Tyler Haws

BYU proves themselves a contender in the WCC with 112-103 win over Stanford

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Tyler Haws popped off for 31 points, and Matt Carlino chipped in with 25 of his own, as BYU went down to Palo Alto and knocked off the Stanford Cardinal, 112-103.

Yup, you read that score right.

It was 112-103.

Nothing weird happened, either. This wasn’t a quadruple-overtime game, it was just good, old-fashioned, uptempo basketball.

And that’s why you should be concerned about BYU this season.

There is a lot of talent on that basketball team. You should already know about Tyler Haws by now. He’s one of the best scorers in the country, having dropped 60 points in his first two games. But he’s far from alone, as point guard Matt Carlino, a UCLA transfer, is finally starting to live up to the reputation that he had coming out of high school. He’s still a score-first player, but he seems to be making some better decision this year.

BYU’s big freshman post Erik Mika is the real deal as well. He runs the floor extremely well, a must for anyone on the Cougars, and he’s got a soft touch and an honest-to-god back-to-the-basket game. The x-factor is Kyle Collinsworth, an athletic playmaker at the small forward spot that returned from his mission seemingly better than ever. Two games into the season, he’s averaging 12.5 points, 9.5 boards and 6.5 assists. That ain’t bad.

Dave Rose’s club isn’t doing this against nobodys, either. The Cougars ran through a really good Weber State team on Friday night, one that’s the favorite in the Big Sky by a good margin. Stanford will compete for an NCAA tournament spot come March, and BYU went down into their place and ran all over them on national TV.

There are still question marks here — what happens on the nights BYU can’t run? Can this team get enough stops? What about when threes aren’t dropping — but no team in the country can boast two wins as impressive as BYU’s right now. It’s early, I know, but the early returns lead me to believe that BYU can compete with Gonzaga or the WCC title. At the very least, the battle between the Cougs and the Zags will be must-see TV.

As far as Stanford is concerned, losing Andy Brown is really hurting them right now. Johnny Dawkins is trying to tinker with his rotation, but right now it isn’t working. Brown was supposed to be his starting small forward, and without him, it’s obvious Dawkins doesn’t trust his perimeter depth. That’s why the Allen twins don’t get minutes.

What Dawkins has done instead is go to a big lineup, one that features two post players with Josh Huestis, one of the nation’s best energy guys and offensive rebounders, at the three. Aaron Bright comes off the bench and Anthony Brown starts. It’s a massive front line, but it didn’t do enough good tonight. It will be interesting to see how long Dawkins sticks with that decision.

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.

VIDEO: New Mexico loses game on blown call by officials

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Nothing like a nice, controversial finish to get the blood flowing.

New Mexico was on the receiving end of a rule misinterpretation on Saturday afternoon, and that interpretation likely cost the Lobos a win over San Diego State and, arguably, a shot at the MWC regular season title.

Here’s the situation: New Mexico is up by three with 12 seconds left and the ball under their own basket. Their allowed to run the baseline, so Craig Neal calls a play where the inbounder throws the ball to a player running out of bounds.

Totally league as long as the player establishes out of bounds before touching the ball. The referee rules that he doesn’t.

Here’s the video:

The problem?

According to the rules, Xavier Adams — the player receiving the pass from Cullen Neal — only needed one foot on the floor out of bounds in order to establish himself as an inbounder that was able to catch that ball. He got one foot down (see the picture above), but the referees appeared to rule that he needed to have both feet down.

That was incorrect, according to the Mountain West office.

“While this was a very close judgment call made at full speed, it has been determined after careful review of slow-motion video replays the call was in fact incorrect,” the league said in a release. “The New Mexico player did get one foot down (two feet are not required) out-of-bounds before receiving the ball, thus establishing his location in accordance NCAA Basketball Playing Rules 4.23.1.a and 7.1.1.  By rule, the officials were not permitted to go to the monitor during the game to review this play.”

And here’s the kicker: When SDSU got the ball back, they hit a three to send the game into overtime, where the Aztecs won. But if New Mexico had won this game, they’d be sitting at 8-2 in MWC play, one game behind SDSU in the loss column with a return game against them in The Pit.

Instead, they’re now three games back with seven to play, meaning that the race is effectively over.

It’s tough to blame the referees here — it was a bang-bang call that is only clear in slow-motion replay — but man, that’s a big call to miss.