Handle With Care

Tyler Haws is target No. 1 for Iowa State on Wednesday against BYU. Fair warning: He draws a ton of fouls.

"Can I get Chris Babb back?"

Iowa State head coach Fred Hoiberg submitted that question Monday when he was asked how to defend BYU's Tyler Haws, who's averaging 29.5 points in two games.

At 6-foot-5, Haws is a tough perimeter matchup, a player Hoiberg says can "score from all over." Haws is shooting 60 percent from three-point range, accumulated 25 free throw attempts in two games — he's missed the last two because of an abdominal strain, but expects to play tonight — and can post-up smaller opponents while hitting the glass.

It's no wonder Hoiberg pines for defensive specialist Babb, who did more than contain Haws when the Cyclones played BYU in 2012-13. Haws tallied just nine points on 4-for-13 shooting and didn't attempt a free throw for his second-worst scoring day of the season (Haws was 0-for-9 with one free throw in a loss to Gonzaga).

"He did as good of a job as anybody in the country," Hoiberg said of Babb, now with the Maine Red Claws, the Boston Celtics' D-League affiliate.

Per the basketball stats website kenpom.com, Haws had the 39th-best offensive rating in 2010 when he burst onto the scene as Jimmer Fredette's sidekick. Since then, he's been the Cougars' go-to guy: Haws took 30.4 percent of BYU's shots when he was on the floor last season and, in the two games this season, took 32.2 percent of them.

College basketball's new rules, basically eliminating hand-checking, could hurt the Cyclones against Haws, who's drawing 9.3 fouls per 40 minutes. Iowa State has a roster chock-full of foul-out threats (let's remember it's early, though), with Georges Niang committing 5.5 fouls per 40 minutes, Dustin Hogue committing 3.8 and Naz Long at 3.4. Percy Gibson, were he to play 40 minutes in a game and not foul out, would commit seven fouls, kenpom.com reckons.

BYU will run, too, its average time of possession at 12.9 seconds (second-quickest) and 37 percent of its shots coming in transition.

"If we don't get back in transition it's not going to be a very fun game," Hoiberg said.

With an adjusted tempo of 79.5 (total possessions divided by minutes), the Cougars are the wring more opportunities out of a game than anybody in basketball.

More possessions, more chances to foul.

So, the takeaway? Stop Haws and be aggressive with him, but exercise caution, lest the Cyclones be left to play with limited numbers at Provo's altitude of 4,549 feet.

Extra

  • The Cougars dispatched two quality opponents with Haws — No. 124 Weber State and No. 36 Stanford, by nine points each. Without Haws, the Cougars had no problems against No. 245 Mount St. Mary's, winning 108-86, and Division II Colorado Mesa, winning 84-60.

    "It's gonna be tough, we need someone to step up and match him and really contain him," Melvin Ejim said of Haws. "If he starts going they're a different team."

  • This is the beginning of a challenging three-game stretch for BYU, which hosts Iowa State Wednesday then plays No. 78 Texas and No. 50 Utah State next.

  • kenpom.com gives Iowa State just a 36 percent chance of beating the Cougars, with a projected score of 92-87. The Cougars are favored by anywhere from six to seven points.


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