LAHAINA, Hawaii — Gonzaga discovered itself in the identical place as Duke’s first 5 opponents: showing helpless because the Blue Devils and their rim-rattling freshmen ran previous and flew over them.
The Zags by no means panicked, by no means regarded up in awe on the bouncy Blue Devils. They have an excessive amount of expertise to get rattled, even in opposition to faculty basketball’s most talked-about group.
Playing with poise and grit down the stretch, No. 3 Gonzaga turned again top-ranked Duke’s late-game cost to win the Maui Invitational title recreation 89-97 on Wednesday.
“Experience plays a big role in this,” mentioned Gonzaga guard Zach Norvell Jr., who had 18 factors. “We came down the stretch and got some stops. We knew we were winning it on the defensive end.”
Gonzaga (6-Zero) placed on an offensive present within the first half and battened down on protection after Duke made a second-half cost, blocking 4 photographs within the last 46 seconds to win its second Maui title.
Rui Hachimura scored 20 factors and the Zags beat a No. 1 group for the primary time whereas ending the Blue Devils’ unbeaten streak on the Valley Isle (17-1).
Dubbed a Final Four contender when Killie Tillie returns, Gonzaga already appears like one — even with one among their greatest gamers on the bench in a strolling boot.
“The lights were on us tonight and we played good, which you have to against Duke,” Gonzaga coach Mark Few mentioned. “You have to pretty much play great. I thought we played great.”
Five-time Maui champion Duke (5-1) made it look straightforward the season’s first 5 video games, its incredible freshmen hovering by way of the highlight, not cowering away from it whereas wanting all however unbeatable.
The skilled Zags gave them a lesson in ball motion, orchestrating a grasp class in free-flowing, position-less basketball whereas constructing a 14-point first-half lead.
Duke’s Maui run, performed.
Well, not simply but.
The Blue Devils fell behind by 16 within the second half earlier than firing up the Blue Devil specific with a sequence of head-above-the-rim dunks and drives.
Taking benefit of Gonzaga large man Brandon Clarke’s fourth foul, Duke pulled inside a basket as Blue Devils followers despatched an earthquake of noise off the rafters of tiny Lahaina Civic Center.
Hachimura put Gonzaga up 89-87 with a robust transfer on the basket with 75 seconds left, however the Zags stored giving Duke possibilities by lacking 4 free throws. Clarke clanked two with 30 seconds left and Hachimura got here up empty on two extra with 10 seconds left.
Gonzaga’s protection made up for it.
Hachimuru and Clarke every had two blocked photographs within the last minute, capped by Clarke’s swat of R.J. Barrett’s driving try on the buzzer.
A seated Barrett raised his arms, questioning why no foul was known as. The Zags leaped in celebration after a recreation with a Final Four really feel packaged in a small-town rec middle.
Barrett had 23 factors and Zion Williamson scored 22 for the out of the blue humbled Blue Devils.
“We finally started to fight in the last 14 minutes, whereas before we had just come to play and we weren’t as emotionally ready as Gonzaga,” mentioned Duke’s Javin DeLaurier, who had six factors and 6 rebounds.
This was the sport everybody anticipated when the Maui Invitational acquired one other marquee title recreation between the what-will-they-do-next Blue Devils in opposition to the electrically environment friendly Zags.
Duke and its future lottery picks steamrolled San Diego State and outlasted No. eight Auburn to succeed in its sixth Maui title recreation in six years. Gonzaga survived Illinois’ frenetic assault and placed on a second-half present to beat Arizona within the semifinals.
The Blue Devils ran roughshod over one top-5 group to open the season, making then-No. 2 Kentucky appear to be a JV group.
The Zags not solely did not again down, they threw the primary punch.
Forcing Duke defenders by way of one ball display after one other, Gonzaga performed the position-less basketball recreation higher than the Blue Devils. The Zags all however took Duke large man Marques Bolden, who had seven blocked photographs within the semifinals, out of the sport with their ball motion and created quite a few open appears for themselves.
“They were just dictating the flow,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski mentioned. “I mean we were not playing good defense, but they were playing great offense.”
When Clarke went to the bench together with his fourth foul halfway by way of the second half, Gonzaga went right into a stall. Duke put collectively a run, a sixth Maui title inside attain.
The Zags swatted Duke’s bid away.
NO. eight AUBURN 74, ARIZONA 57
Bryce Brown scored 19 factors, Malik Dunbar added 15 and No. eight Auburn pulled away from Arizona to win the Maui Invitational third-place recreation 73-57.
Auburn (5-1) gave top-ranked Duke its first actual check of the season within the semifinals earlier than dropping by six. The Tigers constructed a 10-point lead in opposition to Arizona, allowed the Wildcats to drag inside one and took management with an 11-Zero second-half run to go up 14.
Brandon Randolph had 18 factors and Justin Coleman 16 for Arizona (Four-2).
IOWA STATE 87, SAN DIEGO STATE 57
Marial Shayok scored 21 factors, Michael Jacobson added 19 and Iowa State blew out San Diego State 87-57 to win the Maui Invitational fifth-place recreation.
The Cyclones (5-1) jumped on the Aztecs early, constructing a 14-point halftime lead and stored pushing to shut out the match on a constructive notice.
Matt Mitchell led San Diego State (3-2) with 14 factors.
XAVIER 83, ILLINOIS 74
Quentin Goodin scored 15 factors, Elias Harden added 14 and Xavier dominated the second half to beat Illinois 83-74 within the Maui Invitational seventh-place recreation night time.
The Musketeers (3-3) misplaced in additional time to No. eight Auburn and one other shut recreation to San Diego State of their first two Maui video games. Xavier had 17 turnovers in opposition to Illinois’ frenetic type of play, however made up for it by capturing 57 %.
Ayo Dosunmu had 19 factors and Trent Frazier scored 18 for the Illini (1-Four).
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