UK wins 74-67 in Maui semifinal

An earthquake occurred near Maui as UK was in the middle of playing Washington in the Maui Invitational semifinal.

Neither coach noticed it.

“There was an earthquake?” said UK head coach John Calipari in a press conference on

Yes, coach. It measured a 4.7 on the Richter scale.

“That’s nothing,” he said.

Perhaps the drama of an early-season tournament semifinal that felt more like an NCAA Tournament semifinal drew away their attention.

No. 9 UK beat No. 11 Washington 74-67 despite some relatively sloppy play.

UK shot 39 percent from the floor, went 3-for-17 on 3-pointers and committed a season-high 14 turnovers — and yet got a win against a highly ranked team.

“It’s lovely,” Calipari said.

The game remained close throughout the second half — the lead never swelled past 10 points — but the events of the first half may have been the key to the end result.

After allowing four quick points to open the game, Calipari called a timeout. UK answered with an 18-2 run, a cushion they would need as the score tightened and eventually ended with Washington holding a one-point lead heading into halftime.

“That was the difference in the game,” Calipari said. “That gave us the gap we needed, so when we had foul trouble it was a one-point game instead of down 12.”

Brandon Knight, who ended up with 24 points, collected two fouls in the first half and had to sit the last nine minutes as Washington closed the gap with a run of their own. Darius Miller was also on the bench with two fouls for most of the end of the first half.

“We played the way we had to with foul trouble in the first half, I’m stunned we were down 1 (at the half),” Calipari said.

UK ended the first half with a lineup of Terrence Jones, Josh Harrellson, Doron Lamb, Jon Hood and Jarrod Polson. That’s a lineup UK isn’t accustomed to playing with. So UK ran its offense through Jones, mainly because it had no offense to run with that five-player combination.

“We were so depleted (in the first half), we were just throwing (Jones) the ball,” Calipari said as to surviving the end of the first half. “We had no offense. There was no offense, because we had guys out there who didn’t know the offense. We were just happy to be in the game at halftime.”

The score remained close until UK pulled to a nine-point lead with five minutes left. At that point, they dictated the style of play and bled the clock down, and then made the free throws that mattered to get the win.

After missing eight of its first 19 free throws, UK sunk six of its last eight within the final two minutes to ensure the victory.

“We made the four free throws we had to to finish the game,” UK head coach John Calipari said. “Those balls went down. That means we had a will to win and its starting to happen.”

UK held a lead for the final nine minutes of the game, but Washington had pulled within two points with under a minute left. Then, Doron Lamb got fouled crossing midcourt and made both free throws. After that, Washington was trying to play catch-up, but couldn’t make up the deficit.

“These guys were hooting and hollering and hugging,” Calipari said.


Josh Harrellson had his best game of the year. He grabbed 14 rebounds, half of them on the offensive glass, and scored nine points.

“Harrellson took advantage of the opportunities of not being boxed out,” Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar said. “It wasn’t a situation where they were throwing the ball to him on the block and we couldn’t stop him. He just put himself in the right place at the right time and took advantage of our defensive miscues.”

Harrelson also made a 3-pointer in the first half, although he did miss his second attempt, which came in the final minutes of the game.

“How about that 3 he made?” said Calipari. “I’m going to be honest with you, he can shoot 3s probably as well as anybody on the team. I’d have no problem throwing him the ball if we needed a three, because they won’t guard him because they think he won’t shoot it. He can really shoot it.”


Terrence Jones, who had chosen Washington over the summer before de-committing and coming to UK, scored 16 points and grabbed 17 rebounds.

“There were a bunch of big plays he came up with,” Calipari said. “A bunch of second-chance rebounds.”

Washington guard Justin Holiday downplayed the revenge factor that was widely talked about before the game.

“As far as the Terrence thing, no,” Holiday said on if it had an impact. “We were just playing the people in front of us.”

Jones had his second straight game of at least 15 points and 15 rebounds. While he didn’t have as many of the slashing highlight-reel drives as he did against Oklahoma, he crashed the boards hard all game and worked hard in the paint, on both offense and defense.

Still, Calipari didn’t see Jones contribute during the final stages of the game.

“The last 3 minutes, (Jones) went haywire,” Calipari said. “I don’t know where he went. … He kind of had that glazed look. I was wondering, do you not think we can win this? What’s wrong with you? And then it’s, maybe he’s winded, I don’t know. But I will see this. There were a bunch of big plays he came up with.”