Third-ranked Zags hold off Illinois and advance to a semifinal game Tuesday against Arizona.
LAHAINA, Hawaii – Rui Hachimura scored 23 points, Zach Norvell Jr. added 15 and third-ranked Gonzaga held off Illinois 84-78 Monday in the opening round of the Maui Invitational.
Gonzaga (4-0) withstood Illinois’ 10-0 run to go up nine with 97 seconds left, but Trent Frazier scored on a four-point play that reduced the Zags’ lead to 80-78.
Illinois forced Gonzaga into a difficult shot and got the ball back with about 30 seconds left, but Frazier air-balled a long three-pointer.
Gonzaga’s Jeremy Jones made two free throws to give the Zags an 82-78 lead.
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Gonzaga will face Arizona in a semifinal game Tuesday. The Wildcats, who trailed by nine at halftime, beat Iowa State 71-66.
“We didn’t panic, we hung in there,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said.
Gonzaga, playing without versatile forward Killian Tillie (ankle injury), had trouble with Illinois’ defensive pressure in the first half, allowing the Illini to keep it close.
Frazier scored 29 points — 27 in the second half — and Giorgi Bezhanishvili added 17 for Illinois.
Gonzaga overcame 22 turnovers by shooting 52 percent.
“They’re a team that brings a lot of adversity,” Zags coach Mark Few said. “When you are strong with it (the ball) and shoot a high percent, that’s what ends up giving it to you.”