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For the first time since Jimmer Fredette wore BYU blue, the Cougar hoopsters have won six games in a row--their longest run since BYU put together a seven-game streak near the end of Fredette's senior season in 2010-11.
The sixth win in the current streak was Saturday's 82-64 win at Santa Clara, which was also's BYU's first victory over a top 100 RPI team this season. After losing a nine-point halftime lead and seeing the Kevin Foster-led Broncos forge a 50-all tie with 13:37 to play, the Cougars went on a season-long 18-0 run over a span of six minutes and 10 seconds to put the game away.
For the first time in almost a year, BYU had five players end the game in double figures, led by West Coast Conference Player of the Week Tyler Haws, who scored 24 points at the Leavey Center, after scoring 24 in BYU's home win over Pepperdine, two days prior. Haws has scored 20 or more in 12 of BYU's 18 games, including the last five in a row. BYU's undisputed leader as a sophomore, Haws is in the WCC Player of the Year discussion, in addition to showing up on national Top 50 lists.
As has been the case since Brandon Davies sprained his ankle in the Cougars' win over Virginia Tech, multiple players stepped up at Santa Clara, and since Davies' injury, a team effort has helped make up for the senior center's diminished production.
Davies had scored 20+ points in five of the seven games immediately preceding the win over the Hokies, averaging 22.1 points per game over that span. He scored 17 points versus Virginia Tech before leaving the game injured, and has since not topped 19 points in any of his next four games, averaging 12.5 points per game over those four contests--the first games of BYU's WCC schedule.
Entering conference play with a hobbled superstar was not the way head coach Dave Rose would have drawn it up, but the Cougars have not only survived Davies' injury but thrived in spite of it, thanks mostly to point guard Matt Carlino, with Brock Zylstra and Josh Sharp occupying strong supporting roles.
Starting with BYU's conference-opening win over Loyola Marymount, Carlino has been on a tear, averaging 17.3 points (6th in WCC rankings), 5.3 assists (4th) and 3.5 steals (1st) per game, while shooting 46% from the arc (8th), with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 4.2-to-1 (2nd).
Zylstra has particularly shined in BYU's two conference road wins, scoring 16 points at San Francisco (3-for-4 3PFG) and 15 points at Santa Clara (3-for-4 3PFG). His long-distance shooting was key in keeping BYU in the game at USF and helping the Cougars get a lead at SCU.
Sharp has had a tough time finishing around the rim in recent games, but has found a niche on the glass, contributing as a tenacious boarder, ranking 6th in league play rebounding stats and 2nd on the offensive end. Sharp has also excelled as a defender when switched onto smaller players in need of some cooling off.
Early conference wins have also included important efforts from Craig Cusick (6 ppg in BYU's first three WCC games), Nate Austin (5 reb/gm in only 14 min/gm) and Anson Winder (season-high 10 pts and 4 reb at SCU).
The bench has shortened somewhat in the last few games, but newcomers Agustin Ambrosino, Raul Delgado and Cory Calvert will have their moments, if they can remain patient. Bronson Kaufusi continues to work hard and gain the coaches' and his teammates' confidence; he now appears to be preferred over Ian Harward as a backup post presence.
In short, this BYU team is becoming a true team at a crucial stage of the season, helping the Cougars back onto the NCAA Tournament bubble, and back in the field of 68 in many current projections.
Updating the team and individual PAP (Points Available Percentage) rankings, BYU's numbers continue to improve, and Tyler Haws remains remarkably efficient for a guard/wing, with a percentage that would make an inside scorer proud.
Davies' numbers are sliding since his ankle injury; he is just a little bit 'off' on everything right now.
Carlino just keeps climbing and climbing--he is almost back to his season-ending numbers from 2011-12, but already a far cry from his sub-30 percentage a few weeks ago.
It was a good week for Anson Winder, who can finally bid farewell to the PAP Mendoza line (30%).
Points Available Percentages for BYU Players (as of 01/14/2013)
|Rank||Player||Games Played||Minutes Per Game||Points||Points Available||PAP (%)||Last PAP (%) 01/07||PAP (%) Differential||Rank Last Week||Rank Differential|
Tyler Haws is fast approaching membership in BYU's "1,000 Point Club." The sophomore shooter is at 780 points through 53 games. By the way, his point total exactly matches that of BYU's all-time scoring leader Jimmer Fredette through the end of his sophomore season (68 games).
Haws is nearing 50/40/90 territory, at 49.1% FG, 42.2% 3PFG and 91.5% FT. BYU's only recorded 50/40/90 season was turned in by Michael Smith in 1986-87: 50.9% FG (253-497), 48.6% 3PFG (34-70), 90.4% FT (103-114), while averaging 20.1 ppg. Haws is currently averaging 21.3 ppg.
Since losing at Baylor, and during its six-game win streak, BYU is shooting 48% FG and averaging 85.2 ppg, while allowing 39% FG, 61.2 ppg.
The Cougars' next win will be the 200th of Dave Rose's career in Provo; Rose is currently 199-58 (77.4%) in his eighth season (257 games) at BYU. Among all NCAA coaches with at least half of their seasons in Division I, Rose will be 15th fastest to the milestone.
NCAA Coaches, Fastest to 200 Wins (Head coaches with at least half their seasons at Division I)
|1||Clair Bee||Rider & LIU Brooklyn||231||200||31||.866||12th||1938|
|2||Jerry Tarkanian||Long Beach St., UNLV||234||200||34||.855||9th||1977|
|4||Everett Case||North Carolina St.||250||200||50||.800||9th||1954|
|5||Harold Anderson||Toledo, Bowling Green||251||200||51||.797||10th||1945|
|11||Doc Meanwell||Missouri, Wisconsin||254||200||54||.787||15th||1927|
|14||Henry Iba||Northwest Mo. St., Colorado, Oklahoma St.||255||200||55||.784||11th||1940|
|15||Thad Matta||Butler, Xavier, Ohio St.||261||200||61||.766||8th||2008|
Photo: Courtesy BYU Photo