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Haws leads BYU’s 3-point barrage in 90-77 win over Virginia Tech to claim 3rd place in Maui Invitational

Haws finished with a team-high 20 points to lead BYU to a 90-77 victory over Virginia Tech to claim third place in the tournament.

FILE: BYU guard TJ Haws (30) tries to get around Kansas guard Devon Dotson (1) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019, in Lahaina, Hawaii. (AP Photo/Marco Garcia)
AP

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Entering this week’s Maui Invitational, BYU coach Mark Pope told his players, “We’re here to do some damage.”

At the very least, the Cougars probably ruined Virginia Tech’s Thanksgiving.

Guard TJ Haws poured in a team-high 20 points, including 17 in the second half, to lead BYU to a convincing 90-77 victory over the Hokies at the Lahaina Civic Center Wednesday night in the final game of the 2019 tournament.

And with the win, the Cougars claimed third place in Maui.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these guys. What an unbelievable effort they put on the floor and did it together from start to finish absolutely together,” said coach Mark Pope. “It was extraordinary. And really excited for the future that we have together throughout the season.”

Haws took control in the second half while he and the Cougars put on a shooting clinic. BYU drilled 17 of 34 3-pointers, including 8 of 14 in the second half. As a team, it shot 65 percent overall (19 of 29) over the final 20 minutes.

The Cougars (5-3) trailed 46-41 early in the second half before they caught fire and went on a 27-5 run, highlighted by 13 consecutive points by Haws. During that stretch, Haws knocked down three 3-pointers and he finished the game with four triples.

“I felt like I could see the ball go through the hole one time and getting a little bit of rhythm,” said Haws, who went 7 of 11 from the field. “But really I was just getting good looks and fortunately they fell. But we were or I feel like our whole team was really in a great rhythm and that momentum and energy is contagious and it’s good to see the ball go through the hoop.”

“It’s awesome. Always,” Zac Seljaas said of Haws’ performance. “It’s fun when your teammate does something great, whether it’s a TJ or Jake (Toolson) or Alex (Barcello), whoever it is, when you see them go on a run like that and they’re hot and you just keep giving it to them and it’s fun to watch and it’s fun to be a part of a teammate to have that kind of ability. So it’s just awesome and it gets everyone going on the team and it kind of started our run.”

BYU led by as many as 18 in the second half.

In all, the Cougars had six players in double figures including Haws — Dalton Nixon (14), Barcello (13), Toolson (11), Seljaas (10) and Kolby Lee (10).

Virginia Tech, which toppled No. 3 Michigan State Monday, fell to 6-2 on the season. Forward Landers Nolley II scored a game-high 22 points to lead the Hokies.

Virginia Tech shot well, too, Wednesday — 53 percent from the field and 50 percent (11 of 22) from 3-point territory. But the Hokies couldn’t keep up with BYU’s torrid shooting.

The Cougars displayed crisp ball movement during the second half and Virginia Tech had no answer.

“I thought it really came together for us in the second half. We moved the ball really well,” Haws said. “We trusted in our offense, we trusted in each other, we trusted in our game plan, what coach has been saying to us. And we really were just finding the open shots and guys stepped up and made big shots and that was super fun to be a part of tonight.”

BYU didn’t attempt a single free throw in the first half and through the first 37 minutes of the game, the Cougars only went to the line three times. They were that efficient from long range.

“Tonight you had two teams, maybe the two best shooting teams here and the two smallest teams here. So neither of us is battling,” Pope said. “Last night (in a loss to No. 4 Kansas) we were battling against this extraordinary length and physicality, and that has an impact on the game. So for us to combat that we have to play faster and freer and more decisively and make more simple plays quicker.”

In the first half, BYU knocked down nine 3-pointers. During one stretch, the Cougars hit four in a row, with Trevin Knell hitting two and Nixon and Haws draining one apiece. Knell’s second 3-pointer gave BYU its biggest lead of the first half, 27-22.

However, BYU struggled to slow down Nolley II, who finished with a game-high 15 points in the first half. The Hokies shot 56 percent from the field over the first 20 minutes.

Toolson led the Cougars with nine points in the first half, including three 3-pointers.

At halftime, Virginia Tech held a 37-35 advantage.

BYU hosts Montana Tech Saturday.