No. 19 Vanderbilt was waiting for a challenge after dominating their first two games in the Maui Invitational. They got one in No. 5 Kansas.
The Jayhawks trailed early, but eventually proved to be too much to handle as the Commodores fell in the final round of the Maui Invitational 70-63. Wayne Selden Jr. was on fire in Hawaii, lighting up Vandy for 25 points and seven rebounds in the title win. Damian Jones had 17 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks for VU despite the loss.
The Commodores never trailed in the first half as Damian Jones gave Vandy a consistent inside scoring threat. The junior had six points, five rebounds, and two blocks in front of a crowd filled with NBA scouts who were eager to judge the talent between these two top 25 programs. Kansas's hot outside shooting kept them alive en route to a 30-26 halftime deficit. The Jayhawks made five of their 10 three-pointers behind Wayne Selden Jr.'s 14 points.
Kansas came out firing in the second half. With a blue-tinted crowd behind them, their backcourt gave Vanderbilt the challenge they'd lacked all season. The Jayhawks found holes and open shots throughout the night as Vandy failed to keep pace with their ball movement and high pace on the offensive end. Defensively, they forced the 'Dores into rushed shots en route to a 53-44 deficit from which the team could not recover. Through 15 minutes of the second half, KU had shredded the VU defense to make 70 percent of their baskets after halftime. While Vandy was able to turn on the jets late to overcome an opponent like Stony Brook, they couldn't do the same against a top five program like the Jayhawks.
Vanderbilt cut the Kansas lead to a few as five points late in the second half, but the Jayhawks' ball movement and ability to get the ball into the paint proved to be the 'Dores fatal flaw. They never truly threatened in the final five minutes as KU cruised to their second-ever Maui Invitational Championship.
The loss dropped Vanderbilt to 5-1 on the season, while Kansas improved to 4-1. The Commodores will return to action next Wednesday when they host Detroit at Memorial Gym.