Chaminade's Rodrick Johnson took a shot over Princeton's Marcus Schroeder during the Silverswords' victory yesterday.
’Swords march past Tigers
LAHAINA » This was something new for Matt Mahar.
"It's a little different going first in this thing," the Chaminade coach said as he began his postgame comments yesterday.
In the EA Sports Maui Invitational's postgame setup, the coach of the winning team is brought into the media room first, followed by the losing coach. During his tenure as the Silverswords' head coach, Mahar had gone second after all eight of his tournament games.
That changed yesterday after Chaminade beat Princeton 74-70 in the seventh-place game at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Chaminade (2-2) never trailed, opening a nine-point lead in the second half, and held off a Princeton rally to earn the program's fifth win in 24 years as host of the prestigious early-season tournament. It was the Silverswords' first victory on Maui since knocking off Villanova in the opening game of the 2003 tournament.
The Silverswords had pushed Marquette and LSU in their first two games of the week and relished their breakthrough yesterday.
"It felt really good. I felt we played really well the first two days and I think we built on some things," said forward Stewart Kussler, who finished with 19 points.
Forward Rodrick Johnson also had 19 points, center Marko Kolaric posted 15 points and 11 rebounds and guard Hayden Heiber added 16 points for Chaminade, which shot 55 percent as a team.
Chaminade's previous wins came against Davidson in 1984, Providence in 1991, Stanford in 1992 and Villanova four years ago. The Division II Silverswords raised their all-time tournament record to 5-65.
As gratifying as it may be for the Silverswords to return to Honolulu with a rare Maui win, Mahar said getting to the D-II regionals remains the prize for his team.
"This is not the end of our year. A few years ago we beat Villanova and went on to lose nine out of 10," said Mahar, an assistant coach with that team. "This is a steppingstone. We've still got a lot of games left in our season and we'll continue to improve."
Chaminade led throughout yesterday's game and went up 56-47 on a 3-pointer by Kussler with 7:39 left.
Princeton (2-3), the first Ivy League team to play in the tournament, stayed close with its long-range shooting, as the Tigers went 15-for-29 from 3-point range.
Forward Noah Savage made six of his 11 3-point attempts and led Princeton with 20 points. Center Zach Finley added 16 points and blocked seven shots.
Princeton closed to 70-68 on a trey by Lincoln Gunn with 12 seconds left. But Heiber followed with two free throws to thwart the Tigers' comeback.
Illinois 65, Oklahoma State 49
The Illini (4-1) held the Cowboys (2-3) to 17 points in the first half and returned to Champaign with three wins and a third-place Maui finish on their week-long island stay.
Trent Meacham scored 17 points to lead Illinois and Calvin Brock added 12. Both guards shot 5-for-7 from the field for the Illini, who made 12 of 19 shots in the second half and began the trip with a win over Hawaii last Friday.
James Anderson paced Oklahoma State with 12 points.
Arizona State 87, LSU 84, OT
Jeff Pendergraph made 11 of 15 shots from the field and finished with 25 points and 10 rebounds as the Sun Devils (2-1) edged the Tigers (3-2) in overtime for fifth place.
James Harden added 23 points for Arizona State. Anthony Randolph led five LSU players in double figures with 21 points. Marcus Thornton finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds and made a 3-pointer with 3 seconds left in regulation to send the game into overtime.