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Auburn pulls away late to rout Arizona, claim third place in Maui Invitational

Maui Invitational - Auburn v Arizona Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

Arizona hung tight with No. 8 Auburn for most of the night, before the Tigers pulled away late to beat the Wildcats 73-57 to claim third place in the Maui Invitational.

Arizona falls to 4-2 and returns to action next Thursday when it hosts Georgia Southern on the mainland.

Brandon Randolph led the Wildcats with 18 points, doing all his damage in the second half. Justin Coleman had another strong night with 16 points and five assists on 10 shots. Chase Jeter had 14 points and five rebounds.

The rest of the squad was largely ineffective. Ryan Luther was held scoreless for the second straight game and Brandon Williams had as many turnovers as points (5). UA’s bench was outscored 33-4 to add insult to injury.

Auburn led for 37 minutes and there were only two lead changes and four ties all night.

After Randolph tied the game at 31 with a 3 with 18:36 left, he missed a transition layup, which Auburn turned into a triple the other way. The Tigers led the rest of the game, as the Wildcats simply could not pull even.

Coleman tried his best to make it happen, though. The fifth-year senior hit a 3 to cut AU’s lead to 48-45 then another triple to make it 50-48 midway through the second half.

Auburn’s Malik Dunbar answered with a mid-range jumper, then stripped Ira Lee and took it for a breakaway jam to put the Tigers up by six. That was the beginning of the end for the Wildcats.

With seven minutes left, Samir Doughty buried a 3, then Horace Spencer outmuscled Jeter and Luther for an and-one, which put the Tigers up 10. Doughty then stripped Emmanuel Akot and went the other way for a layup to make it a 12-point game with 5:49 left.

Arizona’s deficit only grew from there.

Auburn shot 54 percent from the field and turned 19 Arizona turnovers in 24 points. Many of those giveaways were offensive fouls.

The Wildcats shot 43 percent, relying on their 3-point shooting to hang around. They were 10 for 25 from the perimeter, with Randolph and Coleman doing the heavy lifting. Randolph was 5 for 8 from 3. Coleman was 4 for 7.

Arizona trailed nearly the entire first half and found itself down 24-14 before Coleman sank two jumpers and dished out two assists to bring Arizona within two.

The Tigers went over five minutes without a field goal until Bryce Brown knifed for a layup to extend AU’s lead to 28-22 with 1:13 left in the period. That would remain the score heading into the locker room.

Brown finished with a game-high 19 points. Dunbar had 15. Auburn owned the glass, 30-25.

The Tigers outscored the Wildcats 45-35 in the second half, making their final six shots to turn a close game into a laugher by the final whistle.