No. 4 Kansas Overwhelms BYU As Cougars Fall In Maui Semifinals

Nov 26, 2019, 11:07 PM
LAHAINA, HI - NOVEMBER 26: Udoka Azubuike #35 of the Kansas Jayhawks ad Dalton Nixon #33 of the BYU...
LAHAINA, HI - NOVEMBER 26: Udoka Azubuike #35 of the Kansas Jayhawks ad Dalton Nixon #33 of the BYU Cougars battle for position under the basket during the second half at the Lahaina Civic Center on November 26, 2019 in Lahaina, Hawaii. (Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)
(Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images)

LAHAINA, Hawaii – If BYU was to pull off the upset against the No. 4 Kansas Jayhawks in the semifinals of the Maui Invitational, the Cougars needed their open shots to drop. That didn’t happen on Tuesday night as the soft rims of the Lahaina Civic Center were unkind to BYU in a 71-56 loss to the Jayhawks.

BYU (4-3) showed a lot of fight early against Kansas as the Cougars had a 19-18 lead at the midway point of the first half. Mark Pope’s team went into the locker room trailing by only two points, 29-27 at the half.

BYU’s defense punched Kansas in the mouth but the Cougars offense couldn’t find it’s groove against a bigger and more athletic Kansas team.

Kansas left the door open for BYU to take control of the game in the first half. The Jayhawks had a scoring drought over four minutes, but BYU saw their drought and upped them by three more minutes.

The Jayhawks were on the attack early in the second half. Kansas went into the post early and often with their big men Udoka Azubuike and David McCormack. After the under-12 media, KU rolled to a 10-0 lead to build a 54-35 lead with 7:31 left in the game. BYU had no answer to get back into the game.

BYU shot an impressive 50-percent from the three-point line in last night’s win against UCLA. The same hot shooting wasn’t on display against Kansas.

With BYU’s lack of personnel in the frontcourt to counter Kansas’ bigs, knocking down the shots was a key to victory for BYU. BYU’s shooting percentage from three was cut nearly in half on Tuesday night. The Cougars shot 27-percent from three and 41-percent from the field.

Jake Toolson who had 20 points in the opening round win over the Bruins. Against Kansas, Toolson drew all the attention from Bill Self’s defense and the former WAC Player of the Year ended up with seven points on only nine field-goal attempts.

Senior guard TJ Haws led BYU in scoring with 16 on 6-14 from the field in the defeat.

Key Stats of the Night

Kansas outscored BYU in the paint 42-18. In the second half, the Jayhawks looked like lob city with their size and athleticism.

BYU had three scoring droughts that were longer than four minutes. Not the recipe for pulling off an upset aginst a top-5 team.

Coming Up Next

No time to get down as BYU returns to action tomorrow in the 3rd place game of the Maui Invitational tomorrow night against the Virginia Tech Hokies from the ACC. Tip-off is at 9:30 p.m. (MT) and will be televised on ESPN. You can also listen to the game on KSL NewsRadio.

Kansas will take on the Dayton Flyers in the Championship Game of the Maui Invitational at 3 p.m. on ESPN.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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