Cougars Fall vs. No. 25 Michigan State

Trent Plaisted had a career performance with 23 points against No. 25 Michigan State.

AUBURN HILLS -- Despite a career performance from Trent Plaisted, BYU did not have enough to knock off No. 25 Michigan State Saturday at The Palace of Auburn Hills, falling 76-61 to the Spartans. The loss drops the Cougars to 5-3 on the year, while MSU improves to 9-2.

"We had a lot of chances in this game," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "There were big possessions where if we could've gotten a stop, made a basket or made a free throw, it would've changed the complexion of game. But there were a lot of good things that happened with our team. I hope that from this situation here, our guys will have a little more confidence about their ability to play at this level with this type of team. Winning games is the bottom line, but it's a long season and we got better tonight. Playing this game will help this team get better if we use it the right way."

Plaisted led all scorers with a career-high 23 points, marking back-to-back games in which he has scored at least 20. Plaisted, who went 8-for-12 from the field after making his first eight shots, also paced the Cougars with seven rebounds. Lee Cummard was the only other Cougar to score in double figures with 10 points as he reached double digits for the third straight game. Austin Ainge dished out a team-high five assists, tying his season high.

"The key for me is to be aggressive," said Plaisted. "The main part of my game is going to the basket and trying to go hard. When you're going to the basket hard and having success, they kind of lay off you a little bit so you can get the jumper. I try to just go to the basket with reckless abandon."

The Spartans were led by Drew Neitzel with 22 points and Marquise Gray with 12 rebounds, one of two MSU players who posted a double-double.

"Michigan State is a really good ball control, half-court team," said Rose. "They don't make a lot of mistakes. We executed really well to take them out of their game, but they found other guys and got the big plays."

Both teams came out fighting, trading baskets early. With BYU leading 6-4, Cummard ignited a BYU fastbreak with a steal that forced MSU's Goran Suton to foul Rashaun Broadus going up for the shot. The momentum swung back to the Spartans, however, as MSU followed up two Cougar misses at the line with an 8-0 run to take a 12-6 advantage at the 13:09 mark. Jimmy Balderson came off the bench and ended the 4:27 Cougar scoring drought with a three-point make. MSU responded with its second dunk of the game on the other end to push the lead to 14-9.

Plaisted put in a turnaround jumper to get the Cougars within three at 14-11 but picked up his second foul on the ensuing Spartan possession and was forced to join Young on the bench as BYU's top two scorers found themselves in foul trouble early. MSU capitalized on the opportunity with four straight points to take its largest lead of the game to that point at 18-11 with 9:48 left in the half.

After the two teams traded buckets, Cummard converted a three-point play to get BYU within four at 20-16, but the Spartans once again responded with clutch shooting, getting a 5-0 scoring spurt to take a 25-16 lead. Plaisted then came alive for the Cougars, making 4-of-6 free throws during three consecutive trips to the line and draining a 15-foot jumper. Broadus added to the BYU scoring run with a layin on the fastbreak, and Plaisted capped the 10-3 spurt with a short jumper to cut the MSU lead to two points at 28-26.

The Spartans answered with a 6-1 spurt of their own, thanks in part to three missed free throws by the Cougars, to once again push the lead up to seven points at 34-27 with under a minute to play in the half. Jonathan Tavernari refused to let MSU pull away, draining a three-pointer to cut the lead to four, but the Spartans converted as the clock wound down to take a 36-30 advantage into the locker room at the break.

BYU began the second half by hitting its first five shots from the floor as four different Cougars scored in the first 2:40, including buckets from Plaisted, Ainge, Broadus and Cummard. But the Spartans answered every Cougar make with a make of their own, including two threes, to increase the lead to 48-40 with 16:11 to play.

MSU took its first double-digit lead at the 14:54 mark after a long Cougar possession yielded nothing for BYU. After a runner in the lane from Broadus didn't fall, the Spartans scored again on the other end to increase the margin to 52-40 with 14:26 mark, prompting Rose to take a timeout. Ainge ended the BYU scoring drought with a three-pointer, but four more Spartan points increased their lead to 56-43 thanks to an 11-3 run. Plaisted made back-to-back trips to the line, making 3-of-4, and then scored a short jumper in the lane after an MSU three-pointer to surpass his previous career high in scoring with 23 points.

BYU continued to trail by double-digits until a jumper from Cummard got the Spartan lead under 10 points at 61-52 with 8:35 left to play. However, another MSU dunk pushed the lead back to 11 points and the Cougars would get no closer over the final six minutes.

Cummard jumped a three at the 5:51 mark to get into double figures for the third straight game with 10 points, but his night came to an end on the other end as he picked up his fifth foul with more than five minutes remaining. A fifth Spartan dunk increased the lead to 71-55 as the Cougars continued to struggle shooting. BYU made just four shots in the final 8:34 of the game as the Spartans ran away with the 76-61 win.

The Cougars will continue their road swing next week, traveling to Beaumont, Texas, to take on Lamar on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT. The Cardinals are 3-6 so far this season.

"This is a difficult stretch of travel, but Wednesday will be a good opportunity for our team to play a totally different type of team," said Rose. "Lamar likes to push the ball, and they're extremely athletic. It's a good opportunity for Keena to play in his hometown. We'll challenge our guys and they'll be ready. I like the competitive spirit of this group. The key is to respond to things that are disappointing. How you respond is what basically determines the character of your team."

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

BYU vs Michigan State

12/9/06 3 p.m. at Auburn Hills, Mich. (The Palace)

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VISITORS: BYU 5-3

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

01 BROADUS, Rashaun.... f 2-7 0-3 1-4 1 2 3 2 5 2 0 0 0 24

13 AINGE, Austin....... f 3-5 1-2 0-0 0 5 5 2 7 5 2 0 2 30

44 PLAISTED, Trent..... c 8-12 0-0 7-12 0 7 7 4 23 0 1 0 0 37

03 YOUNG, Keena........ g 1-6 0-0 2-2 1 2 3 3 4 0 3 0 0 21

30 CUMMARD, Lee........ g 4-6 1-2 1-1 1 2 3 5 10 3 0 1 3 30

02 ROSE, Mike.......... 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

10 IVANOVIC, Vuk....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 3

15 MALAMAN, Fernando... 0-3 0-3 0-0 1 1 2 0 0 0 1 1 0 9

20 BURGESS, Sam........ 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 2 2 1 0 0 0 10

23 BALDERSON, Jimmy.... 2-7 1-3 0-1 3 1 4 1 5 1 2 0 1 24

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

45 TAVERNARI, Jonathan. 2-7 1-4 0-0 0 1 1 1 5 1 0 0 0 11

TEAM................ 2 2 4

Totals.............. 23-55 4-17 11-22 10 24 34 20 61 13 9 2 6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-26 42.3% 2nd Half: 12-29 41.4% Game: 41.8% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 2-9 22.2% 2nd Half: 2-8 25.0% Game: 23.5% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 6-13 46.2% 2nd Half: 5-9 55.6% Game: 50.0% 5

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HOME TEAM: Michigan State 9-2

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

11 Neitzel, Drew....... f 7-17 3-9 5-6 0 2 2 1 22 7 0 1 0 38

14 Suton, Goran........ f 4-10 0-0 2-5 3 8 11 3 10 2 1 0 1 31

00 Ibok, Idong......... c 3-3 0-0 0-2 1 2 3 2 6 1 1 0 0 10

05 Walton, Travis...... g 3-5 1-2 0-2 1 3 4 3 7 7 5 0 2 33

23 Joseph, Maurice..... g 2-4 2-4 0-0 0 0 0 1 6 0 0 0 1 12

01 Darnton, Brandon.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

10 Tibaldi, Bryan...... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

15 Ducre, DeMarcus..... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 5

22 Dahlman, Isaiah..... 3-4 1-1 2-3 0 1 1 1 9 3 1 0 0 31

25 Wardius, Chris...... 0-0 0-0 1-2 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 1

34 Naymick, Drew....... 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 4 0 1 0 2 0 13

41 Gray, Marquise...... 7-12 0-0 1-3 5 7 12 2 15 0 2 2 0 23

43 Hannon, Jacob....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 1

TM.................. 3 4 7

Totals.............. 29-57 7-16 11-23 13 28 41 19 76 21 11 5 4 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 14-30 46.7% 2nd Half: 15-27 55.6% Game: 50.9% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-8 37.5% 2nd Half: 4-8 50.0% Game: 43.8% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 5-12 41.7% 2nd Half: 6-11 54.5% Game: 47.8% 3

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Officials: David Hall, Mark Whitehead, Bill Gracey

Technical fouls: BYU-None. Michigan State-None.

Attendance: 11187

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

BYU........................... 30 31 - 61

Michigan State................ 36 40 - 76

Tags: Results