JOHN MARSHALL,AP Basketball Writer
LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP) — Michigan righted itself after a sluggish first half, dropping in one shot after another in the second.
It wasn’t nearly enough against Duke, the kings of Maui.
Unable to stop No. 6 Duke’s array of 3-pointers and dunks, No. 15 Michigan wasted a hot-shooting second half to lose to the Blue Devils 82-75 in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational on Tuesday.
“They answered, didn’t they?” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “We did not have a good first half. You could see by the number of points we scored — and they answered continually.”
Michigan (4-1) struggled early, falling behind by 16, and fought its way back by hitting 21 of 34 shots in the second half.
Duke made sure it wasn’t enough.
The Wolverines couldn’t slow down the sure-shooting Blue Devils, watching shot after shot go in to slip into the third-place game. Tim Hardaway Jr. had 19 points and Trey Burke added 17 points and nine assists for Michigan.
“We were chasing them the whole time,” Beilein said. “They’re not a great team to chase. They really know how to control the ball, limit their turnovers and their perimeter played very well.”
Duke (6-0) put on an offensive show near the shores of the sparkling Pacific Ocean, scoring on an array of 3-pointers and spectacular shots to remain undefeated (14-0) at the Maui Invitational.
Austin Rivers had 20 points, Seth Curry and Ryan Kelly had 17 each, and Andre Dawkins added 14 points for the Blue Devils. Duke hit 11 of 21 3-pointers while shooting 56 percent overall to earn a spot in Wednesday night’s title game against the winner between No. 14 Kansas and UCLA.
“We hit some amazing 3s, but they were good shots,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “And we missed some good ones, too.”
Just not very many.
Duke has been dominant at the Maui Invitational, winning four titles since 1992. The Blue Devils allowed Tennessee to stay close in this year’s opener before wearing the Vols down for a 77-67 win.
Rivers led the way, overcoming a few go-nowhere drives early in the game to hit four 3-pointers and score 18 points, showing off some of the dazzle that made him the nation’s No. 1 recruit.
The Vols are young and inexperienced, but the Wolverines are not.
Michigan returned nearly everyone except NBA second-round pick Darius Morris from a team that made it back to the NCAA Tournament last season, lifting expectations in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines solidified their reputation in the Maui opener, playing with poise down the stretch to beat No. 8 Memphis 73-61.
That earned Michigan a spot in the semifinals against Duke, which beat the Wolverines in the second round of last year’s NCAA Tournament.
This wasn’t exactly a rematch, though.
While the Wolverines only had to replace Morris, Duke lost its top three scorers, Nolan Smith, Kyle Singler and Kyrie Irving, the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft.
The new version of the Blue Devils are still talented, though, tall, athletic and versatile — which Michigan found out quickly.
The Wolverines struggled against Duke’s defensive pressure early, with no points, five turnovers and three missed field goals before Jordan Morgan scored on a two-handed dunk four minutes into the game. Michigan made a short run to get close, then watched the Blue Devils start to pull away again.
Duke followed its opening 9-0 run with one of 17-4 to lead 34-22 at halftime, hitting 13 of 20 shots in the half.
“They were just doing a good job of locking us down and coming out with a great game plan,” Hardaway said.
The Wolverines fought back to start the second half, making 11 of their first 12 shots to get within five.
It still wasn’t good enough against Duke.
The Blue Devils matched Michigan almost shot for shot, making sure the lead never got under five. Rivers was the catalyst, scoring 10 points that included a hang-in-the-air leaner. He followed with a kickout to Curry, who dropped in a 3-pointer from the wing that put Duke up 63-49 with 8 minutes left.
Michigan had one late run left, but Duke hit its free throws down the stretch, still keeping the lead to at least five.
“We just wanted to be aggressive, kept pushing the pace,” Rivers said.
It’s pushed them back into the Maui title game.
(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)