24th-ranked Bulldogs set sights on Cougars
Provo, UT – The 24th-ranked Gonzaga Bulldogs continue their quest for the top spot in the West Coast Conference as they head to the Marriott Center to square off with the BYU Cougars.
This will be just the second meeting between the programs. The only other encounter took place in the 2011 NCAA Sweet Sixteen, where BYU ended the Zags' season with a decisive 89-67 victory.
Gonzaga responded to its first conference loss to rival Saint Mary's by winning its next four times out. Its latest conquest was a 74-62 win over the Portland Pilots on Thursday which improved its overall record to 17-3 and its WCC mark to a second-best 7-1. Head coach Mark Few led his team back into the top 25 this week after a two week absence.. The Bulldogs have been doing very well in league play so far, as they have outscored their opponents by 14.0 ppg in WCC action.
Elias Harris is the Zags' leading scorer (13.7 ppg) and rebounder (8.0 rpg). Harris recorded his second-straight double-double against Portland as he finished the contest with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Freshman guard Kevin Pangos has made a name for himself in his rookie season. Pangos is second on the team in scoring (13.3 ppg) and has made 2.3 three-pointers per contest. Robert Sacre is making an impact in the middle as he is chipping in 11.6 ppg while grabbing 6.7 rpg. Gary Bell, Sam Dower, and David Stockton all are adding depth to the lineup to make the Bulldogs a very tough matchup.
Head coach Dave Rose has managed to continue winning in the post Jimmer Fredette Era. BYU enters tonight's contest at 18-6 with a 6-3 record in WCC action. The Cougars are coming off of an 80-66 loss to Saint Mary's, which was their second loss to the first place Gaels this season. BYU could not stop SMC's balanced offense as it allowed 55.8 percent shooting from the floor. BYU was held well under its average of 79 ppg in the contest. The Cougars also only dished out nine assists as a team in the loss, which is well under their fifth best nationally average of 17.9 apg. BYU leads the WCC with a 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Bulldogs will have to find a way to stop BYU's four-headed monster which consists of Noah Hartsock, Brandon Davies, Matt Carlino, and Charles Abouo. Hartsock is second in the WCC in scoring with an average of 17.5 ppg after scoring 75 total points in his last four outings. Davies is chipping in 14.3 ppg and a team-best 7.9 rpg. Carlino is netting 12.4 ppg and a team-best 4.4 apg, while Abouo is another scoring threat and the second best rebounder for the Cougars.