Freshman Jalen Suggs had game-high totals of 23 points and five assists as top-ranked Gonzaga rallied from a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat BYU 88-78 Tuesday night in the championship game of the West Coast Conference tournament in Las Vegas.
The Bulldogs (26-0) will be just the fifth team -- and the first since Kentucky in 2014-15 -- to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated since Indiana completed the last perfect championship season in 1975-76.
They also barely extended their record streak of consecutive double-digit victories by a No. 1-ranked team to 23 games, as Joel Ayayi made two free throws with 18 seconds left to cap the scoring.
All five Gonzaga starters scored in double digits.
Ayayi had 18 points and a team-high nine rebounds, Corey Kispert scored 14 of his 17 points in the second half, Drew Timme added 14 points and seven rebounds and Andrew Nembhard scored 13.
Trevin Knell led BYU (20-6) with 20 points. Alex Barcello scored 15, Matt Haarms added 13 and Brandon Averette and Gideon George each scored 11.
The Cougars led most of the first half, taking a 53-41 advantage into the intermission. BYU shot 67.7 percent from the field in the half (21 of 31), including 9 for 13 from 3-point range. Knell scored 15 points in the half, making 4 of 5 from long range.
Gonzaga battled back to tie the score at 57-all with 13:50 left on two free throws by Kispert.
The Cougars put together a 6-0 run to pull ahead again and were up 68-59 with 9:04 left.
Gonzaga countered with a 12-0 surge to take the lead. A fastbreak layup by Ayayi gave Gonzaga a 69-68 advantage.
Suggs sank a layup with 4:01 left to break a 73-all tie and give the Bulldogs the lead for good. He made consecutive 3-pointers to extend the lead to 82-73 with 1:28 remaining.
--Field Level Media
|Trevin Knell 20||Scoring||Jalen Suggs 23|
|Brandon Averette 4||Assists||Jalen Suggs 5|
|Caleb Lohner 10||Rebounds||Joel Ayayi 9|
|Gideon George 2||Free Throws Made||Joel Ayayi 5|
|Brandon Averette 1||Steals||Drew Timme 2|
|Matt Haarms 1||Blocks||Joel Ayayi 1|