No. 8 Wildcats pull out 74-67 win over Washington

By John Marshall

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 23 2010 11:25 p.m. MST

LAHAINA, Hawaii — A 4.7-magnitude earthquake centering on one of the neighboring islands rattled tables and chairs, shook the stands, had the rims swaying back and forth.

Few people at the game between Kentucky and Washington seemed to notice. They were too busy watching two good teams face each other.

Terrence Jones had a double-double against the team he spurned, Brandon Knight keyed two important runs on his way to 24 points, and the eighth-ranked Wildcats shook off poor shooting — and an earthquake — to hold off the No. 13 Huskies 74-67 in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational.

"We were fortunate to get where we were and sneak out (with a win)," Kentucky coach John Calipari said.

Kentucky (4-0) and Washington (3-1) traded blows from the opening tip, swatting shots into the stands, knocking each other to the floor, diving for loose balls.

The real trembler came during a timeout with a little over 6 minutes left in the game.

The earthquake, centered on the Big Island, shook for about 5 seconds, wobbling courtside tables and chairs, swaying the baskets. No injuries or damage were reported and the game resumed once the timeout was over.

Few people seemed to notice — the two coaches among them — but some of the players were aware of it as their coaches talked during the timeout.

"I felt the ground shaking and the rim was moving," said Washington's Isaiah Thomas, who led the Huskies with 13 points. "I didn't know if it was an earthquake."

The rims were hard to hit even while sitting still in this defensive-dominated game.

Kentucky shot just 39 percent, was an abysmal 3 for 17 from 3-point range and had just seven assists to go with 15 turnovers. Knight was the lone bright spot shooting-wise, going 10 of 17 from the floor, but the rest of the Wildcats starters were a combined 12 for 31.

Washington wasn't any better, shooting 38 percent, including 3 of 13 from long range — 1 of 8 in the second half — after making 17 against Virginia the night before. Thomas had to work for everything he got, hitting 4 of 14 shots, and leading scorer Matt Bryan-Amaning was just 3 for 11.

"Seems like sometimes the rim was moving anyway," Washington coach Lorenzo Romar said.

A raucous crowd filled tiny Lahaina Civic Center to the rafters for this Top-15 matchup, the loud-and-rowdy mass of Kentucky fans and small-but-vocal Washington contingent making it feel like a postseason, not holiday tournament.

Washington's fans pointed much of their ire at Jones.

He was one of the nation's top recruits coming out of Portland and was set to stay in the Pacific Northwest after holding a news conference to announce he was heading to Washington.

He had second thoughts a few hours later, though, and called Calipari to say he might have made a mistake. Jones also called Romar and, a month later, had changed his mind completely and was headed to Lexington.

Romar and Calipari shrugged it off as an 18-year-old kid being indecisive, saying it was nothing more than a minor subplot to a matchup of two Top 25 teams.

Washington's fans had a different view, especially after their program had already lost to Enes Kanter to the Wildcats. Those who were in Maui booed him relentlessly throughout the game, firing up the occasional chant of liar!

Jones has been superb this season and was dominant in the tournament opener against Oklahoma, getting 29 points, 13 rebounds, four blocked shots and three assists.

The 6-foot-8 phenom was a little extra amped at the start, missing one shot after another while seeming to try too hard to make something happen. He finished 4 for 13 from the floor, but made up for it with hard work and staying aggressive.

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