Cougars Rack Up Road Victory

Jonathan Tavernari paced BYU with 22 points at Air Force while dishing out a career-high four assists. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

USAFA -- The BYU men's basketball team picked up its second Mountain West Conference road victory of the year with a 69-53 win at Air Force on Wednesday. At 16-5 overall and 5-1 in league play, the Cougars are off to their best MWC start since 2002-03.

"This was really as good a team win as we've had all year long," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "We got great play out of our bench and really good play from our starters. Different players carried us at different points."

The big three once again led the Cougars as Jonathan Tavernari paced BYU with 22 points and Lee Cummard was right behind with 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field. Despite battling flu-like symptoms for the last four days, Trent Plaisted pulled down a game-high nine rebounds while adding nine points in 19 minutes. Cummard dished out a BYU-best five assists and added eight boards while Tavernari tallied a career-high four assists. True freshman Jimmer Fredette also scored in double figures with 10 points.

"When you get a couple players that are leading your team and they play well, other players can build off of that," said Rose. "Tonight with Lee (Cummard) and Jonathan (Tavernari) and Trent (Plaisted) having big games for us, that really gets all of our guys going."

BYU had its best shooting night on the road since Dec. 1 at Portland with a 50 percent outing against the Falcons, including a blistering 63.6 percent tally (14-for-22) in the second half. The Cougars held the Falcons to 39 percent shooting while recording back-to-back wins at Clune Arena for the first time since the 1994-95 and 1995-96 seasons.

A surprise starter while fighting his stomach ailment, Plaisted scored the first bucket of the game. After a layin on the other end, Tavernari made it 5-2 in favor of the Cougars as he drained his first shot of the night and continued his hot three-point shooting after a 5-for-6 outing from long range against New Mexico.

The two teams traded treys from there as the Falcons' Keith Maren scored Air Force's first 11 points, including three makes from behind the arc, to keep the game tied at 11-11 until Cummard kept the Falcons at bay with a layin at the 13:03. Nursing a 13-12 advantage, the Cougars put together a 7-1 run with scores from Cummard and freshmen Chris Collinsworth and Fredette to go up 20-13.

After being fouled on a three-point attempt, Tim Anderson drained three free throws to cut the BYU lead to four points. Anderson then became the first Falcon other than Maren to score from the field with a fastbreak layin to end a 6:39 AFA scoring drought from the floor. Riding a 7-1 spurt, the Falcons got within one point at 21-20 after another bucket from Maren with 4:46 to play.

Cummard ended the Cougar dry spell with a jumper at the 3:11 mark and then scored on the fastbreak after picking off the Falcons' Evan Washington. Fredette then added his own teardrop jumper to put some distance between the two teams as the BYU lead grew to 27-20 before an eventual-halftime margin of 29-24. Cummard led the Cougars with 10 points in the half while he and Plaisted each pulled down five rebounds.

Anderson began the second half with a huge three-point make for the Falcons before Tavernari scored the first BYU bucket of the half. But Anderson came right back and made it a one-point game with a three-point play on the next trip down the floor. However, just as the Falcons threatened to take their first lead of the game, Plaisted came up with a bucket followed by a big three from Cummard to push the Cougar lead up to 36-30.

The two teams battled from there as BYU hung tenaciously to a lead that hovered between five and seven points. Tavernari got into the double-digit scoring column with his third three-pointer of the night to equal the game-high lead at 41-34, but Air Force responded with four straight points to cut the lead back to three with 12:10 to play. However, Tavernari scored the next four Cougar points, part of a 16-point second-half performance for the sophomore, to once again push the lead to seven points at 45-38.

Moments later, treys from Cummard and Tavernari sandwiched around a Falcon free throw gave BYU its largest lead of the game to that point at 51-42. Despite another Air Force rally, the Cougars continued to hit big shots, making nine in a row to take a 65-50 lead with just under five minutes to play after a back-breaking three-pointer from Fredette, allowing BYU to cruise to the 69-53 win.

BYU's road swing will continue on Saturday as the Cougars play at Wyoming. The game will tipoff at 2 p.m. and can be seen on The Mtn.

CLICK HERE for postgame notes and quotes.

Official Basketball Box Score

BYU vs Air Force

1/30/08 7:00 pm at USAFA, Colo. (Clune Arena)

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VISITORS: BYU 16-5, 5-1 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

30 CUMMARD, Lee........ f 8-12 3-6 2-2 4 4 8 0 21 5 3 1 1 38

45 TAVERNARI, Jonathan. f 8-15 4-11 2-2 1 3 4 4 22 4 1 0 3 35

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

20 BURGESS, Sam........ g 1-4 1-3 0-0 0 2 2 4 3 3 0 0 0 19

24 MURDOCK, Ben........ g 0-2 0-1 2-2 0 1 1 3 2 2 3 0 0 34

01 LOYD, JR., Michael.. 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 1 1 0 0 6

32 FREDETTE, Jimmer.... 4-10 2-6 0-0 0 0 0 3 10 2 0 0 0 24

41 COLLINSWORTH, Chris. 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 2 2 0 0 0 0 17

54 MILES, Chris........ 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 8

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

Totals.............. 26-52 10-27 7-10 8 26 34 18 69 17 10 1 4 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-28 39.3% 2nd Half: 15-24 62.5% Game: 50.0% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 4-15 26.7% 2nd Half: 6-12 50.0% Game: 37.0% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 3-6 50.0% 2nd Half: 4-4 100 % Game: 70.0% 2

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HOME TEAM: Air Force 11-8, 3-3 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

31 HOLLAND, Matt....... f 2-4 0-2 0-0 1 0 1 0 4 0 0 0 1 18

42 JOHNSON, Anwar...... f 1-7 0-0 3-6 0 4 4 2 5 4 0 0 1 40-

44 MAREN, Keith........ c 5-7 3-3 2-2 1 2 3 3 15 0 2 0 3 34

12 ANDERSON, Tim....... g 6-12 2-5 8-10 0 4 4 4 22 3 2 1 2 37

35 WASHINGTON, Evan.... g 0-2 0-0 2-4 2 4 6 1 2 0 2 0 0 33

10 HENKE, Andrew....... 1-7 0-5 0-0 0 4 4 1 2 0 4 0 0 20

13 El-AMIN, Saj........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0+

14 HOOD, Adam.......... 0-1 0-0 1-2 0 1 1 2 1 1 0 0 1 11

32 KENZIK, Eric........ 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 7

TEAM................

Totals.............. 16-41 5-15 16-24 4 19 23 14 53 8 10 1 8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 7-23 30.4% 2nd Half: 9-18 50.0% Game: 39.0% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-11 27.3% 2nd Half: 2-4 50.0% Game: 33.3% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 7-9 77.8% 2nd Half: 9-15 60.0% Game: 66.7% 3

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Officials: Randy McCall, Mark Whitehead, Ruben Ramos

Technical fouls: BYU-None. Air Force-None.

Attendance: 4954

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

BYU........................... 29 40 - 69

Air Force..................... 24 29 - 53

Points in the paint-BY 18,AF 20. Points off turnovers-BY 15,AF 11.

2nd chance points-BY 7,AF 7. Fast break points-BY 0,AF 2.

Bench points-BY 12,AF 5. Score tied-4 times. Lead changed-0 times.

Last FG-BY 2nd-00:22, AF 2nd-02:44.

Largest lead-BY by 16 2nd-03:31, AF None.

Tags: Results