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No. 14 Arizona tops No. 17 San Diego State to reach Maui ifinal

Nov 17, 2022; Tucson, Arizona, USA; Arizona Wildcats guard Kerr Kriisa (25) dribbles up the court to the basket at McKale Center. Mandatory Credit: David Cruz-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: David Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

Courtney Ramey scored 21 points on 5 of 5 shooting from 3-point range as No. 14 Arizona turned back No. 17 San Diego State 87-70 Tuesday in the second semifinal of the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii.

Kerr Kriisa also scored 21 on 6-of-14 shooting and added five assists. Azoulas Tubelis finished with 14 points, seven rebounds and two blocks, and Oumar Ballo chipped in 12 points and 11 boards as Arizona (5-0) advanced to play Creighton in the tourney’s title game on Wednesday.

San Diego State (4-1) will play Arkansas on Wednesday in the third-place game.

It was just Ramey’s second game of the season after serving a three-game suspension from the NCAA. He went 8 of 12 from the floor, after going 6 of 9 in scoring 17 points in Monday’s win over Cincinnati.

The Wildcats, who shot 62.3 percent from the floor on Monday, hit 58.6 percent on Tuesday, with Tubelis and Ballo combining to go 11 of 14.

San Diego State struggled most of the night, finishing at 38.1 percent overall and 15.0 percent (3 of 20) on 3-point attempts. The Aztecs bounced back from a 16-point deficit in the first half to take a brief lead early in the second but couldn’t sustain any momentum.

Darrion Trammell led the Aztecs with 21 points but shot only 6 of 16 from the floor. Micah Parrish added 10 points and Nathan Mensah supplied nine points and seven rebounds.

After cutting their deficit to 37-33 at the half, the Aztecs went on a 9-2 run to open the second. Johnson scored seven of those points as San Diego State grabbed a 42-40 lead.

The Wildcats responded with a 15-3 run, with Kriisa and Ballo scoring five apiece, to push the lead back to 10 with 12:52 to play. A 3-pointer by Parrish cut the deficit to seven, but the Wildcats scored the next five points to get the lead up to 12.

San Diego State remained behind by double digits the rest of the way.

The Aztecs survived a rough first half thanks to a closing 14-4 run. Trammell carried the burst, scoring eight points and supplying two steals. His 3-pointer at the buzzer gave him 10 points for the half.

Arizona committed five turnovers in the last 3:11, and 10 for the half, to aid the Aztecs’ cause.

Tubelis scored 14 points and Ramey 12 in the half to lead Arizona. They combined to shoot 11 of 15 from the floor as the team hit 51.6 percent of their shots.

–Field Level Media