Brigham Young University
Jan 07 | 05:30 PM
69 - 86
Gonzaga University
McCarthey Athletic Center

801 N Cincinnati Spokane WA 99258

Braden Taylor | Posted: 7 Jan 2021 | Updated: 16 Jan 2021
Braden Taylor

BYU suffers 86-69 loss to No. 1 Gonzaga

BYU's Gideon George drives the ball into the paint against Gonzaga


SPOKANE, Wash. – BYU men’s basketball dropped its first West Coast Conference game of the season, losing 86-69 to No. 1 Gonzaga at the McCarthey Athletic Center on Thursday.

“Gonzaga has a chance to be a generational team, and they’ve certainly started out the season that way,” said BYU head coach Mark Pope. “What they’ve done to those top 20 teams and everybody else, they’re really difficult to handle, and we started really poorly. I was really proud of the guys. At no point in the game did they walk away, and that is not consolation for losing, that is the DNA of a team that has a chance to be really, really good.”

BYU (9-3, 0-1 WCC) trailed Gonzaga (11-0, 1-0 WCC) from start to finish. Shooting 44.3 percent from the field and 25 percent from behind the arc, the Cougars couldn't keep up with the Bulldogs’ potent offense that shot 49.2 percent from the field. Gonzaga's smothering defense forced BYU to turn the ball over 16 times, resulting in the Bulldogs scoring 25 points.

Freshman Caleb Lohner scored a career-high 13 points in the loss, while adding five rebounds and a block to his stat line. Senior Matt Haarms also finished with 13 points after making five of his six field goal attempts and making all three of his free throws.

Juniors Richard Harward and Gideon George both reached double-figures in scoring, contributing 12 and 11 points, respectively. Sophomore Spencer Johnson pulled down a career-high seven boards while senior Alex Barcello led the team with five assists.

The Cougars committed five turnovers within the first four minutes of the game, helping the Bulldogs quickly jump out to a 16-2 lead. Harward knocked down a pair of free throws and Johnson hit a 3-pointer in the corner to make the score 25-7 with 12:06 remaining in the first half.

Haarms scored seven points to lead BYU on a 9-2 run, bringing the score to 32-16 with 8:50 on the clock. George provided a spark off the bench, scoring two quick layups for the Cougars after entering the game. A steal and transition 3-pointer by Lohner cut the deficit to 13 points, 39-26, four minutes before halftime.

Gonzaga answered by outscoring BYU 13-3 to extend its advantage to 52-29 at the break. The Cougars entered halftime only shooting 33.3 percent from the field and committing 11 first-half turnovers. The Zags scored 15 points off those turnovers while shooting 54.5 percent from the field and making five of their 10 3-point attempts.

Barcello knocked down a shot from behind the arc and Lohner scored a couple of layups as the two teams traded baskets to start the second half. The Bulldogs picked up where they left off and continued to remain in control on both ends of the court to maintain their comfortable lead for the rest of the second half.

George and Haarms followed up their strong play in the first period, scoring seven and six second-half points, respectively. Harward added six points of his own in the final two minutes as Gonzaga claimed the victory over BYU, 86-69.

The Cougars will continue conference play on the road against Saint Mary’s on Thursday, Jan. 14, in Moraga, California. Tip-off at the University Credit Union Pavilion is scheduled for 5 p.m. PST. The game is slated to be televised on ESPN2 and broadcast on the BYU Sports Networks on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2 and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.

Box Score
Postgame Notes and Quotes


Jon McBride | Posted: 5 Jan 2021 | Updated: 15 Jan 2021
Jon McBride

BYU to take on Gonzaga on the road to open WCC play

Gonzaga Graphic


PROVO, Utah – BYU men’s basketball will face No. 1 Gonzaga (10-0) on the road on Thursday for the Cougars’ West Coast Conference opener. A much-awaited opener it has been, as BYU was supposed to open WCC play last Thursday in Malibu, then Saturday in San Diego, then this Thursday against Pacific but COVID issues within the opposing programs postponed all three matchups. On short notice, the Cougs and Zags now get ready to renew their rivalry in a surprise matchup that was worked out this week.

This game will officially be a reschedule of the previously-scheduled Feb. 6 game between BYU and Gonzaga in Spokane. The Feb. 6 date for both BYU and Gonzaga is still to be determined as of now, as both programs and the WCC work on further modifications in the conference schedule.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN at 5:30 p.m. PST. It will also be broadcast live on the BYU Sports Network on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2 and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.

BYU Notes (9-2, 0-0 West Coast Conference)

  • The Cougars are off to a 9-2 start, most recently defeating Weber State and Texas Southern two weeks ago.
  • BYU has wins over Weber State, Texas Southern, No. 18 San Diego State, Utah, Utah State, St. John’s, Utah Valley, New Orleans and Westminster. The two losses were to USC and Boise State.
  • BYU is led by Alex Barcello who is averaging 16.9 points, 4.8 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game. Barcello has scored 186 points in 11 games, good for No. 6 in the nation in points scored. He is shooting a blistering 63% from beyond the arc, which is No. 1 in the nation among players who have shot 40+ threes. 
  • Barcello’s partner in BYU’s backcourt is Brandon Averette. Averette has come up clutch lately in a variety of ways, knocking down a huge three with 52 seconds left against SDSU, then dropping a season-high 30 points against Texas Southern and then racking up a season-high seven assists against Weber State.

Head Coach – Mark Pope

  • Alma Mater: Kentucky, 1996
  • Division I Career Record: 109-66 (5th season)
  • Record at BYU: 32-10 (2nd season)

Gonzaga Notes (10-0, 1-0 West Coast Conference)

  • Gonzaga is 10-0, after defeating San Francisco 85-62 in its most recent matchup on Saturday.
  • The Bulldogs have marquee victories this season over four teams who were ranked at the time — No. 3 Iowa, No. 6 Kansas, No. 11 West Virginia, No. 16 Virginia.
  • Gonzaga is first in the nation in scoring offense, averaging 96.2 points per game.
  • The Bulldogs have four players averaging double digits in scoring — Corey Kispert (21.6), Drew Timme (18.4), Jalen Suggs (13.9), Joel Ayayi (12.2).
  • Gonzaga has won 44 consecutive home games — the longest streak in the nation. The Bulldogs have only lost twice in their last 72 home games. One of those losses came to BYU in 2017. 
  • Gonzaga went 26-1 in the 2020 calendar year. Its only loss came at BYU in February.

Head Coach – Mark Few

  • Alma Mater: Oregon, 1987
  • Division I Career Record: 609-124 (22nd Season)
  • Record at Gonzaga: 609-124 (22nd Season)

Series Information

  • All-Time Series: Gonzaga leads 18-5
  • Last Meeting: BYU won 91-78, 2/22/2020 in Provo

Broadcast Information

  • TV: ESPN
  • TV Talent: TBA
  • Radio: BYU Sports Network, BYU Radio Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2, KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM
  • Streamed Audio: and the BYU Radio, BYUCougars and BYU Gameday apps
  • Radio Talent: Greg Wrubell (play-by-play), Mark Durrant (analyst)
  • Live Stats: