Tyler Haws, Robert Brown

College Hoops Player of the Week: Tyler Haws, BYU

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Player of the Week: Tyler Haws, BYU

Haws has played well all season for the Cougars, embracing the role as Dave Rose’s go-to guy, but I’m not sure many people expected the Jimmeresque performance that Haws put on in BYU’s 97-71 win over Virginia Tech on Saturday. Haws finished with 42 points on 14-25 shooting, hitting 6-8 from beyond the arc. The 42 points were the most scored by anyone this season (Minnesota’s Andre Hollins had 41 against Memphis back in November) and allowed Haws to join his father amongst the ranks of the Cougars that have broken the 40 point plateau. His dad went for 40 in 1989.

What makes Haws’ performance all the more impressive is that he spent the past two years on a Mormon mission in the Philippines. Not only was he not playing basketball during his time abroad, he wasn’t really working out, either. Everyone knew the kid could play, but the fact that he’s playing at a level where he needs to be seriously considered as the WCC’s Player of the Year at this point in the season is increcible.

The All-They-Were-Good-Too Team

  • G: Tracy Abrams, Illinois: The Illini struggled to beat Auburn on Saturday afternoon, but it was no fault of Abrams’. While Brandon Paul struggled to the tune of 3-12 shooting and six turnovers, Abrams was lighting up the Auburn defense. He finished with 27 points, eight boards and five assists, proving that Illinois can win without Paul shouldering the load. Whether they can beat teams better than Auburn with Paul having an off night is another story.
  • G: Kevin Pangos, Gonzaga: Pangos has struggled a bit in the early parts of this season. He’s not shooting as well as he did last season, and with the emergence of Kelly Olynyk giving the Zags one of the biggest and most versatile front lines in the country, he’s not playing as big of a role in the Gonzaga offense, either. On Friday night, Pangos busted out of that slump in a win over Baylor, exploding for 31 points while shooting 10-13 from the field and 7-10 from three.
  • F: Tucker Halpern, Brown: Providence isn’t exactly a powerhouse this season, but they are a Big East program (for now), and when a team from the Ivy League beats an in-state opponent out of the Big East, it’s a big deal. Halpern is the biggest reason that Brown notched the 69-68 win over the Friars. He had 28 points, hitting 8-15 from beyond the arc, including the game-winner.
  • F: Jerelle Benimon, Towson: Benimon became the first player in the country to notch a 20-20 game this season as he finished with 20 points and 21 boards, six of which came on the offensive end of the floor, in a win in overtime at Oregon State. Benimon transferred to the Tigers after spending two years sitting on Georgetown’s bench.
  • C: David and Travis Wear, UCLA: As much attention as Shabazz Muhammad and Larry Drew have gotten for their play of late for the Bruins, the reason that UCLA was able to be Missouri was the play of the Wear twins. Travis finished with 22 points on 11-20 shooting while David chipped in 16 points, hitting all seven of his field goal attempts. Their ability to spread the and get out in transition

Bench: Ryan Broekhoff (Valpo), John Brown (High Point), Seth Curry (Duke), Frankie Dobbs (Bryant), Cully Payne (Loyola IL), Russ Smith (Louisville)

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.