Gonzaga players won’t be heading back to Spokane thinking “what if?” or “if only.” Unless, of course, they’re thinking “if only we were all a few inches taller and could make a damn shot.”

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LOS ANGELES — Their players, their fans, their cheerleaders, their band — they waited for it all night.

They sat patiently, trusting that the basketball gods would honor the Gonzaga mystique and help them as they so often do.

The Zags desperately needed a moment Thursday — an emphatic dunk to cap a run, a deep three to force a timeout, anything to wake them from their second-half slumber. But that moment never came, and just like that the Zags’ Sweet 16 turned sour.

Ninth-seeded Florida State beat fourth-seeded Gonzaga, 75-60, in the West Regional semifinal, filling Staples Center with Seminole war chants as the clocked ticked down to 0:00. FSU outshot the Bulldogs, out-defended them and outplayed them in every aspect.

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Gonzaga players won’t be heading back to Spokane thinking “what if?” or “if only.” Unless, of course, they’re thinking “if only we were all a few inches taller and could make a damn shot.”

Perhaps a rocky night was to be expected given the ominous news the Zags received just before the game. Despite being listed as a starter about 30 minutes before tipoff, big man Killian Tillie sat out Thursday after aggravating a hip injury he suffered in practice Tuesday.

Gone immediately was 12.1 points per game, 5.9 rebounds and a .479 three-point percentage. As Gonzaga coach Mark Few said: “It’s kind of your worst nightmare as a coach — especially for it to happen during practice.”

It wasn’t hard to tell this was the Zags’ first time playing without the Frenchman this year. The Seminoles jumped out to a 16-6 lead as the Zags were clearly out of sorts. Missing a 6-foot-10 forward against one of the longest teams in the country is an instant recipe for trouble.

But as tempting as it might be to point to Tillie’s hip as an excuse for the loss, don’t. That isn’t the reason the Zags got bounced Thursday.

The truth is, the Zags just never found a rhythm on the offensive end. Even when they’d manage to get open looks — including those from the free-throw line — the basketball refused to cooperate.

Gonzaga (32-5) finished 6 of 20 from three-point distance and was 1 of 11 at one point in the game. It also shot .339 from the field and .625 from the stripe. Zach Norvell Jr., the freshman who scored 28 points against Ohio State in the round of the 32, was particularly inaccurate, going 4 for 16 from the field (and 0 for 7 in the first half).

To say Gonzaga should have won Thursday would be a stretch given how Florida State protected the rim. The Seminoles had nine blocks to the Zags’ two and were able to turn many of them into fast-break points.

But when you look at all the bricks, when you look at the would-be gimmes that could have cut the deficit to one possession and sent a jolt through the crowd — you can’t say the Zags didn’t have a fantastic opportunity.

“There was a stretch in the second half from about the 14-minute mark to the five-minute mark where we were right there, within four or five points,” Few said. “We had a lot of bunnies. We had our chances.”

Speaking of stretches, there was a brutal six-minute span at the end of the first half when Florida State outscored Gonzaga 16-6 to head into the locker room up by nine. Earlier in the half, the Zags switched to zone and temporarily took the lead — but after Few pulled the 6-foot-9 Johnathan Williams upon earning his second foul, the Seminoles went on a run from which Gonzaga couldn’t recover.

The pixie dust just wasn’t there for the Zags on Thursday. The magic that has come to define this program never made an appearance. After winning 16 straight games and having what seemed to be an accommodating road to the Final Four, the balloon just went pop.

“It’s always frustrating when you’ve won 16 straight overcoming adversity,” Norvell said. “But you have days like this. It’s never good. It’s a tough one.”

Gonzaga point guard Josh Perkins seemed particularly dejected after the game. Just last year, he and his teammates made it to the national title game after reaching the first Final Four in program history. Asked to describe the letdown of losing in the Sweet 16, Perkins didn’t offer much.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” he said.

Perhaps that’s the motto for Thursday night’s game in general. Missed layups, clanked free throws and three-pointers — a freak injury to one of your best players before the game. What else can you do but shrug?

Gonzaga has ascended to one of the premier basketball programs in the country, but it simply didn’t have it Thursday.

No magic this time for the Zags — although they did manage to disappear.