Bulldogs Fall To BYU In Inaugural Trip To Provo
PROVO, Utah (AP) - Gonzaga practically gave it away to BYU.
The 24th-ranked Bulldogs committed 15 first half turnovers and the Cougars coasted to an 83-73 victory on Thursday night.
Gonzaga turned the ball over 19 times total, including 14 BYU steals.
''It cut us down,'' Bulldogs center Robert Sacre said. ''It cut us down big time. That was the definition of the game right there was turnovers.''
BYU broke open a close game in the first half by taking advantage of a prolonged shooting drought by the Zags. Gonzaga took a 15-13 lead on a jumper from Sam Dower and then went 7 1/2 minutes without a basket.
The Cougars responded with a 23-7 spurt to take a commanding lead. Brandon Davies started the run with a tying jumper and once Noah Hartsock capped the run with another jumper, BYU held a 36-22 lead.
For BYU coach Dave Rose, it came down to team defense. Rose praised his players disrupting Gonzaga's attempts to set up its interior offense. As a team, they racked up 12 steals before halftime.
Our hands were active,'' Rose said. ''Our feet were active. We were challenging for rebounds. That's when we're good. Our guys respond to that and build on it and it gives them confidence.''
The Cougars also came out strong in the second half and pushed the lead to 55-36 with 13:30 left in the game. Gonzaga mounted a small rally late and cut BYU's lead to eight points in the final minute. It was too little, too late for the Zags.
Bulldogs coach Mark Few criticized his team for not handling the task of playing in a tough road environment well.
''We were rattled and frazzled,'' Few said. ''Just played with no poise and no composure. Timeouts couldn't stop it. Substitutions couldn't stop it. BYU did a good job of just coming out and playing with great energy and great passion.''
Hartsock finished with 24 points and 14 rebounds to lead BYU (19-6, 7-3). Davies added 15 points. The Cougars also received major contributions from their backcourt. Anson Winder was inserted into the starting lineup in place of Brock Zylstra and responded with 10 points, five assists and three steals. Matt Carlino chipped in 18 points and five assists.
Reserve Sam Dower scored 15 points for Gonzaga (17-4, 7-2). Gary Bell Jr. added 14 for the Bulldogs, Marquise Carter had 13 and Robert Sacre 11.
The Bulldogs were only 3 of 19 from 3-point range, and BYU was slightly better at 3 of 12 from the perimeter. The Cougars outscored Gonzaga 44-36 in the paint and had 22 points off 19 turnovers.
Gonzaga, behind defensive pressure that forced BYU into some sloppy turnovers and a few bad shots, trimmed BYU's lead to 65-55 with two Michael Hart free throws.
David Stockton missed an open 3 that could have trimmed the margin further, and a hook by Davies with 1:30 remaining put the Cougars back ahead by 12 and in command.
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