PROVO — The BYU men's basketball team has had more than its fair share of health setbacks this season, yet were made to endure two more just prior to its game against UT Arlington in the first round of the NIT on Wednesday.
It was widely reported that the Cougars would be without sophomore swingman Elijah Bryant, who was announced as done for the year because of his knee injury, but then came the news about TJ Haws, who was battling flu-like symptoms prior to tipoff. Fortunately, for BYU, the sophomore battled through his ailments to start during Wednesday's loss.
Haws responded by playing just 10 minutes in the first half, although he contributed six points, two 3-pointers and two assists as BYU fell behind 62-55 at the break.
Haws then led off the second half scoring with a 3-pointer with 18:02 remaining. That shot marked the 16th time this season the Lone Peak product has made at least three 3-pointers in a game.
GUINN IN: Starting in place of the injured Elijah Bryant was 6-foot-5 junior guard Davin Guinn. The UC Riverside transfer had been coming off the bench and typically plays the primary perimeter defense in BYU's 1-3-1 defensive alignment and did the same defensively while starting.
Guinn finished the first half scoring just two points, but did manage to pull down four rebounds. Wednesday's start was the first of his BYU career.
COUGAR HIGHS: There were a lot of downs during BYU's loss, but two highs came with the numbers '55' and '23.' The number 55 was the number of points BYU scored in the first half, which was a season high while Eric Mika scored 23 of those first-half points, which was an individual high for the 6-foot-10 sophomore.
Other notable achievements: Steven Beo dishing out three assists in the first half, a career-high for the freshman and Zach Frampton hitting his first career 3-point field goal.
BURNING UP THE NETS: Both teams came out firing on all cylinders in the first half, combining for 117 points while shooting a combined 61.6 percent from the field.
SIX SEEDS SHOWING WELL: UT Arlington's win Wednesday made it a clean sweep for No. 6 seeds in the NIT tournament. Other No. 6 seeds to win first-round games: Boise State, Georgia Tech and Richmond.