The Cougars made up for it defensively in an 83-73 win over No. 24 Gonzaga, holding the Bulldogs to 27 percent shooting in the first half and 41 percent overall.
“That’s a big win for our team and for our guys,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “Every player that went in the game tonight played with real urgency and a great effort. Our effort was extreme the whole night and that was our focus going in.”
The Cougars had 14 steals and forced Gonzaga into 15 first-half turnovers, and 19 for the game.
The Cougars also had a strong inside game to offset another poor-shooting night, outscoring the Bulldogs 44-36 in the paint and finishing the game making 49 percent of their shots overall.
BYU is 14 of 85 from 3-point range the past five games.
Noah Hartsock had 24 points and 14 rebounds to lead BYU.
Matt Carlino added 18 points and five assists for the Cougars (19-6, 7-3 West Coast Conference) and Brandon Davies scored 15 points. Anson Winder got his first start and had 10 points, five assists and three steals.
Reserve Sam Dower scored 15 points for Gonzaga (17-4, 7-2). Gary Bell Jr. added 14 for the Bulldogs, Marquise Carter had 13 and Robert Sacre 11.
“They just out-toughed us. They played harder than us,” Sacre said. “That’s usually the case for us. If we get outplayed, then we’re not going to get a win.”
The Cougars, who had 12 steals in the first half, led 38-24 at the break. BYU stretched the lead to 55-36 with 13:30 to go before the Bulldogs trimmed it to nine in the final 2 minutes.
“Our hands were active, our feet were active, and we were challenging for rebounds,” Rose said. “That’s when we’re good. Our guys respond to that and build on it and it gives them confidence. We have been a team that has played really hard.”
Gonzaga, behind defensive pressure that forced BYU into some sloppy turnovers and a few bad shots, trimmed BYU’s lead to 65-55 with two Michael Hart free throws.
David Stockton missed an open 3 that could have trimmed the margin again, and a hook by Davies with 1:30 remaining put the Cougars back ahead by 12 and in command.
“BYU came out and played us physical. They got after us,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “They were the ones causing (turnovers). The post (players) attacked us well—Hartsock and Davies. Carlino pushed the ball well, which put us back on our heels.”