PROVO — A bump led to a topple.
Tyler Haws dumped in a pair of free throws after a second-half technical foul against Pacific, and that single play turned a tight game into a comfortable 84-59 victory for BYU Saturday night in the Marriott Center.
The win lifted the Cougars to 20-8 overall and 10-5 in WCC play. Pacific dropped to 10-16 and 2-12.
The Cougars and Tigers were hip-deep in a plodding, sluggish contest for three-quarters of the night — definitely a pace that favored the more physical Pacific squad.
But after Haws was knocked to the floor attempting a shot inside the key with no call with 9:48 left in the game and BYU up 54-50, there was talking going on among players and Pacific forward Jacob Lampkin bumped Haws at the opposite end of the court.
"The official saw it and called it,” said BYU coach Dave Rose, who admitted it became the turning point in the game.
Rose has worked hard to get his team to play consistent ball, especially on the boards, and after outrebounding Pacific 44-34, he believes the emphasis may have paid off.
“I think that our team is kind of at a crossroads where consistency has kind of been an issue for us,” said Rose. “The size of this team and the physical nature of this team (Pacific) has been something we have kind of struggled with.
“I think our guys are kind of determined to get over the hump. Our guys responded well to Pacific's physicality. I think earlier in the game we rushed into the first open space. We kind of let them determine where we would shoot.”
Haws led BYU with 20 points and the technical foul was a key part of a 14-0 BYU run after the game had been tied eight times, with 13 lead changes. The last tie was at 50 with 11 minutes left. BYU outscored Pacific 30-9 after the technical to build up a 25-point advantage.
Kyle Collinsworth came within one assist of extending his NCAA season record of five triple-doubles to six (12 points, 12 rebounds, nine assists) and senior Skyler Halford added 18 points to go with Chase Fischer’s 16.
“I thought they had a great stretch in the second half where they beat us in conversions," said Pacific coach Ron Verlin. "They got rebounds, they got stick-backs and free throws. We got a technical foul and it changes the game.”
Verlin praised BYU's four-guard lineup.
“They had a huge second half and Coach Rose does a great job playing four guards. Those guys can really shoot and they played really hard.”
But BYU got a key performance by senior Josh Sharp (eight rebounds), a trio of buckets from freshman Corban Kaufusi, and seven points and four boards from Frank Bartley off the bench to lift BYU’s cause.
Of Sharp, Collinsworth had high praise. “He can rebound. He can jump extremely high. He gives us that. He goes in there and makes the offensive rebound, gets us an extra shot. He makes the big blocks down the stretch — he just fights for us with his athletic ability.”
The win gives Rose his 10th-consecutive 20-win season since taking over the Cougar program in 2005-06.
Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.