If BYU was to have a realistic chance at playing meaningful basketball in March it had to happen. They had to beat their WCC big brother Gonzaga. On a cold Provo night, Gonzaga's shooting was almost as cold as the temperature. The Bulldogs only managed to make 4 of their 18 three pointers as the Cougars extended their defense on the perimeter unlike they have done at anytime during the season.
The Cougars were led by surprise starter Anson Winder who scored 17 points and went a stellar 10-10 from the free throw line. Matt Carlino added 15 points and six assists while Erica Mika provided a monster presence inside and put up 13 points and eight rebounds. The Cougars out rebounded the Bulldogs 41-32 and had 10 steals as they forced the action on the defensive end of the floor. BYU defenders pestered Kevin Pangos all night long and frustrated the Zags star point guard. Dave Rose pulled all the right strings and put his team in what might have been his best coaching job this entire season.
The win should put BYU squarely on the NCAA Tournament bubble with 2 games remaining before the WCC Tournament. They have a clear path to the number two seed and should have some much needed confidence should they come up against Gonzaga in the conference tournament. Portland comes to Provo on Saturday for the Cougars final regular season home game this season.