LAHAINA, Hawaii — Justin Coleman tied his career-high of 28 points but Arizona allowed a 13-point advantage to turn into a 91-74 loss to third-ranked Gonzaga in a Maui Invitational semifinal game Tuesday at Lahaina Civic Center.
The game changed quickly in the second half after UA took an early 50-37 lead after halftime, making a sharp downward turn after Chase Jeter fouled out on personal and technical fouls with 12 minutes left.
Arizona dropped to 4-1 and will now play Auburn in the Maui Invitational third-place game on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. Gonzaga (5-0) will face Duke for the championship.
After scoring 18 points against Iowa State on Monday, Coleman tied his career-high set last season against Chattanooga while playing for Samford. He was 7 for 12 from the field and hit a career-high six 3-pointers on nine tries.
Shooting 41.2 percent from the field, Arizona had 19 points from Brandon Randolph and 15 from Brandon Williams. Rui Hachimura had 24 points for Gonzaga while Zach Norvell Jr. added 20 points and 10 rebounds.
The Wildcats led by eight at halftime in part because they made 19 of 22 free throws in the first half, but Gonzaga’s offense cranked up early in the second half on a fast-break dunk by Norvell, and UA's advantage at the free-throw line disappeared.
One of the fouls that went against Arizona became the turning point of the game. With 12:03 left and Arizona leading 53-52, Jeter couldn’t get an entry pass, and was called for fouling Gonzaga’s Rui Hachimura under the basket as he fought for it.
Then, as he sprawled on the floor, Jeter looked up and complained to an official. Jeter was whistled for a technical foul, giving him his fourth and fifth fouls to send him out of the game. Not only that, but Norvell turned it into a four-point play, making his two technical foul shots and, when the Zags got the ball back afterward, went in for a layup to give Gonzaga a 56-53 lead.
The loss cost Jeter a chance to face Duke in the Maui Invitational final, after Jeter transferred to UA in 2017 after two seasons with the Blue Devils.
Coleman hit a 3-pointer to tie it back up at 56, but the Zags had momentum at that point while UA was forced to play Ryan Luther at center without Jeter. Gonzaga pulled ahead 71-65 by the time Norvell stole the ball from Coleman and scored a rebound basket on the ensuing possession.
In the first half, Coleman continued his offensive tear with 17 points to help Arizona take to a 45-37 lead into halftime.
The Wildcats allowed Gonzaga to shoot 53 percent from the field and were outrebounded 36-31. But UA kept the Zags to just 9-of-29 3-point shooting.
The Wildcats’ defense allowed the Zags to shoot over 50 percent for the first 10 minutes of the first half but tightened up late, keeping Gonzaga scoreless for over three minutes.
Arizona built its largest lead, 33-28, after Randolph charged through traffic for a layup with 6:22 left and made it a seven-point lead when Jeter scored inside, prompting Gonzaga coach Mark Few to call timeout to the wild cheers of the 600 or so UA fans at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Each of Coleman's 3s in the first half gave UA a lead in a game that changed leads 15 times through the first 12 minutes.