LAHAINA, Hawaii — Brigham Young cut side to side, whipped the ball around the perimeter, created one open shot after another.
The Cougars knocked most of those, turning the Maui Invitational third-place game into a rout.
TJ Haws scored 13 of his 20 points during a key second-half run and BYU made 17 3-pointers to beat Virginia Tech 90-77 on Wednesday night.
So what started with a stunning win over third-ranked Michigan State for the Hokies (6-2) ended with their first two losses under first-year coach Mike Young.
“This trip, you take the good with the bad,” said Tech freshman Landers Nolley, who had 22 points and made the all-tournament team. “You learn from both. You add what you need to add going forward and you move on.”
The Cougars (5-3) turned a tight game into a rout with an array of 3-pointers, making 8 of 14 in the second half. Haws went 4 for 7 behind the arc and BYU shot 54% to leave Maui with two big victories.
“It really came together for us in the second half, we moved the ball really well,” Haws said. “We trust in each other, we trust in our game plan, what coach is telling us. We’re just finding the open shots and guys stepped up.”
The Cougars went 17 for 34 from 3-point range and had six players score in double figures. It all started to go downhill for the Hokies, who were tied with 15:15 to play after the first media timeout. By the next media timeout, BYU had gone on a 15-2 run and led 63-50.
“If you don’t hang in there and continue to fight, there’s one shot that can break the back and then they start going in from all corners, and that’s what happened,” Young said of BYU’s second half. “One shot goes down or a couple of shots goes down and then that thing opens up.”
The Hokies (6-2) matched the Cougars shot for shot in a tight first half but couldn’t keep up in the second. P.J. Horne added 13 for Virginia Tech, which lost despite shooting 53%.
“What they do defensively is difficult to stop,” Young said. “I thought we did a fair job in the first half. In the second half, they played like old people and we played like little fellas.”
The Hokies were picked to finished 14th in the ACC their first season under Young but showed they might be a little better than that. Virginia Tech pulled off the upset of the bracket by knocking off No. 3 Michigan State before losing to eventual runner-up Dayton.
BYU had a similar start in Maui in its first season under Pope, knocking off UCLA before falling to No. 4 Kansas, which went on to win its third Maui title earlier Wednesday.
The Hokies and Cougars traded baskets in a back-and-forth Maui finale.
Virginia Tech did it from all over, hitting 15 of 27 shots. BYU did its damage from the 3-point arc, making nine from long range.
Nolley had 15 points to give the Hokies a 37-35 halftime lead.
BYU kept hitting shots in the second half and went on a 17-2 run to go up 58-48. Haws had 13 points during the run on three 3-pointers and two layups, including one on an inbound play under the basket after throwing the ball off the back of a Virginia Tech defender. BYU kept making 3s to keep the Hokies from making a run.
“We’ve got to guard a little bit better,” Young said. “They make it hard one you.”