BYU COUGARS

TJ Haws Hits Game-Winner To Lift BYU Over Saint Mary’s

Feb 1, 2020, 11:29 PM | Updated: Feb 2, 2020, 1:07 am

PROVO, Utah – BYU senior TJ Haws has gone through everything in his career with the Cougars, but Saturday night was one of the best moments. With nine seconds left in the game, Haws hit the game-winner to give BYU an 81-79 win that should give them another boost to their NCAA Tournament resume.

The game-winning shot was Haws’ second of the season, the other coming at Houston. But this one holds a greater significance as Haws and his wife are headed to the hospital after the game to welcome their first baby into the world. In the words of Yoeli Childs, “you can’t make that up.”

“I got a big day tomorrow. We’re actually heading to the hospital tonight and we’ll begin the process tonight. So yeah we’ll start the process tonight. It’s been a full day of emotions, to say the least. But yeah, I’m super excited and I’m happy that we came out with the win and now I’m going to have one of the coolest experiences of my life. I’m excited,” said Haws.

Haws ended the night with 32 points, five assists, two rebounds, and one steal in 35 minutes of play to improve BYU’s record to 17-7 overall and 6-3 in the West Coast Conference putting the Cougars in a tie for second place with Saint Mary’s.

The finish was straight out of a storybook ending but the game wasn’t a fairytale for all 40 minutes for BYU. Saint Mary’s was up by a game-high eight points in the second half before BYU fought back to tie the game up at 69 apiece.

Senior forward Yoeli Childs played in 22 minutes scoring 19 points and pulling down three rebounds in a game where head coach Mark Pope said he wasn’t sure if Childs was going to be able to play due to an injury.

Childs had his hands full all night with the Gaels frontcourt led by Malik Fitts who couldn’t be stopped.

Fitts scored a game-high 29 points for SMC before fouling out at the 4:36 mark of the game after Haws caught him on a pump fake behind the three-point line. Even without Fitts, SMC built a four-point lead with 90 seconds remaining on an Alex Ducas corner three.  BYU got back in it by making three free throws before Haws ultimately hit the game-winning shot.

Saint Mary’s had two final shot attempts to try and tie the game, but BYU got the defensive stops necessary to come away with a big win.

Jake Toolson with an injury scare

Around the 11-minute mark in the first half, BYU guard Jake Toolson went down with what looked to be a gruesome ankle injury that had the Marriott Center crowd gasping after seeing the replay multiple times on the big screens. Toolson was laying on the ground but bounced back minutes later and ended the night with 8 points and 4 rebounds.

“I’m so happy for this Jake Toolson. He was terrified and I was terrified. The only thing we heard from the medical staff was maybe some conversation about a tibia or whatever and it really scared us; and then miraculously he rolls back out and gave the team a big lift when he ran back into the huddle,” said BYU coach Mark Pope.

Toolson joked on social media that his injury was similar to the one Boston’s Paul Pierce had back in 2008 in the NBA Finals, where Pierce immediately returned after being wheelchaired off The Garden floor.

Stat of the Night

Remember when former Utah Jazz head coach Ty Corbin said he didn’t believe in plus/minus as a stat? Well, he was right on Saturday night as the player of the night for BYU in senior guard TJ Haws ended with a -7 +/-, the worst on BYU’s team in the 81-79 win.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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