The last time Gonzaga rolled into the Marriott Center, it was BYU who was celebrating after 40 minutes. That was the last loss for the Zags, who took care of business this time around with an 82-71 win over the Cougars. Jalen Suggs led all scorers with 24 points, while Drew Timme added 20, along with a career high 13 rebounds.
The beginning of the game mirrored the early stages of the last Zags-BYU matchup. Gonzaga was able to get out to an early lead, forcing turnovers by BYU and hitting a trio of threes in the first few possessions. The Zags started on a 15-2 run before BYU began to sort themselves out.
The rest of the first half was pretty even, as BYU managed to claw back within 10 points by the break. Gonzaga was slowed a bit by Jalen Suggs’ relegation to the bench with two fouls, while Alex Barcello led the offense for BYU, scoring 12 of his team high 20 in the first half. The turnover bug continued to bite the Cougars, however, as they went into halftime with 10 TO’s.
The second half had featured many similar themes to the first. Neither team was especially potent on the offensive end, and the combination of Suggs and Drew Timme led the way offensively for Gonzaga. The Zags pulled away around the midway point of the half, at one point scoring on nine consecutive field goal attempts on the way to a 22 point lead at 72-50. BYU made a charge near the end, but it proved to be too little, too late.
While the offense generally garners the headlines for this Zags team, it turned out to be the defense that really helped the Zags maintain their lead and hold on for the win. They held BYU to under 50% from the field, while forcing 19 turnovers and scoring 26 points off of those TO’s throughout the game.
The Zags are now 19-0 on the season and 10-0 in the WCC. Their next game is scheduled for this Saturday against San Francisco at 6:00 pm PST.