LAHAINA, Hawaii (ABC4 Sports) – BYU hung around with #4 Kansas for a half, before the Jayhawks pulled away in the second half for a 71-56 victory in the Maui Invitational.
The Cougars will next face Virginia Tech in the consolation game on Wednesday at 9:30 p.m.
TJ Haws led BYU with 16 points, while Kolby Lee added 13, but the Cougars could not match the Jayhawks size and speed.
David McCormack scored 16 points, while Ochai Agbaji added 14 for Kansas.
“They do a really good job of keeping you on one side of the floor, and they have a lot of length,” BYU coach Mark Pope said. “We had a really tough time passing it against their length. The frustration mounted in the second half and we didn’t handle that.”
The lead changed hands ten times in the first half, with the Cougars trailing by just two points at the break.
But BYU went ice cold at the start of the second half, scoring just 8 points in the first 13 minutes, as the Jayhawks built a 17-point lead.
“I told our guys, after about the 10-minute mark, I don’t know if I can remember us locking in and being any better defensively until about the eight-minute mark of the second half,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. “From a coaching standpoint, that was fun for me to watch from a defensive standpoint.”
The Jayhawks (5-1) dominated inside against the smaller Cougars, outscoring BYU in the paint, 42-18.
BYU (4-3) was bothered by Kansas’ length on defense, finishing 9 for 33 from behind the 3-point line and turning it over 20 times.
Kansas overwhelmed Division II Chaminade 93-63 in its Maui opener by utilizing its massive size advantage.
The also-undersized Cougars used ball movement and perimeter shooting to blow past UCLA 78-63 in their opener.
Neither team was particularly efficient offensively early in the semifinals, trading turnovers and clanks on the soft Lahaina Civic Center rims.
The Jayhawks found a small semblance of rhythm late in the first half and locked on the Cougars defensively, holding them scoreless for 7½ minutes.
BYU finally hit a few shots late and was within 29-27 at halftime.
Kansas got on a roll to start the second period by getting the ball inside, opening with a 13-2 run to go up 42-31.
The Jayhawks piled on after that with a 19-4 spurt and hit 17 of 32 shots in the second half.
“I thought we did a good job of trying to work it, get our players in position to make plays, and unfortunately there were some times we got good looks and didn’t make shots, shots you need to make to beat a top-5 team,” BYU’s Dalton Nixon said.
BYU has to play three more games without leading scorer and rebounder Yoeli Childs, who is sitting out 9-game suspension for violating NCAA rules regarding signing with an agent.