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BYU basketball: Cougars late rally falls short to Gonzaga at WCC Championship

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After No. 1 seed Gonzaga blew open the championship game of the West Coast Conference Tournament early, the second-seeded BYU Cougars did their best to climb back.

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But, following a physical overtime win against San Francisco the night before the Cougars simply ran out of gas down the stretch -- losing 75-64 to Gonzaga at Las Vegas' Orleans Arena on Tuesday, March 11.

“They really went after us at the start," coach Dave Rose said in his post-game press conference. "But our guys battled. We battled the whole game, got it to single digits, but couldn't get over the hump."

The win gave the Bulldogs an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament while the Cougars at 23-11 overall will now wait until Selection Sunday to find out if they’re going to the Big Dance as an at-large team.

Gonzaga was led by tournament MVP forward Sam Dower, who had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Not to be outdone, however, was the play of John Stockton’s son David, who played like his Hall of Fame father at times, dishing out seven assists and hauling in five rebounds.

BYU did all it could to erase a 44-27 halftime deficit, riding the play of guard Tyler Haws -- whose 24 points weren’t enough to keep BYU in the contest.

To make matters worse, forward Kyle Collinsworth appeared to have seriously injured his right leg -- though at press time the extent of his injury was not known. An MRI has been scheduled for Wednesday, March 12.

BYU will now hope it has done enough to warrant a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Haws said he believes his team has with a brutal non-conference schedule and run to the WCC tournament title game in Las Vegas.

"I think we should find ourselves in that tournament," Haws said at the press conference. "This has been a challenging season, but I feel like our guys have come together and done enough to get in."