PROVO — When BYU jumped out on Pepperdine, 12-0, in the opening minutes Thursday night at the Marriott Center, it appeared the Cougars would have their way with the Waves.
But Pepperdine, despite playing without two injured starters, rallied and kept the game close against BYU, which was without injured freshman forward Eric Mika.
During a crucial stretch in the final five minutes, guard Tyler Haws scored 11 consecutive points, including three straight 3-pointers, to lift the Cougars to a tougher-than-expected 84-72 victory over the Waves before a crowd of 14,012.
Haws finished with a game-high 35 points — hitting 11 of 23 shots from the field and 9 of 9 from the free-throw line — and scored 13 of BYU’s final 20 points.
“I was just trying to stay aggressive,” Haws said. “I felt like I was getting good looks and my teammates were finding me. I think (Pepperdine) got tired a little bit, so I was able to get out in transition the last couple of minutes.”
In the first half, Haws connected on just 4 of 11 attempts from the field.
“I knew it was going to break loose at some point,” he said of his shooting. “I’m glad it finally did down the stretch.”
Just prior to Haws’ scoring explosion, Pepperdine’s Jeff Van Dyke buried a 3-pointer to cut the Waves' deficit to 62-60 with five minutes remaining in the game.
Out of the timeout, Skyler Halford hit a jumper near the baseline. “It was a big shot,” said coach Dave Rose.
After that, thanks to back-to-back 3s by Haws, the Cougars could finally breathe easier with a 70-60 advantage.
Meanwhile, the man that got Haws the ball on those two 3-pointers, Kyle Collinsworth, was one assist short of a triple-double. He scored 15 points and added 10 rebounds and nine assists. The Cougars haven’t had a player record a triple-double since 1988, when Michael Smith accomplished the feat.
“Of course, I would love to get (a triple-double),” Collinsworth said. “But all that matters is that we won tonight. I had no idea of my stat line. I was just concerned about the score.”
“The spots we asked him to play tonight, he was just really dialed in on being a team guy and trying to get a team win,” Rose said of Collinsworth. “With 15 points, 10 rebounds, and nine assists, with two turnovers, in 35 minutes — we plan to get him some rest.”
With the win, the Cougars (10-7, 2-2) avenged an 80-74 setback at Pepperdine (10-7, 3-2) in Malibu, Calif., on Dec. 30.
“It was quite a battle. It was interesting game,” Rose said. “Both teams prepared a rematch from a few days ago, and it turned out that both teams played completely different lineups than we did in the first game.”
Pepperdine was without forward Brendan Lane (knee), and guards Malcolm Brooks (ankle) and Nikolas Skouen (illness). Lane and Brooks are both starters.
While Mika didn’t play for BYU, the Cougars now start Halford instead of Matt Carlino.
Halford finished with 18 points and Carlino scored 10 and dished out six assists.
BYU jumped out to a 12-0 lead, but the Waves erased that advantage quickly, eventually tying the game, 28-28, after going on a 26-16 burst.
“We knew they would make a run,” Haws said.
At one point, BYU had made just 10 of 27 shots in the first half.
“Give credit to Pepperdine,” Collinsworth said. “We got ahead and they came back. They played awesome all game.”
Rose wasn’t disappointed that his team couldn’t put short-handed Pepperdine away sooner.
“We knew it would be a battle down the stretch,” he said. “Trying to overcome our situation, I’m just proud of our guys. I think they battled, fought and got a great win.”
Collinsworth said Rose told the team that Pepperdine would be without three key players, “but we tried to stay focused and not let that distract us and think that it would be any easier. People on the bench, when they get a chance to start, it’s their chance to prove they can play.”
“I’m proud of our guys, the way we competed the whole game,” Haws said. “They cut it to two the last few minutes, but we kept battling, and finished it out.”
The Waves’ Stacy Davis made things tough for BYU inside defensively, especially without Mika’s presence. He scored a team-high 17.
“Stacy Davis had quite a night himself,” Rose said. “He’s a load. He’s a good player.”
BYU hosts Loyola Marymount Saturday.
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