourts in all of the NCAA for four years.  He has always been a great shooter.  I think that his passing has greatly improved over the years.  He has become a floor general.  His strong leadership makes him an asset to the Bulldogs.  He is a great team player.  When David Stockton was playing the point, Pangos played the off ball guard without a complaint.  Pangos is also incredibly nice off the court.  I’ve had many experiences with Kevin Pangos off the court.  In fact, I talked to him yesterday.  It is apparent that he is very appreciative of his fans and fellow students.  He will be sorely missed by the entire Gonzaga community.

This game is set to be a good one. Be sure to tune in on Saturday, February 28 at 7:00 pm PT on ESPN2.