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Gonzaga Basketball

Gonzaga men can’t rest easy with Montana

Prior to the season Gonzaga rolled out a catchy promotional video with current and past players stating, “I have unfinished business” after last year’s team reached the Elite Eight, matching the 1999 squad.

Juggle some words and another slogan seems fitting: Get in the business of finishing.

The Zags, who have let several double-digit leads slip away, were outplayed in crunch time in narrow losses to Texas A&M and Arizona, the latter a disappointing 68-63 decision Saturday. That’s the difference between the Zags being undefeated and possibly ranked in the top five versus their current standing with a 5-2 record and dropping seven spots to No. 20 in the latest AP poll.

“Just continuing to defend and do the things we do well, and move the ball,” offered senior forward Kyle Wiltjer, when asked about maintaining or building on second-half leads.

Turnovers? “For sure, cutting down on turnovers,” Wiltjer added.

The Zags’ next test comes against visiting Montana (3-3) at 6 p.m. Tuesday. The Grizzlies were favored to win the Big Sky Conference in the preseason media poll. Weber State edged Montana for the top spot in the coaches’ poll. Coach Travis DeCuire guided Montana to a co-Big Sky title last year in his first season.

“They beat Leon (Rice, former GU assistant and current Boise State head coach) and Leon has a heck of a team,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. “They beat San Francisco by 32. As I told the guys, we have no time to hang our heads or pout.”

Senior forward Martin Breunig, a native of Germany who played his first two seasons at Washington, averages 20.7 points and 9.8 rebounds. The 6-8 Breunig had 28 points and 10 boards in a 69-63 loss to Pepperdine and scored 24 points in an 82-50 rout over San Francisco.

The Zags committed 16 turnovers, four in a 60-second span, and had inconsistent guard play against Arizona. It was GU’s sixth game with at least 14 turnovers.

“They come in ways you can’t predict,” Few said. “I’ll be looking down the bench to talk to somebody and you look up and we’ve lost the ball. We definitely have to tighten that up if we want to win some games down the stretch.”