42 pts

Haws approaches the Jimmer-sphere with career day vs. Va. Tech

2012-12-30T00:45:00Z 2013-11-06T21:45:29Z Haws approaches the Jimmer-sphere with career day vs. Va. TechJason Franchuk - Daily Herald Daily Herald
December 30, 2012 12:45 am  • 

SALT LAKE CITY — BYU had the chore of facing the nation's leading scorer, a guard who had likes and dislikes and the Cougars matched basically everything on the scouting report.

Virginia Tech didn't match it one bit against one of the Cougars' top scorers Saturday.

The Hokies' goal at EnergySolutions Arena turned out to be just keeping Haws from getting much past 50, which was a benchmark set well after the sophomore guard was on the way to setting up shop for a big day amid a 97-71 blowout: a career-high 42 points that was tied for eighth in school history and just 10 shy of the school record.

New Virginia Tech coach James Johnson noted that his team went away from its basic "help" defense principles in the second half and made a concerted effort to "not let him touch the ball as much."

Results?

"It kept him from getting to 60," Johnson said of his team going away from zone, way after it was clear Haws was in it.

He had 29 first-half points, setting up a halftime cushion in which the Hokies only led him by two. But they trailed by 25 if you counted everyone else in blue and white, 56-31.

It was a far cry from last year's meeting in Blacksburg, which BYU scored 70, won by two and survived a 3-pointer at the buzzer. And the Hokies seemed to prepare for BYU by watching that game, plus anything over the previous two seasons rather than see a versatile guard that was the best points producer on the team (19.3) until center Brandon Davies overtook him by a point because of a better performance two nights prior against Northern Arizona.

What, Tech's personnel didn't hear of Haws while he spent the past couple of years in the Philippines?

"You could tell Ty was feeling it," said teammate Josh Sharp. "We were definitely going to keep getting him the ball."

Right from the start, it started. Haws hit a 3-pointer from the right elbow, then another from the corner. Both easy, open looks off soft defense that dared him to shoot. A quick 6-0 deficit was Tech's punishment.

He would go 3 1/2 minutes without adding to his total, but then Haws hit 3-pointers on 2-of-3 trips up the floor and ran the margin to 22-9. One came off a nice rebound from Nate Austin that turned into the Cougars quickly moving the ball around, finding their hot hand again.

And boy, was it hot.

Haws' total was the most by any Division I player this season, surpassing a 41 mark from Andre Hollins of Minnesota in a win against Memphis.

"It showed him, showed our staff, showed the team what the future could hold for him," Rose said.

He relied on Haws to do some scoring late in the second half in large part because Davies went down with a sprained ankle. The center perhaps could have played in a closer game, BYU officials said, though Rose pointed out that he was "pretty sore."

And BYU needed either of those players to be on the floor, as it's still painfully obvious they are lost otherwise.

"Our challenge will be to keep him fresh," Rose said of the returned missionary, who continues to insist his body feels really good — perhaps even better than he could have expected.

He talked to reporters afterward while barefoot, a common act as he ties his shoes so tightly for games (including a ridiculous number of knots on the laces).

Aside from Haws' big day, and Davies chipping in 17 before he started limping, the blowout was fueled by BYU's defense snuffing out 6-foot-3 senior guard Erick Green.

He was shy early and finished with 12 points, a little less than half his national-best average of 25.4, while missing on 13 of his 17 shots.

"I thought we closed quickly on his penetration and contested him real well," Rose said.

Tech missed 18 of its 20 3-pointers and its top scorer for the game, Jarell Eddie, had 17 points on 12 shots (missing seven).

The defense masked another so-so outside shooting performance from BYU, which continues to struggle if it can't get near the rim.

Haws made 6-of-8 himself from 3-point range, while the rest of his team was 1-for-11.

Though Rose credited the Cougars, who shot 46 percent, for not just settling for the quick start. That goes, too, for Haws. He had the hot hand early against Baylor last Friday, helping to produce an 11-point road lead, then skidded into foul trouble and a quiet second half in a blowout defeat.

But it was quite the way to start West Coast Conference play next Thursday, at home against Loyola Marymount — a team that won at the Marriott Center last year.

BYU suffered from early point guard issues when Matt Carlino and Anson Winder discovered foul trouble.

Davies' injury could have been worse, for the game and for the long haul.

Sharp played well, including a late, thunderous dunk in which he was so fired up he didn't even realize he was also going also to be rewarded with a free throw. Except hustling back up the court, Haws wrapped up him to both congratulate and change his teammate's direction.

Raul Delgado had 17 sturdy minutes, and BYU needs more options like him to develop. Because attention is surely going to focus on taking Haws out of his game.

"All of the guys played well today," Haws said.

Good enough to be the new school record holder?

Possibly. But the Hokies changed their defensive presence and Haws was 5-of-12 from the field in the second half. He was 9-of-13 in the first half.

He went out with a fury, scoring six consecutive BYU points to run the lead to 26 with 3:11 left when Rose let his star get showered with a standing ovation from the early-afternoon crowd of 15,684.

Haws wound up just 10 points shy of Jimmer Fredette's record set during his senior year.

jason-franchuk
-- Jason Franchuk covers primarily BYU football and basketball for the Daily Herald. You can follow him on Twitter, @HarkTheFranchuk.
Read more from  Jason Franchuk here.

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