Cougars Set Records In Season Finale

Jonathan Tavernari paced BYU with 17 points at TCU to help the Cougars set a program record with 25 regular-season wins. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

FORT WORTH -- The No. 24 BYU men's basketball team survived a second-half scare at TCU Saturday night to close out the regular season with a 61-54 victory. With the win, the Cougars finish the regular season 25-6 overall and 14-2 in the Mountain West Conference, setting a BYU record for regular-season wins and a league record for MWC victories.

"It's a special team," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "These players will be able to come back to BYU games and see that championship banner hanging there and remember this season forever. It's fun to coach special groups. Tonight, we were able to figure out a way to win. I'm really happy for our players and our coaching staff."

The league-champion Cougars will open the 2008 Phillips 66 MWC Men's Basketball Championship Thursday at 12 p.m. PT at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas against the winner of Wednesday's first-round game between Wyoming and Colorado State. The Cougars enter the tourney as the No. 1 seed for just the second time in league history.

Jonathan Tavernari led the Cougars with 17 points against TCU while MWC Player of the Year candidate Lee Cummard was right behind with 16 points and Sam Burgess added 13 points. Cummard paced BYU on the boards with eight rebounds. Ben Murdock dished out five assists.

TCU scored first on its home floor, marking the first time in three games BYU has trailed. Tavernari quickly got the Cougars on the board with a layin on the other end. The two teams continued to trade buckets, including three's from BYU's Burgess and TCU's Ryan Wall, to a 7-5 Horned Frog advantage.

Poor shooting plagued the Cougars early on as they made just two of their first eight shots, but an impressive showing on the offensive glass kept BYU close as Cummard and Trent Plaisted scored back-to-back buckets to knot the score at 9-9. The Cougars then stretched their run to 10-0 with back-to-back treys from Burgess and Cummard to extend the lead to 15-9 with 11:28 remaining.

Two TCU free throws at the 9:52 mark ended a five-minute Horned Frog scoring drought and cut the lead to four points at 15-11. However, both teams continued to struggle from the field as TCU missed 12 straight shots and BYU failed to convert on five straight attempts. Burgess finally got the Cougars going with his third three of the night to establish a then-game-high lead of eight points at 21-13.

Kevin Langford made TCU's first field goal since the 15-minute mark with a banked jumper with 6:53 left in the first half. Tavernari responded with his 77th three-pointer of the season, adding to his single-season Cougar record, to establish a 24-15 Cougar lead. The two teams hit their stride as the half came to a close, trading buckets until Cummard made it a double-digit lead for BYU with a tip-in to put the Cougars in front 29-19. The 10-point advantage would hold to a 32-22 halftime lead. Burgess led BYU with 12 points in the first period while Tavernari added 10 points to help the Cougars record their 25th halftime lead of the year.

TCU came out with a 7-0 run by senior Brent Hackett to open the second half, quickly whittling a 10-point lead down to three points just 1:30 into the period and forcing a Cougar timeout. BYU could not get a score out of the break, and the Horned Frogs added two more free throws to the total to get to within one point. Turnovers and missed shots kept the Cougars off the scoreboard until Tavernari finally scored at the 15:15 mark for BYU's first points of the second half. TCU responded with a dunk at the other end to maintain the one-point margin at 34-33, but Tavernari and Plaisted scored back-to-back buckets, including a dunk from BYU's big man, to push the lead to 38-33.

After a three-pointer on the other end from Wall, true freshman Michael Loyd, Jr., showed the intensity Rose's Cougar squads are known for with a steal and a fastbreak bucket. But Wall wasn't done from behind the arc, cutting the lead back to one point at 40-39 with another trey and then forcing a turnover. TCU then completed the comeback with a layin to take a 41-40 lead, the Horned Frogs' first since 9-5.

The game remained tight over the next several minutes as neither squad was able to gain more than a two-point edge. TCU pounded the offensive glass and did most of its damage in the second-chance point category, getting a three-pointer to go up 46-44 with 9:22 left. However, the BYU defense then buckled down, holding the Horned Frogs without a point for 4:05 and sparking the Cougar offense on a 13-1 run. Cummard came up with a huge three-pointer during the spurt as BYU closed the game out to take the 61-54 win.

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Official Basketball Box Score

BYU Cougars vs TCU

3/8/08 7:00 p.m. at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum

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VISITORS: BYU Cougars 25-6, 14-2 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

45 TAVERNARI, Jonathan. f 6-15 2-7 3-4 2 2 4 5 17 2 0 1 2 34

44 PLAISTED, Trent..... c 2-6 0-0 5-8 3 3 6 3 9 0 4 2 0 25

20 BURGESS, Sam........ g 4-12 3-9 2-4 0 3 3 2 13 2 1 0 0 36

24 MURDOCK, Ben........ g 0-3 0-1 3-4 0 3 3 0 3 5 1 0 2 21

30 CUMMARD, Lee........ g 6-11 2-6 2-2 3 5 8 1 16 2 2 3 0 35

01 LOYD, JR., Michael.. 1-2 0-0 1-2 1 3 4 1 3 3 2 0 2 17

32 FREDETTE, Jimmer.... 0-3 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 1 1 0 0 10

41 COLLINSWORTH, Chris. 0-2 0-0 0-0 1 4 5 2 0 0 0 0 0 15

54 MILES, Chris........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 4 4 1 0 0 0 1 0 7

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

Totals.............. 19-54 7-25 16-24 11 29 40 17 61 15 11 7 6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-32 34.4% 2nd Half: 8-22 36.4% Game: 35.2% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 6-17 35.3% 2nd Half: 1-8 12.5% Game: 28.0% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 4-6 66.7% 2nd Half: 12-18 66.7% Game: 66.7% 5

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HOME TEAM: TCU 14-15, 6-10 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

32 LANGFORD, Kevin..... f 2-11 0-1 5-7 5 5 10 4 9 1 3 1 0 31

33 PARKER, Alvardo..... f 1-2 0-0 2-2 0 3 3 1 4 0 1 1 0 18

05 OWENS, Neiman....... g 0-2 0-2 0-0 2 3 5 3 0 0 3 0 1 24

11 WALL, Ryan.......... g 5-8 3-6 2-2 0 1 1 4 15 0 0 0 2 19

12 HACKETT, Brent...... g 4-11 1-3 2-2 0 1 1 5 11 0 2 0 2 20

03 EBIE, Jason......... 2-5 2-3 0-0 0 4 4 0 6 4 2 0 3 31

10 MORONES, Martiese... 0-0 0-0 0-1 1 1 2 0 0 0 2 0 0 5

22 MITCHEM, Keion...... 2-13 1-8 0-0 1 1 2 1 5 1 0 0 0 21

41 TAUSCHER, Luke...... 0-3 0-0 0-0 1 4 5 3 0 0 0 1 0 10

42 ORTIZ, John......... 2-7 0-0 0-0 4 3 7 1 4 1 1 0 1 21

TEAM................ 4 1 5

Totals.............. 18-62 7-23 11-14 18 27 45 22 54 7 14 3 9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 8-31 25.8% 2nd Half: 10-31 32.3% Game: 29.0% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 2-10 20.0% 2nd Half: 5-13 38.5% Game: 30.4% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 4-6 66.7% 2nd Half: 7-8 87.5% Game: 78.6% 0

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Officials: Bill Gracey, Bill Kennedy, Ronnie Hernandez

Technical fouls: BYU Cougars-None. TCU-None.

Attendance: 5777

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

BYU Cougars................... 32 29 - 61

TCU........................... 22 32 - 54

Points in the paint-BY 24,TC 16. Points off turnovers-BY 11,TC 12.

2nd chance points-BY 10,TC 21. Fast break points-BY 11,TC 2.

Bench points-BY 3,TC 15. Score tied-5 times. Lead changed-7 times.

Last FG-BY 2nd-01:46, TC 2nd-00:03.

Largest lead-BY by 11 2nd-01:26, TC by 4 1st-15:09.

Tags: Results