No. 19 Vanderbilt falls short at Maui, 70-63 to No. 5 Kansas
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — For 2 1-2 games Vanderbilt never trailed in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. Then No. 5 Kansas put the Commodores on the short end of the score for the final 20 minutes and won the tournament for a second time.
“We’re disappointed in how we played the second half, particularly defensively,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said after the 70-63 loss to the Jayhawks in the title game. “And, again, they’re fast and quick and shoot the ball awfully well.”
That sounds like the Commodores for most of their visit to the 50th state.
“I think we accounted well for ourselves,” Stallings said. “Our basketball team played very, very well. We didn’t have a great sixth half, but other than that, we played five pretty good halves of basketball.”
Wayne Selden Jr. scored 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 4 of 6 from 3-point range, and he also had seven rebounds.
The Jayhawks (4-1) did what no other team in the field could do, take a lead over the Commodores (5-1). It didn’t happen until the second half but when they got it they extended it to as many as 13 points.
“Coming out at first, I felt like they had us rattled. They pressured us and we didn’t really move the ball. We spread a lot like we did a couple of weeks ago against Michigan State,” Selden said, referring to Kansas’ only loss this season. “Second half we were able to penetrate and get the ball moving and a lot of things opened up for us.”
Kansas trailed by 10 points midway through the first half and the Jayhawks were able to cut the lead to 30-26 at halftime.
They took control with their offense, shooting 62.5 percent (15 of 24) in the second half. They got the lead for the first time with 18:16 to play on a jumper by Mason, and Vanderbilt never was in front again.
“I thought that we played a lot better in the first half than we did in the second. I’m guessing that Bill felt like they probably played a lot better in the second half than they did in the first,” Stallings said. “But, you know, shots that we are pretty accustomed to making, we didn’t make today.”
Vanderbilt closed to 68-63 with 16 seconds to play, and Mason and Jamari Traylor each made one free throw for the final margin.
“In the second half, they just came out and we got a little lazy and had some misses defensively,” Vanderbilt’s Luke Kornet said. “And they just came out, made shots and we never really made the shots to counter it.”
Devonte Graham had 12 points for Kansas, and Mason, who was selected co-MVP with Selden, added 10.
Damian Jones led the Commodores with 17 points. Kornet had 14, and Wade Baldwin IV 11.
“Like I said, I’m going to leave here with a lot more positive thoughts and a lot more positive feelings than I am negative,” Stallings said. “I don’t feel very good about that last 20 minutes, but I’m really proud of my basketball team and really looking forward to seeing what the future holds this season for them.”
Jones grabbed 10 rebounds, but the Jayhawks, led by Perry Ellis’ eight, outrebounded Vanderbilt 39-32.
Kansas won this tournament in 1996 and title No. 2 came with wins over St. John’s, Wake Forest and the Commodores.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores won this tournament in 1986, led by center Will Perdue. ... Vanderbilt never trailed in its first two games of the tournament and the first half of the title game. ... The Commodores came into the game with 35 assists and only 19 turnovers in the first two games. They had 11 of each against Kansas.
Kansas: That 1996 title team was led by forward Raef LaFrentz. ... Entering their third game of the tournament the Jayhawks were averaging 107.5 points on 59.8 shooting from the field including 48.1 percent from 3-point range. ... This was Kansas’ second straight appearance in the Maui Invitational title game. The Jayhawks lost to Duke in the 2011 championship game.
Vanderbilt hosts Detroit on Dec. 2.
Kansas hosts Loyola, Md. on Dec. 1.