LAHAINA, Hawaii - Connecticut’s star had an off night and his teammates made sure it didn’t mean a loss. Despite sophomore forward Rudy Gay only scoring six points on 2-for-10 shooting with five turnovers, the third-ranked Huskies held No. 9 Arizona without a field goal for a five-minute stretch of the second half in a 79-70 victory Tuesday night in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational.
The Huskies (3-0) will meet No. 8 Gonzaga in today’s championship game. The Bulldogs (3-0) advanced with a 109-106 tripleovertime victory over No. 12 Michigan State.
Denham Brown scored 17 points for Connecticut, while freshman point guard Craig Austrie had 15 points and senior center Hilton Armstrong had a career-high 14 points and eight rebounds.
‘‘It feels good so many guys contributed,’’ Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun said. ‘‘We, the coaching staff, to some degree, have become so reliant on Rudy and he didn’t have a particularly good evening and that happens to great players and will continue to happen.’’
The Huskies led by 10 points late in the first half and were up 41-34 at halftime as they handled the ball much better than they did in an opening-round win over Arkansas when they committed 23 turnovers.
But the turnover problem returned in the second half and Arizona (1-1) forced Connecticut into several mistakes as the Wildcats went in front 50-49 on a 3-pointer by Ivan Radenovic (20 points and nine rebounds) with 11:54 to play.
‘‘They just took over the game as we started standing around,’’ Calhoun said. ‘‘But we came back with that run which really speaks to the character of this team.’’
Connecticut is playing without suspended point guard Marcus Williams.
But defense made up for any problems as Arizona went five minutes without a field goal as Connecticut went up 67-56 on two free throws by Armstrong with 2:47 left. Hassan Adams scored to end Arizona’s field goal drought but Josh Boone answered with a dunk and the Wildcats were never closer than seven points the rest of the way.
‘‘Connecticut’s quickness really hurt us right off. They were beating us down the court,’’ Arizona coach Lute Olson said. ‘‘We started off with lousy shots and that’s our biggest problem right now.’’
Connecticut had a big advantage at the free throw line, making 30-of-35, while the Wildcats were 12-of-22. Armstrong was 8-of-9 at the line and Austrie didn’t miss any of his six attempts.
‘‘The difference was their aggressiveness to the basket and we settled for shots,’’ Olson said.
This is the first time in four appearances Arizona has not reached the title game.