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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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Off-target BYU falls hard at Gonzaga, 74-63

Perhaps Brandon Davies said it best after BYU's 74-63 loss to Gonzaga here tonight in front of 6,000 at the McCarthey Athletic Center.

"You just can't win off effort [alone]," Davies said after scoring 23 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. "You have to make some shots."

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And the Cougars simply didn't do that. Playing without Noah Hartsock for all but seven minutes of the game, the Cougars didn't pound it inside until it was too late, and as previous games have shown, can't make outside shots consistently when the inside game isn't clicking.

Forget the stat that stands out the most from Thursday's loss: Gonzaga attempted 44 free throws and BYU attempted 16.

What really killed the Cougars is that they were 6 of 28 from 3-point range. Some of the 3-pointers that Matt Carlino took were heavily defended, but others came when BYU's guys such as Brock Zylstra (0 for 4) and Craig Cusick (1 for 5) were wide open.

The Cougars shot 30.8 percent from the field; Gonzaga shot 39 percent.

The Cougars won the rebounding battle 46-41, and forced 20 turnovers while giving the ball away 13 times themselves. They had eight more field goals.

Coach Dave Rose said after the game that if someone would have told him those numbers -- sans the free-throw totals -- he would have thought the outcome would have been different.

"Our effort was tremendous. We rebounded the ball, we guarded the ball, but didn't score the ball very well and I think that was the story of the game," Rose said. "We played hard enough to win this game, but we just need to play better. You have to figure out how to win games late in the season, but I am really proud of the effort of our guys."

All for now. More later on the loss that might have cost the Cougars an NCAA Tournament at-large bid. We will see.

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