Gonzaga beats BYU, advances to WCC title game

LAS VEGAS — Freshman Kevin Pangos scored 30 points on 10-of-17 shooting and defending champion Gonzaga defeated Brigham Young 77-58 Saturday night to advance to its 15th consecutive West Coast Conference title game.

On Monday night the Bulldogs (25-5) will face Saint Mary’s. The teams split their season series.

Brandon Davies led BYU (25-8) with 17 points, while Matt Carlino, Noah Hartsock and Charles Abouo had 12 apiece.

BYU trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half and 21 in the second. The Cougars got within 10 early in the second half, but each time BYU cut into the lead, Pangos was there to answer.

The win was payback for last year, when the Cougars stunned the Bulldogs 89-67 to punch their ticket to the NCAA round of 16 for the first time in 30 years.

Elias Harris added 10 points and 15 rebounds for Gonzaga.

Gonzaga, which beat BYU 74-63 on Feb. 23, took control from the start.

The Bulldogs went on a 7-0 run to take a 9-2 lead, and Pangos hit back-to-back 3-pointers as they extended their lead to 12-4.

Gonzaga went on another 7-0 run, capped by Guy Landry Edi’s jam off a Carlino turnover, as the Bulldogs surged ahead 19-5 with 14:11 left in the first half.

Pangos stole another Carlino pass and scored on a fast-break layup for a 23-9 Gonzaga lead.

Eight minutes in, Gonzaga was shooting 71 percent and had made 3 of 4 3-pointers, while BYU was shooting 30 percent and started 0 of 4 from 3-point range.

BYU finished 3 of 18 from 3-point range and shot just 38 percent overall. Gonzaga made 7 of 15 from beyond the arc and hit 55 percent of its shots.

The Bulldogs also held a 37-31 edge in rebounds, 38-18 edge on points in the paint and 15-9 advantage on points off turnovers.

By halftime Pangos had 12 points as Gonzaga took a 38-26 lead into the break.

In the second half, six straight points by Davies pulled BYU within 42-32. But Pangos hit three more 3-pointers in the next 3 minutes as Gonzaga built its lead back to 16 points.

Carlino’s 3-pointer cut the gap to 11 with 9:58 left, but Pangos countered with a floater in the lane to start an 11-2 run.

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