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Buzzer-beater from TJ Haws lifts BYU over Houston, 72-71

TJ Haws’ fadeaway jumper bounced off the front rim, hung in the air and dropped in the hoop at the final buzzer to lift BYU to a dramatic 72-71 victory Friday night over Houston.

BYU guard Evan Troy, left, hugs guard TJ Haws after Haws’ last-second basket against Houston during an NCAA college basketball game Friday, Nov. 15, 2019, in Houston. BYU won 72-71.
Michael Wyke/Houston Chronicle via AP

SALT LAKE CITY — Most of the night, BYU senior guard TJ Haws struggled to find his shot at the Fertitta Center in Houston.

But with his team trailing in the closing seconds, he came through when BYU needed it most.

Haws’ fadeaway jumper bounced off the front rim, hung in the air and dropped in the hoop at the final buzzer to lift BYU to a dramatic 72-71 victory Friday night over Houston.

Haws finished with 10 points on 4 of 13 shooting from the floor, including 1 of 6 from 3-point range.

Houston led 71-70 with 5.1 seconds remaining when Haws dribbled the ball up court as the clock was winding down. Haws rose up and launched a 17-footer from the right angle with a Houston defender draped on him.

“I knew I had a little bit of time. I tried to get downhill. I’ve worked on those shots my whole life and to see that ball go through the hoop was pretty surreal,” Haws told the BYU Radio Network. “Our guys fought all night. It was such a fun game to be in, such a fun atmosphere and to have a finish like that was incredible.”

No doubt, BYU will remember Haws’ game-winner for a long time. That shot was BYU’s only points over the final two minutes of the contest.

“It was such an epic moment and really special for our guys,” said coach Mark Pope. “It’s hard to write it better than that. These guys work so hard and they sacrifice so much to have a moment like that that they won’t ever forget.”

BYU (3-1) secured what could turn out to be a key Quadrant 1 victory that will enhance its NCAA Tournament resume. Going into the night, Houston had won 35 of their previous 36 home games.

And maybe this win makes up for BYU’s disappointing 76-71 home loss to San Diego State last week after giving up a nine-point lead in the second half.

BYU trailed 3-0 in the opening seconds of the game Friday after Houston (1-1) opened the contest with a 3-pointer, but BYU didn’t trail again until late in the second half. It appeared that BYU might squander this road opportunity.

BYU built a 31-17 advantage in the first half after hitting a bunch of 3-pointers. Houston fought back and cut the deficit to 35-28 at halftime.

In the second half, Houston’s shots started falling as it chipped away at BYU’s lead. BYU missed a few crucial free throws down the stretch and finished just 8 of 14 from the charity stripe.

Houston drilled a couple of 3-pointers in the final minutes and eventually took a 71-70 lead with 1:24 remaining.

The two teams traded turnovers and missed shots until Haws’ buzzer-beating heroics.

“Every time there was a dead-ball, we got together and said, ‘We’re in control, we got this,’” Haws said. “I think our unity is fantastic right now and our chemistry continues to grow, and that showed down the stretch.”

Alex Barcello led BYU in scoring with 16 points and was one of four BYU players that finished in double figures. Kolby Lee poured in a career-high 14 points, and Jake Toolson also added 14.

BYU visits Boise State Wednesday.