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Cougars witness perfection — and not on their own team

Cougars witness perfection — and not on their own team



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SPOKANE, Wash. — BYU went on the road to play Gonzaga, and were resoundingly beaten by the Bulldogs, 83-63.

BYU was unable to score on the Bulldogs defense, with sophomore star Tyler Haws struggling mightily, finishing the evening with one point — 20 points below his season average before the game of 21.6 points.

Haws, who had been shooting 48.6 percent from the floor, was off all night, rushing shots and unable to create space from a physical defensive game plan installed by Gonzaga head coach Mark Few.

Haws’ inability to hit shots was amplified by the inability to miss shots by Gonzaga forward Kelly Olynyk. Olynyk, who was already shooting 65.7 percent on the season, finished with a perfect night on offense. The 7-foot forward made all nine of his field goals, all eight of his free throws, had nine rebounds and five assists in 31 minutes of play.

Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk celebrates after their game against Brigham Young as Kevin Pangos walks behind him, in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in Spokane, Wash. Gonzaga beat Brigham Young 83-63. (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)
Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk celebrates after their game against Brigham Young as Kevin Pangos walks behind him, in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in Spokane, Wash. Gonzaga beat Brigham Young 83-63. (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)

No matter what BYU tried to do, they couldn't stop Olynyk, who destroyed the Cougars with a machine-like efficiency. If the Cougars played a 1-3-1 zone, Olynyk would isolate his defender and knock down a jumper. If the Cougars played a 2-3 zone, Olynyk would position himself at the elbow or free-throw line and knock down shots or find open teammates across the floor.

Olynyk has been unstoppable against West Coast Conference teams this season. He is averaging 23.5 points and 7.7 rebounds in his last six games, all the while shooting 68 percent from the floor and 84 percent from the free-throw line.

Olynyk was not the only Bulldog to have a good shooting night. Teammate Elias Harris finished with a double double, recording 25 points and 10 rebounds, while missing three field goals and four free throws.

Harris, Olynyk, and teammate Kevin Pangos combined to score 63 points on the evening, equaling BYU’s total produced as a whole.

Harris and Olynyk were able to take advantage of a poor defensive performance by BYU forwards. Many times, the Gonzaga forwards were able to receive the ball deep in the post, giving themselves enough time to create a shot opportunity before a double team could arrive. When the double team was able to pressure the forwards, they were able to pass the ball out to the perimeter, and the defense was not able to rotate quickly enough to prevent an open shot.

Brigham Youngs's Brandon Davies (0) tries to get the rebounds against Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk, in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in Spokane, Wash. Olynyk led Gonzaga with 26 points and he had 9 rebounds. Gonzaga beat Brigham Young 83-63. (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)
Brigham Youngs's Brandon Davies (0) tries to get the rebounds against Gonzaga's Kelly Olynyk, in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, in Spokane, Wash. Olynyk led Gonzaga with 26 points and he had 9 rebounds. Gonzaga beat Brigham Young 83-63. (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)

As a result, BYU had their worst defensive performance since their first loss of the season to Florida State. Gonzaga finished with a 62.7 effective field goal percentage — a rate that was 15 percentage points higher than their season average.

BYU will look to rebound against the Portland Pilots Saturday in their second road game of a three-game road swing. The Pilots lost four straight home games, and will look to pick up their second conference win of the season.

The game is Saturday, 8:30 p.m. MST, and is available on ESPNU or on KSL radio. BYU is 15-6 on the season.

Dan Lewis covers the BYU men's basketball team for KSL.com. He is currently a student at Brigham Young University, studying communications. He can be reached on Twitter by sending a message to @trueDanLewis.

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