VIDEO: Chaminade puts scare into No. 2 Michigan StateNovember 23, 2010, 9:30 AM HST · Updated November 23, 12:21 PM 0 Comments
By Fred Guzman
LAHAINA – For a while, Chaminade – the tournament host and designated doormat – made things interesting by threatening to register college basketball’s upset of the new century.
Chaminade owns the upset of last century, when it stunned then nationally top-ranked Virginia in 1982 to spark the creation of an event that eventually evolved into the EA Sports Maui Invitational.
(VIDEO of After Game Press Conference from Game 4 of the EA SPORT Maui Invitational Basketball Tournament featuring the Virginia 63 v Washington 106).
Since then however, the victories have been few and far between for Chaminade, which is 5-72 all-time in the tourney.
But the Silverswords put a scare into Michigan State before finally succumbing to the second-ranked Spartans 82-74 at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Behind 5-6 guard Steve Bennett, who finished with 20 points and 10 assists, and 7-foot transfer Mamadou Diarra, Chaminade led 53-50 about 5:30 into the second half.
But reality then set in as the Spartans went on a 15-0 run and secured a berth in today’s 2 p.m. semifinal against Connecticut, which advanced with an 83-79 win over Wichita State.
The 4:30 semifinal will feature a pair of ranked teams. No. 8 Kentucky is coming off a 76-64 win over Oklahoma while No. 13 Washington walloped Virginia 106-63.
In this morning’s consolation bracket games, Chaminade faces Wichita State at 9 a.m., followed by Oklahoma versus Virginia at 11:30.
Connecticut guard Kemba Walker put on a dazzling performance down the stretch, leading the Huskies victory over Wichita State in a battle between teams on the fringes of the latest AP rankings.
Walker scored 29 of his 31 points in the second half, making 14 of 15 free throws and hitting a pull-up jumper with 41 seconds left to put the Huskies up by three to ice the win.
Connecticut had a huge free throw advantage, making 32 of 44, while the Shockers shot just 13.
Kentucky rode a 29-point, 13-rebound performance by freshman forward Terry Jones to beat Oklahoma. Jones, made 12 of 17 shots to offset a 23-point outing by Oklahoma’s Cade Davis.
Washington put on the most impressive performance on the opening day of the tournament, sinking a near-record 17 of 26 three-point shots in a rout of Virginia. The MIT mark of 19 treys was set by Loyola Marymount when it erupted for 160 points in a rout of Chaminade in 1990.
Another little guy, 5-foot-9 Isaiah Thomas led the Huskies with 18 points in limited duty as five Washington players scored in double digits. Joe Harris scored 19 to lead the overwhelmed Cavaliers.