Marquette, Duke make it through
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One year ago today, Marquette got past Duke to win an early-season tournament.
If the Golden Eagles can score a repeat today, it'll be the first time anyone's gotten the best of the Blue Devils on Maui.
Today's final round of the Maui Invitational is set:
» Championship: No. 11 Marquette vs. No. 13 Duke
» Third place: Oklahoma State vs. Illinois
» Fifth place: LSU vs. Arizona State
» Seventh place: Chaminade vs. Princeton
As anticipated, the two nationally ranked teams in this year's EA Sports Maui Invitational close out the 24th annual tournament as No. 11 Marquette and No. 13 Duke meet for the title at the Lahaina Civic Center. Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.
Marquette, which has won early-season tournaments each of the last three years, cruised into the championship with a dominating 91-61 win over Oklahoma State in yesterday's first semifinal game. Duke then set up a rematch of last year's CBE Classic final with a 79-66 win over Illinois.
Marquette will seek a repeat of last year's 73-62 win over Duke in Kansas City, while the Blue Devils will go after the program's fourth Maui title after improving to 11-0 in tournament play with yesterday's win.
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LAHAINA » Marquette has been unbeatable in early-season tournaments over the past three years.
Duke has never lost in its four visits to the Valley Isle.
Something will have to give tonight when the two nationally ranked teams in this year's EA Sports Maui Invitational field meet for the 24th tournament title at the Lahaina Civic Center.
No. 11 Marquette, making its first appearance in the event, will face a 13th-ranked Duke team that already has three Maui Invitational trophies back in Durham and improved to 11-0 in tournament play yesterday.
The Golden Eagles and Blue Devils, both 4-0, reached today's 5 p.m. final with impressive semifinal wins yesterday. Marquette thoroughly dominated Oklahoma State 91-61 in the first semifinal. Duke then pulled away from Illinois 79-66 to set up a rematch of last year's CBE Classic championship in Kansas City.
"We're excited to be here, but ... if you had said we would be in the championship game before we came here, none of us would have been satisfied," said Marquette guard Dominic James, who scored 25 points in last year's meeting with Duke.
Marquette prevailed in that game -- played exactly a year ago today -- 73-62 to capture its third early-season tournament in as many years. The Eagles will try to again derail a Duke team that has been unstoppable in four tournament appearances.
"Coming into the tournament we felt Marquette was the most veteran and most explosive team," Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "When you return five starters and being a Big East team they're going to be way ahead of other people, and their performance thus far has showed that.
"We came here to play really good competition and we're getting it."
The Blue Devils aren't all that shabby themselves.
Guard Gerald Henderson led Duke with 23 points against Illinois, while DeMarcus Nelson followed with 16. Guard Greg Paulus had 10 points and four assists while committing just one turnover.
"It was really a hard-fought game, and I thought our perimeter did an outstanding job," Krzyzewski said. "Greg really controlled the game and really had the game in his hands."
Brian Randle led Illinois with 16 points despite foul trouble and Calvin Brock contributed 14 points off the bench before fouling out.
Last night's feature game started as a tight battle until Duke took off on a 24-5 first-half run, coinciding with Illini center Shaun Pruitt (11 points, eight rebounds) picking up his second foul and Randle his third, sending both to the bench.
Illinois closed to 44-41 early in the second half, only to see Duke, which shot 56.5 percent from the field, pull away again.
"We came back with some energy to start the second half, but they made too many shots and had too many weapons," Illinois coach Bruce Weber said.
No. 11 Marquette 91, Oklahoma State 61
A day after struggling to put Division II Chaminade away, the Golden Eagles had no such trouble with the Cowboys in a thoroughly dominating performance.
Marquette guard Jerel McNeal scored 20 points and Dominic James had 18 as the Eagles (4-0) jumped out to a 13-2 lead and steadily pulled away from Oklahoma State (2-2), going up by as many as 33.
"I think (the Eagles) all knew yesterday was not even close to what we're capable of ...and they came out with a hunger," Marquette coach Tom Crean said. "We needed to have a 'step up and be counted' game for our own mind-set as a team and they did that."
The Cowboys struggled to counter Marquette's quickness and the Eagles shot well in all three phases -- 52.6 percent from the field, including 11-for-17 from 3-point range, and 20-for-26 from the free-throw line.
After losing the rebounding battle to Chaminade on Monday, Marquette also controlled the boards 43-28 yesterday, led by Ousmane Barro's 10.
LSU 78, Chaminade 72
The Silverswords (1-2) nearly pulled off the upset, closing to within two with 36 seconds left, but the Tigers made four free throws in the final 18 seconds to reach the consolation final.
LSU forward Anthony Randolph led four Tigers (3-1) in double figures with 21 points. Center Chris Johnson finished with 18 points and 11 rebounds and had three of the Tigers' 11 blocked shots.
Chaminade guard Hayden Heiber hit seven of 10 3-pointers on his way to a game-high 25 points as the Silverswords dropped into the seventh-place game.
"We're a pretty confident team. We feel like we can win. It's not just like some little dream we're thinking about," Heiber said. "I think this loss proves we're right there and we're just trying to get over that hump."
Arizona State 61, Princeton 42
The Sun Devils (1-1) held the Tigers to 15 second-half points to post their first win of the season.
James Harden led all scorers with 22 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field. Ty Abbott made five of seven 3-point shots and finished with 19. Marcus Schroeder's 12 points led Princeton (2-2), which went without a field goal over the last 7 minutes.
"I thought our guys exhibited great character after being punched in the mouth, figuratively, last night," ASU coach Herb Sendek said, referring to Monday's loss to Illinois in which the Sun Devils fell behind 20-0. "We couldn't let the effects of last night cost us a second game today."