Silverswords notch another upset

Posted Nov. 24, 2010, at 4:55 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 24, 2010, at 8:25 p.m.

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Little Chaminade played the David role to perfection again.

Maybe it wasn’t as monumental as that all-timer over Virginia 28 years ago, but it still felt good.

Steven Bennett scored on a contested drive with 16 seconds left and Division II Chaminade held on to pull off another upset, beating Oklahoma 68-64 in the seventh-place game of the Maui Invitational on Wednesday.

Chaminade (4-2) led by 10 midway through the second half, withstood Oklahoma’s late rally and held on down the stretch to set off a wild celebration at midcourt in front of the home-state fans.

Shane Hanson had 23 points, while Mamadou Diarra added 15 points, 11 rebounds and hit two free throws with 8 seconds left to seal another win for the upset specialists.

“For our university and our team, it’s something we’ll never forget,” Chaminade coach Matt Mahar said.

Oklahoma (3-3) shot poorly from the perimeter — 6 for 22 from 3-point range — and was outscored 38-26 inside against the smaller Silverswords to finish off a disappointing tournament with one of its ugliest losses in years.

Cade Davis led Oklahoma with 24 points, but shot an airball on a potential tying 3-pointer in the closing seconds.

“I thought we did some good things, (but) we’re just a team who can’t afford to have lulls in the game like he had this morning,” Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said.

Chaminade has a knack for pulling the occasional upset, including one of the most monumental in college basketball history, over top-ranked Virginia on neighboring Oahu in 1982. The Silverswords are just 6-73 all-time in the Maui Tournament, but a few of those wins were upsets against bigger programs, including Villanova in 2003 and Princeton in 2007.

Chaminade nearly pulled off another major one for the underdogs in the tournament’s first round, leading No. 2 Michigan State into the second half before the mighty Spartans pulled away.

The Silverswords had another, albeit less-powerful, team from a major conference on the ropes again, leading Oklahoma 57-48 with about 8 minutes left after Hanson hit a pair of 3-pointers from the same spot on the wing.

Michigan State 76, Washington 71

Kalin Lucas scored 29 points and keyed a second-half rally, helping No. 2 Michigan State salvage a 76-71 win over No. 13 Washington in the third place game of the Maui Invitational on Wednesday.

Michigan State (4-1) Michigan State trailed by 10 after a turnover-filled first half, but charged back behind Lucas. The senior guard scored seven points during an opening 18-5 run that put the Spartans up 52-49 and hit two game-sealing free throws in the closing seconds after injuring his knee a few minutes earlier.

Washington (3-2) had a superb first half shooting and wasn’t bad for the day, but couldn’t stop the Spartans in the second half for a second straight tough defeat. Matt Bryan-Amaning had 15 points and Isaiah Thomas added 13 and six assists for the Huskies.

Hanson kept the Sooners at bay with jumpers and 3-pointers for a little while, but Davis helped rally Oklahoma late, hitting three straight 3-pointers to tie the game at 62-all with 3 minutes left.

Chaminade went back up two on a post spin move by Diarra, but Oklahoma tied it with 48 seconds left on Andrew Fitzgerald’s wide-open layup on an inbound play.

That set the stage for Bennett, the speedy 5-foot-6 guard who has been giving bigger players fits all tournament. After a series of timeouts, he took the ball in the backcourt and rushed forward, lifting a shot over the outstretched arm of a defender for the go-ahead points.

Davis missed, Diarra hit his free throws and the Silverswords rushed the floor after one final Sooners miss, screaming and high-fiving each other on the Maui Invitational logo at center court.

“This tournament is truly everything for us, especially our basketball program,” Mahar said

The Sooners are young and inexperienced, but they didn’t figure to have this much trouble in Maui.

Oklahoma was respectable in the opener against another young team, No. 8 Kentucky, keeping it close until the last few minutes. The bottom fell out for the Sooners in the second round against Virginia, though, struggling at both ends in a close-to-embarrassing 74-56 loss to a team still trying to find itself.

Oklahoma punctuated the disappointing tournament with debilitating loss to a tiny school from a small island.

“We’re such young group and we’re a fragile group,” Capel said. “We did some really good things in the first game I thought we could build off of, but then we responded the next day and didn’t play with the urgency like we did against Kentucky. And I thought we started off well today, but again we have the lulls in the game where we kind of look like we’re out of synch.”

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