When a Division II college basketball team takes on a Division I squad, the result is usually predictable. But not so this year at the 34th annual Maui Jim Maui Invitational, held Nov. 20-22 in Lahaina.
Competing for seventh place in the nationally televised preseason tournament, the Chaminade University men’s team upset highly favored Berkeley in a 96-72 rout. It was the eighth all-time win for the Silverswords in their signature tourney and biggest-ever margin of triumph over a Division I school.
“The victory over Cal is really special for us for a variety of reasons,” said Silversword head coach Eric Bovaird, whose team’s overall record is 8-92 in the tournament.
“A win over a Pac-12 school is huge,” Bovaird said. “The exposure for a victory like that has huge impact for us recruiting wise for the future and hopefully adds name recognition for other potential students here at Chaminade.
“With a win like that, we know we can compete with anyone in the country if we play to our capability.”
Along with increasing his team’s confidence, beating the Cal Golden Bears also “puts a huge target on our back,” Bovaird said.
“Every team we play now wants to be the team that beat the team that beat Cal,” he said.
Chaminade began the tournament with an 83-56 loss to No. 13 Notre Dame, then fell 102-64 to the University of Michigan in the consolation semifinals.
Against Cal, the Silverswords built an early lead behind the hot shooting of senior guard Dantley Walker, who finished with a career-high seven three-pointers and career-best 23 points. Junior forward Erik Scheive came off the bench to score 14 points, while junior forward Brett Reed and senior point guard Austin Pope tallied 12 points each.
As a team, Chaminade shot 55.6 percent (35-of-63) from the floor, compared to 42.4 percent (28-of-66) for Cal. The Silverswords outrebounded the Bears 42-36 and led in assists 22-6.
The Maui Jim tournament debuted in 1984 after Chaminade scored one of the most dramatic upsets in college basketball two years earlier by stunning No. 1 University of Virginia.
This latest version of the competition was won by Notre Dame in a 67-66 nailbiter over Wichita State. Marquette finished third with an impressive 94-84 win against Louisiana State, and Michigan took fifth by beating Virginia Commonwealth 68-60.
Starting with the 2018 tournament, the Silverswords will only play on Maui every other year.