GAME 10 - BYU Hosts Utah State Saturday
GAME #10 FAST FACTS
BYU Cougars (5-4, 0-0 MWC)
Utah State Aggies (8-1, 0-0 WAC)
Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006
Marriott Center (22,700)
4:05 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (25-13 in second season; same overall)
USU, Stew Morrill (198-64 in ninth season; 416-202 in 21st year overall)
224th meeting, BYU leads 133-90 (USU won the last meeting, 91-80, on Dec. 22, 2005 in Logan)
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 (3 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 HOSTS UTAH STATE SATURDAY
After playing four of their last five games away from home, the Cougars (5-4) will return to the Marriott Center to take on in-state foe Utah State on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the first of a seven-game homestand. The contest will be televised on the MountainWest Sports Network (The mtn.) and can also be heard live on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the internet at ksl.com. BYU is coming off back-to-back losses but is currently tied for the nation's seventh-longest home winning streak at 18 games. Utah State is off to an 8-1 start having won its last eight games after a season-opening loss to Northwestern State.
Due to final exams, BYU will play a lighter schedule next week, hosting Western Oregon on Dec. 22 at 7 p.m. The game will not be televised.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- Cougar head coach Dave Rose guided BYU to a 20-9 record and an NIT appearance last season in his first year at the helm after eight years as BYU's lead assistant. He was named the Mountain West Conference and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year. Rose coached his team to a second-place MWC finish -- one game behind league-champion San Diego State -- while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success that proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.
-- BYU was picked to finish second in the Mountain West Conference in the preseason MWC media poll behind reigning champion San Diego State.
-- BYU's roster this season includes a solid core of returning players, including six seniors and Trent Plaisted, the MWC Freshman of the Year last year. One of nine returning lettermen, Plaisted was named a Freshman All-American after leading BYU in both scoring (13.6) and rebounding (6.9) one year ago. 2006 All-MWC Third Team forward Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (15.9) while Plaisted once again paces the Cougars on the boards (6.2). Senior Austin Ainge leads BYU with 3.3 assists per game.
LOOKING AT UTAH STATE
The Aggies are 8-1 this season with eight straight victories dating back to a season-opening loss at Northwestern State. Utah State is also 4-0 against in-state foes this season with wins over Utah, UVSC and Weber State (2) and has won 10 of the last 11 against teams from the state of Utah. The Aggies are led by junior guard Jaycee Carroll, whose 22.7 points per game average ranks ninth in the nation. Carroll also ranks 22nd nationally in field-goal percentage (.629), 33rd in three-point percentage (.471) and 34th in free-throw percentage (.895). The 6-foot-2 Wyoming native also leads the team in rebounding with 5.3 boards per game and has recorded 10 steals on the year. Senior forward Durrall Peterson is second on the team in scoring at 11.1 ppg and is one of three Aggies averaging at least 2.0 assists per contest, dishing out 2.8 apg. Junior center Stephen DuCharme leads USU shooting .765 (39-for-51) from the field and is averaging 10.1 ppg, third on the team, and 5.1 rpg, second on the team. Junior guards Mikel Watson and Kris Clark lead the Aggies in assists, dishing out 3.44 and 3.0 apg, respectively. As a team, Utah State is scoring 72.6 points per game on .516 shooting from the field, which ranks eighth nationally, while holding opponents to 63.8 ppg on .461 shooting. The Aggies also outrebound their opponents 29.9-26.4. Head coach Stew Morrill is 198-64 in his ninth season at Utah State and 416-202 in his 21st year overall.
UTAH STATE'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos No Name Ht Wt Cl Hometown/Previous School PPG RPG
F 24 Durrall Peterson 6-3 200 Sr. Raleigh, N.C./Hutchinson CC 11.1 3.2
F 30 Chaz Spicer 6-7 215 Sr. Indianapolis, Ind./Kankakee CC 8.9 3.0
C 40 Stephen DuCharme 6-8 230 Jr. Andover, Kan./Hutchinson CC 10.1 5.1
G 20 Jaycee Carroll 6-2 175 Jr. Evanston, Wyo./Evanston HS 22.7 5.3
G 10 Kris Clark 6-2 170 Jr. Wilmington, N.C./Vincennes Univ. 0.7 3.0'
' indicates assists per game
UTAH STATE'S LAST OUTING -- Aggies Hold Off Wolverines 65-69
OREM -- An 8-0 run early in the second half was enough for Utah State to hold on for a 69-65 win over Utah Valley State Saturday night at UVSC's McKay Events Center. Senior guard Durrall Peterson tallied a game and season-high 20 points, including hitting a three-pointer from deep in the right corner with 58.7 seconds left, and then iced the game with a pair of free throws with 18.8 ticks on the clock. Junior guard Jaycee Carroll netted 18 points, stopping his streak of 20-point games at seven in a row. Carroll led USU with a game-high six rebounds, leading the Aggies to a 25-22 rebounding advantage. The Aggies shot a sizzling 68.0 percent (17-25) from the field in the second half and 56.3 percent (27-48) from the field in the game. The Wolverines shot 47.9 percent from the field goal and were 6-23 (26.1 percent) from behind the three-point arc. UVSC also was 13-14 (92.9 percent) at the charity stripe. UVSC took a 27-26 lead into halftime. Down 33-32 after a three-pointer by UVSC's Richard Troyer with 16:48 to play in the game, Carroll sparked the Aggies' 8-0 run to put them ahead, 40-33. The streak was capped by a bucket by junior center Stephen DuCharme with 13:50 left, and Utah State never trailed again, although there were two ties partway through the game. The Aggies had four seven-point leads, the last at 54-47 with 7:39 to go, but the Wolverines clawed back to knot it at 56-all. With Utah State on top 64-63 with the clock closing down to a minute left, junior guard Mikel Watson in-bounded the ball to Peterson with four seconds on the shot clock and Peterson drained the trey to put Utah State ahead, 67-63. UVSC's David Heck hit a bucket, two of his 15 points to pull the Wolverines within two, but after consecutive fouls, Peterson drilled the two free throws to seal the win.
Utah State is BYU's oldest rival. The rivalry is among the nation's longest ongoing series. BYU and USU will be meeting for the 224th time on Saturday. The first game played between the two schools was back on Feb. 23, 1906, with BYU winning 21-14. BYU leads the all-time series 133-90 and is 82-32 in Provo against USU while the Aggies hold the edge in Logan, 57-51. Three of the last four meetings in the series have been played at USU. In the last meeting in Provo, the Aggies ended 14 straight Cougar wins over USU in the Marriott Center with an 84-62 win on Dec. 18, 2004 to earn their first Marriott Center win since Utah State's 88-76 victory in Provo on Dec. 10, 1985. Austin Ainge led BYU with 21 points in the outing followed by Mike Rose's 14 points. Including a second meeting in 2004 in Logan, Utah State has won the last four meetings in the series, including its 91-80 triumph last year. BYU last defeated Utah State on Dec. 14, 2002 in Provo with a 66-56 victory.
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"Utah State is going to run its stuff really, really well. They have a lot of new players, but they're going to be just as tough and disciplined as they always are. They're a good defensive team. Jaycee Carroll is as good as they come as far as playing the wing, shooting and scoring."
At 4-0 this season against in-state opponents with two games against Utah teams remaining, Utah State is currently the frontrunner for the Oquirrh bucket and the in-state basketball bragging rights that go along with it. BYU is 2-0 so far this season against Utah teams with three contests remaining. Southern Utah is 3-1 with two in-state games left on its schedule, while Utah is 1-2 with two in-state contests remaining, UVSC is 0-2 with one game left and Weber State is 0-5 with one contest left.
LAST MEETING RECAP -- BYU Starts Slow, Can't Recover
LOGAN -- An Aggie homecourt advantage proved too much for the Cougars Friday night, with BYU (6-3) falling 91-80 in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum against in-state rival Utah State (6-3, 0-1 WAC). Two Aggie runs, a 13-2 run to start the game and 9-0 surge to begin the second half, proved the difference as BYU outscored Utah State 78-69 the rest of the way. Although the Cougars trailed by as many as 24 points in the second half, they cut the deficit to seven on two occasions, but ultimately could not recover from a slow start. The Aggies took a quick lead on BYU, outscoring the Cougars 13-2 in the first five minutes of the game. The Cougars clawed back, getting into foul trouble and sending USU to the line for bonus points with more than six minutes left in the half. USU led 47-32 at halftime and came out with a 9-0 run to start the second period. Senior Brock Reichner stepped up by answering USU's run with back-to-back jumpers, including a three-pointer, to create momentum for the Cougars. Freshman Trent Plaisted also brought in his first bucket of the game early in the second half, after being kept to no baskets in the entire first half. Aggie defense held the Cougars to only 20 points in the paint on the game. The Cougars came within seven points of the Aggies with less than six minutes in the second half, but could not hold on. Reichner led the Cougars with a career-high 26 points, shooting 10-13 from the floor and 6-8 from the three-point line. Junior Rashaun Broadus followed closely, adding his career-high 21 points for the Cougars.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "We had a hard time getting started. It was definitely a learning experience for our new guys, but we recovered from it and got back in it. We just couldn't get over the hump."
-- "We didn't do a good job defensively. Their post guys had their way with us. They're a very good interior passing team."
-- "The main thing to get from the game is we did not handle emotional pressure early in the game. It's hard to stay to the game plan with such a rough start."
-- "Freshman Lee Cummard and Jackson Emery played some minutes. Jackson gave us a really good lift and hit a couple big shots for us. Lee continues to get better and it's a good sign when you see young players stepping up."
-- "We've got to dwell on position things we've done here. Like I said before, it's learning, we've learned here tonight."
Utah State Head Coach Stew Morrill
-- "They came at us hard in the second half, but I'm awfully pleased with our guys."
-- "Nate Harris was unbelievable -- defensively, offensively. What a great game for him in his senior year. I thought Cass [Matheus] played awfully well, too. We had a heck of a time containing their perimeter guys and they had a heck of a time stopping our posts."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Senior guard Brock Reichner scored a career-high 26 points in 29 minutes at Utah State. His 26 points matches Mike Rose (26 points Santa Clara, 12/31/04 and vs. Southern Utah, 11/21/03) as the most points scored by a Cougar since All-American center Rafael Araujo (28, 31, and 32 points in 2003-04). He made 10-of-13 shots, including 6-of-8 three-pointers, all career marks. His six triples are the most by a BYU player since Mike Rose made six treys on Dec. 8, 2004 against Boise State. Reichner also added two assists and held Utah State's leading scorer Jaycee Carroll six points below his season average.
-- BYU point guard Rashaun Broadus scored a career-high 21 points while adding eight assists and two steals against Utah State. He connected on 7-of-11 shots, including 3-of-6 three-point attempts, while going 4-for-6 from the line. The junior college transfer leads the MWC in assists (5.0) and ranks second to teammate Austin Ainge in assist/turnover ratio (1.96).
-- Austin Ainge dished out seven assists without a turnover in 22 minutes at Utah State. The junior co-captain boasts a MWC-leading 4.38 assist/turnover ratio.
-- Brock Reichner (26) and Rashaun Broadus (21) became the first Cougars to score 20 or more points in the same game this year and third and fourth players overall to reach 20 points, joining Jimmy Balderson (21 vs. Lamar) and Trent Plaisted (20 at USC). The last time two Cougars reached 20 points in the same game was on Dec. 31, 2004 when Mike Rose scored 26 and Jared Jensen 23 in home win over Santa Clara.
-- Fernando Malaman had two blocks at Utah State. He has recorded two or more blocks in each of the last four games after making a total of two blocks in BYU's first five games. He is averaging 3.8 blocks over the last four games.
-- BYU's 15.4 percent three-point shooting (2-for-13) in the first half was the Cougar's worst first-half effort from long range. The Cougars responded by converting 9-of-12 treys in the second half to spark a run that cut a 24-point deficit to seven points.
-- Freshman Lee Cummard's seven rebounds set a new career mark. He was particularly active on the offensive glass, keeping five Cougar possessions alive. He gave BYU's offensive a lift in the early going with some put-back baskets. He scored six of his eight points in the first half when he had four offensive boards.
-- Keena Young pulled down a season-high nine rebounds to lead BYU at Utah State. He now has one more rebound on the season than Trent Plaisted to lead BYU overall at 5.1 rpg. He was BYU's leading rebounder last season at 5.6 rpg.
-- The Cougars failed to pick up the win for the first time this year when scoring 80 points or more. The Cougars are now 4-1 on the season when reaching 80 points. BYU averages an MWC-leading 78.1 points per game. BYU is 2-2 when scoring below 80 points.
-- Utah State's 91 points is the most scord against the Cougars this season. BYU is 0-2 this year when an opponent tops 80 points. Loyola Marymount scored 83 in BYU's season-opening loss at the Marriott Center.
-- Utah State's 60 percent shooting is the highest percentage made against the Cougars this year, topping the 54.8 percent made by Washington State. USU and WSU are the two teams to shoot 50 percent on BYU this year.
BYU's LAST OUTING -- OT Doesn't Treat BYU Well at Lamar
BEAUMONT -- Keena Young scored 19 points in his hometown return, but BYU was unable to come away with the win as Lamar pulled away late at the free-throw line in overtime to win 86-77 Wednesday at the Montagne Center. Young was 6-for-13 from the floor and 7-for-8 from the line to total his team-leading 19 points. Playing in his hometown for the first time since his high school days at Ozen High, the 6-foot-6 senior forward also added five rebounds and equaled a season-best three assists in front of a large contingent of Cougar fans and hometown followers in Beaumont. Jimmy Balderson and Mike Rose added 15 and 14 points, respectively, off the bench to join Young in double figures. Fernando Malaman pulled down a career-best 10 rebounds and Balderson tied his career-high with eight rebounds, but the Cougars were outrebounded 46-43 on the strength of a 16-rebound effort from Lamar's James Davis, a 7-foot-1, 335-pounder who also scored a game-high 20 points to pace the Cardinals. The Cougars got down early as the Cardinals scored the first six points of the game. Young quickly got BYU on the scoreboard, drawing a foul and converting both free-throw attempts. Young went on to score BYU's first six points with two more free throws and a jumper to keep BYU within two points at 8-6 at the 18:36 mark. Thanks to the inside play of Davis and Lawrence Nwevo, Lamar was able to push the lead to a 19-10 advantage before BYU got back-to-back treys from reserves Ben Murdock and Mike Rose to cut the deficit to three at 19-16. Unfortunately for BYU, it was the Cardinals who started heating up as they found their range from distance to ignite a commanding 15-1 run. Lamar hit back-to-back threes, its fourth and fifth triples of the game, as part of the run to double the Cougars on the scoreboard for a 34-17 lead with 7:12 to go in the half. Balderson and Young scored all but two of BYU's points the rest of the half to reduce the deficit to 14 at 44-30 going into the locker room. Twelve BYU players saw action in the first 20 minutes as only freshman Jonathan Tavernari didn't get in the game. BYU opened the second half on fire, going on a 10-1 run to reduce the lead to five at 45-40 at the 16:27 mark. BYU used turnovers to create buckets for Lee Cummard and Balderson, highlighted by Balderson throwing one down for his first dunk of the year off an assist from Rashaun Broadus. After a Davis free throw, Trent Plaisted followed with his first bucket of the game and then Balderson and Plaisted added encore scores to finish the run. Despite back-to-back Lamar baskets, BYU kept the pressure on as the Cougars reduced the lead to one at 53-52 with 12 minutes still remaining. BYU finally was able to pull even as Plaisted was fouled on a spectacular one-handed dunk and converted at the line to tie the score at 57-57 at the 9:24 mark. The Cougar fans in attendance made some noise when Rose hit his fourth trey of the game for the next score and BYU's first lead of the contest at 60-57. The teams stayed close the rest of the way with six lead changes and eight ties resulting from the back-and-forth battle. Young gave BYU a 72-71 lead with 1:20 to go in regulation, but Davis followed by hitting one of two at the line with 60 seconds remaining to even the tally. After both teams failed to convert, BYU obtained the final possession with 5.7 seconds on the clock, but Malaman's three attempt found the back of the iron to send the game to an extra period. The game was tied at 74 and 76 in overtime until the Cardinals found their long-range game again as Matthew Barrow converted from behind the arc. After Lee Cummard made one of two at the line, Darren Hopkins drilled Lamar's ninth trey to make it a five-point game at 82-77. The Cardinals obtained the final margin at the free-throw line as BYU was forced to foul after misses.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "When you play a talented team on their home floor and you let them get a big lead, you give them a lot of momentum and make it hard to get back in it. We let them get the ball in the places where they wanted to get the ball and then we didn't get to their shooters fast enough and they hit some open looks on the perimeter. We fought a lot better in the second half. We came out and made a couple shots early, made a couple steals and made some plays on the defensive end."
-- "Starters don't win games and reserves don't win games. It's a total team effort. Our inconsistencies have made it hard to find the right group of players to have out there. Most seasons at this time, players have tended to separate themselves. The guys we need to perform night in and night out to be good have not been consistently there."
-- "(James Davis) was really good. He's just a tough load to guard down there. Sanders is also a good post player down there."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Fernando Malaman -- 10 rebounds; Jimmy Balderson -- 8 rebounds (tie); Ben Murdock -- 3 points, 1 steal.
-- Individual Season Highs: Mike Rose -- 14 pts; Rashaun Broadus -- 6 assists; Keena Young -- 3 assists (tie).
-- Twelve BYU players saw action in the game, all playing minutes in the first half, as only freshman Jonathan Tavernari did not get in the game.
-- BYU has played three overtime games this year. The Cougars are 2-1 in OT games this year. In addition to the 86-77 loss at Lamar, BYU defeated Idaho State, 84-78, on Nov. 18 and won at Weber State, 73-69, on Dec. 2. Prior to the loss to Lamar, BYU had won five straight overtime games dating back to an 86-80 OT loss at Colorado State on March 14, 2003. BYU last played multiple overtime games in the 2001-02 season when BYU went 0-3 in OT games.
-- Playing in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas, Keena Young scored the first six points of the game for BYU and led the Cougars with 19 points on 6-for-13 shooting from the floor and 7-of-8 accuracy at the line.
-- Trent Plaisted did not commit a foul in the first half for the first time this season, but he finished the half with only 1 point on 1-for-2 shooting from the line and an 0-for-3 effort from the field. Ironically, he fouled out for only the second time this season (also vs. Idaho State) with five second-half fouls to leave the game with 4:13 remaining. He finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes.
-- While taking a 44-30 lead at the half, Lamar's starters made 15 field goals while BYU's five players to start the game made four combined field goals.
-- Lamar's 44 first-half points are the most allowed by BYU in the first half this year. In several other categories BYU had its second-toughest first half of the season as the Cougars shot 34.5 percent in the first 20 minutes (34.4 percent against Portland), saw Lamar shoot 51.5 percent (51.7 percent by Boise State) and was down 14 points at the break (trailed by 15 at Boise State).
-- The Cougars trailed at the half for the third time this year (also Boise State and Michigan State). BYU has lost all three games.
-- Mike Rose made his 14th point of the game on an 18-foot jumper to give BYU a 70-69 lead with 2:50 remaining. His 14 points is his first double-figure scoring outing of the season. His previous season high was nine at UCLA.
-- Lamar won the battle of the boards, 46-43, led by James Davis' 16 rebounds. BYU is 5-0 this year when winning the battle of the boards and 0-4 when being outrebounded.
With wins against Idaho State, Portland and Southern Utah, the Cougars put together a three-game win streak this season, which ended with a loss at Boise State. BYU had several winning streaks last season, including its longest since the 2003-04 season at six straight victories. That streak was tied for the seventh-longest active winning streak in the nation. The Cougars' prior victory streaks last year included one four-game streak, two three-game streaks and two two-game streaks. BYU won 10 of its last 13 games last year.
WINNING ON THE ROAD
BYU's win at Weber State marked the Cougars' first road win of the season. BYU is now 1-3 on the road this year with a season-opening loss at current No. 1 UCLA, a Nov. 29 setback at Boise State and Wednesday's loss at Lamar. The Cougars lost their only neutral court so far this season with a loss against Michigan State last Saturday at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. The victory over the Wildcats snapped a three-game road losing streak dating back to last year's season-ending defeat at Houston in the NIT and a five-game nonconference road losing streak since defeating Washington State last year in Spokane Arena on Nov. 22, 2005. BYU finished last year 6-8 away from home, including a 4-4 mark during MWC play.
BOUNCE BACK COUGARS
The Cougars' back-to-back losses vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar marks the first time since the 2004-05 season BYU has lost consecutive regular-season games. Prior to the Lamar loss, BYU had bounced back from each of its two losses this season with wins, including back-to-back victories after their loss at Boise State on Nov. 29. BYU recovered from its season-opening loss at then No. 5 UCLA (now ranked No. 1 in the polls) 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 74.7 points and allowing 71.4 points after nine games. BYU is 4-0 when opponents score less than 70 points this year and 1-4 when they score 70 or more. With an 86-77 loss at Lamar, BYU now is 5-1 when it scores 70 or more points and 0-3 when scoring less than 70. Last year BYU was 12-0 when holding opponents under 70 points and 8-9 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold. Cougar foes averaged 71.7 points per game last year. BYU was also 17-4 when scoring 70 or more points and 3-5 when falling below the 70-point mark. The Cougars led the MWC in scoring last year, averaging 76.2 ppg, and scored 100 points in conference play for the first time since Feb. 10, 1994 in their home game against league-champion San Diego State.
CLEANING OFF THE GLASS
BYU is 5-0 this season when outrebounding its opponents and 0-4 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars are ranked second in the MWC in rebounding average (37.0). Sophomore Trent Plaisted leads BYU and is ninth in the conference with 6.2 rpg, while senior Keena Young is not far behind at 6.0 rpg, 10th in the league.
JUST A LITTLE LONGER
The Cougars have already played three overtime games this season, losing 86-77 at Lamar on Wednesday and winning 84-78 against Idaho State on Nov. 18 and 73-69 at Weber State on Dec. 2, marking the first time since the 2001-02 season that BYU has played multiple extra period games in one year. The Cougars' loss at Lamar ended a five-game overtime winning streak dating back to March 14, 2003, an 86-80 setback against Colorado State at the MWC Tournament. BYU is 50-45 (.526) all-time when playing past regulation.
VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
BYU has faced two ranked opponents this season. The Cougars lost 76-61 to then-No. 25 Michigan State on Saturday at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. BYU suffered a season-opening (82-69) loss at then-No. 5 UCLA on Nov. 15. BYU's last win over a ranked team came at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Dec. 6, 2003 with a 76-71 victory vs. 25th-ranked Oklahoma State, who advanced to the Final Four that season.
BYU men's basketball coach Dave Rose announced Nov. 23 that 6-foot-6 freshman forward Jonathan Tavernari would not redshirt this season. Tavernari saw his first action on Nov. 24 when the Cougars hosted Southern Utah in the Marriott Center. A native of Sao Bernardo, Brazil, Tavernari did not play in BYU's first three regular-season games as a potential redshirt while a review of his two years of high school in the United States was being conducted by the NCAA. Freshmen swingmen Jordan Cameron and Brock Zylstra are expected to redshirt this season.
AINGE, BALDERSON, YOUNG SERVE AS TEAM CAPTAINS
Coach Rose and the Cougar coaching staff have announced this year's team captains, calling upon seniors Austin Ainge, Jimmy Balderson and Keena Young to lead this year's team. "I'm proud of the way these three players have developed and of their dedication to our team," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "They are totally commitment to this program and have earned the respect and confidence of their teammates. They will provide us with good leadership as we work together as a team to achieve our goals." Ainge, a co-captain of last season's team, proved a valuable asset off the bench in 2005-06 after starting at the point guard spot and receiving All-Mountain West Conference honorable mention as a sophomore. Last season he ranked 11th in the MWC in assists while helping BYU lead the league in both scoring and assists. Balderson also provided a spark off the bench for the Cougars last season as he scored in double figures in 11 of the last 13 games and was the only player in the conference averaging more than 10 points per game off the bench with a 10.2 scoring average. Young led BYU in rebounding as a sophomore before becoming an All-MWC Third Team pick last year after starting the last 14 games of the year and ranking second on the team in rebounding (5.8 rpg) and third in scoring (10.3 ppg).
BYU's most consistent player this year has been senior forward Keena Young, who has scored in double figures in eight out of nine games. He leads BYU and ranks ninth in the Mountain West Conference in scoring at 15.9 points per game while adding 6.0 rebounds per game, second on the team and 10th in the league. The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring three times and rebounding four times, including a 27-point, 11-rebound performance at Weber State for his second double-double of the season. His 27 points marked the most by a Cougar since Dec. 13, 2003 (Rafael Araujo - 28).
Senior Austin Ainge is averaging a team-best 3.3 assists, whichis tied for sixth in the MWC, and leads BYU in three-pointers (13) while shooting .520 from three-point range, sixth in the league, and .472 from the floor. He scored 14 points -- all in the second half -- to fuel BYU's furious comeback attempt at Boise State. Ainge has started the last seven games at the point but played a season-low six minutes at Lamar.
DOING IT ALL
Lee Cummard has scored in double figures in three of the last four games while playing great overall basketball. In BYU's two games last week Cummard averaged 10.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 3.5 steals and 1.5 blocks. He was 9-for-12 (.750) from the floor, including 2-of-3 (.667) from behind the arc, and made his only free-throw attempt. At Lamar, Cummard contributed across the board with eight points, six rebounds, 4 assists and two steals.
COMING ON STRONG
Trent Plaisted averaged 21.5 points and 7.5 rebounds to lead BYU in its two games last week while shooting 64 percent from the floor. A sophomore, Plaisted recorded consecutive games of 20 or more points for the first time. He has now scored 20 or more points in five games overall during his career. Plaisted had game highs of 20 points and eight rebounds on 8-of-13 shooting to lead BYU to a win over San Jose State on Wednesday. Plaisted followed that performance with a career-high 23 points against No. 25 Michigan State in The Palace at Auburn Hills. Plaisted did not miss a shot until the 10:28 mark in the second half, making his first eight shots from the floor. His 14 first-half points marked his highest scoring output in a half this season. He added a team-best seven rebounds against the Spartans. "Trent (Plaisted) is really working hard," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "He suffered a setback with that sprained ankle, but his effort is improving. Trent's got a lot of different things on his mind; he wants to play the best he can, and he wants to do what he can to help our team win. As long as he keeps playing hard, things will work out well for him."
BYU has used four different starting lineups so far this year. Austin Ainge and Rashaun Broadus started together for the first time against San Jose State after sharing the starting assignment earlier in the year. Vuk Ivanovic made his first career start in place of injury-slowed Trent Plaisted in the post vs. Portland. Starting the first two games were senior Rashaun Broadus, sophomore Lee Cummard, senior Jimmy Balderson, senior Keena Young and sophomore Trent Plaisted. While all five started games last year, the UCLA game marked the first regular-season contest in which all five started together.
BYU BASKETBALL ON TELEVISION
BYU's next televised game will be Saturday against Utah State at 4 p.m. 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 will be carried in Utah on KJZZ-TV.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 18 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are currently tied for the seventh-longest active home victory streak in the nation. BYU has won its first four home games this season after going 14-1 at home last year including wins in their last 14 straight home contests.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (As of Thursday Dec. 14, 2006)
Wins Team This year Next home game
45 Gonzaga 5-0 Jan. 6 vs. Loyola Marymount
27 Connecticut 8-0 Sunday vs. St. Mary's
23 Air Force 6-0 Jan. 6 vs. UNLV
20 Akron 2-0 Tuesday vs. St. Francis
19 Memphis 6-0 Dec. 23 vs. Middle Tennessee St.
19 George Washington 4-0 Jan. 3 vs. Fordham
18 BYU 4-0 Saturday vs. Utah State
18 Northwestern St. 4-0 Jan. 11 vs. Texas A&M Corpus Christi
16 UAB 3-0 Dec. 23 vs. Winston-Salem
BYU has led at the half in six of the team's first nine games. The Cougars' 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. The Cougars are now 5-1 when leading at the half and 0-3 when trailing this season and have had a double-digit lead at the break twice. BYU was 14-0 when leading at the half, 5-9 when trailing and 1-0 when tied last year. Of the 14 games in which they led at the half, the Cougars led by double digits six times. BYU has been fairly even over both halves this season, outscoring opponents by an average of 1.9 points in the first period of play and 1.2 points in the second.
COUGARS HELP CHILDREN WITH CANCER
For the eighth year, the BYU men's basketball team will join the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation in an effort to raise money for families who have children with cancer and participate in the Foundation's annual Christmas party for those families. The Foundation will be collecting monetary donations and any unwrapped toys through the first three weeks of December. Toys can be dropped off at the nearest Far West Bank location, at Harmon's Down Town Auto Center located in Provo or at the men's basketball office located next to the Ticket Office at the Marriott Center. Monetary contributions will also be accepted at the men's basketball office. One hundred percent of all donations to the Foundation will go directly towards the Christmas party for more than 90 families who have children with cancer living primarily in Utah County. A large portion of the money donated will purchase hundreds of toys that will enable these parents to have gifts under the Christmas tree for their children. In addition to all of these toys, there is food, free entertainment, such as games and ornament decorating, and local celebrities including Santa, Cosmo and the BYU men's basketball team. This is the eighth year BYU coaches, players and their families have volunteered for the Christmas party. BYU head coach Dave Rose will serve as honorary chairman for the second year. "This has always been a cause I feel strongly about," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "It has been such a positive experience for the coaches, players and families and is a tremendous opportunity for community members to be involved in brightening the holiday season for these children." Cheryl Rose, vice chairman of the Foundation and wife of coach Rose, discussed the challenges these families face financially and how the Foundation hopes to help these families now and in the future. "For many of these families, it is financially impossible to always have food on the table, a roof over their heads or even have Christmas," Cheryl Rose said. "We want to create a Christmas experience that they will never forget and hopefully in the future help families meet those basic needs that they can't on their own." Rose says that asking for donations has usually been difficult for her, but with such a meaningful cause it has been easy. It has enriched her life, which is something she hopes others will enjoy by contributing to these families. "It's a privilege for me to associate with these families," she said. "They are such an example to me. Even with all that they've been through, they have such a strength and passion for life. It's almost selfish on my part to be involved because I get so much out of it." This year's Christmas party will be held Dec. 20. Parents will be invited to choose the gifts their children will receive on Dec. 19. The gifts will then be distributed at the party. For more information about donating to the Children With Cancer Christmas Foundation, contact Cheryl Rose at (801) 375-5768. Those interested can also visit the Foundation's website at www.christmas-foundation.org. "The support we get from the community makes this event possible," Cheryl Rose said. "We couldn't serve these children without the donations of time, money and gifts we receive."
BREAKING THE LANGUAGE BARRIER
The presence of returned missionaries and international players on BYU's roster leads to a variety of languages that can be heard on the Cougar bench. Six players speak a language in addition to English, including Austin Ainge (Spanish), Fernando Malaman (Portuguese), Jimmy Balderson (Marshallese), Jonathan Tavernari (Portuguese), Vuk Ivanovic (Serbian) and Gavin MacGregor (Dutch). Two BYU assistant coaches also speak other languages as Walter Roese speaks Portuguese, and John Wardenburg speaks Dutch.
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