Late surge not enough as BYU basketball falls to No. 1 Gonzaga

BYU basketball hosted the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time in program history on Thursday. Unfortunately, the Cougars couldn’t get a win.

It’s a story that BYU basketball fans know all too well.

Come out slow, dig a massive hole, go to halftime. Start thinking it’s all over, get hot, get really hot, make it a close game.

That’s exactly what happened Thursday night in the Marriott Center.

BYU basketball found itself down 42-26 at the half and things looked all but over. The offense was sputtering, the players looked lost and Gonzaga looked to be an unbeatable behemoth.

Then the teams went to the locker room.

The Cougars – led by TJ Haws – came out of the locker room like gangbusters. BYU outscored Gonzaga 49-43 in the final 20 minutes, but it was too little, too late.

For every BYU run – and there were plenty of them – Gonzaga answered and weathered the storm. Or, more specifically, Nigel Williams-Goss answered.

The more-than-likely West Coast Conference Player of the Year played all 40 minutes and led the Bulldogs. He scored 33 points on 12-of-18 shooting and 7-of-7 from the free-throw line. He grabbed seven rebounds and dished out four assists and carved up the BYU defense with ease.

All in all, it’s not the end of the world for BYU basketball. If the Cougars were going to make the NCAA Tournament, they were going to have to win the WCC Tournament, so they aren’t out anything after tonight. Best case scenario is the young team learns from this game and applies those lessons throughout the season.

But, at the same time, this does get a bit old. After each loss this season fans spoke of the team’s youth and inexperience. Said things could only get better. And those fans are right – things only can get better.

However, it’s a story BYU fans have been dealing with since Jimmer Fredette left.

“Just wait til next year.”

“Once they get (insert player here), things will be different.”

“If only they had a rebounder/shooter/defender/etc.”

At some point things have to change. Hopefully that’s next season. If the wheels come off again in 2018, there will be some real problems in Provo.

This article originally appeared on