LAS VEGAS (ABC4 Sports) - There would be no shocking upset on this night.
One day after BYU upset #20 St. Mary's to get to the West Coast Conference championship game, the Cougars got run over by #6 Gonzaga, 74-54.
Yoeli Childs scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half, as BYU matched Gonzaga for the first 17 minutes. But the Bulldogs then went on a 36-4 run over the end of the first half and beginning of the second half to blow the game wide open.
"It's tough when games get kind of one-sided that way.," said head coach Dave Rose. "But from top top bottom, our guys kind of showed what they are, hung in there and actually made a run and came back."
"For the first 17, 18 minutes, it was a battle," said BYU forward Payton Dastrup, who scored 11 points off the bench. "It was back and forth and there were runs made where both teams were competitive offensively and defensively. They seemed to flip a switch and be able to create some havoc."
The Cougars started the game with a 5-0 run to take an early lead and defensively held Gonzaga to zero points in the first three minutes of the game.
Childs scored his second trey of the night to even the game at 8-all with 16:03 on the clock.
Back-to-back buckets by the Bulldogs put them on top, 18-14, with 11:28 to go in the first half.
After a scoreless five minutes for BYU, Bryant finished at the rim to start the Cougars on a 7-0 run to take back the lead, 21-20, with 6:32 remaining before halftime.
The sixth three in a row for Childs – dating back to the Saint Mary's game – tied the game at 27-all with three minutes left in the first period. Gonzaga answered with an 11-2 run to take a 38-29 lead into the locker room.
The second half began with a 4-0 run by Gonzaga, forcing a timeout by the Cougars with 17:38 remaining in the game and the Bulldogs on top 42-29.
"They're a great team," Bryant said. "They have great players over there and they're really well coached. They hit a lot of shots and that's what led to the run."
BYU's first basket of the second half came at the 14:55 mark when Bryant finished a layup to make the score 50-31 for Gonzaga.
Dastrup came off the bench and scored six-straight points, sparking a 10-0 run by the Cougars, making the score 65-41 with 7:30 left in the game.
The final minutes of the game saw a 7-2 run by BYU to make the final score 74-54 in favor of Gonzaga.
The Cougars shot 35.5 percent from the field, 31.6 percent from three and 80.0 percent from the free-throw line. The Bulldogs shot 46.8 percent from the field, 43.5 percent from beyond the arc and 85.7 percent from the charity stripe.
BYU's season is not over. With a record of 24-10, the Cougars will in all likelihood receive a bid to the NIT for the third straight season.
Rose said he was still extremely proud of his team.
"This team is full of character, full of heart, and has been through an amazing season with the personnel challenges that we've had. We played most of the season with eight scholarship players. These guys just kept fighting and believing in themselves. I'll go to battle with these guys anyday."
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