To beat No. 4 Kansas, the BYU men’s basketball team was going to need to play good defense and shoot the ball well.
The defense was fine. The shooting was not.
The Cougars were just 9 of 33 from the 3-point line and had 20 turnovers in Tuesday’s 71-56 loss to the Jayhawks in the semifinals of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational. BYU was close at half 29-27 but couldn’t find a way to solve the Kansas defense.
Senior TJ Haws led BYU with 16 points while dishing out five assists and sophomore Kolby Lee added 13 points, three rebounds and one assist.
Kansas outscored the Cougars 40-18 in the paint and Jayhawk big men David McCormack (16 points), Ochai Agbaji (14) and Udoka Azubuike (11) combined to make 18 of 24 field goals and scored 41 points between them.
BYU (4-3) and Kansas (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 4, 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 5 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.
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