Watch live:

No. 2 Gonzaga survives scare from BYU 70-65

Associated Press
Brigham Young's Tyler Haws (3) shoots as Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk (13) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2013, in Provo, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)
.

View gallery

Brigham Young's Tyler Haws (3) shoots as Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk (13) defends during the first half of …

PROVO, Utah (AP) — No. 2 Gonzaga knew Brigham Young wouldn't be a pushover this time.

On Thursday night, the Cougars even threw a converted football player at Bulldogs star Kelly Olynyk.

Olynyk withstood the hit and Gonzaga withstood a furious rally for a 70-65 victory before a raucous crowd of 19,731.

Olynyk scored 19 points, Gary Bell Jr. hit four 3-pointers and Gonzaga won its 10th outright West Coast Conference title.

It certainly wasn't as easy as the 20-point win at the Kennel four weeks ago.

"There was a lot of clawing, scratching, pushing, shoving and that's what the score (shows)," Olynyk said. "That's what you live for and what we want to play like.

"This place was rocking and everyone was getting all excited, in the end it was a great game."

The Bulldogs (28-2, 15-0 WCC) host Portland on Saturday and a win there could mean Gonzaga's first-ever No. 1 ranking.

"Our guys really want to finish up the conference really strong and go undefeated," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "This game was going to be hard for us whether we were ranked, 10th, 12th or 20th or whatever. We knew that when we looked at it on the schedule."

Gonzaga led by 11 points with 10:51 left but BYU fought back.

Consecutive 3-pointers by Brock Zylstra, another by Craig Cusick and two free throws by Brandon Davies tied it at 60 with 4:18 remaining.

Olynyk hit a key jumper with 43 seconds remaining and Kevin Pangos made two free throws to give Gonzaga a little breathing room.

After Cusick was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free thows, BYU had one final chance with 6.6 seconds remaining and down three points. Gonzaga fouled Cusick before he could attempt a 3, and Elias Harris' free throws at the other end provided the final margin.

Tyler Haws, who was 0 for 9 in the first meeting, scored 19 points to lead BYU (20-10, 9-6).

Davies added 12 points and 11 rebounds in his final home game for the Cougars despite being plagued by foul trouble.

"It's crazy," said Davies, who returned after being thrown off the team two years ago for violating the school honor code just as BYU had climbed to No. 3 in the rankings. "It didn't really hit me that this was my last home game until I was walking out with my family and my fellow seniors."

Davies had two fouls in the first 2 1/2 minutes.

"That hurt us. You have to be smart," he said.

Olynyk was nearly perfect in the first game, going 9 of 9 from the field and 8 of 8 from the free throw line for 26 points.

This time, he probably felt as if he were in a football game as it was rough-and-tumble from the start, with a Cougars football player — 6-foot-7 freshman Bronson Kaufusi — even called for an intentional foul on Olynyk as he drove the lane.

He finished 7 of 10 from the field despite battling Davies and Kaufusi inside.

Bell was the lone Gonzaga player to have any success from the perimeter.

Pangos was 1 of 12 from beyond the arc and the Bulldogs 6 of 30 overall from 3-point range.

"It was there zone," Few said of taking so many 3s. "Their zone was very, very content on taking away (Olynyk) in the high post. They were really squeezing him there. They played so hard in their zone that it was tough to find any openings. We tried to attack it inside out, and those were good shots.

Pangos said he was trying to get BYU's D to respect him rather than packing it inside.

"If I had to do it over again, I'd take the same shots," he said.

"This just shows what this team is all about. We kept grinding for the whole 40 minutes and never let up, even through the ups and downs."

Gonzaga held BYU to 36.5 percent shooting and had a marked advantage at the free throw line. The Bulldogs made 20 of 34 attempts, compared to 13 of 22 for BYU.

BYU's hopes of a seventh straight NCAA appearance may come down to winning the WCC tourney in Las Vegas. The Cougars also could see their streak of six consecutive 25-win seasons end.

At least the Cougars know they pushed Gonzaga to the limit.

"I knew it was going to be an incredible environment and I knew BYU was going to give us everything we could handle," Few said.

"They play unbelievably hard. They not only did that tonight, but they stepped up and made big shots. Give them a lot of credit for taking it down to the wire."

Should Gonzaga ascend to the top spot, the question remains whether the Bulldogs would garner a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament — something they have never achieved.

Their only losses this season were to Butler and Illinois when both were ranked No. 13.

Provided they defeat Portland, they will have won 12 straight heading into the WCC tournament.

Do they deserve to be No. 1?

"I have no clue," Olynyk said. "I haven't looked into it at all. If they vote us that, great for us. If not, we're still going to come out and play the next game."

View Comments (14)

Recommended for You

  • Photo of Chicago police officers posing over black man as hunted animal released: newspaper

    (Reuters) - A photo of two white Chicago police officers holding rifles and posing over a black man wearing antlers like an animal killed on a hunt was released by an Illinois court, the Chicago Tribune reported on Wednesday. The news comes amid a national outcry against police treatment of…

    Reuters
  • Twice-caught fugitive's clean life led to decades of freedom

    COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — In 55 years as a fugitive, Frank Freshwaters got caught twice.

    Associated Press33 mins ago
  • Racist trolling casts pall over US spelling bee

    Racist trolling on social media is casting an ugly pall over, of all things, the world's foremost spelling bee. For seven years in a row, and for 11 of the past 15 years, the $30,000 Scripps National Spelling Bee championship has been won by American youngsters of Indian heritage. One of them,…

    AFP
  • California man drowns swimming across pond with rock: newspaper

    A man drowned on his 21st birthday after attempting to swim across a pond in northern California while carrying a 10-pound (4.5 kg) rock, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday. The California Highway Patrol told the newspaper that Austin Harr was with friends at a pond in the Oroville…

    Reuters
  • Denzel Washington's daughter Olivia makes NYC stage debut

    NEW YORK (AP) — Like so many other aspiring actresses, Olivia Washington is paying her dues at a small, off-Broadway theater. Unlike so many other aspiring actresses, she's not relying on her famous dad.

    Associated Press
  • US threatening 'chaos' in Asia-Pacific: China

    China accused the United States on Thursday of threatening to sow "chaos" in the Asia-Pacific region by inciting countries whose territorial claims in the South China Sea clash with those of Beijing. China is rapidly building artificial islands in the disputed waters, and US Defense Secretary…

    AFP
  • Play

    Police Make Example of Homeless Man Begging With $800 in Pockets

    A police department in Louisiana took issue of homelessness on their Facebook page last week in an unapologetic way, after arresting a homeless man who had $800 in cash stuffed in his pockets.

    Tribune
  • Putin classifies information on deaths of Russian troops on special missions

    President Vladimir Putin on Thursday declared all deaths of Russian soldiers during special operations to be classified as a state secret, a move that comes as Moscow stands accused of sending soldiers to fight in eastern Ukraine. Putin, who has repeatedly denied any involvement of Russian troops…

    Reuters
  • No exit: For female jihadis, Syria is one-way journey

    PARIS (AP) — When three British schoolgirls trundled across the Syrian border; when a pregnant 14-year-old ran away from her Alpine home for the second time; when a sheltered girl from the south of France booked her first trip abroad — they were going to a place of no return.

    Associated Press
  • The Statin Dilemma: a Primer for Patients

    Statins have redefined the treatment of heart disease. Statins work by halting or reducing the buildup of fatty plaque inside blood vessels, a condition known as atherosclerosis, chiefly fueled by abnormally high cholesterol and the leading cause of heart attacks and strokes. A true game changer in…

    U.S.News & World Report
  • Wounded woman testifies in Nevada about trespass killing

    RENO, Nev. (AP) — A female trespasser who survived a shooting in a vacant Nevada duplex testified Wednesday that the property owner entered the unit and opened fire without provocation, wounding her three times and killing a man on the floor next to her.

    Associated Press
  • Kansas man missing for 23 years found submerged in car

    By Kevin Murphy KANSAS CITY, Kan. (Reuters) - The body of a man missing since 1992 has been recovered from the driver's seat of a car submerged in a Kansas lake, authorities said on Tuesday. Fremont O'Berg, who was 57 when he disappeared, was found alone in his 1981 Chevrolet Citation automobile in…

    Reuters
  • A closer look at those killed in Texas, Oklahoma weather

    At least 21 people have died in flooding and tornadoes in Oklahoma and Texas since the start of the Memorial Day weekend. A look at the lives of some of the victims:

    Associated Press
  • Play

    Argument Over Last Rib at Barbecue Leads to Stabbing

    One woman was hospitalized and another arrested after a fight over the last rib at a backyard barbecue in Indiana turned violent.

    Tribune
  • Six reasons so many Republicans are running for president

    When all the announcements are in, the Republican presidential field could have close to 20 candidates – and that’s not counting the fringe. It’s shaping up to be the largest GOP field in modern history. The Republicans have a habit of nominating the “next in line” – that is, someone who ran before…

    Christian Science Monitor
  • To see why Amtrak's losses mount, hop on the Empire Builder train

    By Ernest Scheyder ABOARD THE EMPIRE BUILDER (Reuters) - Its passengers are mostly silver-haired retirees, oil-field workers and a few young families gazing out the windows of Amtrak's least-profitable and third-longest line, rumbling from Chicago through eight states and on to the American West…

    Reuters
  • Putin condemns US over FIFA probe

    Russia switched the focus of its tensions with America from Ukraine to the football pitch Thursday with President Vladimir Putin lashing out over the US probe into FIFA. The Kremlin strongman condemned the arrest of seven top FIFA officials, accusing Washington of trying to oust football boss Sepp…

    AFP