Toyota Center

Toyota Center to host Lone Star Showcase doubleheader

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The Toyota Center in Houston, Texas will play host to a doubleheader on Dec. 21, one of which will serve as the final game of the inagural Big 12-SEC Challenge.

The doubleheader has been named the Lone Star Showcase with the first game of the day being a non-conference matchup between city rivals Rice and Houston. The nightcap will feature Oklahoma and Texas A&M, in their pairing of the Big 12-SEC Challenge.

“This is a very exciting day to have the coaches and schools here to announce a world-class basketball event at Toyota Center,” Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown told CSN Houston on Tuesday. “We want the basketball fans here in Houston to see the great programs here in the area in action.”

Houston will be in its first season in the American Athletic Conference, after spending 17 seasons in Conference-USA. The Lone Star Showcase is a way to keep the rivalry with Rice — who remains in CUSA — intact.

“We are really excited about playing here at Toyota Center,” Rice head coach Ben Braun said. “Continuing our rivalry with Houston is important and regardless of conference realignment it’s important that we continue to play.

“We have had some great games with Houston and we want to continue this rivalry. It’s important to our program and our fans.”

The Rice-Houston game with tip at 3:30 p.m. followed by the Sooners and Aggies at 6 p.m.

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: