He was almost there, you know. Yet something stood in the way of BYU guard Tyler Haws breaking the scoring record at home. Maybe it was an errant shot or 10 that fell off the rim instead of going in.
Maybe it was Haws bulling his way through a screen some San Diego Toreros player set on Thurs. Feb. 20, denying the senior of one opportunity to score even more points than the 28 he poured in during the Cougars’ resounding 75-62 win over a good Toreros team on Thurs. Feb, 19. His quest to overtake Jimmer Fredette on the all-time scoring list at BYU would come up just a bit short for a number of reasons.
Yet there were other opportunities to make history–10 to be exact. Maybe the moment was too much for Haws, who in three years, more or less, obliterated what Jimmer and Danny Ainge did in terms of scoring the basketball.
Haws did just fine from the free throw line, knocking down all 10 of his attempts from the charity stripe. But his nerves were rattled through and through early on. On his first possession in front of a packed Marriott Center crowd anticipating history, Haws turned the ball over.
Maybe Jimmer the ultimate honey badger cast a spell on Haws, causing the turnover. Forget that Jimmer publicly endorsed Haws and is all rah-rah-rah when it comes to having his record broken. How many honey badgers actually aren’t mischievous?
Consider this: Haws didn’t score until 11:52 remained in the first half–when he knocked down two free throws. He didn’t hit a jumper until 8:06 was left until halftime. But for every jumper he made in the first 20 minutes, he missed one, too, or turned the ball over.
Was it all due to the honey badger? Did Jimmer sneak into a voodoo shop down on Bourbon Street in the city of New Orleans where he plays for the Pelicans and did he do something sinister to Haws’ ability to score points?
It sure seemed that way going into the locker room, because after Haws turned the ball over for a third time in the half with 4:55 to play, he missed two jumpers and blew an easy layup to end his horrific first stanza.
Whatever spell Jimmer cast on Haws in the first half, well, it wore off in the second half. Haws came out on a mission not necessarily related this time to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day-Saints–but more to the work he was about to do to the Toreros.
Ahead just 33-28 at the break, Haws came out of the locker room with a purpose. His steal with 18:46 to go led to an assist to fellow senior Anson Winder for a basket. “I don’t know if we were still thinking about senior night, but we eventually got it going,” said Haws. “We talked about being aggressive and attacking them. Anson actually got us going. He got a few buckets early and we fed off his energy.”
In transition, BYU raced down the floor, finding Haws who stood alone in the corner behind the three point arc. He splashed the trey with 18:01 left. One minute later into the second half, Haws was feeling it alright–but his shot bounced off the rim. And one minute after that, Haws was cleaning the glass like the Windex man, grabbing two consecutive rebounds and oh yeah, he had a get-that-shot-outta-here moment also.
You can just imagine what would have happened had Haws not had that dadblasted spell cast on him in the first 20 minutes. With 13:53 left, he drained another jumper, leading up to the TV timeout. On ESPN, he had to think he still had a shot to break the record on Senior Night.
After everyone watched some commercials and settled into their seats at home anticipating history in Provo, Haws squeezed through the lane for a layup and one, giving BYU a 54-37 lead with 11:23 remaining in Haws’ quest to break Jimmer’s record.
Yet after that and-one, Haws self destructed. He turned the ball over yet again, leading to some boneheaded fouls that forced BYU head coach Dave Rose to call a timeout. That calmed the Cougars down, but you didn’t hear from Haws for the next three minutes–an eternity when you’re pressing to break BYU’s all-time scoring record at home in front of your own fans.
With 7:40 to go, the Cougars naturally pushed the ball towards Haws, who drew contact and calmly sank two more charity drops. Guard Kyle Collinsworth tried helping too, when in transition with 6:22 on the game clock he grabbed a rebound and fired a pass to Haws, who pulled up and attempted a three point shot that didn’t go.
If you were counting at home and in the Marriott Center, Haws had 21 points at BYU’s next timeout with 5:49 remaining. It was as if the gods–and possibly Jimmer the ultimate honey badger–were conspiring to prevent Haws from breaking the record.
The senior and son of BYU legend Marty was committing unusual turnovers and missing normally makeable shots. Out of this timeout, he committed a turnover and a foul. And then, after San Diego drilled a J, trimming BYU’s lead to 63-53, everything changed.
Haws got a steal in the forecourt on a great play and turned it into a pullup jumper and one. In two plays, he had five points in 30 seconds–26 for the game. At the TV timeout, even the ESPN announcers mentioned that Haws was only nine points shy of breaking Jimmer’s record. And with 3:27 to go, you had to think he was well within range–especially considering he was on a bit of a streak. Were they jinxing him though?
BYU was only ahead by 10 points at 68-58, making the remainder a foul game for San Diego. The strategy the Toreros employed was unfortunate for Haws, who had plenty of chances to break Jimmer’s record as the game went on, but wouldn’t get any others. In the end, he came up seven points short.
Haws would hit two free throws with less than a minute to go and walk off the home floor for the last time with a win–which was most important. Yet Haws will always wonder whether he would have broken Jimmer’s record at home–had things just gone his way a bit more.
“I’m proud of our guys and proud of our effort. We got off to a slow start but we got it going,” said Haws, who per usual deferred all talk to his team–not to himself. “There are so many fun memories in this building and you put in so much hard work with all these guys, winning and finishing on a good note felt really good.”