Host Chaminade Plays No. 4 Kansas in MIT Opener Today
By MauiNow Staff
Three intense days of college basketball begins today at the Lahaina Civic Center, as host Chaminade University plays No. 4 Kansas in the third game of the 2015 Maui Jim Maui Invitational Tournament, beginning at 4 p.m. on ESPNU television and ESPN 550 AM radio.
The Jayhawks are one of three ranked teams here for the valuable early-season basketball experience, and, of course, the beautiful Maui weather heading into the Thanksgiving holidays.
“This will start a three-day grind,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “We’ll find out a lot about our depth, that will be a huge factor for every team. It’s early, but games like these can come back to really help you once conference play starts.”
The Jayhawks (1-1) lost to No. 13 Michigan State last week in the Champions Classic.
Chaminade is 0-2 on the season, having lost to Alaska-Anchorage, 92-90, on Nov. 13 and at Alaska, 112-102, on Nov. 14 in the PacWest/GNAC Challenge in Fairbanks, Alaska.
“I’m very optimistic with the team we have,” Chaminade head coach Eric Bovaird said. “I feel we can compete at a high level with every team on our schedule.”
The Silverswords got a taste of what they can do last Thursday when they nearly upset their Division I neighbor Hawaii, leading by as many as 22 in the first half before falling in overtime in the exhibition contest.
“I saw a lot of things I liked. I think we are an unselfish team right now that on any given night, any one of our 10 guys can lead us in scoring.
“Turnovers are always something that really bothers me and we turned the ball over 23 times against UH, 17 in the second half and overtime.”
Through two games, Chaminade has attempted more 3-pointers (64) than it has 2-pointers (58). The Silverswords have made 44 percent of their long-range tries, and Bovaird said each player on his roster has the ability to shoot 3s.
“Probably because that’s what I did as a player. I shot a lot of 3s and always wanted to play up-tempo offensively,” said Bovaird, who graduated from Div. II West Liberty. “So we’re basically playing the style I’ve always wanted to play.”
Bovaird said his team will need to do more than hit 3-pointers to beat KU.
“I think they’re definitely one of the top three best teams in the country,” he added. “Even though they lost the other night, I still feel like at the end of the year, they’re going to be … I predict them to be in the Final Four for sure.”
The Silverswords return their two top scorers from last year’s 12-14 team in junior Kuany Kuany and senior Kevin Hu, both of whom were named to the All-Pacific West Conference Third Team.
Kuany, Hu, Shastri and James Harper form the core of the squad that has 10 letter winners returning from last season. Each is capable of being explosive scorers at any time with all four having recorded 30-point games at some point of their Silversword careers.
“We have a team that has a lot of collegiate experience,” Bovaird said. “Kuany, Kevin and James have all been with me for at least three years now. They have been a part of both championship and disappointing seasons.
“We will need some valuable leadership from our experienced players to have a successful run this year.”
Other key returnees include Oscar Pedroso, David Ware and Kahanu Pu`ulei-Auld, all of whom made key contributions last year. Amu Rosen and Michael Sakazaki also return to add veteran depth in both the back- and front-court.
“We are at a good point right now, but the really good team progress through the season,” he said. “We will find out in a few months if we fall into that category.”
Senior Perry Ellis leads Kansas in scoring at 18.5 points per game. The All-American candidate posted his 14th career 20-point game with 21 points against Michigan State. Ellis is tied for the team lead with eight free throws made along with senior Jamari Traylor, who is averaging 7.0 points per game. Traylor is tied with junior Frank Mason III for the team lead with four steals through two contests. Mason is third on the team with a 12.5 scoring average and third in rebounds with a 4.5 rpg. He is tied for the team high with 12 assists, along with sophomore Devonte’ Graham, who scores 8.0 points per contest. Junior Wayne Selden Jr., is second on the team with a 13.5 scoring average and is tied for the team lead with five 3-pointers made. The aforementioned have been KU’s starters in the first two games of 2015-16.
Off the bench, freshman Carlton Bragg Jr. is scoring 5.5 points per game, while junior Landen Lucas (5.0 ppg) is second on the team with 5.0 rebounds per game. Sophomore Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (4.5 ppg) and freshman Lagerald Vick (3.0 ppg) provide depth on the perimeter. Vick missed the Michigan State game due to an eye injury, but will be ready for Maui.
On Nov. 20, Coach Self announced junior Brannen Greene was suspended for six games and did not make the trip to Maui. Greene is tied with Selden with five threes made and fourth on the team with a 12.0 scoring average.
Kansas returns four starters and 11 letter winners from last season’s 27-9 team that won KU’s 11th-straight, 15th Big 12 and NCAA-leading 58th overall conference regular-season title with a 13-5 league record.
2015 Maui Jim Maui Invitational Tickets
Remaining 2015 Maui Jim Maui Invitational ticket packages are on sale now. Click here to purchase available ticket packages. Due to high demand for travel packages, all remaining ticket packages are extremely limited. The types of tickets that are on sale include:
Single-game tickets, based on availability, for the 2015 Maui Jim Maui Invitational are on sale now at the on-site Tournament Box Office at the Lahaina Civic Center, mauiinvitational.com/tickets, by phone at 808-667-DUNK (3865) and the Tournament host hotels.
The on-site box office is located outside of Gate 3 at the Lahaina Civic Center. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. throughout the weekend leading up to the Tournament and on game days from 8 a.m. until the end of the last game of the day. Fans can begin lining up to purchase tickets from the on-site box office beginning at 6 a.m.
Maui Jim Maui Invitational Championship Round Schedule
|CHAMPIONSHIP ROUND – Nov. 23-25|
|Game 1||St. John’s vs. Vanderbilt||Nov. 23||9:30 a.m.||ESPN2|
|Game 2||Wake Forest vs. Indiana||Nov. 23||Noon||ESPN2|
|Game 3||Kansas vs. Chaminade||Nov. 23||4 p.m.||ESPNU|
|Game 4||UNLV vs. UCLA||Nov. 23||6:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Game 5||G1 Loser vs. G2 Loser||Nov. 24||9 a.m.||ESPN2|
|Game 6||G3 Loser vs. G4 Loser||Nov. 24||11:30 a.m.||ESPN2|
|Game 7||G1 Winner vs. G2 Winner||Nov. 24||2:30 p.m.||ESPN|
|Game 8||G3 Winner vs. G4 Winner||Nov. 24||5 p.m.||ESPN|
|Game 9||TBD vs. TBD||Nov. 25||9:30 a.m.||ESPNU|
|Game 10||TBD vs. TBD||Nov. 25||Noon||ESPN2|
|Game 11||TBD vs. TBD||Nov. 25||2:30 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Game 12||TBD vs. TBD||Nov. 25||5 p.m.||ESPN|