BYU Ends Utah Run in the Huntsman Center
SALT LAKE -- The Cougars made history Wednesday night, snapping a 12-year drought in the Huntsman Center with a crucial 76-66 win at Utah. The victory improves BYU to 16-6 overall and 6-2 in the Mountain West Conference, which is tied for first place with No. 16 Air Force and No. 25 UNLV through the first half of league action.
"Obviously, this win is really, really big for our program," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "These guys have played well all year on the road against some tough teams. Now we're getting the confidence we need to win on the road. We ended the first half of league play in a good spot."
Keena Young led the Cougars with 21 points while Jonathan Tavernari posted 17 and Jimmy Balderson added 11. Balderson, Austin Ainge and Vuk Ivanovic each pulled down five rebounds to pace the Cougars, and Ainge tied his career high with eight assists while helping BYU record a season-low seven turnovers.
Utah's Luke Nevill scored the first five points for his team to establish an early 5-2 Ute lead, but Plaisted quickly made his presence known with a spectacular one-handed dunk to spark a 7-0 Cougar run. However, Utah responded with four straights points to knot the score at 9-9 at the first break.
The two teams battled back and forth from there with neither able to gain more than a two-point advantage. Utah kept the pressure on BYU as the Utes scored on every trip and forced the Cougars to answer. BYU was up to the task despite losing Plaisted at the 13:40 mark to his second foul as Ivanovic and Tavernari both scored off the bench, including a three-pointer from Tavernari to put the Cougars up 18-17 with 10:59 remaining in the half.
Tavernari heated up from downtown after that, draining another shot from beyond the arc to extend the BYU lead to 21-17 at the 9:40 mark. After the Utes responded with a Nevill dunk, Tavernari demonstrated his versatility with a layin, marking eight straight BYU points for the true freshman.
Two straight buckets from Young gave the Cougars their largest lead of the game thus far at 28-21 with 5:30 left in the first period of play, bringing his game total to 11 points and marking the 19th time in 22 games he has scored in double figures. The Utes got back to within three points at 30-27, but BYU scored the final four points of the half to take a 34-27 lead into the locker room, marking the 17th time this season the Cougars have held the lead at the break.
Balderson got the Cougars started in the second half with a make from long range on BYU's first possession. After a defensive stop, Lee Cummard continued the three-point barrage with another make from downtown to put the Cougars ahead 40-27 just 46 seconds into the second half. The Utes got on the board with a make from Nevill and a three-pointer of their own to cut the lead to 40-32, but Young quickly ended the Utah scoring run with a putback following two offensive rebounds.
Another battle ensued from there as the rims opened wide for both teams and the scoring became fast and furious. After trading scores to a 51-42 BYU lead, Balderson sparked an 11-2 Cougar run, thanks in part to seven points from Tavernari, to take a 62-44 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Trailing 66-47, the Utes began a comeback bid with a 12-2 run to cut the lead to nine points at 68-59 with 3:25 left to play. However, Young scored huge back-to-back buckets for the Cougars to re-establish a double-digit lead at 72-59 with 1:56 remaining. Utah's Chris Grant drained a three-pointer at the 1:36 mark, but it was too little too late as BYU posted the 76-66 win.
The Cougars will return home to begin the second half of MWC play Saturday hosting No. 25 UNLV (19-4, 6-2 MWC). The game will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Marriott Center and will be televised on the mtn.
CLICK HERE to view postgame notes and quotes.
Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS
Brigham Young vs Utah
01/31/07 8:05 PM at Salt Lake City, UTAH (Huntsman Center)
VISITORS: Brigham Young 16-6, 6-2 MWC
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 9-18 0-0 3-4 4 0 4 2 21 0 1 0 0 25
44 PLAISTED, Trent..... c 4-6 0-0 1-2 1 1 2 4 9 1 1 0 1 19
13 AINGE, Austin....... g 0-1 0-1 2-3 0 5 5 1 2 8 2 0 1 36
23 BALDERSON, Jimmy.... g 4-7 2-4 1-4 0 5 5 0 11 2 1 0 3 30
30 CUMMARD, Lee........ g 3-3 2-2 0-0 2 2 4 3 8 2 1 1 1 36
02 ROSE, Mike.......... 0-4 0-4 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 11
10 IVANOVIC, Vuk....... 1-3 0-0 0-0 2 3 5 2 2 0 1 0 0 9
15 MALAMAN, Fernando... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
24 MURDOCK, Ben........ 0-0 0-0 2-2 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 0 1 4
45 TAVERNARI, Jonathan. 7-12 3-7 0-0 0 1 1 1 17 1 0 0 1 19
50 MACGREGOR, Gavin.... 2-3 0-0 0-0 2 0 2 1 4 0 0 1 1 10
TEAM................ 2 1 3
Totals.............. 30-57 7-18 9-15 13 20 33 14 76 14 7 2 9 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-26 46.2% 2nd Half: 18-31 58.1% Game: 52.6% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-9 33.3% 2nd Half: 4-9 44.4% Game: 38.9% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 7-12 58.3% 2nd Half: 2-3 66.7% Game: 60.0% 3
HOME TEAM: Utah 7-14, 2-6 MWC
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
21 GREEN, Shaun........ f 2-5 0-1 0-1 2 4 6 1 4 4 1 1 0 24
50 NEVILL, Luke........ c 11-19 0-0 4-6 5 4 9 3 26 3 5 1 0 33
01 BRYANT, Johnnie..... g 2-10 0-4 0-0 0 1 1 1 4 2 1 0 0 29
05 DRCA, Luka.......... g 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 10
32 JOHNS, Ricky........ g 7-8 2-3 2-3 1 2 3 2 18 1 0 0 0 32
00 EATMON, Curtis...... 2-4 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 2 4 1 0 0 1 17
03 GRANT, Chris........ 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 1 3 1 0 0 0 7
11 BORHA, Lawrence..... 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 11
13 WEIGH, Stephen...... 3-3 1-1 0-0 0 2 2 2 7 1 2 0 0 22
30 DEANE, Daniel....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 11
41 RADOJEVIC, Misha.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
51 FOSTER, David....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
TEAM................ 1 1 2
Totals.............. 28-54 4-14 6-10 9 17 26 18 66 13 10 3 1 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-26 46.2% 2nd Half: 16-28 57.1% Game: 51.9% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 0-6 0.0% 2nd Half: 4-8 50.0% Game: 28.6% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 3-6 50.0% 2nd Half: 3-4 75.0% Game: 60.0% 1
Officials: David Hall, Scott Thornley, Mike Reed
Technical fouls: Brigham Young-None. Utah-None.
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
Brigham Young................. 34 42 - 76
Utah.......................... 27 39 - 66
Points in the paint-BY 30,UT 36. Points off turnovers-BY 13,UT 7.
2nd chance points-BY 14,UT 9. Fast break points-BY 2,UT 2.
Bench points-BY 25,UT 14. Score tied-4 times. Lead changes-3 times.
GAME 22 - BYU Plays at Utah Wednesday
BYU GAME #22 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (15-6, 5-2 MWC)
UTAH UTES (7-13, 2-5 MWC)
Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2007
Huntsman Center (15,000)
Salt Lake City, Utah
8 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (35-15 in second season; same overall)
Utah, Ray Giacoletti (50-34 in third season; 167-117 in 10th year overall)
Utah leads, 124-118, after winning two of three outings last season
The MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.) (James Bates, play-by-play; Blaine Fowler, color)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (7 p.m. MT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)
Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
BYU PLAYS AT UTAH WEDNESDAY
BYU (15-6, 5-2 MWC) plays at in-state rival Utah (7-13, 2-5 MWC) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. MT in the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. 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 their first league road win at New Mexico and a home win over nationally ranked Air Force while winning 10 of their last 12 games. With a win, BYU can equal Air Force and UNLV atop the league standings at the halfway point of conference play. The Utes are coming off a road loss at preseason-favorite San Diego State after back-to-back home wins over the nationally ranked Falcons and Wyoming.
BYU starts the second half of league play by hosting UNLV Saturday at 3:30 p.m. MT (televised on the mtn.)
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- 2006 All-MWC Third Team forward Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (16.1) and is second on the team in rebounding (6.5). 2006 Freshman All-American Trent Plaisted leads the Cougars on the boards (6.7) and is second in scoring (12.7), while senior Austin Ainge leads BYU with 4.0 assists per game.
-- The Cougars currently lead the MWC in scoring (76.8), field-goal percentage defense (.421), rebounding average (38.6), rebounding margin (+5.7) and assists (16.14) in overall play. In league action, BYU paces the conference in scoring (77.4), scoring margin (+9.1), three-point shooting (.481), assists (17.29) and assist/turnover ratio (1.25).
-- With 27 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are currently tied with Air Force for the nation's second-longest active home winning streak. BYU is 13-0 at home this season, 2-5 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.
LOOKING AT UTAH
Utah is 7-13 overall this season and 2-5 in the Mountain West Conference, having won two of the last three contests. The Utes have recorded wins over Washington State (ranked No. 17 this week), Virginia of the ACC and then-No. 11 Air Force while seven of their 13 losses on the year have come by four points or fewer, including two in overtime and one in double overtime. Sophomore center Luke Nevill leads the team and ranks third in the league in scoring at 16.8 points per game on .656 shooting from the field, which ranks fifth in the nation. The 7-foot-1 Australian pulls down 7.9 rebounds per contest, second in the MWC, and averages almost one block. Junior guard Johnnie Bryant is second for the Utes and ninth in the conference averaging 15.8 ppg while posting 2.9 rpg. He paces the MWC in three-pointers made per game with 3.15 and leads the team in assists with 2.7 per contest. He and Nevill are the only two Utes who have started every game this season. Sophomore forward Shaun Green rounds out Utah's double-digit scoring effort with 12.2 ppg on .548 shooting from the field and a nation's-best .564 mark from three-point range. Green also adds 6.3 rpg, ninth in the league, and tallies a team-best 1.4 steals per game. As a team, the Utes score 69.8 ppg on .486 shooting from the field and .426 shooting from three-point range, sixth in the nation, while allowing opponents to score 69.9 ppg on .490 shooting from the floor. Utah holds a 30.6-26.3 rebounding edge over its opponents. Ute head coach Ray Giacoletti is 50-34 in his third season at Utah and 167-117 in 10 years overall.
UTAH'S PROBABLE STARTERS (Based on last game)
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 01 Johnnie Bryant 6-0 180 Jr. 15.8 2.9
G 05 Luka Drca 6-5 195 Fr. 2.6 1.2
G 32 Ricky Johns 6-3 190 Sr. 4.8 1.4
F 21 Shaun Green 6-8 208 So. 12.2 6.3
C 50 Luke Nevill 7-1 265 So. 16.8 7.9
UTAHS LAST OUTING -- UTES DROP ROAD CONTEST AT SDSU
SAN -- Jerome Habel scored 17 points as San Diego State overcame an 11-point second half deficit and beat Utah, 63-53, Saturday afternoon. Utah, sparked by Johnnie Bryant's three straight three-pointers, went on a 15-4 run to open the second half to take a 40-29 lead with 15:40 left. However, San Diego State followed with an 11-0 run highlighted by Habel's reverse slam that tied the game at 40-40 with 11 minutes left. Lorenzo Wade, who had 12 points, seven rebounds and a career-high five assists for the Aztecs finished off what was an 18-4 run with a three-point dunk play. That put San Diego State up 47-42 with 5:10 left in the game. Utah, which went 5:38 without a point midway through the second half, did close to within two points at 49-47 on a pair of free-throws by Bryant. But the Aztecs finished the game with a 14-6 run connecting on 10 of its last 12 free throws and wound up outscoring the Utes, 34-13, over the final 15:55. Bryant finished with a game-high 18 points for Utah while Luke Nevill had 11 points and Shaun Green six points and 11 rebounds. Brandon Heath scored 14 points for the Aztecs while Mohamed Abukar, who missed the UNLV game Tuesday with a bruised left knee, scored 12. Richie Williams, who had six points, also came up with a career-high six steals along with five assists for the Aztecs.
BYU and Utah will meet for the 243rd time Wednesday with Utah holding a 124-118 series lead. In the 98 years of the BYU-Utah series, this season will mark only the sixth year the Cougars have trailed Utah in the overall series after the Utes took their first series lead in 2000. Utah's current six-game series lead is its largest ever. Utah has won 10 of the last 14 games since BYU ended a string of 12 straight Utah wins, its longest in the series, with the Cougars' 58-54 win at the 2000 MWC Tournament semifinals. BYU has a 66-47 record in the Marriott Center against the Utes, while Utah holds a 72-46 advantage in the Salt Lake City. Utah has won 12 straight in the Huntsman Center dating back to 1994. BYU has a 6-5 edge on neutral floors. The series ranks 10th in the NCAA record book in terms of most games in a rivalry and is the 11th longest running rivalry dating back to 1909. Utah is the opponent that BYU has played the most in its history (242 games) and is BYU's second longest running series (Utah State series began in 1905 and includes 222 games). BYU won the inaugural game, 32-9, in Provo, on Jan. 23, 1909, and won again on March 5 of that year, 40-27, in SLC on its way to winning the first eight games against the Utes. BYU won the first meeting last year in Provo, 72-60, but lost 79-60 in Salt Lake and 74-70 in the first round of the MWC Tournament. In 2005, the Utes swept the season series with a 14-point victory in Provo and a nine-point win in Salt Lake City. The Utes' 2003 victory in Provo ended BYU's nation-best 44-game homecourt victory streak.
Overall Series Record: Utah leads 124-118
BYU Record in Provo: 66-47 (19-17 in the Marriott Center)
BYU Record in Salt Lake: 46-72 (10-29 in the Jon M. Huntsman Center)
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 6-5
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 1-2
BYU Record in OT Games: 4-7* (1-1 Rd, 2-5 Hm, 1-1 Ntrl)
*1-0 in 2OT, 0-2 in 3OT - all in Provo (83-85)
Last Overtime Game: 1991, won v. Utah @ WAC, 51-49
Longest BYU Win Streak: 8 (1909-12)
Longest Utah Win Streak: 12 (1995-2000)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 31 two times (1965, 94)
Largest Utah Margin of Victory: 36, 85-49 (1997)
Most Points Scored by BYU: 115 (1966)
Most Points Scored by Utah: 106 two times (1962, 1963)
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"I think our players know how hard it is to get a win at the Huntsman Center. Our execution will need to be really good to get any kind of a road win in this league this year. They have three really good players who are very solid in Johnnie Bryant, Luke Nevill and Shaun Green."
"Utah is a team that has had enough success that they're really good. They beat Washington State, Virginia from the ACC and of course Air Force. They've got a lot of things going for them. We're looking forward to the game. Our players are excited. It's a big game and whenever your rival school is in your conference, it ups the stakes a little bit."
"Luke Nevill is really skilled in the low post. He has good moves to the basket and causes matchup problems for anybody they play. The key is to limit his touches and get him further away from the basket when he does get the ball. We'll do a lot of different things to defend him, but he's a smart player so if you try to do the same thing all the time, he'll figure it out. Offensively, we want to be able to attack him and get ourselves in a position to play where we want to play."
"Johnnie Bryant is capable of having huge games. He's one of the captains and a great floor leader. When he's open and has the stroke going, he can make anything from deep range. He's another guy our guards will have to be ready for."
"Shaun Green really is shooting the ball with a lot of confidence right now. It doesn't seem to matter the distance. We've always got to know where he's at and put a guy on him. In the last two games we've done a pretty good job defending the three, and we'll have to do that again."
"Our preparation will be very similar to our preparation for the Colorado State game and their two big guys. The difference is that Utah has a four man can really shoot the three. Keena (Young) and Trent (Plaisted) will be a big part of the game plan, but we'll need to use other guys who maybe haven't seen as much time. Vuk (Ivanovic) is a guy who played some good minutes at New Mexico and will get some time in this game."
LAST YEAR IN PROVO -- BROADUS, COUGARS RUN PAST UTES
PROVO -- In his first game against in-state rival Utah, Rashaun Broadus scored a team-high 17 points, including a deep three-pointer with one minute left in the game and the shot clock at zero, to lead BYU to a thrilling 72-60 victory over Utah in front of a loud Marriott Center crowd. Broadus added three assists and six rebounds while helping the Cougars control the tempo. BYU Coach Dave Rose said Broadus set the pace for the Cougars. BYU improved to 9-4 (1-1 MWC) with the victory while the Utes dropped to 8-5 (1-1 MWC). The win was the Cougars' first against the Utes since the 2003-2004 season. BYU started slow, hitting only two of its first eight shots in the first four minutes. Broadus was the bright spot early for the Cougars, scoring six early points and making three of his first four shots. Utah only made two of its first six. Jimmy Balderson's three-point play gave BYU an 11-9 lead with 13:39 remaining in the first half. The two teams played back and forth with the Cougars holding onto a one-point lead midway through the first half. Johnnie Bryant scored five consecutive points, leading the Utes on a 5-0 run and giving them a 20-18 lead with 7:50 left in the first period. The Cougars countered with an 11-4 run of their own, including a stretch of seven consecutive points. The run helped BYU regain the lead at 32-28 with 2:30 remaining in the half. Overall, the Cougars finished the half on a 16-6 run to take a 34-30 lead into the break. The second half started much the same way the first ended, with BYU running. The Cougars got an early 11-4 run in the first four minutes to go up 45-36 and force a Utah timeout. Two minutes later, Mike Rose drained a three-pointer to give BYU a 10-point lead. Shaun Green hit threes on consecutive trips for the Utes to cut the lead to six points. Utah used the three-ball to stay in the game, hitting five of its first six treys in the second period. BYU kept the tempo up, bouncing back to open a game-high 11-point lead. But Utah battled back again as Bryant hit a three to cut BYU's lead to 63-58 with under five minutes to play in the game. But BYU's tempo was too much, and it showed as the Cougars ran away at the end of the game. BYU never trailed in the second half. As time wound down, BYU maintained its double-digit lead. Broadus hit the late three to put the finishing touches on the victory.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose:
-- "I'm proud of our players. They responded well to a tough situation. When your team has 14 assists and only seven turnovers and scores 70 points, those are some pretty good numbers."
-- "Rashaun (Broadus) was really big today. He got off to a great start and gave us some energy. He's a good competitor and he showed it today"
-- "In the first half, we got a lot of stops defensively and were able to push the ball and force the action. I think that made them tired and in the second half it paid off."
-- "To beat Utah is big for the confidence of our players. It was important that we were able to protect our home court. It feels good to beat Utah."
-- "Coming in the key to the game was rebounding. When we needed big boards we got big boards and that helped our offense."
Utah Head Coach Ray Giacoletti:
-- "We're going to get better with these kids. It's not going to happen overnight. We'll keep competing and getting better."
-- "Coach Rose has done a heckuva job. I think they have really found roles for their guys and they've really bought into those things. They're pretty darn good."
-- "We need to get better defensively. We missed some critical stops; we're not there yet. There were critical stops we couldn't get tonight offensively too."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR IN PROVO
-- Individual Career Highs: Rashaun Broadus -- 8 field goals made, 13 field goals attempted (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Fewest Turnovers -- 7 (tied).
-- The Cougars' win over the Utes is their first since March 1, 2004, snapping a three-game Utah winning streak in the series. Utah still holds a slim 122-118 edge in the series, which dates back to 1909.
-- With the win against Utah, BYU is now 8-0 when leading at the half. The Cougars' average halftime lead is 11.8 points, and they have led by double digits six times. Their four-point (34-30) halftime lead against Utah ties their smallest halftime lead of the season (34-30 at Washington State).
-- With 12 points against the Utes, Trent Plaisted bounced back from a five-point performance at Air Force, a season-low, to score in double figures for the 10th time this year.
-- Fernando Malaman recorded his first dunk of the season with 52 seconds left in the first half while Trent Plaisted added his 12th slam of the year 40 seconds into the second half and his 13th at the 9:45 mark. BYU has recorded 22 dunks this season.
-- BYU's Rashaun Broadus came out hot from the field as he scored the Cougars' first six points and 10 of their first 15 on 5-for-6 shooting in the first 10 minutes of the game. Broadus finished the game with a team-leading 17 points.
-- After finding themselves down 24-18 in the first half, the Cougars went on a 14-5 run to take a 32-28 lead. The run featured four free throws by Derek Dawes during the initial 7-0 spurt and six points from Lee Cummard.
-- The Cougars made another offensive push to begin the second half as they outscored the Utes 11-6 in the first 3:31 of play.
-- Mike Rose made an immediate impact in the game after coming off the bench in the second half. Rose made his first two three-point shots, the first to give the Cougars their largest lead of the game up to that point at 48-38 and the second to push BYU's lead back to nine points after Utah had cut the deficit to just six at 52-46. Rose finished the game with eight points and two assists.
-- BYU's largest lead of the game was 12 points at 70-58 and 72-60. Utah's largest lead was six at 24-18. The game featured four lead changes and 15 ties.
LAST YEAR IN SALT LAKE CITY -- RIVALRY GAME GOES TO THE UTES
SALT LAKE -- Utah's mastery over BYU in the Huntsman Center continued Wednesday night as the Cougars fell 79-60 to the Utes, snapping their four-game winning streak. BYU had not won in the Huntsman Center since 1994 but was confident going into the game, having won four in a row and beaten Utah in the season's earlier game. However, the Utes showed why a rivalry game is always up for grabs in dropping the Cougars. Brock Reichner, BYU's leading scorer on the road, once again came up big for the Cougars in scoring a game-high 21 points on six three-pointers and three free throws. Trent Plaisted recorded his third double-double of the year with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, and Keena Young notched 14 points on the night. Only two other Cougars scored as Rashaun Broadus logged eight points and Jimmy Balderson added five. Broadus also took home game-high assist honors with four but BYU shot just 30.0 percent (18-for-60) from the field, its lowest mark of the season. Utah's Bryant Markson recorded the first point of the game on a free throw at the 17:59 mark, but Reichner followed that up with a three-pointer on the other end. From there, the nets heated up with each team scoring on the next four possessions, including another make from long range for BYU's walk-on senior. Plaisted recorded his 25th dunk of the year on the Cougars' next trip down the floor despite being fouled on the way up to give BYU an 11-5 lead after the free-throw make. Utah's Markson tried the same thing on the fastbreak after intercepting a BYU pass but missed the wide-open dunk. However, instead of capitalizing on their 11-5 lead, the Cougars went cold, allowing Utah to put together a 34-13 run to end the half. BYU shot just 32.1 percent from the field in the opening period of play, their second lowest mark of the season, while the Utes shot 51.9 percent to take a 39-24 lead into the locker room. Reichner once again came up big for the Cougars to start the second half, scoring BYU's first nine points of the half on three three-pointers to keep the lead at 15 points with 15 minutes to play. However, Utah drained a three-pointer to tie its largest lead of the game at 51-33 with 14:14 left in the game. But the Cougars toughness prevailed over the next several minutes as BYU put together a 13-4 run to cut the lead to nine points at 55-46 with 6:26 left to play, holding the Utes scoreless from the field for 8:06. Plaisted put the exclamation point on the run with his 26th dunk of the year at the 6:26 mark. However, then it was BYU's turn to go cold from the field as the Cougars could not convert from the floor for 3:10. BYU went 7-for-10 from the free-throw line during that stretch to keep the Utes close at 66-55. But with 2:43 remaining, Utah turned up the heat, outscoring the Cougars 13-5 to end the game and secure the 79-60 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose:
-- "We saw a different Utah team tonight from what we saw at our place. It's really tough here. It takes a really good game on the part of the visitors to win here. We wanted to come here and play well, but we didn't."
-- "During that early Utah run, we weren't patient enough. We took some quick shots."
-- "Give our guys credit. They fought to the end. We made some steals and cut the lead but it just wasn't meant to be tonight."
-- "I talked to the team after the game about tomorrow. We have to get ready to play a UNLV team that's ahead of us in the standings. UNLV is a very good defensive team. Their pressure caused us problems in Las Vegas. We will need to execute offensively."
Utah Head Coach Ray Giacoletti:
-- "We talked about on Monday to try and recommit ourselves for 26 more days, and this is a step in the right direction. When you give that much effort, it doesn't matter whether in basketball or whatever in life, believe me I don't have all the answers, you can lie down at night and feel good about yourself. Win, lose or draw, lay it out on the line and give a great effort and they did a great job tonight."
-- "Our defense was pretty solid. Everybody seemed to do a good job with their assignment. It was a pretty good battle, the two big kids. I'm just happy for these kids because they've continued to battle and fight. It is a good BYU team, they're playing well and they've got a lot of different weapons."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR IN SALT LAKE CITY
-- Individual Career Highs: Brock Reichner -- 6 three-point field goals made (tied), 8 three-point field goals attempted (tied), 1 block (tied); Keena Young -- 8 free throws made, 1.000 free throw percentage (tied), 2 steals (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Lowest field goal percentage -- 30.0.
-- Utah's homecourt win over BYU marks the 12th straight time the Cougars have lost in the Huntsman Center, dating back to Jan. 8, 1994.
-- The Cougars' loss snaps a four-game winning streak, BYU's longest since 2004.
-- The Cougars' 32.1 percent (9-for-28) shooting performance in the first half was their second-lowest mark of the season (28.1 vs. TCU). BYU's 24 first-half points were also tied for the second-lowest output in a half for the Cougars this year (24 at San Diego State, 23 at Air Force).
-- Trent Plaisted recorded his 25th dunk of the year just 4:11 into the game despite being fouled on the way up. He added his 26th with 6:26 left in the game to cap a 13-4 BYU run that saw an 18-point Utah lead cut to just nine points.
-- Plaisted also recorded his third double-double of the year with 12 points and 12 rebounds.
-- Brock Reichner, BYU's leading scorer on the road, averaging 15.0 points, once again came up big for the Cougars in hostile territory, leading BYU with 21 points.
-- After making his last 19 straight free throws, the longest streak on the team, Brock Reichner missed his first against the Utes. Reichner had not missed a free throw since Jan. 18 against Wyoming.
-- After missing the last two games, Derek Dawes saw five minutes of action against the Utes, finishing with three rebounds
-- Leading 11-5 with 15:49 left to play, BYU allowed Utah to go on a 34-13 run to end the half.
-- After the Utes tied the game at 15-15, the Cougars shot just 3-of-17 from the field for the rest of the period while Utah was 9-of-14. Keena Young was the only Cougar to find the hoop for over ten minutes of the half until Rashaun Broadus converted a three-point play with 1:43 left in the period
LAST YEAR AT MWC TOURNAMENT -- COUGARS' MWC TOURNAMENT HOPES DASHED
DENVER -- BYU's Mountain West Conference Tournament title hopes came to an end in the first round Thursday night as the third-seeded Cougars lost 74-70 to sixth-seeded Utah. At 20-8 overall, BYU will now hope for a postseason invitation. Keena Young led the Cougars with 17 points while recording a career-high three steals. MWC Freshman of the Year Trent Plaisted recorded 15 points while pacing BYU with six rebounds. Jimmy Balderson chipped on 13 points. Overall, the Cougars shot 50 percent for the game, including 60 percent in the second half, and recorded 12 turnovers but were outrebounded 37-21, including 16 offensive rebounds for the Utes. Young came out hot for BYU, draining his first two shots to put BYU up 4-0 early, but a 22-9 Utah run left the Cougars trailing 22-13 with 7:11 remaining in the half. Balderson, who has been the x-factor for the Cougars, refused to let his team go down without a fight, draining a three-pointer and then grabbing a steal on the subsequent possession that he took all the way to the hoop but was fouled. Fernando Malaman entered the game for the first time after a Utah basket increased the lead to 24-17 and made his first shot attempt. But the Utes responded with another 4-0 spurt to equal their game-high lead to that point at 28-19 with three minutes remaining in the half. Utah did not score from the field again in the half but made seven of its last eight free throws to take a 35-28 lead into the locker room at the break. The Cougars came out firing in the second half, cutting Utah's lead to 40-36 thanks in part to four points from Plaisted including his 29th dunk of the year on a steal and dish from Balderson. Plaisted's two scores sparked a 9-2 BYU run to cut the Utah lead to 43-41. The Utes responded with their third three-point make of the half, but Plaisted continued his dominance inside, scoring four more points to bring the Cougars within one at 46-45 with 12:43 remaining. Plaisted scored 11 of 13 BYU points during the run, which saw the Cougars make six straight shots. Two minutes later, Jackson Emery tied the game at 47-47 for the first time since 9-9 on a fastbreak layin after poking the ball away from the Utes and taking it to the hoop. The two teams battled from there until a three-pointer from Jimmy Balderson on the fastbreak gave the Cougars their first lead since 7-5 at 56-54 with 7:19 left to play. Balderson drained two free throws to extend the Cougar lead to 58-54 while reaching double figures in scoring. A three-point play that ended with Utah's 14th free-throw make in 15 tries allowed the Utes to retake the lead at 64-63. BYU fought back with four straight points to gain a 66-64 advantage, but five Ute points gave them a 69-66 lead as the clock ticked down to under a minute to play. Young found the hoop on a short jumper but Utah's Luke Nevill responded to put the Utes up 71-68 with 12 seconds left. BYU tried to come back from the free-throw line but it was not enough as Utah took the 74-70 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought it was a hard fought battle between two good teams. It came down to the wire. They just made some big plays and won. I'm proud of my players. These guys played hard and fought hard. We just came up a couple points short."
-- "The fact that they had 16 offensive rebounds and got second chances a lot of times, especially late in the game. There were a couple times where we got the stop but couldn't get the rebound. That was a determining factor."
Utah Head Coach Ray Giacoletti
-- "I'm just proud of our team. We stayed focused for a long period of time tonight. I just couldn't be more proud of watching a team grow up. It's been growing up at the right time."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT MWC TOURNAMENT
-- Individual Career Highs: Keena Young -- 3 steals, Brock Reichner -- 1 block (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Fewest rebounds -- 21.
-- The loss snaps BYU's six-game winning streak.
-- In the Mountain West Conference Tournament, the Cougars are now 7-6 overall, 4-4 against Utah, 4-3 in the first round and 0-1 as the third seed.
-- The Cougars' suffered their first defeat of the year when leading with five minutes remaining with the loss to Utah. BYU led 63-60 at the five-minute mark.
-- BYU's 28 first-half points were its lowest since the Cougars' last meeting against Utah when they scored 24 in the first half in Salt Lake City. BYU has scored less than 30 points in a half just seven times this season, all in the first period of play.
-- After allowing Utah to score 14 second-half points in the first half, the Cougars held the Utes to just three points in that category in the second half.
-- Trent Plaisted recorded his 29th dunk of the year and his first in three games with 16:05 remaining in the game to cut Utah's lead to 40-36.
-- Jimmy Balderson reached double figures in scoring with two free throw makes in the second half after draining a three-pointer to give the Cougars their first lead since 7-5 at 56-54. Balderson has scored in double figures in 11 of the last 12 games.
-- Balderson entered the game with four fouls with less than 10 minutes to play in the second half and made an immediate impact, scoring seven straight points to give the Cougars their first lead since the 15:49 mark of the first half.
-- Brock Reichner, BYU's leading scorer on the road and second leading scorer overall, did not score against the Utes. The only other game in which Reichner did not record a point was the Cougars' first game of the season against Loyola Marymount.
-- Trent Plaisted's two straight buckets four minutes into the second half were BYU's first back-to-back makes since the first two baskets of the game.
-- The makes sparked a 13-5 BYU run during which the Cougars made six straight shots. Plaisted scored 11 of BYU's 13 points.
-- Utah went on seven runs of four points or more in the first half while BYU managed just two.
- Keena Young scored six of BYU's first nine points in the game, making his first three shots from the field.
BYU's LAST OUTING -- COUGARS DOWN NO. 13 AIR FORCE
PROVO -- The BYU Cougars recorded a huge 61-52 victory against the No. 13 Air Force Falcons at the soldout Marriott Center Saturday, improving to 15-6 overall and 5-2 in the Mountain West Conference. The game also marked BYU's 27th win at home, which is tied for second nationally. Trent Plaisted led the Cougars in scoring with 22 points, followed by Keena Young with 17 points. The post duo also recorded eight rebounds each. BYU outshot the Falcons 43.4 percent to 37.8 percent, AFA's lowest mark of the year, and recorded a season-high +22 rebounding margin (42-20). The Falcons, with Matt McCraw hitting a three scored the first point of the game. Lee Cummard of BYU returned the favor with a quick lay up. After 13:35, the Falcons led 10-4. Young answered the cheers of the soldout crowd with a lay-up narrowing the lead to 10-6. Mike Rose then scored a three for 10-9. At 10:59, Plaisted scored a two, putting BYU above the Falcons at 11-10. At 8:45, the Falcons tied the score up at 12-12. Young went back to make it a Cougar lead of 14-12 at 7:38. The BYU lead continued to grow with another three-pointer made by Rose. The three and the 17-12 lead put the crowd in an uproar, which happened once again with Cummard hitting another three to widen the lead to 20-12. Austin Ainge connected on another three at 3:13 in the first half to make it a 27-16 lead. With 1:27 remaining in the half, the Cougars led the game 31-18. BYU's first half lead of 31-21 at the break marked the fewest points allowed by BYU in the first period of play this season. The first points of the second half were a dunk by Plaisted, which he followed with another throwdown on the next Cougar possession to show that BYU was a force to be reckoned with. At 16:06 the Falcons hit a three to lessen the gap to 37-29. At 14:55 they hit another to cut the deficit to 37-32. With the gap lessening, another three was hit by McCraw to make the score 38-35. Young ended the three-point barrage from the Falcons by scoring a quick lay-up. After Plaisted went on to score another four points, Air Force responded by making another three-point shot to make the score 44-40 in favor of BYU. Cummard, with a quick break away at the 11:22 mark, scored two points and with a foul, got another point to widen the BYU lead to 47-40. With 6:56 left in the game Jimmy Balderson ended the 4:24 Cougar scoring drought by sinking a two. Trying to come back, the Falcons narrowed the score to 49-48 with 5:49 left in the game. The 22,700-strong crowd roared for the Cougars to take back their lead that at one time was 14 points. After Plaisted made a two, the Cougars were back in action with a three made by Ainge at the 3:59 mark for a Cougar lead of 54-48. After a foul was called with 35.8 seconds remaining, Plaisted knocked down two big free throws to push the Cougar lead to 56-51. After another foul was called with 19.7 left for the Cougars, the score was 59-51 after a Young converted the three-point play, sealing the win for BYU.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought this was a great college basketball game. I thought it was a great crowd. It was a great atmosphere. There have been games in my career here that have been loud and your ears ring for three or four hours after the game, and this was loud. My ears are ringing."
-- "I thought our guys just made some big plays. We made our free throws and hit some big shots late. It was a big win for us."
-- "Rebounding is a big factor for our team to be successful."
Air Force Head Coach Jeff Bzdelik
-- "There are three things that didn't really help us in this game. We got outrebounded, we had some bad turnovers and we had some great shots go in and out."
-- "It was a good game from the stand point that these are two good teams. BYU is a good team. Everybody in this conference is playing good basketball. Give them credit. They're tough at home, and we're tough at home. I've said from the start, and I'll say it again, that this is going to be a great race."
-- "(Trent) Plaisted was tougher than our guys today. That comes from a strong will and a desire to win."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Team Season Highs: Attendance: 22,700; Fewest points scored: 61; Largest rebounding advantage: +22.
-- BYU's win over Air Force extended its home winning streak to 27 games, which is tied for the second-longest active home victory streak in the nation. The Cougars are 13-0 at home this season.
-- The Cougars' victory over No. 13 Air Force marked their first win over a ranked team since defeating then-No. 25 Oklahoma State 76-71 on Dec. 6, 2003 in Salt Lake City. BYU hadn't beaten a ranked team in the Marriott Center since Feb. 1, 1992 with an 80-63 win over No. 19 UTEP. The Cougars' last win over a team ranked as high as No. 13 was Dec. 22, 2001 with an 81-76 win over No. 13 Stanford in Las Vegas.
-- With a matchup against the No. 13 Falcons, BYU has now faced three ranked teams this season, joining UNLV as the only Mountain West Conference team to do so. The Cougars are 1-2 in those games with a 61-52 win over the Falcons, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State. The Rebels are also 1-2, with losses at then-No. 16 Arizona and then-No. 16 Air Force and a win at then-No. 19 Nevada.
-- BYU's sellout crowd of 22,700 was a season high and the Cougars' best attendance mark since 22,718 fans watched BYU defeat Utah 70-57 on March 1, 2004. The is the 23rd largest crowd in Marriott Center history (record is 23,106 on March 7, 1981 when BYU defeated Utah 95-76).
-- BYU's 61 points against the Falcons snapped a string of 12 straight games in which the Cougars had scored at least 70 points. BYU is now 1-4 when scoring below 70 points and 13-0 when holding opponents below the 70-point threshold.
-- BYU's .278 shooting mark from three-point range against the Falcons ended a streak of seven straight games in which the Cougars had shot at least .400 from long range.
-- With a 42-20 rebounding advantage, their largest of the season, the Cougars are 14-0 when winning the battle of the boards. BYU has outrebounded its opponents by more than 10 boards nine times.
-- Leading 31-21 against Air Force, BYU went into the locker room with a halftime lead for the 16th time this season, including its seventh game with a double-digit lead. The Cougars have held opponents under 30 points in the first half 12 times this year, including 21 first-half points scored by the Falcons, the fewest BYU has allowed all year. The Cougars are now 14-2 when leading at the break. BYU is also 14-0 when leading at the five-minute mark and 14-0 when leading at the one-minute mark.
-- With 22 points against Air Force, Trent Plaisted reached the 20-point mark for the fourth time this season and the seventh in his career.
-- Plaisted also knocked down two big free throws with 35 seconds left to play to give BYU a 56-51 lead. Plaisted is 3-for-5 on the year from the free-throw line with under two minutes to play.
-- With 17 points against the Falcons, Keena Young has now scored in double figures in 18 of 21 games.
-- Trailing 10-4 early, the Cougars used a 16-2 run to take a 20-12 lead during which they held the Falcons scoreless from the floor for increments of 4:50 and 3:37.
-- Trent Plaisted opened the second half with a dunk, a blocked shot and another dunk to give BYU its largest lead of 14 points. He added a third midway through the period, bringing his season total to 25 and his career mark to 57. Plaisted has posted multiple throwdowns in six games this year.
IN THE RANKINGS
BYU is listed 38th in this week's ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll. Four BYU opponents also appear in the poll as UCLA is ranked No. 5, Air Force is ranked No. 16 and UNLV is ranked No. 25. Michigan State is listed 33rd. UCLA and Air Force are also ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll, coming in at Nos. 5 and 17, respectively, while UNLV is listed 32nd and MSU is listed 33rd.
BYU has won three of its seven MWC games by more than 20 points, including a 21-point (70-49) win at New Mexico Wednesday. The Cougars' 24-point (89-65) win over TCU Jan. 10 marked BYU's 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 nine games by 20 points or more in MWC play since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season.
Prior to shooting .278 from three-point range against then-No. 13 Air Force, BYU had shot .557 (49-for-88) from beyond the arc in its previous five games, including a .500 mark (9-for-18) at New Mexico last Wednesday, marking the seventh game this year the Cougars have shot at least .500 from long range. BYU shot .538 (7-of-13) at Colorado State. 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 11 times on the season, having a streak of seven straight games come to an end against the Falcons. The Cougars lead the league in three-point percentage (.481) in MWC play. Cougar players rank first (Jonathan Tavernari - .571) and second (Austin Ainge - .565) in the league in three-point shooting percentage in MWC action.
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 New Mexico marked the Cougars' first league road win of the season. BYU is 2-5 on the road this year with a season-opening loss at then-No. 5 UCLA, a Nov. 29 setback at Boise State, an overtime win at Weber State, an overtime defeat at Lamar and league losses at UNLV and at CSU. In BYU's seven away games, the Cougars have been outscored by an average of three points (75.8-72.8). 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 Weber State earlier in the year 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 their win at New Mexico coming after a loss at CSU, the Cougars have now recovered from five of their six 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, BYU responded with seven straight wins. Prior to the Lamar loss, BYU 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 76.8 points and allowing 67.2 points. BYU is 13-0 when opponents score less than 70 points and 2-6 when they score 70 or more. BYU is 14-3 when it scores 70 or more points (exception at Lamar, at UNLV and at CSU) and 1-3 when scoring less than 70. The Cougars had scored at least 70 points in 12 straight games prior to a 61-52 win against then-No. 13 Air Force on Saturday. 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.
CLEANING OFF THE GLASS
BYU is 14-0 this season when outrebounding its opponents and 1-6 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars lead the MWC in rebounding average (38.6) and rebounding margin (+5.7) after posting their largest margin of the season with a +22 (42-20) mark against then-No. 13 Air Force on Saturday. Sophomore Trent Plaisted is sixth on the glass at 6.7 rpg while senior Keena Young is seventh at 6.5 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 set 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.
One of BYU's most consistent players this year has been senior forward Keena Young, who has scored in double figures in 18 out of 21 games. He leads BYU in scoring (16.1), which is eighth in the league, and is second in rebounding (6.5), seventh in the conference. The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring seven times and rebounding eight 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 4.0 assists, fourth in the MWC, and leads the team in three-pointers (31). He also ranks second in the league in assist/turnover ratio (1.91) behind teammate Lee Cummard. In BYU's win at UNM, he tied his career high with eight assists. 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 is second on the team with 28 treys. He has had at least one steal in 17 of 21 games. On the year, Cummard averages 9.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.8 blocks while shooting .530 from the floor, .500 on threes and .806 from the line. He ranks among the top 15 in the MWC in seven statistical categories, including leading the league in assist/turnover ratio (2.25). 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 18 starts. Rashaun Broadus started 11 of 15 games before being suspended for the season. Austin Ainge has started 13 games.
VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
With a win against then-No. 13 Air Force, BYU has now faced three ranked teams this season, joining UNLV as the only Mountain West Conference team to do so. The Cougars are 1-2 in those games with a 61-52 victory over the Falcons, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State. The Rebels are also 1-2, with losses at then-No. 16 Arizona and then-No. 16 Air Force and a win at then-No. 19 Nevada. The Cougars' victory over Air Force marked their first win over a ranked team since defeating then-No. 25 Oklahoma State 76-71 on Dec. 6, 2003 in Salt Lake City. BYU hadn't beaten a ranked team in the Marriott Center since Feb. 1, 1992 with an 80-63 win over No. 19 UTEP. The Cougars' last win over a team ranked as high as No. 13 was Dec. 22, 2001 with an 81-76 win over No. 13 Stanford at the Thomas & Mack Center.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 27 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 13 home games this season after going 14-1 at home last year including wins in its last 14 straight home contests. The Cougars are 399-116 (.775) all-time in the Marriott Center
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (through games played Jan. 27, 2007)
Wins Team This year Next home game
48 Gonzaga 8-0 Jan. 29 vs. San Diego
27 BYU 13-0 Feb. 3 vs. UNLV
27 Air Force 10-0 Feb. 3 vs. Wyoming
25 Memphis 13-0 Feb. 3 vs. SMU
24 George Washington 9-0 Feb. 10 vs. Xavier
BYU has led at the half in 16 of the team's first 21 games, including a double-digit lead seven times. The Cougars outscore their opponents by an average of 5.4 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 14-2 when leading at the half, 1-3 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season. .
The Cougars have put together incredible first-half shooting performances in their three MWC road games, including a .520 mark from the field and a .600 mark from three-point range against New Mexico. Including its games at UNLV and at Colorado State, BYU is shooting .551 from the floor and .727 from three-point range in the first half of play in league road contests. The Cougars have led at the break in two of those games and been tied in one.
BYU BASKETBALL ON TELEVISION
BYU's next televised game will be on Jan. 31 when the Cougars face Utah in Salt Lake City. 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.
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 10,512 fans this season, including the 23rd largest crowd in the history of the Marriott Center with 22,700 fans against then-No. 13 Air Force. 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.
TRENT PLAISTED NAMED MWC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK (JAN 29)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU sophomore Trent Plaisted and UNLV sophomore Wink Adams were named the MWC Co-Players of the Week. This is the second career weekly award for Plaisted, while Adams collects his first-ever weekly honor. Plaisted, a native of San Antonio, Texas, led BYU to a 2-0 conference record, including a road win at New Mexico (70-49) and an upset victory over No. 16 Air Force (61-52). At New Mexico, he scored 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field, while also grabbing four rebounds, dishing out three assists and blocking one shot. Against the 16th-ranked Falcons, Plaisted scored a game-high 22 points (9-for-12 from the field) with seven rebounds (six offensive). With 34 seconds remaining in the game and the Cougars up by three points, he knocked down two free throws to put the game away. On the week, Plaisted averaged 16.5 points on 77.8 percent shooting from the field (14-for-18), 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
KEENA YOUNG NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK (JAN 2)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU senior Keena Young was named the MWC Player of the Week, marking his first career weekly honor. A 6-6 forward from Beaumont, Texas, Young was named tournament MVP at the BYU Holiday Classic as he led the Cougars to the title with victories over Liberty (73-59), Oral Roberts (72-62) and Seton Hall (77-68). He scored 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting against Liberty to open the Classic and followed with a career-high 16 rebounds to go along with 21 points scored versus Oral Roberts. Against the Golden Eagles, Young sank nine of his 13 shots from the floor, while his 16 rebounds is a team season-best. In the tournament finale against Seton Hall, he scored 18 of his season-high 26 points in the second half, helping BYU overcome an eight-point halftime deficit to claim the tournament crown. Young also added nine rebounds, a season-best tying three assists, while shooting 11-for-18 from the field and hitting all four of his free throw attempts. For the week, Young averaged 21.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 60.5 percent (26-for-43) from the field and 75.0 percent (12-for-16) from the charity stripe.
MWC TEAMS IN THE RPI
BYU is rated third among MWC teams in the most updated RPI ratings through Saturday's league games. BYU is ranked No. 30 and No. 36 nationally in the most recent ratings. See ratings below.
Team RealTimeRPI.com (thru 1-28) Warren Nolan (thru 1-28) CBS Sportsline (thru 1-28)
UNLV 11 11 12
Air Force 14 12 10
BYU 36 36 30
SDSU 76 76 72
Colorado State 81 84 100
Wyoming 108 109 117
New Mexico 124 117 130
Utah 155 155 160
TCU 170 171 164
MWC 8th 8th N/A