Killian Tillie scored 22 points as sixth-ranked Gonzaga routed Brigham Young 74-54 to win the West Coast Conference tournament championship in Las Vegas. The Zags have won six straight WCC tournaments.
LAS VEGAS – Gonzaga, in its quest for a sixth straight West Coast Conference men’s basketball tournament title, seemed headed for a tight battle with Brigham Young on Tuesday night.
But once the Zags started soaring, there was no stopping them.
Racing out for dunks and three-pointers in transition, No. 6 Gonzaga overwhelmed BYU during a massive run to blow out the Cougars 74-54.
“That’s probably as good a run as I’ve been a part of in 28 years at Gonzaga, definitely in 19 years as head coach,” Zags coach Mark Few said. “Fantastic defense that led to great offense. It was just a thing of beauty to see.”
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Gonzaga (30-4), also the regular-season champion, locked into a defensive battle with BYU (24-10) for most of the first half. The Zags revved it up at both ends and turned it into a title-game rout, reeling off a halftime-spanning 36-6 flurry to win their 17th WCC overall title.
Killian Tillie had 22 points, Zach Norvell Jr. added 17 and Gonzaga held BYU to 35 percent shooting to win its 17th straight conference-tournament game.
Tillie, who is French, was asked to describe Gonzaga’s performance in one word in his native language.
“Ensemble,” he said. “It means together, as a group. We were all sharing the ball. It was great.”
The dominant performance might boost GU’s chances for a high NCAA tournament seed — and possibly a go-out-on-top end to the Zags’ dominance in the WCC, as Gonzaga reportedly has been in talks to join the Mountain West Conference as soon as next season.
“Tonight, they were a handful for us,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “It’s tough when things get that lopsided. It’s really tough when they get it going like that.”
Yoeli Childs had 20 points for the Cougars to cap a stellar tournament.
Heading into the tournament, Gonzaga appeared to be on course for another showdown with No. 20 Saint Mary’s in the WCC title game.
The Zags, the tournament’s top seed, did their part, beating Loyola Marymount and San Francisco to reach the title game for the 21st straight season. But Saint Mary’s lost to BYU 85-72 on Monday.
Gonzaga won both meetings with BYU during the regular season, by eight points in Spokane and 14 in Provo.
BYU was able to match Gonzaga shot for shot for most of a first half dominated by defense. The Zags found a little more room to operate offensively late in the half, closing on an 11-2 run to go ahead 38-29.