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Cougars pull away, beat Bruins 78-63

BYU’s TJ Haws bring the ball upcourt against UCLA’s Prince Ali during the first half of the Cougars’ 78-63 victory over the Bruins on Monday. The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photos

LAHAINA — The Brigham Young University basketball team had a game plan to execute in the opening round of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational on Monday, and the Cougars did it just the way they planned.

BYU shot 62 percent from the field (31-for-50) and 50 percent from 3-point range (9-for-18) to pull away from UCLA down the stretch for a 78-63 win.

The result sends the Cougars (4-2) into a semifinal showdown tonight at 5:30 p.m. against No. 4 Kansas.

“We knew we were going to have our hands full and I’m just proud of our guys,” BYU coach Mark Pope said. “They knew the agenda items that had to be taken care of and they did it. They did it as a team with a couple really important fundamental things that we took care of. So I’m super proud of them.”

Jake Toolson led BYU with 20 points, TJ Haws added 15 and Kolby Lee had 13. Only Haws (5-for-11) and Trevin Knell (0-for-1) shot less than 50 percent for the Cougars.

BYU’s Jake Toolson dribbles around a screen by Kolby Lee while being guarded by UCLA’s Jules Bernard.

“I think we were trying to take great shots,” Haws said. “And I thought tonight we moved the ball really well, we made them guard us, we moved the ball from side to side, and we kept our dribble alive a little bit, which helped space out the floor, and guys stepped up and made big shots tonight. It was great.”

Haws, for one, can’t wait to take on the vaunted Jayhawks. The Lahaina Civic Center will be awash in blue-clad fan bases from each school.

“That’s going to be a blast. That’s an incredible program. They have so much history. It’s going to be so much fun,” Haws said. “The environment’s going to be great tomorrow and we’re really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a fun night.”

UCLA (4-2) will face Chaminade at noon in a consolation semifinal. The Bruins lost for the second straight game and were led by Jules Bernard, who had 16 points. Cody Riley scored 12 and Tyger Campbell added 11.

The Bruins led 52-51 with 11:19 to play after Riley scored in the paint, but from there the Cougars took over, going on a 10-0 run that was capped by a 3-pointer from Haws with 7:18 to go.

UCLA did not get closer than seven the rest of the way.

The Bruins are a young team, something that was evident down the stretch.

“The nine-freshmen-and-sophomore factor hurt us,” UCLA coach Mick Cronin said.

* Robert Collias is at rcollias@mauinews.com.

BYU (4-2)

Nixon 3-5 0-0 8, Lee 6-7 1-1 13, Haws 5-11 3-4 15, Barcello 4-5 0-0 9, Toolson 8-14 1-1 20, Troy 0-0 0-0 0, Knell 0-1 0-0 0, Seljaas 3-4 2-2 9, Harding 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 31-50 7-8 78.

UCLA (4-2)

Riley 6-11 0-2 12, Hill 4-6 0-0 8, Campbell 4-7 1-3 11, Smith 1-6 2-2 4, Ali 4-11 2-3 10, Olesinski 1-1 0-0 2, O’Neal 0-0 0-0 0, Singleton 0-1 0-0 0, Bernard 5-11 3-5 16, Jaquez 0-1 0-0 0, Kyman 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-55 8-15 63.

Halftime–BYU 36-32. 3-Point Goals–BYU 9-18 (Toolson 3-7, Nixon 2-3, Haws 2-4, Seljaas 1-1, Barcello 1-2, Harding 0-1), UCLA 5-14 (Bernard 3-7, Campbell 2-2, Singleton 0-1, Smith 0-2, Ali 0-2). Fouled Out–None. Rebounds–BYU 24 (Seljaas 10), UCLA 26 (Riley, Bernard 6). Assists–BYU 13 (Barcello 5), UCLA 15 (Smith 6). Total Fouls–BYU 16, UCLA 16.