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Jed Conklin, AP
Bringman Young's Noah Hartsock (34) defends Gonzaga's Kevin Pangos as he drives for a layup, in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012, in Spokane, Wash. (AP Photo/Jed Conklin)

SPOKANE, Wash. — Even with a healthy Noah Hartsock, it figured that BYU would have a tough time at Gonzaga.

But without him, the Cougars didn't have much of a chance.

Hartsock suffered a knee injury against Santa Clara last Saturday, and BYU was forced to play most of Thursday night's 74-63 loss without him.

"Noah's a great player," said Brandon Davies, who scored 23 points and had 10 rebounds. "It definitely hurt us to see him out (of the game). We needed to step up. We're better with him in there."

Hartsock, wearing a big brace on his ailing left knee, started the game, but labored up and down the court. The senior forward played just seven minutes and did not attempt a shot. He had one rebound, one foul and one turnover.

He did not play in the second half, as coach Dave Rose started freshman Josh Sharp in Hartsock's place.

The Cougars missed a bevy of shots while trying to compensate for Hartsock's absence.

Rose said the Cougars figured out how to play without Hartsock late in the game.

"We finally found ourselves in the second half," he said. "(Davies) was able to make some big baskets."

Rose said it became clear during the game that Hartsock "didn't have any power in that leg."

THE SERIES: With the win Thursday, Gonzaga tied up the all-time series with BYU. Each team has now won two games.

The Bulldogs avenged two straight losses to the Cougars, including a matchup in last year's NCAA Tournament.

email: jeffc@desnews.com