PROVO — Entering Wednesday’s 80-68 win over Illinois State, BYU guard TJ Haws was shooting 32 percent from the field — he had made only 4 of his previous 24 3-pointers — and averaging 10.5 points per game.
Against the Redbirds, Haws enjoyed a breakout performance, scoring 15 points in the first half and finishing with a season-high 20.
On the night, Haws hit 8 of 16 field goals and 4 of 9 3-point attempts, to go along with two assists and three rebounds.
Prior to Wednesday’s game, Haws had made 12 of 42 3-pointers.
Haws led an impressive team shooting performance in the first half against ISU. The Cougars knocked down 6 of 15 3-pointers thanks in large part to the way they shared the ball and played together.
“We talk about playing team basketball on both ends of the floor. When you do that, and you’re making that extra pass and playing as a team, it gives everyone confidence,” Haws said. “When you have your open shot, you shoot it. That’s how everyone feels. When you get that open look, that’s your shot. Everyone is building off of each other’s confidence. As we keep winning, that continues to grow.”
Last season, Haws was an All-West Coast Conference performer as a freshman. He averaged 13.8 points and hit 76 of 188 (40 percent) 3-pointers.
STAYING OUT OF FOUL TROUBLE: One of the keys this season for BYU is forward Yoeli Childs’ ability to avoid serious foul trouble.
In the first half against Illinois State, Childs picked up a couple fouls when the Cougars grabbed a big lead and he played just 10 minutes. But he finished with only three fouls in a total of 26 minutes. Childs has committed 15 fouls in nine games.
How has Childs been able to play so much without fouling this season?
“Defensively, he’s more active early. That’s a big part of his ability to play angles a little bit better,” Rose said. “He’s way more disciplined in shots he tries to block and just contest. A lot of it has come with playing the game and learning how the officials officiate. That will become quite a challenge for him. I think guys will come right at him. I do think the rules are advantageous to big guys now if they play to those rules and the strengths of them. Inside that arc, if you elevate and stay straight up, you have a pretty good chance of coming away without a foul.”
STREAKS: BYU has a 7-2 record for the first time since 2014-15, when the Cougars finished 25-10 and last played in the NCAA Tournament.
BYU is also riding its first four-game winning streak since December 2016, when it defeated Idaho State, CSU Bakersfield, Santa Clara and Loyola Marymount.
The Cougars have also limited their last four opponents to fewer than 70 points. BYU is 6-0 when holding foes to 69 or less. In 13 seasons under coach Dave Rose, the Cougars are 209-9 when that happens.
PLAYING AT VIVINT: BYU takes on Weber State on Saturday (8 p.m.) at Vivint Arena as part of the Beehive Classic. The Cougars will practice Friday in Provo before heading to Salt Lake City.
“We’ve been playing up there for quite a few years. I think we’ll stay with the same (schedule),” Rose said. “We have a shootaround Saturday morning (at Vivint), which is a good thing It’s a late game Saturday so it will be a long day waiting for it. I think our guys will be really excited to play.”