HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The tip-off of the 2018 Maui Invitational was a rousing success, even for the fans of teams that lost today. Monday was filled with action-packed, highlight-worthy moments that culminated in another unforgettable evening at the Lahaina Civic Center on Maui.
Auburn 88-79 Xavier
In the first game of the 2018 Maui Invitational, No. 9 Auburn was on upset alert.
Xavier battled with the Tigers for the majority of the game, putting the pressure on AUburn to make plays down the stretch and convert from the free throw line.
Auburn eventually took down Xavier 88-79 in overtime behind Bryce Brown’s 26-point performance and Jared Harper’s all-around game (25 points, six rebounds, eight assists.)
While the Tigers were favored going in the first round against the Musketeers, the same can’t be said for their fixture with Duke tomorrow.
Duke 90-64 San Diego State
The No 1 ranked Duke Blue Devils were the talk of the town in Lahaina as the team’s stellar freshmen -- Zion Williamson, R.J. Barrett, Cam Reddish and Tre Jones -- attracted visitors and college basketball fans from all over the country.
And they did not disappoint.
The Blue Devils defeated San Diego State inside of a deafening Lahaina Civic Center earlier today by a score of 90-64. Led by Barrett’s 20-point, five-assist, four-rebound performance, Duke cruised to an easy win on the opening day of the tournament to advance to the next round to take on No. 9 Auburn.
While Williamson didn’t have as an efficient of a game as Duke fans have become accustomed to so far this season due to foul trouble, he was still effective and lively on both ends of the floor.
On top of his 13 points and six rebounds, Williamson also recorded five steals including a breakaway, highlight reel-worthy windmill dunk on a fastbreak that blew the roof off he Lahaina Civic Center.
Reddish steadily contributed 16 points of his own while Jones took the offensive for the first team this season, scoring 14 points in just 23 minutes of play.
Arizona 71-66 Iowa State
It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win for the Arizona Wildcats.
Arizona found itself in a war against Iowa State this afternoon, inevitably beating the Cyclones 71-66 thanks to an offensive surge from Justin Coleman, who tallied 18 points on the night.
Brandon Willliams also added 14 points of his own as all five Wildcat starters scored in double-digits in the win.
Next up for Arizona will be a date with No. 3 ranked Gonzaga tomorrow.
Gonzaga 84-78 Illinois
In the nightcap of the evening, Illinois took No. 3 Gonzaga to the brink of a monumental upset.
Gonzaga had trouble stopping Illinois defensively, allowing Trent Frazier to score 29 points in 35 minutes.
While Illinois trailed at the half 39-32, the Fighting Illini hung tough and made a game of it in the second period, actually outscoring the Bulldogs 46-45 in the second period before falling 84-78.
Gonzaga improves to 3-0 on the season, but not in very convincing fashion. The Bulldogs turned the ball over 22 times, compared to just 13 from Illinois. Gonzaga did, however, shoot the ball well with 52.9 percent from the field including a 36.8 percent clip from downtown.
Illinois struggled on the boards, grabbing just 35 total rebounds as Gonzaga brought down 44 boards including 11 on the offensive glass.
Gonzaga will now take on Arizona on Tuesday in the semi finals.