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Gonzaga falls to No. 16 SMU in big non-conference match up

The Zags' annual late season non-conference game came against an unfamiliar opponent (SMU) but the result (loss) was too familiar for Gonzaga fans.

Nic Moore, who had a great game, shoots over Kyle Wiltjer, who had a terrible game.
Nic Moore, who had a great game, shoots over Kyle Wiltjer, who had a terrible game.
Sean Porkorny-USA TODAY Sports

Gonzaga's Wooden Award finalist made two of 17 field goals in Dallas as the Zags lost a big, non-conference game to No. 16 SMU.

Domantas Sabonis scored 20 points and pulled down 16 rebounds but the Zags (20-6) didn't have enough to overcome Nic Moore (25 points, 11 assists) and the Mustangs. With no postseason on the horizon because of Larry Brown's inability to follow the rules, this was the last big game on the Mustangs' schedule this season. SMU played like it was a big game, and took over down the stretch, to pick up a big win at home.

The Zags could have all but locked up an NCAA Tournament berth with a road win over a top 25 team. Instead they now must turn their focus to the West Coast Conference, where they hold a thin lead over Saint Mary's for first place.

This was a game of runs with seven ties and eight lead changes.

SMU went on a 12-1 run over the final 5:36 of the first half to take a 30-27 lead into the break. With Kyle Wiltjer having the worst game of his Gonzaga career (4 points, offensive rating of 41), SMU could have run away with this one. Except for Sabonis. He picked up his 16th double-double of the season with 17:40 left to play.

Sabonis put the Zags on his back but Silas Melson (12 points) and Kyle Dranginis (11 points) stepped up to help as well.

Unfortunately for the Zags, when Wiltjer is having an atrocious performance on offense this team just isn't the same. A liability on defense he should've gone to the bench on a night like this. But, without Przemek Karnowski the Zags are seriously lacking for depth up front so Wiltjer had to stay on the floor.

Nic Moore took over down the stretch, scoring 18 of his 25 points in the second half.