By Nicholas K. Geranios Associated Press
SPOKANE — Elias Harris scored 19 points and grabbed 16 rebounds as Gonzaga beat BYU 74-63 on Thursday night in a battle for second place in the West Coast Conference.
Brandon Davies scored 23 points for BYU (23-7, 11-4), which had won five straight games but was doomed by woeful shooting.
Gonzaga (22-5, 12-3) kept alive faint hopes of winning a 12th consecutive league regular-season title. Its 11 straight titles are second in Division I history only to the 13 won by UCLA.
Gonzaga trails Saint Mary’s by one game in the standings. Each team has one league game left.
Gonzaga shot just 39 percent in the victory, but BYU was even worse, connecting on just 30 percent of its shots. Gonzaga made 36 of 44 free throws while the Cougars were just 9 of 16.
Kevin Pangos added 18 points and Gary Bell Jr. 12 for Gonzaga.
Matt Carlino had 18 points for BYU, and Davies added 10 rebounds.
BYU won the teams’ first meeting as conference rivals earlier this season in Provo. But leading scorer Noah Hartsock, averaging 17 points per game, barely played Thursday because of a knee injury. He had 24 points and 14 rebounds in the first game against Gonzaga.
Leading by 10 at halftime, Gonzaga went on a 7-0 run early in the first half for a 44-29 lead. Gonzaga went 7 minutes without a field goal midway through the second half, but BYU could not capitalize and trailed 54-41 with 6:41 left.
Davies scored three straight BYU baskets to cut Gonzaga’s lead to 59-52 with less than 4 minutes left. But two free throws by Pangos and a thunderous dunk by Harris built the lead back to 11 points, and BYU was forced to foul.
In the first half, Gonzaga jumped to a 15-7 lead as BYU had trouble finding the basket in its first trip to the McCarthey Athletic Center. Davies had a couple of baskets as BYU cut the lead to 15-14. But Pangos’ 3-pointer lifted Gonzaga to a 25-15 lead.
Gonzaga led 37-27 at halftime despite shooting just 35 percent. BYU was worse, making just 11 of its 44 shots for 25 percent.
Gonzaga has not lost four WCC games in a season since 1998.
Gonzaga is 103-7 in the McCarthey Athletic Center since the building opened in 2004.