The Texas Longhorns led the majority of the second half, but BYU found a way to lead when it mattered most. With 1:45 remaining, the Cougars took the lead on a Tyler Haws jumper and held on via the free-throw line to seal it.
Haws scored 19 of the last 21 points for BYU after enduring one of the least impressive stretches of his college career — scoring just two points and doing little else in the first 25 minutes of the game. The last 15 minutes, however, he redeemed himself and then some.
On one hand, BYU was lucky just to be in the game at the end. It took a combination of other-worldly 3-point shooting (10-of-12), Texas missing 11 free throws and 18 3-pointers, and the officiating suddenly turning in BYU's favor the last 10 minutes for the Cougars to come away on the plus side in this one.
BYU survived despite being severely outmuscled in the paint by a much bigger Texas team that was more than happy to throw its weight around. Featuring three young highly recruited big men, all at least 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, the Longhorns pushed the Cougars around inside, pulling down 19 offensive rebounds and blocking nine shots.
Fortunate as it may have been Monday evening, BYU will take the win and move on to play No. 12 Wichita State on Tuesday night for the CBE Hall of Fame Classic championship.
Here are the grades for each BYU position group and other aspects of the game.
Nate Gagon is a published sports, music, and creative writer. He is also a wholehearted father, grateful husband and ardent student of life. He shoots roughly 94% from the free-throw line and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or @nategagon.
Without Frank Bartley IV’s performance in the first half, there is no way Haws would have had an opportunity to lead the Cougars to victory at the end. Bartley, a true freshman who apparently has already surpassed Anson Winder as the top player off the bench, was the MVP of the game for BYU until Haws came alive the last 15 minutes. He did fall off in the second half, missing a couple of key free throws down the stretch, but he played 26 minutes, hit 3-for-3 from long range and was probably the best defender in the game for the Cougars. He looks like an unbelievable under-the-radar recruiting steal for BYU right now.
Matt Carlino also must get a lot of credit for keeping the Cougars in the game in the first half. He started off on fire, going 4-for-4 on 3-pointers in the first 6½ minutes. He did have four bad turnovers and questionable shot selection on 2-pointers, but largely offset that with six assists, six rebounds and two steals.
Statistically, Kyle Collinsworth had a decent game, but it just didn’t pass the eye test. He had six turnovers, including one with just under two minutes left that was about as ugly and ill-timed as it gets. He did lead the team in rebounds with eight and pitched in five assists to go along with 13 points.
Haws hit the shot of the year for BYU to beat the shot clock with about 40 seconds left and the Cougars up one. After an awful offensive possession, Eric Mika made a desperate shuffle pass to a running Haws in the corner, who squared his shoulders and perfectly swished a 20-footer as he sailed toward the out-of-bounds line.
On the negative side, BYU’s perimeter players really do not play inspiring defense. If Texas had hit even 33 percent of its threes, many of which were pretty open, the Cougars would have walked away with a painful loss.
The Cougar bigs did not impress in this game. Mika, Nate Austin and Luke Worthington looked overwhelmed against Texas’ talented, physical front court. Mika ran the floor well on offense, which is proving to be an extremely impressive skill of his, but overall his 15 points were deceiving. Virtually all of his baskets came because of nice plays made by his teammates. When the ball was thrown to him in the post and he tried to make an offensive move, the results were not good.
Austin came up small in the game, and Worthington was soft in his five minutes. Worthington does not look prepared for this level of college basketball right now, which probably explains why he is hardly seeing the court despite being the only big on the bench for BYU.
Throwing the ball to Mika and company for a standard post-up Monday night was essentially the same thing as a turnover for the Cougars.
BYU is not a good defensive team right now. The Cougars have little presence or intensity on that end of the floor. The trend at this point is that BYU will have to outscore opponents to win, as it did against Stanford and again Monday versus Texas by hitting 83 percent of its 3-pointers. That will not happen often. Against Iowa State, BYU made just 4-of-14 threes and lost by two. Get used to 3-point shooting being the difference in the game when the Cougs play good competition this season.
It likely also troubles coach Dave Rose that the team made just 18-of-50 2-point attempts against the Longhorns. To some extent, at least, that speaks to strategy of play and coaching when BYU gets stuck in half-court sets.
Credit the coaches for trusting Bartley to play big minutes and for not keeping key players on the bench too long when they had foul trouble. Also, give the coaches major credit if they were in any way responsible for the sharp turn in officiating the last 10 minutes or so.
Texas definitely has some young talent on the roster despite finishing below .500 last season. BYU played a soft zone against them, essentially giving the Longhorns the 3-point shot whenever they wanted it. Coach Rick Barnes countered by sending an all-out blitz to the rim for offensive rebounds, and the strategy worked.
BYU had better players, but Texas capitalized on its size advantage inside and almost stole the game. Look for the Longhorns to outdo their preseason ranking and finish better than 8th in the Big 12 this season.
The officials were wildly inconsistent in this game on foul calls. At times they would seemingly call everything on one team and nothing on the other, and then would flip-flop as though they were aware of the foul discrepancy and were trying to rectify it.
It looked like BYU was going to get the short end of the stick from the officials in the game. Certainly in the first half the calls went Texas’ way. In the last 10 minutes or so of the game, however, suddenly it seemed the Longhorns started getting a bunch of touch fouls called on them while BYU got away with a few.
It was probably close to a wash by the end, with the officials making about an equal number of questionable calls for each side.
Was that BYU against Texas, or Binghamton versus Massachusetts Lowell? Judging only by the atmosphere and empty seats, no one would have been able to tell.
BYU did have a louder crowd than Texas, which is impressive considering the game was in Kansas City. This grade is for them, not the overall atmosphere.