After going on a two-year LDS mission sophomore guard Tyler Haws is doing his own thing rather well.
So well, in fact, that he eclipsed his father Marty’s 40 point BYU career high with 42 points Saturday in a blowout 97-71 win over Virginia Tech at the Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City.
“I’m going to give him a hard time, someone told me that and that’s a cool thing,” said Haws.
In fact, Haws is helping Cougars fans forget about the man with one name, the person who is synonymous with BYU basketball culture in the new millenium.
Averaging 20.9 points on 47 percent field goal shooting and a scorching 41.5 percent from behind the three point line, Haws is bringing the noise.
After two years of wondering who would step up and fill the void that Jimmer left, it looks like Haws will be filling that role.
“I was able to get into a rhythm. I think they were doubling B (Brandon Davies) and so I got a few open shots, which is pretty unusual. I found my rhythm and I was able to knock my shots down tonight. It’s fun when you can get into a rhythm. It was a great win for our team going into league play.” – Haws
At 10-4 the Cougars are not only primed for another run at the NCAA Tournament — they now will have to take care of business in West Coast Conference play.
With the likes of No. 13 Gonzaga on the docket, however, nothing should be taken for granted.
As for Haws, the similarities to Jimmer’s play is certainly there when you consider he got 29 of his 42 points in the first half Saturday — the most in one half since Jimmer scored 33 against New Mexico in the 2011 Mountain West Conference Tournament. (As you might recall, Jimmer had 52 in that game.)
But in the second half Saturday Haws also saw something that Cougars fans remember all too well from the Jimmer days, and that’s more attention from the opposition.
“I think you just have to stay aggressive and take what the defense gives you. I was trying to get some other guys involved, and B (Davies) had a strong start in the second half. All of our guys played well, and this is a good team win,” said Haws.
Though Haws is one player, he also recognizes that he is not the team, which is good.
Does being more unselfish mean Haws will eventually get fewer shots than his teammates? Not if you look at his stat sheet.
At present the sophomore has had twice as many looks than all but one teammate — senior center Brandon Davies — and Haws still has 40 more shot attempts than him too.
While Cougar fans will rightfully point to the fact that at the moment the sophomore is scoring about 21 points per game — he has also committed 33 turnovers, which puts him at about the same pace as Jimmer in 2010-11 from a point-to-turnover ratio.
Of course, Jimmer did score 29 points per game during that magical season as a senior — but the scary part about Haws is that he is just a sophomore.
And sophomores shouldn’t be playing like this — unless you’re at Duke or Kentucky. That said, Haws did struggle against Iowa State and Baylor — scoring just nine and 13 points, respectively in two Cougars losses.
On the flip side, he scored over 20 points in BYU’s other two losses coming against Notre Dame and Florida State earlier this year in a tournament in Brooklyn.
So it’s clear he can score against anyone.
“He was special, he was special. He’s a really good player, I mean, he’s a really good player. He can score in a lot of different ways. He’s savvy, he’s crafty, he’s smart; he’s probably one of the best guards we’ll play against all year long. He had a really good day and he came out right from the start,” said Virginia Tech head coach James Johnson.
But what Cougars fans really want to know — and don’t — is if Haws can lead BYU back to the NCAA Tournament beyond where the Jimmer-led Cougars were able to just two seasons ago.
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