GAME 11 - BYU Hosts Western Oregon Friday

Keena Young leads BYU in scoring and rebounding this season. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

GAME #11 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (6-4, 0-0 MWC)

vs.

WESTERN OREGON WOLVES (3-5, 0-0 GNAC)

Friday, Dec. 22, 2006

Marriott Center (22,700)

Provo, Utah

7:05 p.m. MT

Coaches:

BYU, Dave Rose (26-13 in second season; same overall)

WOU, Craig Stanger (12-23 in second season; same overall)

Series:

2nd meeting, BYU leads 1-0 (BYU won the last meeting, 92-56, on Dec. 10, 2003 in Provo)

TV:

None

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/basketball_m/

BYU HOSTS WESTERN OREGON FRIDAY

After the completion of final exams this week, the BYU Cougars (6-4) return to the Marriott Center court Friday when they host the Western Oregon Wolves (3-5) at 7 p.m. The game is not being televised. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the internet at ksl.com. BYU is coming off a victory over in-state foe Utah State to give the Cougars 19 straight wins in the Marriott Center, which is tied for fifth nationally among active homecourt victory streaks. Coming off back-to-back wins, the Division II Wolves are members of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

UP NEXT

The Cougars host the BYU Holiday Classic Dec. 28-30, which also features Seton Hall, Oral Roberts and Liberty in a three-day event with daily double-headers at 5 and 7:30 p.m. The games are not scheduled to be televised.

COUGAR QUICK HITS

-- Cougar head coach Dave Rose guided BYU to a 20-9 record and an NIT appearance last season in his first year at the helm after eight years as BYU's lead assistant. He was named the Mountain West Conference and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year. Rose coached his team to a second-place MWC finish -- one game behind league-champion San Diego State -- while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success that proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.

-- BYU was picked to finish second in the Mountain West Conference in the preseason MWC media poll behind reigning champion San Diego State.

-- BYU's roster this season includes a solid core of returning players, including six seniors and Trent Plaisted, the MWC Freshman of the Year last year. One of nine returning lettermen, Plaisted was named a Freshman All-American after leading BYU in both scoring (13.6) and rebounding (6.9) one year ago. 2006 All-MWC Third Team forward Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (15.8) and on the boards (6.6), while Plaisted is second in both categories (12.4 ppg, 6.4 rpg). Senior Austin Ainge leads BYU with 3.4 assists per game.

LOOKING AT WESTERN OREGON

Western Oregon is a Division II school located in Monmouth, Ore. The Wolves are coached by BYU alum Craig Stanger in his second year guiding the program. WOU returns four starters and eight lettermen from last year's 9-18 team. This year's squad is off to a 3-5 start and is coming off back-to-back wins to end a four-game losing streak. The Wolves are led by three players scoring in double figures. Jacob Mitchell is shooting 61.5 percent from the floor to score a team-best 19.4 points, followed by Ryan Schmidt at 16.8 points and Alex Swerzbin at 10.3 points per game. Three players are averaging six rebounds or more per game, led by Mitchell and Schmidt at 6.3 per contest. The Wolves score 82 points per game while allowing 84.4. WOU's other cross over to Division I earlier this year resulted in a 71-58 loss at Oregon State.

WOU'S PROBABLE STARTERS

F- 24 Jacob Mitchell (6-7, 235, Sr., Olympia, Wash.) -- 19.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg

F- 30 Travis Kuhns (6-8, 200, So., Salem, Ore.) -- 9.5 ppg, 6.0 rpg

F- 3 Ryan Schmidt (6-7, 210, Jr., Keizer, Ore.) -- 16.8 ppg, 6.3 rpg

G- 5 Alex Swerzbin (6-0, 190, Sr., Portland, Ore.) -- 10.3 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 6.4 apg

G- 20 Dominque DeWeese (6-3, 175, Sr., Portland, Ore.) -- 6.4 ppg, 1.9 rpg

WOU'S LAST OUTING -- Wolves Blowout Williamette Tuesday

MONMOUTH, Ore. -- After a cold start, Western Oregon sizzled during a race past Willamette, topping the Bearcats 94-57. Western Oregon improved to 3-5 with the win, while Willamette dropped to 3-6. All 12 WOU players entered the scoring column as the Wolves shot 59 percent from the floor, including 70 percent in the second half. The Bearcats shot a frigid 30 percent from the field, were just 5 of 26 from three-point range and converted only 12 of 21 shots from the charity stripe. WOU had four players in double figures, led by Travis Kuhns' 16 points. Jacob Mitchell added 13, Brad Krichevsky had 12 and Adonal Arrington posted 11. Krichevsky and Arrington both came off the bench, and missed only one shot from the field between them (Krichevsky was 4-4). The Bearcats were led by Michael Smith's 14 points, while Dan Nugent had 11. Both teams were sluggish in the early going, although Western Oregon managed to hold a lead throughout the first ten minutes. Willamette finally claimed its first margin of the night after a three-pointer by Simon Currie at the 9:40 mark, and then Rob Andrus added a bucket to make it 19-16 Bearcats just a few moments later. But WOU then went on a furious 10-0 run, fueled in part by three steals by Krichevsky. Willamette finally broke the drought with a basket by Nugent, but WOU kept the pressure on and closed the half on a 26-6 run. Bench players McLaughlin and Arrington took turns feeding each other for scores, and the 6-11 Arrington went into the locker room with nine points (McLaughlin had four). WOU had its biggest lead of the game to that point at intermission, 42-25, as the Bearcats shot just 29 percent from the field and were a cold 2-14 from three-point range. The Wolves would go on to outscore the Bearcats 52-32 in the second half.

SERIES NOTES

This will be the second meeting between BYU and Western Oregon but the Wolves' fourth game played in the Marriott Center. BYU defeated Western Oregon 92-56 in the first meeting on Dec. 10, 2003. WOU also played in the 1999 Cougar Classic, losing to Weber State and Texas Southern in overtime.

BYU SERIES RECORD VS. WESTERN OREGON

Overall Series Record: BYU leads 1-0

BYU Record in Provo: 1-0

BYU Record at WOU: 0-0

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-0

BYU Record under Dave Rose: 0-0

BYU Record in OT Games: N/A

Last Overtime Game: N/A

Longest BYU Win Streak: 1, (2003-present

Longest WOU Win Streak: N/A

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 36, 92-56 in 2003

Largest USU Margin of Victory: N/A

Most Points Scored by BYU: 92 in 2003

Most Points Scored by WOU: 56 in 2003

Date Opponent Score W/L

12-10-03 Western Oregon 92-56 W

QUOTING COACH STANGER

For WOU head coach Craig Stanger, the trip to Provo is a return home of sorts. The BYU graduate will return to the Marriott Center for the first time as a head coach. "It will of course be special for me, but it is also a great opportunity for our guys to play a national level team in the largest venue that they will ever play in (22,700)."

QUOTING COACH ROSE

"Western Oregon played at Oregon State earlier this year and it was a 13-point game. They like to score points averaging 82 a game. They have some good post players and a guard that distributes it well. After our players finish their final exams this week, we'll look forward to getting back on the court Friday."

LAST MEETING RECAP -- FIVE PLAYERS REACH DOUBLE FIGURES IN 92-56 WIN OVER WESTERN OREGON

PROVO, Utah -- Five Cougars reached double figures and all 10 players scored in BYU's 92-56 victory over Western Oregon Wednesday at the Marriott Center. The win improves BYU to a 5-1 record, 3-0 at home, while Western Oregon falls to 5-2 on the season. "They are big, quick and physical," Western Oregon coach Tim Hills said. "I've seen a couple players as big as Araujo but they're playing on television. That's probably where he'll be next year." The Sporting News National Player of the Week, Araujo recorded his fourth consecutive double-double of the season with 15 points and 14 rebounds in 25 minutes of action. He was joined in double-digit points by fellow seniors Mark Bigelow and Luiz Lemes, junior Mike Hall and freshman Mike Rose as the Cougars scored a season-high 92 points. "The most important thing was that we were able to play everybody," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "These games provide opportunities for our players to get experience before getting into the heart of our season." Araujo and Bigelow led BYU with 15 points apiece. Bigelow's offensive performance puts him in 12th place (1,382) on the school's all-time scoring list, surpassing Roland Minson's 1,375 points from 1949-51. Rose ended with 14 points, knocking down 4-of-5 three-pointers. Lemes and Hall each scored 13 points and contributed solid games. Lemes was an instant spark for the Cougars and led the team with 12 points at the half. He shot 4-of-5 from the floor and 3-of-4 from behind the arc to help give BYU a 19-point lead going into the half. Scoring in double digits in four of five games this season, Hall added another consistent game grabbing six rebounds, dishing out four assists and adding two blocks. The BYU defense was strong from the start and gave Western Oregon trouble, creating 16 turnovers, including one shot-clock violation, and holding the team to under 40 percent shooting from the floor and behind the arc. The Cougars out shot the Wolves from the floor and from the three-point arc, but struggled from the free-throw line. "The biggest disappointment tonight was our free throw shooting," Cleveland said. "We need to be much better at the foul line." Western Oregon's Robert Day and Sean Kelly led the Wolves with 23 and 21 points, respectively.

BYU NOTES

BYU's LAST OUTING -- Tough Defense Leads to Victory

PROVO -- BYU (6-4) ended in-state rival Utah State's (8-2) eight-game winning streak, taking a 75-62 victory Saturday afternoon at the Marriott Center. Trent Plaisted led BYU with 18 points and eight rebounds. Keena Young contributed 15 points and grabbed a game-high 12 boards. The Cougars held the Aggies, a team shooting 52 percent coming into the contest, to just 36 percent shooting on the day. USU sharpshooter Jaycee Carroll, in particular, was held in check. Carroll, who averages 22.7 points per game on 62.9 percent shooting (22nd in the nation), was held to a paltry 31 percent on 4-of-13 shooting en route to a team-high 16-point game. Rose's team had a rough early going, committing turnovers on each of its first three possessions and four of its first five. Jimmy Balderson got the Cougars in sync with a runner in the lane and a layup off an inbounds pass underneath USU's basket, tying the game at four apiece. A scooping, double-pump layup from Austin Ainge a couple minutes later gave BYU its first lead of the day at 8-6. The team would not relinquish the lead the rest of the way. The score sparked a 20-6 run that gave BYU a 26-12 lead with 8:37 left in the first half. Young capped the run with a fade-away jumper in the paint. The Aggies shortened the gap at 26-18 at the 6:34 mark, but the Cougars were able to push their lead back to 14 two more times in the half, once when Fernando Malaman nailed a three-pointer making it 34-20 with 4:06 to play and again less than a minute later when Plaisted fed a cutting Malaman for the layup and a 36-22 advantage. After getting fouled while shooting beyond the arc, Ainge, who finished with 11 points and four assists, knocked down two-of-three free throws with three-tenths of a second remaining in the half. The freebies gave BYU a 38-28 halftime lead. The two teams came out in the second half matching each other shot-for-shot, keeping the margin at 10 for BYU with a 44-34 lead. The Cougars began to pull away when Rashaun Broadus connected from downtown and Plaisted put in an easy deuce in the post, part of a 21-13 BYU run. Malaman drew two ovations from Cougar fans by emphatically swatting two USU shots, and senior Mike Rose drained two three-point shots during the run. BYU led by as many as 20 points on the way to its 19th consecutive home win, a streak that is tied for fifth best in the nation. With the victory, BYU became the only undefeated team remaining in the current standings for the Old Oquirrh Bucket at 3-0. The bucket goes to the Utah basketball team that finishes the season with the best record against in-state opponents.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "Defensively, it was a great effort by our players. It took the whole team. Our focus defensively was very good tonight, possession to possession to possession. Lee (Cummard) has been chasing some great players around lately. He was terrific tonight."

-- "Austin (Ainge) did a great job coming off the bench and giving us a lift. If we get him and (Rashaun) Broadus playing well like they did tonight with Trent (Plaisted), we have a chance to be a very good team."

-- "This is a very competitive group of guys. I have never questioned their competitiveness. Everything we want to do as a team is still in front of us. It is a long season."

Utah State Head Coach Stew Morrill

-- "I've had this happen to me in Provo before. It's not a lot of fun. Kudos for BYU. Coming off two losses, they were very motivated and played very well. They looked like a Mountain West Conference Tournament contender."

-- "Maybe we will start getting a little better. We did not play well. We didn't execute very well. Every shot was contested. It wasn't that we weren't trying; we were just taking quick shots."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- Jimmy Balderson re-entered the starting lineup against Utah State after coming off the bench in BYU's last three games. Rashaun Broadus, Lee Cummard, Keena Young and Trent Plaisted rounded out the Cougar starting five. Young and Cummard have started every game this season.

-- Individual Career Highs: Keena Young -- 12 rebounds (tied); Trent Plaisted -- 4 assists (tied).

-- Season High Crowd: 10,335

-- The Cougars' win over Utah State improved BYU's home victory streak to 19 games, which is tied for the fifth-longest in the nation.

-- The win also snapped a four-game BYU losing streak against Utah State dating back to a 66-56 win on Dec. 14, 2002.

-- BYU's 13-point (75-62) margin of victory marked the Cougars' fourth double-digit victory of the season. It also marked BYU's largest winning margin over the Aggies since a 76-52 win on Dec. 5, 1995.

-- BYU's defense held the Aggies, who entered the game ranked eighth nationally shooting .516 from the field, to a season-low .361 percent shooting (22-for-61). The mark included holding USU's leading shooter Jaycee Carroll, who ranked 22nd in the nation shooting .629, to just .308 shooting (4-for-13) thanks in part to the defensive play of Lee Cummard.

-- BYU also held Utah State scoreless from three-point range (0-for-11), marking the first time since Dec. 14, 2002 when Utah State went 0-for-5 that a Cougar opponent has not made a three-pointer.

-- With a 38-28 halftime lead, BYU has now led at the break in seven of 10 games, winning six. The Cougars have had a double-digit advantage three times.

-- BYU's halftime margin also marks the ninth time in 10 games that the Cougars have scored at last 30 points in the first half with the exception being 25 at Boise State. BYU has held its opponents under 30 points in six games.

-- Young recorded his third double-double of the season against Utah State with 12 points and 15 rebounds, surpassing his mark of two last season and bringing his career total to six.

-- Young has now scored in double-digits in nine of 10 games this season.

-- After playing a season-low six minutes at Lamar, Austin Ainge entered the Utah State contest at the 15:56 mark of the first half and immediately made his presence felt, draining his first three shots to score seven straight points and spark a 20-6 Cougar run to build a 26-12 lead. Ainge finished the half with 11 points, marking the first time this season he has reached double-digits before halftime.

CONSISTENT COUGAR

BYU's most consistent player this year has been senior forward Keena Young, who has scored in double figures in nine out of 10 games. He leads BYU in scoring (15.8) and rebouding (6.6). The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring three times and rebounding five times, including his career-tying 12-rebound performance against Utah State for his third double-double of the season (15 points). His 27 points at Weber State is the most by a Cougar since Dec. 13, 2003 (Rafael Araujo - 28).

VETERAN LEADERSHIP

Senior Austin Ainge is averaging a team-best 3.4 assists and leads BYU in three-pointers (14) while shooting .538 from three-point range and .513 from the floor. He scored 11 points off the bench-- all in the first half -- to give BYU early control of the game against Utah State Saturday. His 14 points -- all in the second half -- against Boise State fueled BYU's furious comeback attempt. Ainge has started seven games at the point and come off the bench in three outings.

DOING IT ALL

Lee Cummard contributes across the box score and on the defensive end of the floor for BYU. He held USU's leading shooter Jaycee Carroll, who ranked 22nd in the nation shooting .629, to just .308 shooting (4-for-13) and seven points below his average. On the year, Cummard is averaging 9.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 2.6 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.6 blocks while shooting 50 percent from the floor, 43.3 percent on threes and 78.6 percent from the line.

COMING ON STRONG

After a slow start, partially the result of an ankle injury, Trent Plaisted has started to come on strong for the Cougars. The 2006 Freshman All-American is second on the team in scoring (12.4) and rebounding (6.4). He has scored 18 or more points and grabbed seven or more rebounds in three of the last four games. He has scored 20 or more points in five games overall during his career, including two outings this year. Plaisted had game highs of 20 points and eight rebounds on 8-of-13 shooting to lead BYU to a win over San Jose State and followed that performance with a career-high 23 points against No. 25 Michigan State in The Palace at Auburn Hills. Plaisted did not miss a shot until the 10:28 mark in the second half, making his first eight shots from the floor. His 14 first-half points marked his highest scoring output in a half this season. "Trent (Plaisted) is really working hard," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "He suffered a setback with that sprained ankle, but his effort is improving. Trent's got a lot of different things on his mind; he wants to play the best he can, and he wants to do what he can to help our team win. As long as he keeps playing hard, things will work out well for him."

FOR STARTERS

BYU has used four different starting lineups so far this year. Last game, BYU returned to its original starting lineup of the season with Rashaun Broadus at the point, Jimmy Balderson on the wing and Austin Ainge coming off the bench. That lineup is 2-1 on the year, with the loss being at current No. 1 UCLA in the season operner. Sophmore Lee Cummard and senior Keena Young have started every game this year, while sophomore Trent Plaisted missed one start only because of injury.

COUGARS HELP CHILDREN WITH CANCER

For the eighth 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 second 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. 20. Parents will be invited to choose the gifts their children will receive on Dec. 19. The gifts will then be distributed at the party. For more information about donating to the Children With Cancer Christmas Foundation, contact Cheryl Rose at (801) 375-5768. Those interested can also visit the Foundation's website at www.christmas-foundation.org. "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."

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