BYU Ends Utah Run in the Huntsman Center

Keena Young scored 21 points to help the Cougars end a 12-year drought in the Huntsman Center with a 76-66 win Wednesday night. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

SALT LAKE -- The Cougars made history Wednesday night, snapping a 12-year drought in the Huntsman Center with a crucial 76-66 win at Utah. The victory improves BYU to 16-6 overall and 6-2 in the Mountain West Conference, which is tied for first place with No. 16 Air Force and No. 25 UNLV through the first half of league action.

"Obviously, this win is really, really big for our program," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "These guys have played well all year on the road against some tough teams. Now we're getting the confidence we need to win on the road. We ended the first half of league play in a good spot."

Keena Young led the Cougars with 21 points while Jonathan Tavernari posted 17 and Jimmy Balderson added 11. Balderson, Austin Ainge and Vuk Ivanovic each pulled down five rebounds to pace the Cougars, and Ainge tied his career high with eight assists while helping BYU record a season-low seven turnovers.

Utah's Luke Nevill scored the first five points for his team to establish an early 5-2 Ute lead, but Plaisted quickly made his presence known with a spectacular one-handed dunk to spark a 7-0 Cougar run. However, Utah responded with four straights points to knot the score at 9-9 at the first break.

The two teams battled back and forth from there with neither able to gain more than a two-point advantage. Utah kept the pressure on BYU as the Utes scored on every trip and forced the Cougars to answer. BYU was up to the task despite losing Plaisted at the 13:40 mark to his second foul as Ivanovic and Tavernari both scored off the bench, including a three-pointer from Tavernari to put the Cougars up 18-17 with 10:59 remaining in the half.

Tavernari heated up from downtown after that, draining another shot from beyond the arc to extend the BYU lead to 21-17 at the 9:40 mark. After the Utes responded with a Nevill dunk, Tavernari demonstrated his versatility with a layin, marking eight straight BYU points for the true freshman.

Two straight buckets from Young gave the Cougars their largest lead of the game thus far at 28-21 with 5:30 left in the first period of play, bringing his game total to 11 points and marking the 19th time in 22 games he has scored in double figures. The Utes got back to within three points at 30-27, but BYU scored the final four points of the half to take a 34-27 lead into the locker room, marking the 17th time this season the Cougars have held the lead at the break.

Balderson got the Cougars started in the second half with a make from long range on BYU's first possession. After a defensive stop, Lee Cummard continued the three-point barrage with another make from downtown to put the Cougars ahead 40-27 just 46 seconds into the second half. The Utes got on the board with a make from Nevill and a three-pointer of their own to cut the lead to 40-32, but Young quickly ended the Utah scoring run with a putback following two offensive rebounds.

Another battle ensued from there as the rims opened wide for both teams and the scoring became fast and furious. After trading scores to a 51-42 BYU lead, Balderson sparked an 11-2 Cougar run, thanks in part to seven points from Tavernari, to take a 62-44 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining.

Trailing 66-47, the Utes began a comeback bid with a 12-2 run to cut the lead to nine points at 68-59 with 3:25 left to play. However, Young scored huge back-to-back buckets for the Cougars to re-establish a double-digit lead at 72-59 with 1:56 remaining. Utah's Chris Grant drained a three-pointer at the 1:36 mark, but it was too little too late as BYU posted the 76-66 win.

The Cougars will return home to begin the second half of MWC play Saturday hosting No. 25 UNLV (19-4, 6-2 MWC). The game will begin at 3:30 p.m. in the Marriott Center and will be televised on the mtn.

CLICK HERE to view postgame notes and quotes.

Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS

Brigham Young vs Utah

01/31/07 8:05 PM at Salt Lake City, UTAH (Huntsman Center)

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VISITORS: Brigham Young 16-6, 6-2 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

03 YOUNG, Keena........ f 9-18 0-0 3-4 4 0 4 2 21 0 1 0 0 25

44 PLAISTED, Trent..... c 4-6 0-0 1-2 1 1 2 4 9 1 1 0 1 19

13 AINGE, Austin....... g 0-1 0-1 2-3 0 5 5 1 2 8 2 0 1 36

23 BALDERSON, Jimmy.... g 4-7 2-4 1-4 0 5 5 0 11 2 1 0 3 30

30 CUMMARD, Lee........ g 3-3 2-2 0-0 2 2 4 3 8 2 1 1 1 36

02 ROSE, Mike.......... 0-4 0-4 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 11

10 IVANOVIC, Vuk....... 1-3 0-0 0-0 2 3 5 2 2 0 1 0 0 9

15 MALAMAN, Fernando... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

24 MURDOCK, Ben........ 0-0 0-0 2-2 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 0 1 4

45 TAVERNARI, Jonathan. 7-12 3-7 0-0 0 1 1 1 17 1 0 0 1 19

50 MACGREGOR, Gavin.... 2-3 0-0 0-0 2 0 2 1 4 0 0 1 1 10

TEAM................ 2 1 3

Totals.............. 30-57 7-18 9-15 13 20 33 14 76 14 7 2 9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-26 46.2% 2nd Half: 18-31 58.1% Game: 52.6% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-9 33.3% 2nd Half: 4-9 44.4% Game: 38.9% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 7-12 58.3% 2nd Half: 2-3 66.7% Game: 60.0% 3

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HOME TEAM: Utah 7-14, 2-6 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

21 GREEN, Shaun........ f 2-5 0-1 0-1 2 4 6 1 4 4 1 1 0 24

50 NEVILL, Luke........ c 11-19 0-0 4-6 5 4 9 3 26 3 5 1 0 33

01 BRYANT, Johnnie..... g 2-10 0-4 0-0 0 1 1 1 4 2 1 0 0 29

05 DRCA, Luka.......... g 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 10

32 JOHNS, Ricky........ g 7-8 2-3 2-3 1 2 3 2 18 1 0 0 0 32

00 EATMON, Curtis...... 2-4 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 2 4 1 0 0 1 17

03 GRANT, Chris........ 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 1 3 1 0 0 0 7

11 BORHA, Lawrence..... 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 11

13 WEIGH, Stephen...... 3-3 1-1 0-0 0 2 2 2 7 1 2 0 0 22

30 DEANE, Daniel....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 11

41 RADOJEVIC, Misha.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 3

51 FOSTER, David....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

TEAM................ 1 1 2

Totals.............. 28-54 4-14 6-10 9 17 26 18 66 13 10 3 1 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-26 46.2% 2nd Half: 16-28 57.1% Game: 51.9% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 0-6 0.0% 2nd Half: 4-8 50.0% Game: 28.6% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 3-6 50.0% 2nd Half: 3-4 75.0% Game: 60.0% 1

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Officials: David Hall, Scott Thornley, Mike Reed

Technical fouls: Brigham Young-None. Utah-None.

Attendance: 12244

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

Brigham Young................. 34 42 - 76

Utah.......................... 27 39 - 66

ID-469074

Points in the paint-BY 30,UT 36. Points off turnovers-BY 13,UT 7.

2nd chance points-BY 14,UT 9. Fast break points-BY 2,UT 2.

Bench points-BY 25,UT 14. Score tied-4 times. Lead changes-3 times.

Tags: Results