Haws, Halford lead Cougars over 49ers in season opener
"I’m happy for the win," BYU men's basketball head coach Dave Rose said. "I’m really proud of how our guys competed. I think that’s probably the best thing that we did tonight, is that we just stayed together and competed and made enough plays to win."
Haws finished with a team-high 21 points on 7 of 13 shooting and three steals, while Halford added 18 points and a game and career-high seven assists off the bench. Junior Chase Fischer chipped in a career-high 17 points, including 4 of 8 from beyond the arc, and five assists. Anson Winder contributed 12 points and a career-tying six rebounds with freshman Isaac Neilson adding 10 points in 11 minutes of play.
BYU finished with a 51.9 shooting percentage, 45.8 percent from deep and 84.8 percent at the free-throw line. The Cougars outrebounded the 49ers 33-29 and the BYU bench outscored the Long Beach State bench 43-26.
Luke Worthington scored the first points of the game on a hook less than one minute into the game. After the 49ers took a 3-2 lead, Haws scored the next five points with a 3-pointer and a running jumper to give BYU a 7-3 lead at the 16:55 mark. Fischer and Haws’ points from deep extended the Cougars’ lead to 18-12. LBSU tied it at 22 apiece but was answered with another Fischer 3-pointer. After the 49ers scored, Winder’s three-point play gave BYU a four-point lead at 28-24 with 10:13 left in the first half.
The 49ers went on a 7-0 run to take a 35-30 lead with less than eight minutes remaining, but BYU was able to even the score at 35 following Frank Bartley IV’s three points and Winder’s drive down the lane at the 5:37 mark. With 2:56 remaining, Halford’s 3-pointer gave BYU a short-lived 40-39 lead before LBSU’s shot from beyond the arc gave it a 47-46 halftime lead.
Fischer led all scorers with nine points and two assists with Haws adding eight points at halftime. The Cougars shot 53.8 percent from the field and 86.7 percent from the free-throw line.
BYU went on a quick 7-0 run to start the second half on a Nate Austin 3-pointer, a Haws layup and a Kyle Collinsworth’s drive to retake a 53-47 lead. Austin’s block at the 17:54 mark helped the Cougars maintain their five-point lead. LBSU came within two points until Haws’ drive through traffic, Winder’s 3-pointer and Halford’s free throws put BYU back up 64-58 with 12:14 remaining.
With under 10 minutes remaining in the second half, LBSU tied it at 66 apiece but was answered by Fischer’s third 3-pointer of the game and a Fischer steal that led to a Halford jumper to extend BYU’s lead to five at 71-66. Halford added another five points to give the Cougars their first dougle-digit lead of the game at 77-67 with 6:29 left. Following Haws’ layup down the left baseline at the 4:34 mark, he added another four points at the charity stripe to help BYU maintain and eight-point lead at 83-75.
Fischer’s 3-pointer with less than one minute remaining pushed BYU’s lead to nine. The 49ers answered each Cougar basket with a total of three baskets from deep, but the Cougars put the game away at the free-throw line to take the game 90-95.
The Cougars stay home to host Arkansas-Little Rock and Southern Virginia on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. The Arkansas-Little Rock game is part of the EA SPORTS Maui Invitational. Tuesday’s tipoff will be at 7:30 p.m. MST and Wednesday’s tipoff will be at 7 p.m. MST with both games televised live on BYUtv and broadcast on Cougar IMG Sporst Network on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM.