SPOKANE, Wash. — When the announcement came in 2010 that BYU would be joining the West Coast Conference, college basketball fans immediately began anticipating a budding rivalry between the Cougars and WCC powerhouse Gonzaga.
While there have been some memorable games between BYU and the Zags over the last three years, Gonzaga has dominated the series.
The Bulldogs extended their winning streak over the Cougars to five games after Saturday night’s 84-69 victory at the McCarthey Athletic Center.
Overall, Gonzaga leads the all-time series against BYU, 6-2.
The first meeting between the two schools took place way back in 1949, with the Bulldogs winning 46-41.
Nearly 62 years went by before they met again.
That was in the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament in Denver in 2011. The Cougars whipped Gonzaga, 89-67, as Jimmer Fredette scored a game-high 34 points, including seven 3-pointers. The win propelled BYU to its first Sweet 16 appearance since 1981.
Then, in 2012, in BYU’s first year in the WCC, the Cougars defeated Gonzaga in Provo, 83-73.
Since then, though, it’s been all Zags in this series.
The two teams meet again Feb. 20 in Provo.
PORTLAND’S UPS AND DOWNS: Less than 48 hours after beating BYU 114-110 in triple overtime, Portland lost at home to San Diego, 65-63, Saturday afternoon.
The Pilots shot 47 percent from the field and 61 percent from 3-point range against BYU Thursday at the Chiles Center.
Saturday against the Toreros, Portland shot 38 percent from the floor and 31 percent from 3-point territory.
Center Thomas van der Mars and backup guard Bobby Sharp each scored 27 points against the Cougars. They combined for just seven points against San Diego.
The Toreros drilled eight 3-pointers against the Pilots.
NOTES: The coaching staffs for both BYU and Gonzaga wore polo shirts, slacks and basketball shoes to draw attention to cancer awareness. Prior to tipoff, Bulldog coach Mark Few, and his charitable foundation, presented a check in the amount of $742,009 to the American Cancer Society toward cancer research. BYU outrebounded Gonzaga at halftime, 21-14. At intermission, the Cougars had nine offensive rebounds compared to one for the Bulldogs.