Cougars Topple League-Leading Aztecs

BYU center Trent Plaisted posted a double-double against San Diego State Wednesday night at the Marriott Center. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- With the second-longest active home winning streak on the line, the BYU men's basketball team did what it needed to do get a win over San Diego State at the Marriott Center on Wednesday night. The Cougars toppled the top team in the Mountain West Conference, 59-56, to run their homecourt streak to 41 straight victories.

"It was a competitive game," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "Both teams were battling the whole time. I'm proud of our players for figuring out how to win this game."

The Cougars continued their shooting struggles, hitting just 34 percent from the field and shooting just 12-of-22 from the line, but a double-double night from BYU junior Trent Plaisted and solid defense at the end of the game nudged the Cougars past the Aztecs.

Plaisted finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. BYU junior Lee Cummard followed his lead with 12 points and six boards. Junior forward Lorenzo Wade dominated the Aztec stat sheet with 21 points, eight rebounds and a 9-of-10 night from the free-throw line.

"We had a lot of opportunities and just couldn't quite make it," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. "A lot of credit goes to the home crowd and to this BYU team."

With less than 40 seconds left in the game and BYU up 57-56, the 6-foot-7 Cummard posted up the 5-foot-10 Richie Williams, but Cummard missed the shot off the glass. The Aztecs went to Spain on the ensuing possession, but his first shot was off the mark. Spain got his own rebound but missed that shot as well.

The Cougars regained possession with less than seven seconds left. Sam Burgess got fouled and hit his two free throws to give the Cougars a 59-56 lead.

The Aztecs got one more crack at it with 2.9 seconds left, heaving the inbounds pass the distance of the court. Aztec center Ryan Amoroso grabbed the pass and attempted a fade-away three-pointer but missed off the back of the rim.

"It was two teams that fought and fought for 40 minutes," Fisher said.

Despite an exciting finish for BYU, the Cougars got off to a sluggish start, shooting just 31 percent from the field in the first half. BYU has shot 40 percent or below in the first half of its past six games.

Midway through the first half the Aztecs had a seven-point lead behind the solid play Wade, who scored 10 of the Aztecs' first 26 points. But as the half came to a close, Cummard nailed a fade-away jumper from the baseline to make the score 27-28. This was the first time the Cougars have been down at the half in the Marriott Center since Dec. 30, 2006 against Seton Hall.

Cummard led the way for the Cougars at the break, scoring seven points and nabbing three rebounds. Plaisted and Tavernari were tied with six points apiece.

Wade, who scored 10 points in the half, was the only player on either team with double-digit points.

Plaisted got the first points of the second half, giving the Cougars a 29-28 lead. With 16:16 to go in the second half, a steal by Ben Murdock led to a layup at the other end of the court by Plaisted, giving BYU a 33-28 advantage.

The Aztecs answered with two break-away dunks and a shot by Wade to grab the 33-35 lead.

A back-and-forth battle ensued, with both teams exchanging buckets, until a Jimmer Fredettte three-pointer gave the Cougars a 50-44 lead. But two quick baskets, one by Kyle Spain and the other by Wade, got the Aztecs to within two points.

Unfortunately for the Aztecs, that was as close as they would get. The Cougars maintained their lead, giving them their 41st-straight Marriott Center win, the second-longest active home victory streak in the nation behind Memphis.

"Where we go from here is a big step," Rose said. "In conference play, everything is more important. I have great confidence in our players. I know we will achieve great things this season."

The Cougars will face another tough test on Saturday hosting the New Mexico Lobos (16-4, 3-2 MWC). The game will begin at 4 p.m. and can be seen on The Mtn.

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Official Basketball Box Score

San Diego State vs BYU Cougars

01/23/08 6:05 p.m. at Marriott Center, Provo, Utah

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VISITORS: San Diego State 14-5, 4-1 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

31 WADE, Lorrenzo...... f 6-13 0-2 9-10 2 6 8 4 21 3 2 2 0 33

32 WHITE, Billy........ f 6-10 0-0 1-1 1 6 7 3 13 0 1 1 1 33

43 AMOROSO, Ryan....... f 3-9 1-3 0-0 0 4 4 4 7 0 2 0 0 23

15 SPAIN, Kyle......... g 6-13 3-7 0-0 2 3 5 1 15 0 3 1 1 30

23 GAY, D.J............ g 0-4 0-2 0-0 1 1 2 2 0 0 2 0 0 19

02 JOHNSON, Jer'Vaughn. 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 5 5 3 0 1 0 0 0 12

03 WILLIAMS, Richie.... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 1 0 1 3 0 0 16

05 PASTOREK, Jon....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2

21 THOMAS, Matt........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 0 0 1 1 0 2 15

30 LAMB, Chris......... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0+

40 DAVIS, Kelvin....... 0-6 0-3 0-0 1 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 1 17

TEAM................ 2 2

Totals.............. 21-57 4-17 10-11 8 33 41 20 56 6 14 4 5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-28 39.3% 2nd Half: 10-29 34.5% Game: 36.8% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 2-7 28.6% 2nd Half: 2-10 20.0% Game: 23.5% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 4-4 100 % 2nd Half: 6-7 85.7% Game: 90.9% 1

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HOME TEAM: BYU Cougars 14-5, 3-1 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 4-10 1-3 3-5 2 4 6 4 12 2 1 0 2 28

45 TAVERNARI, Jonathan. f 4-14 0-5 2-2 0 3 3 0 10 1 1 0 1 22

44 PLAISTED, Trent..... c 7-15 0-0 3-8 4 7 11 2 17 1 3 2 1 33

20 BURGESS, Sam........ g 0-8 0-5 4-5 1 3 4 3 4 4 3 1 0 29

24 MURDOCK, Ben........ g 2-5 1-2 0-0 0 5 5 1 5 3 0 0 1 33

01 LOYD, JR., Michael.. 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 7

32 FREDETTE, Jimmer.... 4-8 3-6 0-0 0 1 1 2 11 0 1 0 0 23

41 COLLINSWORTH, Chris. 0-1 0-0 0-2 0 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 18

54 MILES, Chris........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 3 1 0 1 7

TEAM................ 6 6

Totals.............. 21-61 5-21 12-22 13 28 41 13 59 14 11 3 6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-36 30.6% 2nd Half: 10-25 40.0% Game: 34.4% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-10 30.0% 2nd Half: 2-11 18.2% Game: 23.8% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 2-3 66.7% 2nd Half: 10-19 52.6% Game: 54.5% 4

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Officials: Verne Harris, Scott Thornley, Mike Scyphers

Technical fouls: San Diego State-None. BYU Cougars-None.

Attendance: 12044

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

San Diego State............... 28 28 - 56

BYU Cougars................... 27 32 - 59

Points in the paint-SD 26,BY 26. Points off turnovers-SD 9,BY 14.

2nd chance points-SD 4,BY 8. Fast break points-SD 6,BY 6.

Bench points-SD 0,BY 11. Score tied-8 times. Lead changed-6 times.

Last FG-SD 2nd-01:11, BY 2nd-02:06.

Largest lead-SD by 9 1st-08:39, BY by 6 2nd-06:10.

Tags: Results