Georgia defeated George Washington and Kansas ran past UAB in the 2016 CBE Hall of Fame Classic semifinals on Monday night in Kansas City. The Bulldogs and Jayhawks will meet Tuesday evening for the tournament title.
Georgia 81, George Washington 73 (Box Score)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - It took Georgia coach Mark Fox going against his principles to beat George Washington.
After having a tough time guarding the Colonials with his trademark man-to-man defense, Fox made the rare move to slap on a zone, and that allowed the Bulldogs to keep the Colonials at arm's length in an 81-73 victory Monday night in the semifinals of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.
"It was really back-and-forth for much of the game," Fox said. "I thought our move to the zone, which makes my skin curl, really helped us, but we were having a hard time guarding them."
Yante Maten and J.J. Frazier scored 18 points apiece for the Bulldogs (3-1), who were celebrating the induction of former coach Hugh Durham and famed alum Dominique Wilkins into the College Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night by notching their third straight win.
The Bulldogs will face the winner of No. 5 Kansas and UAB in Tuesday night's championship game, while the Colonials (3-1) will play the loser in the consolation game.
"Well, it's good for our basketball team because we're playing good basketball teams. It's big for our program because we just put two of our greats in the Hall of Fame," Fox said. "We needed to show well, so I'm really proud that we played a fairly clean game."
Derek Ogbeide had 11 points and eight rebounds Georgia, which led for 31 minutes but never by more than eight points. Juwan Parker had nine points and 11 boards.
"I mean, that's an SEC team. They're big inside," said Tyler Cavanaugh, who led George Washington with 21 points. "We didn't block off at crucial times, myself at the end of the game. It cost us."
George Washington knotted the game 68-all on a three-point play by Yuta Watanabe with just over four minutes remaining, but the Bulldogs responded with the next six points. Then they answered Cavanaugh's 3-pointer from the wing with a three-point play from Papa Diatta that helped put the game away.
"I thought for a big part of the game we did a great job. It was neck-and-neck there," George Washington coach Maurice Joseph said. "Little plays here and there eventually cost us the game."
Josh Hart was 5 of 6 from beyond the arc and had 17 points for George Washington, the reigning NIT champions. Watanabe added 14 points but was just 1 of 5 from beyond the arc.
"That's a good team," Cavanaugh said. "We just have to keep getting better."
Kansas 83, UAB 63 (Box Score)
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) - Josh Jackson has been huddling with the Kansas coaching staff since the start of the season, and the message has been the same: If you quit fouling so much, you would say on the floor more.
The sensational freshman must have finally listened.
Jackson poured in 22 points, many of them on highlight-worthy dunks, while backcourt mates Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham helped carry the load as fifth-ranked Kansas routed Alabama-Birmingham 83-63 on Monday night in the semifinals of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.
"Me committing silly fouls take me out of the game, and don't allow me to play as much as I'd like," said Jackson, who also had seven rebounds and three assists. "It worked out today."
Mason finished with 20 points and Graham had 16 for the Jayhawks (3-1), who advanced to play Georgia for the title on Tuesday night. The Bulldogs beat George Washington 81-73 in the other semifinal.
Kansas raced to a big early lead, weathered several runs by UAB, then relied on their backcourt of Jackson, Mason and Graham to pull away from the Blazers down the stretch.
"They're very good. They're obviously one of the best teams in the country," UAB coach Robert Ehsan said. "When they shoot it like that, they're very hard to beat."
Dirk Williams led the Blazers (2-2) with 13 points. Tyler Madison had 12.
The Blazers got off to what looked like it would be a catastrophic start, turning the ball over seven times and missing their first 11 field-goal attempts. Their only points over the first 10 minutes came on foul shots, and by the time they finally hit the Jayhawks led 23-3.
"They started off really shooting it bad, and we defended pretty well," Kansas coach Bill Self said, "but I didn't think our defense was very good the last 30 minutes. I thought it was average at best."
The Blazers took advantage with a run of their own.
They ripped off a 17-2 run over the next 6 minutes as the Jayhawks missed seven straight shots of their own, and they quieted a partisan crowd by getting within 27-20 late in the half.
If that didn't make Self irate, the way Kansas ended it did. Graham hit a 3-pointer with 5 seconds to go, but UAB went coast-to-coast for a buzzer-beating basket to deflate the Jayhawks.
"We were exciting going into halftime," Ehsan said. "I thought if we could make a run in the second half, we would have a shot. But they're Kansas for a reason."
The teams resumed trading runs early in the second half before the Jayhawks began pulling, and four 3-pointers by Svi Mykhailiuk -- who finished with 15 points -- helped put the game out of reach.
"We played really well. I think everybody's mind was right," Graham said. "We came in focused, just trying to do the little things we've been watching on film that we hadn't been doing well."
Jackson added an exclamation mark with just over four minutes left, taking a pass in the open floor and throwing down a windmill dunk while getting fouled for a three-point play.
"He's an extremely talented player. His versatility is what I've been surprised with, how many things he can do on the floor," Ehsan said. "He's a tremendous player."