LAHAINA, Maui (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Swords battled UCLA tough for a half before losing 92-60 in the opening round of the 2011 EA Sports Maui Invitational.
The Swords and Bruins traded baskets early on in today's contest, as Chaminade led 31-25 after freshman Darko Vukasovic (Belgrade, Serbia/Yuma) scored a layup with 3:43 remaining in the opening half of action. A three-point basket by UCLA's Jerime Anderson put UCLA up 40-38 as the game went to halftime. Junior Waly Coulibaly (Bamako, Mali/Patterson Prep) led the way with eight first-half points while freshman Lee Bailey (Detroit, MI/Detroit Country Day) and senior Rickey Clayborn (Chicago, IL/ E. Chicago) each had seven points in the opening twenty minutes.
The second half was close early on, before a 29-3 Bruin run put the game away. The Swords trailed 56-48 with just under 14 minutes left before UCLA took over. The run concluded with a dunk by UCLA's Joshua Smith that made the score 85-51 with 3:21 remaining.
Rickey Clayborn finished with 11 points and 4 rebounds in 17 minutes of action, while point guard Lee Bailey finished with 16 points in defeat.
The Swords lost the battle of the glass 49-27. CUH shot four of eighteen from three, for 22%.
Chaminade junior Bennie Murray (Fairfield, CA/ Will C. Wood) who was averaging 19.5 points per game coming into the contest, was held to five points, none in the first half. Freshman Darko Vukasovic (Belgrade, Serbia/Yuma) had another solid performance, scoring 8 points and grabbing 5 rebounds.
The Swords shot 30% from the floor on the night while UCLA shot 52%.
Coach Bovaird saw bright spots in the Chaminade performance. " I thought we really battled in the first half. I thought we had a great game plan for them. I thought our guys played really, really well. I never thought UCLA would shoot that ball that well in the second half. It seemed like there was a stretch there where they made five or six of them in a row. That kind of hurt us a lot. We kind of struggled offensively there for a while. Our guys played tough though. They didn't give up. As you could see in the first half, we were in a ballgame. Unfortunately, we just weren't able to stop them in the second half, and struggled a little bit offensively."
Senior Rickey Clayborn commented on the Chaminade teams he's been on and the excitement around this year's team: "We came in definitely as underdogs. Last year the team that I played with before, we were much bigger. They looked at us and we looked like a D 1 team. We had size, quickness, and we were big. This year we have a lot of all-around players. Everybody plays more as a team this year than we did in our previous years. So we play as a family out there. As a matter of fact, everybody's got heart, and that's the difference between the two teams."
Chaminade's next opponent is the loser of Georgetown/Kansas. The Swords will play at 11:30 AM HT at the Lahaina Civic Center. The game will be televised live on ESPN2.
The Swords fall to 2-1 with the loss, while UCLA improves to 1-2.