BYU Outlasts USF, Faces Zags for Title
LAS VEGAS — San Francisco star forward Cole Dickerson summed it up best late Monday night following BYU’s 79-77 overtime win over the Don’s in the semifinals of the WCC basketball tournament.
“It was a war,” Dickerson said.
Indeed, it was a tough, physical game in which the Cougars had to battle to the very end, and beyond, to advance to the conference championship game for the first time in their first three tries in the league.
For the second time in as many games in the tournament, BYU struggled from the field but found a way to prevail.
Tyler Haws was the game’s leading scorer with 24 points despite the fact that he made just 5 of 19 shots. Though he shot just 26 percent from the floor, Haws was a perfect 14-0f-14 from the free throw line. As a team, the Cougars made 24 of 28 free throw attempts and outscored the Dons by 12 points from the charity stripe.
Guard Kyle Collinsworth turned in his second double-double in the tournament, scoring 18 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.
BYU built a 10-point lead, 22-12 lead midway through the first half, but were unable to hold on to it as USF turned up the defense in the final ten minutes of the half. The Dons fought back to take a 37-35 lead into the break.
In the second half, the Cougars again built a lead, going up by seven at 58-51 with just over nine minutes left in the game. But once again, San Francisco took BYU out of its offense and rallied to tie the game at 64 in regulation, holding the Cougars scoreless over the final 6:13 of regulation.
In overtime, Haws got to the free throw line three times and made all six of his attempts as BYU build a six point lead at 70-64. However, USF once again came back and got with one at 78-77 following an Avery Holmes driving layup with 11 seconds left.
Anson Winder, who finished with 15 points, then made one of his two free throw attempts to put the Cougars up by two with eight seconds to go. Avery then missed a desperation three-point shot from the corner that could have won the game for the Dons.
The victory may have punched BYU’s at-large ticket to the Big Dance next week.
BYU now faces Gonzaga tonight at 7:00 pm MDT on ESPN for the WCC tournament title and automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Cougars and Zags split the season series with one win apiece.
In their 73-65 win in the Marriott Center in February, BYU freshman center Eric Mika came off the bench and was able to get Gonzaga big men Sam Dower and Przemek Karnowski in foul trouble. Which ever team can keep their key big men on the court on Tuesday night will be in a good position to win the game.
USF Game Player Notes
In his 100th career start, Haws scored 24 points, grabbed four rebounds, had two assists and one steal. His 24 points passed Russell Larson for fifth in career scoring and also pushed him above 1,900 points for his career with 1,901.
He also passed Danny Ainge (493) for sixth in career free throws made with 503. On the season list, Haws passed Devin Durrant (200) for fourth most free throws made in a season with 208 and Ken Roberts (230) for eighth in free throw attempts in a season with 238.
Haws broke Jimmer Fredette’s BYU record for most free throws made without a miss in a conference tournament game as he went 14 of 14. It’s also the second most free throws made in a conference tournament game and tied for the third most free throws attempted in a conference tournament game.
Haws scored in double digits for the 46th straight game, which is the fourth longest streak in BYU history. His 20-point game was his 49th career and 20th this season. He’s now tied with Devin Durrant for the eighth most 20-point games in a season. Haws also moved into 16th in career steals passing Justin Weidauer.
Collinsworth recorded his second straight double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds. He added two assists and one steal. It is his seventh double-double this season and is the first time he recorded double-doubles in consecutive games. It’s the third straight game he has scored in double digits.
His 12 rebounds moved him into third place in career conference tournament rebounds with 52. He is three rebounds behind Lee Cummard’s BYU career conference tournament record and is 12 rebounds away from the West Coast Conference tournament record of 40.
Collinsworth grabbed six offensive rebounds and now has the fifth most offensive rebounds in a season with 84.
Winder finished with 15 points, five rebounds and an assist. Winder has scored in double digits in each of his past five games.
Austin finished with four rebounds and a block.
Carlino finished with 11 points, two rebounds, two steals and one assist. He has scored in double figures in five straight games, which is tied for his longest streak when coming off the bench. All 11 points came in the second half and overtime.
Carlino’s 11 points moved him past Randy Reid and Joe Richey for 29th on the career scoring list. Carlino now has 1,178 points and has made the 19th most 3-pointers in a season. Carlino moved up the season steals list and is tied with Danny Ainge with 60 steals for the seventh most in a season.
Mika recorded his fifth double-double of the season and first since BYU played San Francisco on Feb. 20. He finished with 11 points, 10 rebounds and two assists. Mika also started for the first time since Feb. 15 at Saint Mary’s.
Mika now has 87 offensive rebounds, which is tied with Rafael Araujo for the fourth most offensive rebounds in a season.
Collinsworth, Winder, Haws, Austin and Mika started together for the first time this season.
Haws, Winder, Collinsworth, Mika and Carlino scored in double figures. BYU is now 4-2 when five players score in double digits.
This is the sixth straight win for BYU, which is the longest winning streak of the season.
The victory in overtime was the first win in a single overtime since a 70-69 victory over New Mexico on Feb. 26, 2008
BYU started on an 8-0 run. Mika scored four points, while Winder and Collinsworth each scored a bucket.
Carlino scored nine of BYU’s 13 points as the Cougars took a 58-51 lead during a 13-4 run with 10 minutes left in the second half. Mika and Collinsworth added two points each.
In the five minute overtime period, BYU scored 15 points on three field goals and nine free throws, including a 6-0 run to start overtime. Collinsworth tipped in a miss for two points and Haws followed with four straight free throws.
BYU Women also Advance
The BYU women’s team will also take on Gonzaga Tuesday with a conference tournament championship and automatic bid to the NCAAs on the line.
The Cougars (26-5, 14-4 WCC) took care of Pacific 77-64 in the WCC semifinals on Monday afternoon, picking up their 10th-straight win in the process. Five players scored in double figures for head coach Jeff Judkins, led by Lexi Eaton’s 17 points.
BYU and Gonzaga split their two games in conference this season. Th Zags dominated the first game in Spokane 68-42 as BYU’s 6-7 center and conference MVP Jennifer Hamson fouled out midway through the second half after scoring just five points.
The Cougars bounced back in the second game in Provo later in the season, posting a 62-52 win. Hamson led the way with 20 points, eights rebounds and seven blocked shots.
Today’s game will tip off at 2:00 pm MDT and will be broadcast on ESPNU.