Tonight BYU looks for its first signature win of the season. They’ll be on the road at one of the hardest gyms to play on the West Coast. They’ll be facing one of the best teams on the West Coast. And they’ll be facing a team in Gonzaga that will be looking to regroup after a buzzer-beating loss of their own suffered at the hands of Butler on Saturday. Shall I say they’re as hungry as BYU was to get back on the floor to avenge their loss to Dellavadova U, er, SMC?
Here’s an overview of how they stack up next to each other:
|Statistic||BYU Cougars||Gonzaga Bulldogs|
|Field Goal %||.461||50||.512||2|
|3 – PT %||.333||188||.365||70|
Gonzaga’s stats don’t look menacing for a top 15 program, but they’re really efficient, as noted in their overall field goal percentage. That percentage only increases to 53.6 percent when the Bulldogs play in Spokane. They’re led by star forward, Kelly Olynyk, who’s averaging nearly 25 in his last four games and shooting a blistering 65% during the same span. Playing sidekick to Olynyk is the duo of Elias Harris and Kevin Pangos. Pangos loved facing BYU last season, averaging 24 points in the last two matchups of the year.
Countering for BYU is the trio of Tyler Haws, Brandon Davies and Matt Carlino. Together they average 49.5 points per game, which is nearly two thirds of BYU’s offensive production. We all know BYU can put up points, but did you know they’re also leading the WCC in opponent field goal percentage and opponent points per game. They’ll need to show that style of defense, along with a stellar offensive night.
If BYU is to have any chance, their big 3 will need to go toe-to-toe with Gonzaga’s big 3. Even more, BYU will need to help with their 3 point shooting. Shooting 45-50% from behind the arc will keep BYU in the game throughout. Everyone must play well. A win in Spokane, where Gonzaga has only lost 2 conference games in 7 years is a tall order. It can be done, it’s just really hard.