Illini Push No. 3 Gonzaga to the Limit in Maui

Illini Push No. 3 Gonzaga to the Limit in Maui

November 20 – Jeremy Jones hit a pair of critical free throws with 10 seconds to play as No. 3 Gonzaga survived a threat from Illinois with an 84-78 victory in the final game on the first day of the Maui Invitational early Tuesday morning.

Trent Frazier scored a game-high 29 points for the Illini, who cut the lead to two with a minute to play after trailing by as much as 13 in the second half. Giorgi Bezhanishvili added 17 points in the loss as Illinois slipped into a loser’s bracket matchup with Iowa State scheduled for later Tuesday (4 p.m. Central).

Rui Hachimura scored 23 points to lead five Bulldogs in double figures. Zach Norvell Jr. had 15 while Jones finished with 14 to go with a game-high 11 rebounds. Gonzaga advanced to face Arizona.

Gonzaga led 39-32 at halftime and a Norvell layup with 12 minutes to play had the Zags up 62-49. His 3-pointer made it 69-57 with just over eight minutes left. But Frazier scored the next eight points before two Alan Griffin free throws pulled the Illini within two with 5:47 to play.

The Bulldogs rebuilt the lead with a 9-2 spurt before Illinois began its last surge over the final three minutes. Two more Frazier free throws cut the deficit to 80-78 with 1:01 to go.

After Hachimura missed a 3-pointer, Gonzaga got the offensive rebound but committed a turnover that gave Illinois the ball with 31 seconds left with a chance to tie or take the lead. But Frazier missed his 3-point try and Jones was fouled getting the rebound.

After Jones made his free throws, Frazier missed another trey and Hachimura sealed the win with a dunk.