Provo • BYU coach Dave Rose said the Cougars will have to play like they did in their first three basketball games, and not their last, if they want any chance of beating No. 21-ranked Iowa State on Wednesday night.
That will be much easier to accomplish if leading scorer Tyler Haws is on the floor, he acknowledged.
Haws, who missed BYU’s weekend wins over Mount St. Mary’s and Colorado Mesa with a lower abdominal strain, practiced Tuesday and said he will play Wednesday (7:30 p.m., ESPNU) when the 4-0 Cougars play host to the 3-0 Cyclones at the Marriott Center.
How much Haws will play, and how effective BYU’s go-to guy will be, are not quite known.
“I think I am going to play. I am feeling good. I practiced today, so I will be ready to go,” he said Tuesday afternoon. “I am expecting to play. I want to play. Hopefully it responds tonight [to treatment. I am looking forward to playing.”
Haws said the injury he suffered during BYU’s 112-103 win over Stanford came when he landed “weird” on his stomach. He practiced after the game, but it tightened up on Friday.
“He went five, six days without practicing,” Rose said. “But Ty has a routine that he goes through, and I think that type of routine can allow guys to come back maybe a little bit quicker. I know Ty is a big-game player, and hopefully he feels well enough to play how he wants to play tomorrow.”
While Haws’ status is not clear, fellow guard Kyle Collinsworth was feeling no ill effects from the elbow to the hip he suffered late in the 84-60 win over Colorado Mesa.
“It feels good. I feel good. I am ready to roll,” Collinsworth said. “Little bruise, but nothing big. I am good to go.”
What’s also known to the Cougars is that this is the type of win they must have to build their NCAA Tournament résumé, the type of win they couldn’t get last year when they missed the big dance for the first time since 2006. Iowa State crushed them last year in Ames, 83-62.
“This game has got a really unique challenge to it. The challenge will not be getting excited to play. These guys will all be ready to play, and there will be a lot of energy and a lot of excitement in the building, and we will see how our guys handle it,” Rose said.
The Cougars haven’t defeated a ranked nonconference opponent at home since knocking off No. 14 Pittsburgh 93-73 in 1986. In their last nonconference home matchup against a ranked opponent, they lost 86-83 to No. 6 Baylor in junior guard Matt Carlino’s debut.
“I think we need to play better than we played on Saturday, because Saturday wasn’t our best game. But the other three games, I thought we played pretty well, and if we play similar to that, I think it will be a good game,” Rose said.
Adding some extra intrigue to the game is the fact that Iowa State downed defending national champion Michigan 76-70 on Sunday in Ames, as preseason All-Big 12 pick Melvin Ejim scored 22 points and had nine rebounds in his first game back from a knee injury.
“Gosh, they just beat Michigan, which is a great team,” Haws said. “They are physical inside, and they rebound really well. So we have been talking about rebounding for awhile. If we can get all five guys to go to the boards on the defensive end, we can get out in transition and play our game.”
No. 21 Iowa State at BYU
O At the Marriott Center (Provo)
Tipoff • Wednesday, 7:30 p.m.
TV • ESPNU
Radio • 1160 AM, 102.7 FM
Records • BYU 4-0, Iowa State 3-0
Series history • Iowa State leads, 5-0
Last meeting • Iowa State 83, BYU 62 (Dec. 1, 2012)
About the Cyclones • They are ranked No. 21 in this week’s Associated Press Top 25 after knocking off Michigan 77-70 on Sunday in Ames. … They are led in scoring by forward Melvin Ejim, who is averaging 22 points per game. Guards Naz Long (15.7), DeAndre Kane (13.7) and forward Dustin Hogue (11.7) are also scoring in double figures, and Hogue and Ejim are averaging 9.0 rebounds per game.
About the Cougars • They are averaging 96.2 points per game and are shooting 50.2 percent from the field. … They haven’t played a nonconference game at home against a Top 25 team since hosting No. 6 Baylor in 2011, an 86-83 loss. … Anson Winder started the last two games in the place of injured guard Tyler Haws and averaged 18.0 points, 4-0 rebounds and 3.5 assists in the two games.