BYU's Haws honored by WCC; Notes and quotes from Saturday's game
There's not a hotter college basketball player in the country right now than BYU's Tyler Haws, who has scored 142 points the past four games and is the country's third-leading scorer with a 24.6 average. You can read more about Haws' sizzling scoring weeks in this report in today's The Salt Lake Tribune. And here's a recap of Saturday night's 84-71 win over Saint Mary's College in which Haws scored 33 points. To no one's surprise, Haws earned West Coast Conference Player of the Week honors on Monday for averaging 35.5 points, 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game in the wins over Pacific and SMC. He shot 59.5 percent (22 of 37) from the field, 66.7 percent (6 of 9) from 3-point range and 91.3 percent (21 of 23) from the free-throw line. It is the second time this season Haws has been honored by the WCC, having also been honored on Jan. 13. It is the third honor in five weeks for BYU, as Skyler Halford got it on Jan. 6. The 3-pointer Haws made in the second half gave BYU the lead for good, and was the 1,700th point of his career. Only Danny Ainge got to 1,700 points faster, reaching that milestone in his 90th game. Saturday's game was Haws' 93rd in a Cougar uniform. Haws also passed Mark Bigelow for the ninth spot on BYU's career scoring list. It was his 10th career game of 30 points or more, tying him with the legendary Kresimir Cosic. It was Haws' 44th career game of 30 points or more. Haws and Kyle Collinsworth (20 points) were the only Cougars to reach double figures, marking the first time this season that BYU didn't have three or more players in double figures. I posted video of the first couple of minutes of the post game news conference(s) on Sunday. Here are more comments from the game from BYU coach Dave Rose, Haws and Colinsworth: Rose on how freshman Eric Mika is playing: "I think Eric is a physical player, and I think that the Gonzaga game and these two games this weekend, I think our whole staff is played at just how active he is again, after where I thought he was kind of favoring that leg for awhile. The key for him is to make sure he plays within himself, but continues to be the physical presence that he is, because that is what makes him good." Rose on how they avoided a slow start to second half:"That was talked about quite a bit at half-time, that we could not afford to go out the first five possessions and just have them kind of control the game. And we were very fortunate, because they controlled the game the first five minutes of the first half, and we were able to come back from that. The second half we needed to start better, have a different result, and the guys responded." Rose on winning the rebounding battle in the second half:"Well, I think that all the real hustle stats, the rebounds we won that battle. When you look at the steal, we won that battle, and blocked shots. Those are all things where you know your guys are giving second and third efforts, and that obviously helped us win the game." Rose on Collinsworth's improved free-throw shooting:"Well, I will tell you that Kyle has spent a great deal of time at it. He deserves to see positive results, because of the time he has put in, and not only physically on the floor, but film, watching himself, just a lot of things to improve that part of his game, and when you go 8 for 10 from the free-throw line, that makes you so much more aggressive going to the basket, because you know that if you create contact and you get fouled, you are going to come up with points. But hopefully he continues to improve, and he keeps that same work ethic in improving his free throws." Rose on summing up the league just after the halfway point:"Not just the results, but some of the scores are really intriguing. But I think it is that way all over college basketball. You look at a lot of things that have happened this year, with all those teams going into conference play with no losses, and then almost everyone of them, except Wichita, Syracuse and Arizona, they still haven't lost [until Arizona lost Saturday]. They just didn't lose when they got to conference, but they experienced multiple-game losing streaks, which is really rare. And I think Ohio State lost four or five in a row, and Wisconsin lost three home games in the first time in like 27 years. So there are a lot of things going on. But that's what makes this sport exciting, and we are happy we got two wins this week, and we look forward to next week."Rose on whether SMC being 4-0 against them was a true motivation:"Well, I thought that tonight that it was an issue with our guys, and it really wasn't a positive issue. You know, we were trying to win two games here, we were trying to win the game we were playing, and then battle the issues that we all knew were there. I thought our guys responded to that pretty good." Rose on whether he was happy with the perimeter defense:"I thought for the most part their shots were challenged. They hit a couple tough threes. One guy banked in a three, which you don't ever count on. But the key for us was to not let them have 25, 30 threes. I mean, they are a 3-point shooting team, and we limited them to 18. And with 18, I thought they shot two or three late in the game, after the game was kind of decided. But that was a big part of our game plan, to limit their attempts. And I think we did a little bit better. That's why we kept single coverage on the post, and that kind of surfaced down there in the low block with Waldow, and every one of our post guys trying to guard him, because we didn't want to bring down a second defender and give up a three."Rose on teams having travel between San Diego and BYU instead of taking a bus ride in Bay Area, Los Angeles: "That's a good question. I think that if you look at our Friday the first road trip doesn't count, because it was a Sunday. We stay at the same hotel, with no practice on Sunday. But the next two one was a bus ride from San Francisco to San Jose. The other was a flight. I think that the bus ride was probably a little easier to manage. So maybe the flight [teams have to take] is an advantage [for BYU, San Diego, Portland, Gonzaga].Haws on how they took off midway through first half:"All of us were kind of in a weird spot those first eight or nine minutes of the game, and things weren't going our way, but we just stayed aggressive and kept taking good shots. No one went sideways and tried to do it on their own. We were just making good plays, and we were able to get in a little rhythm."Haws on the game plan early on Brad Waldow:"We were going to go one on one, and then at certain times we went back to one on one. Our guys did a great job of making him make tough shots. He did get some easy stuff in the beginning, but we did go to a double team and tried to make it uncomfortable for him. I thought the big guys did a really good job on him."Haws on Luke Worthington getting a big block on Waldow early and whether that sparked them:"For sure, for sure. Any time you can get some energy from the bench, that is going to help everyone on the floor. Luke was looking forward to the challenge, and looking forward to battling with Waldow."Haws on whether it was part of game plan for Worthington to pester Waldow:"Um, noooo. I don't think so. It was like a Bronson effort again. Nope, Luke just competed and battled. If you can handle the physicality of Waldow, you are doing something right."Haws on not having to play against former SMC great Matthew Dellavedova: "Yeah, Dellavedova was an unbelievable player. No matter what team he would have been on, he just makes everybody around him better. So that's a big hole to fill, but they still play that same way. They run tons of high ball screen. Then they re-screen. They make you fight all night. But I thought we handled it pretty well." Collinsworth on making 8 of 10 free throws:"I had a goal to make 10 tonight, so I was a little bummed about that. But I am making strides. I am working hard. I will continue to practice and get better and better."Collinsworth on the turnovers to start the game:"It just happens sometimes. It is a big game, we are excited, and sometimes it happens. But we have to fix it. But credit them. I stepped out of bounds, they knocked the ball from Skyler. So you have to give them credit to them."Collinsworth on defensive adjustments to keep them to shooting 42 percent:"I thought tonight we were really good at getting over the ball screens, which didn't allow any open shots. So that was good. We made their post catch it further out. That was huge for us, how we kept them off the block. So if we wanted to double, or dig down, we had enough space and time to do that. So it was huge."