Marquette pulls away
LAHAINA » With the 25th anniversary of the historic upset that set the groundwork for the EA Sports Maui Invitational approaching, Marquette wanted no part of Chaminade's giant-killer lore.
With former Chaminade coach Merv Lopes -- the architect of the school's upset of top-ranked Virginia on Dec. 23, 1982 -- sitting behind the baseline, the Silverswords closed to within three of the No. 11 Golden Eagles with 6 minutes left in the tournament opener.
But Marquette guard Jerel McNeal snuffed whatever thoughts of an upset had been floating around the Lahaina Civic Center by scoring eight of his game-high 22 points in a 2-minute span to send the Eagles (3-0) to a 74-63 win and into today's semifinals.
"I think we're very fortunate to have won," Marquette coach Tom Crean said after his team avoided becoming the latest chapter in the Silverswords' storied list of victims.
"I hate to use the word 'lucky,' but I'm going to, I think that's how it was for us today. We're going to have to play a lot better to advance in this tournament."
Marquette -- the highest-ranked team in this year's field -- survived to face Oklahoma State, which held off a furious LSU rally in an 83-77 win, today at 2 p.m.
Three-time Maui champion No. 13 Duke faces Illinois in the second semifinal at 4:30.
The winners play for the tournament title tomorrow at 5 p.m.
Chaminade, 1-1 this season and now 4-64 in tournament play, dropped into the consolation bracket to meet LSU this morning, while Princeton plays Arizona State at 11.
"There definitely is a feeling that we've got nothing to lose and we're going to play as hard we can," Chaminade coach Matt Mahar said. "During the game you're just trying to do what you've been doing, but it's a good feeling when you're down three with 6 (minutes) to go and you know there's a glimmer of hope."
McNeal hit 10 of 14 shots from the field to lead four Eagles in double figures, and Marquette's quickness led to 14 steals and 30 fast-break points. Forward Lazar Hayward posted 15 points and eight rebounds.
"They're really quick and get up in you defensively," Mahar said. "We've never seen defensive pressure like that in all my years here. I can't remember a team that really got after it like that man-to-man."
Chaminade center Marko Kolaric finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds as the Silverswords were able to cut a 12-point first-half deficit to three with 6:46 left.
That's when McNeal took over, starting his run with a tip-in and following with two layups and a dunk in transition.
"Our defense picked up, our intensity picked up and started playing with more energy," McNeal said. "It doesn't matter who you play, it's basketball, and you have to come out on the court ready to play or anybody can beat you,"
Oklahoma State 83, LSU 77
The Cowboys raced to a 22-point first-half lead, but had to hold on in the final minute of the game to win in their Maui debut.
"That was one of the most interesting games I've ever been a part of," Oklahoma State coach Sean Sutton said. "It was two different halves."
Freshman James Anderson scored 15 points and Terrel Harris had 24 to pace the Cowboys.
Marcus Thornton led LSU with 20 points and center Chris Johnson had 19.
No. 13 Duke 83, Princeton 61
The Blue Devils bolted to a 31-4 lead as freshman Kyle Singler scored 10 points in the first 4 minutes on his way to a game-high 21. Duke improved to 10-0 in Maui Invitational play, tying rival North Carolina for most wins in tournament history.
Singler made nine of 14 shots from the field, and grabbed 12 rebounds, including nine off the offensive boards. The Blue Devils scored 21 second-chance points to none for Princeton.
"I just wanted to come out very active," Singler said, "and I found myself attacking the basket and getting a lot of garbage baskets."
Princeton guard Lincoln Gunn fired in three 3-pointers to lead the Tigers with 16 points.
Illinois 77, Arizona State 54
Acclimated and game tested, the Illini made seven of their first eight shots to race to a 20-0 lead and sent the Sun Devils to a season-opening loss.
With Michael Jordan -- father of Illini freshman Jeff, in attendance -- Illinois forwards Brian Randle and Rodney Alexander (wearing No. 23, by the way) both scored a team-high 17 points on a combined 13-for-20 shooting.
While Illinois, which pulled out a two-point win over Hawaii last Friday, looked at home in a scorching start.
Arizona State missed its first nine shots in its opening game of the season.
OTHER TOP 25 GAMES
No. 2 UCLA 71, Maryland 59
KANSAS CITY, Mo. » Freshman Kevin Love adjusted after being frustrated by Maryland's early physical play, scoring 18 points and grabbing 16 rebounds to help the Bruins (4-0) overcome a sloppy first half to beat the Terrapins (3-1) in the semifinals of the CBE Classic.
Greivis Vasquez led the Terrapins with 18 points.
No. 10 Michigan St. 86, Missouri 83
KANSAS CITY, Mo. » Drew Neitzel made a late 3-pointer and hit two free throws with 2.4 seconds left, helping the Spartans (3-0) survive Missouri's relentless defensive pressure in a win over the Tigers (3-1) in the semifinals of the CBE Classic.
Neitzel had 21 points and Raymar Morgan added 19 for Michigan State.
Stefhon Hannah led Missouri with 20 points.