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PROVO — BYU squeezed past Stanford 79-77 Saturday night with Tyler Haws continuing his impressive season in leading the Cougars with 24 points and four assists.
Haws wasn’t expected to play after injuring his left ankle against Weber State last week.
“I didn’t know if I was going to go,” Haws said, “I just got into warm-ups and it felt good.”
“There are a lot of guys that are competitive and have real grit to their game but to be able to overcome the challenge that he had from last Saturday night is impressive,” BYU head basketball coach Dave Rose said. “He was determined. He said ‘coach, I want to warm up and if it feels alright I am going to try it and after the first timeout we will evaluate it and see how it’s going’ … He wanted to help. He said 'coach, I just want to help with this game' and he sure enough did.”
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BYU struggled with executing on offense down the stretch, giving up a 72-59 lead in the second half before holding on to win by two.
“(Stanford) hit some shots. We have got to take care of the ball and just learn to control the game a little bit better. But I don’t think we are that far off of doing that," Haws said. "I am proud of our guys and how we battled. We have got to keep learning how to finish games the right way, but a win is a win, and we’ll take it.”
“I thought our guys played really well and we competed really well," Rose said. "The end of the game wasn’t our best executing down the stretch but we made enough plays to get a big win for us so I am happy for our guys … It was really important for us to win a close game that we consider to be a really good team.”
In addition to Haws’ big night, Chase Fischer added 16 points and Anson Winder chipped in 13 points. Kyle Collinsworth flirted with a triple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists.
Including the Cougars' win over Stanford, the remainder of December will be big for BYU. The Cougars host UMass Dec. 23 in its final non-conference game of the season before opening West Coast Conference play at home with Gonzaga (Dec. 27) and Portland (Dec. 29).
“You don’t really know when you’re going through preseason schedule which teams are actually going to take off and be really good," Rose said. "The Texas win was really big last year but at the time we didn’t really know how big it would be. The fact that we have come close in a couple of others, this (win over Stanford) was really important for us.
“In this 10-day stretch we have four what I consider to be really big games obviously.” Rose said, “Hopefully we can manage it. We will see how Ty feels when he gets in here on Monday and then prepare for a good scoring UMass team. A team that can really score the ball and plays up-tempo, I look forward to it.”