Published November 21, 2012
| Sports Network
Maui, HI – After losing their respective semifinal matchups, the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Chaminade Silverswords will meet in the third-place game of the Maui Invitational.
UNC won three straight games leading up to its trip to Maui, with easy wins over Gardner-Webb (76-59), Florida Atlantic (80-56) and Long Beach State (78-63). The Tar Heels came into the tournament as the odds-on favorite to win, and they showed why in their opening-round matchup against Mississippi State, prevailing in a 95-49 final, but they experienced an unexpected stumbling block against Butler, losing 82-71 in a game they never led.
Chaminade, the annual host team for this event, opened up the tournament with an first-round upset of Texas, 86-73. The Silverswords couldn't ride that momentum into the semifinals however, as they fell to Illinois on Tuesday, 84-61.
The Tar Heels defeated Chaminade in 2008, 115-70, in the only previous meeting between the two teams.
UNC managed to shoot just 38.7 percent in the first half against Butler, and midway through the second it was down by as many as 29 points. The Tar Heels managed to up their shooting percentage to .472 by game's end, and it cut the deficit to single digits late, but the game was never really in doubt. R.J. Hairston came off the bench to lead the team in scoring with 15 points, but he did so on just 4-of-13 shooting from the field. Marcus Paige tallied 13 points and five assists, and Reggie Bullock also scored 13 points. James Michael McAdoo chipped in 10 points, but he was plagued by seven turnovers. It was a down game for McAdoo, who averages a team-best 16.6 ppg on nearly 48 percent field goal efficiency, and he also hauls in 8.6 rpg. Bullock (11.8 ppg) and Hairston (11.0 ppg) round out the double-digit scorers for the Heels. In addition to scoring 80 ppg, they also play stellar defense, allowing opponents to shoot a meager 35.6 percent from the field.
Chaminade came into the game scoring a lofty 85 ppg, but it ran into a lot of problems against Illinois, shooting just 37.1 percent from the field, including 32.1 percent from three-point range. The Silverswords also committed 14 turnovers in a game they never led. Once again, De'Andre Haskins was their catalyst in the effort, putting up 19 points, bringing his season average to a team-high 21 ppg. Bennie Murray was the only other player to tally double figures for the Swords with 10 points, but he did so on just 4-of-11 shooting. Murray is the team's second-leading scorer with 12.8 ppg. Lee Bailey has also been impressive with 12.6 ppg and he's handed out a team-best 12 assists, but he's turned the ball over 19 times.