BYU men’s basketball faced a 14-point deficit with 16:48 remaining in the second half on Feb. 14. Riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak, BYU came back for the 88-82 overtime win over San Diego.
Last week, BYU snagged a 69-59 win against Pacific at the Marriott Center, bringing the team’s record to 16-10 and second in the West Coast Conference. On the road in San Diego this week, USD held a similar record of 16-9 for the season.
However, the rivals aren’t as evenly matched when comparing their history. BYU currently leads with a 14-5 record against USD. Last season, the Cougars won two of their three matchups against the Toreros. Junior TJ Haws stressed the importance of maintaining the team’s string of victories.
“This place is a tough place to play,” Haws said. “To win two games on the road, you have to win the first one.”
BYU trailed 5-0 only three minutes into the game, and the Toreros lead would last the majority of the night. At 12:20 remaining in the first half, the largest gap of the night stretched to 14 points with San Diego leading 24-10.
The Toreros took a 39-30 leading into the half after making 54.2 percent of their field goals, with BYU making only 40.7 percent of its shots.
With 4:23 remaining in the second half, the Cougars pulled ahead for the first time when senior McKay Cannon nailed a 3-pointer, bringing the score to 70-69.
BYU and San Diego would need overtime to settle the game, with BYU pulling away and winning by six.
This win shocked fans as the team only held a lead for a total of 1:04 minutes throughout the entirety of the game. Their largest lead before overtime was a mere 2 points, hanging on at 75-73 with two seconds remaining in the game.
Two players in particular made a statement: juniors Yoeli Childs and TJ Haws. Combined, the two earned BYU 62 of its 88 points. In overtime alone, the two scored a combined 12 points, allowing the Cougars to win by 6 points.
“They came out with a tough mentality and they were making a lot of shots and we weathered the storm,” Haws said. “We really just battled all night on both ends of the floor and we came away on top.”
Scoring 27 points, Childs boasted his 15th double-double of the season. However, the shining moment of the night came with 13-seconds left in overtime when Haws hit 35 points. This led him to surpass Marty Haws, his father who once sported a BYU basketball jersey, in career points.
“I wouldn’t be anywhere near where I am today without him,” Haws said. “His mentorship and just who he is and how he has helped me become who I am as a person. On the court, he is an amazing man and he understands the game so well and he has really helped me become the basketball player that I am today.”
Haws’ momentum could partly be attributed to pre-game conversations with head coach Dave Rose.
“We challenged TJ to be a little more aggressive and he had a real look in his eye tonight and was just real aggressive,” Rose said. “We ran a couple plays for 3-point shots and he buried those.”
With the dust settled and tension evaporated, Rose commented on the relief of a game well played.
“It’s fun now that it’s over but it was a grind during the game, and I am proud of the guys,” Rose said. “Defensively, 12 steals and 18 turnovers are where we won the game. We won the game with active hands and feet. They are good but I just think that our resolve got better as the game went on.”
Coming up, BYU heads to Los Angeles to face Loyola Marymont on Feb. 16. The Cougars logged a 67-49 win when hosting LMU on Feb. 2 at home.
“LMU has played Gonzaga well both times,” Rose said. “We know they are a really good team and will try to control the tempo. I know our guys will compete because they are in a good frame of mind right now.”