LAHAINA - Illinois reminded Chaminade that Cinderella had a short run.
One night after the Silverswords pulled off the biggest upset of the young college basketball season, the Illini beat the EA Sports Maui Invitational hosts 84-61 in a semifinal game Tuesday at the Lahaina Civic Center.
The Illini (5-0), picked ninth in the Big Ten in a preseason media poll, will wear the glass slipper themselves in today's tournament final against Butler.
Illinois’ Brandon Paul shoots over Chaminade’s Waly Coulibaly during the first half of the Illini’s 84-61 victory over the Silverswords on Tuesday in an EA Sports Maui Invitational semifinal game at the Lahaina Civic Center.
The Maui News/ MATTHEW THAYER photo
"Obviously we are thrilled about the opportunity to compete in such a prestigious tournament championship game tomorrow," Illinois coach John Groce said. "Our guys have earned that right with the way that they played, with their effort."
The Illini reserves outscored the Silverswords' bench 38-16.
"Oh, bench play is huge," Groce said. "It is huge all the time, but I think that is a great point when you are playing three games in three days. I will tell you, the bench was ready to go."
ILLINOIS Illini 84
CHAMINADE Silverswords 61
Chaminade (3-2), which defeated Texas on Monday, will play North Carolina for third place today.
The Illini outrebounded the Silverswords 41-32 and held them to 37.1 percent shooting from the field.
"I thought that Joseph (Bertrand) and Devin Langford, Myke Henry gave us great energy off the bench and what an asset that is to have as our team continues to develop and get a little bit better every day," Groce said.
Bertrand scored a team-high 14 points in 17 minutes on 5-for-7 shooting, and had six rebounds. Henry added seven points and seven rebounds, while Langford had three points and five rebounds.
"It was kind of a different game for us playing against kind of a smaller team," Bertrand said. "Our bigs really stepped up and guarded the smaller guards, keeping them out of the lane."
Groce noted that 6-foot-11 Nnanna Egwu was guarding Chaminade's 6-4 Dominique Cooks at times.
The title game will fulfill a goal Groce has had since watching the tournament on television over the years.
"We have talked about it the last several days," he said. "I made the comment, when I was younger we used to always watch it. The Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, the whole country is watching it. Our guys are looking forward to the challenge."
The final will be a reunion for Groce and Bulldogs coach Brad Stevens - both were assistants at Butler in 2001.
"Brad and I are really close," Groce said. "We talk frequently, shoot ideas off of one another, maybe not quite as much this year until we get through this tournament. Once we get through it we will do that. Our families know one another.
"Obviously Butler is very well coached, they're physical, they don't beat themselves, they execute well. We will be challenged in a lot of areas tomorrow, but I know our guys are looking forward to that opportunity."
The Silverswords dropped to 7-77 in the tournament.
De'Andre Haskins led Cha-minade with 19 points, one night after he had 32. Bennie Murray added 10.
"I don't think so," Silverswords coach Eric Bovaird said of any letdown after Monday's win. "These guys were amped up to play this game also. We just came across a very good team."
Bovaird said he was excited about the chance to face the Tar Heels.
"I have always wanted to play North Carolina," he said. "I was hoping it would be in the championship game. I'm looking forward to it. It's a program I think we've all looked to for a long time and have the opportunity to play against some of the best recruits in the country and one of the best coaches in the country. It's going to be fun."
* Robert Collias is at email@example.com
Richardson 4-10 0-0 11, Paul 4-9 3-3 13, Abrams 4-12 0-0 8, Egwu 2-5 0-0 4, Griffey 3-6 3-5 10, McLaurin 3-3 0-0 6, Bertrand 5-7 2-2 14, LaTulip 1-2 2-2 5, Shaw 0-0 0-0 0, Henry 2-4 2-2 7, Langford 1-1 0-0 3, Djimde 0-0 0-0 0, Berardini 0-0 3-4 3. Totals 29-59 15-18 84.
Cooks 3-7 0-0 6, Bailey 3-6 0-0 9, Murray 4-11 0-2 10, Murphy 0-3 1-2 1, Haskins 7-16 3-3 19, Harrison 0-0 0-0 0, Peterson 0-0 0-0 0, Vukasovic 1-1 0-0 2, Green 1-5 0-0 3, Hu 3-7 2-5 8, Coulibaly 1-6 0-0 3. Totals 23-62 6-12 61.
Halftime-Illinois 37-21. 3-Point Goals-Illinois 11-28 (Richardson 3-9, Bertrand 2-4, Paul 2-5, Henry 1-1, Langford 1-1, Griffey 1-2, LaTulip 1-2, Abrams 0-4), Chaminade 9-28 (Bailey 3-4, Murray 2-5, Haskins 2-6, Green 1-3, Coulibaly 1-5, Hu 0-2, Murphy 0-3). Fouled Out-None. Rebounds-Illinois 41 (Henry 7), Chaminade 32 (Hu 6). Assists-Illinois 13 (Paul 4), Chaminade 12 (Bailey, Cooks 4). Total Fouls-Illinois 18, Chaminade 17. A-2,400.