Gonzaga jumped out to a 23-2 lead and never looked back in a 86-69 win over BYU Thursday night in The Kennel.
Gonzaga looked every bit the #1 team in the nation with a dominant offense and good defense. Gonzaga forced early BYU turnovers and converted quick transition buckets to put the game away early. 4 Gonzaga players were in double figures, led by 23 points from Corey Kispert.
Alex Barcello struggled much of the night, finishing with 7 points, 6 turnovers and 5 assists. His backcourt mate Brandon Averette wasn’t much better, as the senior finished with 3 points and 4 assists on 1-5 shooting.
Two bright spots for BYU were the play of Gideon George and Caleb Lohner off the bench. Caleb Lohner tied a team high with 13 points and George chipped in 11 points. Both went against NBA guys and more than held their own. George hadn’t done much since his big game versus St John’s, but he showed great control around the basket and used his length and athleticism to bother Gonzaga on defense.
Lohner has had his ups and downs this season, but he looked as confident as he has all season and seemed really in control within the offense. Lohner looks like he’ll be the next star for BYU.
Matt Haarms was a bit slowed down by a knee injury, but the big man was 5-6 from the field and finished with 13 points. Richard Harward had a nice game off the bench and finished with 12 points.
Overall, BYU fought all night after digging itself in a massive hole early. No one in the WCC is in the same class as Gonzaga, but BYU looks like they could be the second best team in the league.
If all goes according to plan, BYU will have a week off before travelling to play St Mary’s and Gonzaga next on the road next week.