PARADISE ISLAND, Bahamas — Connecticut showed some flickers of a really good team this week at the Battle 4 Atlantis.
The Huskies also showed they are a work in progress.
Shonn Miller scored 19 points, but No. 18 UConn lost 73-70 to No. 10 Gonzaga on Friday in the third-place game of the tournament.
"We showed a lot of heart, but I told the guys in the locker room, we can't keep getting down and then start playing. It's a lesson learned. I think we're gonna be better from this," Huskies coach Kevin Ollie said.
"I think this will be a growing lesson for our guys when we get in this moment again. And we will get in this moment again."
Kyle Wiltjer scored 17 points for Gonzaga (4-1), which went 10 for 24 from the 3-point line. Eric McClellan had 15, and Domantas Sabonis scored 12 points.
For the second straight game, the Zags played a crucial stretch of the second half without Sabonis. He picked his fourth foul with just over eight minutes remaining.
That allowed the Huskies (4-2) to erase what had been a 21-point deficit early in the second half. Rodney Purvis had a chance to tie the game but missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
"I didn't really like the look I had. I just hesitated and saw Purv running the lane," said Daniel Hamilton, who had 14 points and seven rebounds for Connecticut. "I should have went to the rim like we did the whole second half."
The score was 70-66 when Miller got free for a dunk off a fast break. Gonzaga added a free throw, and a few possessions later Miller got a floater to go to make it 71-70.
Coming out of a timeout the Zags ran down the clock and Kyle Dranginis tipped in a miss to give them a little breathing room. The Huskies came up empty on their next trip, but a shot-clock violation gave the Huskies a final possession with 8.1 seconds remaining. UConn initially got the ball to Sterling Gibbs, but his attempt was blocked, leaving only 2.2 seconds.
It was a much more one-sided affair in the first half. The Huskies did a much better job than they did in their semifinal loss to Texas A&M of finishing at the rim. But Gonzaga was efficient on offense in the half court, building a 16-point halftime lead.
The Huskies had little answer for Sabonis, who weaved his way inside UConn's interior defenders. When the Huskies tried to slow him with double teams, the Zags passed on the perimeter to Wiltjer and Silas Melson. They finished the half a combined 5 for 7 from beyond the arc.
Gonzaga: Four Zags scored in double figures.
UConn: Shot just 1 for 12 from the 3-point line. ... Held a 37-36 rebounding advantage.
Few said Sabonis' foul trouble the last two games of the tournament may not just be the result of his feistiness on defense.
"It's getting really frustrating trying to explain to him some of these fouls he's picking up," he said. "He's basically ducking people in legally, asking for the ball and their kind of blowing up, flopping. Again, we're supposed to be protecting the offense here, not rewarding the defense."
Gonzaga visits Washington State on Wednesday.
Connecticut hosts Sacred Heart on Wednesday.