PROVO — As the career of BYU’s TJ Haws winds down, he’s playing with a sense of urgency and doing everything he can to help the Cougars win games.

Last Thursday, the senior guard scored 29 points in an 87-84 overtime loss at Saint Mary’s. Late in regulation, Haws took the ball up court, juked a defender with an impressive crossover move, then streaked to the basket for a dunk to tie the game at 77, forcing overtime with six seconds remaining in regulation. 

Playing without injured forward Yoeli Childs, BYU relied heavily on Haws and guard Jake Toolson to rally from a nine-point second-half deficit against the Gaels.

“That’s who this team is. We’ve been doing that all year,” Haws said. “We believe in what we do on the defensive end. We battled defensively all game.”

Then on Saturday in a 96-70 win over Portland, Haws recorded his first career double-double. He scored 13 points and dished out a career-high 14 assists. Even more impressive, Haws had zero turnovers. Haws also tied the school record for most assists without a turnover, set previously by Randy Reid at Texas Tech in 1995. 

“TJ is a really advanced player. Sometimes, my evaluation of TJ gets really critical because he’s at such a high level in terms of his ability to approach the game,” said coach Mark Pope. “I thought his effort in the second half against Saint Mary’s was really courageous and tough. He flipped the switch maybe 10 minutes into the game at Saint Mary’s, where he embraced the physicality of the game.

“(Saturday), for him to respond and recognizing some of the ways we fell short at Saint Mary’s and him addressing those issues is pretty spectacular,” Pope added. “This young man, he’s a really special player and he’s obviously trying to put the finishing touches in a spectacular way on a really special BYU career.”

Haws is leaving his mark on the record books, too. He has started every game of his BYU career and has 119 consecutive starts. Jeff Chatman holds the school record at 122 consecutive starts.

Last Saturday, Haws moved past Brandon Davies for No. 13 all-time on the school’s scoring list with 1,688 points. 

But there are other goals that Haws still wants to accomplish before the season ends — he has never played in the NCAA Tournament and he wants to make that happen this March. 

“It’s No. 1 on the list. I want to get there so bad. It’s a challenge to get there. It’s super hard. But every year I believe we can make it,” he said. “But this year, I feel like we’re in a great position right now. Guys really believe in where we’re at and guys believe where we can go. I think we’re going to do it. It takes every single day getting better and better.”