By Fred Guzman
With the exception of one minor upset, the opening day of the EA Sports Maui Invitational Tournament went pretty much to form at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Living up to its No. 6 national ranking, Duke defeated Tennessee 77-67, No.11 Kansas held off gritty Georgetown 67-63and UCLA got untracked in the second half for a 92-60 rout of tournament host Chaminade.
The lone surprise – and it was minor in nature – in the nationally televised event was No. 17 Michigan posting a 74-61 win over No. 10 Memphis.
That set up a pair of intriguing semifinal matchups as Duke will face Michigan at 2 p.m. followed by UCLA versus Kansas in the 4:30 nightcap. The four teams are among the storied programs in the country, each having captured at least one NCAA title and, in the case of UCLA, a record 11 national crowns.
In Tuesday’s earlier consolation bracket games, Memphis will face Tennessee in a 9 a.m. battle between teams from the same state but different conferences and Georgetown will tangle with Chaminade at 11:30 a.m.
All tournament games will be aired live on ESPN 550 and espn550.com.
The Kansas versus Georgetown showdown was by far the best game on the opening day of the tournament. Jayhawks got a huge boost from power forward Thomas Robinson, who contributed game highs of 20 points and 12 rebounds in addition to rejecting a pair of shots.
Duke’s victory was the 905th of coach Mike Krzyzewski’s record-breaking college basketball career.
Duke improved its season record to 5-0 as four players scored in double figures. Highly-touted freshman guard Austin Rivers led the way with 18 points.
Jerome Maymon had 14 points and 12 rebounds for Tennessee, which fell to 1-1.
Michigan survived an early challenge from Memphis, improving to 4-0 at the expense of No. 10 Memphis, which dropped to 1-1.
Leading the way for the victorious Wolverines was Tim Hardaway Jr., who finished with a game-high 21 points while adding team highs of seven rebounds and five assists. Freshman guard Trey Burke added 14 points and four assists as well as doing a solid job of protecting the ball against Memphis’ pressure defense.
Michigan effectively took control with a 10-0 run to close out the first half for a 37-31 lead at intermission.
Charles Carmouche led the cold-shooting Tigers with 14 points.