He gets the loudest applause. The fans in the Marriott Center know and recognize him as the face of the BYU men’s basketball team.
Tyler Haws is arguably the most admired player on the team; but Saturday, it wasn’t Haws who stole the limelight.
During the first exhibition game of the season, Haws didn’t control the leader board. Rather, it was Matt Carlino who was named player of the game in the Cougars’ 94–59 win against Colorado College in the Marriott Center.
Winning Saturday’s game was big for the team, but it was also expected. According to head coach Dave Rose, exhibition games are played to help players and coaches discover areas of strength and improvement.
“I think that we accomplished a lot of things tonight and we got a lot of players a lot of minutes,” Rose said. “For the most part, we accomplished what you hope to accomplish in an exhibition game. We saw some good things and saw a lot of things we need to improve on. Hopefully this week of practice and this experience will really help our team move forward.”
Eric Mika scored the first two points of the game and helped push the Cougars on an 11–0 run against the Tigers. Halfway through the first half the Tigers came back to lead 24–23. At halftime BYU was up 49–39.
“I thought defensively we got lost — a lot,” Rose said at halftime. “We need to do a better job on the weak side … they have good shooters, and we gave them a lot of wide-open shots.”
The rest of the game went uphill for the Cougars, who followed the advice of Coach Rose to do better defensively, and downhill for the Tigers, who struggled to score. Colorado College only made six of its 28 shots against the Cougar defense in the second half.
“I thought we did pretty well,” Carlino reported. “I thought we did a little better in the second half defensively — offensively I thought we had a pretty good game. … It’s nice to actually not be playing against ourselves anymore.”
Carlino accounted for about one third of the Cougars’ points during the first half with a smile. The rest of the team seemed nervous, including Haws, who was the seventh best scorer in the NCAA a year ago. Haws was 4-for-12 shooting against the Tigers and scored a total of 14 points. Carlino was 8-for-12 from the field and accumulated 23 points by the end of the night.
Kyle Collinsworth was the only member of the team with a double-double. Collinsworth scored 13 points and held the team high of 11 rebounds. He admitted the first half was not his best performance.
“I think Coach wanted me to get in rhythm in the second half,” Collinsworth said. “It’s my first game in two and a half years — that’s a long time. I’m just getting my legs under me and getting my confidence up. … The second half, I finally felt like myself. I just finally played instead of thinking about everything because it has been so long since I played. So I just relaxed and went out there in the second half and played my game.”
During BYU’s Boomshakala, Collinsworth was unable to accomplish what he wanted in the dunk contest due to his legs. Nevertheless, his presence on the court is important to the team.
“(Collinsworth) probably is our most versatile player,” said teammate Anson Winder. “He makes things so much easier with all the things he does — shooting, rebounding, getting to the rim, defense. He’s definitely going to be a guy that’s going to lead us this year.”
Winder played well against the Tigers, equaling Collinsworth in total points. Haws finished with 14 points, and freshman Luke Worthington had 10.
The basketball squad will play its second exhibition game Saturday, Nov. 2, against Alaska-Anchorage. Following Alaska, BYU plays Weber State Nov. 8. Both games will take place in the Marriott Center at 7 p.m.
On Nov. 11, the Cougars will be a part of ESPN’s Tip-Off Marathon. They will compete against Stanford in the Maples Pavilion at 8 p.m. PST.
Following the Tip-Off Marathon, the Cougars start the College Basketball Experience Hall of Fame Classic playing their first three games in the Marriott Center against Mount St. Mary’s, Colorado Mesa and Iowa State.