Led by the Cougars big three, the Cougars dominated Santa Clara 89-76 and kept pace with San Francisco for second place in the WCC. Tyler Haws ended with 27 points and five rebounds in 28 minutes. Kyle Collinsworth added 18 points and fives steals and Eric Mika had another double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. The Cougars free-throw shooting took a step forward as they shot almost 74% from the line and at one point hit 22-24. The loss was Santa Clara's 10th straight to the Cougars and the last win in the Marriott center dates back to 1972.
In a half that was dominated by the Cougars, they started off sloppy and out of control. Once they settled down the two teams traded shots before BYU went on a run to hit 6 of 7 shots to lead 22-14 at the under 12 minute time out. In that run Haws scored seven straight points. By this time Haws was already 4 of 4 from the field, 4 of 4 from the free throw line and had 13 points. Scoring in double digits early meant that his streak of double digit games continued at 38. The Cougars quickly took a 16 point lead before a hit to Matt Carlino's face caused a turnover and Haws lost the ball while trying to split defenders. These turnovers led to a 6-0 run for Santa Clara. The run was stopped by an unlikely source, Collinsworth hitting two free throws. The Cougars continued to run and had a 46-33 lead on an Eric Mika dunk and one, with the under four minute time out. The Cougars increased their lead to 18 before Santa Clara went on another run, this time 7-0, and cut the lead to single digits. BYU ended the half strong with a 53-40 lead going into the locker room. Haws ended the half with 17 while Mika and Collinsworth both added 11.
The Cougars continued their domination in the second half as they quickly built the lead back up to 16. During the early minutes of the half, Haws hit a bucket that gave him 1741 for his career and moved him into 8th place on the all time scoring list, passing BYU favorite Mekeli Wesley. The Cougars stretched the lead to 20 after a Carlino 3 point shot and at the under 12 minute break, the Cougars kept a 20 point lead with Haws scoring 26 of them. After a time-out, the Cougars decided to get fancy on the inbound pass and a quick pass to Collinworth led to a dunk that put the Cougars up 80-58. In the process of building the lead, Carlino moved into 43rd on the all-time scoring list when he passed Scott Runia. BYU took their foot off the pedal after building the lead to 24 and allowed a number of points in the waning minutes to make the score closer than it was.
The Cougars will host San Francisco on Saturday for sole possession of 2nd place. The game is at 7pm and will be televised on BYUtv.
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