2014-15 BYU basketball season review
The 2014-15 season marked BYU basketball’s 10th under Dave Rose and the Cougars turned in yet another strong campaign.
BYU finished 25-10 overall, 13-5 in the West Coast Conference, advanced to the WCC tournament final and received an at-large bid to the 2015 NCAA Tournament. Rose and the Cougars extended their streaks of 10-straight 20-win seasons and 10-straight trips to the postseason – both program records. The 25 wins gave Rose his seventh 25-win season and the NCAA tournament bid was the program’s eighth in nine years.
Senior guard Tyler Haws concluded his career as BYU’s all-time leader in numerous categories, including all-time scoring leader with 2,720 career points. He averaged 22.2 points per game to lead the West Coast Conference and finished third in the nation in scoring. A model of consistency, Haws scored in double figures 34 times and posted 20-plus points 24 times. Haws was named AP All-America Honorable Mention, Senior CLASS Award All-America Second Team, All-WCC First Team, WCC All-Tournament and USBWA and NABC All-District First Team.
Coming off a torn ACL suffered at the end of the 2013-14 season, junior guard Kyle Collinsworth wasted little time reestablishing himself as one of the most versatile players in the country. He posted an NCAA single-season record six triple-doubles and averaged 13.8 points, 8.7 rebounds, 6.0 assists and 1.8 steals. Collinsworth finished the season as the only player in the country ranked among the top 100 in rebounds, assists and steals. A four-time WCC Player of the Week, he earned several postseason honors, including AP All-America Honorable Mention, a spot on the Lute Olson All-America team and All-WCC First Team.
Chase Fischer etched his name in the record books for his outside shooting prowess in his first season at BYU. The Wake Forest transfer averaged 13.2 points, 2.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists while hitting 103 3s, the second most in a single season in BYU history. The Ripley, West Virginia, native also had the second-most games with five 3s (eight) in a single season and tied for the second-most games with three 3s (17). Fischer set the BYU record for 3s in a single game with 10 against Chaminade at the Maui Invitational.
Senior guards Skyler Halford and Anson Winder played the best basketball of their careers in 2014-15. Winder averaged career highs of 12.7 points, 3.4 rebounds and 1.8 assists while earning All-WCC Honorable Mention. He scored in double figures 20 times and posted a career-best 25 points against UMass. Halford established himself as the most accurate deep threat in the WCC, shooting a league-best 48.1 percent from three. He averaged 8.8 points and was at his best during the second half of the season as he scored in double figures in 13 of the last 16 games of the season.
Another Cougar who emerged in his first year with the program was freshman big man Corbin Kaufusi. Originally recruited to play football at BYU, Kaufusi switch sports after growing several inches during a two-year mission in South Korea. He started the final 13 games of the season and registered 3.4 points, 3.9 rebounds while swatting 34 shots, the third most ever by a Cougar freshman. Senior forward Josh Sharp also saw an increased role late in the season as he started the team’s final 10 games. His strong defensive play helped BYU finish strong and capture a bid to the NCAA tournament.
The nonconference portion of the schedule featured road wins at Utah State and Weber State and home wins against Stanford and UMass. Tyler Haws scored 35 in the win at Utah State, BYU’s first win in the Spectrum since 2000. After posting a 5-4 record in the first half of league play, the Cougars finished strong, going 8-1 to claim the second seed in the WCC tournament. The second half finish was highlighted by a six-game winning streak that was capped by a victory at No. 3/2 Gonzaga. The win over the Bulldogs was BYU’s first against a top-3 team since 1981 and snapped Gonzaga’s 41-game home win streak.
BYU’s strong finish to the regular season carried over to the WCC tournament. The Cougars defeated Santa Clara 78-76 on a late jumper by Haws to advance to the semifinals against Portland. Kyle Collinsworth registered his sixth triple-double to tie the NCAA career record as the Cougars flew past the Pilots, 82-69.
The Cougars fell to Gonzaga in the championship but did enough to earn their eighth NCAA tournament at-large bid in nine years. No. 11 seed BYU took on fellow No. 11 seed Ole Miss in the First Four in Dayton, Ohio. Despite 33 points from Haws, the Cougars could not hold off Ole Miss and fell 94-90 to end the season.