For those who have wondered how well the Cougars would fare in a game without Tyler Haws playing for them, look no further than the games for Nov. 15 and 16.
It was the second-straight game this season the Cougars were without their leading scorer, but this time it showed.
When the Cougars played Mount St. Mary’s, six Cougars scored double digits to make up for the absence of Haws and ended with a score of more than 100 points. The last time the Cougars had back-to-back games of more than 100 points was in 1986.
Although six players scored in double figures against Colorado Mesa, their contributions were not as impressive. None of Matt Carlino’s first five jumpers fell, yet he managed to be the leading scorer of the first half with only eight points. The Cougars also missed all nine of their three-point attempts in the first half.
“Both games on Monday and Friday had a lot of possessions, and racing up and down the floor took a toll on us tonight,” said head coach Dave Rose. “You could tell, especially on our perimeter shots, that we were short on almost all of them.”
Perhaps more than ever Cougar fans will appreciate all Haws contributes to the team. The tired Cougar offense could have used a fresh player like Haws in the starting lineup against the Mavericks.
“It was a tough night for us in some aspects,” said guard Skyler Halford. “The main thing for us tonight was energy.”
Fifteen minutes into the first half the Mavericks tied the Cougars at 23-23. During this time the previous night the Cougars already had 40 points against Mount St. Mary’s.
“I think that every game is a new challenge,” Rose said. “What you have to do is respond to each challenge and each style. Because of our inability to hit shots in transition … we had to adjust and find ways to execute our offense.”
At half time the scoreboard read 36-28 with the Cougars leading. It was the lowest-scoring first half for the Cougars of the entire season — including against Stanford.
When the Cougars stepped back onto the floor after the half they were more energetic and aggressive. In just eight minutes the Cougars increased their score to 57 while allowing Colorado Mesa to score just one point.
In the end, the Cougars defeated the Mavericks 84-60, ending with the worst three-point percentage of the season. They only made one out of 21 three-point shots.
“We found ways to find energy,” Rose said. “We had two or three different times during the game where we got discouraged where were able to put stops together and go down and score, and that was enough to carry us through the game tonight.”
Carlino led the team with 16 points, five rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block, while Kyle Collinsworth finished with 15 points, six rebounds, six assists and tied a career-high with four steals. Nate Austin added four points and a career-high 12 rebounds of his own.
This game and the game against Mount St. Mary’s constitute the first double-header of the season. The next time the Cougars will play in another double-header is Nov. 25 and 26 in Kansas City for the CBE Hall of Fame Classic.
The Cougars are back in the Marriott Center on Wednesday, Nov. 20, to compete against Iowa State at 7:30 p.m. MST. The game will be televised live on ESPNU and broadcast on the Cougar IMG Sports Network on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM.