LAHAINA, Hawaii -- Ball State beat Top Five teams on consecutive nights, and now the Cardinals go after No. 1.
Following an opening-round two-point win over No. 4 Kansas with a 91-73 romp over No. 3 UCLA in Tuesday night's semifinals, the Cardinals can win the Maui Invitational by beating top-ranked Duke.
Ball State, a school probably more famous for alum David Letterman than huge basketball wins, has had a 48 hours like never before.
The 93-91 win over Kansas was decided with less than a second to play on a drive by Patrick Jackson. That was the biggest win in the history of the program until the Cardinals' no-doubter over the Bruins 24 hours later.
Could the defending national champions become the closer in a hat trick that would be one of the greatest tournament runs in college basketball history?
"We have tremendous respect for Duke and no question they are the number one team in the country," second-year coach Tim Buckley said. "We're just going to play. We just got done with numbers three and four and found out a lot about ourselves. We just have to go out and get better.
"I really thought the last time I would see Coach K was when I sat next to him at the pre-tournament banquet."
Mike Krzyzewski's Blue Devils advanced to the championship game with an 81-56 victory over South Carolina that was a far cry from the 80-79 opening-round squeaker over Seton Hall.
The Blue Devils are going for their hat trick as they won this tournament in their only other two appearances, 1992 and 1997.
UCLA will play South Carolina for third place in Maui, while Kansas faces Seton Hall for fifth and Houston goes against Chaminade for seventh place in the tournament sponsored by EA Sports.
Ball State (2-0) celebrated the win over Kansas by piling on top of each other on the court. After the UCLA game there were some high-fives and then the players walked off the court, arms raised in victory.
"Coach always tells us there's no level of basketball just levels of players," said Jackson, who had 23 points and six assists against UCLA after getting 23 points against Kansas. "We have played against this level of players in the summer. Basketball is basketball."
Buckley didn't think keeping his focus on another upset would be that tough.
"We didn't have to do anything to keep the kids grounded last night, and I really don't think tonight will be any different," he said. "These are good levelheaded kids with good character and they like each other and like to play basketball."
Chris Williams, who hit a huge 3-pointer late in the Kansas victory, hit a 3 with 16:09 to play against UCLA that started a 10-2 run and gave the Cardinals a 67-49 lead. Robert Owens capped the run with 13:21 to play when he dunked a no-look pass from Zach Willingham.
Jason Kapono had 26 points to lead the Bruins (1-1), who committed 22 turnovers and struggled defensively.
"We need to clean up our taking care of the basketball," UCLA coach Steve Lavin said. "We had 22 turnovers they had three. No matter what we tried defensively they went through is like a hot knife through butter. We know we have a long way to go on the defensive end of the floor.
"They're a well-oiled machine for the second game of the season and I wouldn't be surprised if Wednesday's game is competitive."
No. 1 Duke 81, South Carolina 56
Mike Dunleavy scored 22 of his 24 points in the first half, and 11 of those came in the 19-0 run the Blue Devils (2-0) had over the final five minutes.
South Carolina's Carlos Powell hit a jumper to make it 25-25 with 5:14 left in the half. The Blue Devils held the Gamecocks (1-1) scoreless over their next nine possessions and took a 44-25 lead, making the previous night seem a distant memory.
"What we did the last five minutes of the first half was something we were striving for since the start of the tournament," Dunleavy said. "We found our niche and made some big stops and fed off our defense."
Dunleavy was 8-for-12 from the field in the first half and had more field goals than South Carolina (7-for-24) and three less points.
Carlos Boozer added 19 points for Duke, while Jason Williams had six points, seven assists and four steals.
Aaron Lucas had 13 points for the Gamecocks.
No. 4 Kansas 95, Houston 78
The Jayhawks bounced back from the loss to Ball State by playing good defense and not showing any lingering effects from the severe cramping that affected some of the players.
Nick Collison, who was most hampered by the cramps, had 22 points and Drew Gooden added 19 for the Jayhawks (1-1).
"I was concerned because when something like that happens to you, you think it will again," Collison said. "I drank a lot of Gatorade since yesterday and put a lot of salt on my food and put salt in the Gatorade. I know that sounds gross, but it worked."
Kansas led 11-2 over Houston (0-2) after 2 1/2 minutes. With the Cougars held to 35 percent shooting (11-for-31) and committing 10 turnovers, the Jayhawks were up 51-33 at halftime as they shot 60 percent (21-for-35).
Seton Hall 74, Chaminade 62
LAHIANA, Hawaii (AP) -- Darius Lane scored 16 points to lead Seton Hall over Chaminade, just 15 hours after the Pirates nearly upset top-ranked Duke.
Andre Barrett had 13 points in the first half as Seton Hall (2-1) took command early on the way to a 49-31 halftime lead.
Leon Ballard had 14 points and 12 rebounds for the Silverswords (0-2), the Division II host of the tournament who lost for the 26th consecutive time in the event.
In other games:
No. 5 Missouri 75, No. 22 Alabama 68
At Kansas City, Mo., Missouri overcame a late injury to Kareem Rush and beat Alabama in the semifinals of the Guardians Classic.
Rush, a preseason All-America pick, missed the final 7:50 after being hit in the face by an inadvertent elbow. He was taken to a hospital for an X-ray.
No. 9 Iowa 75, No. 12 Memphis 71
At Kansas City, Mo., Luke Recker scored 20 points and Reggie Evans 19 for Iowa.
Evans also had 15 rebounds for the Hawkeyes (4-0).
Freshman Dajuan Wagner scored 26 points for Memphis (3-1), but missed three shots in the final two minutes. He shot 8-for-18, had four turnovers and no assists.
No. 14 Stanford 81, Southern Utah 63
At Stanford, Casey Jacobsen scored 23 points and the Cardinal won their 14th straight home opener.
Curtis Borchardt had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Stanford (2-0).
No. 15 Oklahoma St. 82, Siena 64
At Las Vegas, Maurice Baker scored 23 points to lead Oklahoma State in the third round of the Las Vegas Tournament.
The Cowboys (4-0) trailed 57-54 with 7:32 left, then outscored Siena 28-7 the rest of the way. Oklahoma State did not miss a shot or free throw in that span.
Siena (1-2) missed nine straight shots down the stretch.
No. 21 W. Kentucky 90, Evansville 64
At Bowling Green, Ky., freshman guard Patrick Sparks had 16 points and nine assists for Western Kentucky.
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