No. 4/5 Kansas too much for Cougars in 71-56 loss
MAUI, Hawaii – The BYU men’s basketball team fell 71-56 to No. 4/5 Kansas in the semifinals of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational Tuesday night at the Lahaina Civic Center.
"I'm proud of our guys for competing and fighting," BYU coach Mark Pope said. "We were excited about the opportunity to go compete against Kansas tonight. They're a good team, they're really physical, they're well coached, they played well. We just couldn't answer the bell in the second half. But we're excited to get a chance to play again tomorrow."
Senior TJ Haws led the team with 16 points while dishing out five assists and sophomore Kolby Lee added 13 points, three rebounds and one assist.
The Cougars (4-3) and Jayhawks (5-1) started the game by trading baskets and the lead, but a 3-pointer by Alex Barcelo put BYU on top 10-8 near the 15-minute mark and was followed by a Dalton Nixon steal that forced a timeout on the court.
Out of the timeout, Kansas jumped to an 18-14 advantage, but Haws buried a trey and then Zac Seljaas converted at the charity stripe to give the Cougars a 19-18 lead with 9:52 remaining in the half.
Nearly an eight-minute scoring drought for BYU resulted in the Jayhawks taking a 24-19 lead. With two minutes to go before halftime, Lee ended the cold streak with a layup and bucket from beyond the arc to cut the deficit down to 27-24.
The final bucket of the half was a 3-pointer by Haws, but Kansas held a 29-27 lead going into the locker rooms. The Cougars recorded 38.5 percent from the field compared to the Jayhawks’ 41.4. percent.
Jake Toolson scored the first points of the second half but two-consecutive layups for Kansas extended its lead to four, 33-29. Following a layup by Lee, the Jayhawks went on a 9-0 run to take a 42-31 advantage with 14:04 left to play in the game.
Kansas managed to put together a 10-0 run to extend its lead to 54-35 with 7:31 remaining on the clock. Haws ended the run as he drove to the basket and finished at the rim while getting the contact called to convert on a 3-point play before hitting a deep trey to bring the score to 56-41.
Connor Harding scored five-straight points and Evan Troy added a 3-pointer for BYU’s final points of the night as the Jayhawks took the 71-56 victory.
On the game, the Cougars shot 40.7 percent from the field, 27.3 percent from 3 and 75.0 percent from the charity stripe. Kansas recorded 47.5 percent from the field, 22.2 percent from beyond the arc and 60.0 percent from the free-throw line.
BYU will play for third place against Virginia Tech in the Maui Jim Maui Invitational on Wednesday, Nov. 27, at 9:30 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on ESPN2 with audio broadcasts available on BYU Radio (Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM), BYU Sports Network and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.