ASU Falls To Kentucky In Maui Invitational Opener, 82-65
by Brian Gomez,www.TheSunDevils.com
LAHAINA, Hawaii -- With the good came the bad Monday for the ASU men'sbasketball team.
Sun Devil head coach Rob Evans got a stellar performance from juniorforward Jamal Hill, who scored 16 points in 37 minutes without turning theball over. But senior forward Tommy Smith made few contributions while playing in foul trouble.
The end result for ASU was an 82-65 loss to 15th-ranked Kentucky in theopening round of the EA Sports Maui Invitational before a capacity crowd of2,500 at the Lahaina Civic Center. The Wildcats advance to face Virginia,while the Sun Devils fall into the loser's bracket and will meet hostChaminade at 12 p.m. Tuesday.
'It's difficult to play against a good team from behind,' Evans said. 'Wehave to have all components working, and we didn't have everybody working asa group.'
ASU (1-1) was forced to play catch-up after the break upon falling behindby as many as 20 points in the first half. The Sun Devils cut the lead to 12points with 7:22 remaining on the strength of junior guard Kenny Crandall'sthree-pointer from the wing, but couldn't get any closer.
Hill and freshman forward Ike Diogu combined for ASU's first nine pointson a night when their teammates struggled from everywhere. The Sun Devilsshot 36.5 percent from the field, 22.2 percent from beyond the arc and 62.5percent at the free throw line.
ASU faced a 19-point deficit late in the first half, but went into thelocker room riding a wave of momentum after Hill showed the type of shootingtouch that made him one of the nation's top-ranked prospects coming out ofSan Jose City College. Hill buried a pair of three-pointers and tossed in abucket with two seconds remaining to help the Sun Devils trim the lead to 13.
'I just tried to let the game come to me,' Hill said. 'Give Kentuckycredit. They came out and wanted it at the beginning. It's very tough to comefrom behind when they have such a big lead.'
ASU started the second half with a burst of energy and trailed by only adozen with 17:26 to go before Smith was whistled for his fourth foul. AfterSmith took to the bench with 16:18 left, the paint opened like Diamond Headerupting on the Big Island.
Senior forward Jules Camara tossed in a bucket, junior swingman AntwainBarbour scored four points and senior forward Marquis Estill added two pointsto help the Wildcats (1-0) stretch their lead. ASU was outscored 36-18 in thepaint.
'We were able to get some baskets in transition,' Kentucky head coachTubby Smith said. 'When you're playing well offensively, it usually helpsyour defense and when you're doing things right defensively, it usuallyimproves you offensively.'
Smith fouled out on a hand check beyond the three-point arc with 10:10remaining. He left the game with eight points and seven rebounds.
'We have really worked hard with Tommy to try to get him to not makefoolish fouls,' Evans said. 'We're continuing to work with him, but at somepoint it has to be on him. He has to understand he has to stay in ball gamesfor us to have a chance to win.'
Diogu finished with 13 points, marking the second consecutive game he hasscored in double figures. He attempted only three shots in the first halfwhile being double-teamed nearly every time he touched the ball.
'He's a very skilled player,' Estill said. 'We wanted to get him in foultrouble early and keep him on the bench as much as we could.'
The Wildcats were led by senior guard Keith Bogans, who had 20 points on7-of-10 shooting from the field. Estill added 14 points, while Barbour andjunior guard Gerald Fitch finished with 13 apiece.
ASU senior forward Chris Osborne didn't get into the rotation whilenursing a sprained ankle. Osborne suffered the injury when tripping on abasketball in practice Sunday.
'He's one of the most unlucky guys I've ever seen,' Evans said. 'He wasjust warming up and he stepped on a ball and turned his ankle.'Virginia shoots down Chaminade
History didn't repeat itself this time, as Virginia celebrated an 86-72victory over Chaminade. Sophomore forward Elton Brown picked up the pace forthe Cavaliers (2-0) in the second half after senior forward Travis Watsontook to the bench with his fourth foul.
'His shoes are hard to fill,' Brown said. 'I just knew I had to beaggressive on offense and defense. I realized I had to go even harder.'
Brown was 8-for-13 from the field and finished with a game-high 22points. Watson and sophomore swingman Devin Smith had 16 apiece.
'It was a lose-lose situation,' Virginia head coach Pete Gillen said. 'Ifwe lose, the coaches are bums, the players are bums. We were supposed to win,but it's not that easy. We beat a good team that played very hard and verywell.'
Chaminade (0-2) shot only 34.9 percent from the field in the absence ofsenior guard Kashif Reyes, who was sidelined with a sprained ankle. Juniorguard Roy Stigall III had a team-high 18 points and senior swingman RahshawMcAfee tossed in 10 to lead the Silverswords.
'They thought this was going to be a cakewalk,' Chaminade head coachAaron Griess said. 'They thought they were just going to run right over us,but our guys weren't going to let that happen.'Indiana overpowers Massachusetts
Head coach Mike Davis got 20 points from senior guard Tom Coverdale andfour other Hoosiers scored in double figures as Indiana rolled to an 84-71win against Massachusetts. Coverdale was only 5-for-20 from the field, butmade 4 of 10 attempts from three-point range.
'I thought I could have played better,' Coverdale said. 'We weren't happywith the way we played, but we were happy we got the win.'
The Hoosiers (1-0) held a 51-36 rebounding advantage, which resulted in17 second-chance points. Indiana junior center George Leach recorded adouble-double with 19 points and 16 boards, while senior forward Jeff Newtonscored 14, freshman guard Bracey Wright added 11 and senior forward KyleHornsby tossed in 10.
'George really stepped up,' Davis said. 'He hadn't gotten 16 rebounds ina week of practice.'
Massachusetts (0-1) trailed by only 10 points at the break, but misfiredon all nine of its three-point attempts in the second half. Massachusettsjunior forward Raheim Lamb finished with 17 points and 12 rebounds in 30minutes.
'We're trying to build from scratch,' Massachusetts head coach SteveLappas said. 'That team is there and we're not.'
What's on tap
The Maui Invitational is scheduled to continue at 12 p.m. Tuesday whenASU faces host Chaminade. Massachusetts will then meet the Utah-Gonzaga loserat 2 p.m.
Virginia will square off with Kentucky at 5 p.m. and Indiana will hook upwith the Utah-Gonzaga winner at 7:30 p.m. Both those games will be telecaston ESPN.
Want to get interactive?
This year's Maui Invitational is the first major college basketballtournament to provide real-time coverage of every game via the Internet. Foraccess to scores, stats and live play-by-play, log on towww.mauiinvitational.com.Experimental rules
Several experimental rules will be tested this week at the MauiInvitational. The three-point arc has been moved back nine inches from thecenter ring of the basket to a new distance of 20 feet, 6 inches.
The free-throw lane has been widened by two feet on each side so that itnow stands 16 feet horizontally instead of 12. The eight-inch free-throw laneblock also has been reinstated eight feet from the baseline. The block actsas a neutral zone during free-throw attempts, meaning no player is permittedto step past it before the shooter releases the ball.ASU in Paradise
The Sun Devils hold a 5-5 all-time record in four appearances at the MauiInvitational. They fell to Utah and Kansas State in Evans' first year at thehelm, before knocking off host Chaminade on the tournament's final day.
Led by center Mario Bennett, ASU strung together three straight victoriesto win the 1994 Maui Invitational. Former head coach Bill Frieder's teamtopped Texas A&M, No. 13 Michigan and No. 7 Maryland.How it all started
The Maui Invitational was founded two years after Chaminade beattop-ranked Virginia in what some people call 'the biggest upset in thehistory of college basketball.' On Dec. 23, 1982, the Silverswords pulled outa 77-72 victory against the Cavaliers, who had 7-foot-4 All-American center.