BYU Basketball finished the regular season with a 71-68 loss to WCC rival Gonzaga. The Cougars finished the regular season as 3rd in the WCC.
Provo, UT – Third times the charm, or so they say right? That wasn’t the case for BYU basketball after they weren’t able to pull out a win despite three late opportunities to notch the win.
Down 70-68 with 37 seconds the Cougars had three offensive possessions to tie the game or win, but came up empty handed.
With the game on the line, the Cougars looked to freshman Nick Emery to lead them to victory. But, he took two three pointers that found rim instead of the bottom of the net and it appeared BYU was out of chances.
But BYU got a gift in the form of a foul on Gonzaga forward Damontis Sabonis on an inbounds play that created a turnover and one final shot for BYU to get the win.
As BYU took their final opportunity with 6.5 seconds remaining, an errant pass from Zac Seljaas came from a foul that wasn’t called on Josh Perkins as he held Kyle Collinsworth to prevent him from getting to the inbounded ball.
Despite the loss, it was quite the comeback for BYU who trailed by a dozen points with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game.
The furious comeback began with 9:57 remaining in the game where BYU went on an 11-2 run to bring it within three points, but were unable to ever gain the lead.
It was a tight contest from the beginning and BYU began to pull out to a 24-18 lead until senior guard Kyle Collinsworth was pulled from the game due to foul trouble with 8:24 remaining in the first half. The Bulldogs were able to use his absence to go on a 13-2 run and a 34-26 lead and never looked back despite the Cougars nipping at their heels as they never trailed for the remainder of the game.
Despite a strong defensive effort, the Cougars were woeful on offense shooting a meager 33% from the field and 31% beyond the arc. There was improvement late in the game as the Cougars were below 30% from the field in the first half.
BYU’s guard line struggled to score, going 14/44 from the field. Nick Emery finished 4/16 for 11 points and pulled down 6 rebounds, Chase Fischer improved on a poor first half finishing the game 6/14 from the field for 18 points and was 3/8 beyond the arc, and Kyle Collinsworth was 4/14 for 15 points, pulled down 15 rebounds, and dished out 8 assists in a near triple-double.
For Gonzaga, Kyle Wiltjer and Damontis Sabonis both put in good games with Wiltjer scoring 21 points on 6/14 shooting and pulled down 7 rebounds while Sabonis had 15 points and 14 rebounds.
With the loss, the Cougars finish the regular season with a 22-9 record (13-5 WCC) and a 3rd place finish in the league. The Cougars will begin tourney play against Santa Clara (11-19, 7-11) on Saturday, March 5th.