SPOKANE, Washington (AP) – Corey Kispert scored 23 points in a hastily planned game on Thursday when Gonzaga beat rival BYU 86-69 after both teams lost their original opponents to COVID-19 issues / p> Jalen Suggs added 16 points for Gonzaga, while Drew Timme and Andrew Nembhard each scored 12. Gonzaga (11-0, 2-0 West Coast Conference) won his 45th home game in a row, the longest run in the nation.
Matt Haarms and Caleb Lohner each scored 13 points for BYU (9-3, 0-1 ) who had not played since December 23, after two WCC games were postponed due to COVID-19. BYU was injured by poor shooting for most of the game.
Gonzaga was scheduled to play Santa Clara on Thursday and BYU was scheduled to play Pacific. However, both teams had to drop out due to COVID-19 protocols, so Gonzaga and BYU decided to play against each other a month early.
BYU’s long layoff was evident early on, as the Cougars made five turnovers in the first four minutes to fall behind at 16: 2. Gonzaga made seven of his first nine shots.
The Cougars only made two of their first 12 shots to leave 30-7 behind, with just over nine minutes in the first half.
BYU found finally his shot and Haarms scored seven points as the Cougars came within 32-16.
Lohner’s 3-pointer scored a 10-2 run and put BYU in 39-26, four minutes from the end.
Gonzaga responded with a 13-0 run and led at halftime 52-29 after holding BYU 33% while shooting and forcing sales in the first 11. Five Zags scored at least eight points in the first, led by Kisperts 11 points.
Kispert scored six points in an 11-2 run in the second half, which put Gonzaga 73:42 ahead.
This should be one of the tougher games left on Gonzaga’s schedule, and the Zags should continue to be at the top of the poll if they win in Portland on Saturday.
BYU: The Cougars are one of the few WCC teams to who have had some successes against Gonzaga over the past decade. Gonzaga’s last loss was at BYU last February. In 2017, BYU beat Gonzaga at home, finishing the Bulldogs’ 29-0 start.
Gonzaga: The Bulldogs are among the last 10 undefeated teams in the nation and one of four teams to have at least 10 wins … Gonzaga leads the nation for hit rate (95.1 ppg) and field goal percentage (55.4%). Kispert leads WCC on points (21.6 ppg) and shooting (63.4%) … The Bulldogs have won 32 of their last 33.
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