BYU handled the rebounding fine, was patient in its zone defense and even had two 3-pointers late in the first half that could've afforded the Cougars a lead.

But if there's something to solve at halftime, it's David Stockton. The Gonzaga point guard — son of famed Utah Jazz player John Stockton, and himself a GU graduate — had 12 points at McCarthey Athletic Center. The 5-foot-11 senior has 12 points and two assists. He's used a variety of drives and floaters and jumpers to set up the Bulldogs and a 35-33 lead.

Sam Dower Jr. also has 12 points for Gonzaga.

Tyler Haws has 12 for BYU on 4-of-7 accuracy. The Cougars fell behind 19-11 early, but clawed back to 19-18 after a Josh Sharp layup at the 7:30 mark.

Gonzaga is shooting 50 percent and BYU is at 41, but the Cougars have also created eight more shots. They have a 9-1 advantage on the offensive glass and a 10-0 scoring margin on second-chance points.

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Spokane, on the eastern side of Washington — a solid 4-hour drive from Seattle — won't exactly get the headlines from fans or teams as the most impressive West Coast Conference city.

It's not warm and sunny like the Los Angeles-area schools.

It's not nearly in the neighborhood of the Bay Area's pizazz.

Hey, it's not even near the realm of Portland funk.

We'll leave Provo out of the equation because on various levels it's the WCC outlier.

But back to Spokane. You want to talk comfort and relaxation, this trip really has it.

BYU, like many athletic teams when they visit, is staying at the Davenport Hotel. It's a quaint, large downtown facility that is basically like Grand America back in Salt Lake City (some might say the Davenport isn't quite as regal, but let's move on. This isn't a travel review.)

Point is, the Cougars came here Friday afternoon and were desperately in need of invigoration and rest.

With cold, cloudy temperatures (not a beach to be found) and amazingly comfortable beds, the Davenport may be just what BYU needed to try and get out of its Thursday night funk.

It lost, of course, in triple-overtime at Portland.

That set up what sure seems like a tough must-win tonight at McCarthey Athletic Center (the Kennel), which isn't nearly as friendly to guests.

BYU's lost by a total of 31 points here the past two years as WCC members.

In all, BYU has lost the last four meetings with Gonzaga since joining the league. The only win came in the first chance, 2012, during a 10-point BYU win in Provo.

Before that, BYU also defeated GU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2011 (Jimmer Fredette's senior season).

But this is a wholly more desperate occasion. BYU desperately seems to need a marquee win like this for the hopes of getting the attention of the NCAA Tournament committee.

BYU's loss at Portland (which also stunned the Zags on Jan. 9 at Chiles Center) dropped the Cougars to 5-3 in conference. GU leads the way at 7-1, followed by Saint Mary's at 5-2. The rugged non-conference slate of games, regarded by several WCC coaches as the toughest in the country, is not working out for BYU as planned.

The Zags were gracious enough to open access to the team Friday afternoon, before their practice, to allow reporters to get some thoughts on the game.

GU coach Mark Few noted that BYU's loss at Portland wasn't necessarily that surprising. The Bulldogs, Cougars and Saint Mary's all lost talent to the NBA last year and are down. The rest of the WCC features teams that, in Few's words, "aren't built yet to win the league. But they sure can beat any of us on any given night." He's been around the league 15 years and says the days of the gimmes are gone, and that's a good thing for all ships to be rising.

BYU's room for error is presumably running out, though.

As noted in the Daily Herald's preview story, Few and his players downplayed the idea that BYU's exhausting loss against the Pilots automatically means a rough Saturday night at MAC for the Cougars.

But BYU was going to rely on a little extra rest and fluid intake leading up to the nationally televised (ESPN2) 8 p.m. MST tilt.

The Davenport was the place to do it.

Even late bed turn-down service included BYU players getting their hands on some of the hotel's famous soft peanut brittle.

Maybe a little sweeter: Aside from the tough circumstances, coming off such a tough loss, at least BYU will be facing the weakest Gonzaga team yet in Spokane. This is the first time GU isn't in the Associated Press (media) top 25 when BYU's been in town. (The team is ranked in the coaches poll, No. 21.)

GU scored just six points in the final 10 minutes at home against San Diego on Thursday to win 59-56.

BYU (13-8, 5-3 West Coast Conference) vs. Gonzaga (17-3, 7-1)

7 p.m. PST, McCarthey Athletic Center (Spokane, Wash.)

Radio: KSL 1160 AM (102.7 FM)

TV: ESPN2

Tip-ins: Gonzaga leads the series, 5-2, and has won 4-of-5 as WCC opponents. ...BYU backup point guard Matt Carlino has 18 assists and no turnovers in his last two games. ...Kara Lawson and Beth Mowins will handle the TV call, the first time two women have done a national-TV game of BYU's.

BYU (13-8, 5-3 West Coast Conference) vs. Gonzaga (17-3, 7-1)

7 p.m. PST, McCarthey Athletic Center (Spokane, Wash.)

Radio: KSL 1160 AM (102.7 FM)

TV: ESPN2

Tip-ins: Gonzaga leads the series, 5-2, and has won 4-of-5 as WCC opponents. ...BYU backup point guard Matt Carlino has 18 assists and no turnovers in his last two games. ...Kara Lawson and Beth Mowins will handle the TV call, the first time two women have done a national-TV game of BYU's.

jason-franchuk
-- Jason Franchuk covers primarily BYU football and basketball for the Daily Herald. You can connect with him by email at jfranchuk@heraldextra.com or by following him on Twitter at

Read more from  Jason Franchuk here.