HOUSTON – Senior TJ Haws hit a buzzer-beating jumper to give BYU a 72-71 win over Houston on Friday night at the Fertitta Center.
With 1:25 to go in the game, Houston drew a foul, sending its leading scorer for the night Caleb Mills to the charity line. Mills made his first free-throw to tie the game and followed it up sinking his second to give Houston its first lead since the beginning of the game at 71-70.
BYU maintained possession in the final minute until turning over the ball with six second left on the clock. Houston returned the favor, turning it over with 5.1 seconds left to give the ball back to BYU. After a BYU timeout, Connor Harding inbounded the ball to Haws who took it down the right side of the court as the clock wound down. Haws pulled up and shot a fadeaway jumper as the buzzer sounded. The ball hit the front of the rim, bounced straight up and dropped through the net to give BYU the one-point win at 72-71.
“They fought every second they were out there,” BYU head coach Mark Pope said. “TJ Haws came down on the drag-screen, pulls up and the ball hit the very front of the rim. It hung in the air for a long time and then it was such an epic moment for our guys. They've been working really hard for that. It’s really special to have former head coach Dave Rose here, with his banners that are hung up on the walls, sitting in the front row. It’s hard to write it better than that. These guys work so hard and sacrifice so much so they can have a moment like that, that they won’t ever forget.”
Alex Barcello led BYU with 16 points, four rebounds and three assists. Kolby Lee and Jake Toolson followed with 14 apiece as Lee grabbed seven rebounds while adding four assists. Lee's totals were all career highs.
While Houston scored first, BYU quickly came from behind to start out the game. Two 3-pointers followed by two layups gave BYU a 10-5 lead with 15:52 left on the clock. A trey from Houston brought the game within two points but two free-throws from Barcello increased BYU’s lead to four.
At the 10 minute mark, BYU led Houston by eight points after Toolson and Barcello both sank 3-pointers to make the score 20-12. A jumper in the paint from Lee followed by a point from the charity line gave BYU its first double-digit lead at 23-13.
A jumper and a trey from Barcello followed by a 3-pointer from Toolson put BYU up at 14 points at 31-17. Houston began to chip away at BYU’s lead holding the Cougars scoreless for the final three minutes of play. Houston was able to put up five points to finish the half as BYU went into the locker room ahead 35-28. Barcello led both teams with 12 points as BYU was shooting a 40 percent clip from the 3-point line compared to Houston’s 18.2 percent.
Houston continued to chip away at BYU’s lead after the half and brought the game within three points with three jumpers, making the score 37-34.
A layup from Zac Seljaas put BYU up by eight points, but a Houston layup followed by a dunk decreased BYU’s lead to four points with 12:25 left in the half. The two teams traded points until a layup, a free throw and another layup from Houston brought the score within one point at 52-51. BYU countered, going on a 7-2 run to make the score 59-53 with over seven minutes to go.
Two trey’s from Houston brought the game within two points and the Houston Cougars followed it up with a jumper to tie the score at 67-all. However, Toolson answered, sinking a 3-pointer of his own to give BYU a brief three-point lead. Houston responded quickly with a basket in the paint, bringing the score to 70-69 with just over two minutes left in the game.
After Houston took the lead with a pair of free throws, a buzzer-beater jumper for Haws gave BYU the one-point advantage to end the game at 72-71.
BYU continues on the road to take on Boise State at the Extra Mile Arena in Boise, Idaho, on Wednesday, Nov. 20. Tipoff is slated for 8 p.m. MST and will be broadcasted on the CBS Sports Network with like radio coverage on BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143/89.1 FM HD2 and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.