PROVO, Utah – BYU, led by Tyler Haws's career-high 32 points, handed Cal State Northridge its first loss of the season 87-75 Saturday in front of a sellout Marriott Center crowd. The Cougars are now 4-2 while the Matadors are 6-1.
“It was a great atmosphere. It was loud and exciting from the very first tip, but it didn’t come easy,” said BYU coach Dave Rose. “They (CSUN) are active defensively and they trap. We did a much better job in the second half controlling their basket penetration.”
The Cougar sophomore netted 17 of his points in the first half on four field goals and 8 of 8 shooting from the free throw line. In the second half Haws shot 5 of 8 from the field and 4 of 4 from the line for 15 points. His jumper with 3:44 to go put BYU ahead 75-74 and he scored eight more down the stretch to help seal the victory.
Senior guard Brock Zylstra added season highs of 14 points, seven rebounds and five assists and sunk a pair of 3-pointers within a minute of each other in the second half to give BYU leads of 70-64 and 73-66.
Brandon Davies added 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds to go with three assists, a block and a steal.
Chipping in at key times in the second half were Cougars Craig Cusick and Josh Sharp. Cusick came from behind for a blind steal in the early minutes of the second half, which led to Haws’ trey giving BYU a 53-46 margin.
Sharp gave BYU a 10-point lead with a put back off a Brandon Davies miss to make the score 65-55, then blocked a Matador shot less than a minute later.
Sharp and Matt Carlino were on the bench at the start of the game as Rose broke a five-game pattern starting Agustin Ambrosino and Cusick instead.
“We wanted to find a little more depth in our roster. Both Matt and Josh responded well, everybody wants to start,” Rose said.
“Responding to their runs, we found a way to get a basket and make winning plays. They (CSUN) believe they are going to win. They had that sense of unity and we had to make enough plays.”
The two teams traded leads in the early minutes of the game, with CSUN claiming a four-point lead, at 14-10 when freshman Brandon Perry converted an offensive board to a field goal. The Matadors led for much of the first half until Zylstra tied the score at 32-all off a pair of free throws with 5:46 remaining before the break.
After another tie Haws gave BYU a lead it would hold the rest of the half with a pair of makes from the charity stripe. Haws added four more free throws to help the Cougars to their biggest lead of the half at 43-34 with 1:58 to go. BYU entered the break with a 46-40 lead.
The Matadors opened the second half with a 6-0 run to tie the score at 46-all before Davies ended the run with a jumper. Minutes later Davies started a 7-0 Cougar run that gave BYU its first double-digit lead at 64-53 with 12:05 to go.
CSUN refused to go quietly as the Matadors used an 8-0 run to take their only lead of the second half at 74-73 with 4:01 to go.
A Haws jumper 17 seconds later gave the lead back to BYU and started a 14-1 run to end the game. Haws shot 3 of 3 from the field and 4 of 4 from the free throw line to score 10 of the Cougars' 14 during the run.
“I was able to make a few plays going down the stretch,” Haws said. “We were able to play some good defense. I’m more happy we got the win. I feel like our team is on a roll now.”
The Cougars face Montana on Wednesday at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake at 7 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on BYUtv and broadcast live on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM.