Kansas Captures Maui Title

Story posted November 26, 2015 in CommRadio, Sports by Mike Wszolek

The Kansas Jayhawks defeated Vanderbilt Wednesday to win the Maui Invitational Tournament in Hawaii. Kansas was a favorite to reach the final, however Vanderbilt was a dark horse who snuck into the title game. In the end, the Jayhawks rallied and defeated the Commodores, 70­63.

There was plenty of action in the opening round games, with all eight teams having an equal shot at reaching the championship game. Vanderbilt opened many eyes with its 37­point rout of St. John’s, 92­55. The Red Storm didn’t have a chance from the start and couldn’t handle a strong balanced attack from Vandy. Following that game, Wake Forest and Indiana played a close, hard fought game. Many expected Wake to finish the tournament sixth in front of Chaminade, but this team had other ideas. Wake Forest shocked the nation and defeated ranked Indiana, 82­78. Center Devin Thomas was too much to handle for the Indiana defense as the senior put up 21 and led the team to a win. Kansas then blew out Chaminade by 51, 123­72, in a game where every player on the Kansas active roster saw game action. The opening day in Maui concluded with a thrilling 77­75 UCLA win over UNLV. Thomas Welsh and Bryce Alford came up big and had forceful performances in the win.

Day two opened up with Indiana and St. John’s. Once again, St. John’s didn’t have a chance from the start. The Red Storm never led in the game and was already looking forward to playing Division II Chaminade in the seventh place game. The Hoosiers went on to win 83­73. Yogi Ferrell led all of Indiana in scoring with 22 and had an all around stable performance. Chaminade and UNLV were up next and this game was close in the first half. Chaminade actually led by four points at halftime, but then must have gone back to looking at the beach and palm trees. The Chaminade defense gave up 60 points to UNLV in the second half and ended up losing 93­73. Derrick Jones Jr. and Patrick McCaw combined for 51 of the team’s 93 points. Vandy blew out Wake, 86­64, to reach the championship game and Kansas did the same to UCLA, 92­73 to close out the second day of the tournament.

The last day is always bittersweet for teams, especially if you’re a team from the north. St. John’s was looking for something positive to come out of the trip and they got it against Chaminade. Federico Mussini led the Red Storm with 24 points in a 100­93 win over the Swords. Chaminade finished the tournament eighth and St. John’s finished seventh. Indiana had to be shaking their heads leaving Hawaii, coming in as favorites to reach the title game. Indiana was playing for fifth against UNLV and they couldn’t even get that. The Hoosiers lost 72­69 and left Maui 1­2 with less confidence than what they arrived with. Give credit to UNLV for playing an incredible game but there have to be some questions surrounding Indiana after this tournament. Wake Forest pulled off another shocker in the third place game knocking off UCLA, 80­77. The difference in this game was free throws. The Deacons attempted 42 foul shots to UCLA’s 14. Wake missed 12 of those, but 30 of their 80 points came off of free throws. Kansas claimed the

title game off of a breakout game by Wayne Selden Jr. who had 25 points to lead all scorers.

Once again this tournament didn’t disappoint with most games being competitive and some upsets mixed in. Next year will be even more exciting with UConn, Georgetown, North Carolina, Oklahoma State, Tennessee, Wisconsin, and Chaminade all participating.

Mike Wszolek is a freshman majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email mewszolek@gmail.com.