LAHAINA— The Duke Blue Devils have been the kings on Maui, winning titles in 1992, 1997, 2001 and 2007. Michigan has a pedigree of winning here but it has been awhile, 1985 and 1988. Duke endured a brutal New York-North Carolina-Hawaii travel schedule for their Maui No Ka ‘Oi – (Maui is the Best).
“That’s the reason it’s been such a great tournament because they’ve always had great fields,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “This one measures up to any of the others in the past,” he added with the famous Ka’anapali Beach in the background. Including this year, Duke has been 14-0 here. This was said on the dais before all the game action started. Duke and Coach ‘K’ are in Maui for the Thanksgiving recess.
This is starting to be Dukes (6-0) year as they found their sea legs and a little more as they swept past Michigan 82-75 in the prime time game at the EA Sports Maui Invitational on ESPN. The Lahaina Civic Center was rocking for this showdown matchup as freshman Austin Rivers was calm getting 20 and Ryan Kelly shot 17 points for the winners. Duke had the bench depth that wore down the Wolverines.
The Tournament is great a recruiting tool but not everything is a vacation. Just look at this year’s impressive field of teams including No. 4 UConn, No. 10 Memphis, No. 12 Kansas, No. 17 Michigan, Tennessee, UCLA, Georgetown and Chaminade University. All teams were scheduled to play three games.
In another thriller, Kansas kept back Georgetown 67-63. This was another case of depth being the turning factor in the game. Junior forward Thomas Robinson led the winners with a double-double, 20 points and 12 rebounds.
The famous Aloha hospitality is in abundance but beach diversions are not conducive to basketball preparations. Golf has been popular with most of the assistant coaches and activities with youth sports groups were also scheduled.
Previously at the Lahaina Civic Center
Duke freshman Austin Rivers had four 3-pointers to help sink Tennessee 77-67. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 21 points and Michigan freshman Trey Burke had 14 as the Wolverines upset Memphis 73-61.
When asked about the highly rated Memphis defense, Hardaway said, “I think it was just preparation. We were talking to our coaches and finding an easy way to score on offense. We took advantage of it and it helped us out in the long run.
Michigan coach John Beilein was trying to squeeze in playing time for most. He said post-game, “We’re going to be here for three days win or lose. So I wanted to make sure we gave a little more rest than we had been giving. Really, we stopped and embraced the moment.”
After his game Krzyzewski said, “But John (Beilein) does a great job. He’s got a veteran team. For them to beat Memphis like that, they must have played a great basketball game, because Memphis is one of the most talented teams in the country.” He added, “I have to get on Detroit’s time zone now. It has been a hectic week.”
The latter is referring to the chaotic pace since breaking the all time coaching wins record at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Coach ‘K’ total is now at 905.
In an early morning contest for state bragging rights, Memphis squeaked by Tennessee 97-99 in two overtimes. The Vols were down by 16 at one point but the fuel injected performance from forward Jerome Maymon kept Tennessee around for the thriller.
Next Year’s Tournament Teams Announced
KemperLesnik Tourney Notes: The teams for the 2012 EA SPORTS Maui Invitational have been announced. They include Butler, Illinois, Marquette, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Texas, and host Chaminade University are the scheduled teams for the 29th edition.
The First Maui College Basketball Tournament was in 1984. In 1985, The Rolco Sports Network broadcast the first national telecast of the tourney then played at the War Memorial in Kahalui. Michael Reghi and Raymond Rolak were on air with Jon Brekke and Brian Kohne directing and producing respectively. Michigan beat Kansas State 80- 58 for the championship with Dell Curry of Virginia Tech being named as Outstanding Player.
This year’s championship game will be telecast live on ESPN at 10:00 p.m. EST on Wednesday featuring Jay Bilas, Bill Raferty and Sean McDonough as on-air talent.
Robert Capener director of basketball for sports apparel maker adidas was scheduled to showcase new Hawaiian and Maui inspired shirts for the five teams here that they outfit.