Senior guard Justin Coleman scored nine consecutive points during a 12-2 run late in the second half to help the Arizona Wildcats rally from down 10 and beat Iowa State 71-66 in the opening round of the Maui Invitational on Monday night.
Coleman, a graduate transfer from Samford, had 15 of his team-high 18 points in the second half, going 6 of 9 from the field after halftime. Arizona (4-0) trailed by nine at the break and was down 54-44 with 10:54 left before outscoring Iowa State 27-12 down the stretch.
The Wildcats have now outscored their opponents 187-116 in the second half this season.
Arizona used a 12-2 run over 5:04 to tie it at 56, a run that was started by back-to threes from Brandon Randolph and Coleman (with a TV timeout in between) and ended with tough inside scores by Chase Jeter and Coleman. Jeter managed to fight through a double team on the baseline and Coleman scooped one in among the trees with 5:11 left.
A stepback jumper by Coleman from the free throw line tied it again at 60 with 2:25 to go, then 45 seconds later Coleman gave Arizona its first lead since 18-15 with a pull-up three from the top of the key for a 63-60 lead.
Iowa State (3-1) knotted it at 63 with 1:01 to go before Arizona clinched the win at the foul line and on defense. Ryan Luther made two foul shots with 39 seconds left then Brandon Williams and Dylan Smith combined to make both ends of three sets of one-and-one free throws to ice the victory.
The Cyclones led 36-27 at halftime, their final nine points scored by Virginia transfer Marial Shayok, who had 19 points and 14 rebounds. Arizona shot 30 percent in the first half, making only 2 of 14 three-pointers, and at one point missed 11 consecutive shots.
Arizona would shoot 51.7 percent in the second half, going 6 of 14 from deep.
The Wildcats came out of the locker room hot to open the second half, making five of their first seven shots and seven of their first 12, but that came at the expense of some lax defense. Arizona cut the deficit to 43-40 but then went almost four minutes without a basket, and along the way Williams committed his first turnover of the season.
ISU upped its lead to 54-44 with 10:54 left on a three-pointer by Nick Weiler-Babb, a transition score after Emmanuel Akot missed a wide-open three from the corner and Arizona couldn’t get a second chance.
All five starters scored in double figures for Arizona, with Jeter recording a double-double (10 points, 12 rebounds and Williams contributing 14 points (despite 2-of-11 shooting) and six assists.
The Wildcats will face the winner of the late game between Gonzaga and Illinois Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. MT.