Arizona Answers Challenge in Victory at MIT
By MauiNow Staff
The Arizona Wildcats claimed the 2014 EA Sports Maui Invitational Tournament Championship with a 61-59 win over the San Diego State Aztecs Wednesday at the Lahaina Civic Center.
Freshman Stanley Johnson was voted the Sue Wesselkamper Most Valuable Player, leading the Wildcats to their first tournament title since 2000. He had a team-high 18 points in the championship game, and averaged 15.3 points and 6.7 rebounds in the three-day tournament.
“To win the championship here at the EA Sports Maui Invitational, you need great players, and you need players that rise up to a challenge,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller said. “We leave here feeling very good about what we accomplished. I know we have a long way to go, but I feel like our team really took a big step, grew up, improved, and that’s what happens when you challenge yourself against this type of competition.”
While Johnson earned Tournament MVP accolades, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was named to the All-Tournament Team after finishing the championship game with 14 points and three blocks. Senior point guard T.J. McConnell also added 11 points in the win.
The Wildcats last won the EA Sports Maui Invitational in 2000 under the direction of Hall of Fame head coach Lute Olsen, when Michael Wright was voted Tournament MVP. Arizona is now 12-6 all time in the tournament after winning each of its three games against Missouri, Kansas State and San Diego State in consecutive days.
“We’re excited that we won this tournament.” Miller said. “Sometimes over the long haul, we’re in a program of great expectations. I think we all have to be careful that we enjoy what we’re doing, and enjoy Maui, enjoy being here with each other, and enjoy this great moment that we have tonight, a hard-earned championship.”
For the Aztecs, both Trey Kell and Winston Shepard were named to the All-Tournament Team, as Kell averaged 14.3 points per game and Shepard added 15.0 per contest. After his team’s second-place performance, Aztec head coach Steve Fisher has lead his squads to top three finishes in each of their tournament appearances. Fisher also recorded his 500th career win during San Diego State’s Monday victory over BYU.
2014 All-Tournament Team
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Arizona
Tyler Haws, BYU
Michael Young, Pittsburgh
Trey Kell, San Diego State
Winston Shepard, San Diego State
Third-place Game: Pittsburgh 70, Kansas State 47
In a game that had just a three point difference at halftime, the Panthers outscored the Wildcats 40-20 in the second half.
Pittsburgh (4-2) had four players finish in double figures, as James Robinson led the Panthers with 14 points, Ryan Luther and Michael Young added 13 each, and Jamel Artis had 10 in the win.
Thomas Gipson was Kansas State’s lone player to score in double figures. The Wildcats are now 3-3 on the season.
Fifth-place Game: Purdue 87, BYU 85 OT
AJ Hammons banked a shot off the glass with 1.7 seconds remaining in overtime as the Boilermakers defeated the Cougars. Hammons finished with 12 points on the game, and Vince Edwards led the attack for the Boilermakers, scoring a team high 25 points.
For BYU the loss is its second of the tournament, the first came in Monday’s double-overtime matchup with San Diego State. In the loss, Tyler Haws led all scorers with 32 points, while Anson Winder added 18.
Seventh-place Game: Missouri 74, Chaminade 60
In the first game on the final day, the Tigers defeated tournament host Chaminade.
The Tigers went into the halftime break with a 10-point lead and were able to hold on with a strong second half performance from Montaque Gill-Caesar, who 16 of his 18 points in the second. Namon Wright scored a team high 21 points for the Tigers, who are now 3-3 on the season.
Chaminade’s Lee Bailey led all scorers with a game high 22 points, 18 of which came in the second half. Kuany Kuany also added 14 points for the ‘Swords (2-3) in the loss.