BYU Win Over Utah Earns MWC Title
PROVO -- Playing before a sellout crowd of 22,812, the BYU Cougars secured their position as the Mountain West Conference Champions on Saturday evening with an 85-62 victory against in-state rival, University of Utah. With this win, the Cougars improved to 23-7 overall and 13-3 in conference play, winning their first outright MWC regular-season title. BYU also maintained its hold on the nation's longest active home winning streak at 31 games.
"Obviously it was a well played game," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "I thought our team was really together tonight. There was balanced scoring, but I really thought we were able to handle the emotions of the night and stay together."
This was the 244th meeting between these two teams. BYU previously secured a 76-66 win at Utah earlier in the season.
"This has been a great rivalry," said Utah head coach Ray Giacoletti. "BYU is very deserving. Their group of seniors have come together and, with a few additions, they have all the pieces."
Six seniors were honored before the last home game of their careers, including Austin Ainge, Jimmy Balderson, Derek Dawes, Fernando Malaman, Mike Rose and Keena Young.
"This is a wonderful class of seniors whose hard work and dedication have led us to a regular-season conference championship," said Coach Rose. "I want to thank them for their friendship, and I want them to know that they will always be a part of this Cougar basketball program."
BYU was led in scoring by Young and Sam Burgess with 15 points each. Also scoring in double figures was Trent Plaisted with 13 points and Ainge with 11 points. Young also led the team with nine rebounds.
Utah got out to an early 6-1 lead before Young earned his first two points on the Cougars' possession following a Luke Nevill traveling call. A blocked shot by Plaisted was soon followed by a three-point play by Young with 16:28 to play in the first half, evening the score at 6-6.
With 14:03 to play in the first half, the Cougars took their first lead of the game after a dunk by Plaisted. Lee Cummard increased BYU's lead to 13-9 by hitting his first three-pointer of the night.
Utah's Johnnie Bryant hit a three-pointer, giving his team a one-point lead, before Balderson made one of his own with 10:15 left in the first half. A pass from Ainge to Burgess gave the Cougars a 21-20 lead.
Burgess' make from behind the arc with just under seven minutes to play in the first half was soon followed by the same from Ainge. Young's make off the glass gave the Cougars a 29-21 lead.
A three-pointer by Balderson with a minute to play in the half brought the score to 34-24. The fans were then brought to their feet when Ainge's fast break lay-up resulted in a three-point play.
BYU held a 37-26 advantage to close the first half, which consisted of five lead changes.
To open the second half of play, Plaisted went to 2-for-2 from the line after Nevill was called for his fourth foul. Plaisted recorded his second dunk of the night with 17:30 in the second half.
After a missed jumper, Young pulled down his own rebound to bring the score to 44-29. Mike Rose scored his first points of the game on a three-pointer with 15:30 to go in the second half.
Jonathan Tavernari increased the Cougar lead to 14 points when he made a lay-up on a pass from Young. Ainge followed with a three-pointer on the next possession. Balderson hit a three-pointer of his own with 13:30 in the second half.
After a Balderson miss, Tavernari scored the rebound and laid it in, bringing the score to 57-35. Mike Rose capitalized on a three-point play with 10:46 to play in the second half. The Cougars' 15-0 run ended on a Utah free throw by Daniel Deane.
With 8:40 to go in the second half Mike Rose found his second basket from behind the arc, bringing the score to 69-40, BYU's largest lead of the game. On Utah's next possession, Burgess recorded his first block of the season. A lay-in by Tavernari brought the Cougar lead to 73-49.
A pair of free throws by Utah's Ricky Johns with just under five minutes to play in the game was followed by a score from Plaisted. A successful trip to the free-throw line put the Cougars up two more points, bringing the lead to 81-57.
Utah's Johns hit a late three-pointer with under two minutes to play. After a second trip to the free-throw line for Burgess, BYU was up 85-60 with 41 seconds to play in the game.
As the buzzer sounded, BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe presented the conference championship trophy to the team.
"You couldn't have drawn it up any better," said Ainge. "We beat the Utes on our home floor by 23 for the conference championship."
"There's still a lot of basketball to be played," said Coach Rose. "We'll be happy for a couple of days and then go back to work."
Utah was led by Bryant with 18 points and Shaun Green with six rebounds.
The Cougars will next head to Las Vegas to play in the MWC Tournament. Entering as the No. 1 seed, the team will play on Thursday at noon PT against either New Mexico or TCU. The game will be televised on the mtn.
CLICK HERE to view postgame notes and quotes.
Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS
Utah Utes vs BYU Cougars
03/03/07 5:35 p.m. at Marriott Center, Provo, Utah
VISITORS: Utah Utes 11-18, 6-10 MWC
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
11 BORHA, Lawrence..... f 2-7 0-1 1-1 1 0 1 2 5 0 1 0 0 16
21 GREEN, Shaun........ f 3-12 0-5 3-3 2 4 6 1 9 4 3 1 1 34
50 NEVILL, Luke........ c 3-6 0-0 1-2 0 4 4 4 7 0 2 3 0 23
01 BRYANT, Johnnie..... g 5-9 3-5 5-5 1 3 4 1 18 0 1 0 0 31
32 JOHNS, Ricky........ g 3-7 1-3 4-4 1 1 2 1 11 1 1 0 1 37
00 EATMON, Curtis...... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 2 0 0 0 15
03 GRANT, Chris........ 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 2 4
05 DRCA, Luka.......... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3
13 WEIGH, Stephen...... 0-3 0-1 2-2 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 14
30 DEANE, Daniel....... 1-3 0-0 8-10 0 2 2 4 10 0 1 0 0 21
51 FOSTER, David....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 2
TEAM................ 1 3 4
Totals.............. 17-49 4-15 24-27 6 18 24 18 62 7 10 4 4 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 9-26 34.6% 2nd Half: 8-23 34.8% Game: 34.7% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 2-7 28.6% 2nd Half: 2-8 25.0% Game: 26.7% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 6-7 85.7% 2nd Half: 18-20 90.0% Game: 88.9% 2
HOME TEAM: BYU Cougars 23-7, 13-3 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 7-10 0-0 1-1 2 7 9 2 15 4 3 0 1 29
44 PLAISTED, Trent..... c 4-9 0-0 5-8 1 2 3 3 13 1 0 1 1 22
13 AINGE, Austin....... g 4-9 2-6 1-1 0 4 4 2 11 4 3 1 1 30
23 BALDERSON, Jimmy.... g 3-8 3-4 0-2 1 3 4 1 9 1 0 1 3 27
30 CUMMARD, Lee........ g 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 2 2 3 3 3 0 0 0 17
02 ROSE, Mike.......... 3-4 2-3 1-1 0 3 3 2 9 0 2 0 0 17
10 IVANOVIC, Vuk....... 1-2 0-0 0-1 0 2 2 3 2 0 0 0 0 6
15 MALAMAN, Fernando... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 5
20 BURGESS, Sam........ 5-5 1-1 4-4 2 2 4 2 15 1 1 1 0 17
24 MURDOCK, Ben........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 3 1 0 1 10
45 TAVERNARI, Jonathan. 4-4 0-0 0-0 2 1 3 1 8 1 1 0 1 15
50 MACGREGOR, Gavin.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 5
TEAM................ 1 1
Totals.............. 32-54 9-16 12-18 9 27 36 20 85 18 11 4 8 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 14-28 50.0% 2nd Half: 18-26 69.2% Game: 59.3% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 5-10 50.0% 2nd Half: 4-6 66.7% Game: 56.3% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 4-9 44.4% 2nd Half: 8-9 88.9% Game: 66.7% 1
Officials: Scott Thornley, Bill Gracey, Darron George
Technical fouls: Utah Utes-None. BYU Cougars-None.
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
Utah Utes..................... 26 36 - 62
BYU Cougars................... 37 48 - 85
Attendance: season high; second sellout of year (previous was 22700)
Points in the paint-UT 20,BY 40. Points off turnovers-UT 9,BY 10.
2nd chance points-UT 6,BY 10. Fast break points-UT 4,BY 8.
Bench points-UT 12,BY 34. Score tied-2 times. Lead changes-5 times.
GAME 30 - BYU Hosts Utah Saturday
BYU GAME #30 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (22-7, 12-3 MWC)
UTAH UTES (11-17, 6-9 MWC)
Saturday, March 3, 2007
Marriott Center (22,700)
5:35 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (42-16 in second season; same overall)
Utah, Ray Giacoletti (54-38 in third season; 171-121 in 10 years overall)
Utah leads, 124-119, after BYU won the first meeting this year in Salt Lake City, 76-66, on Jan. 31
CSTV (Tom Hart - play-by-play, Steve Lappas - color)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (4:30 p.m. MT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)
Live audio and live stats links are available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
BYU HOSTS UTAH SATURDAY
BYU (22-7, 12-3 MWC) will host in-state rival Utah (11-17, 6-9 MWC) Saturday at 5:30 p.m. MT in the Marriott Center to conclude the regular season. The game will be televised nationally on CSTV and can be heard live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 4:30 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 have won 17 of their last 20 games and are coming off a 62-58 win at No. 20 Air Force on Tuesday to secure at least a share of the MWC regular-season title. The Utes have won two straight games including a 74-68 victory over San Diego State on Tuesday night.
BYU will play in the MWC Tournament held in Las Vegas. As the No. 1 seed, the Cougars will face the winner of the 8/9 play-in game on Thursday at noon PT at the Thomas & Mack Center. The game will be televised on the mtn.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- BYU has already secured at least a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season title, its 27th in program history and first since 2002-03. The Cougars can win the outright league title for the first time since 1987-88 with a victory against Utah or a UNLV loss against Colorado State.
-- The Cougars are listed 29th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and 30th in the AP Poll this week. BYU entered the national rankings last Monday for the first time since 1993. BYU was ranked No. 21 in the AP Top 25 rankings and No. 22 in the Coaches Poll. Previously, BYU was last ranked on March 8, 1993 at No. 25 (AP).
-- Coming off a win at No. 20 Air Force Tuesday, BYU has won nine of its last 10 games. The Cougars have three wins over ranked teams this year and currently own the nation's longest active home winning streak (30 games).
-- MWC Player of the Year candidate Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (17.1) and is second on the team in rebounding (6.1). 2006 Freshman All-American Trent Plaisted leads the Cougars on the boards (6.2) and is second in scoring (12.1), while senior Austin Ainge leads BYU with 4.3 assists per game.
-- The Cougars currently lead the MWC in scoring (77.6), rebounding average (37.1), rebounding margin (+5.6) and assists (16.14) in overall play. In league games, in addition to owning first place in the standings, BYU paces the conference in scoring (78.5), scoring margin (+8.8), field-goal percentage (.511), three-point shooting (.451), assists (16.7) and assist/turnover ratio (1.30).
-- BYU has RPI ratings of 16 and 18 in the various RPI rankings. BYU is ranked No. 12 in the nation in three-point shooting, No. 18 in field-goal percentage, No. 21 in scoring, No. 26 in rebound margin and No. 29 in assists.
-- The Cougars are 16-0 at home this season, 6-6 on the road and 0-1 on a neutral court.
LOOKING AT UTAH
Utah is 11-17 overall this season and 6-9 in the Mountain West Conference, having won two straight. The Utes recorded wins over Washington State (ranked No. 13 this week), Virginia of the ACC and then-No. 11 Air Force while eight of their 17 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 sixth in the league in scoring at 16.9 points per game on .635 shooting from the field, which ranks ninth in the nation. The 7-foot-1 Australian pulls down 7.7 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 15.3 ppg while posting 2.8 rpg. He paces the MWC and ranks 25th nationally in three-pointers made per game with 2.96 and leads the team in assists with 2.9 per contest. He is the only Ute who has started every game this season. Sophomore forward Shaun Green rounds out Utah's double-digit scoring effort with 11.5 ppg on .551 shooting from the field and a .543 mark from three-point range. Green also adds 6.2 rpg, fifth in the league, and tallies a team-best 1.2 steals per game. As a team, the Utes score 70.0 ppg on .495 shooting from the field, 12th in the country, and .426 shooting from three-point range, second in the nation, while allowing opponents to score 71.4 ppg on .495 shooting from the floor. Utah holds a 30.1-26.3 rebounding edge over its opponents. Ute head coach Ray Giacoletti is 54-38 in his third season at Utah and 171-121 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. 15.3 2.8
G 11 Lawrence Borha 6-3 205 So. 5.1 1.6
G 32 Ricky Johns 6-3 190 Sr. 7.5 1.7
F 21 Shaun Green 6-8 208 So. 11.5 6.2
C 50 Luke Nevill 7-1 265 So. 16.9 7.7
UTAH'S LAST OUTING -- UTES DOWN AZTECS, 74-68
SALT LAKE -- Ricky Johns scored a career-high 30 points in his final home game for Utah, leading the Utes to a 74-68 upset of surging San Diego State at the Huntsman Center on Tuesday night. Playing with members of his family in the crowd, the senior guard from the Bronx, N.Y., made 11 of 13 shots, including six of seven three-point attempts, to far surpass his previous career-high of 18 points and lift the Utes (11-17 overall, 6-9 Mountain West Conference) to their second straight win. The Aztecs had won seven of their last eight games, but could not overcome a dismal first half in which they shot just 34.6 percent and fell behind by 13 points. Mohamed Abukar scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the Aztecs (20-9, 9-6), after suffering through a 1-for-7 first half. Brandon Heath added 19 points, but missed two long three-point attempts in the final 45 seconds. The Utes finished the first half on a 17-4 run to take a 32-19 halftime lead that they never relinquished - despite making only four of their nine free throws in the final 1:10. Luke Nevill had 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Utes.
BYU and Utah will meet for the 244th time Saturday with Utah holding a 124-119 series lead including a 76-66 Cougar win earlier this season in Salt Lake City, BYU's first victory in the Huntsman Center since 1994. 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 has won 10 of the last 15 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 72-47 advantage in the Salt Lake City. 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 (243 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. The Utes' 2003 victory in Provo ended BYU's nation-best 44-game homecourt victory streak.
Overall Series Record: Utah leads 124-119
BYU Record in Provo: 66-47 (19-17 in the Marriott Center)
BYU Record in Salt Lake: 47-72 (11-29 in the Jon M. Huntsman Center)
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 6-5
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 2-2
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
"It will be a real emotional day on Saturday when we say goodbye to these seniors. We have a big, big game on Saturday."
"They have three really good players who are very solid in Johnnie Bryant, Luke Nevill and Shaun Green. Nevill is really skilled in the low post. He has good moves to the basket and causes matchup problems for anybody they play. Offensively, we want to be able to attack him and get ourselves in a position to play where we want to play."
THIS YEAR AT UTAH -- 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. 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.
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 atmosph"Obviously, this win is really, really big for our program. 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."
-- "Our three post players, Vuk Ivanovic, Trent Plaisted and Gavin MacGregor, did a great job. When you're trying to stop Luke Nevill down low, you have to anticipate foul trouble. The three of them did a good job of giving us solid minutes when we needed it."
-- "Gavin (MacGregor) worked a lot more with the first team this week in practice than he ever has before. He got a lot of reps and did a good job of putting it together in the game tonight."
-- "Austin (Ainge) did a good job of running our offense and getting the ball where we needed it. He's been playing with more and more confidence."
-- "It was a very physical game, and I thought our guys responded well to that. We knew that rebounding was going to be a big key, and we did a good job."
BYU NOTES FROM FIRST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Gavin MacGregor - 4 points, 2 rebounds, 10 minutes; Austin Ainge - 8 assists (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Fewest turnovers - 7
-- BYU's 76-66 win over the Utes in the Huntsman Center marked the first time the Cougars have defeated Utah in Salt Lake City since a 64-62 win on Jan. 8, 1994, a 12-year drought.
-- With a 6-2 Mountain West Conference record through the first half of league play, the Cougars are in a first-place tie with No. 16 Air Force and No. 25 UNLV in the league standings. Three teams are tied for fourth place at 4-4 and three teams, including the Utes, are tied for seventh place at 2-6.
-- The Cougars' win over the Utes also secured the Oquirrh Bucket for BYU as the in-state basketball team with the best record against in-state teams (4-0). BYU had not won the Bucket since 2001.
-- BYU is now 15-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 14-0 when holding opponents below the 70-point threshold.
-- With a 33-26 rebounding advantage against the Utes, the Cougars are now 15-0 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- Leading 34-27 at Utah, BYU went into the locker room with a halftime lead for the 17th time this season, The Cougars have held opponents under 30 points in the first half 13 times this year. The Cougars are now 15-2 when leading at the break. BYU is also 15-0 when leading at the five-minute mark and 15-0 when leading at the one-minute mark.
-- The Cougars' .462 (12-for-26) first-half shooting percentage at Utah marked the first MWC road game in which BYU did not shoot at least 50 percent in the first half. Including their marks at Utah, the Cougars are now shooting .529 from the floor and .548 from three-point range in the first half of league road games.
-- With 21 points against the Utes, Keena Young has now scored in double figures in 19 of 22 games. Young scored 13 of his points in the first half, his highest first-half scoring total of the season.
-- Jonathan Tavernari again provided a huge spark for BYU off the bench as he scored in double figures for the fifth time this season and the fourth time in seven games with 17 points. He entered the game at the 12:01 mark of the first half and drained two of his first three attempts from three-point range to turn a 17-15 Utah lead into a 21-17 Cougar advantage. Tavernari added a layin moments later to score eight straight points for BYU.
-- Jimmy Balderson added 11 points to mark his 10th double-figure scoring outing of the season.
-- Trent Plaisted recorded his 26th dunk of the season and the 58th of his career just 1:11 into the game with a spectacular one-handed throwdown.off of an assist by Jimmy Balderson.
-- Gavin MacGregor made an appearance with 1:35 left in the first half, his first playing time since Jan. 10 when he played 2 minutes against TCU. The sophomore walk-on scored a career-high four points and two rebounds in a career-best 10 minutes.
LAST YEAR AT BYU -- 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.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- BYU EARNS MWC TITLE WITH WIN AT NO. 20 AIR FORCE
USAFA -- The Cougars took care of business Tuesday night on the road, securing at least a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season title and snapping Air Force's 30-game home winning streak with a 62-58 win over the No. 20 Falcons. The victory gives BYU (22-7, 12-3) its first league title since 2002-03 and guarantees the Cougars the No. 1 seed in next week's MWC Tournament. The low-scoring affair was truly a team effort for BYU as four Cougars scored in double figures led by Austin Ainge's 14 points. Ainge was followed by Keena Young with 12 points, Jimmy Balderson with 11 and Trent Plaisted with 10. Young and Ainge also shared high-rebounding honors with six apiece while Ainge dished out a game-high five assists. The Cougars struck first with a three-pointer from Balderson and continued to maintain a slim advantage through the first four minutes, leading 7-4 after a layin from Young at the 16:08 mark. Ainge drained BYU's second three-pointer of the night to put the Cougars up 10-6 and then made his second at the 11:21 mark to tie the school record of 214 three-pointers made in a season set in 1992. However, after starting 3-for-11 from the field, the Falcons responded by making their next five shots to go on an 11-3 run and take a 17-13 lead. Plaisted ended the 3:42 BYU scoring drought, but Air Force responded to push the advantage back to four points at 19-15. Mike Rose then set the BYU school record as he drained a three-pointer to give the Cougars 215 long-range makes for the year. However, the Falcon push continued as Air Force scored seven straight points as part of its 18-5 run to go up 26-18 with 4:22 left in the half. But the Cougars responded with a 12-3 run of their own thanks in part to back-to-back three-pointers from Ainge and an assist to Sam Burgess, who put in the layin on the fastbreak to give BYU a 30-29 lead. The team teams battled it out in the final 90 seconds but it was Air Force who came out on top as the Falcons were able to convert a three-point play after two offensive rebounds to take a 32-30 lead into the locker room. Ainge tied the game at 34-34 in the opening minutes of the second half. However, after the two teams traded buckets, the Falcons began to run away with a 13-2 spurt to take a 49-38 lead. Balderson finally stopped the bleeding with a three-point make followed by two Falcon misses andfive points from Jonathan Tavernari to cut the lead to 49-46. Air Force finally scored, but Plaisted drained two free throws in response. Young then made it a 12-2 Cougar run with a layin to get BYU back to within one point at 50-51 with just under eight minutes to play. Young hit a fadeaway jumper to give BYU its first lead since late in the first half at 52-51. Nick Welch gave the Falcons back the lead with two free throws on the next possession, but the fight was on as both teams prepared to battle to the end. Young took over with two more buckets, but just when it looked like BYU had the momentum, Air Force's Jacob Burtschi stepped back with ice in his veins and drained a three-pointer to put his team up 58-56 with 4:50 left to play. Plaisted tied things up with a great post look and then drained two free throws after a defensive stop to retake the lead at 60-58. As the clock ticked towards the one-minute mark, Young secured a rebound and then Balderson was fouled, giving him a one-and-one opportunity with 1:00 left to play. The Cougars never looked back as they secured the 62-58 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "This was definitely a team victory. We got a lot of good play out of a lot of our players. They responded really well to a difficult situation on Saturday, but that's the personality of this group. This team has a great competitive spirit. We sure needed all of it from everybody tonight because it was a heck of a game."
-- "I knew from the beginning that our guys were here and that they were going to play and compete. We just had to do everything we could to keep ourselves together and composed. These guys have put a lot of work into this season, and they were embarrassed on Saturday. Tonight the resolve to bounce back is something I'm really, really proud of with this team."
-- "We saw a lot of big plays. The last four minutes is what you remember the most because that's what determined the game. We really defended them well and got them in a situation where they weren't as aggressive attacking the basket and made them take some shots that bounced off."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Season Highs: Austin Ainge -- 12 first-half points; Keena Young -- 3 assists (tied)
-- With the victory, BYU has secured at least a share of the MWC regular-season title, its 27th conference title and first since 2002-03 when the Cougars tied with Utah. The Cougars can win their first outright title since 1987-88 with a win at Utah on Saturday.
-- The Cougars are now 6-6 this season on the road and 5-3 in conference play, the only MWC team with a winning road record in league action.
-- By virtue of the win at Air Force, BYU now owns the nation's longest home winning streak at 30 games, snapping the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. The Cougars' win also snapped a three-game Air Force winning streak against BYU in Clune Arena dating back to 2003.
-- BYU is the only team to sweep Air Force this season, winning 61-52 at home and 62-58 at AFA.
-- With the win at Air Force coming after a loss at San Diego State, BYU has now bounced back from six of its seven losses this year with wins, suffering back-to-back defeats only once (vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State, at Lamar). The Cougars have only lost back-to-back games twice in the Dave Rose era including losses last season vs. Utah in the MWC Tournament and at Houston in the NIT.
-- The Cougars are now 3-2 in their games vs. ranked teams with a 62-58 victory at No. 20 Air Force, a 90-63 win over then-No. 25 UNLV, a 61-52 win over then--No. 13 Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State.
-- The win at No. 20 Air Force was BYU's first win over a ranked team on the road since a win at No. 12 New Mexico on Feb. 26, 1998. BYU is 50-108 all-time against ranked opponents and 8-47 when playing a ranked team on the road.
-- With eight three-pointers made against the Falcons to bring their season total to 219, BYU set a new team record for three-pointers made in a season, surpassing the old mark of 214 set in 1992. Austin Ainge tied the record with a make at the 11:21 mark of the first half, and Mike Rose set the record with 6:48 to play in the first period.
-- With a .511 (24-for-47) field-goal percentage against at Air Force, BYU has now shot above 50 percent from the field in six of its last seven road games.
-- BYU is now 2-3 when scoring less than 70 points and 18-0 when holding opponents under the 70-point threshold. Both Cougar wins when scoring under 70 points have come against the Falcons.
-- The Cougars' two-point (32-30) halftime deficit marked just the third time in conference play and the seventh time overall this season BYU has trailed at the break. The Cougars are now 3-4 when behind at the half, having won three of their last four games when trailing at the break.
-- Four Cougars scored in double figures at Air Force, led by Austin Ainge's 14 points. BYU is now 2-0 when led by Young and 7-2 when four players score in double figures. The Cougars are also 9-2 when Ainge scores in double digits, 19-6 when Keena Young scores in double figures (12 points), 9-3 when Jimmy Balderson reaches double figures (11 points) and 14-4 when Trent Plaisted reaches double digits (10 points).
-- With 12 points against Air Force, Young has now scored in double figures in 25 of 29 games this season. BYU is 19-6 when he scores in double figures.
-- The Cougars held Air Force scoreless for the final 4:41 of the game, allowing them to come back from a double-digit deficit for the fourth time this year.
BYU IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
BYU is listed 29th in this week's ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll and 30th in the AP Poll. BYU entered the national rankings last week for the first time since 1993 as the Cougars were ranked No. 21 in the AP Top 25 Poll and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. BYU was last ranked in the top 25 on March 8, 1993 when the Cougars were No. 25 in the AP Poll. BYU's No. 21 ranking equaled its highest ranking achieved during the 1992-93 season. BYU was ranked as high as No. 2 (UPI) and No. 4 (AP) in the 1987-88 season. BYU has been nationally ranked in the AP Poll during 15 seasons starting in 1950-51 when the Cougars won the national title as NIT Champions (unable to determine other seasons when BYU could also have been ranked in other polls due to incomplete in-season historical listings). Five BYU opponents appear in this week's polls as UCLA is ranked No. 2 in both polls, Air Force is ranked No. 20 (ESPN/USA Today) and No. 25 (AP) while Michigan State is listed 26th (AP) and 32nd (ESPN/USA Today), UNLV is listed 29th (AP) and 30th (ESPN/USA Today) and San Diego State is listed 43rd (ESPN/USA Today).
COUGAR START AMONG THE TOP IN SCHOOL HISTORY
BYU has a 22-7 record through 29 games this year. In the 105-year history of BYU men's basketball, only six teams of the 43 that played at least 29 games during a season earned a better record than this year's Cougar squad (noting that 62 teams did not total 29 games during the season, including the 20-5 NIT Championship team in 1965-66). Four other BYU teams have equaled the current Cougars' 22-7 start. (SEE CHART AT LEFT).
THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN
With a 12-3 Mountain West Conference record, BYU has already secured at least a share of the MWC regular-season title and is just one victory away from securing the outright league crown for the first time since the 1987-88 season. The Cougars are alone in first place in the second half of MWC play for the first time since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season. Before this year, BYU was last tied for first in 2003 when the Cougars ended the season with a win to tie for first place with Utah at 11-3. BYU also tied for first in 2001.
COACH ROSE OWNS TOP MWC MARK IN HIS TWO SEASONS
With a 24-7 record in Mountain West Conference games since taking the helm of the BYU program for the 2005-06 season, Dave Rose is currently the winningest MWC coach in league play in the past two years. UNLV's Lon Kruger is 23-10 and SDSU's Steve Fisher is 22-9 while fellow second-year coach Jeff Bzdelik follows with a 22-10 conference record in his two seasons with the Falcons. In addition to a 12-3 league and 22-7 overall record this year, Rose was named the Mountain West Conference and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year last season after coaching his team to a second-place MWC finish at 12-4 -- 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.
At 22-7 so far this season, BYU has achieved the program's 30th 20-win season, including two straight for Cougar head coach Dave Rose in his first two seasons at the helm. Last year, the Cougars finished 20-9. BYU has averaged 20 wins every 2.6 years (BYU has played 79 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). Rose became the fourth Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first two years, joining G. Ott Romney, Stan Watts and Roger Reid. However, Rose is the first Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first two years after taking over a program with less than 13 wins the prior year. BYU was 9-21 in 2004-05 before Rose turned the program into the second-most improved team in the nation last year.
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
Dave Rose has 2 seasons of 20 wins in 2 years of coaching
Floyd Millet had 1 season of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
CURRENT COUGARS COULD RANK AMONG BEST EVER IN REGULAR SEASON WINS
This year's BYU team is the 11th Cougar squad to record its 22nd win prior to the end of the regular season. With one game left in the regular season, this year's team could go down as one of the best Cougar teams ever. Only five BYU teams have reached 23 wins prior to postseason. (SEE CHART AT LEFT)
REGULAR-SEASON BENCHMARKS FOR NCAA INVITES
Winning 20 or more games in the regular season has proven to be a significant indicator for receiving an invitation into the NCAA Tournament. Since the first NCAA Tournament in 1939, BYU has had 20 seasons with 20 regular-season wins, including this year's team. In the prior 19 seasons when this occurred, BYU earned a postseason invite each season, including 16 NCAA bids, three NIT berths (BYU played both NIT and NCAA in 1950-51) and one NAIB (1948-49) invite. In the modern era since the NCAA Tournament became the predominant championship over the NIT, BYU has had 15 seasons when it earned 20 or more wins during regular-season games (prior to starting the conference tournament). The Cougars have received an invite to play in the NCAA Tournament in 13 of those seasons (not including this year), with the lone exception being last year's 20-7 regular-season team that fell to 20-8 with a loss at the MWC Tournament before receiving an NIT invitation. Including this year, BYU has reached 21 regular-season wins during 11 of those 15 seasons and has been invited to play in the NCAA Tournament in each of the prior 10 years.
VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
The Cougars are now 3-2 in their games vs. ranked teams this year with a 62-58 victory at No. 20 Air Force, a 90-63 win over then-No. 25 UNLV, a 61-52 win over then--No. 13 Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State. The win at No. 20 Air Force was BYU's first win over a ranked team on the road since a win at No. 12 New Mexico on Feb. 26, 1998. The Cougars' victory over then-No. 25 UNLV marked the second consecutive BYU win over a ranked team in the Marriott Center, including a win over then-No. 13 Air Force the week before. Prior to that, BYU had not defeated a ranked opponent since beating 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. BYU is 49-108 all-time against ranked opponents.
BYU has won four MWC games this season by more than 20 points, including a +27 (90-63) margin of victory against UNLV on Feb. 3, a 21-point (70-49) win at New Mexico on Jan. 24, a 24-point (89-65) win over TCU on Jan. 10 and a 22-point victory (80-58) over San Diego State to open MWC play. The UNLV win marked BYU's largest margin of victory in MWC play since a 29-point win (82-53) on Jan. 17, 2004 against Colorado State. BYU has won just 10 games by 20 points or more in MWC play since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season.
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.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 30 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's longest active home victory streak thanks to their win at Air Force Tuesday, who had also won 30 straight at home. BYU has won its first 16 home games this season after going 14-1 at home last year. BYU's last home loss was in last year's season opener against Loyola Marymount. BYU has since won 15 straight over nonconference opponents and has won 15 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU is 402-116 (.776) all-time in the Marriott Center. The Cougars' longest home winning streak came from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003 when BYU won 44 straight in the Marriott Center.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (through games played Feb. 28, 2007)
Wins Team This year Next home game
30 BYU 16-0 March 3 vs. Utah
29 Memphis 17-0 March 7 vs. First Round C-USA Tournament
ON THE ROAD
BYU has won five of its last six games on the road including wins at No. 20 Air Force (62-58), at TCU (85-72), at New Mexico (70-49), at Utah (76-66) and at Wyoming (77-73) and a loss at San Diego State (86-74). The Cougars' win in the Huntsman Center was their first since 1994, and their win at Air Force snapped the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. BYU is 6-6 on the road this year and 5-3 in conference play 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. BYU is the only Mountain West Conference team with a winning record on the road in league play to date. The Cougars lost their only neutral court game so far this season with a loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. BYU finished last year 6-8 away from home, including a 4-4 mark during MWC play.
BYU has won nine of its last 10 games overall with victories over New Mexico (twice), Air Force (twice), Utah, UNLV, Wyoming, TCU and Colorado State and a loss at SDSU. The Cougars had won eight straight prior to the SDSU loss, marking their longest victory streak since winning nine straight during the 2003-04 season and ranking tied for 10th nationally. The Cougars also won seven straight this year over Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall, San Diego State and TCU. Before coming to an end with a loss at UNLV on Jan. 13, that streak was tied for the 12th-longest active victory streak in the nation.
TRUE BLUE FANS
BYU is averaging 11,402 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. The Cougars are second in the MWC in attendance behind New Mexico's 12,831 average. 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.
Coach Rose has used four different starting lineups 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 26 starts. Rashaun Broadus started 11 of 15 games before being suspended for the season. Austin Ainge has started 21 games.
With 219 three-pointers made this season, BYU has set a new program record in that category, surpassing the mark of 214 set in 1992. The Cougars also set a school record with 15 three-pointers against UNLV on .682 (15-for-22) shooting from long range, the third time this season the Cougars have shot above .600 from downtown. BYU has shot above 40 percent from behind the arc 15 times on the season, including nine of the last 11 games, and has made a least 10 treys in a game on seven occasions. The Cougars rank 12th nationally in three-point shooting (.409) and lead the league in three-point percentage (.451) in MWC play. Cougar players rank first (Austin Ainge - .545), fourth (Mike Rose - .463) and fifth (Jonathan Tavernari - .451) in the league in three-point shooting percentage in MWC action. Rose tied the BYU individual record he set in 2003 with eight triples against UNLV.
BOUNCE BACK COUGARS
With the win at Air Force coming after a loss at San Diego State, BYU has now bounced back from six of its seven losses this year with wins, suffering back-to-back defeats only once (vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State, at Lamar). BYU won eight straight games after losing to Colorado State on Jan. 20, its longest win streak since the 2003-04 season. After suffering its first back-to-back regular-season losses of the Dave Rose era with defeats against the Spartans and Cardinals, BYU responded with seven 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 77.6 points and allowing 68.3 points. BYU is 18-0 when opponents score less than 70 points and 4-7 when they score 70 or more. BYU is 20-4 when it scores 70 or more points (exception at Lamar, at UNLV, at CSU and at SDSU) and 2-3 when scoring less than 70 with both wins coming against nationally ranked Air Force. The Cougars are also 10-0 this season when scoring at least 80 points. With its current scoring output, BYU is on pace to have its highest scoring average since 1996 (82.3 ppg) and highest scoring margin since 1992 (+10.6).
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU is 21-1 this season when outrebounding its opponents and 1-6 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars lead the MWC in rebounding average (37.1) and rebounding margin (+5.6). BYU posted its largest margin of the season with a +22 (42-20) mark against then-No. 13 Air Force. Sophomore Trent Plaisted is tied for fifth on the glass at 6.2 rpg while senior Keena Young is tied for eighth at 6.1 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).
PLAYER OF THE YEAR CALIBER - KEENA YOUNG
Senior forward Keena Young has proven to be one of the top players in the Mountain West Conference this season. A consistent scoring threat and solid all-around performer for the Cougars, he is currently tied for fourth in the MWC in scoring (17.7) in league games while ranking seventh in field-goal percentage (.550) and ninth in free-throw percentage (.797). He has scored in double figures in 25 out of 29 games this year. He leads BYU in scoring overall (17.1), which ranks tied for fourth among MWC players, and is second in rebounding (6.1), tied for eighth in the MWC. He is also fifth in the league in field-goal percentage (.556) and 10th in free-throw percentage (.805). The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring 12 times and rebounding 11 times. He posted a career-high 29 points in each of his games against Wyoming this season (most since Dec. 6, 2003; Araujo - 32). He has scored at least 20 points in eight games, including five of the last eight.
VETERAN LEADERSHIP AT THE POINT - AUSTIN AINGE
Senior Austin Ainge is averaging a team-best 4.28 assists, fifth in the MWC, while ranking third in the conference with a 1.85 assist/turnover ratio. He is averaging 4.93 apg in league play (3rd) while leading the conference with .545 shooting from three-point range and ranking second with a 1.85 assist/turnover ratio. Ainge scored 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, against then-No. 25 UNLV while adding four assists and four rebounds. 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. His 14 points -- all in the second half -- against Boise State fueled BYU's furious comeback attempt. He has tied his career high with eight assists three times in the last 10 games (at UNM, at Utah, vs. CSU).
DEFENSE, OFFENSE, DOING IT ALL - LEE CUMMARD
Sophomore Lee Cummard contributes across the box score and on the defensive end of the floor for BYU. On the year, Cummard averages 9.4 points, 5.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocks while shooting .551 from the floor, .449 on threes and .811 from the line. He ranks among the top 15 in the MWC in seven statistical categories overall. In conference action, he is fourth in shooting (.575), eighth in steals (1.53), eighth in assists (2.87), ninth in blocks (1.33), tied for 11th in defensive rebounds (3.67) and tied for 15th in offensive boards (1.47). He has had at least one steal in 23 of 29 games, including a career-high 5 steals against UNLV, and his hit a three-pointer in 22 of 29 games, including a string of 13 straight. 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 -- helping end Heath's string of four straight games with 20 or more points. He held Wyoming's Brandon Ewing, the league's top scorer, to 8 points on 2-of-12 shooting and TCU's Brent Hackett to 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting, while Cummard averaged 13.0 ppg on 77 percent shooting, 6.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.0 bpk and 2.0 spg in those back-to-back road games. 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 7 points below his average.
SUPER SOPHOMORE - TRENT PLAISTED
Just one year removed from his Freshman All-American campaign, sophomore Trent Plaisted is once again contributing solid play for the Cougars. He is currently second on the team with 12.1 points per game on .541 shooting from the field, eighth in the MWC. He also paces BYU and is tied for fifth in the league with 6.2 rebounds per game while adding 1.34 blocks per game, seventh in the conference. Plaisted has scored in double figures in 18 games, helping the Cougars go 14-4 in those contests, while scoring at least 20 points in four outings. He has also reached double-digits on the boards in two games, posting two double-doubles on the year. He has led BYU in rebounds 10 times, scoring six times and assists twice. In league play, Plaisted is fifth in the MWC in field-goal percentage (.571), fifth in blocks (1.53), tied for 12th in rebounds (5.3) and 14th in scoring (12.9).
IT'S A TEAM GAME
BYU has shown balanced play in all aspects of the game this season as eight different Cougars have led the team in each of the three main statistical categories -- points, rebounds and assists -- in its 29 games. Keena Young has led BYU the most in scoring and rebounding as he has paced the Cougars in points 12 times and rebounds 11 times. Austin Ainge is the Cougars' leading assist man with 19 games at the top of the assist category.
ROSE BECOMES EIGHTH COUGAR TO LEAD TEAM IN SCORING
Mike Rose became the eighth Cougar this year to lead the team in scoring during a game when he topped all scorers in BYU's win over then-No. 25 UNLV. Rose scored a career-high 27 points in 21 minutes off the bench to help BYU defeat the nationally ranked Rebels in the Marriott Center. He tied his own school record and equaled the season high by an MWC player this year (UNLV's Kevin Kruger) by making eight treys on 8-of-10 accuracy. His eighth triple also set a new BYU team record of 15 threes in a game.
On the year, BYU averages 36.4 points in the first half and 40.1 points in the second half (and adds another 1.1 to its overall scoring average with overtime points to total 77.6 ppg). BYU outscores its opponents by 4.9 points in the first half, 4.3 points in the second half and 9.3 points overall.
BYU scored more than 50 points in a half for the fourth time this year with its 51-point first half against New Mexico. BYU equaled its highest first-half production with the outburst, matching the 51 points it scored against Western Oregon. The Cougars also scored 51 points in the second half against Western Oregon to total a season-high 102 points for the game. BYU's top scoring half of the year was a 52-point tally in the second half against Wyoming. All four 50-plus point scoring totals have come at home in the Marriott Center. BYU has allowed a 50-point half just once this year when Colorado State outscored the Cougars 53-39 in the second half in Fort Collins to give BYU its last defeat, 90-78, on Jan. 20.
40 OR MORE
BYU has scored 40 or more points in the first half seven times and reached 40 points during the second half of 16 games.
SCORING ON THE ROAD
BYU's top scoring first half on the road this year is 41 points at TCU, followed by 39 points in the first 20 minutes at nationally ranked UCLA and at Colorado Sate. BYU's top scoring second half on the road is 49 points at San Diego State followed by 46 points at Wyoming and 44 points at TCU. BYU also topped 40 points in the second half at Boise State (43), at Lamar (42) and at Utah (42). BYU's largest overall output on the road is its 85 points at TCU, followed by 78 points at Colorado State and 76 at Utah.
LEADING/TRAILING AT THE BREAK
BYU has led at the half in 21 of the team's first 29 games, including a double-digit lead 10 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. The second breakthrough after trailing at the break came at Wyoming The Cougars also won at AFA after trailing at the half. 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 19-2 when leading at the half, 3-4 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season.
Including a season-high 58 points in the paint against New Mexico (BYU outscored the Lobos 58-22 inside), BYU has won the points-in-the-paint statistic in 16 games this year, going a perfect 16-0 in those games. Including BYU's wins over Colorado State and Idaho State when the Cougars and their opponents scored the same number of points inside, BYU is 18-0 when not getting outscored in the key. The Cougars have a 4-7 record when they are outproduced in the paint. Thanks to the inside play of Keena Young and Trent Plaisted, BYU is outscoring its opponents by 3.7 points inside on average.
CREATING SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
BYU is 17-1 when creating more points off of turnovers than its opponents. The lone loss in those games was vs. Michigan State when BYU held a 9-6 points-off-of-turnovers advantage. BYU on average is scoring 2.4 more points off of miscues than its opposition. BYU is averaging 13.6 turnovers to its opponents' 14.2.
BYU owns a 19-1 record when generating more second-chance points in a game this year with the lone loss being last Saturday at SDSU. BYU is 2-5 when it doesn't and 1-1 when the two teams have equaled each other in the category. BYU averages 11.9 offensive rebounds to its opponents' combined 10.3 average and has scored 4.6 more points per game off the offensive glass. Trent Plaisted leads BYU with 2.6 offensive boards per game, followed by Keena Young (2.3).
With its uptempo philosphy, BYU has scored more fastbreak points than its opponents in 19 of 29 games and shared the same tally in four more. The Cougars are 17-2 when scoring more in transition (losses were back-to-back defeats vs. Michigan State and at Lamar) and 3-1 when tying the category. BYU is 2-4 when it has been outpaced on the break.
MOMENTUM OFF THE BENCH
Three-point shooting off the bench has often given BYU momentum this season. Several different Cougars have come off the bench and hit three or more treys in Cougar wins this year. Austin Ainge made three treys against Idaho State and Seton Hall while coming off the bench. Sam Burgess nailed three triples in a win over Portland. Jonathan Tavernari connected six times from long range against TCU and three times at Utah and against Western Oregon to help fuel BYU victories. Mike Rose tied his school record with eight bombs against then-No. 25 UNLV to allow BYU to pull away. He then added four threes at Wyoming for 12 more points off the bench and four threes against New Mexico. BYU's bench has outscored opposing reserves 676-508 this year, giving BYU 5.8 more points of production per game from its second unit. BYU's bench has outscored the opponent bench in 21 of 29 games, going 17-4 in those games.
BYU has enjoyed a double-digit lead in 19 of 29 games this year, including a 20-plus point advantage during nine of those games. The Cougars are 18-1 in games when they have led by 10 or more points with the lone loss being at UNLV where BYU led by 11 in the first half before falling. BYU has trailed by double figures in 10 games, including a season-high deficit of 24 points at Boise State. The Cougars fought back and had a chance to win against the Broncos before losing by four points. BYU is 4-7 in games it has trailed by 10 or more points, coming back to gain wins over Oral Roberts, Seton Hall, Wyoming and then-No. 20 Air Force. BYU has led the entire game in five contests (Portland, Southern Utah, Liberty, UNLV in Provo and Colorado State in Provo.)
A two-year captain, senior guard Austin Ainge has played in 96 games during his four-year BYU career, starting 48 of them. He has averaged 6.5 points, 2.3 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game over his career while leading the Cougars in assists as both a sophomore and a senior. A native of Gilbert, Ariz., Ainge received All-MWC Honorable Mention honors in 2004-05 after finishing the year third in the league in assists. This season, Ainge leads the league in three-point shooting and ranks second in assist/turnover ratio in league play while putting together another All-MWC caliber campaign. He has achieved career highs of 25 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.
Another captain on this year's squad, senior guard Jimmy Balderson averaged 7.3 points, and 2.6 rebounds per game over his four-year BYU career. The Magrath, Alberta, Canada, native has played in 111 games for BYU, ranking among the top Cougars in program history, and started 52 of them. Balderson led all perimeter players in shooting in both his freshman and junior seasons while pacing BYU in three-point efficiency as a sophomore. He also set the Cougar record for consecutive three-pointers made with nine during his junior year and converted from long range in 13 straight games, fifth all-time at BYU. As a senior, he has started all but three games this year while ranking fourth on the team in scoring. He has achieved career highs of 24 points, eight rebounds and five assists.
A native of Salt Lake City, Utah, center Derek Dawes was a contributor in the post before having to forego playing his senior year due to injury. He played in 71 career games for BYU, starting 14 of them, while averaging 3.2 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest. Dawes was second on the team in rebounding as a sophomore and appeared in 23 games with one start on BYU's 24-9 2001 MWC Championship team. He achieved career highs of 14 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
A junior college transfer from Limeira, Brazil, senior forward Fernando Malaman has played in 52 games during his two-year BYU career, making 15 starts. He has averaged 5.0 points and 2.9 rebounds per contest. The Cougars' third Brazilian junior college transfer in recent years, Malaman led BYU in field-goal percentage as a junior and was second on the team in three-point shooting. He also ranked eighth in the league in blocked shots per game. He has achieved career highs of 17 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots.
A key contributor for BYU, senior guard Mike Rose's hot hand from three-point range has made him a crowd favorite during his four-year Cougar career. An excellent shooter out of Houston, Texas, Rose has played in 105 games for BYU, averaging 5.4 points per game. He led the Mountain West Conference in three-point percentage as a freshman while ranking fourth in the league in three-pointers made during his sophomore season. As a senior, he ranks among the top 10 in the league in both categories as he has come on strong for BYU. He holds the BYU record for three-pointers made in a game and ranks second all-time in career three-pointers made. He has achieved career highs of 27 points, six rebound and six assists.
A three-year Cougar after transferring from South Plains College, senior forward Keena Young has played in 83 games for the Cougars, starting 58 of them. The Beaumont, Texas, native has averaged 11.7 points and 5.8 rebounds per contest for BYU while posting eight career double-doubles. He is on pace to become just the 36th Cougar to join BYU's elite 1000 Point Club and could become one of the Cougars' top season scorers. He led the Couagrs on the boards as a sophomore. BYU's second-leading rebounder and third-leading scorer last year, Young earned All-MWC Third Team honors as a junior and is a league MVP candidate this season as one of the conference's top players. He leads BYU in scoring at 17.1 ppg.
YOUNG NAMED TO NABC ALL-DISTRICT 13 FIRST TEAM
KANSAS CITY -- Senior forward Keena Young became the first BYU men's basketball player since Rafael Araujo in 2004 to be honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as one of the best players in the country. The NABC announced Wednesday its 2007 Division I All-District teams, naming Young to the District 13 First Team. In all, 150 student-athletes representing 15 districts were recognized as the nation's best men's collegiate basketball players as voted on by members of the NABC. Young leads Mountain West Conference regular-season champion BYU (22-7, 12-3 MWC) in scoring this season at 17.1 points per game while adding 6.1 rebounds per contest. He has scored in double figures in 25 of 29 games while topping 20 or more points on nine occasions and recording five double-doubles. He has posted season highs of 29 points, 16 rebounds, and three assists. Young is one of eight student-athletes to represent the MWC and one of three players from a Utah university to earn all-district accolades this season. Joining Young on the District 13 First Team are Nevada's Nick Fazekas and San Diego State's Brandon Heath, who both earned first-team honors last year, along with Colorado State's Jason Smith and Air Force's Dan Nwaelele. District 13 Second Team members include Coby Karl of Boise State, Rodney Stuckey of Eastern Washington, Jacob Burtschi of Air Force, Brandon Ewing of Wyoming and Luke Nevill of Utah. UNLV's Wendell White was named to the District 15 Second Team, while Utah State's Jaycee Carroll was honored as a second-team member of District 14. Student-athletes selected to the all-district teams are now eligible for the NABC Division I All-America teams to be announced at the conclusion of the 2006-07 NCAA regular season. BYU players have received all-district recognition 82 times by the NABC since 1950.