Gonzaga has found Provo to be increasingly hospitable over the year, as the Bulldogs extended their win streak at the Marriott Center to five years in a dominant 93-63 win against BYU.
Brandon Clarke had a near perfect evening in an absolutely dominant performance as he led the Zags with 23 points (10-13 FG) and 9 rebounds. Rui Hachimura wasn’t too far behind with 20 points and 9 rebounds, while Corey Kispert (16 points) and Zach Norvell (12 points) were dangerous all night. Josh Perkins picked up another double-digit assist (10) performance while chipping in six points. TJ Haws (16 points) and Zac Seljaas (13 points) led the scoring for the Cougars.
It wasn’t the cleanest of starts for Gonzaga, as a mixture of the hostile crowd and uncharacteristic nonchalance in passing the ball led to some turnovers and offensive miscues through the first three possessions of the game. Mark Few’s team quickly found its stride, however, and it was lights out for the Cougars shortly thereafter as Gonzaga put up a 17-2 run that effectively put the game to bed before the second media timeout.
Fresh off a 39-point performance against Santa Clara last week, Gonzaga’s ascending defense was once again up to the task against a much better offensive team. BYU found it difficult to manufacture quality looks inside the arc, and frequently had to settle for a long three early in the shot clock or settle for isolation basketball. The Zags were ruthless in the transition game, and even with the crowd’s energy pushing them throughout the evening, the Cougars couldn’t find any solutions to gain a foothold in the game.
By this point in the season, the Clarke and Hachimura show has become a well-oiled machine. The fluidity and ease with which those two dissect opposing frontcourts is startling, but when the whole starting lineup is firing alongside them there is no doubt as to what the outcome of the game will be.
It’s hard to believe how easy this win came for Gonzaga in this building, considering the battles that have taken place against the Cougars over the years. To be sure, the Zags have found a good formula at the Marriott Center over the last five years. The gulf between these two programs, however, has never been wider in recent history than it is at this particular moment. Whether that gulf widens or narrows is something that bears watching in the games to come.