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7:00 PM PT8:00 PM MT9:00 PM CT10:00 PM ET3:00 PM GMT11:00 PM 北京时间8:00 PM MST10:00 PM EST, Feb 23, 2019
McCarthey Athletic Center, Spokane, Washington  Attendance: 6,000

No. 2 Gonzaga eyes top spot as BYU visits

With another West Coast Conference regular-season championship tucked away in its hip pocket, No. 2 Gonzaga goes after the No. 1 ranking Saturday night.

When the Bulldogs host BYU in Spokane, Wash., they will have a chance to supplant Duke atop the polls on Monday with a win. The Blue Devils' 88-72 home loss Wednesday night to North Carolina opened the door for Gonzaga.

If Thursday night's 92-64 spanking of Pepperdine is any indication, Gonzaga appears more than ready to walk through that door, if not trample over it. Gonzaga (26-2, 13-0 WCC) shot 62.7 percent from the field, controlled the boards 38-29 and opened up a 33-point lead early in the second half.

"That has more meaning this time of year than when you are doing it in November," Bulldogs coach Mark Few said when asked about climbing to No. 1. "It means a job well done by these guys."

Despite the lopsided nature of most of Gonzaga's conference games, the WCC really is better this season than it has been in years. Five other teams qualify as solid to above-average, with San Francisco, Loyola Marymount and San Diego giving Gonzaga varying degrees of difficulty on their home courts before superior talent finally prevailed late.

BYU (18-11, 10-4) is second in the WCC, but its Jan. 31 date with the Bulldogs in Provo wasn't close.

Gonzaga led 41-24 at the half, canned 58.7 percent of its field goal tries and rolled to a 93-63 win, getting 23 points and nine rebounds from forward Brandon Clarke.

The Bulldogs have a pick-your-poison feel to them.

Concentrate on Rui Hachimura (20.4 points per game, 60.7 percent shooting), and then Clarke (16.7 points per game, 69.2 percent shooting) goes to work.

Pack the lane to keep those two from a dunk-fest, and the likes of Zach Norvell (15.8 ppg, 38.8 percent 3-point shooting), Josh Perkins (10.5 ppg, 36.8 percent from behind the arc) and Corey Kispert (8.6 ppg, 38.2 percent from distance) will drain 3-pointers all game.

Perkins set a school record against Pepperdine, getting to 670 career assists, breaking Matt Santangelo's old mark of 668. Giving that record more context is that Santangelo had beat some guy named John Stockton, the NBA's all-time assists leader.

"It's a great accomplishment when you think of the phenomenal guards that have been through this place, going back to the greatest guard who ever played," Few said, referring to Stockton.

As for the Cougars, they head into the game coming off a 77-71 loss Thursday night to San Francisco. They owned a 14-point lead with 8:14 remaining but committed four turnovers in a six-possession stretch as the Dons pieced together a game-ending 28-8 run.

"The outcome of the game was obviously disappointing," BYU coach Dave Rose said after the game. "One thing these guys have done is they've been resilient all year, and we'll get back in the gym tomorrow and head up to Spokane."

Forward Yoeli Childs leads BYU, averaging 21.3 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

--Field Level Media

Updated February 23, 2019

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