At least UCLA was competitive this time.
The tandem of sophomore center Joshua Smith and freshman guard Norman Powell took on two counterparts from Chaminade in a basketball video game competition Saturday night that went to overtime before the Silverswords emerged winners.
"They hit a lucky shot but took it to overtime and outplayed us," Smith said Sunday morning.
Chaminade has won only six games in the 27-year history of the Maui Invitational, but the Division II Silverswords (2-0) have been more impressive in the early going this season than UCLA (0-2), their opponent in the opening round. The Bruins lost by 12 points to Loyola Marymount and by 20 points to Middle Tennessee State in their first two games, both at home.
UCLA Coach Ben Howland, paired with a local teenager, participated in a free throw-shooting competition Sunday morning against other coaches as part of a charity event. Howland made one of three shots and his teammate made two of three in an event won by Tennessee.
Howland said the Bruins, who won the Maui Invitational in their last appearance in 2006, would not get to frolic on the beach until Thursday, after the end of the three-games-in-three-days tournament.
"We just want to win," sophomore forward Travis Wear said of his mind-set going into the event. "We realize we're in the hole a little bit and we have to start winning."
Was Wear glad the Bruins were playing Chaminade in their first game as opposed to one of the more high-profile teams?
"Looking at the situation we’re in now, 0-2, I think it will benefit us to play Chaminade," Wear said. "I’m not saying they’re a bad team or anything, but I think if we can get a ‘W’ against Chaminade it will boost our confidence when we play Georgetown or Kansas in the second game."
-- Ben Bolch in Lahaina, Hawaii
Photo: UCLA Coach Ben Howland shoots a free throw as part of a charity event at the Maui Invitational. Credit: Ben Bolch / Los Angeles Times