Nov 20, 2001
By JIM O'CONNELL
AP Basketball Writer
LAHAINA, Hawaii - Ball State waited a whole 24 hours to surpass the greatest win in the history of its basketball program.
The Cardinals beat No. 3 UCLA 91-73 in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday night, just one day after knocking off No. 4 Kansas in the opening round.
Unlike the game against the Jayhawks, which Ball State won 93-91 on a drive by Patrick Jackson with less than a second to play, there was little doubt about the outcome against the Bruins over the final 15 minutes.
Ball State (2-0) will get a chance for a third top five upset in as many days in Wednesday's championship game against top-ranked Duke, which beat South Carolina 81-56 in the semifinals.
Kansas had been the highest ranked opponent Ball State had beaten. Now the Bruins (1-1) have that mantle.
The Cardinals had a very different reaction to the two wins, piling on top of each other in on-court celebration after the Kansas game and just walking off the court with arms raised after beating UCLA.
The Bruins became the sixth member of the preseason Top 25 to lose a game this season, joining Maryland, Kentucky, Kansas, Saint Joseph's and Florida.
Jackson, an extremely quick guard, had 23 points for the Cardinals, while Theron Smith, the Mid-American Conference freshman of the year last season when he led Ball State in scoring and rebounding, had 22.
Jason Kapono had 26 points for the Bruins, who committed 22 turnovers, many unforced, and struggled defensively.
Chris Williams, who hit a huge 3-pointer late in the Kansas victory, hit a 3 with 16:09 to play against UCLA that started a 10-2 run and gave the Cardinals 67-49 lead.
Robert Owens capped the run with 13:21 to play when he dunked a no-look pass from Zach Willingham.
UCLA's trouble with the ball showed twice as the Bruins tried to find a way back into the game.
When they were within 76-63 with 7:49 to play, Billy Knight was called for a double dribble alone in the corner near the UCLA basket after getting the rebound of a missed 3-pointer by Ball State.
When it was 83-68, UCLA had a basket disallowed when Matt Barnes was called for a three-second violation.
UCLA opened the tournament, which is sponsored by EA Sports, with a 71-60 victory over Houston.