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It isn't easy to get in and out of Blacksburg, Va., as the BYU Cougars learned last year when they traveled across the country to play Virginia Tech on its home floor.

Apparently getting game film there also must be difficult.

The visiting Hokies — in the return game, of sorts, Saturday afternoon at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City — paid little defensive attention to Tyler Haws in the first half, and the Cougars' best shooter made them pay dearly.

Haws scored a career-high 42 points, including 29 in the first half when he was left alone and seemingly could not miss, and BYU crushed the Atlantic Coast Conference foe 97-71 to improve to 10-4 heading into conference play. The Hokies dropped to 9-4 and failed to get revenge for last January's 70-68 loss to the Cougars at home.

"I say it all the time: Tyler never ceases to amaze me," said fellow Lone Peak High product Josh Sharp, who chipped in 10 points, including a monster dunk in the second half. "He can do anything."

Haws made almost everything in the first half, as the Hokies doubled down on Brandon Davies (17 points in 25 minutes) and dared any other Cougar to beat them. Haws and his 19.3 scoring average obliged.

Virginia Tech coach James Johnson said the Hokies tried to go "no look, no touch on [Haws] and not let him touch the ball as much. ... It kept him from getting 60 tonight."

Mission accomplished, but not by much, if that was the goal.

"He was special. He was special," Johnson said. "He's probably one of the best guards we'll play against all year long."

The sophomore was 9 for 13 in the first half, including 6 of 8 from 3-point range before cooling off considerably in the final 20 minutes. He finished 14 for 25 and edged his father Marty's career-high of 40 at BYU, which Tyler termed "a cool thing."

"I was able to get into a rhythm early," Haws said. "They were doubling off [Davies], so I got a few open shots, which is pretty unusual."

Coach Dave Rose said it was BYU's most consistent game yet, the win vital to the Cougars' hopes of making it back to the NCAA Tournament after dropping games against power conference opponents Notre Dame, Florida State, Iowa State and Baylor over the last two months.

"The key for us is we have got off to some really good starts this year, then kind of faded a little bit," Rose said. "I thought we were pretty consistent the whole game. Our intensity level was good. Except for some missed rebounding assignments, I thought the first half was as good as we've played."

Defensively, the Cougars stifled the country's leading scorer, Virginia Tech point guard Erick Green. He came in averaging 25.4 points per game, but he had just 12 points on miserable 4-of-17 shooting.

"I thought our guys did a good job of getting him in spots that are tough for him to score," Rose said.

The easy win might have come with a cost, however. With the Cougars cruising after a 56-31 halftime lead, Davies played only six minutes in the second half and left the game for good midway through the half with what BYU officials called a mildly sprained ankle.

The Cougars had six empty possessions with Davies watching from the bench before Haws' jumper in the paint righted the ship and gave BYU an 80-60 lead. Outside of Haws, the Cougars were just 1 of 11 from 3-point range, but the Hokies did them one worse, going 2 for 20 from beyond the arc.

drew@sltrib.comTwitter: @drewjay —


O BYU sophomore guard Tyler Haws scores a career-high 42 points, tied for eighth-most in school history in a single game.

• Haws' 29 points in the first half is most for a Cougar since Jimmer Fredette scored 33 against New Mexico in 2011 en route to school-record 52 points.

• BYU holds the nation's leading scorer, Virginia Tech's Erick Green, to just 12 points on 4-for-17 shooting. —

BYU 97, Va. Tech 71

VIRGINIA TECH (9-4) • Brown 5-12 3-4 13, Raines 0-2 0-6 0, Green 4-17 4-6 12, Eddie 5-12 6-6 17, Barksdale 1-1 0-0 2, Van Zegeren 3-4 1-4 7, Patrick 0-1 0-2 0, Rankin 0-2 2-2 2, Donlon 1-1 1-2 3, Beyer 4-6 1-2 9, Racer 0-0 0-0 0, Johnston 1-5 3-4 6. Totals • 24-63 21-38 71.

BYU (10-4) • Davies 5-7 7-9 17, Haws 14-25 8-9 42, Carlino 3-7 3-4 9, Sharp 3-5 4-5 10, Zylstra 1-5 0-0 2, Delgado 2-4 0-0 5, Cusick 0-2 0-0 0, Ambrosino 0-2 0-0 0, Winder 0-1 0-0 0, Calvert 1-2 2-2 4, Austin 3-7 0-0 6, Harward 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 33-71 24-29 97. Halftime—BYU 56-31. 3-Point Goals—Virginia Tech 2-20 (Eddie 1-4, Johnston 1-5, Rankin 0-2, Brown 0-4, Green 0-5), BYU 7-19 (Haws 6-8, Delgado 1-3, Sharp 0-1, Carlino 0-1, Austin 0-1, Ambrosino 0-1, Zylstra 0-2, Cusick 0-2). Fouled Out—Austin. Rebounds—Virginia Tech 39 (Beyer 11), BYU 48 (Austin 8). Assists—Virginia Tech 11 (Green 6), BYU 18 (Davies, Zylstra 4). Total Fouls—Virginia Tech 19, BYU 25. Technical—Virginia Tech Bench. A—15,684.