Season Opener is a Hit
PROVO -- In its season opener against Long Beach State (0-1), the BYU men’s basketball team (1-0) came out victorious with a final score of 75-65, leading the series 5-4.
“I’m really proud of our players as a group,” said BYU men’s basketball head coach Dave Rose. “We did a lot of good things as a team.”
Wooden Award candidate Lee Cummard dominated the game with back-to-back three pointers and shot accuracy to produce 22 of the first 31 points for BYU in the first half against LBSU.
“I just felt fortunate to make my shots,” said Cummard. “I was trying not to look up [at the scoreboard] and see what I was doing. We were playing at our pace in the second half and expending just as much energy on the defensive end as we were on offense.”
With a total of 36 points, Cummard earned the title of the most points scored by a BYU basketball player since Russell Larson in 1993.
“Lee was incredible tonight,” said junior forward Jonathan Tavernari. “I say thanks to Lee for showing up in the first half.”
It was Tavernari who got Cougar fans to their feet early on, starting off the season-opener with a dunk, leveling out the score 2-2.
Despite opening with a bang and a seven-point run, BYU was unable to hold the momentum of the home-court. The 49ers fought back closing in from behind and eventually taking the lead 15-12.
The remainder of the first half was a back-and-forth battle between the two teams with neither one able to gain a lead of more than 5 points. Unfortunately BYU could not pull ahead, going into the second half trailing 31-38.
Determined to claim a win, the Cougars came into the second half, taking the first lead of the night 41-40 due to a layup by Cummard.
From there, BYU continued to gain momentum and continuously steal the lead giving Cougar fans the show they came to see.
In the final seconds of the game the Cougars were able to hold back the 49ers bringing their field goal percentage down from 46.9% in the first half, to 34.5% in the second and earn their greatest lead of the lead of the night at 10 points with the final score 75-65.
Cummard led the Cougars with a double-double in total points (36) and rebounds (11). He also led in three pointers. Chalking up the second-most points of the night was Tavernari with 19. Tavernari also led in assists (five) and came in second for rebounds with seven.
“We have a lot of work to do but I’m proud of our players,” said Rose. “It’s a learning process. Hopefully on Tuesday we will be a better team.”
The Cougars will travel to Pepperdine Tuesday to play the Greenwave at 6 p.m. MT.
Game 1 - BYU Opens with Long Beach State
BYU GAME #1 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (0-0)
LONG BEACH ST. 49ers (0-0)
Friday, Nov. 14, 2008
Marriott Center (22,700)
7 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (72-26 entering fourth season; same overall)
LBSU, Dan Monson (6-25 entering second season; 176-148 in 12th season overall)
Series tied, 4-4, with BYU winning the last meeting, 74-34, in 2007
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (6 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 OPENS REGULAR SEASON AT HOME AGAINST LONG BEACH STATE
BYU men’s basketball will open the 2008-09 regular season on Friday at home against Long Beach State at 7 p.m. The Cougars finished the 2007-08 season with a 27-8 overall record and as the Mountain West Conference regular season champions. BYU defeated Concordia University and Georgetown College in two home exhibition contests by an average of 29.5 points. Last season BYU opened at Long Beach State and won 74-34. The 49ers were 6-25 overall last season. Saturday’s game will not be televised but can be heard live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 6 p.m. MT on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the Internet at KSL.com.
BYU will play its first road game of 2008-09 on Tuesday, Nov. 18, at Pepperdine. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Firestone Fieldhouse.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
— Two-time MWC Coach of the Year Dave Rose has guided BYU to three-straight 20-win seasons and three-straight postseason appearances. In his first season the Cougars were 20-9 and made a trip to the NIT. In his second campaign he guided the Cougars to the outright MWC title, a top-25 ranking, a trip to the NCAA Tournament and a 25-9 overall record. Last season he led BYU to a 27-8 overall record, a second-straight outright league title and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.
— BYU has been picked to finish second (five first-place votes) in the MWC preseason poll by the league’s media.
— BYU went 16-0 at home last year and enters the 2008-09 season with the nation’s longest active home winning streak at 47 games. The streak is the longest in school history.
— This year’s BYU squad returns two starters among six lettermen from last year’s outright league leaders (14-2 MWC record) as well as returned missionary Chris Miles, who made six starts as a freshman in 2005-06, and Gavin MacGregor, who sat out last season with an injury.
LOOKING AT LBSU
Long Beach State opens the 2008-09 season at BYU on Friday after finishing last season with a 6-25 overall record. The 49ers return six players from 2007-08 that averaged 4.4 points or more per game including last season’s leading scorer Donovan Morris. Morris averaged 21.2 points per game while also leading the team in rebounds per game (5.2). He has been named to the CollegeHoops.net Preseason Mid-Major All-America Team. Dan Monson enters his second season at the helm of the Long Beach State program. Including last season’s 6-25 record, Monson’s career record is 176-148 in 11 seasons as a Division I head coach. He was 52-17 (.754) in two years at Gonzaga, leading the Bulldogs to the Elite Eight in 1999. In eight years at Minnesota he compiled a 118-106 (.527) mark with five postseason appearances.
LBSU’S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos.#NameHt. Wt.Yr. PPGRPG
LBSU’S LAST OUTING — 49ERS PLAY TWO PRESEASON SCRIMMAGES
Long Beach State did not play any exhibition games this preseason. The 49ers elected to play two scrimmages against San Diego and Air Force. Both scrimmages were closed to the spectators.
This will be the ninth meeting between Long Beach State and BYU. The Cougars tied the series with a 74-34 victory at Long Beach in the 2007-08 season opener. BYU owns a 3-1 advantage in Provo, having won the last meeting, 94-75, at the Cougar Classic in 1985. Two overtime games have been played in the series, including a 95-90 LBSU victory in the inaugural contest at the 1972 NCAA Tournament and an 81-77 LBSU win in the 1982 Cougar Classic. The 49ers have won back-to-back meetings twice in the series while the Cougars have done so twice. BYU currently owns a two-game winning streak in the series.
QUOTING COACH ROSE
“This is a time of year that our players are excited for. Now that the exhibitions are over the guys are excited for the season to start. There was a new energy today in practice. The team is ready to play on Friday.”
“Long Beach has an experienced group back but they will also rely on a lot of new players. I expect them to be an athletic group and good perimeter shooters. They will attack the basket and have better size than they had last year.”
BYU IN SEASON OPENERS
BYU has a 73-33 record in season openers for a .687 winning percentage. BYU is 55-15 (.786) when opening at home, 15-15 (.500) when opening on an opponent’s home floor and 3-3 (.500) when opening on a neutral floor. In the 11 seasons since Dave Rose first came to BYU as an assistant, the Cougars are 8-3 in season openers with a 4-1 mark at home, a 3-1 tally in away games and a 1-1 record on neutral floors. Last year, BYU defeated Long Beach State 74-34 on the road. Rose is 1-2 in season openers as a head coach.
LAST YEAR AT LBSU
LONG BEACH -- The BYU men’s basketball team came out firing and never looked back as the Cougars opened the season with a 74-34 win at Long Beach State Saturday. The 40-point victory marked BYU’s largest winning margin over a Division I opponent since 1995. Junior Lee Cummard led the Cougars with 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting while adding nine rebounds. Fellow junior and 2007 All-Mountain West Conference selection Trent Plaisted also scored in double figures with 12 points. Freshmen Jimmer Fredette and Chris Collinsworth each scored nine points in their Cougar debuts while Fredette added three assists and Collinsworth contributed six rebounds. Senior Ben Murdock tallied a game-high five assists to go along with his eight points. BYU opened the season hot with a 10-0 run in the first three minutes of the game, including four points and an assist from Cummard. Long Beach State finally got on the scoreboard at the 16-minute mark, but Cummard quickly took it the other way with a driving layin to put the Cougars up 12-2. Fredette and Collinsworth made their respective Cougar debuts early on as they both checked in at the 15:31 mark. Collinsworth immediately made his presence felt with two rebounds, including an offensive board leading to a bucket for Plaisted and a 14-2 BYU lead. Jonathan Tavernari got the Cougars going again with a three-pointer after a four-minute scoring drought that saw BYU miss seven shots. However, the Cougars stormed back with four straight makes from long range, including two from Fredette, to take a 27-4 lead. Plaisted then made some noise of his own with a dunk at the 6:15 mark to cap a 14-0 Cougar run. The BYU momentum continued with a three-pointer from Murdock, which gave the Cougars a 26-point lead at 32-6 that turned into a 36-12 halftime advantage. Long Beach State made just three buckets in the first 20 minutes of the game as BYU allowed its fewest points in a half since giving up a record-low 10 points against Air Force in 2003. Murdock made it back-to-back scores with a three-point play before Plaisted converted one of his own to put BYU on top 47-19. Senior Vuk Ivanovic heated up in the last 10 minutes of the game with six points in a three-minute span, sparking a 14-0 Cougar run. The spurt featured seven points from Collinsworth and was capped by a dunk from Chris Miles to give BYU a 74-34 lead, which would hold until the final buzzer.