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BYU vs Saint Mary's recap: Cougars comeback falls short 82-77

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BYU fought back from an 11 point deficit but couldn't get closer than three as Saint Mary's comes out on top 82-77.

Haws drives on a Cougars offensive possession.
Haws drives on a Cougars offensive possession.
Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

With the BYU Cougars looking for a third straight win over the Saint Mary's Gaels, the Cougars came out for the second game in a row without Anson Winder. Winder is the Cougars second leading scorer at 14.7 points per game and missed the game last Thursday at Pacific. In a game that the Cougars needed to keep pace with the other top teams in the WCC, the Jekyll and Hyde Cougars showed up once again.

For the first time in a while, the Cougars first bucket wasn't a three pointer, as Tyler Haws drove the baseline for the opposite side of the rim lay-up. The Gaels would quickly counter with five straight points to lead 7-4 after a made three. Chase Fischer wasn't going to have any of that as he scored five straight for BYU as the Cougars went on a 7-0 run to take their first lead of the game. The teams traded baskets but offensive rebounds once again put the Cougars in a hole. The Gaels would slowly build another five point lead before Haws hit a floater to pull the Cougars back within three at 23-20. With the Cougars down 25-22, Haws went back into his bag of tricks as he pulled the Okey-Dokes play, fake pass and then shoot, for the fourth time in as many games. Today the poor soul that was beat happened to be Brad Waldow, the player that Cougar fans love to hate. BYU would quickly take back the lead on a Chase Fischer three point shot, and soon built a 31-25 lead off an 11-0 run. At this point the wheels would fall off for the Cougars as they allowed the Gaels some confidence, and a bunch of three pointers. Ending the half on a 10-0 run, which was part of an 18-4 run, the Gaels took an eight point lead into the locker room at 45-37.

As the Cougars tried not to let the game get away in in the second half, they started off poorly with their first two possessions ending in turnovers. Before the half was even two minutes old Corbin Kaufusi had earned his third foul as he bodied Waldow, but didn't keep his arms up. The teams traded buckets again but the Cougars took a blow as Kyle Collinsworth left the game with four fouls before the first media time-out. With Collinsworth on the bench, and charging fouls continuing to mount up on BYU drives, the Gaels built a double digit lead at 62-51. With the Cougars cold from the field, Fischer finally ended the drought with a three to pull within eight. After inserting Collinsworth back into the game before it got away, the Cougars pulled within five but turnovers continued to hound the Cougars in key moments and the lead jumped back up to eight. A bucket by Skyler Halford and a three pointer from Dalton Nixon cut into the Gaels lead and the Cougars went into the under eight time-out down 68-63. Once again the Gaels would pull away as they scored five straight points before giving up a drive to Haws and a 73-65 lead. The Cougars had one more push in them as they pulled within three at 80-77 but the Gaels held on and used free throws to ice the game 82-77.

BYU was led in scoring by Tyler Haws who had 28 and with his 20th point he recorded his 64th game with more than 20 points, only one game behind Danny Ainge for second place all-time in 20 point games. Fischer added 19 and Halford added 12, all in the second half. In the triple-double watch Collinsworth had 10 points, six rebounds, three assists. Two Gaels scored at least 20 as Waldow ended with 24 and Garrett Jackson added 20.

Next Game

BYU will next play in San Diego on Saturday, January 24th at 2 pm MST on Root Sports.