The BYU Cougars welcomed the Stanford Cardinal to the Marriott Center on a night they were facing the possibility of not having their leading scorer on the court. Coach Dave Rose announced before the game that Tyler Haws would start but would be re-evaluated after about five minutes to see if he could continued. With their NCAA Tournament hopes already on the bubble, the Cougars could ill afford a loss and Haws was ready to do his part.
The Cougars came out determined to avoid the slow starts that have plagued them in the past and jumped to an early five point lead. Haws started off the scoring when he hit an 18 footer on his first touch. The Cougars went on a couple of runs as they jumped to a 13-9 lead before allowing Stanford to go on their own 6-0 run. Early it looked like the Cougars Achilles heel would be the offensive put back as Stanford scored multiple second chance points in the first few minutes. The Cardinal would pull within four at the under 11 time out at 18-14 but BYU would score five straight to go up nine. Haws would hit a three to give him 10 points and give him is 60th straight double digit game, and 100th overall to tie Michael Smith for 3rd all time. The Cougars would build an eight point lead at 32-24 at the under four minute time out but would give up a 9-0 run to the Cardinal to give Stanford their first lead of the game at 33-32. With the Cougars going cold, the teams would stay within one of each other from the free throw line before Kyle Collinsworth would take the ball with eight seconds left and drive for a half ending lay-up, giving BYU the halftime lead 36-35.
The Cougars jumped out of the half making the hustle plays and increased the lead to four but again missed free throws cost the Cougar chances to build a lead in the early minutes. The teams kept it close for the first five minutes of the half but a 13-5 run over five minutes gave the Cougars their lead back and they again went up by eight at 59-51. Much of the run was accomplished with Collinsworth on the bench after being called for his second charge, and third foul of the night. With 10 minutes left in the game Anson Winder began to heat up as he took a number of drives from coast to coast. Stanford was not ready to go away however as they forced a Cougar time out with under eight to play as they crept back within four at 61-57. BYU would then take over again as they would go on an 11-2 run as they became much more aggressive on both ends of the court. BYU began getting the rebounds, put backs, and even the big men began diving after the ball.
With less than five minutes in the game the Cougars forced another Cardinal time out as a loose ball was flipped from Luke Worthington, who was laying on the floor, to a wide open Chase Fischer for a layup and a 72-59 lead. The Cardinal didn't want to go away, but they appeared tired and continued to have a problem stopping the Cougars as they ran the court. With under three minutes to go the Cardinal found their second wind as they began their full court press and two straight Cougar turnovers cut the Cougars lead to five at 77-72. As the time began to slip away, the Cardinal started to foul and the Cougars couldn't capitalize. After multiple trips of hitting one of two shots, and a seven point lead, the Cardinal found life with under a minute to go. Chasson Randle would hit his biggest shot of the night as he hit a three with 54 seconds to go, cutting the deficit to two on a 13-2 run. Another turnover by the Cougars gave the Cardinal a chance with 23.1 seconds and the possible final shot to tie or lead. A missed three by Randle with 4.8 seconds, and two missed free throws by Winder, set up the dramatic missed shot by Randal to give the Cougars the 79-77 win.
BYU was once again led in scoring by Tyler Haws who had a game high 24 while Fischer added 16, Collinsworth added 15, and Winder added 13. Collinsworth just missed another triple double as he finished with 10 rebounds and seven assists.
BYU will stay home to take on the UMass Minutemen on Tuesday, December 23rd at 12 pm MST. The game will be televised on BYUtv.