NCAAM

No.1 Gonzaga Bulldogs Survive BYU’s Challenge, Win WCC Title and Stay Perfect

No.1 Gonzaga Bulldogs Survive BYU’s Challenge, Win WCC Title and Stay Perfect

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No.1 Gonzaga Bulldogs won the WCC title, beating Brigham Young Cougars in the final game, 88-78. A top-seeded team made a massive comeback that saw them erase a double-digit minus.

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This was by far the toughest challenge this season for Mark Few’s guys, who looked pale and unusually slow in the first 20 minutes, not finding their groove.

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Brigham Young (20-6) was superb early on, having a fantastic shooting spree from downtown, as they made nine three-point shots from the first 13 tries. It was no wonder why they had a 53-41 advantage at halftime.

Yet Corey Kispert woke up in the second half, hitting three consecutive downtown shots that would immediately cut down his team’s deficit to 55-52. He ended the night with 17 points, but 14 of those came in the second half. The senior forward was the initial spark that moved the Bulldogs.

With Zaga coming back in the game, things on the court became more intense, but the favorites wouldn’t immediately break the opponents. The Couguars held on until the finish, exchanging blows with the Bulldogs and showing an incredible will to stay unbeaten.

However, Jalen Suggs added two threes in the finish that saw Zags finally breaking the opponents once his team pulled away to 82-73 advantage.

All Bulldogs’ players scored a double-digit number of points. Suggs had 23, shooting threes 4-for-7, and adding five boards and assists. Joel Ayayi had 18 and nine boards, while Kispert 17. Drew Timme ended the night with14 and seven boards and Andrew Nembhard 13 buckets.

On the other side, Trevin Knell came off the bench to deliver 20 buckets, hitting five threes in 10 shots. Alex Barcello scored 15 having six rebounds and four assists, and Matt Haarms 13. Caleb Lohner couldn’t record a single point bt he had 10 boards.

Interestingly, Couguars had just seven free throws, making five of them. On the other side, the Zags shot 27 times from the foul line, having 18 hits. They lacked aggressiveness from their backcourt, who didn’t attack the rim in the final moments of the contest but decided to shoot from deep.

If they appear at the NCAA Tournament, and all the factors suggest that they should, Mark Pope’s guys would need to be more versatile to make some notable results.

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As for Gonzaga, they continue the quest for the perfect season, the first one since 1976 and the Indiana Hoosiers.

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