I don't think I would ever want to play HORSE against Tyler Haws. I don't think it would end well for me. I don't think I could make a 19 foot sideways runner with a hand in my face as the shot clock wound down to zero; the ball following an impossible arc before falling through the center of the rim.
Haws would beat me pretty easily.
The Cougars put on a scoring display tonight in Kansas City, but for 39 minute the Texas Longhorns hung with them. Until, with 43 seconds, Haws flipped the ball into the basket from near the right baseline, putting BYU up by three. It capped off a hell of a run by the junior scorer, who finished the game with three additional free throws, and 25 points.
The Longhorns still had a chance, but when Damarcus Croaker missed a three with 13 seconds remaining, Rick Barnes' squad was finished.
The Cougars got off and running in the first half behind early threes by Matt Carlino and Frank Bartley. On the night, the Cougars were 10-12 from three point range. It was a fair bit better then their 1-21 three point showing last week against Colorado Mesa.
But the Longhorns didn't bat an eye in the face of all those threes. Texas was simply too big and two physical inside for the finesse-oriented Cougars, and was able to counter punch at the best place possible, the front of the rim. Texas kept things close with 19 offensive rebounds and nine blocked shots. Cameron Ridley and Prince Ibeh reminded everyone in the building that they are both large human beings. Ridley played the game aggressive and with a bit of a nasty edge, growing in confidence as the game went on. Jonathan Holmes also got in on the act, with ten of his own rebounds to go along with ten by Ridley and eight by Ibeh.
Over the course of the evening, both teams were hurt by fouls. BYU's outstanding freshman big man Eric Mika had his minutes limited by foul trouble, and struggled all evening to account for both Ridley and Ibeh, who were just too big and too strong for him. Mika was able to get loose for a few dunks on fast breaks and penetration, but when he received the ball in the post against either of the Texas centers, he simply couldn't contend with the size.
But the fouls also bit Texas, particularly in the second half. When the previously up tempo game bogged down, the Cougars were able to keep scoring by earning trip after trip to the free throw line.
During the second half of the game, as the tempo slowed, BYU turned to Haws, its best half-court player. And Haws delivered, working off screens to bury difficult shots and drawing fouls to earn easy points at the stripe.
Which brought us to winning time, when Haws made that all but impossible shot that dropped the Horns.
Javan Felix and Damarcus Croaker led Texas with 17 and 14 points, while Cameron Ridley was an animal, scoring 12 points, grabbing 10 rebounds, and blocking six shots. It was almost enough.