PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – BYU proved it is more than just a 2-man team.
TJ Haws tied a seaon high with 24 points, while Jahshire Hardnett set career highs with 17 points and 8 rebounds, as the Cougars rolled past San Diego Saturday night at the Marriott Center, 74-58.
“What a good game,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “A little back and forth, both teams playing hard. I thought that San Diego’s physical presence and their ability to make it hard on us on both ends of the floor was impressive. It was a challenge. Great crowd. I’m happy we got the win and I look forward to next week.”
“We talked about it at the start of the game that both teams would go on runs,” Haws said. “We knew that they were going to go on a run and I thought we did a great job at keeping our poise. We just weathered the storm, kept battling, doing our thing and pulled away.”
San Diego (13-7, 4-4 WCC) won the tip and scored the first basket of the game on a jump shot. BYU (17-4, 6-2 WCC) missed three consecutive shots, but tied the game 2-2 with a pair of free-throws by Yoeli Childs with 18:09 left in the first half.
Both teams struggled shooting from the field early on and the Toreros took a 4-6 lead with 15 minutes left in the first period. The Cougars answered with baskets on back-to-back offensive possessions from Haws and Childs to give BYU an 8-6 lead.
The Cougars’ shots started to fall when Haws hit his first 3-point shot of the game and Childs scored in the post off an offensive rebound. This pushed the Cougars’ lead to 15-9 with 11:28 left in the half.
San Diego’s Olin Carter III scored seven consecutive points to help the Toreros complete a 10-4 run and even the game at 19-19 with 7:11 left in the first half.
Elijah Bryant scored five points off of two free-throws and a trey to help BYU answer with a 10-2 run to give BYU a 29-21 lead with 3:49 left in the period.
Harnett drew an offensive foul to give the Cougars the final shot of the half with 0:10 left on the clock. Haws’ 3-point shot from the top of the arc rattled out as the buzzer sounded and sent BYU into the locker room with a 35-26 advantage.
San Diego opened up the half with seven straight points in the first few minutes to close the gap to 35-33. Haws scored the first basket for BYU with 16:15 left in the game after the Cougars missed scoring in their first five possessions.
The Toreros took advantage of BYU’s cold shooting to take a 38-37 lead. Haws answered with a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to give the Cougars the lead once again.
Luke Worthington stole the ball from the Toreros and Childs capitalized off the turnover with a bucket from beyond the arc. A jumper by Worthington and another Haws trey extended BYU’s lead to 51-43 with just under 10 minutes remaining in the game.
A jumper by Carter III cut the Cougar lead to five points, but Haws drove through the lane to score a layup to push BYU’s lead back to seven with a score of 55-48 with 6:29 left in the second half.
BYU started to pull away from the Toreros in the final five minutes. Haws started a run with his fourth 3-point shot from deep. Hardnett grabbed his eighth rebound and was fouled scoring a fast break layup. His made free throw gave BYU a 67-54 lead with 3:26 left.
Hardnett closed the game off with a 3-pointer to extend BYU’s lead to 16 points and a 74-58 victory over the Toreros.
Bryant finished with 13 points and six rebounds, while Childs scored 14 points and pulled down four boards.
BYU next travels to play the first place team in the West Coast Conference, St. Mary’s on Thursday, Jan. 25, at 9 p.m.