March 7, 2018 / 4:51 AM / 3 months ago

No. 6 Gonzaga explodes late to beat BYU

Sophomore forward Killian Tillie scored 22 points and No. 6 Gonzaga turned a close game into a rout, trouncing Brigham Young 74-54 on Tuesday to win the West Coast Conference championship at Orleans Arena in Las Vegas.

Freshman guard Zach Norvell Jr. added 17 points for the top-seeded Bulldogs (30-4), who won their sixth consecutive WCC tournament title. Junior guard Josh Perkins recorded 11 points and eight assists and senior forward Johnathan Williams contributed 10 points and 13 rebounds.

The win gives Gonzaga the WCC’s automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament.

The Bulldogs outscored BYU 36-4 over a 10-minute, 28-second stretch to turn a tie game into a 32-point advantage en route to their 14th straight victory.

Sophomore forward Yoeli Childs scored 18 of his 20 points in the first half for the third-seeded Cougars (24-10). Junior guard Elijah Bryant and sophomore forward Payton Dastrup added 11 points apiece for BYU, which shot just 35.5 percent from the field.

The red-hot Tillie made 9 of 13 field-goal attempts — including 3 of 4 from behind the arc — to continue his torrid performance in the tournament. He averaged 24 points in three games and made 28 of 36 field-goal attempts, including a lava-like 13 of 14 from 3-point range.

He was asked after the contest what he had proved to the nation.

“That I can shoot the ball and can play hard and that we are ready for March Madness,” Tillie said in postgame interview on ESPN.

Gonzaga, which shot 46.8 percent from the field, finished the first half with an 11-2 surge to possess a 38-29 lead at the break.

Childs scored 18 first-half for the Cougars and his two free throws with 6:32 left gave his squad a 21-20 lead with 6:32 to go. Childs later drained a 3-pointer to tie the score at 27 with 2:55 remaining.

Then the runaway Gonzaga train began scoring at will.

Perkins drove for a layup to start the half-ending burst and senior guard Silas Melson followed with a 3-pointer. Baskets by Williams and Norvell pushed the lead to 36-27.

Childs hit a jumper with 9.5 seconds left to end a stretch of nine straight Gonzaga points but Perkins drove in for a basket just before time expired.

The onslaught continued at the outset of the second half as the Bulldogs scored the first 11 points. After Bryant scored BYU’s first points of the second half with 14:55 left, the Bulldogs ripped off 14 more consecutive points.

Tillie and Melson drained 3-pointers and Perkins scored a layup and added his own 3-pointer to make it 60-31 with 12:50 remaining. Norvell knocked down a 3-pointer to increase the lead to 32, before sophomore guard TJ Haws made the Cougars second basket of the half with 10:45 left.

—Field Level Media

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