Kansas, Vanderbilt Easily Advance to MIT Championship

November 25, 2015, 7:02 AM HST · Updated November 25, 7:02 AM
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Kansas' Perry Ellis goes up for two of his 24 points Tuesday against UCLA's Tony Parker at the Lahaina Civic Center. Photo by Joel B. Tamayo.

Kansas’ Perry Ellis goes up for two of his 24 points Tuesday against UCLA’s Tony Parker at the Lahaina Civic Center. Photo by Joel B. Tamayo.

By MauiNow Staff

The No. 5 Kansas Jayhawks jumped out to a 29-point lead in the first half and then put the offense on cruise control in the second half en route to a 92-73 win over UCLA.

The Jayhawks (3-1) were led by senior Perry Ellis who shot 9-for-12 from the floor and totaled 24 points to go along with a team-high six rebounds.

Three other Kansas players helped the cause scoring in double figures. As a team, the Jayhawks shot 54 percent (32-for-59) and out-rebounded the Bruins, 35 to  28.

“To me, the key to their team is cutting down on good opportunities for Bryce,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “Devonté (Graham) did a great job on Bryce the whole night. (Alford) made one field goal and shot four free throws and I’m not sure he scored the second half. I thought that was as big a key as anything for us.”

One night after scoring 20 points and helping lead the Bruins (3-2) to a hard-fought win over UNLV, Alford finished Tuesday’s semifinal loss with six points on 1-of-6 shooting in a team-high 33 minutes.

Kansas guard Frank Mason eyes the floor during the Jayhawks' semifinal game against UCLA Tuesday at the Lahaina Civic Center. Photo by Joel B. Tamayo.

Kansas guard Frank Mason eyes the floor during the Jayhawks’ semifinal game against UCLA Tuesday at the Lahaina Civic Center. Photo by Joel B. Tamayo.

“It was definitely a key to the game plan,” Devonte  Graham said of clamping down on Alford. “It was just: make things tough for him, don’t let him be comfortable. And I just tried to make him make tough plays and shoot tough shots.”

Kansas will take on Vanderbilt for the tournament championship today at 5 p.m. UCLA (3-2) will play Wake Forest in the third-place game at 2:30 p.m.

The Jayhawks, in fact, haven’t played Vanderbilt since December 1997, when the two teams met at the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu.

“It all starts on the defensive end,” Graham added. “Coach (Self) just preaches defense, defense, defense. Once we play good defense, he just wants us to run.”

Graham’s defensive prowess was not merely a first-half thing. Although the game was out of hand in the second half Graham remained strong and refused to let Alford get going.

UCLA's Tony Parker goes up for a basket Tuesday against Kansas. Teammate Thomas Welsh (40) looks on. Photo by Joel B. Tamayo.

UCLA’s Tony Parker goes up for a basket Tuesday against Kansas. Teammate Thomas Welsh (40) looks on. Photo by Joel B. Tamayo.

“I thought they did a really good job,” said UCLA coach Steve Alford of KU’s defense on his son. “Bryce looked a little tired… But you gotta give Kansas an awful lot of credit. Just like everybody, different games people  gotta learn some lessons, and I think he’ll learn some lessons after he watches this tape.”

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When the blowout was done,  the Jayhawks also clipped off another 23 three-point attempts, hitting 10 threes on the night.

For the season, the Jayhawks are taking more than 34 percent of their shots from three-point range. This is, in part, because they have seen plenty of zone here in Maui. But that number would also be the highest three-point attempt rate of the Self era, and for the moment, it appears to be a winning formula.

No. 19 VANDERBILT 86, WAKE FOREST 64

Wake Forest's John Collins works the low post against Vanderbilt's Jeff Roberson Tuesday at the Lahaina Civic Center. Photo By Joel B. Tamayo.

Wake Forest’s John Collins works the low post against Vanderbilt’s Jeff Roberson Tuesday at the Lahaina Civic Center. Photo By Joel B. Tamayo.

Wade Baldwin IV and Damian Jones, both scored 17 points, as No. 19 Vanderbilt easily handled Wake Forest in the semifinals of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.

Jones, who grabbed 10 rebounds, was 6 for 10 from the field and Baldwin was ever better at 6 for 8. The Commodores (5-0) were never threatened in the second half and led by as many as 24 points.

Vanderbilt (5-0) hit a 3-pointer 31 seconds into the game and never looked back. Wake Forest is now 3-2.

Junior Damian Jones and sophomore Wade Baldwin led the Commodores in scoring with 17 points apiece. Jones added a game-high 10 rebounds for the double-double. Freshman Bryant Crawford was tops for the Demon Deacons with 15 points. Vanderbilt shot 49 percent (31-for-63) from the field compared to 33 percent (19-of-58) for Wake Forest.

UNLV 93, CHAMINADE 73

Vanderbilt's Damian Jones (30) tries to score Tuesday against the defensive pressure of Wake Forest. Photo by Joel B. Tamayo.

Vanderbilt’s Damian Jones (30) tries to score Tuesday against the defensive pressure of Wake Forest. Photo by Joel B. Tamayo.

Tournament host Chaminade led by as many as eight points in the first half and went into the locker room up by four, but could not hold off UNLV in the second as the Rebels earned a 93-73 victory.

The Runnin Rebels improved upon a disappointing 37 percent shooting effort in the first half by hitting 57 percent (26-for-46) in the second. Rebel Freshman Derrick Jones Jr. completed a double-double with game-highs of 26 points and 10 rebounds. Sophomore Patrick McCaw was close behind scoring 15. Junior Rohndell Goodwin led the Silverwords with 18 points.

Today, UNLV plays for fifth place at noon today, while Chaminade takes on St. John’s in the seventh-place game, which starts at 9:30 a.m.

INDIANA 83, ST. JOHN’S 73

Indiana shot 58 percent from the floor and Kevin Yogi Ferrell paced the Hoosiers with 22 points and seven assists to lead Indiana to an 83-73 victory over St. John’s on Tuesday morning. The Hoosiers never trailed in the game, racing out to a 42-31 lead at halftime.

A Maui hula dancer performs during a break in the action Tuesday at the Maui Invitational Tournament. Photo by Joel B. Tamayo.

A Maui hula dancer performs during a break in the action Tuesday at the Maui Invitational Tournament. Photo by Joel B. Tamayo.

Freshman Thomas Bryant scored 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, while James Blackmon Jr. had 12 points. Three St. John’s players scored in double figures with Federico Mussini and Ron Mvouika each finishing with 17 points, and Felix Balamou had 14.

“I thought for the fact that we played less than 24 hours completely differently today was a great sign of the aptitude of our team, the attitude of our team, and the desire of our team,” said Indiana coach Tom Crean, “I think that’s how it played out.”

Today’s Games (All Hawaii Times)

Seventh place: St. John’s vs. Chaminade, 9:30 a.m. * ESPNU

Fifth place: Indiana vs. UNLV, Noon * ESPN2

Third place: Wake Forest vs. UCLA, 2:30 p.m. * ESPN2

Championship: Vanderbilt vs. Kansas, 5 p.m. * ESPN

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