GAME 10 - No. 25 BYU Hosts Lamar Wednesday

Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the Mountain West Conference in four categories. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

BYU GAME #10 FAST FACTS

No. 25 BYU COUGARS (7-2)

vs.

LAMAR CARDINALS (3-5)

Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2007

Marriott Center (22,700)

Provo, Utah

7:05 p.m. MT

Coaches:

BYU, Dave Rose (52-20 in third season; same overall)

LU, Steve Roccaforte (18-22 in second season; same overall)

Series:

Series tied, 1-1, after an 86-77 overtime loss at Lamar last season

TV:

The Mtn. (Rich Cellini, play-by-play; Joe Cravens, game analysis),

Radio:

KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar?Sports Network (6 p.m. MT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)

Web:

Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com

NO. 25 BYU HOSTS LAMAR WEDNESDAY

No. 25 BYU (7-2) will return to the Marriott Center for the first of a three-game homestand as the Cougars take on Lamar Wednesday at 7 p.m. Both of BYU's losses this season have come to top-10 teams, including a 68-61 loss to No. 9 Michigan State in the Cougars' last outing. The Cardinals are 3-5 this year and are coming off a 117-67 win over Louisiana College on Saturday. Wednesday's game will be televised on The Mtn. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City and on the Internet at KSL.com beginning with the pregame show at 6 p.m. MT.

UP NEXT

BYU will host Pepperdine on Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The game is part of a double-header with the women's basketball team and will be televised on The Mtn.

COUGAR QUICK HITS

-- The Cougars' entrance into the national rankings on Nov. 26 marked the program's earliest appearance in the national polls since the 1980-81 season. With a ranking as high as No. 21 last year, BYU has now been ranked in back-to-back season for the first time since 1980-81 and 1981-82.

-- BYU currently owns the nation's second-longest active home win streak with 35 straight wins in the Marriott Center. The Cougars went 17-0 at home last year and are 4-0 at home this year.

-- Two-time reigning MWC Coach of the Year Dave Rose helped make BYU the second-most improved program in the nation in his first season with a 20-9 record and guided the Cougars to the outright MWC title and a top-25 ranking in his second campaign in Provo as the Cougars went 25-9 last season.

-- BYU has been picked in the preseason poll to finish first in the MWC race this year by the league's media.

-- This year's BYU squad returns two starters among seven lettermen from last year's outright league leaders (13-3 MWC record) as well as returned missionary Chris Miles, who made six starts as a freshman in 2004-05. Headlining BYU's top returners in 2007-08 are MWC Player of the Year candidate Trent Plaisted, a two-time All-MWC Second Team selection in his first two seasons; versatile junior guard Lee Cummard, who earned All-MWC Third Team honors one year ago; and sophomore sharpshooter Jonathan Tavernari, who followed Plaisted's lead the prior season by being named the MWC Freshman of the Year in his first campaign as a Cougar.

LOOKING AT LAMAR

Lamar University is 3-5 so far this season including an 0-3 record on the road. The Cardinals are coming off a 117-67 win over Louisiana College on Saturday and have now won back-to-back games after dropping five straight, including a 75-71 loss to Wyoming. Lamar returns four starters among six letterwinners from last year's team that finished 15-17 overall, including an 86-77 overtime win over BYU. This season, three Cardinals are scoring in double figures led by junior guard Kenny Dawkins with 16.1 points per game on 47.7 percent shooting from the field. The Arizona Western College transfer also leads the team in assists with 3.9 per game and has posted 14 steals on the year. He is one of only two Cardinals to have started every game this season. Junior forward Justin Nabors is second on the team in scoring at 10.9 ppg on 59.0 percent shooting from the field and pulls down a team-best 7.1 rebounds per game. Senior forward Lamar Sanders rounds out the three double-figure scorers with 10.0 ppg on 59.3 percent shooting from the floor and is right behind Nabors on the boards with 7.0 rpg. The eight-game starter paces the team with 17 steals on the year and has posted six blocks. As a team, the Cardinals average 80.1 ppg on 45.7 percent shooting from the floor, including a 33.9 percent mark from three-point range. Lamar opponents are averaging 72.4 ppg on 47.0 percent shooting from the field with 34.3 percent efficiency from behind the arc. The Cardinals outrebound their opponents, 37.2-34.8. Lamar head coach Steve Roccaforte is 18-22 in his second season.

LAMAR'S PROBABLE STARTERS

Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown

F 24 Justin Nabors 6-6 205 Jr. 10.9 7.1 Holly Springs, Miss.

F 33 Lamar Sanders 6-6 230 Sr. 10.0 7.0 Hickory Flat, Miss.

C 55 Lawrence Nwevo 6-8 270 Jr. 6.5 4.0 Lagos, Nigeria

G 12 Brandon McThay 5-11 170 Jr. 4.1 1.3 Deerfield Beach, Fla.

G 14 Kenny Dawkins 5-9 155 Jr. 16.1 2.1 Holly Springs, Miss.

LAMAR'S LAST OUTING -- SEVEN CARDINALS SCORE IN DOUBLE FIGURES IN ROUT

BEAUMONT -- Junior Kenny Dawkins led seven Cardinals in double-figures as Lamar University routed Louisiana College 117-67 Saturday night in non-conference men's basketball action at the Montagne Center. Lamar, who won its second straight game, improved to 3-5 on the season. LC dropped to 1-5 on the season. The Cardinals hit the road Wednesday for an 8 p.m. (CST) game at No. 21-ranked Brigham Young at the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah. The Cardinals won last year's matchup and the all-time series is tied at 1-1. After Chukwuma Ekeh scored the game's first points on a layup, Dawkins answered with a three-pointer to give the Cardinals a 3-2 lead. Lamar would never trail again. The Cardinals gradually built the lead to 16 points, 30-14, on a layup by Lamar Sanders at 10:02. Morey Skluzacek nailed a three-pointer to make the score 30-17 with 9:47 left in the first half. The Cardinals responded with a 16-0 run to take complete control of the game. Sanders capped the run with a dunk at 5:44 that gave Lamar a 29-point cushion. The Cardinals closed out the first half on a three-pointer by Brandon McThay and a Sanders dunk to take a 62-30 lead into the locker room at halftime. The Cardinals shot a blistering 63.9 percent from the field and 60 percent from three-point range in the opening stanza. Lamar opened the second half with a 12-2 run to increase its lead to 42 points, 74-32. Dawkins fueled the run with a pair of three-pointers and a layup. Justin Nabors added a layup and a pair of free throws. Currye Todd's layup at 6:35 gave the Cardinals' their 100th point, the second time this season they have eclipsed the century mark, and gave Lamar a 100-53 lead. A 9-0 run that ended with an Ashton Hall layup gave the Cardinals a 53-point lead, 109-56. Darren Hopkins' layup with 32 seconds left in the game gave Lamar its biggest lead of the night at 54 points, 115-61. Dawkins was 6 of 10 from the field, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range, and 4 of 4 from the free throw line in scoring his 21 points. He also added five assists. Junior Brandon McThay scored a career-high 17 points on 6 of 11 shooting, including 5 of 9 from 3-point range, and dished out a season-high six assists with three steals. Sanders added 15 points on 7 of 10 shooting and had a career-high seven steals. Hopkins and Todd each scored 14 points off the bench. Nabors had 11 points and six rebounds and Brown 10 points on 4 of 5 shooting. Lamar set season-highs with 57.5 percent (42-of-73) shooting from the field and 51.6 percent (16-of-31) from 3-point range, and shot 68 percent (17-of-25) from the free throw line. The Cardinals outrebounded LC 38 to 23, which led to a 22 to five advantage in second chance points. Lamar also outscored LC 51-13 in bench points. Josh Johnson led all scorers with 28 points on 11 of 15 shooting from the field, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range, to pace the Wildcats. He also led the team with five rebounds. Daniel Greenhouse chipped in 17 points on 6 of 10 shooting, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range. LC shot 51 percent (25-of-49) from the field, 44 percent (11-of-25) from 3-point range and 66.7 percent (6-of-9) from the free throw line. Lamar's defense forced 29 turnovers by the Wildcats, which led to 45 points.

SERIES NOTES

Wednesday's game in Provo will be just the third matchup between BYU and Lamar. Last year, the Cardinals scored an 86-77 overtime victory in Beaumont to even the series at 1-1. In 2005, BYU defeated Lamar, 97-74, in the Delta Center (now EnergySolutions Arena) in Salt Lake City in the first-ever meeting. That game was originally scheduled to be played at BYU in the Marriott Center in Provo but was rescheduled due to academic scheduling conflicts created for Lamar by the effects of Hurricane Rita. Since the Marriott Center was unavailable when the two teams were able to find a common date to reschedule the game, arrangements were made to play the game on the homecourt of the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.

BYU'S LAST OUTING VS. LAMAR -- OT DOESN'T TREAT BYU WELL AT LAMAR

BEAUMONT -- Keena Young scored 19 points in his hometown return, but BYU was unable to come away with the win as Lamar pulled away late at the free-throw line in overtime to win 86-77 Wednesday at the Montagne Center. Young was 6-for-13 from the floor and 7-for-8 from the line to total his team-leading 19 points. Playing in his hometown for the first time since his high school days at Ozen High, the 6-foot-6 senior forward also added five rebounds and equaled a season-best three assists in front of a large contingent of Cougar fans and hometown followers in Beaumont. Jimmy Balderson and Mike Rose added 15 and 14 points, respectively, off the bench to join Young in double figures. Fernando Malaman pulled down a career-best 10 rebounds and Balderson tied his career-high with eight rebounds, but the Cougars were outrebounded 46-43 on the strength of a 16-rebound effort from Lamar's James Davis, a 7-foot-1, 335-pounder who also scored a game-high 20 points to pace the Cardinals. The Cougars got down early as the Cardinals scored the first six points of the game. Young quickly got BYU on the scoreboard, drawing a foul and converting both free-throw attempts. Young went on to score BYU's first six points with two more free throws and a jumper to keep BYU within two points at 8-6 at the 18:36 mark. Thanks to the inside play of Davis and Lawrence Nwevo, Lamar was able to push the lead to a 19-10 advantage before BYU got back-to-back treys from reserves Ben Murdock and Mike Rose to cut the deficit to three at 19-16. Unfortunately for BYU, it was the Cardinals who started heating up as they found their range from distance to ignite a commanding 15-1 run. Lamar hit back-to-back threes, its fourth and fifth triples of the game, as part of the run to double the Cougars on the scoreboard for a 34-17 lead with 7:12 to go in the half. Balderson and Young scored all but two of BYU's points the rest of the half to reduce the deficit to 14 at 44-30 going into the locker room. Twelve BYU players saw action in the first 20 minutes as only freshman Jonathan Tavernari didn't get in the game. BYU opened the second half on fire, going on a 10-1 run to reduce the lead to five at 45-40 at the 16:27 mark. BYU used turnovers to create buckets for Lee Cummard and Balderson, highlighted by Balderson throwing one down for his first dunk of the year off an assist from Rashaun Broadus. After a Davis free throw, Trent Plaisted followed with his first bucket of the game and then Balderson and Plaisted added encore scores to finish the run. Despite back-to-back Lamar baskets, BYU kept the pressure on as the Cougars reduced the lead to one at 53-52 with 12 minutes still remaining. BYU finally was able to pull even as Plaisted was fouled on a spectacular one-handed dunk and converted at the line to tie the score at 57-57 at the 9:24 mark. The Cougar fans in attendance made some noise when Rose hit his fourth trey of the game for the next score and BYU's first lead of the contest at 60-57. The teams stayed close the rest of the way with six lead changes and eight ties resulting from the back-and-forth battle. Young gave BYU a 72-71 lead with 1:20 to go in regulation, but Davis followed by hitting one of two at the line with 60 seconds remaining to even the tally. After both teams failed to convert, BYU obtained the final possession with 5.7 seconds on the clock, but Malaman's three attempt found the back of the iron to send the game to an extra period. The game was tied at 74 and 76 in overtime until the Cardinals found their long-range game again as Matthew Barrow converted from behind the arc. After Lee Cummard made one of two at the line, Darren Hopkins drilled Lamar's ninth trey to make it a five-point game at 82-77. The Cardinals obtained the final margin at the free-throw line as BYU was forced to foul after misses.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "When you play a talented team on their home floor and you let them get a big lead, you give them a lot of momentum and make it hard to get back in it. We let them get the ball in the places where they wanted to get the ball and then we didn't get to their shooters fast enough and they hit some open looks on the perimeter. We fought a lot better in the second half. We came out and made a couple shots early, made a couple steals and made some plays on the defensive end."

-- "Starters don't win games and reserves don't win games. It's a total team effort. Our inconsistencies have made it hard to find the right group of players to have out there. Most seasons at this time, players have tended to separate themselves. The guys we need to perform night in and night out to be good have not been consistently there."

-- "(James Davis) was really good. He's just a tough load to guard down there. Sanders is also a good post player down there."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- Individual Career Highs: Fernando Malaman -- 10 rebounds; Jimmy Balderson -- 8 rebounds (tie); Ben Murdock -- 3 points, 1 steal.

-- Individual Season Highs: Mike Rose -- 14 pts; Rashaun Broadus -- 6 assists; Keena Young -- 3 assists (tie).

-- Twelve BYU players saw action in the game, all playing minutes in the first half, as only freshman Jonathan Tavernari did not get in the game.

-- BYU has played three overtime games this year. The Cougars are 2-1 in OT games this year. In addition to the 86-77 loss at Lamar, BYU defeated Idaho State, 84-78, on Nov. 18 and won at Weber State, 73-69, on Dec. 2. Prior to the loss to Lamar, BYU had won five straight overtime games dating back to an 86-80 OT loss at Colorado State on March 14, 2003. BYU last played multiple overtime games in the 2001-02 season when BYU went 0-3 in OT games.

-- Playing in his hometown of Beaumont, Texas, Keena Young scored the first six points of the game for BYU and led the Cougars with 19 points on 6-for-13 shooting from the floor and 7-of-8 accuracy at the line.

-- Trent Plaisted did not commit a foul in the first half for the first time this season, but he finished the half with only 1 point on 1-for-2 shooting from the line and an 0-for-3 effort from the field. Ironically, he fouled out for only the second time this season (also vs. Idaho State) with five second-half fouls to leave the game with 4:13 remaining. He finished with 8 points and 6 rebounds in 27 minutes.

-- While taking a 44-30 lead at the half, Lamar's starters made 15 field goals while BYU's five players to start the game made four combined field goals.

-- Lamar's 44 first-half points are the most allowed by BYU in the first half this year. In several other categories BYU had its second-toughest first half of the season as the Cougars shot 34.5 percent in the first 20 minutes (34.4 percent against Portland), saw Lamar shoot 51.5 percent (51.7 percent by Boise State) and was down 14 points at the break (trailed by 15 at Boise State).

-- The Cougars trailed at the half for the third time this year (also Boise State and Michigan State). BYU has lost all three games.

-- Mike Rose made his 14th point of the game on an 18-foot jumper to give BYU a 70-69 lead with 2:50 remaining. His 14 points is his first double-figure scoring outing of the season. His previous season high was nine at UCLA.

-- Lamar won the battle of the boards, 46-43, led by James Davis' 16 rebounds. BYU is 5-0 this year when winning the battle of the boards and 0-4 when being outrebounded.

BYU NOTES

BYU'S LAST OUTING - COUGARS FALL TO NO. 9 MICHIGAN STATE

SALT LAKE -- Despite a 10-point halftime lead, the No. 20 BYU men's basketball team lost a heartbreaking game, 68-61, to No. 9 Michigan State on Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena. With the loss the Cougars fall to 7-2 on the season with both losses coming against top-10 teams. Junior Trent Plaisted scored a game-high 17 points and remains the only Cougar to score in double figures in every game this season. Sam Burgess also scored in double figures for the Cougars with 12 points. MSU won the opening tipoff, but the Cougars' strong defensive play started early with Lee Cummard blocking the Spartans' first shot of the game. Back-to-back MSU turnovers helped set up Plaisted's turn-around jumper, BYU's first points of the contest. Quick passing led to a Burgess three-pointer, and Jonathan Tavernari followed with an NBA-range three of his own less than a minute later, putting BYU up 11-2 with just under 14 minutes left in the half. Two field goals by Cummard contributed to a 14-4 BYU run. The Cougars' largest lead of the half came after a lay-up by Plaisted put BYU up by 14. Tavernari hit his second three-pointer of the game with 3:23 remaining in the first half. The sophomore has now scored at least twice from behind-the-arc in every game this season. Multiple BYU turnovers at the conclusion of the first half allowed the Spartans to climb within 10 points at 35-25. The Cougars have now led at halftime in eight of nine games this year, going 7-1 in those games. The Spartans' 25 first-half points marked a season low for Michigan State. Coming out of the break, the Spartans quickly diminished the Cougars' lead, going on a 14-3 run to post their first lead of the game at 39-38. During the run, MSU went a perfect 6-for-6 from the field and 2-for-2 from the three-point line. With 12:27 remaining in the game, Plaisted was sent to the free-throw line, knocking down both shots to put BYU back on top 40-39. The Spartans scored a field goal on their next possession, but Jimmer Fredette's three-pointer put the Cougars back up by two. Over the next eight minutes, the lead would change nine times. Trading baskets down the stretch, neither team was able to establish a commanding lead. With 7:20 left in the game, BYU found itself up by four points after a three-point play by Burgess. But the Spartans continued to make shots, eventually regaining the lead. Trailing by four points with 1:33 remaining, BYU regained control of the ball after an MSU shot-clock violation. The Cougars were unable to convert however, and continued to foul the Spartans for the remainder of the game.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "It was a very competitive game with two teams that really battled and competed well. They were a bit more physical than we were, and a lot of credit goes to Michigan State and Coach Izzo."

-- "What I am real pleased with is how our team battled. We had a lot of opportunities, and they just slipped away. If we could have executed better we could have won this game."

-- "They came out a lot more physical and aggressive in the second half, and we seemed to play like we were in a hurry."

Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo

-- "That was big game. In the first half we got totally outplayed. I am very impressed with BYU. We had a tough stretch of play in the first half, and they went through a tough stretch in the second half. It was two good teams battling it out."

-- "They were taking us out of our plays early in the game, so the fact that we were able to do so well on the offensive boards really kept us in the game."

-- "This was a good road win versus a very quality opponent that I fully expect to be in the NCAA tournament. This is a very good BYU team. I think they can go a long way, and I am sure they will."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- BYU head coach Dave Rose has used the same starting lineup in BYU's first nine games, calling on Ben Murdock, Sam Burgess, Lee Cummard, Jonathan Tavernari and Trent Plaisted to begin the game.

-- With the loss, BYU is now 133-56 all-time as a ranked team, including a 5-4 mark under head coach Dave Rose.

-- Sophomore Jonathan Tavernari hit his second three-pointer of the game at the 3:23 mark in the first half. Tavernari, who leads BYU in three-point field goals attempted and made, has drained at least two shots from downtown in each game this season.

-- With 17 points, Trent Plaisted remains the only Cougar to score in double figures in every game this season.

-- As a team, BYU connected on nine three-pointers. The Cougars have nailed at least six from behind the arc in each game this season.

-- With the 68-61 loss, BYU drops to 5-1 when holding its opponents under the 70-point mark.

-- For just the second time this season the Cougars were outrebounded (29-37). BYU falls to 1-1 on the season when the opponent grabs more boards.

-- Including Saturday's game against Michigan State the Cougars have led at halftime in eight of nine games this year, going 7-1 in those contests and outscoring opponents by an average of 16.0 points in the first half. BYU's 35-25 lead against MSU marked the Cougars' seventh double-digit halftime lead this season.

-- BYU has held all nine of its opponents this year under 40 points in the first half. The 25 points scored by Michigan State in the first half is the sixth time this season the Cougars have given up 25 points or less in the opening half and the third consecutive.

-- The Spartans' 25 first-half points marked a season-low for Michigan State.

-- Saturday's game against MSU also marked the ninth time out of nine games BYU has scored at least 31 points in the first half.

BYU ENTERS NATIONAL RANKINGS

The BYU men's basketball team is ranked 25th in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll this week. BYU entered the national rankings on Nov. 26, earning the program's earliest appearance in the national polls since the 1980-81 season. BYU was ranked No. 21 in the AP Poll and No. 23 in the Coaches Poll.

"(The ranking) is something we can build on," said BYU coach Dave Rose, the two-time Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year who has guided the Cougars to back-to-back 20-win seasons in his first two years. "We have a lot of work to do and need to keep improving as a team to get ready for the Mountain West Conference season."

In his third year guiding the program, Rose has seen his team earn the respect of the national voters for the second consecutive season. Last year, BYU entered the polls on Feb. 19 to receive the program's first national ranking since 1993. BYU finished last year ranked No. 24 in the final AP Poll, something a Cougar team had not accomplished since 1988.

BYU has now been ranked in back-to-back season for the first time since 1980-81 and 1981-82. The Nov. 26 entry into the national rankings marks the earliest the Cougars have been included in the polls since receiving a No. 18 ranking in the 1980-81 AP preseason poll. It also marked the first time BYU's football and men's basketball teams have been nationally ranked the same week in the AP poll since Dec. 28, 1992.

The Cougar basketball program has now been ranked in the AP Poll during 16 seasons since its first national ranking in 1950-51 (see list below).

SEASONS BYU HAS BEEN RANKED IN THE AP POLL

SEASON HIGHEST RANKING

1950-51 11

1952-53 19

1955-56 5

1964-65 9

1965-66 6

1966-67 7

1970-71 20

1971-72 6

1972-73 12

1979-80 12

1980-81 15

1981-82 15

1987-88 3

1992-93 21

2006-07 21

2007-08 20

BYU AS A RANKED TEAM

BYU owns a 133-56 record as a ranked team. The Cougars are 76-12 at home, 36-27 on the road and 21-17 at neutral sites when nationally ranked after their 68-61 loss to No. 9 Michigan State on Saturday. BYU's victory at Portland the previous week marked the Cougars' first road win as a ranked team since an 84-63 victory at UTEP on March 4, 1993 when BYU was ranked No. 21. BYU is 5-4 as a ranked team under Dave Rose including three wins and three losses last year. The Cougars were ranked as high as No. 21 last year and finished the year ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press Poll.

VS. RANKED TEAMS

BYU's victory over No. 6 Louisville marked the highest-ranked team the Cougars have defeated since beating No. 2 St. Joseph's, 103-83, on Dec. 21, 1965. BYU is now 50-111 all-time against teams ranked in the Associated Press Poll and 1-2 this season including a 73-63 loss to No. 1 North Carolina in the championship game of the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational and a 68-61 loss to No. 9 Michigan State on Saturday. Prior to the UNC game, the Cougars had not faced the nation's top-ranked team since Dec. 23, 1992, an 89-66 loss to No. 1 Duke at the Maui Invitational. The Cougars were 3-3 in their games vs. ranked teams last year with a 78-70 loss at then-No. 25 and evential Sweet-16 participant UNLV in the MWC Tournament Championship game, a 62-58 victory at then-No. 20 Air Force, a 90-63 win over then-No. 25 UNLV, a 61-52 win over then-No. 13 Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan St.

PLAYING THE BEST

The Cougars' game against No. 9 Michigan State last Saturday was their third game in three weeks against a top-10 opponent, including a victory over No. 6 Louisville on Nov. 23 and a loss to No. 1 North Carolina on Nov. 24. BYU has played at least three regular-season games against top-10 opponents in a season just six times previously in program history with the last coming in 1983-84. Only twice previously have the Cougars played three top-10 teams during a three-week stretch, once in 1990-91 with a loss to No. 9 Utah on March 2, a win over No. 8 Utah on March 9 in the WAC Tournament and a loss to No. 8 Arizona on March 16 in the NCAA Tournament and once in 1980-81 with a victory over No. 9 Utah on March 7 in the WAC Tournament, a win over No. 10 UCLA on March 14 in the NCAA Tournament, a victory over No. 7 Notre Dame on March 19 in the NCAA Tournament and a loss to No. 5 Virginia on March 21 in the NCAA Tournament.

PLAISTED NEARS 1,000 POINTS

Junior Trent Plaisted is just 15 points away from becoming the 37th member of BYU's elite 1,000 Point Club, joining such Cougar greats as Danny Ainge, Michael Smith, Devin Durrant, Fred Roberts, Kresimir Cosic and Andy Toolson as the only BYU players to score at least 1,000 points in their Cougar careers. Keena Young was the most recent addition to the club as he posted 1,068 points during his three-year BYU stint from 2005-07. With 500 career rebounds to his name, Plaisted will be just the 21st member of the club to tally at least 1,000 points and 500 rebounds (no rebound records for five players).

BYU PLAYERS OF THE WEEK

TRENT PLAISTED (DEC. 10; MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK) -- BYU junior Trent Plaisted has been named the Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the second time this season and fourth time in his career. A 6-foot-11 forward/center from San Antonio, Texas, Plaisted averaged a double-double on the week and led the Cougars in scoring, rebounding and blocks as BYU defeated Weber State (72-57) and lost to No. 9 Michigan State (68-61). Against Weber State, Plaisted pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds while scoring 14 points for his third double-double of the season. He also blocked five shots and dished out two assists vs. the Wildcats. Against the ninth-ranked Spartans, Plaisted scored a game-best 17 points, on 7-of-13 shooting from the floor, while adding a team-best eight rebounds, two assists and a blocked shot. On the week, Plaisted averaged 16.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks and 2.0 assists per game, while shooting 54.5 percent from the field (12-for-22). Plaisted has averaged 20.7 points and 12.3 rebounds in BYU's three games this year against top-10 teams.

LEE CUMMARD (DEC. 3)

TRENT PLAISTED (NOV. 26; MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK)

TRENT PLAISTED (NOV. 19)

LEE CUMMARD (NOV. 12)

SIGNING DAY

Forward Noah Hartsock and guard/forward Charles Abouo (pronounced a-BOO-oh) have signed National Letters of Intent while guard Jackson Emery has signed a scholarship agreement to return to the Cougars. Hartsock, who previously signed with BYU out of high school, and Emery, who played for the Cougars as a freshman in 2005-06, are both currently serving as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. "I feel really good about this group of players," Rose said. "Jackson was an important part of our success as a freshman and got a lot of good experience that he will build upon when he returns. Noah and Charles are both talented student-athletes who will add a lot to our program." A native of Bartlesville, Okla., the 6-foot-8 Hartsock had the third-best scoring average in the state with 27.6 points per game as a senior at Bartlesville High School in 2005-06 while earning 6A Coaches Player of the Year and Tulsa World Player of the Year honors. Oklahoma's Jim Thorpe Award winner and a McDonald's High School All-America nominee, Hartsock added 8.0 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per contest as a senior. An extremely athletic wing from Logan, Utah, Abouo is averaging double figures, including a team-high 17 points in his last outing, for Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) this year after helping Logan High School win Region 11 titles in each of his three varsity seasons. The 6-foot-4 swingman was named the 3A MVP by the Deseret Morning News last spring after averaging 21.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game as a senior at Logan High School. Described as explosive and athletic, Abouo was a two-time first-team all-state selection at LHS who also earned All-Valley Player of the Year honors as a junior in 2005-06 when he averaged 15.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 1.1 bpg. Known for his competitiveness and clutch play, Emery is a quick player and solid defender with outstanding leaping ability. The Alpine, Utah, native provided a consistent spark for BYU and was a top perimeter defender as a true freshman in 2005-06, playing in 28 of 29 games with six starts. He averaged 2.8 points and 1.5 rebounds while scoring in double figures twice and leading BYU in rebounds and assists once each. A good shooter from long range, Emery also has the athleticism and creativity to convert inside when going to the basket. The 6-foot-3 guard out of Lone Peak High School was named the top player in Class 4A in 2005 and received the 2005 Mr. Basketball Award (Deseret Morning News), given to the athlete considered to be the top high school player in Utah.

WORTHY OF MENTION

- Trent Plaisted has scored at least 20 points in three of the last seven games, including 21 points against No. 6 Louisville and a season-high 24 points against No. 1 North Carolina. Lee Cummard recorded his third career 20-point game and first of the season with 20 points against Hartford.

- Plaisted has scored in double figures in all nine games for BYU this season.

- Cummard became the first Cougar to record a double-double this season with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Idaho State, the fourth double-double of his career. Plaisted added his first of the year and 10th of his career with 21 points and 12 rebounds against No. 6 Louisville before posting 24 points and 17 rebounds against No. 1 North Carolina. He recorded his third of the season last Wednesday against Weber State with 14 points and 15 rebounds.

- Senior point guard Ben Murdock has 44 assists and only 12 turnovers in his first nine starting assignments at the Division I level, ranking second in the Mountain West Conference in assists per game (4.9) and ranking third in assist/turnover ratio (3.8). Against Portland, he dished out a personal-best 10 assists with only two turnovers, the fifth time this year he has dished out at least five assists.

- BYU is averaging 79.2 ppg and allowing 62.8 ppg. BYU leads all MWC teams in scoring, scoring margin (+16.4), field-goal percentage defense (.379), three-point field-goal percentage defense (.292), rebounding margin (+7.2) and defensive rebounds (29.1).

- BYU has led at the half in eight of nine games this year, including seven double-digit leads with a 35-25 advantage over No. 9 Michigan State. The Cougars' only deficit came when they trailed 38-31 against No. 1 North Carolina. The Cougars are outscoring opponents by 13.4 points in the first period of play.

DEFENDING THE HOME COURT

With 35 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's second-longest active home victory streak and have a chance to tie for the top mark with a win this Wednesday. The Cougars are 4-0 at home this year and won 17 home games last season after going 14-1 at home in 2005-06. BYU's last home loss was in the 2005-06 season opener against Loyola Marymount. BYU?has since won 19 straight over nonconference opponents and 16 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU?is 406-116 (.777) all-time in the Marriott Center. The Cougars' longest home winning streak came from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003 when BYU won 44 straight in the Marriott Center.

Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (As of Dec. 10, 2007)

Wins Team This year Next home game

36 Memphis 4-0 Dec. 22 vs. Georgetown

35 BYU 4-0 Dec. 12 vs. Lamar

ON THE ROAD

The Cougars are 2-0 in true road games this year. With a 1-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is now 3-2 this season away from home. BYU won five of its last seven games on the road last season including a win at then-No. 20 Air Force (62-58), snapping the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. BYU was 6-7 on the road last year and 5-3 in conference play, becoming the only Mountain West Conference team with a winning record on the road in league play last year.

MAGIC NUMBER: 70

BYU is 7-0 when scoring at least 70 points this season and 5-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 79.2 points per game and allowing just 62.8 ppg. The Cougars have scored 90 or more points in three games this season, reaching 100 against Jackson State. Last year the Cougars scored an MWC-leading 78.1 points and allowed 69.0 points. BYU?was 20-0 when opponents scored less than 70 points and 23-6 when it scored 70 or more points. With its scoring output, BYU?recorded its highest scoring average since 1996 (82.3 ppg) and highest scoring margin since 1993 (also +9.1).

CLEANING THE GLASS

BYU has won the battle of the boards in seven of nine games this year with the only deficits coming against No. 6 Louisville (39-37) and No. 9 Michigan State (37-29). The Cougars posted a +4 (43-39) rebounding margin against No. 1 North Carolina. BYU is besting opponents by an average of 7.2 boards per contest. The Cougars posted a season-high +19 rebounding margin (38-19) against Hartford as four Cougars pulled down at least five rebounds. BYU began the season with a 55-40 rebounding advantage at Long Beach State, matching last year's season high of 55 boards against Seton Hall.

BALANCED SCORING

BYU has had five players score in double figures in a game three times this season, already matching last year's total of three games in which at least five players reached double digits. Four different Cougars have led the team in scoring this year through the first nine games with Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard pacing BYU three times each, Sam Burgess twice and Jonathan Tavernari once. Team-high rebounding has been shared by four players through nine games while three different Cougars have led the team in assists.

HOT START

The Cougars won their first five games to begin the 2007-08 season before falling against No. 1 North Carolina on Nov. 24, equaling their best start since 2002-03 when BYU won its first five games before falling on Dec. 7 at Creighton. The Cougars have won in dominant fashion this season, besting opponents by an average of 16.4 points per game while scoring 79.2 ppg and allowing only 62.8 points per contest.

FROM DOWNTOWN

After setting a program record with 256 three-pointers last season, the Cougars have recorded 77 makes from long range so far this season. BYU has posted double-digit three-pointers in a game twice this year with 12 against Long Beach State and 13 against Hartford, marking just the sixth time in program history that the Cougars have posted at least 13 threes in a game including a record 15 against UNLV last season. The Cougars have made at least six three-pointers in every game this season. BYU is shooting 39.1 percent from beyond the arc this year and has shot at least 40 percent in four games, including a season high 59.1 percent efficiency against the Hawks (13-for-22). BYU shot above 40 percent from behind the arc 18 times on the year, including 12 of the last 15 games, and made at least 10 treys in a game on seven occasions.

FANTASTIC FRESHMEN

Four Cougar freshman are making an impact this year as Chris Collinsworth, Jimmer Fredette, Michael Loyd, Jr. and Nick Martineau have made their respective BYU debuts with results that bode well for the future. All four saw their first action in the Cougars' season opener at Long Beach State as Fredette and Collinsworth led the newcomers in scoring with nine points each. Fredette tallied 10 points vs. Idaho State, and Loyd scored 15 points against Jackson State while Collinsworth pulled down 10 boards against the Tigers. Fredette then made noise against Hartford with 19 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field, including making 4-of-5 from three-point range, while posting a perfect 3-for-3 mark from the free-throw line and tying his career high with four steals in 19 minutes. On the year, Fredette is tied for 10th in the Mountain West Conference in steals.

FOR STARTERS

Cougar head coach Dave Rose has used the same starting lineup in each of BYU's first nine games, electing to use two seniors in Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess, returning All-Mountain West Conference selections Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard, both juniors, and 2007 MWC Freshman of the Year Jonathan Tavernari to begin the game. Cummard started all 34 games last season, and Plaisted made 33 starts. Burgess made one start as a sophomore in 2004-05 while Murdock and Tavernari each earned their first career starts against Long Beach State. Rose used the same starting rotation in both of the Cougars' two exhibition games.

WINNING BIG

The Cougars' seven victories this year have come by an average margin of 23.6 points, including a 15-point triumph over Weber State (72-57), a 14-point victory at Portland (78-54), a two-point win over No. 6 Louisville, a 24-point triumph over Hartford (97-73), a 39-point win over Jackson Sate (100-61), a 21-point victory over Idaho State (90-69) and a 40-point win at Long Beach State (74-34). The win over the 49ers marked BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995. Including a 10-point loss to No. 1 North Carolina and a seven-point defeat at the hands of No. 9 Michigan State, the Cougars are still besting opponents by 16.4 points per game this year. BYU won 17 games by double-digits last year, including seven by 20 or more points, and was the only team in the Mountain West Conference to not have a regular-season game decided by less than four points. With an average scoring margin of +9.1 last season, the Cougars posted their largest margin of victory since 1993 over the course of the year.

ON FIRE

BYU is shooting 48.3 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 37.9 percent from the floor. The Cougars posted a season-high 60.4 percent efficiency against Hartford bolstered by a 63.6 percent second-half shooting mark (14-for-22). BYU had shot above 50 percent in each of the last six halves of play prior to shooting just 39.4 percent in the first half against No. 6 Louisville. BYU rebounded, however, to shoot 50 percent in the second half of its win over the Cardinals. The Cougars shot a season-high 65.2 percent in the second half at Portland, making their first seven shots of the period. BYU's first-half season high came Saturday against No. 9 Michigan State when the Cougars shot 58.3 percent from the field while building a 35-25 halftime lead over the Spartans. Individually, three Cougars rank among the top 10 in the Mountain West Conference in field-goal percentage as Lee Cummard is second shooting 58.4 percent on the year, Trent Plaisted ranks third at 58.0 percent and Jonathan Tavernari comes in ninth at 40.0 percent with a minimum of five shots made per game.

HALFTIME REPORT

The Cougars are 7-1 this season when leading at the half with seven of the eight advantages coming by double digits. BYU suffered its first loss of the year after holding a halftime lead on Saturday with a 68-61 defeat against No. 9 Michigan State after a 35-25 lead at the break. No. 1 North Carolina was the first team this season to post a halftime lead against BYU with a 38-31 advantage at the break. The Cougars are besting opponents by an average of 13.4 points in the first period of play after while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of five of nine games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of every game this season while holding opponents under 30 points seven times. The BYU defense kept Long Beach State and Idaho State under 30 points, under 30 percent shooting from the field and under 10 field goals made in the first 20 minutes. The Cougars' 36-12 lead at the break in Long Beach marked their largest halftime advantage since being up by 28 points (51-23) against Western Oregon on Dec. 22, 2006. The 12 points given up by BYU in the first 20 minutes of the game at LBSU marked the fewest points allowed in a half by the Cougars since allowing a record-low 10 points against Air Force in 2003. BYU has topped the 50-point mark in the second half twice this year.

COUGARS VOLUNTEER FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER CHRISTMAS FOUNDATION

For the ninth year, the BYU men's basketball team will join the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation in an effort to raise money for families who have children with cancer and participate in the Foundation's annual Christmas party for those families. The Foundation will be collecting monetary donations and any unwrapped toys through the first three weeks of December. Toys can be dropped off at the nearest Far West Bank location, at Harmon's Down Town Auto Center located in Provo or at the men's basketball office located next to the Ticket Office at the Marriott Center. Monetary contributions will also be accepted at the men's basketball office. One hundred percent of all donations to the Foundation will go directly towards the Christmas party for more than 90 families who have children with cancer living primarily in Utah County. A large portion of the money donated will purchase hundreds of toys that will enable these parents to have gifts under the Christmas tree for their children. In addition to all of these toys, there is food, free entertainment, such as games and ornament decorating, and local celebrities including Santa, Cosmo and the BYU men's basketball team. This is the eighth year BYU coaches, players and their families have volunteered for the Christmas party. BYU head coach Dave Rose will serve as Honorary Chairman for the third year. "This has always been a cause I feel strongly about," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "It has been such a positive experience for the coaches, players and families and is a tremendous opportunity for community members to be involved in brightening the holiday season for these children." Cheryl Rose, vice chairman of the Foundation and wife of coach Rose, discussed the challenges these families face financially and how the Foundation hopes to help these families now and in the future. "For many of these families, it is financially impossible to always have food on the table, a roof over their heads or even have Christmas," Cheryl Rose said. "We want to create a Christmas experience that they will never forget and hopefully in the future help families meet those basic needs that they can't on their own." Rose says that asking for donations has usually been difficult for her, but with such a meaningful cause it has been easy. It has enriched her life, which is something she hopes others will enjoy by contributing to these families. "It's a privilege for me to associate with these families," she said. "They are such an example to me. Even with all that they've been through, they have such a strength and passion for life. It's almost selfish on my part to be involved because I get so much out of it." This year's Christmas party will be held Dec. 19. Parents will be invited to choose the gifts their children will receive on Dec. 18. The gifts will then be distributed at the party. "The support we get from the community makes this event possible," Cheryl Rose said. "We couldn't serve these children without the donations of time, money and gifts we receive."

AttachmentSize
GAME-10---No.-25-BYU-Hosts-Lamar-Wednesday.pdf615.58 KB