LAHAINA >> Fifth-ranked Kansas took control in the second half of the 2015 Maui Jim Maui Invitational title game and defeated No. 19 Vanderbilt 70-63 tonight at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Wayne Selden Jr. scored a career-high-tying 25 points on 8-for-11 shooting to lead the Jayhawks (4-1) of the Big 12 Conference, who trailed by four at halftime to the Commodores (5-1) of the SEC.
Selden shot 4-for-6 on 3-pointers and grabbed seven rebounds. He was named co-MVP along with guard Frank Mason III (10 points, five rebounds, three assists).
The Maui title is the second for Kansas, which won it in 1996 behind Raef LaFrentz and Paul Pierce. Vanderbilt is a one-time Maui champion (1986).
Kansas built its lead to 13 points with five minutes left, but Vanderbilt attempted to rally. Selden missed two free throws with 28 seconds left and Commodores forward Damian Jones (17 points, 10 rebounds) scored on the other end to make it 68-63 with 16 seconds left.
Guard Frank Mason III made one of two free throws and the Commodores were off on a 3, sealing the outcome.
Going into Wednesday’s final of the eight-team tournament, Vanderbilt hadn’t lost this season behind its two starting 7-footers and a host of accurate 3-point shooters. But the Jayhawks managed to contain the big men and the Commodores’ shooters struggled to 6-for-27 shooting (22.2 percent) beyond the arc.
Kansas got a boost earlier today when the NCAA announced touted Jayhawks recruit Cheick Diallo will be eligible on Dec. 1.