It was a somber night in the Kennel for Zag fans as the BYU Cougars came in and beat Gonzaga 73-70.
Gonzaga looked sloppy all night. The Zags looked nervous all night. They made sloppy passes and had trouble containing the Cougars on defense. The bright spot for the Zags was Byron Wesley who had 17 points and nine rebounds. Aside from Wesley, Gonzaga’s shooters were cold all night. Kyle Wiltjer finished with only four points on 2-11 shooting. The Zags also couldn’t capitalize on chances at the free-throw line as they went 14-21. It was an uncharacteristic game for Gonzaga, but it’s better that they have a game like that at this point rather than in tournament play.
BYU had a great night shooting. Guard Skyler Halford had 14 points and went 2-3 from three point range. This was a huge boost for BYU to get this kind of scoring from a player off of the bench. Kyle Collinsworth had 20 points and eight rebounds. Tyler Haws was held to only 10 points, but his teammates made up for his lower than average numbers.
There was some questionable, inconsistent officiating on both ends of the floor for both teams. The game could have been much different with consistent officiating.
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This loss was probably good for the Zags. It gives them some good tape to review and see how they can improve. They now realize that they are not invincible. I think that they will come back stronger than ever from this game.
This game set the stage for the WCC tournament. Gonzaga will go into the tournament with a chip on their shoulder, while BYU will have more confidence after their big win.
What does this mean for the NCAA tournament placement for both teams? Gonzaga will no longer be a #1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but that really isn’t a bad thing. As a #2 seed, Gonzaga would not have the pressure of being the first #1 seed to lose to a #16 seed. Also, Gonzaga tends to play better as a team with something to prove.
BYU now has a real chance to make the tournament. This was definitely their signature win this season. Their chances of making the NCAA tournament will depend on how the WCC tournament goes, but I think their chances are pretty good.
It’s been fun covering the Zags during the regular season! There’s still a lot of games left to play, so make sure to stick around with West Coast Convo for postseason coverage!