Maui Invitational Thriller
By: Bo Millikan
I am in Maui, Hawaii for a tournament . I am here because we are playing for Tennessee Basketball in the Maui Invitational. When I said we, I meant Franklin and me. Franklin is a shooting guard and I am a point guard.
Our Vols are #3 in the nation behind #2 Kentucky and #1 Oklahoma State. Lucky for us, both teams are in the tournament. This will be our chance to be #1. The first team we play is Gonzaga. We got through them no problem 104-88. I had 28 points and 11 assists and Franklin had 19 points and 7 rebounds. Next, we played #17 Whichta State. This game was a little tougher, but the final score was 96-90. I finished with 23 points and 10 assists and Franklin had 21 points and 12 rebounds. Now, we played in two days so we could relax.
Two days later, our team bus was on our way to the arena. There was a little bump in the road literally. The bus hit a piece of glass and flattened the tire. There were no spare tires. So we would have to walk 19 miles and it would take 2 hours! The game was in 2 hours as well.
After only 6 miles, we started to give up: except senior Jamari Jones. He pushed us to keep trying and he also reminded us that this game was for us to be #1: our goal since day 1. We couldn’t give up now, not after everything it was our turn to be at the top. The team and the coaches ran 11 miles with 1 hour before tip-off. We had 2 more miles and we ran those last 2 miles and got there with 45 minutes before the game started.
We got to rest for 30 minutes. Then we went to warm up. We looked pretty good for running 19 miles. Oklahoma State’s, Marcus Smart, was just coming out of a 3 game suspension for punching a fan! I asked Franklin, “Do you think he will play good coming off of his suspension?” He replied, “ He is Marcus Smart. Of course he will play good.”
Oklahoma State was 101- 97 with 1 minute remaining in the game. Marcus had 37 points and 15 rebounds. I had 29 points and 14 assists. Franklin had 24 points with 7 rebounds. We drove the ball down and Franklin shot an amazing 3 pointer. Then I stole the inbounds pass and dunked it. That gave us a 1 point lead with 36 seconds left. Then Smart drained a 3. So I took it down with the score 104-102. I waited for 11 seconds to hit and then we called time out. We made a special designed play for me to shoot an open 3. I had the look, so I attempted it with 1 second left and I absolutely nailed it: money!! Now we were #1. All of our fans were allowed to rush the court, so they did. This was by far the best tournament I have ever been in!