After a heartbreaking defeat at the hands of the Pepperdine Waves, the BYU Cougars looked to bounce back at home against the Loyola Marymount Lions. For the Lions they were facing an uphill battle but it became even more difficult just hours before game time as it was announced that Evan Payne, the Lions leading scorer with 20 ppg, would miss the game due to either a coaches decision or a violation of team rules. No further information was provided at the time.
The Cougars started the game strong as they scored the first 10 points of the game including a three pointer from Anson Winder, another from Chase Fischer, two steals, and two Tyler Haws buckets. The Lions would slow the Cougars down a bit as they went on a 5-0 run to pull within five at 12-7. The teams would trade baskets for a time but a Fischer three pointer would extend the lead a bit at 23-11. The Cougars would maintain their double digit lead for the most of the rest of the half as they built it up to 16 after a Winder three at 40-24. Thanks to a drought of over three minutes, and 2-10 shooting, the Cougars allowed the Lions to put together another run as they rattled off six straight points and a 40-30 game. Haws would break the run as he went on a 4-0 run himself to go up 44-30 but the Lions would pull within eight after another 6-0 run. Skyler Halford would finish the scoring for the half with a three and a 47-36 Cougars halftime lead.
Haws would start the Cougars scoring right out of the gate in the second half as he hit a bucket to push the lead to 13 but it would be the only Cougar points in over four minutes. What was once a 16 points lead quickly dwindled to six as the Cougars struggled to score. With just over 15 minutes left in the game the Cougars broke the run with a Fischer bucket. It seemed the momentum would flip back to BYU after a Haws shot rimmed out but Kyle Collinsworth took the rebound on his way up and threw it down, sending the crowd into a frenzy. BYU would quickly go on a 13-0 run as Halford hit a three, Fischer hit a Jimmer three, consecutive steals led to buckets and the lead blossomed to 17 at 66-49. Just when the game looked to be getting out of hand the Lions came back with a 13-3 run and pulled within seven at 69-62. the Cougars lead would once again hit double digits as Halford drained another three pointer and then a steal lead to another powerful Collinsworth dunk to lead 74-62. The Lions weren't ready to go away as they pulled back to within six before Collinsworth hit two free throws to get the lead back to 10. The Lions couldn't pull closer than eight for the rest of the game and the Cougars rewarded the fans with two highlight shots as the clock clicked away. The first, was a fake pass from Haws in the paint before laying it in (You can see this below thanks to a Vine created by Tyler Stahle). The second was an acrobatic shot that arced in as Haws was fouled. With the free throw make Haws become the all-time leader in made free throws at BYU, passing the great Jimmer Fredette. With the game out of reach the Lions didn't bother fouling as time ran out and BYU walked away with the 85-72 win.
Along with the free throw record, Haws also increased his double-digit scoring games to 106, and is now tied for third all-time on the Cougars list. Haws led all scorers with 26 and was joined in double-digits by Fischer (19), Winder (15), and Collinsworth (13). Collinsworth just missed another triple-double as he pulled down 10 rebounds and dished out eight assists.
The Cougars will next travel to Stockton, CA to face the Pacific Tigers on Thursday, January 15th at 9pm MST. The game will be televised on ESPNU.