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No. 4 Kansas beats BYU 71-56 for spot in Maui title game

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LAHAINA, Hawaii — Kansas had a hard time keeping up with Brigham Young’s motion offense early in the Maui Invitational semifinals. The Cougars move fast, cut hard and shoot well, so it was no surprise.

Once the Jayhawks were able to measure what BYU was doing, they clamped down and earned a shot at another tournament title.

David McCormack scored 16 points, Ochai Agbaji added 14 and No. 4 Kansas turned a huge second half into a trip to the Maui championship game with a 71-56 victory Tuesday night.

“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 and did a good job of rotating out to their shooters to earn a shot at their third Maui Invitational crown.

Kansas opened the second half with a big run to build a double-digit lead and outscored BYU 42-18 in the paint.

The Jayhawks will face Dayton in Wednesday’s title game.

“We were just using our size to our advantage, playing to our height,” McCormack said. “That’s what we do.”

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.

TJ Haws had 16 points and Kolby Lee 13, but Cougars leading scorer Jake Toolson was held to seven on 3-of-9 shooting.

“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.”

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.

BIG PICTURE

BYU pulled off one upset by knocking off UCLA in its opener, but had a hard time matching Kansas’ size in the semifinals.

The Jayhawks shook off some early ugliness on offense with a dominant second half to earn a shot at adding to the 1996 and 2015 Maui titles in their trophy case.

UP NEXT

Kansas plays Dayton in Wednesday’s title game.

BYU faces Virginia Tech in the third-place game.

For more AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

Aric Holman leads No. 19 Mississippi St over BYU 103-81

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STARKVILLE, Miss. — Aric Holman scored a career-high 28 points and Quinndary Weatherspoon had 27 Saturday, leading No. 19 Mississippi State past BYU 103-81 for the Bulldogs’ ninth straight victory.

In closing its nonconference schedule, Mississippi State also got 16 points from Tyson Carter and 11 each from Nick Weatherspoon and Reggie Perry.

BYU (8-7) dropped its third straight game and is 0-3 against ranked opponents this season. Yoeli Childs led the Cougars with 25 points and Zac Seljass and TJ Haws each had 14.

With the score tied at 23, the Bulldogs reeled off 13 consecutive points, including six by Carter, to take control with 7:47 left in the half. Mississippi State led by as many as 15 points in the first half and was ahead 48-38 at halftime.

Mississippi State shot 50 percent in the first half and made all seven of its free throws. The Cougars shot 48 percent in the first half and had 11 turnovers.

BIG PICTURE

This has been an up-and-down season for BYU. The Cougars have had winning streaks of five games and three games this season. After this loss, they now their second three-game losing streak.

Mississippi State finishes this part of its schedule with a lot of momentum. The Bulldogs get more than a week off before starting SEC play. They have a league-high 12 wins, including victories over Cincinnati and Clemson.

NCAA: BYU must vacate 47 wins over Nick Emery booster scandal

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The NCAA’s committee on infractions announced on Friday that BYU will be forced to vacate 47 games stemming from the interactions that star guard Nick Emery had with a booster.

Emery played in 47 wins during the 2015-16 and 2016-17 seasons. The player, who is suspended for the first nine games of this season, withdrew from school prior to the start of the 2017-18 season.

Over the course of a two-year period, Emery received more than $12,000 in impermissible benefits from four different boosters. The NCAA determined that the booster left $200 in Emery’s locker in the BYU locker room, that he was granted access to a golf course the booster was a member of, the the player was given use of a 2017 Volkswagen Jetta and that trips to Germany, New York, Texas and California were paid for.

(Since this is BYU, it only makes sense that among the offenses that will cost head coach Dave Rose 47 of his 282 career wins was, according to reporting from the Salt Lake Tribune, a trip to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.)

“Although this case involved only one student-athlete, the committee noted in its report that it was concerned about the level of unmonitored access the four different boosters had with the prominent student-athlete,” the NCAA wrote in their decision. “The COI was particularly troubled that one of the boosters had access to the men’s basketball locker room and used that access to provide the student-athlete with cash.

The school will be appealing the decision to vacate the games.

“The vacation-of-records penalty is extremely harsh and unprecedented given the details of the case,” the school’s statement said. “For more than two decades, the NCAA has not required an institution to vacate games in similar cases where the COI found there was no institutional knowledge of or involvement in the violation by either the coaching staff or other university personnel.

“In fact, this sanction includes the most severe vacation-of-record penalty ever imposed in the history of NCAA Division I basketball for infractions that included no institutional knowledge or involvement. In addition, in the case most similar to this situation, appropriate penalties were imposed, but no wins were vacated. BYU believes the vacation- of-records penalty is unfair and not consistent with recent NCAA precedent.”

NCAA reinstates BYU’s Nick Emery

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Nick Emery is rejoining BYU after sitting out last season.

The Cougar guard has been reinstated by the NCAA, but will sit out the first nine games of the season as part of the NCAA’s ruling, BYU announced Thursday night.

The 6-foot-2 guard averaged 13.1 points while shooting 41.5 percent from the floor and 37.1 percent from 3-point as a sophomore. The NCAA and BYU began an investigation last year to determine if a booster “paid for travel to concerts and an amusement park .. and gave him use of a new car,” according to the Salt Lake Tribune. Shortly after that investigation became public, Emery withdrew from school.

“I have decided to withdraw from BYU today,” Emery said in a statement last November. “Unfortunately, I am mentally not where I need to be in order to perform in basketball and in school this year. As it has been made known, I went through a divorce this year and it has been really difficult for me.

“I have confidence that I will come back stronger and better. I have every intention on coming back to BYU and representing Cougar nation on the basketball floor. I thank everyone for their love and support, especially my teammates, coaches and the BYU administration that have been an incredible support system. Go Cougs!”

Emery’s return, even if it is delayed by nine games, is significant for the Cougars in that it not only adds veteran talent back to the roster, but it helps fill the void created by Elijah Bryant’s decision to turn pro this offseason after leading BYU with 18.2 points per game.

BYU went 24-11 last season and was ousted in the first round of the NIT.

BYU adds commit for 2019

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BYU added a commitment from a high school senior this week, but the Cougars won’t be seeing him on campus until 2019.

Kolby Lee, a 6-foot-9 forward from Idaho, pledged to BYU on Monday evening, but won’t suit up until after serving a two-year mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints, according to the Deseret News.

“I had a great feeling about BYU, and I prayed about it,” Lee told the paper. “I just feel like it’s the right fit for me. It just seems right. It feels right.”

Lee chose BYU over offers from  Utah State, Boise State and UC Davis. He was rated a four-star prospect by ESPN and three by Scout.

His decision to forego immediately joining BYU certainly isn’t a new wrinkle for the Cougars, who routinely see their players either delay their initial eligibility or pause it mid-career while serving on missions.

Rose’s transfer to BYU becomes official

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His commitment came more than a month ago, but L.J. Rose’s transfer to BYU became official Tuesday.

The former Houston guard was officially announced as an immediately-eligible graduate transfer by BYU on Tuesday. He’ll bring much needed help to a Cougars backcourt that lost Kyle Collinsworth and Chase Fischer to graduation and Jordan Chatman and Jack Toolson to transfers.

“L.J. will add great experience and talent to our guard line,” BYU coach Dave Rose said in a statement released by BYU. “We’re excited about the leadership he will bring on the court and in the locker room. He will make us a deeper and more versatile team.”

As a junior, L.J. Rose averaged 9.8 points and 5.3 assists, but a foot injury limited him to just two games last season and allowed him to receive a medical redshirt and the opportunity to be a graduate transfer for his final collegiate season. He’ll be a big part of BYU’s attempt to build on last year’s 26-11 season as a former top-100 recruit, who began his career at Baylor, on a team in need of an infusion of talent after absorbing the losses from last year’s roster.

His father, Lynden, Sr., was a teammate of BYU coach Dave Rose at Houston during the program’s Phi Slama Jama era.