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BYU (13-8) at Gonzaga (17-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday January 25, 10 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: McCarthey Athletic Center (6,000) -- Spokane, Washington. Television: ESPN2. Home Record: BYU 8-1, GU 11-0. Away Record: BYU 3-6, GU 3-1. Neutral Record: BYU 2-1, GU 3-2. Conference Record: BYU 5-3, GU 7-1. Series Record: Gonzaga leads, 4-2.
GAME NOTES: The Gonzaga Bulldogs take aim at their 22nd consecutive win at the McCarthey Athletics Center on Saturday when they host the BYU Cougars in a West Coast Conference battle.
The Cougars had a five-game winning streak snapped on Thursday as they lost, 114-110, in triple-overtime to the Portland Pilots at the Chiles Center. BYU, which had never lost to the Pilots before, allowed Portland to overcome an eight-point deficit in the second extra session before being held scoreless for the first three and a half minutes of the third overtime. BYU received a sensational performance from Tyler Haws, who tallied a career-high 48 points in the loss.
Gonzaga notched its third win in a row its last time out as it held off San Diego for a 59-56 victory. Dating back to last season, coach Mark Few's squad has won 21 straight games at home. The Bulldogs are leading the WCC with a 7-1 record with their only loss during the eight-game stretch coming at the Chiles Center. Gonzaga's scoring output versus the Toreros was significantly lower than its average of 80.5 ppg. It is has been one of the most efficient teams in the country, converting 51.2 percent of its field goal attempts to rank second among Division I schools.
This will be only the seventh meeting in history between BYU and Gonzaga. The Bulldogs have won four of the previous six matchups. The Bulldogs swept last season's home-and-home series, including a 20-point win in Spokane on Jan. 24.
In BYU's loss to Portland, Haws finished 17-of-34 from the field and 10-of-13 at the free-throw line. Matt Carlino added 25 points and nine assists, Kyle Collinsworth recorded a double-double (12 points, 12 rebounds) and Nate Austin grabbed 15 boards. The Cougars are posting some impressive numbers during the 2013-14 season as they rank second nationally in points per game (88.3), fifth in rebounds per game (42.7) and 11th in assists (17.0). Haws has played a key role and paces the WCC in scoring with 23.6 ppg. Carlino has been a steady contributor to net 15.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg and 4.8 apg. Collinsworth is chiming in with 13.9 ppg to go along with team-highs of 8.3 rpg and 5.2 apg.
Gary Bell Jr. returned from a six-game absence against USD for the Zags, but was limited to five points in 22 minutes off the pine. Sam Dower Jr. notched a double-double on 18 points and 10 rebounds while Przemek Karnowski scored 12 points for the Bulldogs. Kevin Pangos and Kyle Dranginis added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Pangos has become the go-to-guy for Few's squad this season with 15.9 ppg and 4.1 apg. The junior guard is one of the most dangerous threats from beyond the arc in the nation with 43.9 percent efficiency from 3-point range. Dower adds 14.2 ppg and 6.9 rpg. Karnowski is pulling down 7.5 rpg and also rejecting 1.7 shots per tilt.
Both of these teams are capable of lighting up the scoreboard in various ways. Gonzaga's homecourt advantage is one of the best in the country and it has performed well against BYU to this point in the rivalry. The Bulldogs will start playing even better basketball once Bell returns to full health. If he is back to 100 percent, Haws will have trouble getting open looks against his top-notch defense.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Gonzaga 88, BYU 79
01/25 11:17:28 ET