BYU was in a close battle with Santa Clara for most of the way. The hottest three point shooting team in the conference and arguably nation didn’t make a shot from downtown for most of the second half. BYU took what Santa Clara gave them and made great shots down the stretch to defeat the Santa Clara Broncos 85 to 75.
It was the TJ Show in this game. He scored a team high 28 points in this win. Surprisingly none of those points came from beyond the arc. Haws made 8 of his 14 shots from the field and made all 12 of his free throw freebies.
On the Bronco’s side Joseph Vrankic also had 28 points. He also did not make a three but did most of his damage from the field. He made more field goals than anyone with 10 made baskets but the road atmosphere was difficult for him when shooting free throws. He had 13 opportunities but only connected on 8 of them.
In addition to Haws, Yoeli Childs did some heavy lifting for the Cougars. Yoeli found his stroke again from deep as he made 2 of his 4 attempts from downtown. He recorded a double double with 22 points and 11 rebounds. If he had done that in 33 minutes we could have had quite the pattern there but he did all his damage in 28 minutes.
Jake Toolson also completes the BYU Big 3 as he had 20 points. Like Haws, he also didn’t make any of his three point attempts. Like Yoeli, he also recorded a double double as he brought down 10 boards.
BYU opponents are catching on that the Cougars have done a lot of their damage from the three point line. The middle tier WCC teams like San Diego and Santa Clara have really made an effort to take away the three from the Cougars and it has almost worked. Like all good teams, the Cougars have adjusted to what the defense has given them. In the win against San Diego last week TJ Haws was being crowded on the three so he lobbed a pass to a cutting Yoeli Childs for an alley-oop that would put the Cougars ahead by 1 for good.
Fast forward to tonight. BYU and Santa Clara were tied 66 all with just over 5 minutes left in the second half. The rains didn’t necessarily come down from deep but floods did come up for the Cougars as they washed away Santa Clara by finishing the game on a 19-9 run.
BYU will have a short break before coming back to the Marriott Center on Saturday to host the #2 team in the nation: The Gonzaga Bulldogs. The Cougars will have to bring their best game to upset an impressive team like this. If the BYU Big 3 play this well against that elite defense then they will be tough as always to beat at home.