Shockers Fall Short in Maui Final
staff - November 23, 2017 11:05 am
LAHAINA, Hawaii – Three seconds separated No. 6/6 Wichita State from its first Maui Jim Maui Invitational championship.
A pair of Martinas Geben free throws with 2.3 seconds to play capped a dramatic 67-66 comeback victory for No. 13/12 Notre Dame in tournament’s championship game, Wednesday evening at the Lahaina Civic Center.
WSU (4-1) led for nearly 38 minutes but couldn’t finish off the Fighting Irish (6-0). Up three with the ball and 21 seconds to play, the Shockers turned it over, then missed the front end of a crucial one-and-one. The Irish converted both miscues into the points, including Geben’s game winning free throws.
“There are a lot of guys in [our] locker room that are crushed, but that’s what I love about them because they’re winners.” WSU head coach Gregg Marshall said. “They’re champions. They didn’t win ‘this’ championship, but they’re champions and they’ll be champions at some point.”
Bonzie Colson – the ACC’s preseason player of the year – tallied 25 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Irish.
Senior forward Zach Brown led WSU with 14 points on a career-high four three-pointers.
Conner Frankamp scored all 12 of his points in the first half. The last – a 17-footer from the right baseline – gave the Shockers their biggest lead of the night, 37-21, with 30 seconds remaining in the period.
WSU still led by a dozen near the 12-minute mark of the second half and by nine with 7:03 remaining but managed just four more points the rest of the way.
Notre Dame twice pulled to within a point in the final 3:50. Landry Shamet (10 points, seven assists, two steals) twice answered with jumpers from the right elbow to push it back out to three.
Shamet’s bucket with 34 seconds to play made it a 66-63 Shocker lead.
After Colson’s missed three-pointer the Shockers had the ball up 66-63, in position to put the game out of reach. However, Matt Farrell stole an inbound pass and Bonzie Colson converted a layup to pull the Irish within 66-65. Austin Reaves missed the front end of a one-and-one for WSU with 16 seconds to play.
Zach Brown blocked Farrell’s layup out of bounds with 3.3 seconds to go. The Irish found a cutting Martinas Geben under the basket on the inbound. Morris fouled him hard to prevent a layup, but Geben converted two free throws to give Notre Dame its first lead since the 18:29-mark of the first half.
With just over 2 seconds showing, Shamet took a desperation pass near midcourt but had it stripped away by Rex Pflueger before he could attempt a potential game-winner.
Pflueger flung the ball skyward as the clock expired, and the Irish celebrated.
“I thought it was a great college basketball game. “Obviously, I wish it had ended three seconds sooner,” Marshall said. “We just needed one more play, one more stop, one more basket, and we could point to a lot of different things. But it came down to just that one play and three seconds.”