KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Readiness was a must, especially with the shot clock winding down and the BYU possession being so critical.
But this was Tyler Haws. And when BYU's talented junior shooter has it going — and going at such a steady pace — maybe it didn't matter just how much his Cougar teammates crashed the boards Monday in case of a miss.
Matt Carlino admitted he waited near the rim, ready for a carom. Eric Mika said he may have never gone so hard after a basketball as when Haws released this particular shot at Sprint Center.
And all Haws did was make the valiant virtues of preparedness become a moot point, his 18-foot runner with about 40 seconds left putting a cap on a wild personal second half and an 86-82 BYU win against Texas.
His shot made it 83-80 and the Longhorns never challenged again after missing some tough, long shots.
"They executed," Texas coach Rick Barnes said in as eloquent of a statement as can be said of the individual who changed the game. "And Haws, at the end — he did what he did."
What'd he did, uh...do to improve BYU to 5-1?
Haws finished with 25 points, only two of which came before halftime. And it's not like the whole second half was his. His first basket came on layup out of a BYU timeout nearly six minutes into the period, after the sharp-shooting Cougars found themselves trailing, 53-52, because of the Longhorns' size and ability to produce extra chances on possessions.
BYU surrendered a 47-40 edge on rebounding and a 31-28 margin on attempted free throws. It was a tough night in many regards.
Amazingly, though, the Cougars swung both numbers in their favor late. It came despite second-half foul trouble that at one key stretch had Kyle Collinsworth, Eric Mika and Nate Austin all on the bench with four fouls.
BYU head coach Dave Rose had to switch that plan with about 5:15 left, after UT took a 77-73 lead on a 3-point shot.
BYU's zone defense and enough key shooting helped to set up a Tuesday night showdown (8 p.m. in Utah) with No. 12-ranked Wichita State.
"We haven't really talked about it at all," Mika said. "We knew Texas was going to be a heck of a game. And we wanted to take it one at a time. But I'm sure I speak for the whole team when I say that Wichita State was definitely in the back of our minds while we were getting ready for this tournament. It would be a big opportunity on a big stage."
Carlino raved about how athletic the Longhorns were, and what a critical win it was for BYU coming off a heartbreaker last Wednesday against Iowa State.
"Those are games we haven't gotten the win in the past, so it was great to get that one," Carlino said.
BYU was 5-of-35 from the 3-point line in the previous two games, but hit its first six opportunities split evenly between Carlino and Frank Bartley IV, who shined off the bench with 11 points in 26 minutes.
BYU finished 10-of-12 from behind the arc in easily the best showing this year.
Carlino had 20 points on 7-of-16 shooting and Haws was the same despite a much slower start.
Carlino got Haws going with a layup late in the first half, letting Haws finish 1-of-6.
"The best thing about Ty is he just keeps going and going," Carlino said. "He pushes through. He just keeps coming at you."
Mika picked up his third foul at 16:06 in second half. He had 15 points, 6 rebounds to that point and the freshman center scored again — but he did set up Haws' crucial runner by flicking the ball to him and providing a screen that offered just enough room for Haws to elevate and fire. Mika said he knew exactly where the clock was. He didn't like his chances in that spot being about 15 feet from the hoop.
"Texas defended it really well," Haws said. "Time was running down. Eric was in the corner. He was acting like he wanted me to come off for a handoff."
Haws scored 11 of BYU's final 12 points, 19-of-21, alleviating the team's other pressing issues. He took BYU from a five-point deficit to a four-point lead as whistles whittled his teammates.
Collinsworth (13 points) and Austin followed Mika to the bench, which hurt not only in experience level but also in size.
Rose said again that he "probably needs to trust" some older players a little more to play in foul trouble.
"But to have our best lineup on the court for the last three minutes of the game was a real advantage for us," Rose said.
So is having Haws be able to hit from virtually any angle. He said a string of free throws in the second half built his confidence, seeing the ball go through the hoop.
Haws had a last-second shot against Iowa State blocked.
But on a roll, he hit a shot he joked he normally saves for practice.
Who knows if he'll have to unleash a similar one against Wichita State, which is still undefeated (6-0) after a 90-72 win against DePaul.