LAHAINA, Hawaii — Connecticut coach Jim Calhoun joked last week that he still didn't know all his players' names, much less how good they're going to be.
After knocking out a heavyweight in a championship-caliber bout, he has a right to believe these young Huskies are for real.
Trading blows in the first half and big shots in the second, Connecticut solidified its return to elite-program status by knocking off No. 2 Michigan State 70-67 in a physical Maui Invitational semifinal Tuesday.
"We just showed the world we can play," said UConn's Kemba Walker, who had 30 points and hit a key jumper with less than a minute left.
Coming off a disappointing season, Connecticut (4-0) was looking for a prestige-building win. The Huskies got it, refusing to be pushed around by a team projected to be a title contender.
Walker hit the biggest shot, a fallaway jumper with 52 seconds left. Alex Oriakhi dominated inside for 15 points and 17 rebounds. UConn was good defensively, too, holding the Spartans (3-1) to 40 percent shooting.
The Huskies made it interesting by missing five free throws in the final 1:11, but they survived Draymond Green's midcourt heave at the buzzer to head into the championship game against No. 8 Kentucky.
"This is an absolute tremendous team win," Calhoun said.
Michigan State had three chances to tie in the final 20 seconds, but Green missed two free throws, Kalin Lucas threw a pass to no one on a miscommunication with Durrell Summers and Green was just short on his desperation shot.
NO. 3 OHIO ST. 64, MOREHEAD ST. 45: Jon Diebler had 20 points and David Lighty 11 as the host Buckeyes (4-0) won the Global Sports Invitational.
NO. 5 PITT 74, ROBERT MORRIS 53: Ashton Gibbs had 20 points and the host Panthers (6-0) improved to 29-0 against their suburban Pittsburgh rival.
NO. 6 KANSAS 82, TEXAS A&M-CC 41: Thomas Robinson had 15 points as the Jayhawks (4-0) set a team record with their 63rd consecutive home victory.
NO. 8 KENTUCKY 74, NO. 13 WASH. 67: Terrence Jones had 16 points and 17 rebounds and Brandon Knight scored 24 for the Wildcats (4-0), who used smothering defense to overcome 3-of-17 3-point shooting and beat the Huskies (3-1) in the Maui Invitational semifinals.
NO. 10 PURDUE 87, AUSTIN PEAY 65: JaJuan Johnson had 21 points and 11 rebounds to lead the host Boilermakers (4-0).
NO. 11 MISSOURI 72, WYOMING 62: Michael Dixon scored a career-high 17 as the Tigers (3-0) pulled away in the semifinals of the Cancun Challenge in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico.
NO. 14 MEMPHIS 102, TENN.-MARTIN 80: Will Coleman and Will Barton had 20 points each to lead a balanced offense for the host Tigers (5-0).
NO. 19 ILLINOIS 73, YALE 47: D.J. Richardson had 16 points for the host Illini (5-1), who held the Bulldogs to 27.1 percent shooting.
NO. 20 TEXAS 84, SAM HOUSTON ST. 50: Jordan Hamilton had 25 points, and the host Longhorns (4-1) gave coach Rick Barnes career victory No. 500.
NO. 22 GONZAGA 66, MARQUETTE 63: Steven Gray had 20 points and the Bulldogs (3-2) stopped a two-game losing streak in the third-place game of the O'Reilly Auto Parts CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo.
NO. 23 BYU 86, MVSU 36: Jimmer Fredette had 16 points for the host Cougars (4-0) in the second game of the South Padre Island Invitational.
NO. 25 UNC 80, UNC ASHEVILLE 69: Tyler Zeller scored a career-high 23 for the host Tar Heels (3-2), who blew most of a 22-point second-half lead before ending a two-game skid.
TAMPA 82, D.C. 60: Senior Glyn Hunter had a career-high 19 points for the host Spartans, 4-0 for the first time since 2004.
UF 54, N. FLA. 51: The host Gators (3-1) trailed 47-42 with 6:32 left before Jordan Jones hit a 3-pointer that triggered an 8-0 run.
NO. 2 BAYLOR 100, TEXAS SO. 43: Brittney Griner had 27 points and picked up her school-record 251st career block for the host Bears (5-1).
NO. 5 XAVIER 71, LOUISVILLE 59: Amber Harris had a season-high 28 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, rallying the Musketeers (3-0) in their home opener.
USC 71, NO. 17 GEORGIA 63: Ashley Corral had 15 points and hit two key 3-pointers as the host Trojans upset the Bulldogs (3-1).