Duke beat top-ranked Arizona in Maui Invitational
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) _ Even after his third-ranked Duke Blue Devils beat No. 1 Arizona, Mike Krzyzewski wasn’t sure his team belongs at the top of the poll.
``I’m not sure we’re that good this early. We still need to work on a few things, like bringing the ball up court against pressure and late free throw shooting,″ Krzyzewski said Wednesday night after Duke beat the Wildcats 95-87 in the championship game of the Maui Invitational.
The victory over the defending national champions started out as a rout and turned into an impressive victory as the Blue Devils held off the Wildcats.
Duke (5-0) led by as many as 24 points early in the second half, but Arizona (3-1) refused to go away.
The Wildcats pulled within 84-78 on two free throws by Miles Simon with 1:47 left. A jumper by Trajan Langdon and 8-of-12 shooting from the free throw line gave Duke the victory.
``I’m really proud of our team,″ Krzyzewski said. ``We beat what I think is the best team in the country.
``We had good, good looks and our guys hit their shots. That was the difference. We also got good contributions from our bench.″
That was huge because both teams were spent over the final minutes.
``We were exhausted at the end when they came at us so hard,″ Krzyzewski said.
``I was exhausted,″ said Duke point guard Steve Wojciechowski, the tournament MVP after finishing the three games with 33 points, 20 assists and just six turnovers. ``Arizona did a good job of coming back. We lost our composure a little, but regained it in time to win the game.″
Wojciechowski’s biggest contribution couldn’t be measured by stats as his defense against Arizona point guard Mike Bibby was outstanding.
``Wojo took Mike out of his game and Mike is a really good player,″ Arizona coach Lute Olson said. ``They (other Duke defenders) did a nice job of helping out when he (Bibby) did get by.″
Bibby finished with eight points on 2-for-10 shooting and had three turnovers.
``My job was to not let him get anything easy or open shots,″ said Wojciechowski, who had 13 points, five assists and four rebounds in the championship game.
In other games involving ranked teams Wednesday it was: No. 2 Kansas 90, Arizona State 88, OT; No. 6 Purdue 92, Alabama-Birmingham 64; No. 8 Kentucky 77, Missouri 55; Florida State 67, No. 11 Connecticut 60; and No. 12 Fresno State 90, LSU 65.
Arizona had the tougher route to the title game on Maui, facing Boston College and No. 8 Kentucky, while Duke played Division II Chaminade, the host school of the eight-team tournament, and Missouri.
``They had an easier way to the (championship) game, but I don’t think it really mattered,″ Olson said.
``I’m not a believer in you learn from losing. You learn from playing, from being in tough, tight games. I’m pleased we didn’t throw the towel in. We had more energy in the second half, but you learn from games like this and build on them. You don’t learn from 20-, 30-point games.″
Arizona trailed 51-34 at halftime, but Simon keyed two rallies that brought the Wildcats as close as six points.
``We battled back in the second half, but they had more energy in the first half,″ Olson said. ``They controlled the offensive boards and challenged everything we tried to do.
``We probably won’t face anyone that defends that hard.″
Freshman guard William Avery led Duke with 21 points, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range, and Roshown McLeod added 18.
Simon finished with 25 points, while A.J. Bramlett had 17 points and 10 rebounds for Arizona.
No. 2 Kansas 90, Arizona St. 88, OT
Billy Thomas’ 3-pointer with 11 seconds left in overtime bounced off the rim, the top of the glass and in to give the Jayhawks (5-0) the victory at Madison Square Garden that sent them into Friday night’s Preseason NIT championship game against Florida State.
Arizona State (3-1) had one final chance, but Jeremy Veal’s 3-pointer with three seconds left bounced off the rim.
Paul Pierce led Kansas, which now has an 11-game winning streak in the Preseason NIT, with 28 points, while Thomas had 19. Veal led the Sun Devils, who were picked to finish last in the Pac-10, with 29 points.
No. 6 Purdue 92, Alabama-Birmingham 64
Chad Austin and Brad Miller each scored 19 points as the Boilermakers (4-0) cruised in the opening round of the Great Alaska Shootout. Purdue will play Massachusetts, which beat Southwestern Louisiana 80-64, in Friday’s semifinals.
Miller had 12 rebounds as Purdue, which led 42-21 at halftime, finished with a 45-32 rebound advantage.
Fred Williams had 13 points and 12 rebounds for the Blazers (2-2).
No. 8 Kentucky 77, Missouri 55
Sophomore Jamaal Magloire had 18 points, 17 rebounds and five blocked shots to lead the Wildcats (3-1) in the third-place game of the Maui Invitational.
Kentucky, which led 45-24 at halftime, finished with a 51-34 rebound advantage and forced 19 turnovers.
Tyron Lee, Kelly Thames and John Woods each 11 points for the Tigers (2-2).
Florida St. 67, No. 11 Connecticut 60
Kerry Thompson had 13 points to lead the Seminoles (4-0) in the semifinals of the Preseason NIT. LaMarr Greer, who had missed seven of his first eight shots from the field, hit a 3-pointer with 1:21 left that gave Florida State a 64-57 lead.
Richard Hamilton led the Huskies (4-1) with 21 points.
No. 12 Fresno St. 90, LSU 65
Rafer Alston and Daymond Forney each scored 14 points as the Bulldogs (3-0) won the day after guard Chris Herren, last season’s leading scorer, voluntarily left the team for personal reasons. Willie Farley took over Herren’s starting spot and finished with 10 points.
Willie Anderson led the Tigers (2-1) with 20 points.