SANTA CLARA, California — Going into Saturday night’s game, BYU guard TJ Haws said he wanted to see his team “start out strong” in the first half against Santa Clara.
Well, that’s exactly what the Haws and Cougars did at the Leavey Center in an 84-50 victory.
Along the way, Haws broke out of shooting slump in a big way, knocking down four 3-pointers and scoring 14 points.
Last Thursday in BYU’s 83-63 victory over Pepperdine, Haws scored in double figures (10 points) for the first time in West Coast Conference play this season.
Over his previous eight games, Haws had made only 4 of 20 3-pointers
“Seeing that first one fall was really good for me and they just kept coming. I got good looks and I stayed aggressive,” Haws said. “I felt like I was going to shoot the ball well tonight. I feel like I’m capable of doing that every night. I haven’t shot the ball as well as I would have liked the last few games. I’m trying to be aggressive.”
Forward Yoeli Childs was happy to see Haws turn in an impressive performance.
“It was great. TJ is the best player I’ve ever played with in terms of making the right decisions,” Childs said. “Teams all year have been trying to take him away and chase him off ball screens deny him (the ball) because they know what he’s capable of. He always makes the right play. Tonight, they didn’t do that to him. I’m really proud of the way he played and how he handles every situation.”
“He hit four 3s tonight,” coach Dave Rose said of Haws. “We’ll play a lot better when he gets a crooked number in the 3-point column.”
ANOTHER BLOWOUT AT SANTA CLARA: A year ago, BYU fell here at the Leavey Center, 76-68, marking the Cougars’ first loss to Santa Clara since joining the WCC seven years ago.
Saturday looked like other games here between the two teams.
In 2015, the Cougars crushed the Broncos, 81-46. In 2016, BYU dominated Santa Clara, 96-62.
BRIGHT SPOT: Santa Clara freshman forward Josip Vrankic, a Wasatch Academy product, finished with a game-high 20 points against BYU.
Vrankic drilled a 3-pointer with 17:54 left in the game and he scored the Broncos’ next field goal, with 5:34 remaining. He had 11 of Santa Clara’s 22 second-half points and hit 8 of 16 shots, including three 3-pointers and grabbed seven rebounds on the night.