Chris Collinsworth made his first start of the season Wednesday against Lamar. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
BYU GAME #11 FAST FACTS
No. 25 BYU COUGARS (8-2)
PEPPERDINE WAVES (5-6)
Saturday, Dec. 15, 2007
Marriott Center (22,700)
7:05 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (53-20 in third season; same overall)
PEP, Vance Walberg (13-29 in second season; same overall)
Pepperdine leads, 4-2, with BYU winning the last meeting, 84-68, on Jan. 2, 2003
The Mtn. (Rich Cellini, play-by-play; Blaine Fowler, game analysis),
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)
Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com
NO. 25 BYU HOSTS PEPPERDINE SATURDAY
No. 25 BYU (8-2) will play the second game of a three-game homestand on Saturday as the Cougars take on Pepperdine at 7 p.m. as part of a double-header with the women's basketball team. BYU is coming off an 88-66 win over Lamar on Wednesday, tying for the nation's longest active home winning streak at 36 games. Both of BYU's losses this season have come to top-10 teams. The Waves are 5-6 this year and are coming off an 83-65 win at Pacific last Saturday. This Saturday'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.
BYU will host Southern Utah next Friday at 6:30 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The game 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 is currently tied for the nation's longest active home win streak with 36 straight wins in the Marriott Center. The Cougars went 17-0 at home last year and are 5-0 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.
Discounted tickets -
Lower Chair - $10 (reg. $18)
Upper Chair - $5 (reg. $12)
Upper Bench and BYU Student tickets - $1 (reg. $5)
LOOKING AT PEPPERDINE
The Pepperdine Waves are 5-6 so far this season and have gone 5-2 in their last seven games after dropping their first four contests. Pepperdine scored a 92-81 overtime victory over common-Cougar opponent Long Beach State to record its first win of the year. The Waves return one starter among three letterwinners from last year's team that went 8-23 and finished tied for seventh in the West Coast Conference. Five Waves score in double figures led by freshman guard Tyrone Shelley with 16.7 points per game. Shelley is also second on the team with 5.9 rebounds per contest and has recorded 19 steals on the year while making three starts. Fellow freshman Malcolm Thomas paces the Waves on the boards with 9.3 per game, 37th in the nation, and is second on the team with 14.5 ppg. The 6-foot-8 forward shoots 60 percent from the field, 32nd nationally, and boasts a team-best 20 blocks on the season. Freshman center Daniel Johnson (10.2), junior guard Rico Tucker (10.1) and freshman guard Mychel Thompson (10.0) round out the double-figure scorers. Tucker leads the team with 2.8 assists per game and ranks 32nd in the nation with 2.5 steals per contest, helping the Waves rank 13th nationallly in that category. Thompson leads the team shooting 40.0 percent from the floor and 84.6 percent from the free-throw line. As a team, the Waves average 80.9 points per game on 42.7 percent shooting from the floor, including 29.3 percent efficiency from three-point range. Pepperdine opponents average 82.8 ppg on 47.8 percent shooting from the floor and 44.1 percent shooting from behind the arc. Wave opponents own a 39.1-37.5 edge on the boards.
PEPPERDINE'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 04 Malcolm Thomas 6-8 205 Fr. 14.5 9.3 San Diego, Calif.
F 15 Mychel Thompson 6-7 200 Fr. 10.0 2.9 Ladera Ranch, Calif.
C 21 Daniel Johnson 6-10 215 Fr. 10.2 3.8 Perth, Australia
G 14 Rico Tucker 6-0 190 Jr. 10.1 2.5 San Diego, Calif.
G 31 Ryan Holmes 6-1 175 Jr. 3.7 3.6 Phoenix, Ariz.
PEPPERDINE'S LAST OUTING -- WAVES POUND PACIFIC IN SECOND MEETING
STOCKTON -- A measure of the improvement that a young Pepperdine men's basketball team has made in the first month of the season was evident in an 83-65 victory over Pacific on Saturday night at the Alex G. Spanos Center, as the Waves avenged an earlier loss to the Tigers. In the first meeting on Nov. 12 in Eugene, Ore., the more experienced Tigers (6-3) led wire-to-wire in an 84-76 victory. Tonight, however, the Waves showed how much they had grown in the last month and returned the favor on UOP's home court. The Waves (5-6) trailed by two at halftime but blew the game open in the second half, getting to the basket at will for a variety of dunks and lay-ups. Pepperdine outscored Pacific 49-29 in the second half and led by as many as 21 points. Freshman forward Malcolm Thomas (San Diego, Calif./Crawford HS) and freshman guard Tyrone Shelley (San Diego, Calif./Crawford HS) scored nearly half the Waves' points (41 of 83). Thomas scored 21 points on 9 of 13 shooting, which included five dunks. Shelley added 20 points on 7 of 9 shooting. "I'm very, very proud of the players," Pepperdine Coach Vance Walberg said. "I'm really excited to get a big-time win like this on the road. We executed well on offense and defense. We rebounded well and that was important. We really needed a performance like this." The Waves played excellent basketball for the first 16 minutes of the first half, and a 6-0 run punctuated by a dunk by Thomas put Pepperdine ahead 32-21 with 4:10 to play. The Tigers ended the half on a 15-2 run, however, and went into the break with a 36-34 lead. Thomas and Shelley scored 21 of the Waves' 34 first-half points and were a combined 7-for-7 from the field. It's a shame the game wasn't on television so that Pepperdine fans could catch one highlight-worthy shot by freshman guard Mychel Thompson (Ladera Ranch, Calif./Stoneridge Prep). With the shot clock running down, Thompson collected an air ball to the left side of the basket. With his back to the basket, he flipped the ball up over his shoulder and banked it in as the buzzer went off, tying the game at 42-42. That play may have ignited the Waves, who never trailed again. It also began a 7-0 run, which gave Pepperdine a 47-42 advantage with 14 ? minutes to go. Another 12-1 run helped the Waves to a 12-point lead at 59-47. Shelley finished the spurt with a brilliant spin move in the post, as he got to the basket for a lay-up and made the subsequent free throw with 8:01 to go. Another 8-0 run, which included another three-point play by Shelley, gave the Waves a 69-50 with 5:38 to play. Pepperdine's largest lead at any point this season coming into the game was 14 points (at Montana State). The Waves led by as many as 21 points at 75-54 with 4:15 to play. Thompson had 11 points and junior guard Rico Tucker (San Diego, Calif./University HS/Minnesota) had 10 points and a career-high seven assists. Pacific's Steffan Johnson scored 32 points in the first meeting but was held to 12 tonight. Pepperdine shot 52.5% overall and Pacific shot 50.0%. The Waves had a 32-23 rebounding edge and a 27-14 edge on points off turnovers.
Saturday's game will be the seventh meeting between BYU and Pepperdine and the first since 2003. The Waves lead the series, 4-2. Pepperdine won the first three meetings in the series, which began in 1944, but BYU has won two of the last three, including an 84-68 victory in Provo on Jan. 2, 2003 in the last series outing. The Cougars are 2-1 overall at home and 0-3 at Pepperdine.
BYU'S LAST OUTING - CUMMARD'S CAREER NIGHT LEADS COUGARS OVER LAMAR
PROVO -- A monster game from BYU forward Lee Cummard extended the No. 25 Cougars' home winning streak to 36 games in an 88-66 victory over Lamar Wednesday night in the Marriott Center. In the first half alone, Cummard tallied 17 points on 7-for-9 shooting, three rebounds and three assists. Cummard was 3-for-4 from the three-point line in the half, but he wouldn't stop there. Cummard finished the game with 27 points, a career high, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Joining Cummard in the record books was BYU center Trent Plaisted. With 14:10 remaining in the game, Plaisted scored the 1,000th point of his career. The Cardinals did a solid job limiting Plaisted in the first half, but stopping Plaisted early only opened the floor for Cummard. Cummard propelled his team to a 10-4 lead in the first four minutes of the game, scoring seven points and dishing out an assist. A short run by the Cardinals, sparked by a three-pointer from guard Currye Todd, got Lamar back to within three points. But BYU would extend its man-to-man defense and not allow the Cardinals to score for five straight minutes midway through the first half. In that run, Cummard and BYU forward Jonathan Tavernari combined for eight points, extending the Cougar lead to 24-9. Despite a series of turnovers by the Cougars as the first half came to a close, they led the Cardinals 42-30 at the half. Lamar forward Justin Nabors drew first blood in the second half by getting to the line and hitting both free throws. Cardinal forward Lamar Sanders scored the next time down the court, bringing the score to 42-34. A three-pointer by Sam Burgess and a dunk by Plaisted was the Cougars' response, returning the BYU lead back to double digits. The Cougars extended their lead to 63-45 toward the end of the second half on a three-pointer from freshman point guard Michael Loyd, Jr. Lamar would respond with an 8-0 run highlighted by a steal and layup from Lamar guard Kenny Dawkins. But BYU pulled away with solid perimeter shooting at the end of the game and a fast break off-the-glass ally-oop from Cummard to Plaisted that had the crowd on its feet. Three-pointers from Cummard and true freshman Chris Collinsworth blew the game open with four minutes left. BYU soon went up by 25 points and had no problem securing, along with Memphis, the longest home winning streak in the nation. Plaisted finished the game with 22 points, going 7-for-10 from the field with seven rebounds and five assists.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "It was a really hard-fought game. They did a really good job of spreading us around, and their defense kept us from finding a good rhythm offensively. We were in control most of the time, and we shared the ball really well with 23 assists."
-- "Lee (Cummard) was terrific tonight. He started well and had a solid game on both ends. He shared the ball well and stayed aggressive offensively. He had one of the better games we've seen in a while"
-- "Trent (Plaisted) has been really consistent since he started here as a freshman. He just continues to get better game after game, and with his work ethic and strong habits he'll continue to get even better."
Lamar Head Coach Steve Roccaforte
-- "They're a top-25 team that's well coached and has played some tough teams. We didn't do what we needed to offensively or defensively to win a game like this."
-- "This is a tough place to play. We were playing a half-court game. Both teams walked the ball to mid-court and did what they wanted to. That's hard to play against. We tried to pick up the pace but didn't play well enough to give ourselves a chance."
-- "I wasn't surprised by anything they did. We played them last year at our place. We just weren't consistent on either side of the ball."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- True freshman Chris Collinsworth made the first start of his Cougar career Wednesday against Lamar. He received the starting nod along with Ben Murdock, Sam Burgess, Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted, who have each started all 10 games for BYU this season.
-- Individual Career Highs: Lee Cummard - 27 points, 11 field goals made, 5 three-point field goals made, 8 assists; Trent Plaisted -- 5 assists (tied); Vuk Ivanovic - 9 rebounds (tied).
-- With the win, BYU tied Memphis for the nation's longest active home winning streak at 36 games. The Cougars will have a chance to take sole possession of the streak on Saturday against Pepperdine as Memphis does not play at home until Dec. 22.
-- With a bucket at the 14:10 mark in the second half, Plaisted became just the 37th Cougar in program history to score 1,000 career points, finishing the game with 1,007. Of four-year players, he is just the 10th Cougar to reach that milestone as a junior. The last four-year player to reach 1,000 points as a junior was Mark Bigelow with 1,312 following the 2002-03 season. Plaisted also has 507 career rebounds, making him just the 21st player overall and fifth junior among four-year players to record at least 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.
-- With the 22-point win, BYU is now outscoring its opponents by 17.0 points on the year. That margin jumps to 23.4 points in the Cougars' eight wins as BYU has now won six games this year by at least 20 points.
-- BYU is now 8-0 when scoring at least 70 points in a game and 6-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark. The Cougars are also now 4-0 when scoring at least 80 points.
-- Five Cougars posted at least six rebounds against Lamar, marking the first time since Jan. 8, 2005 that feat has been accomplished. Cummard led the way with 10 boards while Ivanovic had nine, Tavernari posted eight, Plaisted brought down seven and Collinsworth tallied six to help the Cougars outrebound the Cardinals, 50-34. On the year, BYU has outrebounded its opponents in eight of 10 games, going 7-1 in those contests.
-- With 22 points, Trent Plaisted remains the only Cougar to score in double figures in every game this season. He has topped the 20-point mark four times this year and 13 times in his career.
-- With a career-high 27 points and 10 rebounds, Cummard recorded his second double-double of the season and fourth of his career. He has also now scored at least 20 points in two games on the year and four in his career.
- As a team, BYU connected on 11 three-pointers, marking the third time this year the Cougars have recorded double-digit makes from long range. The Cougars have nailed at least six from behind the arc in each game this season.
- With a 42-30 halftime lead against Lamar, the Cougars have now led at halftime in nine of 10 games this year, going 8-1 in those contests and outscoring opponents by an average of 13.3 points in the first half. BYU's 12-point lead against the Cardinals marked the Cougars' eighth double-digit halftime lead this season.
- BYU has held all 10 of its opponents this year under 40 points in the first half. BYU has scored at least 30 first-half points in every game this season and has topped 40 points in six games.
BYU IN THE 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
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.
BYU AS A RANKED TEAM
BYU owns a 134-56 record as a ranked team. The Cougars are 77-12 at home, 36-27 on the road and 21-17 at neutral sites when nationally ranked after their 88-66 win over Lamar on Wednesday. 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 6-4 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.
PLAISTED REACHES 1,000 POINTS
With 22 points against Lamar, junior Trent Plaisted became 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. Plaisted now has 1,007 career points. 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. Of four-year players, Plaisted is just the 10th Cougar to reach the 1,000-point milestone as a junior. The last four-year player to reach 1,000 points as a junior was Mark Bigelow with 1,312 following the 2002-03 season. Plaisted also has 507 career rebounds, making him just the 21st player overall and fifth junior among four-year players to record at least 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.
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)
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 four of the last eight games, including 21 points against No. 6 Louisville and a season-high 24 points against No. 1 North Carolina. Lee Cummard recorded his fourth career 20-point game and second of the season with a career-high 27 points against Lamar.
- Plaisted has scored in double figures in all 10 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. He added his fifth with 27 points and 10 rebounds against Lamar. Plaisted posted his first of the year and 10th of his career with 21 points and 12 rebounds against No. 6 Louisville before tallying 24 points and 17 rebounds against No. 1 North Carolina. He recorded his third of the season against Weber State with 14 points and 15 rebounds.
- Senior point guard Ben Murdock has 46 assists and only 12 turnovers in his first 10 starting assignments at the Division I level, ranking second in the Mountain West Conference in assists per game (4.6) and third in assist/turnover ratio (3.2). He ranks 10th nationally in assist/to ratio as of Dec. 9. 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 80.1 ppg and allowing 63.1 ppg. BYU leads all MWC teams in scoring, scoring margin (+17.0), field-goal percentage defense (.379), three-point field-goal percentage defense (.291), rebounding margin (+8.1), assists (18.10) and defensive rebounds (29.5).
- BYU has led at the half in nine of 10 games this year, including eight double-digit leads with a 42-30 advantage over Lamar. The Cougars' only deficit came when they trailed 38-31 against No. 1 North Carolina. The Cougars are outscoring opponents by 13.3 points in the first period of play.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 36 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are now tied for the nation's longest active home victory streak. BYU has a chance to take sole possession of the streak with a win on Saturday as Memphis does not play at home until Dec. 22. The Cougars are 5-0 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 20 straight over nonconference opponents and 16 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU is 407-116 (.778) 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. 14, 2007)
Wins Team This year Next home game
36 BYU 5-0 Dec. 15 vs. Pepperdine
36 Memphis 4-0 Dec. 22 vs. Georgetown
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 8-0 when scoring at least 70 points this season and 6-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 80.1 points per game and allowing just 63.1 ppg. The Cougars have scored 90 or more points in three games this season, reaching 100 against Jackson State and are 4-0 when scoring over 80 points on the year. Overall, BYU leads the Mountain West Conference in scoring and scoring margin (+17.0)
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU has won the battle of the boards in eight of 10 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 8.1 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. Five Cougars posted at least six rebounds in BYU's win over Lamar, marking the first time since Jan. 8, 2005 that feat has been accomplished.
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 10 games with Lee Cummard pacing BYU four times, Trent Plaisted leading the Cougars three times, Sam Burgess twice and Jonathan Tavernari once. Team-high rebounding and assist honors have been shared by four players through 10 games.
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 17.0 points per game while scoring 80.1 ppg and allowing only 63.1 points per contest.
After setting a program record with 256 three-pointers last season, the Cougars have recorded 88 makes from long range so far this season. BYU has posted double-digit three-pointers in a game three times this year with 11 against Lamar, 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.
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 eighth in the Mountain West Conference in steals (1.40).
After using the same starting lineup in the first nine games of the season, Cougar head coach Dave Rose elected to start forward Chris Collinsworth on Wednesday against Lamar, marking the first career start for the Cougar freshman. Seniors Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess along with juniors Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted have started all 10 games this year while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari has made nine starts. 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.
The Cougars' eight victories this year have come by an average margin of 23.4 points, including a 22-point win over Lamar (88-66), 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 17.0 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.
BYU is shooting 47.9 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 leads the league shooting 60.2 percent on the year, Trent Plaisted ranks second at 59.1 percent and Jonathan Tavernari comes in ninth at 39.4 percent with a minimum of five shots made per game.
The Cougars are 8-1 this season when leading at the half with eight of the nine advantages coming by double digits. BYU suffered its first loss of the year after holding a halftime lead last 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 13.3 points in the first period of play after while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of six of 10 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."