PROVO — His first collegiate basketball season is not even a month old, but true freshman Tyler Haws is already making a big impact on BYU.
The guard out of Lone Peak High made his presence felt early and often, and turned in an impressive double-double, Tuesday night at the Marriott Center, where the Cougars defeated Arizona State, 81-68.
Here was Haws' stat line in his sixth consecutive start in a BYU uniform — 17 points and 11 rebounds in 37 minutes, which were all career-highs.
"For a kid who's only played seven or eight games, it's pretty impressive," said coach Dave Rose.
Oh, and he was the recipient of one marriage proposal, sort of, in the form of a homemade sign held up by a blonde coed in the student section that read, "Tyler Haws — marry me?"
No question, Haws performed like a seasoned veteran, not a guy just a few months removed from high school.
"I feel like every game I get a little more comfortable," said the 6-foot-5, 200-pound son of former Cougar star Marty Haws. "I was able to knock down a few shots tonight and get a few rebounds for putbacks. I feel like it's going the right direction."
Asked about how he saw his role going into the season, Haws said, "I guess I just wanted to come out and play as hard as I can ... That's what I'm going to keep doing."
On a night that saw Jimmer Fredette and Jonathan Tavernari struggle to score points from the floor, Haws did a little bit of everything, like sinking 5-of-10 shots from the field.
Haws scored BYU's first basket, seconds into the game, and drilled a 3-pointer at the halftime buzzer, lifting the Cougars to a 39-23 lead at intermission. Early in the second half, Haws hauled down an offensive rebound, then knocked down a jumper to propel BYU to a 44-27 advantage.
"Tyler is such a consistent, energy kind of player," said Rose. "He always gives you the same effort. Tonight, the way (ASU) game-planned, there was going to be an open guy. Someone was going to have to step up and hit those shots."
Midway through the second half, the Sun Devils rallied, and with BYU nursing a 62-56 lead, Haws saved a ball under the basket and kicked it out to Tavernari, who hit a 3-pointer, putting the Cougars back up by eight. Minutes later, Haws drilled a jumper that put BYU up by six, 66-60.
Throughout the game, Haws played strong defense and spent a lot of time on the floor, diving for loose balls. He finished with three assists and drilled all six of his free throw attempts. Five of his 11 rebounds were on the offensive end.
"The coaches have really put a lot of stress on guys going to the boards every time," said Haws. "There have been games where I don't get as many but I think it's just a hustle stat. If you go every time, there's games where you're going to get a bunch."