John Giannini

Late Night Snacks: Triple-double, UNT stinks, so does Memphis

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Game of the Night

La Salle 88, Iona 74: In a game loaded with talented guards and mostly devoid of a concept known as defense, you’re almost always guaranteed to see some exciting basketball. That’s exactly what happened at La Salle on Thursday, as the Explorers and Gaels combined for 94 points in the first half. La Salle eventually pulled away in the second half, thanks in large part to the terrific performance of Virginia Tech transfer Tyrone Garland. Garland, playing in his second game with the Explorers, finished with 26 points. Ramon Galloway added 21 and 10 assists.

Important Outcomes

Wichita State 65, Charleston Southern 53: The Shockers picked up a win as they played their first game without Carl Hall or Ron Baker. Cleanthony Early finished with 20 points and 10 boards in the win.

Starred

Isaiah Sykes, Central Florida: Sykes finished with a triple-double, going for 16 points, 11 boards and 10 assists in a win over Stetson.

Gabriel Knutson and Mackey McKnight, Lehigh: Playing without CJ McCollum, who is battling a sprained ankle, the Mountain Hawks got 53 points combined from Knutson and McKnight as they knocked off North Texas 90-75 in Denton, TX. The Mean Green have been one of the most disappointing teams in the country. Knutson outplayed future lottery pick Tony Mitchell.

Struggled

Memphis: Lipscomb lost to Ole Miss by 46 points. They lost two games to Belmont by a combined 63 points. Kentucky beat them by 28. Memphis? They barely outlasted the Bison in a barnburner, 62-56. I think it may be time to start talking about the Tigers, who were 21-39 from the free throw line, as a potential NIT team.

Jio Fontan, USC: Daman Starring scored 23 points and grabbed six boards for UC-Irvine as the Anteaters knocked off the Trojans. In the loss, Fontan finished with two points and four turnovers on 1-6 shooting.

The rest of the top 25

– No. 1 Duke 76, Elon 54
– No. 2 Michigan 93, Eastern Michigan 54

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: