Bulldogs Make Inaugural Trek To BYU For Critical Match-up
SPOKANE, Wash. - Gonzaga begins the second half of the West Coast Conference season with a game that will go a long way in determining whether or not the Bulldogs capture a 12th straight WCC regular-season crown.
The inaugural WCC meeting between the Bulldogs and first-year member BYU takes place Thursday at 8 p.m. PST at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. The Bulldogs, 17-3 overall and 7-1 in the WCC, are chasing undefeated (10-0) league-leader Saint Mary's College. The Gaels defeated Gonzaga in their first meeting in Moraga, Calif., and the Gaels have also handed BYU two of their three WCC losses as the Cougars come into Thursday 6-3 in the WCC. The game is equally as big for BYU, as a loss to the Bulldogs would put them three games behind in the loss column. The top two seeds into the WCC Tournament receive double-byes into the semifinals.
Gonzaga and BYU have met just once, that meeting coming last March in the NCAA Tournament Third Round in Denver, Colo. The Cougars, led by Player of the Year Jimmer Fredette's 34 points, handled the Bulldogs 89-67.
Thursday's game features two of the top three NCAA Division I active coaches based on winning percentage in Gonzaga's Mark Few and BYU's Dave Rose. Few is second with a career record of 333-86 for a winning percentage of .795 in his 13th year as head coach of the Bulldogs. Rose is third with a career mark of 177-50 for a winning percentage of .780 in his seventh year as head coach of the Cougars. Roy Williams of the University of North Carolina heads the list with a record of 664-165 in his 24th season.
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