PROVO — BYU freshman guard T.J. Haws has been lobbing passes to sophomore forward Eric Mika to dunk for quite some time.
For Cougar fans, it’s a play that never gets old.
In last Saturday’s 91-62 thrashing of Pacific, Haws and Mika executed back-to-back alley-oops early in the second half that prompted thunderous roars from the crowd of 13,677 at the Marriott Center. On one of the dunks, Mika slammed it with his left hand.
Haws and Mika have been perfecting the alley-oop for years, including during their time together at Lone Peak High.
“I think it’s nice to have a big guy that runs the floor," Haws said. "Eric, those first two steps that he takes, if you watch it on film, he outruns pretty much everyone. To have him run the floor like that, we try to work on it and we’ve played with each other for a long time. So that helps.”
GETTING DEFENSIVE: BYU held Pacific's leading scorer Ray Bowles, who entered the game averaging 14.1 points per game, to zero points on 0-for-6 shooting from the field.
And Pacific’s second-leading scorer, T.J. Wallace, who was averaging 13.4 points, was 2-for-5 from the floor for six points.
As a team, the Cougars limited the Tigers to 34.3 percent field-goal shooting and 4-for-21 from 3-point territory.
BYU AND THE RPI: As of Monday’s Ratings Percentage Index, BYU ranks No. 101, which is No. 3 among West Coast Conference teams. Gonzaga checks in at No. 14 and Saint Mary’s is No. 20.
The Cougars’ opponents this week, San Francisco and San Diego, are ranked No. 159 and No. 187, respectively.
Here’s a look at some of BYU’s non-conference opponents in the latest RPI — USC (No. 32), Illinois (43), Colorado (73), Valparaiso (80), Princeton (116), Utah State (181), Weber State (183), Utah Valley (197), Saint Louis (262) and Coppin State (337).
BRYANT OFF THE BENCH: Sophomore guard Elijah Bryant made quite a return last week after sitting out since late November due to injury.
Bryant scored 11 points in 19 minutes at Saint Mary’s, then poured in 17 points in 20 minutes against Pacific.
For now, Bryant’s role has been as a reserve, but he said he doesn’t mind coming off the bench.
“Whatever the coach wants me to play, whatever is needed to get the win,” he said.
Bryant poured in a career-high 32 points as a freshman at Elon before he transferred to BYU. His 17 points last Saturday was his highest point production since joining the Cougars.
WINNING AT HOME: BYU improved to 9-1 this season at home with its victory over Pacific. Haws emphasized the importance of winning at the Marriott Center.
“Our home court is super important. Credit to our fans. To play here in the Marriott Center is super special to us,” Haws said. “To have our fans to show out every night like they do, the energy we feel in this place and how loud it gets, it’s so fun to play in here. It’s important that we play our best at home and protect Provo.”