Although eliminated from medal contention at the World University Games, Team USA still has games to play, and Sunday in Kazan, Russia, the Americans got their classification round underway with a 91-51 win over Norway.
With wing Treveon Graham unavailable due to injury, BYU's Tyler Haws played 15-plus minutes, and had his best scoring performance at the WUG, contributing nine points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field and 3-for-5 shooting from the free throw line; he added three rebounds and a steal.
"It feels good to just play basketball again and get back out on the court after a loss," Haws told USA Basketball after the game. "Everyone for the most part came out well. We got off to a little bit of a slow start, but we got it going and were able to get a pretty good lead. We shared the ball really well, and I think most of the guys scored, so it felt good."
Haws made more field goals against Norway than he had made in four previous games, as one of the last players off head coach Bob McKillop's bench.
Graham's injury likely contributed to Haws' increased playing time, but regardless of the rationale, his numbers looked more like the stats he was producing during training camp and in Team USA's exhibition games.
After not scoring through the game's first three quarters on Sunday, Haws caught fire late, keying an 11-0 fourth-quarter run, in which he scored seven of the 11 points in a span of two minutes and 12 seconds. BYU fans are accustomed to seeing such flurries from Haws, but consistent playing time and consecutive made shots were lacking this past week in Russia.
Next up for the U.S. is its classification-round semifinal against Germany, Monday at 12:00 a.m. (midnight Sunday) MT. The Germans have on their roster a player familiar with Haws: University of San Diego big man Dennis Kramer, who has turned in a few nice outings against BYU over the last two seasons (11 pts in 15 mp on 12/31/11; 15 pts/8 reb/4 blks on 1/16/12; 17 pts/9 reb on 3/2/12; 8 pts/10 reb on 2/7/13).
Kramer is averaging six points and three rebounds per game at the WUG, but had 14 points to help Germany beat Mongolia in its classification-round quarterfinal.
Tonight's winner will advance to the 9th-place game on Tuesday morning, when Team USA's World University Games run will come to an end.
Banner photo: Courtesy USA Basketball