PROVO, Utah – Senior Tyler Haws led BYU men's basketball past San Francisco 78-74 in a close battle Thursday night at the Marriott Center.
"I'm pleased with the response of our guys," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "I thought we played with a lot of urgency tonight and a lot of emotion in a game that was really tough because we didn't have a lot of things going right for us. We were good defensively and turned them over, but we were having a hard time getting shots, especially 3-pointers. I told the guys that we found another way to win it, and we'll take it and move on."
Haws led the Cougars with 28 points, including going 9 of 10 from the free-throw line, and a team-high three steals. Kyle Collinsworth led BYU in rebounds and assists with six in each category while contributing eight points. Anson Winder was the only other Cougar to score in double figures, adding 11 points in the win.
BYU (16-7, 6-4 West Coast Conference) got the first bucket of the game from a Winder transition layup. San Francisco (9-13, 3-7 WCC) followed with an 8-2 run to take an early 8-4 edge. The Cougars quickly countered, however, with an 8-0 rally of their own to go back up by four at 12-8.
The teams traded points back and forth until five-straight points from Haws extended BYU's advantage to seven at 22-15 with just under nine minutes remaining in the half. The Dons stayed in the game, scoring the next five points amidst a near-four minute Cougar scoring drought to cut the lead to two, 22-20.
Chase Fischer made his first 3-pointer of the game with two minutes left in the half, putting BYU back up by six at 30-24. San Francisco later scored with under five seconds on the clock to cut into the Cougar advantage, making it 34-30 at the break.
Coming out of halftime, the Dons tied up the score at 38 apiece until an inbounds 3-point play from Fischer gave BYU seven-consecutive points and a 45-38 lead. With a one-point Cougar lead, 46-45, Skyler Halford, Collinsworth and Haws scored consecutive buckets to put BYU back up by seven at 52-45.
The Cougars struggled on offense from there, going 1 for 8 from the floor before Haws hit a turn-around jumper to extend BYU's advantage back to seven, 60-53. The Dons rallied back within a point at 61-60 following a made 3-pointer, but Isaac Neilson took a charge to stop San Francisco's momentum.
The teams then traded points with a Winder steal and lay-in giving BYU a five-point 69-64 lead. Following a made free throw from Winder, the score remained 72-70 in favor of the Cougars. Combined made shots from the charity stripe by Halford and Frank Bartley IV then extended BYU's advantage to four at 76-72 with under 10 seconds remaining.
The Dons ran the court to make a quick bucket and had an opportunity for a 3-point play, but Winder recovered the missed shot, getting fouled in the process. After a made pair of free throws, San Francisco failed to score, giving the Cougars the 78-74 victory.
BYU returns to action Saturday at the Marriott Center at 7 p.m. MST against Santa Clara. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and simulcast on BYU Radio. The game will also be broadcast live on the Cougar IMG Sports Network on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM. Links to live stats and a video feed can be found on the BYU men's basketball schedule page.