Cougars and Lobos to Battle for MWC Lead

No. 13/11 BYU hosts No. 10/12 New Mexico in a battle for first in the MWC. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

Cougars to Battle Lobos for First Place in MWC

No. 13/11 BYU men’s basketball (26-3, 11-2 MWC) hosts No. 10/12 New Mexico on Saturday, Feb. 27, at 2 p.m. MST, in a battle for first place in the Mountain West Conference. The game can be heard live on KSL Newsradio beginning with the pregame show at 1 p.m. MST on 102.7 FM and 1160 AM or via the Internet at KSL.com. The game will be televised live on VERSUS.

Up Next

The Cougars play at in-state and conference rival Utah in the Deseret First Duel on Wednesday, March 3, at 7 p.m. MST. Listen to the game live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 6 p.m. MST on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM or via the Internet at KSL.com. The game will be televised live on CBS C.

Cougar Quick Hits

— At 26-3 overall, BYU has surpassed last season’s win total (25) and has the best record in program history through 29 games. This also marks the fourth-straight season with 25-plus wins, a first in program history.

Jimmer Fredette set BYU single-game records with 49 points and nine threes against Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl Classic in Tucson, Ariz., at the McKale Center. BYU handed Arizona its worst loss at the McKale Center, 99-69.

— Fredette is 16th all-time in scoring at BYU with 1,366 career points. He leads the conference in scoring at 21.7 points per game. He is also 4th at BYU in career threes (161), T-10th in assists (330) and 12th in steals (112).

— Junior guard Jackson Emery has 73 steals this season, a BYU record for steals in a season. The previous record was 66, set by Marty Haws in 1989-90.

— Two-time MWC Coach of the Year Dave Rose has guided BYU to three-straight MWC regular season titles and three-straight trips to the NCAA Tournament. Under Rose, BYU also has five-straight 20-win seasons and four-straight postseason appearances. At 123-37 (.769) overall, he is BYU’s all-time leader in winning percentage.

— Senior forward Jonathan Tavernari became BYU’s all-time leader in three-pointers with two treys vs. San Francisco to give him 214. He is now at 253 after hitting two threes vs. San Diego State. He is also climbing the lists for points (12th with 1,462) and steals (3rd with 153).

— With the win vs. San Diego State, Jonathan Tavernari played in his 99th BYU victory — first in school history. Tavernari’s teams have won 103 games, the best four-year stretch in program history.

BYU Game #30 Fast Facts

No. 13/11 BYU (26-3, 11-2) vs. No. 10/12 New Mexico (26-3, 12-2)

Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010

Marriott Center (22,700)

Provo, Utah

2 p.m. MST

Coaches

BYU, Dave Rose (123-37 in fifth season; same overall)

New Mexico, Steve Alford (72-24 in third season; 380-207 in 19th season overall)

Series

BYU leads 74-52, with New Mexico winning 76-72 in Albuquerque on Jan. 27, 2010

TV

Live on VERSUS (Tim Neverett, play-by-play; Blaine Fowler, game analysis)

Radio

KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM and online at KSL.com) and the Cougar Sports Network (1 p.m. MST pregame show — Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)

Web

Live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/

Looking at New Mexico

New Mexico is 26-3 overall and 12-2 in the Mountain West Conference — a win ahead of BYU and tied with the Cougars in the loss column. New Mexico has won 12-straight conference games after opening with losses at San Diego State and at home to UNLV. The Lobos have won six on the road during the streak. Junior Darrington Hobson leads the team in scoring (15.2 ppg), rebounding (8.8 rpg) and assists (4.6 apg) and is second on the team in steals (37). He shoots .425 from the field, .381 from three and .659 from the free throw line. Roman Martinez is second in scoring (15.5 ppg) and rebounding (6.3 rpg) and leads the team in made threes (80) and three-point field goal percentage (.428). Martinez is also first with 43 steals. Dairese Gary is third in scoring (11.9 ppg) and second in assists (3.9 apg) and leads the team in free throws made (150) and attempted (198). Phillip McDonald adds 11.2 ppg and shoots .391 from three while A.J. Hardeman averages 7.1 ppg and 5.5 rpg. As a team the Lobos shoot .438 from the field, .377 from three, .679 from the free throw line, and average 76.9 ppg. They out-rebound their opponents 39.0 to 33.4. Opponents average 66.4 ppg and shoot .419 from the field and .325 from three against New Mexico. Steve Alford is in his third season at New Mexico where he is 72-24.

New Mexico’s Last Outing —Lobos Defeat Colorado State

OK, the Lobos can finally say those three little words: Brigham Young University. The 26-3 Lobos’ showdown Saturday in Provo, Utah now falls into the one-game-at-a-time mentality that has helped the Lobos roll out 12 straight Mountain West Conference wins capped by a 72-66 win Tuesday night at Colorado State. The Lobos (12-2 MWC) can grab at least a share of the 2010 title with a win at BYU (10-2 MWC). The stakes might even be higher, if the Cougars fail to defend their fort Wednesday night when the powerful San Diego State Aztecs come to Provo. “I think San Diego State is really good,” said Lobo coach Steve Alford of BYU’s next opponent. “BYU has to hold serve (win at home), but there is a lot of season left to determine this championship. We have two games left and BYU has four games left. We are right there.” The No. 10/12 Lobos shook off a stubborn CSU team in the second half and used key offensive rebounds and key free throws to power to UNM’s record-tying 12th MWC win in a row. It also gave Alford’s Lobos a UNM record six straight league road wins and a record ninth road win of the season. If the Lobos can make it 13 in a row vs. the talented Cougars, the young UNM team picked to finish fifth in the MWC just might be looking at an outright MWC title. “We just tied a conference record,” said Alford. “This was a night we shoot 36 percent and still win. We get 19 offensive rebounds.” The Lobos won that board battle 44 to 32 with Roman Martinez pulling down 12 and Darington Hobson hauling down 10. UNM was paced in scoring by Dairese Gary with 23, Martinez with 17, Hobson with 15 and Phillip McDonald with 10. A key for UNM was throwing out a 13-0 run that included the last four points of the first half and the first nine points of the second half. The Lobos also handled the ball better in the second 20 minutes with only four turnovers. They had 12 miscues in the first half. The Rams rolled to a 32-29 halftime lead behind the shooting of former walk-on Adam Nigon, who finished with 23 points. The Lobos opened the second half with a 9-0 run to grab a 38-32 lead. The Rams tied the game at 47-all with 9:16 to play and pulled ahead 49-47 on a dunk by Andy Ogide. UNM then got back-to-back treys from Hobson and Martinez to jump up 53-49. CSU again grabbed the lead at 6:30, 55-53, on a trey by Nigon. The Lobos then went up 60-55. A huge bucket was a Gary layup with 1:22 to play that pushed UNM up 66-60. A Nigon trey made it 69-66 with 24 seconds to go. Gary iced the game with two free throws that put UNM up 71-66 with 18 ticks to play.

Series Notes

BYU leads the all-time series against New Mexico 74-52, including 43-15 in Provo (26-12 in the Marriott Center). The Cougars have won nine-straight at home against the Lobos. New Mexico defeated BYU 76-72 in Albuquerque earlier this season. Dave Rose is 7-2 against the Lobos as BYU’s head coach.

New Record for Thievery

With a steal at Colorado State, Jackson Emery broke the BYU record for steals in a single season. The record was previously held by Marty Haws, who had 66 steals in 1989-90. Emery now has 73 this season.

33-Point Games

Jimmer Fredette’s 36 points at Colorado State was his fifth game with 33-plus points this season. He is fifth all-time in BYU history for 33-point games and his five this season are the most by a BYU junior in a single season and the third-most in any BYU season. Devin Durrant had 11 33-point games as a senior in 1983-84 and Dick Nemelka had six as a senior in 1965-66.

Strong Finish

Dave Rose coached BYU teams have been known for their strong finishes. In his first four seasons at the helm, Rose’s teams have finished 9-1 in their final 10 regular season games to clinch a tie for second in the MWC in 2006, outright titles in 2007 and 2008 and a tie for the league title in 2009. The Cougars have a chance to match that record this season as they are 6-1 with three to play in the final 10 regular season games this season.

1,600 Wins

BYU’s 76-56 win over TCU was the 1,600th victory in program history. BYU is the 19th program in NCAA history to win 1,600 games. Oregon State, Washington, Louisville and Texas also reached the plateau this season. The Cougars are currently at 1,604 wins.

Best Record Through 29 Games

At 26-3 overall, BYU men’s basketball has the best record in program history through 29 games. The 1987-88 team held the previous best record in program history through 29 games at 25-4. See below for the other best records through 29 games.

In the Rankings

BYU men’s basketball entered the top-25 rankings for the first time this season on Jan. 4 at No. 25 in the AP Poll and No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The Cougars are currently ranked No. 13 in the AP Poll and No. 11 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. BYU has been ranked as high as No. 12 in the AP Poll and No. 10 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. Rose has led his teams to the rankings in each of the last four seasons to become the first Cougar coach to lead BYU into the rankings in four-straight seasons. The Cougar basketball program has now been ranked in the AP Poll during 18 seasons since its first national ranking in 1950-51.

BYU as a Ranked Team

BYU owns a 149-60 record as a ranked team, including 12-2 this season. The Cougars are 86-12 at home, 41-30 on the road and 22-18 at neutral sites when nationally ranked. BYU is 21-8 as a ranked team under Dave Rose.

1,000-Point Scorers

With 11 points vs. San Diego State, Jonathan Tavernari has 1,462 career points and is 12th all-time in scoring at BYU. He is 51 points from passing Kresimir Cosic for 11th all-time. After scoring 26 points vs. San Diego State, Jimmer Fredette has 1,366 career points — 17th all-time. He is seven points from passing Trent Plaisted for 16th all-time.

Downtown Record Watch

Jonathan Tavernari hit two threes vs. San Francisco to become BYU’s all-time leader in career threes, passing Mark Bigelow who had 213 for his career. He is also the leader for career attempts. Tavernari owns the record for threes in a season with 88 in 2007-08. He now has 253 makes and 665 attempts. Jimmer Fredette is fourth with 161 makes and is third with 399 attempts.

Top-10 Pick Pockets

Senior forward Jonathan Tavernari had two steals vs. San Diego State to give him 153 for his career. He is third all-time in BYU history. Jackson Emery is seventh with 130 while Jimmer Fredette is 12th with 112.

When Jimmer Scores 20...

Jimmer Fredette had 26 points vs. San Diego State, his 18th 20-point game this season and 26th of his career. He has reached 33-plus points five times this season. BYU is 22-4 when Fredette scores 20 or more points.

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