Playing in his final game in the Marriott Center after a storied career, Tyler Haws did what he does best dropping in 28 points as the BYU Cougars cruised past the San Diego Toreros 75-62 on Senior Night in Provo. The BYU star is now just seven points from passing Jimmer Fredette to become the school’s career scoring leader. Fellow senior Anson Winder chipped in 15 points, and Kyle Collinsworth added 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds as the Cougars won their fourth straight game and sixth straight at home.
Dec 20, 2014; Provo, UT, USA; Brigham Young Cougars guard Tyler Haws (3) goes to the basket against the Stanford Cardinal during the second half at Marriott Center. Brigham Young Cougars won the game 79-70. Mandatory Credit: Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports
After honoring their outgoing seniors, the Cougars had to overcome a slow start to get the win. The Toreros pulled ahead 7-2 as the Cougars did not score for almost the first seven minutes of the game. Eventually they closed the gap and built a 33-28 halftime lead thanks to 10 points from Collinsworth. Winder and Haws led a 12-2 charge out of halftime and the Cougars built a big enough lead to where the Toreros could not recover. Their double-digit lead would hold up for most of the half eventually coming to the final 75-62 score.
As usual, long range shooting was the hallmark of this BYU victory. The Cougars took just 12 attempts from three point range, but they sunk half of them to go along with a 46.9% field goal rate. Led by Collinsworth, the Cougars also got a rare night of inside dominance as they outrebounded the Toreros 38-23 despite their leading rebounders being Collinsworth and Haws.
The Toreros shot well enough, but their struggles inside doomed them against a BYU squad that is not known for their inside presence. Johnny Dee and Duda Sanadze led the way for the Toreros with 13 and 12 points. Key big men Brandon Perry, Jito Kok, and Thomas Jacobs managed to combine for just 19 points and 7 rebounds as they could never quite get it going in support of the guards.
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With the win, the Cougars improve to 21-8 overall and 11-5 in conference play. They remain 1 1/2 games behind Saint Mary’s for 2nd place, and they are two games ahead of Pepperdine with two games left. With this win, they also avenge an earlier 77-74 loss to the Toreros. That makes this a key victory as the loss at San Diego was one of their worst of the year and could factor into their NCAA Tournament hopes.
With the loss, the Toreros drop to 14-14 overall and 7-9 in conference play. They currently sit at 6th in the standings, a 1/2 game behind Portland. The regular season finale at Portland on February 28th could have huge seeding implications for the WCC Tournament if the two teams remain this close. And San Diego must still fight off Santa Clara and San Francisco who are 1 1/2 games back with two to play.
The Cougars finish the season on the road with challenging games at Portland and Gonzaga. The Toreros also finish on the road visiting the same two schools. Both BYU and San Diego are off on Saturday and will play their final regular season games next Thursday and Saturday.