Cougars Win Big At New Mexico

Jonathan Tavernari tied his career high with 18 points at New Mexico, leading BYU to a 70-49 win at New Mexico. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

ALBUQUERQUE -- The Cougars put an end to their road woes Wednesday night with a resounding 70-49 win over the New Mexico Lobos at The Pit. The victory is BYU's first Mountain West Conference road win of the season and improves the Cougars to 14-6 overall and 4-2 in league play. The Lobos, who entered the game averaging 87 points per game at home, fall to 12-9 overall and 1-5 in conference action.

"This was very much a team win from the starters to the guys who came off the bench," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "We did a lot of things really well. This is an emotional win for us that will carry confidence for this team."

BYU was led by true freshman Jonathan Tavernari, who tied his career high with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field to go along with four rebounds and three steals. Trent Plaisted and Jimmy Balderson also scored in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Lee Cummard paced the Cougars on the boards with five rebounds, and Austin Ainge tied his career high with eight assists.

"Austin (Ainge) was terrific tonight," said Rose. "He got involved scoring early and had eight assists with just one turnover. He was really able to run our offense. Jonathan (Tavernari) was also terrific. He came in for defensive purposes to get a bigger body in there, and he ended up hitting some shots."

As a team, the Cougars shot 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range, marking the seventh straight game BYU has topped the 40 percent mark from long range. New Mexico shot just 38 percent from the floor and 25 percent from behind the arc. The Cougars also outrebounded the Lobos, 30-29, improving to 13-0 when winning the battle of the boards.

New Mexico's Tony Dandridge scored the Lobos' first eight points of the game and finished with a game-high 21, but BYU's guard play kept the game tight as Cummard, Balderson and Ainge answered each UNM score. Balderson, who shot 5-for-8 from three-point range for 21 points against Colorado State in the Cougars' last outing, continued his hot shooting from downtown by draining his first three-point attempt of the game.

After trading scores to a 10-9 Lobo lead, BYU got some bad news as Plaisted picked up his second foul at the 14:21 mark and was forced to head to the bench. UNM took advantage, getting a steal and a score to take its largest lead of the game to that point at 12-9. Ainge finally ended a 4:25 Cougar drought as he jumped a three-pointer in transition to knot the score with 11:30 left to play.

Vuk Ivanovic gave BYU the lead with an 18-footer to make it 14-12 but the advantage was short-lived as the Lobos answered on their next possession and the two teams traded buckets from there. With the Cougars trailing 19-18, Ivanovic added to the BYU highlight reel as he sent a behind-the-back pass to an open Tavernari who put up the easy layin underneath.

The see-saw battle continued as the first half neared completion with both teams draining shots at will. Trailing 26-25, the Lobos drained a three-pointer to push the lead for either team past one point for the first time in almost six minutes, but Tavernari answered on the other end with a long-range make of his own to make the score 29-28 with 3:11 left to play in the half. The bucket proved big as the Cougars used it to spark an 11-0 run in the final three minutes of the half, taking a 37-28 lead into the locker room.

After an opening bucket from the Lobos, BYU scored the next six points, including a three from Balderson to take a 43-30 lead. However, the Lobos answered with a 7-0 scoring run to cut the lead to just six points at 43-37 with 13:27 left to play. Tavernari, who provided a huge spark off the bench for BYU in the first half, did so again as he scored back-to-back buckets to end a 3:45 Cougar drought and push the lead back to double digits at 47-37.

A New Mexico score had the Lobos thinking comeback but BYU was not about to let it happen as the Cougars went on an 8-0 run to take a 55-39 lead. Two minutes later, Mike Rose put the nail in the coffin with a three-point make to give the Cougars a 60-42 lead. New Mexico got no closer as BYU cruised to the 70-49 win.

BYU will return home to face league-leader and 16-ranked Air Force (19-2, 6-1 MWC) Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The Cougars have won 26 straight games at home, the third-longest active home win streak in the nation. BYU fans are being encouraged to White Out the Marriott Center for the game, and special ticket prices are being offered.

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

BYU vs New Mexico

1-24-07 8:05 PM at The Pit, Albuquerque, NM

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VISITORS: BYU 14-6, 4-2

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

03 YOUNG, Keena........ f 4-8 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 1 8 1 0 0 1 22

44 PLAISTED, Trent..... f 5-6 0-0 1-2 2 2 4 4 11 3 0 1 0 24

13 AINGE, Austin....... g 3-6 2-4 0-0 0 3 3 2 8 8 1 0 1 35

23 BALDERSON, Jimmy.... g 2-6 2-4 4-4 0 3 3 0 10 3 2 0 1 31

30 CUMMARD, Lee........ g 1-2 0-1 0-1 1 4 5 4 2 2 1 0 0 18

02 ROSE, Mike.......... 2-4 2-4 0-0 0 2 2 1 6 0 0 0 0 18

10 IVANOVIC, Vuk....... 1-5 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 2 1 0 1 0 6

15 MALAMAN, Fernando... 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 4

20 BURGESS, Sam........ 1-2 1-2 2-2 0 1 1 1 5 2 2 0 0 13

24 MURDOCK, Ben........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 5

45 TAVERNARI, Jonathan. 7-10 2-3 2-2 1 3 4 1 18 1 1 0 3 24

TEAM................ 1 3 4

Totals.............. 26-50 9-18 9-11 6 24 30 16 70 21 9 2 6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-25 52.0% 2nd Half: 13-25 52.0% Game: 52.0% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 5-8 62.5% 2nd Half: 4-10 40.0% Game: 50.0% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 6-7 85.7% 2nd Half: 3-4 75.0% Game: 81.8% 1,1

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HOME TEAM: New Mexico 12-9, 1-5

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

00 JOHNSON, Aaron...... f 2-3 0-0 0-2 2 5 7 1 4 0 3 0 0 21

32 DANRIDGE, Tony...... f 8-16 0-1 5-6 3 2 5 1 21 0 1 0 1 30

21 KERSTEN, Ryan....... g 0-1 0-1 0-1 0 0 0 2 0 1 2 0 0 17

24 PRENTICE, Darren.... g 3-9 1-4 0-0 1 1 2 1 7 4 3 0 0 31

33 TOPPERT, Chad....... g 3-3 2-2 0-0 1 2 3 1 8 1 1 0 0 32

03 KANYINDA, David..... 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 3

10 SMITH, Jamaal....... 1-6 1-2 0-0 1 0 1 2 3 1 0 0 0 12

11 HENFIELD, Jeffrey... 2-3 0-1 0-0 1 2 3 1 4 1 2 0 0 16

15 GIDDENS, J.R........ 0-5 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 2 0 1 2 0 0 13

30 MARTINEZ, Roman..... 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0 1 11

41 WALTER, Kellen...... 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 3

53 FARIS, Daniel....... 1-3 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 2 2 0 0 1 1 11

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

Totals.............. 20-53 4-16 5-9 10 19 29 15 49 10 15 1 3 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-27 48.1% 2nd Half: 7-26 26.9% Game: 37.7% DEADB

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

F Throw % 1st Half: 0-0 0.0% 2nd Half: 5-9 55.6% Game: 55.6% 2

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Officials: Tom O'Neill, Eric Curry, Jim Stupin

Technical fouls: BYU-None. New Mexico-None.

Attendance: 13511

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

BYU........................... 37 33 - 70

New Mexico.................... 28 21 - 49

ID-467515

Points in the paint-BY 26,NM 28. Points off turnovers-BY 14,NM 10.

2nd chance points-BY 8,NM 8. Fast break points-BY 9,NM 3.

Bench points-BY 31,NM 9. Score tied-5 times. Lead changes-17 times.

Tags: Results