Cougars Win Big At New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE -- The Cougars put an end to their road woes Wednesday night with a resounding 70-49 win over the New Mexico Lobos at The Pit. The victory is BYU's first Mountain West Conference road win of the season and improves the Cougars to 14-6 overall and 4-2 in league play. The Lobos, who entered the game averaging 87 points per game at home, fall to 12-9 overall and 1-5 in conference action.
"This was very much a team win from the starters to the guys who came off the bench," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "We did a lot of things really well. This is an emotional win for us that will carry confidence for this team."
BYU was led by true freshman Jonathan Tavernari, who tied his career high with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field to go along with four rebounds and three steals. Trent Plaisted and Jimmy Balderson also scored in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Lee Cummard paced the Cougars on the boards with five rebounds, and Austin Ainge tied his career high with eight assists.
"Austin (Ainge) was terrific tonight," said Rose. "He got involved scoring early and had eight assists with just one turnover. He was really able to run our offense. Jonathan (Tavernari) was also terrific. He came in for defensive purposes to get a bigger body in there, and he ended up hitting some shots."
As a team, the Cougars shot 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range, marking the seventh straight game BYU has topped the 40 percent mark from long range. New Mexico shot just 38 percent from the floor and 25 percent from behind the arc. The Cougars also outrebounded the Lobos, 30-29, improving to 13-0 when winning the battle of the boards.
New Mexico's Tony Dandridge scored the Lobos' first eight points of the game and finished with a game-high 21, but BYU's guard play kept the game tight as Cummard, Balderson and Ainge answered each UNM score. Balderson, who shot 5-for-8 from three-point range for 21 points against Colorado State in the Cougars' last outing, continued his hot shooting from downtown by draining his first three-point attempt of the game.
After trading scores to a 10-9 Lobo lead, BYU got some bad news as Plaisted picked up his second foul at the 14:21 mark and was forced to head to the bench. UNM took advantage, getting a steal and a score to take its largest lead of the game to that point at 12-9. Ainge finally ended a 4:25 Cougar drought as he jumped a three-pointer in transition to knot the score with 11:30 left to play.
Vuk Ivanovic gave BYU the lead with an 18-footer to make it 14-12 but the advantage was short-lived as the Lobos answered on their next possession and the two teams traded buckets from there. With the Cougars trailing 19-18, Ivanovic added to the BYU highlight reel as he sent a behind-the-back pass to an open Tavernari who put up the easy layin underneath.
The see-saw battle continued as the first half neared completion with both teams draining shots at will. Trailing 26-25, the Lobos drained a three-pointer to push the lead for either team past one point for the first time in almost six minutes, but Tavernari answered on the other end with a long-range make of his own to make the score 29-28 with 3:11 left to play in the half. The bucket proved big as the Cougars used it to spark an 11-0 run in the final three minutes of the half, taking a 37-28 lead into the locker room.
After an opening bucket from the Lobos, BYU scored the next six points, including a three from Balderson to take a 43-30 lead. However, the Lobos answered with a 7-0 scoring run to cut the lead to just six points at 43-37 with 13:27 left to play. Tavernari, who provided a huge spark off the bench for BYU in the first half, did so again as he scored back-to-back buckets to end a 3:45 Cougar drought and push the lead back to double digits at 47-37.
A New Mexico score had the Lobos thinking comeback but BYU was not about to let it happen as the Cougars went on an 8-0 run to take a 55-39 lead. Two minutes later, Mike Rose put the nail in the coffin with a three-point make to give the Cougars a 60-42 lead. New Mexico got no closer as BYU cruised to the 70-49 win.
BYU will return home to face league-leader and 16-ranked Air Force (19-2, 6-1 MWC) Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The Cougars have won 26 straight games at home, the third-longest active home win streak in the nation. BYU fans are being encouraged to White Out the Marriott Center for the game, and special ticket prices are being offered.
CLICK HERE to view postgame notes and quotes.
Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS
BYU vs New Mexico
1-24-07 8:05 PM at The Pit, Albuquerque, NM
VISITORS: BYU 14-6, 4-2
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
03 YOUNG, Keena........ f 4-8 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 1 8 1 0 0 1 22
44 PLAISTED, Trent..... f 5-6 0-0 1-2 2 2 4 4 11 3 0 1 0 24
13 AINGE, Austin....... g 3-6 2-4 0-0 0 3 3 2 8 8 1 0 1 35
23 BALDERSON, Jimmy.... g 2-6 2-4 4-4 0 3 3 0 10 3 2 0 1 31
30 CUMMARD, Lee........ g 1-2 0-1 0-1 1 4 5 4 2 2 1 0 0 18
02 ROSE, Mike.......... 2-4 2-4 0-0 0 2 2 1 6 0 0 0 0 18
10 IVANOVIC, Vuk....... 1-5 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 2 1 0 1 0 6
15 MALAMAN, Fernando... 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 4
20 BURGESS, Sam........ 1-2 1-2 2-2 0 1 1 1 5 2 2 0 0 13
24 MURDOCK, Ben........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 5
45 TAVERNARI, Jonathan. 7-10 2-3 2-2 1 3 4 1 18 1 1 0 3 24
TEAM................ 1 3 4
Totals.............. 26-50 9-18 9-11 6 24 30 16 70 21 9 2 6 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-25 52.0% 2nd Half: 13-25 52.0% Game: 52.0% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 5-8 62.5% 2nd Half: 4-10 40.0% Game: 50.0% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 6-7 85.7% 2nd Half: 3-4 75.0% Game: 81.8% 1,1
HOME TEAM: New Mexico 12-9, 1-5
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
00 JOHNSON, Aaron...... f 2-3 0-0 0-2 2 5 7 1 4 0 3 0 0 21
32 DANRIDGE, Tony...... f 8-16 0-1 5-6 3 2 5 1 21 0 1 0 1 30
21 KERSTEN, Ryan....... g 0-1 0-1 0-1 0 0 0 2 0 1 2 0 0 17
24 PRENTICE, Darren.... g 3-9 1-4 0-0 1 1 2 1 7 4 3 0 0 31
33 TOPPERT, Chad....... g 3-3 2-2 0-0 1 2 3 1 8 1 1 0 0 32
03 KANYINDA, David..... 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3
10 SMITH, Jamaal....... 1-6 1-2 0-0 1 0 1 2 3 1 0 0 0 12
11 HENFIELD, Jeffrey... 2-3 0-1 0-0 1 2 3 1 4 1 2 0 0 16
15 GIDDENS, J.R........ 0-5 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 2 0 1 2 0 0 13
30 MARTINEZ, Roman..... 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 11
41 WALTER, Kellen...... 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 3
53 FARIS, Daniel....... 1-3 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 2 2 0 0 1 1 11
TEAM................ 2 2
Totals.............. 20-53 4-16 5-9 10 19 29 15 49 10 15 1 3 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-27 48.1% 2nd Half: 7-26 26.9% Game: 37.7% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 2-8 25.0% 2nd Half: 2-8 25.0% Game: 25.0% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 0-0 0.0% 2nd Half: 5-9 55.6% Game: 55.6% 2
Officials: Tom O'Neill, Eric Curry, Jim Stupin
Technical fouls: BYU-None. New Mexico-None.
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
BYU........................... 37 33 - 70
New Mexico.................... 28 21 - 49
Points in the paint-BY 26,NM 28. Points off turnovers-BY 14,NM 10.
2nd chance points-BY 8,NM 8. Fast break points-BY 9,NM 3.
Bench points-BY 31,NM 9. Score tied-5 times. Lead changes-17 times.
GAME 20 - BYU Travels to Face New Mexico Saturday
BYU GAME #20 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (13-6, 3-2 MWC)
NEW MEXICO LOBOS (12-8, 1-4 MWC)
Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2007
The Pit (18,018)
8 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (33-15 in second season; same overall)
UNM, Ritchie McKay (79-60 in fifth season; 162-149 in 11th season overall)
BYU leads, 69-50, after sweeping the season series last year
The MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.) (Dave Benz, play-by-play; Todd Christensen, color)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (7 p.m. MT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Russell Larson, game analysis)
Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
BYU TRAVELS TO FACE NEW MEXICO WEDNESDAY
BYU (13-6, 3-2 MWC) will continue its conference road swing as the Cougars travel to face New Mexico (12-8, 1-4 MWC) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. MT in Albuquerque, N.M. The game will be televised on the MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.) and can be heard live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 7 p.m. on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the Internet at KSL.com. The Cougars are coming off a road loss at Colorado State on Saturday but have won eight of their last 10 games. The Lobos, who did not play on Saturday, are coming off a loss at San Diego State last Wednesday, their fifth loss in six games, two of which came without their top scorer J.R. Giddens. UNM is 11-1 at home this year.
BYU will return home to host league-leader Air Force on Saturday in the Marriott Center. The 4 p.m. game will be televised on the mtn.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- 2006 All-MWC Third Team forward Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (16.5) and is second on the team in rebounding (6.6). 2006 Freshman All-American Trent Plaisted leads the Cougars on the boards (6.8) and is second in scoring (12.3), while senior Austin Ainge leads BYU with 3.7 assists per game.
-- The Cougars currently lead the MWC in scoring (78.0) and rebounding average (38.9) in overall play. In league action, BYU paces the conference in scoring (82.2), scoring margin (+6.8), three-point shooting (.516) and assists (17.6).
-- With 26 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are currently tied for the nation's second-longest active home winning streak. BYU is 12-0 at home this season, 1-5 on the road and 0-1 on a neutral court.
-- BYU was picked to finish second in the Mountain West Conference in the preseason MWC media poll behind reigning champion San Diego State.
-- Cougar head coach Dave Rose guided BYU to a 20-9 record and an NIT appearance last season in his first year at the helm after eight years as BYU's lead assistant. He was named the Mountain West Conference and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year. Rose coached his team to a second-place MWC finish -- one game behind league-champion San Diego State -- while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success that proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.
LOOKING AT NEW MEXICO
New Mexico is 12-8 overall this season with a 1-4 mark in MWC play and an 11-1 record at home. The Lobos began the season 9-2 but have since gone 3-6, including their only home loss of the year against Colorado State. Junior guard J.R. Giddens, a transfer from Kansas, leads the team and ranks third in the MWC in scoring at 17.8 points per game. Giddens also adds 6.4 rebounds per contest, second on the team and ninth in the league, and 2.6 assists despite missing three games due to injury. Junior guard/forward Tony Danridge is second on the team in scoring at 12.6 pgg on .559 shooting from the field and is the only Lobo who has started in all 20 games this season. Senior forward Aaron Johnson paces the Lobos on the boards with 7.7 rpg, third in the MWC, and from the floor on .582 shooting from the field while contributing 6.6 ppg. Junior guard Darren Prentice is UNM's leading assist man with 2.70 apg to go along with 7.1 points and 1.6 rebounds per contest. Sophomore guard Chad Toppert is a key reserve for the Lobos with 9.2 ppg on .492 shooting from the field, including a team-best .500 mark (54-for-108) from three-point range. As a team, the Lobos are averaging 77.6 ppg on .477 shooting from the field, including a .377 mark from behind the arc, while holding opponents to 71.9 ppg on .453 shooting. UNM opponents hold a slight 34.7-34.3 rebounding edge over the Lobos. New Mexico head coach Ritchie McKay is 79-60 in his fifth season with the Lobos and 162-149 in his 11th year overall.
NEW MEXICO'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 10 Jamaal Smith 5-9 175 Jr. 8.2 1.1
G 15 J.R. Giddens 6-5 205 Sr. 17.8 6.4
G 24 Darren Prentice 6-1 170 Jr. 7.1 1.6
F 00 Aaron Johnson 6-8 235 Sr. 6.6 7.7
F 32 Tony Danridge 6-5 215 Jr. 12.6 2.5
NEW MEXICO'S LAST OUTING -- AZTECS SLIP PAST LOBOS, 73-68
SAN -- Lorenzo Wade recorded his first career double-double scoring 13 points and pulling down 12 rebounds as San Diego State defeated New Mexico 73-68 on Wednesday night. With the victory, the Aztecs improved to 13-5 overall and 2-2 in the Mountain West Conference. New Mexico, which has lost five of its last six, is 12-8 (1-4 MWC). In a game with 11 lead changes, San Diego State trailed 53-52 with 7:44 left. However the Aztecs, sparked by Wade, Brandon Heath and Mohamed Abukar, outscored the Lobos 17-7 and took a 69-60 lead with 2:21 left. Heath led San Diego State with 16 points while Abukar added 14. Tony Dandridge had 18 points for New Mexico and Chad Toppert contributed 12, hitting 4-of-7 from three-point range. It was Toppert's three-straight treys that lifted New Mexico from a 46-42 deficit into a 53-52 lead. However, Wade, who also had four assists and three steals, drained a three that kicked off the 17-7 run. Wade followed with a dunk following a spectacular steal and pass by Heath. With its 13-5 record, San Diego State has its best 18-game record since the 1984-85 squad opened 14-4. Last season when the Aztecs won a school-record 24 games, the team was 12-6 after 18 games.
This will be the 120th game in the series that started in the 1949-50 season. The Cougars lead the series 69-50 after winning 77-71 at The Pit to end the Lobos' 21-game home win streak and 76-68 in the Marriott Center last season. BYU dropped two of three meetings in 2005, winning 68-53 at home but falling 91-72 at The Pit and 85-71 in the quarterfinals of the MWC Tournament in Denver. BYU had a four-game winning streak in the series halted with a season series split in 2004. The Cougars swept the season series in 2003 and defeated the Lobos in the opening round of the 2003 MWC Tournament. BYU has won 12 of the last 16 games in the series after New Mexico had won eight of the prior nine contests. The Cougars are 15-26 in The Pit. BYU has won six straight over UNM in the Marriott Center. New Mexico's last win in Provo was a 78-74 win in 2000, which was BYU's last loss in the Marriott Center prior to starting its school-record 44-game nation-leading homecourt victory string that was ended in 2003 by Utah.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 69-50
BYU Record in Provo: 40-15 (25-12 in the Marriott Center)
BYU Record in Albuquerque: 25-31 (17-26 in The Pit)
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 4-4
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 2-0
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 1-3 (1-1 Rd, 0-2 Hm)
Last Overtime Game: 1994, lost in Provo, 82-84
Longest BYU Win Streak: 14 (1950-57)
Longest New Mexico Win Streak: 5 (1996-98)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 30, 92-62 two times in 1955 and 1959
Largest New Mexico Margin of Victory: 42, 74-32 and 90-48 in 1997
Most Points Scored by BYU: 100 in 1979
Most Points Scored by New Mexico: 102 in 1987
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"Coach McKay has got himself a really good basketball team. They shoot the ball really well in The Pit. They've had some injuries, but they've got 12 wins on the year."
"J.R. Giddens has missed some games, but he's a prolific scorer and a great athlete. He can shoot the ball from deep and put it on the floor and get to the basket. He's a talent, but you can't just guard him because there's three or four other guys that can really hurt you. They really have the ability to get that offense going. We're going to have to really concentrate on our assignments for the whole 40 minutes."
"They've won a lot of games at home in The Pit over the years. It's a tough place to play, but we're excited to go down there. We've had some good games down there, and it's a great atmosphere. You have to embrace the opportunity and go in there and execute your game plan."
"We're playing a lot better on the road. It's time for guys to break through and get our first conference road win. Then we can get more confidence and build on that."
LAST YEAR AT NEW MEXICO -- Cougars Snap New Mexico Win Streak
ALBUQUERQUE -- The Cougars' road victories kept coming Wednesday night as BYU snapped New Mexico's 21-game home win streak with a 77-71 victory at The Pit. BYU was not intimidated by the Lobos' win streak, the fourth longest in the nation, as the Cougars pounded out the win. BYU has snapped the three longest home winning streaks in New Mexico history, ending a 41-game streak in 1998 and a 24-game streak in 1975. Rashaun Broadus led the Cougars with 15 points while recording three rebounds, six assists and no turnovers, contributing to BYU's season-low-tying seven turnovers. Four other players scored in double figures as Jimmy Balderson scored 14 points, Trent Plaisted contributed 13, Keena Young added 12 and Brock Reichner posted 11 points. Young was BYU's high rebounder with nine boards on the night. After New Mexico took an early 4-0 lead, the Cougars responded with an 8-0 run, including Trent Plaisted's 22nd dunk of the year, to go up 8-4. New Mexico fought back with an 8-0 spurt of its own that saw Trent Plaisted, BYU's leading scorer, check out of the game with two fouls of his own. The Cougars' 4:03 scoring drought was finally ended with a jumper from Keena Young, who scored BYU's next six points. But it was not enough to stop the Lobos as New Mexico built a 26-16 lead. The Cougars responded with a bucket from Young and a three-pointer from Reichner at the 6:57 mark to cut the lead in half at 26-21. From there, the three-pointers began to rain down for the Lobos as four of their last six field goals of the half came from long range. BYU put together a little magic of its own with three-pointers from Fernando Malaman and Lee Cummard in addition to another Plaisted dunk and six free throws to maintain the five-point deficit, heading into the locker room down just 42-37. Both teams came out hot offensively in the second half as BYU made three of its four shots and New Mexico made four of its first five. After seeing the Cougars fall behind 51-44, Jimmy Balderson drained a three-pointer to bring BYU within four. BYU took advantage of the momentum, draining back-to-back three-pointers to take the lead at 53-52, the Cougars' first advantage since 8-7 in the first half. BYU managed to take a 62-59 lead at the 10:30 mark on a reverse layin from Balderson but saw the slim margin disappear with a 5-0 Lobo spurt. The Cougars did not score from the floor for 6:19 as they watched New Mexico take a 67-63 lead with 5:07 left to play. Enter Reichner. BYU's walk-on senior scored eight straight points from there, including two drained three-pointers, to give the Cougars a 71-67 lead with just 2:28 remaining. With 32 seconds left to play, Broadus drove to the hoop and drained the layin that put the nail in the coffin for the Lobos, leading to the 77-71 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I'm just really, really proud of our players. They're in a position right now where their confidence is high and their resolve to do things right and play together and compete together is great."
-- "I think that the competitive spirit of the guys and their resolve to win has been key for us during this stretch. There were a couple times in the timeout tonight when I didn't even need to say anything. Everyone was involved and engaged and working together to get the win."
-- "Our emphasis tonight was to make them get the ball out of the post and make big shots from the outside. They made some from three-point range in the first half, but we made some adjustments at halftime and did a much better job of guarding the three-point shot."
-- "One of the big keys in this game was not only how we guarded them but that we didn't turn the ball over. We got down in the first half when they scored off of our turnovers. We only had one in the second half, which was a huge factor."
New Mexico Head Coach Ritchie McKay
-- "BYU did a great job of executing their game plan and they are a hot team in the conference. Obviously, they played better than we did and were successful in winning the game. This is the third time they have broke our (homecourt victory) streak and hopefully we'll pay them back when we get to Provo."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT NEW MEXICO
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Fewest Turnovers -- 7 (tied); Free-throw Percentage - .917 (11-for-12).
-- The Cougars' victory at New Mexico snaps the Lobos' 21-game home win streak, the fourth longest in the nation. BYU snapped a 41-game Lobo home win streak in 1998 and a 24-game home win streak in 1975.
-- BYU's wins at New Mexico and at Colorado State mark the first time since 2004 that the Cougars have won back-to-back Mountain West Conference road games.
-- The Cougars' won the game despite being down 42-37 at halftime, marking the first time this season that BYU has come back from a halftime deficit to win a game on the road.
-- Three-pointers were big for New Mexico as the Lobos made 7-of-15 (.467) from beyond the arc against BYU on the night. In the last three games of the series. UNM has made 38-of-53 (.566) from long range.
-- New Mexico shot 57.1 percent in the first half, marking the fourth time in the last five games that BYU has allowed its opponents to shoot over 50 percent in the first period of play. Ironically, has BYU won the four games in which opponents shot over 50 percent in the first half (vs. Wyoming, vs. TCU, at CSU and at New Mexico) and lost the one game in which the Cougars held their opponent under 50 percent (at SDSU).
-- Five Cougars scored in double figures for the second time this season and the first since Jan. 18 against Wyoming as Rashaun Broadus scored 15 points, Jimmy Balderson scored 14, Trent Plaisted recorded 13, Keena Young added 12 and Brock Reichner contributed 11 points.
-- Trent Plaisted recorded his 22nd dunk of the year on BYU's second basket of the game and added his 23rd with 4:32 left in the half and his 24th midway through the second half. Jimmy Balderson also dunked with 16 seconds left in the game, bringing the Cougars' season total to 35. Plaisted has recorded eight slams in the last three games.
-- Keena Young scored 10 of 12 Cougar points during 8:51 of the first half, single-handedly keeping BYU in the game. Young finished the game with 12 points.
-- After New Mexico began the game with a 4-0 lead, the two teams traded 8-0 runs. BYU did not score for 4:03 during the Lobo spurt.
-- Neither team scored in the last 1:41 of the first half as New Mexico's last bucket came from three-point range with 2:42 left and Lee Cummard responded 1:01 later with a bucket of his own from long range.
-- BYU began the second half 5-of-7 from three-point range after going 3-for-8 in the first half. The Cougars finished the game 10-for-22 (.455) from long range.
-- After taking a 62-59 lead at the 10:30 mark in the second half, BYU did not score from the field for 6:19, allowing the Lobos to go on an 8-1 run.
- Brock Reichner came up big for the Cougars with BYU trailing 67-63. Reichner scored eight straight points, including two three-pointers, to the Cougars a 71-67 lead with 2:28 to play.
LAST YEAR AT BYU -- Cougars END REGULAR SEASON WITH VICTORY
PROVO -- On a night set apart to honor arguably BYU's best foreign-born player, Kresimir Cosic, it was Canadian Jimmy Balderson who came up big, leading the Cougars to a 76-68 win over New Mexico in front of a season-high crowd of 20,732. Balderson led the Cougars (20-7, 12-4 MWC) with 21 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field, 7-for-7 shooting from the foul line and a career-high eight rebounds. Brock Reichner scored 11 for BYU and led the Cougars with four assists in his senior night game. BYU--picked to finish last in the preseason media poll--secured a second-place tie with Air Force with the victory. The win is the sixth straight for the Cougars and their 14th in a row at home. BYU has also won 10 of its last 11 games to finish the regular season. The first ten minutes of the game included a flurry of three pointers. Jeff Hart nailed three shots from behind the arc in less than three minutes. The Lobos (17-12, 8-8 MWC) hit 64 percent of their shots in the early part of the game to build a 21-11 lead with 10:37 remaining in the first half. The Cougars followed with an 11-5 run capped by a Lee Cummard three ball to cut the lead to 26-22 with 7:16 left. Defense tightened as the first half wound down, and the two teams played physical back-and-forth basketball with New Mexico maintaining a 34-33 halftime lead. The physical play continued into the second half with BYU taking its first lead at the 16:13 mark when Balderson nailed a three. But the Cougars' first lead of the game was short-lived as Hart nailed a three on the Lobos next possession. BYU bounced right back, going on an 8-0 run to give the Cougars a 49-42 lead. New Mexico countered with a 5-0 run of its own to keep the game a one-possession contest. Balderson's three-point play gave BYU a one-point lead but was answered by a Kellen Walter three-pointer as the Lobos held to a 62-60 lead with 3:47 left in the game. But the Marriott Center magic prevailed down the stretch as the Cougars went on a 14-0 run over the last four minutes of the game. Balderson and Rashaun Broadus showed that ice runs through their veins in pressure situations as they combined for eight consecutive foul shots. BYU's stifling defense held New Mexico scoreless from the 4:29 mark until Chad Toppert hit a desperation three with 22 seconds remaining.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I give a lot of credit to our guys. They took their best shot, hung in there and kept their composure."
-- "Jimmy (Balderson) was terrific. He hit some big shots."
-- "This is the way games are supposed to be played in March."
-- "This was a very different feeling to our players with everything surrounding our team and the university right now. When it was time to win though, our guys stepped up and were ready."
-- "Our effort was good all night. We settled into our game much better the second half though."
New Mexico Head Coach Ritchie McKay
-- "We needed more offensive consistency tonight, and we did not perform as well as we would have liked.
-- "I haven't analyzed BYU very much, but they seem to be right where we were last year."
-- "They're a tough team and I wouldn't want to play them [in the tournament]."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT BYU
-- True freshman Jackson Emery has started the last four games, his first collegiate starts. He has been joined in the starting five by Rashaun Broadus, Brock Reichner, Keena Young and Trent Plaisted.
-- Individual Career Highs: Jimmy Balderson -- 8 rebounds.
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Crowd -- 20,732; Highest Opponent Field Goal Percentage In a Half - .667 (tied).
-- BYU retired the No. 11 jersey of Kresimir Cosic at halftime of the New Mexico game. Cosic is just the second Cougar basketball player to have his jersey retired, joining Danny Ainge. Neither Cosic's No. 11 or Ainge's No. 22 are available for players to wear in the future.
-- BYU's lone senior Brock Reichner was honored prior to the start of the Cougars' final home game of the season. Reichner is second on the team in scoring this year and has been an integral part of BYU's success this season.
-- With the win the Cougars finished the season in a second-place tie in the Mountain West Conference, joining Air Force at 12-4 in league play. BYU was picked to finish last in the preseason media poll.
-- The Cougars will be a No. 3 seed heading into next week's MWC Tournament. BYU tied with Air Force for second in the league and split the season series with the Falcons but lost the tiebreak by virtue of splitting the season series with No. 4 seed UNLV while the Falcons swept the Rebels. The Cougars will play Utah at 10 p.m. on Thursday in the first round.
-- BYU achieved its 29th 20-win season with the victory over New Mexico, finishing the regular season at 20-7.
-- The Cougars are now 12-0 when holding opponents under 70 points and 19-0 when leading with one minute remaining in the game.
-- BYU's victory in its final home game of the regular season improved the Cougars' homecourt winning streak to 14 games. BYU entered the game ninth in the nation in consecutive home wins.
-- The Cougars have now won their last six games, the first time they have won six straight since the 2003-04 season when they did it twice. The winning streak is among the top 10 in the nation. BYU has also won 10 of its last 11 games.
-- The Cougars had at least five players score in double figures for the eighth time this season.
-- Balderson was the first Cougar to reach double figures on the night with a three-pointer at the 14:05 mark to give BYU a 46-42 lead and give him 12 points. Balderson has scored in double figures in 10 of BYU's last 11 games, all Cougar wins. He also made nine straight three-point attempts over the last five games, including his first two against New Mexico, before missing one in the second half against the Lobos.
-- The Cougars took their first lead of the game 41-39 at the 16:13 mark of the second half on a three-pointer from Jimmy Balderson.
BYU's LAST OUTING -- COUGARS COME UP SHORT AT CSU
FORT COLLINS -- Despite a career-high 27 points from Trent Plaisted, BYU was unable to hold off the Colorado State Rams Saturday, falling 90-78 in Fort Collins. Plaisted's game-high 27 points surpassed his 23-point mark set earlier this season vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and included four dunks. Jimmy Balderson also topped the 20-point mark with 21 points on 5-for-8 shooting from three-point range, tying his career high in three-point makes. The duo became the first pair of Cougars to top the 20-point mark since last season's game at CSU on Jan. 28 when Balderson scored 24 and Brock Reichner added 23 points. Austin Ainge led BYU in assists, tying his season high with six, while three Cougars -- Plaisted, Ainge and Lee Cummard -- each pulled down four rebounds. BYU quickly established a presence in the post as Young and Plaisted scored the Cougars' first eight points of the game while CSU's two seven-footers, Jason Smith and Stuart Creason, each picked up an early foul, leading to an 8-6 BYU lead. But back-to-back buckets from the Rams swung the advantage back to the home team at 11-8. The Cougars got a break at the 14:04 mark as Smith picked up his second foul and was forced to check out. However, the Rams kept up the pressure and held on to the lead at 18-13 despite a second foul on Creason. Young heated up for BYU from there, recording back-to-back buckets to get the Cougars within one point at 18-17 with 10:10 left to play in the half. But the Rams responded with two straight makes of their own, including a three-pointer, to push the lead to 23-17. A dunk from Plaisted sparked a 10-2 BYU run as the Cougars drained two three-pointers to take a 27-25 lead. The two teams traded scores from there until a third throw down from Plaisted followed by a short jumper from Fernando Malaman on the next BYU possession gave the Cougars their largest lead of the game to that point at 33-30 with 4:06 left in the half. Neither team would score back-to-back again in the first half as BYU held on to a 39-37 lead at the break. BYU jumped out to a 44-39 lead after halftime, including a three-pointer from Balderson, until a 7-0 Ram run gave CSU a 46-44 lead. But the Cougars responded with an 8-0 spurt of their own with four points each from Young and Balderson to retake the lead at 52-46. However, CSU put on a shooting clinic during a 23-5 run, making eight of 10 shots while allowing BYU just five free throws to take a 69-57 lead with 9:45 left to play. The Cougars began climbing back into the game with a dunk from Plaisted and a three-pointer from Balderson to cut the lead to seven points, but the Rams' hot hand continued as BYU was unable to get a stop on the defensive end and CSU was unable to miss from the floor, leading to a 79-66 Ram lead with 5:20 left to play. BYU attempted a late rally with a 10-4 run to get within seven points, but it wasn't enough as the Rams pulled out the 90-78 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "We did some good things today, but Colorado State played very well and hit big shots. We need to do a better job of defending and trying to limit the six-, seven-, eight-point scoring runs."
-- "I thought Trent (Plaisted) played with a lot of energy and gave a great effort. I think it's a real positive that he was being aggressive and going strong to the basket and still drawing fouls despite struggling at the free-throw line."
-- "Colorado State's chemistry is really good right now because they're getting a lot of consistent play out of their guys."
Colorado State Head Coach Dale Layer
-- "What an incredible game. Both teams played their hearts out. I thought the second half defensive effort was excellent."
-- "The guards stepped up with some threes. We had eight or nine guys really contribute. We were attacking the rim better in the second half. We got touches down low by Jason (Smith) and Stu (Creason)."
-- "I thought the board work was what got us over the hump. Give BYU credit. I thought Trent (Plaisted) and Keena (Young) were tremendous."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Trent Plaisted - 27 points, 11 field goals made, 16 field goals attempted; Jimmy Balderson - 5 three-pointers made (tied).
-- Individual Season Highs: Austin Ainge -- 6 assists (tied).
-- Team Season Highs: 90 opponent points; .567 opponent shooting; 53 opponent points in a half.
-- The Cougars are now 13-3 when scoring at least 70 points with all three losses coming on the road (at Lamar, at UNLV, at CSU). BYU is also 2-6 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold. The Cougars have scored at least 70 points in 11 straight games.
-- With a .538 (7-for-13) three-point shooting mark at CSU, BYU has now shot above .400 from behind the arc in five straight games and 10 on the season. The Cougars have shot above .500 in six games.
-- With a 34-25 rebounding deficit against the Rams, the Cougars are now 1-6 when losing the battle of the boards.
-- Leading 39-37 at CSU, BYU went into the locker room with a halftime lead for the 14th time this season. BYU had won 12 straight games when leading at the break prior to the loss at CSU and is now 12-2 when leading at the half.
-- BYU's two 20-point scorers (Plaisted - 27, Balderson - 21) marked the first time since last season's game at CSU on Jan. 28 that two Cougars topped the 20-point mark.
-- Mike Rose did not score for the first time since Dec. 9, ending a streak of 10 straight games with a made three-pointer, which tied his career streak.
-- With 18 points against the Rams, Young has now scored in double figures in 17 of 19 games this year.
-- The BYU post duo of Plaisted and Young scored 16 of the Cougars' first 19 points of the game as they each recorded eight points in the first 11:32 of the half. Both scored in double figures in the first period of play as Plaisted scored 14 points on 6-for-8 (.750) shooting and Young added 10 points on 5-for-7 (.714) shooting from the field before the break. Plaisted's mark tied his highest point total in a half this season (14 vs. Michigan State).
--Jimmy Balderson became the third Cougar to score in double figures with seven second-half points in the first 3:47, bringing his game total to 10 and marking the eighth time this year he has posted double digit points. Balderson entered the game averaging 5.5 ppg in MWC play but finished with 21 points at CSU.
-- Balderson's career-high-tying five three-point makes against the Rams marked just the third time this season he has made multiple three-pointers in a game and the first time since Nov. 29 against Boise State. Balderson was third on the team last year in three-pointers made with 32.
-- Plaisted posted four dunks in the game, including three in the first half, to bring his season total to 21 and his career mark to 54. The Cougar big man has recorded a dunk in 13 games this season including multiple throw downs in five contests.
BYU's 24-point (89-65) win over TCU Jan. 10 marked the Cougars' largest margin of victory in MWC play since a 29-point win (82-53) on Jan. 17, 2004 against Colorado State. The big win came just one game after a 22-point victory over San Diego State to open MWC play. BYU has won just eight games by 20 points or more in MWC play since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season. During their seven-game winning streak, which came to an end with a loss at UNLV on Jan. 13, the Cougars outscored opponents by an average of 22.0 points per game with six of their seven wins coming by double digits.
BYU has shot .526 (40-for-70) from three-point range in its last four games, including a .538 mark (7-for-13) at Colorado State on Saturday, marking the sixth game this year the Cougars have shot above .500 from long range. Before shooting .412 against Wyoming, BYU shot .565 (26-for-46) from three-point range in its two games against TCU and UNLV. The Cougars tied a school record with 14 triples (14-of-25, .560) in their win over the Horned Frogs Jan. 6 and followed with 12 treys (12-for-21, .571) at UNLV on Jan. 13. BYU has shot above 40 percent from behind the arc in six straight games and 10 times on the season. The Cougars lead the league in three-point percentage (.516) in MWC play.
With seven straight wins against Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall, San Diego State and TCU, the Cougars put together their longest winning streak of the Dave Rose era and their longest since winning nine straight games during the 2003-04 season. Before coming to an end with a loss at UNLV on Jan. 13, the streak was tied for the 12th-longest active victory streak in the nation. Earlier this year with wins against Idaho State, Portland and Southern Utah, the Cougars put together a three-game win streak, which ended with a loss at Boise State. BYU had several winning streaks last season, including six straight victories. That streak was tied for the seventh-longest active winning streak in the nation. BYU won 10 of its last 13 games last year.
ON THE ROAD
BYU's win at Weber State marked the Cougars' first road win of the season. BYU is 1-5 on the road this year with a season-opening loss at then-No. 5 UCLA, a Nov. 29 setback at Boise State, an overtime defeat at Lamar and league losses at UNLV and at CSU. In BYU's six away games the Cougars have been outscored by an average of seven points (80.3-73.3) with only the UCLA and CSU games being decided by double digits (13 and 12 points). The Cougars lost their only neutral court so far this season with a loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. The victory over the Wildcats snapped a three-game road losing streak dating back to last year's season-ending defeat at Houston in the NIT and a five-game nonconference road losing streak since defeating Washington State last year in Spokane Arena on Nov. 22, 2005. BYU finished last year 6-8 away from home, including a 4-4 mark during MWC play.
BOUNCE BACK COUGARS
With Wednesday's game at New Mexico coming after a loss at CSU, the Cougars have a chance to continue their resilient ways as BYU has recovered from four of its five prior losses this season with wins. After suffering their first back-to-back regular-season losses of the Dave Rose era with defeats vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar, the Cougars responded with seven straight victories. Prior to the Lamar loss, BYU had bounced back from each of its two losses this season with wins, including back-to-back victories after their loss at Boise State on Nov. 29. BYU recovered from its season-opening loss at then-No. 5 UCLA with three straight wins. Last year with its 20-9 overall record, BYU suffered consecutive defeats only once -- against Utah in the Mountain West Conference Tournament and at Houston in the NIT in the last two games of the year, having bounced back from each prior loss with a victory.
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
This year the Cougars are scoring an MWC-leading 78.0 points and allowing 69.0 points. BYU is 11-0 when opponents score less than 70 points and 2-6 when they score 70 or more. BYU is 13-3 when it scores 70 or more points (exception at Lamar, at UNLV and at CSU) and 0-3 when scoring less than 70. The Cougars have scored at least 70 points in 11 straight games. Last year BYU was 12-0 when holding opponents under 70 points and 8-9 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold as Cougar foes averaged 71.7 ppg. BYU was also 17-4 when scoring 70 or more points and 3-5 when falling below the 70-point mark. The Cougars led the MWC in scoring last year, averaging 76.2 ppg, and scored 100 points in conference play for the first time since Feb. 10, 1994 in their home game against league-champion SDSU.
CLEANING OFF THE GLASS
BYU is 12-0 this season when outrebounding its opponents and 1-6 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars lead the MWC in rebounding average (38.9). Sophomore Trent Plaisted is sixth on the glass at 6.8 rpg while senior Keena Young is seventh at 6.6 rpg. The Cougars recorded back-to-back season-high efforts of 52 rebounds vs. Oral Roberts and 55 against Seton Hall in the BYU Holiday Classic. BYU outrebounded the Pirates 55-34 as four Cougars had nine or more rebounds (Cummard 12, Young, Plaisted and Ainge 9). Cummard and Ainge achieved new career highs.
BYU is the only MWC team that has not had a game decided by three points or less this season. The Cougars have had some close games, however, as three games have required overtime this year. BYU is 2-1 in overtime with an 86-77 loss at Lamar on Dec. 13 and an 84-78 win against Idaho State on Nov. 18 and a 73-69 victory at Weber State on Dec. 2. This is the first season since 2001-02 that BYU has played multiple extra period games in one year (BYU was 0-3 in overtime that season). The Cougars' loss at Lamar ended a five-game overtime winning streak dating back to March 14, 2003, an 86-80 setback against Colorado State at the MWC Tournament. BYU is 50-45 (.526) all-time when playing past regulation.
VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
BYU is the only MWC team to face two ranked opponents during nonconference play. The Cougars lost 76-61 to then-No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. BYU suffered a season-opening (82-69) loss at then-No. 5 UCLA on Nov. 15. BYU's last win over a ranked team came at the Delta Center (recently renamed EnergySolutions Arena) in Salt Lake City on Dec. 6, 2003 with a 76-71 victory vs. 25th-ranked Oklahoma State, who advanced to the Final Four that season.
One of BYU's most consistent players this year has been senior forward Keena Young, who has scored in double figures in 17 out of 19 games. He leads BYU in scoring (16.5), which is sixth in the league, and is second in rebounding (6.6), seventh in the conference. The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring seven times and rebounding seven times, including his career-high 16-rebound performance against Oral Roberts for his fourth double-double of the season (21 points). His 27 points at Weber State is the most by a Cougar since Dec. 13, 2003 (Rafael Araujo - 28). He posted a career-high 29 points against Wyoming (the most since Dec. 6, 2003; Araujo - 32) to go along with 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double fo the year.
Senior Austin Ainge is averaging a team-best 3.74 assists, fifth in the MWC, and is second on the team in three-pointers (27). He posted a season-high 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field, including a 5-for-7 mark from three-point range, to go along with six assists against TCU. He totaled 16 points with a career-best nine rebounds off the bench against Seton Hall. He scored 11 points off the bench-- all in the first half -- to give BYU early control of the game against Utah State. His 14 points -- all in the second half -- against Boise State fueled BYU's furious comeback attempt.
DOING IT ALL
Lee Cummard contributes across the box score and on the defensive end of the floor for BYU. In the Cougars' conference opener against San Diego State, he recorded his second straight double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds while contributing 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. In the BYU Holiday Classic, he averaged 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting .542 from the floor, .444 on threes and was perfect from the line. He was named to the all-tournament team. After coming one rebound away from the first double-double of his career against Oral Roberts with 13 points and a then career-high 9 rebounds to go along with 5 assists, he finished the Classic with career highs of 16 points and 12 rebounds vs. Seton Hall. He leads the team with 28 treys. He has had at least one steal in 16 of 19 games. On the year, Cummard averages 9.7 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.7 blocks while shooting .520 from the floor, .500 on threes and .828 from the line. He ranks among the top 15 in the MWC in seven statistical categories, including leading the league in assist/turnover ratio (2.27). He guards the opponent's top perimeter player. Among his defensive highlights was excelling in the tough assignment to guard the MWC's all-time scoring leader and reigning MVP Brandon Heath of San Diego State. He held Heath to season-low-tying 13 points -- well below his MWC No. 2-ranked 20.3 scoring average entering the game. Cummard helped end Heath's string of four straight games with 20 or more points. He also helped hold Utah State's leading shooter Jaycee Carroll, who ranked 22nd in the nation shooting .629, to just .308 shooting (4-for-13) and seven points below his average.
Coach Rose has used four different starting lineups so far this year. Sophomore Lee Cummard and senior Keena Young have started every game this season, while sophomore Trent Plaisted has missed just one start because of injury. Jimmy Balderson has made 16 starts. Rashaun Broadus started 11 of 15 games before being suspended for the season. Austin Ainge has started 11 games.
BYU BASKETBALL ON TELEVISION
BYU's next televised game will be on Jan. 24 when the Cougars travel to New Mexico. The game will be aired on the mtn. The Mountain West Conference's 2006-07 men's basketball television schedule features an unprecedented 99 games on national and regional television, including 65 of the 72 conference contests and all eight MWC Championship matchups. The television coverage provided by the MWC broadcast partners in 2006-07 is more than triple the national and regional telecasts MWC men's basketball has received in previous years. Seventy-five games will be shown on the MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.), with 17 to be broadcast nationally on College Sports Television (CSTV) and seven on VERSUS (formerly OLN). BYU will have 18 regular-season games televised as part of the 2006-07 MWC television schedule, including three games on CSTV, one on VERSUS and 14 on the mtn. With the exception of a road game at TCU, BYU's entire conference schedule will be televised in 2007. BYU's nonconference games featured in the MWC broadcast schedule include home dates with Southern Utah (Nov. 24, 8 p.m. MT), San Jose State (Dec. 6, 7 p.m. MT) and Utah State (Dec. 16, 4 p.m. MT). While not part of the MWC television package, BYU's regular-season opener at 2006 NCAA runner-up UCLA on Nov. 15 was televised on Fox Sports Net Prime Ticket, while the BYU-Michigan State matchup on Dec. 9 at The Palace at Auburn Hills was carried on ESPN2. BYU's game at Boise State on Nov. 29 was aired on KTVB in Boise and the matchup with Weber State was carried in Utah on KJZZ-TV.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 26 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are currently tied for the nation's second-longest active home victory streak. BYU has won its first 12 home games this season after going 14-1 at home last year including wins in its last 14 straight home contests.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (through games played Jan. 21, 2007)
Wins Team This year Next home game
47 Gonzaga 7-0 Jan. 27 vs. San Francisco
26 BYU 12-0 Jan. 27 vs. Air Force
26 Air Force 9-0 Jan. 23 vs. TCU
23 Memphis 10-0 Jan. 24 vs. Tulsa
23 George Washington 8-0 Jan. 24 vs. St. Joseph's
BYU has led at the half in 14 of the team's first 19 games, including a double-digit lead six times. The Cougars outscore their opponents by an average of 4.9 points in the first period of play. BYU's win over Seton Hall marked the first time the Cougars have won this year after trailing at the break. BYU's 82-69 loss at UCLA after leading 39-36 at the half marked the first time since the 2004-05 season that BYU has lost when leading at the half. BYU also lost at CSU after leading 39-37 at the break. The Cougars are now 12-2 when leading at the half, 1-3 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season. Last year, BYU was 14-0 when leading at the half, 5-9 when trailing and 1-0 when tied. Of the 14 games in which they led at the half, the Cougars led by double digits six times.
COUGARS HELP CHILDREN WITH CANCER
For the eighth year, the BYU men's basketball team joined the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation in an effort to raise money for families who have children with cancer and participate in the Foundation's annual Christmas party for those families. The Foundation collected monetary donations and any unwrapped toys to go directly towards a Christmas party for more than 90 families who have children with cancer living primarily in Utah County. A large portion of the money donated purchased hundreds of toys that enabled these parents to have gifts under the Christmas tree for their children. In addition to all of these toys, the party included free food and entertainment, such as games and ornament decorating, and local celebrities including Santa, Cosmo and the BYU men's basketball team. This is the eighth year BYU coaches, players and their families have volunteered for the Christmas party. BYU head coach Dave Rose served as honorary chairman for the second year. "This has always been a cause I feel strongly about," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "It has been such a positive experience for the coaches, players and families and is a tremendous opportunity for community members to be involved in brightening the holiday season for these children."
With a win against New Mexico to conclude the regular season last year, the Cougars achieved their 29th 20-win season. BYU has averaged 20 wins every 2.7 years (BYU has played 78 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). BYU coach Dave Rose is the fifth Cougar head coach to reach 20 wins in his first season at the helm. He joins G. Ott Romney (20-10 in 1928-29), Stan Watts (22-12 in 1949-50), Ladell Anderson (20-11 in 1983-84) and Roger Reid (21-9 in 1989-90). Both Watts and Reid achieved six 20-win seasons in their BYU coaching careers while Romney posted five and Rose's predecessor, Steve Cleveland, achieved four.
20-Win Seasons at BYU
Stan Watts had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 23 years of coaching
Roger Reid had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
G. Ott Romney had 5 seasons of 20 wins in 9 years of coaching
Steve Cleveland had 4 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Ladell Anderson had 3 season of 20 wins in 6 years of coaching
Frank Arnold had 3 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Floyd Millet had 1 season of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Dave Rose has 1 season of 20 wins in 1 year of coaching
TRUE BLUE FANS
The Cougars are averaging 9,496 fans this season, including a season-high 12,817 against Wyoming. BYU has consistently ranked among the national attendance leaders. The Cougars averaged 11,069 fans in 2005-06, outdrawing the regular-season conference champions of 27 out of 31 conferences as well as over half of the teams in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big East and Southeastern Conferences and all but Arizona in the Pacific-10 Conference. BYU also averaged more fans than 12 of the 16 NCAA Sweet Sixteen participants, including all of the Final Four teams.