Portland, OR – Day two was an eventful day at the PK85 in both the Legacy and Invitational Brackets. It was the semifinals, with games held both at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum and Moda Center. In the Invitational bracket the No. 1-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels took their undefeated record against a hungry Iowa State Cyclone squad. The Tar Heels squandered a seven-point lead in the final four minutes falling 70-65 for their first loss of the season. Senior shooting guard Caleb Grill shot lights out down the stretch scoring ten of his game high 31 points to help the Cyclones pull off the upset. He shot 11-for-15 from the field including connecting on seven 3-pointers mostly off the catch. Fellow teammate Jaren Holmes added 22 points (8-of-17 FG), four rebounds, three assists and two steals while making a few clutch free throws to seal the victory. As for North Carolina, center Armando Bacot scored 13 points on only six attempts and pulled down nine rebounds. The backcourt of R.J. Davis and Caleb Love shot only 5-for-14 and 4-for-14 respectively to combine for 27 points in the loss.
The second semifinal to determine who will take on Iowa State in the Championship Game was between the No. 20-ranked UConn Huskies and the No. 18-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. The Huskies dominated the final nine minutes of the game by outscoring the Tide 30-15 and won 82-67 to advance to the finals. The Huskies were led by big man, Adama Sanogo who showed his versatility on the offensive end with the ability to pop out for the 3, get out in transition for the easy dunk, and back down his opponent to rise up for the baby hook. The 6’9” power forward, scored 25 points on 9-of-16 shooting, grabbed four rebounds and blocked two shots. Sophomore Jordan Hawkins contributed 16 points, going 3-for-6 from downtown. Potential Top-10 pick Brandon Miller struggled after having a huge performance in the quarterfinals. Only a freshman, Miller still had some bright moments displaying his smooth shooting form from the perimeter. He managed 18 points on 5-for-15 shooting. Also, he added nine rebounds and two blocked shots. One reason for Miller’s poor shooting was due to the defensive pressure and length of Andre Jackson Jr., who came off the bench to contain the Tide’s rising star. UConn’s victory sets them up in a showdown for the championship against Iowa State on Sunday while North Carolina and Alabama will face off looking to end the tourney with a win.
In the Legacy bracket the No. 8-ranked Duke Blue Devils squared off against the Xavier Musketeers. The Blue Devils bounced back from a dismal shooting performance in the quarterfinals with a 71-64 victory on the backs of point guard Jeremy Roach. Roach’s quickness and decision making with the ball hands led him to a great all-around performance scoring 21 points (9-for-15 FG) and adding five assists, four rebounds and two steals. He knocked down a few 3-pointers off the bounce in isolation and worked the pick and roll game nicely to look for his shot, but also spotted open teammates. Roach was the catalyst down the stretch, but Duke freshman Mark Mitchell sparked the Blue Devils to extend their lead in the 2nd half. The 6’8” forward had his best outing of the early season with 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting and pulled down five rebounds. He’s a tough-nosed athlete who finishes strong at the basket and can step out and knock down the three ball. Souley Boum, a senior playing at his third school tried to rally the Musketeers, but ultimately fell short. He shot 5-for-8 on field goals and a perfect 12-for-12 from the strike to tally 23 points. The Musketeers Jack Nunge had a tough outing with several missed opportunities around the basket. The second leading scorer on the team went 1-for-13 from the field recording five points and adding five rebounds.
The final semifinal was a matchup between top 25 teams as the No. 24-ranked Purdue Boilermakers and No. 6-ranked Gonzaga looked to advance to the Championship Game. In the end, Purdue’s grit, 3-point shooting and 7’4” center Zach Edey wore down the Bulldogs, cruising to an 84-66 victory. Edey posted down low often and converted on several dunks and displayed a soft touch around the basket. He finished the game with 23 points (10-for-16 FG), seven rebounds, and three blocks. If Edey wasn’t getting the ball on the block, he applied immense pressure on the defense having to help on him, allowing for his teammates to have plenty of open looks from the perimeter. Every time the Bulldogs seemed to generate momentum looking to make a comeback, the Boilermakers had an answer. Purdue, also got a strong performance from point guard Braden Smith who was aggressive attacking the hoop looking to score or set up his teammates. He had 14 points (4-for-7 FG), seven assists and five rebounds. Drew Timme of the Bulldogs did everything he could to give the team a chance by scoring 22 points (10-for-16 FG), adding nine rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. Nolan Hickman pieced together a nice game, scoring and dishing in pick and roll situation with Timme. Hickman, a sophomore, shot 6-for-11 to score 15 points with five assists. A key stat was in the rebounding department where Purdue had a 46-31 advantage. Purdue will tip-off Sunday against the Duke Blue Devils looking to have back to back upsets over the weekend. Gonzaga will look for a bounce back win against Xavier in a third-place game.