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Chaminade hangs tough

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    Chaminade's Steven Bennett drove against Michigan State's Korie Lucious during last night's game.
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LAHAINA » They went the distance, but couldn’t land the knockout punch.

With the "Rocky" theme fittingly playing in the Lahaina Civic Center right after the buzzer, Division II Chaminade fell narrowly to No. 2 Michigan State 82-74 last night in the first round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational.

The host Silverswords had the Spartans reeling for about 25 minutes. Up by five in the second half, coach Matt Mahar’s team reached into its figurative satchel for one more stone to sling at the giant, only to discover they were out of ammo.

It was enough to put a scare into MSU coach Tom Izzo, much as Chaminade did in Izzo’s head coaching debut in 1995 — a single-digit Spartans win. MSU (3-0) needed a career-high 28-point night from senior guard Kalin Lucas to stave off the upstart ‘Swords.

"There were flashbacks," Izzo said. "They made shots and seemed to get every loose ball. We didn’t do a very good job, and deserve a lot of blame for that. But I thought they did a great job and deserve a lot of credit for that. They weren’t just lucky. They were good."

MSU of the Big Ten meets Connecticut of the Big East in the semifinals today at 2 p.m.

Chaminade performed well in several key facets of the game — 3-point shooting, ball distribution and especially rebounding — but couldn’t make No. 2 Michigan State its signature victim of the 21st century. The Spartans surged ahead midway through the second half after trailing by eight points in the first, and held off the persistent hosts down the stretch. There were six ties and 12 lead changes.

It was an effort Mahar, the sixth-year CUH coach, could be proud of.

"Our team did everything we asked them to do," Mahar said. "They played hard from start to finish. … It was an overall great effort."

The Silverswords led 50-45 with 16 minutes left. But the Spartans went on a 15-0 run to seize control by the 10-minute mark, and never let Chaminade get closer than seven after that.

Lucas was the lone Spartan to consistently score. He completed a three-point play with 1 minute, 46 seconds left to effectively put the game away at 76-66.

"I just wanted to bring a lot of energy and keep playing hard," Lucas said.

Even when MSU went ahead by double figures, the Silverswords (3-1) wouldn’t quit.

CU fell to 5-72 all-time in its signature tournament since knocking off top-ranked Virginia in 1982 to help create the event. The Silverswords face Wichita State in the consolation semifinals at 9 a.m.

The game of shifty 5-foot-6 point guard Steven Bennett’s life (20 points and 10 assists against two turnovers) kept a strong Spartans contingent of fans quiet most of the game. USC transfer center Mamadou Diarra added 16 points, 11 rebounds and five blocks.

Diarra put in a tip-dunk to beat the buzzer and make it a single-digit loss.

Chaminade even led by eight points in the first half, but had to settle for a 39-all tie at halftime.

"At that moment in the first half when we were competing real well … we embraced it," Bennett said. "It’s a good feeling that we were right there."

 

Connecticut 83, Wichita State 79

Kemba Walker scored 29 of his 31 points in the second half as the Huskies (3-0) rallied from a nine-point deficit with 9 minutes left.

Toure Murry led the Shockers (1-1) with 19 points, while David Kyles added 18.

 

No. 8 Kentucky 76, Oklahoma 64

Wildcats freshman forward Terrence Jones dominated with 29 points on 12-for-17 shooting, 13 rebounds, four blocks, three assists and two steals.

Guard Cade Davis had 23 points, including all three of the Sooners’ 3-pointers in a losing effort. But he had a 3-point attempt from the top of the arc that would have cut the UK lead to three swatted by Jones in the final 2 minutes.

The Wildcats (3-0) face No. 13 Washington in the semifinals today at 4:30 p.m. Oklahoma (3-1) takes on Virginia at 11:30 a.m. in the consolation bracket.

 

No. 13 Washington 106, Virginia 63

The top-scoring team in the country gave no quarter in a rare meeting with the Cavaliers.

Isaiah Thomas scored 18 points to lead five Huskies players in double figures to set up a matchup of ranked teams in today’s second semifinal.

Washington (3-0) tied a school record for 3-pointers made with 17 and topped 100 points for the second time in three games.

Virginia (2-2) was led by Joe Harris with 19 points.

 

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