Happy Monday, everyone.
This one might have been the easiest pick in the history of player of the week awards — at least for the West Coast Conference.
BYU’s Tyler Haws is the WCC Men’s Basketball Player of the Week, the league announced this morning, after the Cougars’ guard averaged 33.0 points per game last week in helping BYU defeat Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount.
Haws scored 35 points against Pepperdine and followed that with a 31-point outing against LMU as BYU avenged a pair of first-week road losses.
Haws shot 47.6 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from 3-point range and 95.7 percent from the free-throw line.
He’s the second-straight BYU player to win the honor, after Skyler Halford picked it up last week. Other nominees were Pepperdine’s Stacy Davis, Portland’s Bryce Pressley and Brad Waldow of Saint Mary’s.
Haws has scored in double figures in 31 consecutive games and now has 1,546 career points, which ranks him 13th on the school’s all-time scoring list. Haws needs 24 points to pass Lee Cummard for 12th place on the list.
He currently ranks fifth in the nation with a 23.1 scoring average.
The Cougars have moved up to No. 4 in the country in scoring, averaging 87.3 ppg.
"I think late in the game teams get tired and I am able to find my rhythm a little bit," Haws said of his big scoring week. "But definitely when we play defense and get stops and we are rebounding, that creates opportunities. My teammates did a good job of getting me the ball. Matt [Carlino] found me a few times."
Of course, free-throw shooting is a big part of Haws’ game. He rarely misses. In fact, he was 13 of 14 from the stripe on Saturday, tying his career-high for FT attempts in a game. The Cougars had their best free-throw shooting performance of the season against the Lions, making 78.9 percent (30 of 38).
"Free throws are important," Haws said. "And we have been focusing a lot in practice, and staying after to shoot them. Even Luke [Worthington] came in and knocked two free throws down."
After Carlino jokingly questioned why Haws would single out Worthington’s success at the line with "what do you mean, even Luke?" Haws quickly added: "I expected Luke to make them."
A freshman, Worthington was 0-for-6 from the stripe before the 2-for-2 night.
What did LMU coach Max Good have to say about Haws’ big night?
"We tried to stay on our feet. The problem is, I don’t know how to defend free throws," Good said. "I have never figured out a way to guard free throws. He’s obviously a terrific player. He’s crafty and will get you off your feet. We wanted to just stay on the ground and not leave our feet and make him shoot fadeaways over us. But he found a way."
Here’s my follow from Saturday’s game, published in Monday’s newspaper, and look ahead to the four-game road swing for the Cougars, which starts Thursday at San Francisco. The Dons (11-7, 4-2) were picked to finish fourth in the WCC this year, but are tied for second and seem to have moved past the surprise departure of star guard Cody Doolin remarkably well. Doolin quit the team after getting into a fight with a teammate.
Monday, Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated listed "Ten Teams that Helped Themselves" with their nonconference scheduling, and put BYU at the top of his list. The Cougars played the fourth most-difficult nonleague schedule in the country.
"The Cougars’ win at Stanford and neutral court win over Texas look pretty good in retrospect," Davis wrote. "Unfortunately, the WCC looks like a one-bid league, so BYU will probably have to win the league tournament to get into the field of 68."
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