The United States blitzed an overwhelmed United Arab Emirates squad Sunday, starting pool play at the World University Games on the right foot with a 94-point rout, 140-46. Cincinnati's Sean Kilpatrick led all scorers with 18 points, as eight other Americans scored in double-digits.
Coming off the bench, BYU guard Tyler Haws struggled to adapt to the pace of the game early on and never really found his rhythm, finishing with just 4 points on 1-for-3 shooting in 11 minutes. However, Haws didn't let his offensive struggles sidetrack the rest of his game, as he found other ways to contribute — including racking up 7 rebounds and 2 assists. He even had a nifty alley-oop pass to Creighton's Doug McDermott on the break for a dunk.
Perhaps it was just first-game jitters, but Tyler never looked entirely comfortable on the floor. His decision-making seemed a bit rushed and his normally smooth jumpshot looked slightly stilted on the few attempts he actually took. For the most part, he deferred to his teammates and wasn't particularly aggressive in looking to create his own scoring opportunities. He also struggled to stay in front of UAE's smaller, quicker guards defensively, necessitating a lot of hand-checking that saddled him with 4 fouls.
But despite his struggles, Haws deserves enormous credit for not allowing himself to become frustrated. When his shots weren't falling, he channeled his energy into attacking the glass with a vengeance, and he was a legitimate force on the boards as a result — only three American players collected more rebounds. That kind of activity and hustle will go a long way toward bolstering Haws' reputation in the eyes of coach Bob McKillop.
As Team USA prepares for its next pool game, it will be important for Haws to find his shooting stroke, but it might be even more crucial that he finds a way to adapt to the speed of the international game. If Tyler can't stay in front of opposing guards on defense against better teams than UAE, it may be difficult for McKillop to justify giving him more playing time.
Haws will get another chance to prove himself when the Americans take on the Czech Republic on Monday at 5:00 a.m. EDT. The game will be broadcast live by ESPNU and available for online streaming through WatchESPN and FISU.tv.