Photos in slideshow courtesy Matt Weigand/Gonzaga Student Publications
Courtesy Gonzaga University Athletics
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Kyle Wiltjer had 18 points and 10 rebounds, helping No. 7 Gonzaga shoot its way past Brigham Young 91-75 Tuesday night for the Zags’ third straight West Coast Conference tournament title.
Gonzaga (32-3), the regular-season champion, clinched its 14th WCC tournament by putting on an offensive show in an entertaining rematch of last year’s title game.
The nation’s best shooting team during the regular season, the Bulldogs shot 53 percent inside Orleans Arena and made 8 of 12 from 3-point range.
BYU (25-9) tried to match the Zags shot for shot behind Kyle Collinsworth, but never quite caught them after built a 12-point lead early in the second half.
Collinsworth finished with 28 points, eight rebounds and five assists after posting a triple-double in the semifinals.
Tyler Haws added 15 points for the Cougars, who have to endure an agonizing wait until Selection Sunday for the second straight season.
The Zags have become a staple in the WCC title game, making their 18th straight appearance, the last 15 under coach Mark Few
Gonzaga won the regular-season title for the 14th time in 15 years and is guaranteed to make its 17th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance.
BYU was still hovering around the NCAA Tournament bubble, though its 14-point win over Portland in the WCC semifinal finals boosted its bid.
The Cougars were one of two teams to beat Gonzaga during the regular season, ending the Zags’ 41-game home winning streak with a 73-70 victory less than two weeks ago.
Wiltjer, who has been bothered by a sore hip and had tape on his left shoulder, did the early damage, powering his way to the rim and hitting a pair of 3-pointers while scoring 12 first-half points.
Sabonis was next, scoring 11 points by bulling his way inside. Bell closed out the first half with a mix of 3-pointers and midrange shots, scoring 12 points to help the Zags to a 48-42 lead.
Collinsworth, BYU’s crafty point guard, did his best to keep the Cougars in it by himself, getting into the lane to score and draw fouls. He had 17 points by halftime, hitting 9 of 11 free throws.
Gonzaga turned to Przemek Karnowski down low to start the second half. Getting deep post position, the big man scored on three hook shots and Wiltjer added a 3-pointer to help put the Zags up 71-59.
Gonzaga kept making shots — 13 of 21 in the second half — and BYU was unable to chip away at the lead.
BYU: The Cougars played without Anson Winder, their third-leading scorer and best perimeter defender, because of a knee injury. … Coach Dave Rose was called for a technical foul midway through the second half for arguing a call. … BYU has not won conference title since 2001
Gonzaga: Wiltjer made 7 of 12 shots and made all three of his attempts from 3-pont range. … Karnowski finished with 12 points.
BYU: NCAA Tournament or NIT.
Gonzaga: NCAA Tournament.