Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos (4) celebrates a 3-point basket against BYU during an NCAA college basketball game in Provo, Utah, Saturday, Dec. 27, 2014. (AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Trent Nelson)
The Salt Lake Tribune, Trent Nelson
December 27, 2014

PROVO, Utah (AP) It took more than a half of basketball before Gonzaga found the right formula for pulling away from Brigham Young.

Kyle Wiltjer scored 24 points and Kevin Pangos had 21 points and seven assists, helping No. 8 Gonzaga rally for an 87-80 win over BYU in the West Coast Conference opener for both teams Saturday night.

''It felt like four games in one, and luckily we made enough plays and tightened up the D down the stretch and that got us the difference,'' Gonzaga coach Mark Few said.

Byron Wesley had 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Bulldogs. Przemek Karnowski added nine points and 10 boards.

Tyler Haws and reserve Anson Winder each scored 17 points for BYU (10-4, 0-1 WCC). Kyle Collilnsworth had a triple-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists.

''I think we had enough in us to win it, we just needed to make the plays,'' Collinsworth said.

Gonzaga (12-1, 1-0) led by 16 points in the first half before falling behind by seven in the second. The Bulldogs rallied to take control in the final 10 minutes. They made 6 of 10 3-point shots in the second half.

''Early in the first half they were guarding shooters more but when they started collapsing we were getting more open shots, so that kind of helped,'' Pangos said. ''We had to knock down a few to keep the defense honest. Right after a timeout I found one and hit it and got rolling from there.''

The Bulldogs outscored BYU 36-24 in the paint and had 22 assists to BYU's 13.

The Cougars had 40 bench points to only 15 for the Bulldogs.

Wiljter scored Gonzaga's first six points to key a 12-0 run that pushed the Bulldogs to a 16-4 lead. They upped it to 31-15 but BYU closed the half on a 28-12 run and tied it 43-all when Collinsworth drilled a leaning 3-pointer at the buzzer.

The Cougars opened the game making just 1 of 11 shots but then hit 13 of 19 for the rest of the half. They also made all 10 of their free throws.

''The first half our transition defense was a joke,'' Few said. ''They were running by us like they were roadrunner and we were coyote or something. It was just ridiculous.''

BYU went up 56-49 on Collinsworth's tough basket in the paint but Gonzaga went back ahead 63-61 when Pangos made three quick 3s. Before the spurt, Gonzaga made only 2 of 10 3-point attempts.

Gonzaga extended the lead to 75-67 when Pangos hit his fourth 3 of the half and Wiltjer sank a shot from deep.

''Wiltjer settled down and found himself in some nice money areas there and we found him, and that was huge,'' Few said.

The Cougars cut the lead to 80-77 but Haws missed a 3-pointer to tie it. Wesley responded with a runner on the other end that put the game away.

''We didn't get off to the best start, but our guys found a way to correct that and get the thing tied before the half and came out in the second half and had a nice little run,'' BYU coach Dave Rose said. ''Then we got a little bit impatient defensively, a little impatient offensively.''

TIP INS

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs gave up more than 70 points for only the third time this season but held BYU, the nation's top-scoring team, to only 32 percent shooting in the second half and 39 percent for the game.

BYU: Freshmen center Corbin Kaufusi came off the bench with his biggest contribution yet, five points and five rebounds in 22 minutes. More importantly, he helped hold Gonzaga's two centers to 11 points combined.

UP NEXT

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs play at San Diego on Monday night.

BYU: The Cougars host Portland on Monday night.

DOING IT ALL

Collinsworth's triple-double is only the sixth in BYU history and the second of his career. He had a triple-double earlier this season against Hawaii and also has four double-doubles. He's one of only two players in the country in the Top 100 in rebounds, assists and steals.

STARTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT

Gonzaga has now won 19 straight conference openers and Few is 16-0 in conference openers. The Bulldogs have an 8-3 record against BYU.

You May Like