No. 23 BYU Takes Down Santa Clara Led By Big Second Half From Haws

Feb 20, 2020, 9:18 PM | Updated: Feb 21, 2020, 9:15 am

PROVO, Utah – No. 23 BYU found a way to hold off the upset-minded Santa Clara Broncos 85-75. BYU senior guard TJ Haws had a game-high 28 points with 18 of those points coming in the second half.

With the victory over Santa Clara, BYU now improves to 22-7 overall and 11-3 in West Coast Conference play.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our team. I’m so happy,” said BYU coach Mark Pope. “This is a huge win for us. It’s the first time ever we won seven games in the regular season in this conference. That just shows you how hard it is. We had some whacky lineups out there, trying to feel some stuff out but the guys battled and they figured it out. It was a much different defensive game plan against than we are used to. Couldn’t be happier and we got a quick turnaround here and the guys managed to figure that out. [I] couldn’t be happier.”

BYU has to come away feeling good that they were able to find a way to win a game despite only hitting three three-pointers on the night. The Cougars shot 3-12 from three-point range and the three makes were courtesy of Yoeli Childs who knocked down two and fellow big man Kolby Lee. That’s it.

Sharpshooters Jake Toolson, TJ Haws, and Alex Barcello were a combined 0-6 from deep, and it allowed Santa Clara to take the lead during stretches of the second half.

At the 11:42 mark of the second half, Santa Clara was up 52-51 and BYU looked like a team that was trending towards a head-scratching loss. But then TJ Haws took the game over. Instead of settling for long-range shots, which has been BYU’s identity this season, Haws attacked the basket and was able to get to the foul line.

Haws attempted 12 free throws and made all 12 as part of his 28 points. At one point of the second half, Haws either scored or assisted on 15 consecutive points for BYU.

Those points came in a critical stretch of the second half where BYU was without Yoeli Childs who was battling foul trouble. Childs was on the bench with four fouls, but BYU’s smaller lineup that included Haws and seniors Jake Toolson and Zac Seljaas was able to give BYU a four-point lead when Childs returned.

“Zac Seljaas, I mean come on. Is this Zac Seljaas unbelievable,” asked Mark Pope. “He had two points and four rebounds and I think he won us the game. Like down the stretch, he came up with three huge stops down the stretch and his intensity is just contagious.”

Childs returned to the court with BYU up by six on Santa Clara with 3:28 remaining and from there, BYU pulled away capped off by Childs’ second three of the night that put the Cougars up by 12.

BYU’s big three of Haws, Childs, and Toolson ended up combining for 70 of BYU’s 85 points in the victory that the Cougars desperately needed to get to avoid a loss that would have negatively impacted their NCAA Tournament resume.

Former Wasatch Academy player had a big game for Santa Clara

Santa Clara big man and former Wasatch Academy (Mt. Pleasant, Utah) standout Josip Vrankic had a big game for the Broncos in the post. Vrankic tied TJ Haws’ game-high 28 points and pulled down 11 boards that matched Childs’ production on the glass.

Up Next

No. 23 BYU hosts No. 2 Gonzaga on Saturday in the final home game for the Cougars senior class.

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

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