Gonzaga big man Kelly Olynyk scored seven of his team's first nine points and helped his team beat back a furious second half comeback by BYU Thursday night in Provo. The 70-65 win keeps Gonzaga's conference slate clean and makes them the presumptive number one team in the nation when the next polls come out. The current number one (Indiana) lost at Minnesota earlier this week. BYU drops to 20-10 on the season with the loss.
Brigham Young trailed by four at the half and never led. Two Brandon Davies free throws with 4:18 on the clock created the only tie game of the evening . The Cougars had several chances to take the lead in the last four minutes but repeatedly failed to find the range when they most needed to on three point attempts. BYU shot just 36% from the field on the night.
Olynyk was Gonzaga's leading scorer with 19 but he was ably aided by Gary Bell Jr. who tallied 15 and Elias Harris who scored 11 points, including the clinching free throws with four seconds left in the game. The usually reliable Kevin Pangos had an uncharacteristically off night, tallying just seven points on two for thirteen shooting from the field. Pangos did hit both of his free throws.
The Zags (28-2 overall, 15-0 conference) close out the regular season this Saturday when they host the Portland Pilots. After that, the WCC post-season tournament in Las Vegas. Beyond that the sky is the limit for Mark Few's Gonzaga Bulldogs.