- Associated Press - Saturday, December 5, 2015

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - For 20 minutes, the NBA scouts in attendance couldn’t stop writing notes about Kyle Wiltjer and Domantas Sabonis and for good reason. Whether it was Wiltjer from the perimeter or Sabonis down low, neither of Gonzaga’s stars could be stopped.

With the same ease that No. 13 Gonzaga built its 10-point halftime lead behind Wiltjer and Sabonis, the Bulldogs were helpless to stop No. 13 Arizona’s rally in the second half.

“We just didn’t finish the game out, obviously,” Wiltjer said. “We turned the ball over. We just didn’t get stops like we were in the first half.”

Gabe York scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half and Arizona handed Gonzaga its first non-conference home loss since 2012 with a 68-63 win on Saturday despite the second-best scoring day of Wiltjer’s college career.

“It was a tough one. It was a tale of two halves,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “We were definitely the aggressors in the first half at both ends . we were proactive. In the second half, we were reactive, and Arizona did a good job. They became the aggressor at both ends.”

Wiltjer finished with 33 points, including 20 in the first half for the second straight game. But the Bulldogs missed 12 of their final 13 shots, committed 16 turnovers and too often were left chasing York and his teammates in the second half. Gonzaga led 50-42 after Josh Perkins’ three-point play with 14:42 to play but the Wildcats outscored the Bulldogs 26-13 the rest of the way.

It was just the 13th home loss for Gonzaga since the McCarthey Athletic Center opened in 2004.

“Gabe gave us a chance to win by him making shots the way he did and his confidence,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “He’s played in a lot of games and been in this type of atmosphere and environment throughout his career and I think there is something to be said for that.”

Sabonis finished with 18 points and 16 rebounds, but like the rest of Wiltjer’s teammates the second half was a struggle for Gonzaga offensively. No other Gonzaga player scored more than six points as the Bulldogs played a second straight game without center Przemek Karnowski due to back spasms.

Gonzaga’s only 3-pointers came from Wiltjer and the Bulldogs guards - Perkins, Silas Melson, Eric McClellan and Kyle Draginis - were a combined 3 of 17 shooting for eight points and eight turnovers.

“Win or lose, there’s a lot to learn from these games. It’s a great team that came in here,” Wiltjer said.

York and Arizona leading scorer Ryan Anderson both had forgettable first halves. Anderson had just two points, both at the free throw line, while York made the unfortunate decision of trying to dunk on Sabonis and watching the blocked dunk turn into an easy basket for Wiltjer at the other end.

York got hot early in the second half and Arizona pulled even at 50. After the teams scored on six straight possessions to stay tied at 56 and Allonzo Trier finally gave Arizona its first lead since the opening minutes at 59-58 on a driving layup with 8:18 left.

Arizona extended the lead to 66-61 with 3 minutes left before Wiltjer followed his own miss and scored for what proved to be Gonzaga’s final points. Anderson then scored in the lane with 20 seconds left to clinch the victory.

“York got going, and they got their heads up,” Few said. “We had our heads down for a little bit. They were definitely the more aggressive team in the second half.”


It was Arizona’s first game since learning that center Kaleb Tarczewski would miss four to six weeks with a stress reaction and strained muscle in his left foot. Tarczewski was in a walking boot watching his teammates, but Karnowski was also a spectator for the second straight game.


Arizona: The Wildcats were outrebounded for the first time this season after dominating the glass in their first seven games. Gonzaga held a 41-40 edge. … Arizona held Gonzaga to three 3-pointers.

Gonzaga: The Bulldogs are 2-1 against Pac-12 schools this season having already beaten Washington and Washington State. Gonzaga hosts UCLA next Saturday. … The Bulldogs dropped to 4-1 when Sabonis scores in double figures.


Arizona: hosts Fresno State on Wednesday.

Gonzaga: hosts Montana on Tuesday.

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