That’s the word the Cougars and coach Dave Rose used most often in post-game interviews on Saturday night in Moraga, after the Cougars rallied in the second half for a 60-57 win over Saint Mary’s. BYU trailed by as many as 14 points in the first half and 12 in the second half before getting their first-ever win at McKeon Pavilion, which was absolutely rocking.
Ironically, the Cougars swept the teams tied for third place in the standings — SMC and San Francisco — and lost at last-place Loyola Marymount, fifth-place Portland, sixth-place Pepperdine and seventh-place Pacific.
So go figure.
Couple of things I didn’t mention in the game story:
* The last time BYU won a game when not scoring at least 60 points was on March 7, 2009. The Cougars beat Air Force 54-49 that day. More recently, BYU beat Utah 61-58 in December of 2012 and 61-42 in December of 2011 in low-scoring games.
* Saint Mary’s’ Brad Waldow wasn’t in foul trouble, but played just 32 minutes. He turned in another monster game with 17 points and 13 rebounds, including 6 offensive boards.
* Tyler Haws was the only player to go all 40 minutes. He was 8 of 15 from the field after a couple subpar shooting nights against San Francisco and Pacific, totaling 18 points. Haws also had four assists and three steals, tying a season-high.
Haws has reached the 1,800-point total, becoming the second-fastest BYU player to reach that plateau (97 games). Danny Ainge got there in 91 games.
Haws has now scored in double digits in 41 straight games, the seventh-longest streak in BYU history. If he does it Thursday night against Gonzaga, he will tie Jimmer Fredette for the sixth-longest streak.
* Kyle Collinsworth had 14 points before fouling out, the 20th-straight game he has reached double figures. He also had six boards and three assists.
Collinsworth left the game favoring his right knee after a nasty fall, but returned a few minutes later. Coach Dave Rose said Collinsworth and Luke Worthington (shoulder) will be evaluated on Monday; He didn’t know the extent of either injury.
* Nate Austin has posted 10 or more rebounds nine times this season. Big Nate corrected me when I mentioned he had 10 rebounds — not knowing he was credited for that last board with 2 seconds remaining. "Um, 11 rebounds," he said.
The junior now has the 13th most offensive rebounds in a season for BYU, with 76.
* Luke Worthington played 19 minutes, which is a season high. Worthington was pressed into prolonged duty because Austin and freshman Eric Mika got into early foul trouble.
Here are post game comments from Rose, Austin and Haws:
Rose summarizing the win:
"Well, I think that there was a lot of fight in our guys. After the game the other night, there was I think some real resolve to make sure that we were going to go out there with a gutsy effort, and put everything out there.
I think that’s probably just a real hard-fought, gutsy win. The guys just reached down and found a way to …
It wasn’t our game, by far, but it was good enough for tonight. That’s a big win."
Rose on fouling when up 3 and why:
"Well, I think inside of five seconds that is probably what we would like to do. We practice it a lot. It think is kind of a feel every game. I kinda wish the first foul we would have waited.
We did a good job getting the ball inbounds. Nate got a big rebound on the second foul, that first miss.
I mean they executed down the stretch well to tie it. Skyler hit two big free throws, which was huge.
It is good to win, now your guys come in and facilitate the win, make big plays and make it happen. It is a good feeling when you reach your goal, so that’s good."
Rose on Kyle Collinsworth’s injury:
"That looked really bad. We kinda dodged a bullet, but we will see how the situation is. It seems stable, but we will get it checked out on Monday.
That was a gutsy performance in the second half by him. By the looks of it, it happened right there in front of us, I thought that would probably be the end of it for this game, and then you just hope it isn’t something serious. We will just have to wait and see, but you never know."
Rose on the team’s resolve after Pacific loss:
"Yesterday, especially at the breakfast in the morning and at our meetings, the guys, they were down. It was tough.
As a staff, we said this is the process we are going to go through. …. By our team meeting, everybody passed that thing and said, let’s go. We had study hall yesterday afternoon, then had a meeting after that, and guys were good. At shoot around this morning, there was a lot of energy.
But you never know how it is going to carry over into a game. We didn’t get off to a good start. We got into foul trouble early — all those things you don’t want to have happen.
But our zone was really good. Our zone was really good to us. Our rotations were really good. We rebounded OK out of it, not spectacular, but it kept us in the game and it worked out and allowed us to make some huge plays late."
Rose on why Anson Winder started in second half:
"It was a defensive assignment for us that we were trying a little bit more size on our guard line, and be able to protect us from those drives. They drove us pretty hard in the first half in that zone.
Foul trouble, we just tried to manage it. If there were going to be some quick whistles to start the second half, I just wanted to protect Eric a little bit. It worked out for us."
Rose on not coming out for ceremony for Dellavedova:
"They set it up with the schedule and said we will do it this way. I just kinda took it like that is how they wanted it."
Rose on getting irate early in the game, pounding scorer’s table, and the message to team:
"I haven’t done that for a long time. (pause). The foul situation was really frustrating. The interesting thing is the numbers are not the issue. It is the calls that are the issue. The calls create some emotion.
But in the second half, it was exactly the opposite. They had seven fouls against them, and one against us. There is probably no explanation for it."
Haws on the feeling after the come-from-behind win:
"Gosh, it feels so good to beat those guys. It is always just a grind-it-out battle, and I was really proud of our guys and our coaches. We never doubted.
I think we got down 12 or 13, we just kept battling."
Haws on guys making FTs to win the game and how sweet to win game with them:
"It feels so good. We missed a lot of free throws, but we knocked them down when we needed to at the end. Sky hit two big free throws, and Matt hit two big ones. So I guess we made them when we needed to, but we got to get better at that, for sure."
Haws on being down 10 at halftime and what said at locker room:
"We didn’t have our best half. All of us knew that we could play better, and so the coaches gave us a lot of confidence, saying, ‘just keep battling, keep fighting, and it is going to turn our way.’
That’s what we did, and eventually the tides turned."
Haws on fouling up 3 and whether they talked about it:
"Yeah we did. We did. We said if we make both free throws, and we are up three, we are going to foul. And so it worked out. We got a few big rebounds."
Haws on Kyle Collinsworth’s deal:
"He landed really awkwardly. I was really worried. But I am glad he’s back. We got to get him healthy."
Haws on the atmosphere with both teams’ fans:
"It was crazy. I mean, every game we play against these guys, whether it is here or at the Marriott Center, it is always just a crazy environment. College basketball doesn’t get much better than what we just played in."
Haws on winning on the road and the difference tonight:
"To win on the road, it is just a grind-it-out win. Man, it takes everyone competing and trying to execute a game plan for 40 minutes. That’s what we tried to do."
Haws on Rose pounding the scorer’s table:
"We got some tough calls. A lot of stuff doesn’t go your way on the road, and you have to overcome a lot of odds. We just figured out a way."
Haws on Carter’s turnovers:
"I am not sure. I was on the other side of the court. We were just trying to pressure them, make a play. We talk about having active hands all the time, and we got some big steals."
Haws on the mindset now going back to Marriott Center to play Gonzaga:
"We are confident. Any time we can get back to the Marriott Center, we love it. Obviously, it is going to be a challenge, but we are excited for it."
Haws on not coming out for Delly ceremony:
"I don’t think they really wanted us out there. We for sure respect Dellavedova and what he did."
Austin on his tip-in basket:
"I was actually trying to put it up on the glass and then go back up and get it. It was a big play. It got us the lead. It felt good."
Austin on the play with Kerry Carter losing the ball:
"He dribbled it right of the ref’s foot. It was a good play by ref, I guess. That second time, I think Matt got a hand on it, and then Matt came up with it. So, two big plays, right there in that corner."
Austin on never losing faith in first half:
"I think in both games, even though we were down, it didn’t seem like we were down that much. We had open shots, we just missed them. We knew if we just got some stops, and got some scores, we would be right back in the game. …. It never really felt like we were out of the game."
Austin on the foul trouble in first half:
"Oh, definitely. Eric got two quick fouls, and then I got a foul. It seemed like the refs were out to get us big guys. But me and Eric looked at each other at halftime, and we said we have to play smart in the second half, and we can’t worry about fouls. I think Luke and Eric, as freshman, I think they played really well in the second half….. I think they played really well."
Austin on what the win does for BYU moving forward:
"I think it just gives us a boost of confidence. It is a place where we have never won, and it is a tough place to play. Lots of teams come in here and get losses. So it gives us confidence going forward that any game in the conference, if we play well, we can win."
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