LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Wayne Selden Jr. and Frank Mason III quickly hatched a plan for sharing the MVP award at the Maui Jim Maui Invitational.
Impressive teamwork all night long for No. 5 Kansas.
Selden scored 25 points on 8-of-11 shooting, and the Jayhawks beat No. 19 Vanderbilt 70-63 on Wednesday for the tournament title.
“It’s a lot of fun,” Mason said of being co-MVPs. “I definitely think Wayne deserves it, the way he played throughout the tournament. But we just happened to get the win as a team, and we’re looking forward to it next game.”
Selden then revealed the plan.
“We’re going to share the trophy,” he said. “It will be in my room for a month, and go across the hall to his room for another month. We’ll just keep rotating it.”
Jayhawks coach Bill Self wants to make an adjustment to their sharing schedule.
“Wayne’s the best player in the tournament. He was great,” Self said. “We had no chance to win unless Frank plays. He’s got the ball in his hands and he does so many good things. So I think things like that are cool to share. And Wayne’s fine with it.
“But if I was picking, if it’s a month in Wayne’s and a month in Frank’s, I think I’d give it to Wayne six weeks and Frank can keep it two, because Wayne was absolutely fabulous in the first half when we had nothing going on. He kept us in the game by making, I think, three 3s that were guarded and basically kept us within striking distance.”
Selden was 4 of 6 from 3-point range. He also had seven rebounds.
The Jayhawks (4-1) did what no other team in the field could do, take a lead over the Commodores (5-1). It didn’t happen until the second half but when they got it they extended it to as many as 13 points.
“Coming out at first, I felt like they had us rattled. They pressured us and we didn’t really move the ball. We spread a lot like we did a couple of weeks ago against Michigan State,” Selden said, referring to Kansas’ only loss this season. “Second half we were able to penetrate and get the ball moving and a lot of things opened up for us.”
Kansas trailed by 10 points midway through the first half and the Jayhawks were able to cut the lead to 30-26 at halftime.
They took control with their offense, shooting 62.5 percent (15 of 24) in the second half. They got the lead for the first time with 18:16 to play on a jumper by Mason, and Vanderbilt never was in front again.
“I thought that we played a lot better in the first half than we did in the second. I’m guessing that Bill felt like they probably played a lot better in the second half than they did in the first,” Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings said. “But, you know, shots that we are pretty accustomed to making, we didn’t make today.”
Vanderbilt closed to 68-63 with 16 seconds to play, and Mason and Jamari Traylor each made one free throw for the final margin.
“In the second half, they just came out and we got a little lazy and had some misses defensively,” Vanderbilt’s Luke Kornet said. “And they just came out made shots and we never really made the shots to counter it.”
Devonte Graham had 12 points for Kansas, and Mason added 10.
Damian Jones led the Commodores with 17 points. Kornet had 14, and Wade Baldwin IV 11.
Jones grabbed 10 rebounds, but the Jayhawks, led by Perry Ellis’ eight, outrebounded Vanderbilt 39-32.
Kansas won this tournament in 1996 and title No. 2 came with wins over St. John’s, Wake Forest and the Commodores.
Vanderbilt: The Commodores won this tournament in 1986, led by center Will Perdue. … Vanderbilt never trailed in its first two games of the tournament and the first half of the title game. … The Commodores came into the game with 35 assists and only 19 turnovers in the first two games. They had 11 of each against Kansas.
Kansas: The Jayhawks won this tournament in 1996, led by forward Raef LaFrentz. … Entering their third game of the tournament the Jayhawks were averaging 107.5 points on 59.8 shooting from the field including 48.1 percent from 3-point range. … This was Kansas’ second straight appearance in the Maui Invitational title game. The Jayhawks lost to Duke in the 2011 championship game.
Vanderbilt hosts Detroit on Dec. 2.
Kansas hosts Loyola, Md. on Dec. 1.