BYU Hosts Bryant University Wednesday

Junior co-captain Lee Cummard and the Cougars will play their final exhibition game on Wednesday against Bryant University. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

Cougars Complete Exhibition Play Wednesday at 7 p.m.

PROVO -- The BYU men's basketball team completes exhibition play Wednesday at 7 p.m. when the Cougars host Bryant University in the Marriott Center.

"Bryant University is a very well-coached team," Dave Rose said. "Max Good is a terrific coach who has coached in our league at UNLV. They are an up-tempo and athletic team that likes to push the ball and will pressure us. It will be a good experience for our guys to face this team."

Located in Smithfield, R.I., about 20 minutes from Providence, R.I., and an hour from Boston, Bryant University's men's basketball team has developed into one of the region's top Division II programs. Under the direction of seventh-year coach Max Good, Bryant has advanced to four straight Division II NCAA tournaments, including a trip to the NCAA Championship game in 2005. Last year, the Bulldogs reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the third time in four years. Two starters and eight letterwinners are back from last year's team that went 21-11 overall and 14-8 in the Northeast-10 Conference.

The Bulldogs played at Connecticut Sunday in an exhibtion outing, falling to the Huskies at Hartford Civic Center, 100-65. Jon Ezeokoli scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Bryant, while Ryan McLean added 10 points and five boards. The Bulldogs shot 32.8 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 17 times in the game. The Huskies, led by Jerome Dyson's game-high 27 points, led 51-38 at the half and shot 50 percent from the floor. After facing BYU Wednesday, Bryant opens its 2007-08 season on Nov. 17 at the University of Bridgeport.

KSL Newsradio will stream the game live online at KSL.com via the KSL X-Stream. Greg Wrubell will call the play-by-play action with former Cougar player and assistant coach Andy Toolson providing game analysis.

COUGAR QUICK HITS

-- Two-time reigning MWC Coach of the Year Dave Rose helped make BYU the second-most improved program in the nation in his first season with a 20-9 record and guided the Cougars to the outright MWC?title and a top-25 ranking in his second campaign in Provo as the Cougars went 25-9 last season.

-- BYU has been picked in the preseason poll to finish first in the MWC race this year by the league's media.

-- BYU went 17-0 at home last year and enters the 2007-08 season with the nation's second-longest active home victory streak at 31 games.

-- This year's BYU squad returns two starters among seven lettermen from last year's outright league leaders (13-3 MWC record) as well as returned missionary Chris Miles, who made six starts as a freshman in 2004-05. Headlining BYU's top returners in 2007-08 are MWC Player of the Year candidate Trent Plaisted, a two-time All-MWC Second Team selection in his first two seasons; versatile junior guard Lee Cummard, who earned All-MWC Third Team honors one year ago; and sophomore sharpshooter Jonathan Tavernari, who followed Plaisted's lead the prior season by being named the MWC Freshman of the Year in his first campaign as a Cougar.

-- Eight newcomers join the roster in 2007-08, including junior college transfers Lamont Morgan, Jr. (5-10, Jr., G) out of Saddleback Community College (Mission Viejo, Calif.) and Archie Rose (6-5, Jr., G) from Lee College (Baytown, Texas). Six freshmen becoming Cougars are Jimmer Fredette (6-2, G) from Glens Falls, N.Y., Michael Loyd, Jr. (6-1, G) out of Las Vegas, Chris Collinsworth (6-9, F) and Matt Pinegar (6-0, G) from Provo, Utah, James Anderson (6-10, F/C) from Page, Ariz., and Nick Martineau (5-11, G) from Fruit Heights, Utah.

EXHIBITION GAME #2 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS

vs.

BRYANT BULLDOGS

Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2007

Marriott Center (22,700)

Provo, Utah

7:05 p.m. MT

Coaches:

BYU, Dave Rose (45-18 after second year; same overall)

Bryant, Max Good (114-73 in seventh year; 223-211 in 15th season overall)

Series:

First meeting

TV:

None

Radio:

KSL.com via KSL X-Stream (Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Andy Toolson game analysis)

Web:

Live stats broadcast is available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/

BRYANT UNIVERSITY

Bryant University, located in Smithfield, R.I. (7 miles NW of Providence), is a Division II school with an enrollment of 3,200. On October 17, 2007, Bryant officially accepted an invitation by the Northeast Conference (NEC) to join the league and will formally begin a four-year transition to Division I. Bryant will officially become a member of the Northeast Conference in the fall of 2012. Bryant will become the 12th member of the conference for all sports. This will be the final year of competing as a member of Division II and as a member of the Northeast-10 Conference. Bryant will play its first Division I schedule starting in the 2008-09 academic year.

A LOOK AT THE BULLDOGS

Under the direction of seventh year coach Max Good, the Bryant men's basketball team has developed into one of the region's top Division II programs. Good came to Bryant after spending the 2000-01 season as the head coach at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. He led UNLV to a 13-9 record after taking over the program from former head coach Bill Bayno. Good was in his second season as an assistant coach with the Runnin' Rebels when he was elevated to head coach. Good has led Bryant to four straight Division II NCAA tournaments, including a trip to the NCAA Championship game in 2005. Last year, the Bulldogs reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the third time in four years before falling to rival Bentley College in the regional championship game played in Waltham, Mass. Two starters and eight letterwinners are back from last year's team that went 21-11 overall and 14-8 in the Northeast-10 Conference. Leading scorer Chris Burns has graduated after leading the team last year with a 15.5 ppg scoring average and 113 made three-point field goals. Second-leading scorer Jon Ezeokoli (South Orange, NJ) is back for his senior season. The third-team all-conference selection averaged 15.1 points per game and made 60 threes on the season. Ezeokoli, a 6-foot-3 guard, led the Bulldogs with 5.4 rebounds per game. Junior Jerrann Wright (Cincinnati, OH) is back after starting 29 of the team's 32 games. The 6-foot-7 forward averaged 6.9 ppg and 5.2 rebounds per contest as a sophomore. He'll be joined up front by 6-foot-7 junior Ryan McLean (Plymouth, Mass.) and 6-foot-6 junior Nick Pontes (New Bedford, Mass.). McLean was a regular off the bench last season, averaging 3.6 ppg and 3.1 rpg while playing an average of 13.8 minutes per game. Pontes, who has a nice scoring touch down low, averaged 6.0 ppg and 3.5 rpg. In the backcourt, the Bulldogs will look to sophomore Chris Birrell (Scituate, R.I.) to run the offense while junior Orlando Baeza (Palmdale, Calif.) recovers from an ankle injury suffered this summer. Baeza had a strong showing in last year's NCAA tournament, scoring 25 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the field in a first-round win over Adelphi. He had 16 points the previous outing in a loss to Bentley in the conference championship game. He's one of the team's better free-throw shooters, converting 37 of 44 (.841) from the line last year.

BRYANT VS. DIVISION I TEAMS SINCE 2004

Nov. 5, 2004 at Maryland 85-100 L Bryant led 48-46 at halftime

Nov. 11, 2004 at UConn 65-90? L Just 7 three's made

Nov. 3, 2005 at UConn 62-109 L Burns 15 points

Nov. 12, 2005 at UNLV 63-81 L Burns 13 points

Nov. 1, 2006 at Syracuse 86-92 L Burns 33 points

Nov. 6, 2006 at UConn 45-70 L McLean 8 points, 4 rebounds

Nov. 4, 2007 at UConn 65-100 L Ezeokoli 15 points, 7 rebounds

BRYANT PROBABLE STARTERS

Pos. # Name Yr. Ht. Wt. Hometown

F 4 Jerrann Wright Jr. 6-7 215 Cincinnati, Ohio

F 32 Ryan McLean Jr. 6-7 225 Plymouth, Mass.

F 25 John Fogarty Sr. 6-7 225 Smithfield, R.I.

G 11 Chris Birrell Fr. 6-2 185 Scituate, R.I.

G 21 Jon Ezeokoli Sr. 6-3 205 South Orange, N.J.

BULLDOGS FALL VS. UCONN SUNDAY

The Bulldogs played at Connecticut Sunday in an exhibtion outing, falling to the Huskies at Hartford Civic Center, 100-65. Jon Ezeokoli scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Bryant, while Ryan McLean added 10 points and five board. The Bulldogs shot 32.8 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 17 times in the game. The Huskies, led by Jerome Dyson's game-high 27 points, led 51-38 at the half and shot 50 percent from the floor.

QUOTING COACH ROSE

"Bryant is a very well-coached team. Max Good is a terrific coach who has some experience coaching in our league after being at UNLV. They like to play an up-tempo style and push the ball. They're very athletic and will guard us and pressure us. It will be a good experience for our guys."

"We really want to be more consistent and execute better. We've got to have a more consistent effort and be able to keep that effort for a full 40 minutes. After you get over that first night apprehension when you're playing in a new environment for a lot of these guys, then you settle into it and you get more consistent."

BYU NOTES

PLAISTED LEADS FOUR PLAYERS IN DOUBLE FIGURES AGAINST LAVAL

PROVO -- The BYU men's basketball team opened exhibition play with a 91-60 win against Canada's Laval University on Friday in the Marriott Center. Junior Trent Plaisted led four Cougars in double figures with 18 points. Sam Burgess and Jonathan Tavernari contributed with 15 points each, and Lee Cummard added 11. Tavernari also recorded a game-high eight rebounds. BYU held Laval to a .368 field-goal percentage and scored 28 points off of turnovers. The opening tip went the Cougars' way and from there the team never looked back. Despite being unable to convert on its first possession, two steals by Lee Cummard and Sam Burgess gave the Cougars the early lead, which they would never lose. Burgess and Plaisted combined to score BYU's first nine points. Newcomer Jimmer Fredette's first touch of the game resulted in a turn-around jumper to give the Cougars a 19-8 lead. Burgess scored his third three-pointer with 9:30 to play in the first half, increasing BYU's lead to 10 points. The physical play of both teams came to a head when Murdock and Fredette collided on the floor. Murdock received three stitches to his forehead, and Fredette received 13. Though Murdock returned to the game, the coaches chose to hold Fredette out, but he is expected to play again on Wednesday. BYU's good defensive play and two three-pointers by Tavernari put the Cougars up 35-22. However, plagued by constant traveling calls and turnovers, both teams were unable to establish a run despite BYU having a 42-29 lead going into the half. The Cougars opened the second half with a forced Laval turnover and dunk by Cummard. Momentum began to shift in BYU's favor after Plaisted went 2-for-3 from the free-throw line in two trips, and Cummard recorded his second dunk of the night with less than 17 minutes to play in the game. Not wanting to be left out of the dunking action, Plaisted knocked one down to put the Cougars up 52-34. He went on to score 10 points in BYU's 18-5 scoring run to begin the second half. Two breakaway lay-ins by Burgess and Michael Loyd Jr. increased the BYU lead to 28 points. Tavernari recorded his first block of the night with 6:10 to play in the game and continued his contributions with a three-pointer on BYU's next possession. Vuk Ivanovic tipped in a missed attempt by Burgess from beyond the arc, while Loyd scored two after forcing a Laval turnover. BYU's 34 point lead, its largest of the night, came with 2:35 left in the game.

TAVERNARI HELPS WHITE TEAM CLAIM VICTORY AT COUGAR TIPOFF

PROVO -- The BYU men's basketball team gave Cougar fans a glimpse of what to expect from its 2007-08 squad when the team split in half to participate in a full-length scrimmage on Wednesday at the annual Cougar Tipoff. 2007 Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year Jonathan Tavernari led the White team to a 77-64 victory with a game-high 27 points and 12 rebounds. "I'm pleased with Jonathan [Tavernari]," said head coach Dave Rose. "He shot the ball well." Other players for the White team included recently returned-missionary Chris Miles, Sam Burgess, Ben Murdock, Archie Rose, Nick Martineau, Matt Pinegar and Gavin MacGregor. The Blue team consisted of returning starters Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted along with newcomers Jimmer Fredette, Chris Collinsworth, Lamont Morgan Jr., Michael Loyd Jr. and James Anderson. A three-pointer by Burgess gave the White team its first points of the night to start the scrimmage. Collinsworth answered on the opposite end of the floor on the Blue team's next possession. The threes continued to fall for the White team, however, totaling eight in the first half alone and giving the team a 38-29 lead going into the locker room. The White team continued to dominate in the second half with its largest lead of 17 coming with 13:49 to play in the game. With just under nine minutes to play, the Blue team attempted its comeback, fueled by a three-pointer by Loyd. Fredette would go on to score the Blue team's next 14 points, bringing the score to 66-58. "Jimmer [Fredette] really settled down in the second half and played with more confidence," said Rose. "I like our competitive spirit. We have some talented offensive players that can score baskets." The Blue team's efforts would fall short, coming to within only six points.

BURGESS, CUMMARD, PLAISTED NAMED TEAM CAPTAINS

BYU men's basketball head coach Dave Rose has announced that senior Sam Burgess and juniors Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard have been selected to serve as captains on this year's team."Each of our captains have qualities we really want in all of our players," Rose said. "Sam is a hard worker and tough competitor who leads by example. Trent and Lee have proven their leadership ability both on and off the court over the past two years." Both Cummard and Plaisted are two year starters who received all-conference accolades last season after helping the Cougars win their first outright league title since 1988 and achieve their first national ranking since 1993. A two-time All-MWC Second Team selection and Freshman All-American, Plaisted was second on the team last year in both scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg). The junior forward/center from San Antonio scored in double figures 21 times while posting three double-doubles on the year in 33 starts. Cummard was named to the All-MWC Third Team last season after starting every game for the Cougars. He averaged 9.4 points, third on the team, on a team-best .553 shooting mark from the field. The junior guard from Mesa, Ariz., also led the team in steals and minutes, was second in assists and blocks and was third in rebounds with 5.6 per contest. He ranked among the top 15 in the conference in seven statistical categories. After redshirting the 2005-06 season, Burgess provided a spark off the bench for the Cougars last year, playing in 31 of 34 games and averaging 3.6 points and 1.5 rebounds in 10.2 minutes of action. The senior guard from Alpine, Utah, came on especially strong during BYU's run to the conference championship, playing double-digit minutes in eight of the Cougars' last 12 outings. The best-conditioned perimeter player on the team the past two seasons, Burgess averaged 15.0 points and 5.2 assists per game while shooting .615 from the floor during BYU's successful tour of France over the summer.

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