MAUI, Hawaii (November 22, 2005)-- The University of Connecticut men's basketball team used a 15-1 late second half run to overtake the University of Arizona and go on to a 79-70 victory Tuesday night in the semifinals of the 2005 EA Sports Maui Invitational at Lahaina Civic Center.
With the win, UConn improves to 3-0 on the season and advances to the championship game of the tournament, where the Huskies will face Gonzaga, a 109-106 triple overtime winner over Michigan State earlier Tuesday night. The championship game will begin at 10:00 eastern time and be televised nationally by ESPN.
The Huskies led for the first 28 minutes of the contest, but fell behind for the first time at the 11:52 mark of the second half and trailed 55-52 with 7:14 to play. Senior Rashad Anderson hit a huge three to tie the score and then followed immediately with a steal, which the Huskies converted into a pair of free throws by junior Josh Boone to take a 57-55 lead. UConn would never relinquish the lead and extended it to 67-56 when senior Hilton Armstrong hit a pair of free throws to finish the 15-1 spurt and finish the Wildcats at the same time.
Senior Denham Brown led the way for the Huskies, scoring 17 points. Freshman Craig Austrie scored 13 of his 15 points in the second half, including a perfect shooting night, 4-of-4 from the field and 6-of-6 at the line. Armstrong had 14 points and eight boards, while Anderson and Boone each had ten points to round out the top Husky scorers.
The Huskies led at the half, 41-34, thanks to a solid effort from several bench performers, specifically freshman guard Rob Garrison and Anderson. With Austrie sidelined with two fouls, Garrison came in and responded with four points, two rebounds and two assists in 13 minutes. Anderson gave UConn a lift on the offensive end, scoring seven first half points in his 11 minutes. The Huskies used an 11-2 run over a two-minute span late in the first half to open up a ten-point bulge, at 36-26, with 3:23 left in the half. The lead was also at ten in the final minute of the stanza, but the Wildcats hit a late three to cut the deficit to seven.