Maui, HI – The 2011 Maui Invitational begins today, and the Kansas Jayhawks of the Big 12 Conference will take on the Georgetown Hoyas of the Big East in what promises to be a highly competitive affair this evening.
Georgetown is competing in this tournament for just the second time and won just a single game in that other appearance. The Hoyas have won both of their games so far this season, including an 86-45 romp over UNC Greensboro last Monday. Considering the other game for the Hoyas took place against Savannah State, tonight's contest obvious marks a major leap in competition level.
Kansas won the Maui Invitational championship back in 1996, beating Virginia in the title game. Bill Self has plenty of young talent to work with in Lawrence this season, and it will be interesting to see how the squad responds after falling to national powerhouse Kentucky last time out by a 75-65 final. The Jayhawks have played just two games so far this season, as they knocked off Towson by 46 points in the opener.
The Hoyas won the only other meeting between these two programs by a 70-57 final in the semifinal of the 1987 NCAA Southeast Regional played in Louisville, Kentucky.
Through two outings, the top offensive performer for Georgetown is Hollis Thompson, who is netting 16.0 ppg on 66.7 percent shooting from the field. Henry Sims provides 13.5 ppg on 78.6 percent field goal efficiency, and he is ripping down 6.5 rpg. As for Jason Clark, the third and final double-digit scorer on the roster, he adds 13.0 ppg to the mix. Georgetown is scoring 84.5 ppg on 54.2 percent shooting, including 40.5 percent from three-point range, and the club is holding opponents to 49.5 ppg on 32.1 percent efficiency. In the romp over UNC Greensboro last time out, Thompson scored 19 points to pace his Hoyas. Clark contributed 17 points for Georgetown, which forced 22 turnovers and held the overmatched Spartans to 29.6 percent shooting from the floor. Advantages in points from the foul line (17-8) and rebounds (43-33) helped the cause as well.
Kansas found itself locked in a 28-28 tie at intermission against Kentucky last time out, but the Jayhawks shot a mere 28.1 percent from the floor in the second half, including 1-of-7 from three-point range. Meanwhile, they allowed the Wildcats to hit 64 percent of their shots from the floor over the final 20 minutes en route to defeat. Tyshawn Taylor did manage to score 22 points for Kansas in the setback, but 15 of those points came from the foul line and couldn't overshadow his 3-of-13 shooting performance from the floor. Thomas Robinson notched 11 points and 12 rebounds in that affair. In the season- opening romp over Towson, six Jayhawks reached double figures in scoring, and Robinson led the way with 18 points and 11 boards. Kansas finished that game with 30 assists against only five turnovers, and shot 58.6 percent from the floor.