Emery 3-pointer lifts BYU over No. 25 Gonzaga 69-68
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) BYU was having a poor shooting night, and trailed No. 25 Gonzaga for much of the game.
Then the Cougars got hot late, and freshman guard Nick Emery hit a 3-pointer with 1:38 left that provided the winning points in a 69-68 victory Thursday night.
It was the only basket of the game for Emery.
Kyle Collinsworth scored 20 points and Chase Fischer added 18 for BYU (13-5, 4-1 West Coast Conference), which upset Gonzaga at home for the second straight season.
''We just stayed positive and kept fighting,'' Collinsworth said.
Picking up a rare victory at Gonzaga last year gave them confidence they could do it again, even as BYU spent most of the game shooting in the 30 percent range, according to Collinsworth.
The confidence extended to Emery, he said.
''Nick just stayed in the present,'' Collinsworth said. ''As soon as he had that ball he just knocked it down.''
BYU missed its first 12 3-point attempts of the game, but made three in the final 8 minutes, including the game-winner.
''Our effort and energy was there the whole game,'' Collinsworth said. ''We are playing better as the season goes on.''
Kyle Wiltjer scored 35 points for Gonzaga (13-4, 5-1), which saw a seven-game winning streak snapped. Domantas Sabonis, who averages 18 points per game, was in foul trouble and limited to five points.
''That was huge,'' Gonzaga coach Mark Few said of Sabonis, who played just 21 minutes. ''He's a huge part of what we are. That makes it difficult against a team as explosive as they are.''
Gonzaga lost at home to BYU last season, breaking a 41-game home winning streak.
Wiltjer is the leading scorer in the WCC at 21.5 points per game and has reached 20 points 11 times this season.
But he missed a free throw with 8 seconds left that would have tied the game.
''It was really disappointing,'' he said of the loss. ''We really couldn't get stops'' late in the game.
Neither team shot well from the field, with BYU hitting 41 percent and Gonzaga just 36.8 percent.
Up by four points at halftime, Gonzaga opened the second with an 11-2 run that gave them a 47-34 lead.
Collinsworth completed a three-point play and Fischer scored to bring BYU within 47-39.
Gonzaga rebuilt a double-digit lead but Collinsworth scored three straight baskets and the Cougars cut Gonzaga's lead to 54-49
Fischer's 3-pointer, the first of the game for BYU after 12 misses, brought the Cougars within 56-54 with 8:33 left.
Wiltjer replied with a 3-pointer and a long jumper to keep the Zags ahead.
Collinsworth hit three straight baskets as BYU got within 63-61 with 3:40 left. Fischer completed a three-point play to put the Cougars ahead 64-63.
Kyle Dranginis scored on a long jumper to put Gonzaga up by one, but Fischer scored again to put BYU ahead.
After Eric McClellan hit two free throws for Gonzaga, Emery made his 3-pointer to put BYU ahead 69-67 with 1:32 left.
The BYU defense buckled down and Gonzaga could not get a clean shot. Wiltjer made one of two free throws with 8 seconds left to close the scoring and BYU's Nate Austin blocked a shot in the final seconds.
HBO is filming a reality series on this Gonzaga basketball season. The five-part series will debut Feb. 16.
BYU: Collinsworth is coming off his NCAA-record ninth career triple-double and averages 14.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.4 assists per game. ... Fischer came in averaging 18.1 points and leads the WCC with 55 3-pointers. ... BYU came in averaging 88.5 points in conference play. ... Four Cougars average at least 12.8 points.
Gonzaga: Gonzaga came in shooting .457 from 3-point range in conference games. ... Gonzaga has posted a higher field goal percentage than 15 of 16 opponents. ... Wiltjer and Sabonis are both averaging more than 34 minutes per game because center Przemek Karnowski is out for the season with a back injury.
BYU plays at Portland on Saturday.
Gonzaga hosts San Diego on Saturday.