Lahaina, HI (SportsNetwork.com) - The 2013 Maui Invitational gets underway on Monday, and one of the bouts on day one features the Baylor Bears taking on the host Chaminade Silverswords.
Baylor is a perfect 4-0 on the young season, having disposed of Colorado (72-60), South Carolina (66-64), Louisiana (87-68) and Charleston Southern (69-64), the last three taking place in Waco. The Bears have won nine straight games, dating back to last season, and they are looking to start a season 5-0 for the fifth time in the last seven years. BU is just 4-10 all-time in the state of Hawaii, having never won more than one game in five previous tournaments held there.
Chaminade, which operates in the Pacific West Basketball Conference at the Division II level, has hosted this event in each of the 29 previous editions, picked up a win, only its seventh ever in the tournament, last season over another Big 12 Conference foe in Texas (86-73). The Silverswords have been idle since Nov. 9 when they won their second game in as many days against visiting Saint Martin's University, 82-63.
This bout marks the first-ever meeting between Baylor and Chaminade in men's basketball, and both teams will be back in action on Tuesday against either Dayton or Gonzaga, depending on the outcomes of Monday's matchups.
Baylor comes into this event boasting four double-digit scorers, each of whom has had a hand in helping the team put up 73.5 ppg behind typical shooting efforts of .453 overall and .413 from 3-point range, all while logging a +8.5 rebounding margin. About the only negative stat to be pointed out is the fact that the Bears are -5.2 in turnover margin, goading the opposition into a mere 8.5 miscues per outing. Despite coming off the bench in every game thus far, Brady Heslip (15.0 ppg) is the team's leading scorer, preferring to do the bulk of his damage from long range (.519). Cory Jefferson (13.0 ppg, 9.8 rpg) is close to averaging a double-double, while Kenny Chery (11.8 ppg, 4.0 apg) and Isaiah Austin (10.8 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 5.0 bpg) round out the unit's most productive players.
Chery and Austin both scored 16 points in the recent win over Charleston Southern, while Heslip drained three treys to finish with 11. The Bears shot just 41.2 percent from the field, but went 7-of-15 from beyond the arc and used a 20-8 edge in points from the foul line along with a resounding 44-28 rebounding advantage to earn their fourth victory in as many tries this season.
Although it's only been two games, Chaminade hasn't had any trouble putting points on the scoreboard, posting a pair of 82-point efforts in winning both times. The team has four double-digit scorers, with Christopher Varidel leading the way at 30.0 ppg. Kiran Shastri (12.0 ppg, 3.5 rpg), A.J. Mathew (11.5 ppg) and Rhys Murphy (11.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg) round out the group, which has done an outstanding job of defending the perimeter (.233), while logging a +6.5 rebounding margin along with a +3.0 turnover differential.
Varidel scored 30 in the opener against Western Oregon, but missed the Saint Martin's game with an injury. That meant Shastri would have to be the man, and indeed he was as he nailed six 3-pointers to tally 21 points, doing so in only 18 minutes of action off the bench. Murphy added 13 points, Lee Bailey had 11 and Mathew 10 for the Silverswords, who shot just 40.7 percent from the floor, but committed only five turnovers and used a 25-13 edge in points from the foul line to move to 2-0 on the young season.