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(25) Gonzaga (23-4) at BYU (18-10)



The Sports Network

DATE & TIME: Thursday, February 20, 11 p.m. (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Marriott Center (20,951) -- Provo, Utah. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: Gonzaga 15-0, BYU 12-1. Away Record: Gonzaga 5-2, BYU 4-8. Neutral Record: Gonzaga 3-2, BYU 2-1. Conference Record: Gonzaga 13-1, BYU 10-5. Series Record: Gonzaga leads, 5-2.

GAME NOTES: The 25th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs can clinch the West Coast Conference regular-season title, as they take on the BYU Cougars in a league matchup at the Marriott Center on Thursday evening.

Mark Few's Bulldogs have won two straight and nine of their last 10 games to force their way back into the Top 25. Gonzaga's lone loss over that stretch came out of conference in a showdown with Memphis on the road (60-54). Most recently, the Bulldogs made light work of Loyola Marymount last weekend in Spokane to move to 23-4 overall and 13-1 in-conference.

Dave Rose's Cougars are in second place in the conference standings, but it is a distant second at 10-5. BYU has won five of its last six games to improve to 18-10 overall, including last weekend's 60-57 road win at Saint Mary's.

Being up four games in the league with four to play, Gonzaga can claim the WCC regular-season crown outright with a win here. The Bulldogs are 5-2 all-time against BYU and that includes an 84-69 win on Jan. 25 in Spokane.

Sam Dower dominated play down low, recording a double-double with game-highs of 25 points and 15 rebounds in Gonzaga's 19-point win over Loyola Marymount, which clinched no worse than a tie for the WCC crown. The Bulldogs also received sizable contributions from Kevin Pangos (17 pts), Gary Bell Jr. (14 pts) and Przemek Karnowski (11 pts) in the victory. Gonzaga held a huge edge in rebounding over the Lions (40-25) and was an efficient 20-of-25 from the free-throw line in the game.

A potent offensive team, Gonzaga comes into this contest averaging 78.4 ppg and is ranked fourth in the county in field-goal percentage at a cool .500, including .404 from behind the arc. Pangos leads a quartet of double-figure scorers at 15.2 ppg, fueled by his 71-of-170 showing from behind the arc. Dower ranks second on the team in both scoring (14.8 ppg) and rebounding (6.8 rpg). He is joined in the frontcourt by Karnowski (10.2 ppg, 7.3 rpg), while Bell (11.5 ppg) provides depth along the perimeter.

BYU would have no problem turning this game into a shootout, as the team is more that capable of winning that way. The Cougars rank third in the nation in scoring at a hefty 85.5 ppg, doing so on a healthy .469 shooting. It helps to get over a quarter of that scoring from one player. Junior guard Tyler Haws has been unstoppable this season and has played at an All-American level, leading the conference and ranking fourth in the nation in scoring at an eye- popping 24.1 ppg. The team has a pair of capable facilitators behind Haws in guards Kyle Collinsworth (14.1 ppg, 7.9 rpg, 4.8 apg) and Matt Carlino (13.5 ppg, 4.6 apg). Freshman forward Eric Mika (12.3 ppg, 6.4 rpg) provides balance up front.

The Cougars trailed by 14 points against Saint Mary's but rallied in the second half to earn the three-point win. Haws led all scorers in the victory with 18 points. Collinsworth added 14 point to the cause for BYU, which shot 50 percent from the floor in the game, despite an ugly 1-of-8 from behind the arc.

Defense has not been a strength of the Cougars this season and despite having a big homecourt advantage, stopping Gonzaga from winning yet another conference crown probably isn't in the cards.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Gonzaga 79, BYU 73

02/20 10:41:29 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
4th
DUR 0
GWI 0
 
7:30pm Tonight
NEP
CAR
Final
CHC 4
BAL 1
2nd
NYY 0
CWS 3
 
2nd
CLE 0
HOU 0
 
2nd
WAS 1
SFG 0
 
1st
PHI 0
STL 3
 
3rd
TOR 0
TAM 1
 
2nd
CIN 0
ATL 0
 
2nd
BOS 0
SEA 0
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
KAN
8:10pm Tonight
MIN
DET
8:10pm Tonight
MIL
PIT
8:40pm Tonight
COL
MIA
9:40pm Tonight
ARI
SDP
10:05pm Tonight
OAK
ANA
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
NYM
7:30pm Tonight
NEP
CAR
7:30pm Tonight
DET
JAC
7:30pm Tonight
NYJ
NYG
8:00pm Tonight
GBP
OAK
10:00pm Tonight
SEA
CHI
4th
DUR 0
GWI 0