Zags to face BYU in WCC Championship - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Zags to face BYU in WCC Championship

Photo: Gonzaga Athletics Photo: Gonzaga Athletics
By Gonzaga Athletics
No. 6/6 Gonzaga (29-4) vs. BYU (24-9)
TUESDAY, MARCH 6 | 6 P.M. | LAS VEGAS, NEV. | ORLEANS ARENA
ABOUT THE SERIES
- This is the 20th all-time meeting between Gonzaga and BYU. The Zags have a 13-6 advantage in the series, with all 19 matchups coming under Mark Few.
- GU has won all four of the previous meetings against the Cougars in the WCC Tournament, with the last matchup coming in the 2016 semifinals, an 88-84 Bulldog victory. Gonzaga was a two-seed and BYU was the third seed.
- The teams met in the 2014 and 2015 championship games. Both times the Zags were the top seed and BYU was the second seed. GU won in 2014, 75-64, and 91-75 in 2015.
- The Bulldogs won the the first and only other meeting in the WCC Tournament, 77-58, in the 2012 semifinals.
- Gonzaga pulled away from BYU in the meeting in Provo this season, 79-65. Six Zags finished in double-figures led by Johnathan Williams’ 16 points. GU led by as many as 21 points midway through the second half.
- The Zags snapped a three-game BYU win streak in Spokane with a 68-60 victory earlier this season over the Cougars. Rui Hachimura scored 15 points and Josh Perkins added 14 points and seven assists.
- GU has won five of the seven meetings in Provo, including the last four matchups at BYU.
- Gonzaga has won four of the seven Spokane matchups in the series, all coming inside the McCarthey Athletic Center.
- The Cougars won the first-ever meeting, 89-67, in the third round of the 2011 NCAA Tournament in Denver, Colo.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS           
- BYU advanced to the WCC Tournament Championships after an 85-72 win over second-seeded Saint Mary’s.
- Yoeli Childs recorded a career-high 33 points and added six rebounds. Elijah Bryant contributed 25 points, while TJ Haws added 11 points and led the team with seven assists.
- The Cougars maded 61.1 percent from the field and dished out 20 assists to just six turnovers.
- Bryant is second in the West Coast Conference averaging 18.1 points per game, while Childs is third scoring 18.0 points per game. Haws adds 12.0 points per game.
- Childs is second in the WCC averaging 8.6 rebounds per game and sixth at 55.2 percent shooting from the field. He is third averaging 1.8 blocked shots per game.
- Haws leads the Cougars with an average of 4.3 assists per game, which ranks seventh in the conference.
- Bryant is first in the WCC shooting 87.3 percent from the free-throw line and eighth shooting 41.8 percent from behind-the-arc. He is making 2.5 three-pointers per game, which is third in the league. He is also third in the conference averaging 1.3 steals per game.
FAMILIAR FOE
- Silas Melson has totaled 45 points in nine career appearances against BYU, going 16-of-41 from the field.
- He scored a career-high against the Cougars in the 2015-16 game in Provo. Melson had 13 points and made two three-pointers, with three rebounds. He scored 12 points going 5-7 from the field in the last meeting this season.
- Josh Perkins has started in all five of his six appearances against BYU. He has totaled 68 points and 30 assists in his career against the Cougars. In the last meeting in Provo, Perkins scored 14 points with six rebounds and seven assists.
ZAGS IN THE WCC TOURNAMENT
- Gonzaga is 55-15 all-time in the WCC Tournament with 16 titles and 24 finals appearances, including each of the last 21 seasons.
- The Zags carry a 16-game winning streak in the league tournament.
- GU is 36-4 under Mark Few in the WCC Tournament with title-game appearances in all 18 seasons.
- Senior Silas Melson is 10-0 in the WCC tournament games that he has played in.
- Gonzaga has won in the WCC tournament semifinals in each of the past 21 years. The Zags last loss in the WCC semifinals was 1994, 83-75, to San Diego in Santa Clara.
- The Bulldogs are 24-2 in semifinal games at the tournament, winning all 10 in Las Vegas.
- Gonzaga is 7-2 in the WCC Tournament finals played in Las Vegas, winning the last five titles. The two losses were both to Saint Mary’s (2012: 78-74 OT and 2010: 81-62).
- The Bulldogs are 16-7 in championship games at the tournament, including 7-2 in the finals against Saint Mary’s
(5-2 versus SMC in title games in Las Vegas).
- Gonzaga has won the opening game of tournament the past 21 years, dating back to a loss in 64-59 in the 1997 quarterfinals to fourth-seeded San Diego as a fifth-seed.
- The Bulldogs are 26-6 in opening games at the tournament, including 14-6 in the quarterfinals (nine straight wins).
- If you include the WCC Tournament, the Bulldogs have won 48 of their last 49 road or neutral league contests.
VIVA LAS ZAGAS
- Gonzaga returns to Las Vegas where it has won six of the last seven WCC tournaments, including the last five.
- The Zags are 22-2 in the West Coast Conference Tournament since 2009, when the event moved to Las Vegas.
- Gonzaga’s two losses in the tournament in Las Vegas have both been to Saint Mary’s, the 2010 and 2012 finals.
- The Bulldogs were 33-13 in the conference tournament prior to it coming to Vegas.
- The Zags have never lost an opening game of the tournament in Las Vegas, winning all 10.
TOP DOGS AGAIN
- Gonzaga is the top seed in the West Coast Conference Tournament for the 17th time.
- The Zags have won four straight WCC Tournament titles as the No. 1 seed.
- GU is 35-5 in the WCC Tournament as the one-seed.
- Last season, the Bulldogs beat second-seeded Saint Mary’s in the tournament championship, 74-56.
FRENCH CONNECTION
- Killian Tillie made all five of his three-point attempts against Loyola Marymount in the WCC Tournament quarterfinals, before making all five again from deep versus San Francisco in the semifinals.
- He is currently riding a streak of 11 consecutive made three-pointers.
- Tillie jumped up to first in the WCC shooting 48.8 percent from three-point range and third at 58.9 percent from the field.
- He has made 19 of his last 22 shots from behind-the-arc over the last six games.
- The sophomore is riding a career-high and team-high streak of nine straight games with a made three-pointer.
- His eight 20-point games this season are a team-high.
LIGHTS OUT IN VEGAS
- Gonzaga nearly broke the program record for highest field goal percentage in a half in Thursday’s quarterfinal win.
- The Zags made 79.2 percent (19-of-24) from the field in the second half versus Loyola Marymount.
- The program record is 80 percent set twice, against San Francisco (16-of-20) on Jan. 16, 1988, and versus Santa Clara (12-of-15) on Jan. 23, 1982.
- The Bulldogs followed up that performance by shooting 64.3 percent in the first half of the semifinal win over USF.
THIRTY-WIN CLUB
- Gonzaga can be the first team in the nation to reach the 30-win plateau this season with a victory versus BYU.
- The Zags were the first to 30 wins in the country last season.
- GU has reached 30 wins in a season only three times, 32-3 in 2012-13, 35-3 in 2014-15 and 37-2 last season.
- The Bulldogs have finished a season with 29 wins three previous times.
FEW AND WILLIAMS HONORED BY USBWA
- Mark Few was named the USBWA District IX Coach of the Year Tuesday, and Johnathan Williams was selected to the USBWA District IX Team.
- Few received the honor for the second straight season. He was named the USBWA National Coach of the Year last season.
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