PROVO — TJ Haws’ record 35-point game in Southern California was symbolic. It represented the late portion of BYU’s basketball’s season, emptying the tank.
Haws refused to lose.
It also represented the Haws name.
Haws’ career high came in a critical win on the road against a streaking University of San Diego team Thursday and was a case study in delivery. He hit big 3s, made critical drives, drew fouls, made free throws, did everything but hand out water during timeouts.
The result gave BYU a solid grip on second place in the West Coast Conference heading into Saturday’s game at Loyola Marymount.
Dave Rose’s team is clawing and scratching its way down the stretch in WCC play, fighting for the coveted No. 2 seed behind nationally ranked Gonzaga in the league’s tournament in Las Vegas. The first two seeds earn a direct path to the semifinals.
The symbolism Haws represents is one of a respectable effort in a late-season battle. His performance represents a team swinging out of a corner. Just over a month ago the Cougars were struggling mightily with injuries, consistency, lineup chemistry, a team identity and a myriad of criticism. They were hard to watch. Now, with the overtime win in San Diego, the Cougars have equaled their best record over 12 WCC games since the first year BYU entered the league at 9-3.
Haws’ record night came in a game in which his teammates won their first overtime game in three tries; had a season-high 12 steals to USD’s three; a rare team 11-of-21 made shots from distance for 52 percent, and an impressive 18-to-7 difference in turnovers. Those are lofty numbers for a team that simply had to answer the bell that night.
Credit Haws. Credit Rose. Credit Yoeli Childs and credit feisty Nick Emery’s defense in a comeback from 14 points down wherein they should have been looking for exits.
And then there was the added drama of TJ Haws passing his father Marty in career scoring with his 35-point effort.
How cool was that? TJ now has 1,338 points, one more than Pops. His brother Tyler is the all-time leader with 2,695. Together, the Haws trio has 5,390 points and TJ is still loading up.
All this brings to memory the father, who should have been given the opportunity to play at least another game in his career when it ended back in 1990 in Hartford in the first round of the NCAA Tournament to Clemson.
Marty Haws scored 1,337 points during his Cougar career, playing for a hard-fighting Roger Reid team that included Andy Toolsen and Mark Durrant. Durrant now sits courtside doing color commentary for BYU radio broadcasts.
You’ve got to give Marty his due and, yes, he should have played another game and had more points back in 1990.
That loss to Clemson 29 years ago came after Marty took a pass from Durrant in mid-air and tried to finish the alley-oop play. He’d done it plenty of times, but this time his shot rimmed out, robbing the team of a possible game-tying basket.
BYU had led Clemson 46-39 with 3:53 left in the game before losing 49-47 in a heartbreaker.
But there is an asterisk to that game. Later, the NCAA Committee on Infractions ruled that Clemson had to forfeit all its 1990 NCAA Tournament games because forward Wayne Buckingham played and he should have been ineligible.3 comments on this story
That didn’t take away from Clemson’s Elden Campbell, the Laker’s 27th pick, helping defend the rim on Marty’s attempted shot, but it did take away from Haws, coach Reid and that squad. The NCAA required Clemson to give up wins over BYU and La Salle in a run that ended with a loss to UConn. Clemson had to return $353,362 in NCAA Tournament earnings.
In other words, Clemson’s win is tainted and Marty should have played in at least one or two more NCAA games if the Cougars had advanced.
And that’s the rest of the story of Marty Haws’ points that the son, TJ, surpassed this week.