Junior Lee Cummard is averaging 20.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.3 blocks in BYU's last three games. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
No. 20 BYU COUGARS (10-2)
BOISE STATE BRONCOS (8-3)
Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007
Taco Bell Arena (12,380)
7:05 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (55-20 in third season; same overall)
BSU, Greg Graham (91-76 in sixth season; 109-81 in seventh year overall)
BYU leads, 8-3. Boise State won the last meeting, 72-68, last season in Boise on Nov. 29, 2006
BYUTV/KBYU (Chris Twitty, play-by-play; Andy Toolson, game analysis; Jarom Jordan, sideline reporter)
KTVB in Boise
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. 20 BYU plays at Boise State Saturday
No. 20 BYU (10-2) plays at Boise State (8-3) Saturday at 7 p.m. MT. The game will be televised on BYUTV nationally as well as on KBYU, channel 11, in Utah and on KTVB in Boise. 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. Coming off a 70-55 win over Southern Utah on Friday, BYU takes a three-game winning streak to Boise to face a Bronco team that earned its fifth road win of the season Saturday with a 74-68 triumph at Albany. The Broncos are 3-2 at home with losses to nationally ranked Washington State (86-74) and upcoming BYU opponent Loyola Marymount (76-74). Both of BYU's losses this season have come against top-10 teams on a neutral court.
BYU hosts Loyola Marymount on Jan. 3 in the Marriott Center. The 7 p.m. game will be televised on The Mtn.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- BYU currently owns the nation's longest active home win streak with 38 straight wins in the Marriott Center. The Cougars went 17-0 at home last year and are 7-0 at home this year.
-- 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.
-- 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 BOISE STATE
The Boise State Broncos are 8-3 overall this season including wins at common BYU opponents Southern Utah (75-73 OT) and Idaho State (93-61). The Broncos also lost to Loyola Marymount, 76-74, in their last home game, falling to 3-2 overall in Taco Bell Arena this year. The Broncos return three starters among six letterwinners from last year's team that finished 17-14 overall. Senior forward Reggie Larry leads the team with 18.9 points per game on 64.8 percent field-goal shooting, which ranks 18th nationally. He also boasts a team-best 8.5 rebounds per contest after posting 22 points and 12 boards in the Broncos' last outing. Senior forward Matt Nelson is second on the team scoring 14.8 ppg and is right behind Larry with 8.2 rpg. Nelson is currently 25th in the nation shooting 61 percent from the floor while adding 18 assists and 10 steals. Senior forward Tyler Tiedeman, the third returning starter, averages 11.9 ppg and is second on the team with 3.3 assists per contest. Sophomore guard Anthony Thomas dishes out 3.9 apg while ranking 20th nationally with 2.7 steals per contest to go along with 9.5 ppg and 2.7 rpg. As a team, the Broncos average 82.6 ppg on 51.6 percent shooting from the field, which ranks ninth in the nation, and 36.7 percent shooting from three-point range. Boise State opponents average 73.1 ppg on 44.7 percent shooting from the field. Bronco opponents hold a slight 34.1-33.2 edge on the boards. Boise State head coach Greg Graham is 91-76 in his sixth year with the program and 109-81 in seven years overall.
BOISE STATE'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 20 Tyler Tiedeman 6-7 212 Sr. 11.9 2.5 Santa Rosa, Calif.
F 24 Reggie Larry 6-6 224 Sr. 18.9 8.5 Newark, N.J.
C 22 Matt Nelson 6-9 232 Sr. 14.8 8.2 Issaquah, Wash.
G 15 Matt Bauscher 6-3 202 Sr. 7.7 2.5 Caldwell, Idaho
G 11 Anthony Thomas 6-0 205 So. 9.5 2.7 Mansfield, Texas
BSU'S LAST OUTING -- BOISE STATE RALLIES AT ALBANY FOR FIFTH STRAIGHT ROAD VICTORY
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Reggie Larry scored 22 points and had 12 rebounds, leading Boise State to a 74-68 win over Albany Saturday. Boise State's win was its fifth straight on the road. Anthony Thomas scored 15 points for Boise (8-3), and Tyler Tiedeman added 14. Brian Lillis scored 16 points for Albany (5-6), who lost for the fifth time in six games, while Josh Martin added 15. The Great Danes led 44-37 entering the second half and had extended the lead to 54-42 lead with 13 minutes left before the Broncos charged back. Thomas made a 3-pointer with 3:05 left to put the Broncos ahead 64-63. When Lillis answered with a drive, Thomas responded with a jumper from the circle and a drive to give Boise State a 68-65 lead that it didn't relinquish. Albany outrebounded Boise State 36-31 and shot 50 percent from 3-point range to the Broncos' 45 percent.
The Cougars and Broncos have met 11 times in the history of the two programs with BYU owning an 8-3 advantage overall with a 2-2 draw in Boise, a 5-1 lead in Provo and a 1-0 result on a neutral court. Boise State won last year's meeting by a 72-68 score in Boise. The Cougars won a close contest the prior year in Provo, winning 80-77 on Dec. 7, 2005. Last year's BSU win ended four straight Cougar triumphs since the previos Bronco victory in the series on Dec. 6, 1997 in Boise (83-67). BSU's lone victory over BYU in the Marriott Center was the prior season at the Cougar Classic. BSU earned a 65-58 victory over the Roger Reid-coached Cougars on Dec. 13, 1996, in what ended up being a program-worst1-25 season for BYU.
BYU SERIES RECORD VS. BOISE STATE
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 8-3
BYU Record in Provo: 5-1
BYU Record in Boise: 2-2
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-0
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 1-1
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 1-1 both in Tempe
Longest BYU Win Streak: 4 (1976-95, 2000-2006)
Longest Boise State Win Streak: 2 (1996-97)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 16, 83-67 in 2000
Largest Boise State Margin of Victory: 16, 83-67 in1997
Most Points Scored by BYU: 90 in 2004-05
Most Points Scored by Boise State: 83 in 1997
12-01-76 Boise State 76-75 W
12-18-82 at Boise State 68-67 W
12-23-83 Boise State 66-54 W
11-25-95 Boise State 86-71 W
12-13-96 Boise State* 58-65 L
12-06-97 at Boise State 67-83 L
12-21-00 vs. Boise State 83-67 W
12-2-03 at Boise State 75-69 W
12-8-04 Boise State 90-77 W
12-7-05 Boise State 80-77 W
11-29-06 at Boise State 68-72 L
LAST YEAR VS. BSU -- COUGAR COMEBACK FALLS SHORT AT BOISE STATE
BOISE -- Austin Ainge sparked a huge second-half comeback with a season-high 14 points, all in the second half, but it was not enough as BYU fell in a heartbreaker to Boise State, 72-68, Wednesday night in Boise. With the loss, BYU drops to 3-2 overall on the year while the Broncos improve to 2-3. After being down by 15 points at halftime and as many as 24 points early in the second half, the Cougars scored 43 points in the final 20 minutes of play and had a chance to take the lead with 20 seconds left before BSU sealed the game with a good defensive stop. BYU started the game with a 12-11 advantage with 13:51 to go in the first half. The Broncos took advantage of hot shooting and BYU foul trouble to go on a 12-2 run and take a 23-14 lead. Cougar Jonathan Tavernari hit a three-pointer to stop the run and cut the lead to 23-17. However, Trent Plaisted picked up his third personal foul with four minutes left in the half, and BSU's hot hand continued, allowing the Broncoes to take a 40-25 advantage at halftime. The Broncos shot 50 percent from behind the arc and 52 percent from the field while outrebounding BYU 22-11 in the first half. BSU's solid shooting continued in the early stages of the second half. A 7-0 run increased the Broncos' lead to 47-25 with 17:56 left to play, which they extended to 55-31 a short time later. BYU then came alive with 10-0 run behind a pair of three-point buckets from Rashaun Broadus and Lee Cummard to cut the lead to 55-41 with 11:53 left. BSU's Reggie Larry finally hit a three-pointer of his own to end the run. Ainge hit a pair of big thee-point shots to get the Cougars back to within 12 at 63-51. Cummard then hit a three-pointer from the corner to cut the lead to 65-56 with 3:40 to go. As the Cougars continuted to claw their way back, Jimmy Balderson hit a pair of free throws after being fouled to cut the deficit to seven. Ainge was fouled on a three-point attempt with just under 2:30 left and hit all three free-throw attempts to cut the Bronco lead to 65-61. Ainge then hit a three-pointer as he hit the floor to cut it to two at 70-68 with one minute to play. After a Karl miss, BYU had a chance to tie or take the lead as Ainge drove the lane through two BSU defenders and spun before trying to dish to Plaisted. However, the Broncos got a hand in the lane and stole the ball away. The Cougars were then forced to foul Eric Lane, who hit a pair of free throws to seal the BSU win. The Broncos' Coby Karl led all scorers with a game-high 18 points to go along with seven rebounds. Balderson led three Cougars in double figures with a team-best 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the field. Young and Ainge each added 14 points with Ainge also contributing four rebounds and two assists. Cummard chipped in nine points and five rebounds. Young has now scored in double figures in every game this season.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "Our guys fought hard in the second half, but I didn't recognize our team at times in the first half. We never found our team until about 15 minutes left in the game."
-- "Boise State is a tough team to guard. All their players are skilled. They can all put the ball on the floor and put it in the hole. They did exactly what we knew they were going to do, but we were slow-footed and did not play with energy till the end."
-- "Austin (Ainge) has a huge heart. He is a competitor and a winner."
-- "I would like to see our team become more consistent. We are having a lot of peaks and valleys during games this season. Tonight we had some of our largest peaks and valleys. My biggest concern is coming out and playing at a consistent level to win a game on the road."
-- "We've got good leadership on this team. There is good senior leadership. The guys need to learn their roles. This team is going to get better. Games like this are going to make us better."
Boise State Head Coach Greg Graham
-- "We probably played as well as we have played. I would take the first half for every game the rest of the year. We played very well. We executed. We were scoring outside, we were scoring inside."
-- "Their pressure was better than our spread. They hit shots and got the momentum going."
-- "The big thing is we beat a very good basketball team. When we play well, we're pretty good."
2005 MEETING IN PROVO -- Cougars Edge Broncos in Provo
PROVO -- Freshman Trent Plaisted and junior Fernando Malaman led BYU with 19 and 17 points, respectively, as the Cougars (4-2) held off Boise State (3-3) 80-77 Wednesday night in the Marriott Center. After falling behind by eight points in the first half, the Cougars outscored the Broncos 44-33 in the second half to pick up the victory. Boise State took an early lead, starting the game on a 7-0 run. The Cougars battled back to tie the game 16-16 with 11:25 remaining in the first half. The Broncos held off the Cougars' first-half surge by relying on their three-point shot, going 6-for-10 from three-point range to take a 44-36 halftime lead. The Cougars came out strong in the second half, running the floor well and going on a 14-2 run to take their first lead of the game, 49-46, with 17:13 left to play. The Cougar run was led by senior Brock Reichner who hit back-to-back three-pointers. BYU had a 72-60 lead with 4:51 left in the game, but the Broncos fought back to tie the game at 75-75 with 2:12 remaining. After big baskets from both Plaisted and Malaman, Boise State's Tyler Tiedeman put up a three-pointer for a chance to tie the game, but the shot fell short and the Cougars pulled off the win, 80-77. Plaisted finished the night shooting 7-for-12 from the field and 5-for-8 from the free-throw line to pick up his 19 points. He also led the Cougars in rebounds with 10, recording the first double-double of his career as well as the first for the Cougars this season. Malaman's 17 points marked a career high for the forward. He shot 7-for-10 on the night, including 2-for-3 from the three-point line. He also rejected three shots on the night, which was also a career high. As a team, BYU struggled in the first half, shooting just 38.7 percent from the field, but improved in the second half with a 48.6 shooting percentage. After Boise State shot 6-for-10 from the three-point line, the Cougars picked up their perimeter defense and held the Broncos to just 1-for-7 three-point shooting in the second half. Boise State was led by forward Seth Robinson, who finished the game with 15 points, shooting 7-for-9 from the field. Guard Coby Karl also added 14 points for the Broncos, shooting 4-for-11 from the field, including 2-for-4 from the three-point line and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose:
-- "This is a team that's learning -- learning how to win and learning how to play. I thought it was a great game for our team."
-- "It's a learning process with this team. For the most part, we won this game because we gutted it out."
-- "You become a better team when guys make things happen for other players and not themselves."
-- "I told the guys in the locker room that games like this are what make teams better. You can't just play them; you've got to win them."
Boise State Head Coach Greg Graham:
-- "It was a very good college basketball game -- up tempo, lots of threes, and the big guys still got a lot of points. Kids on both sides were battling hard. Except for the outcome, you can't ask for a better basketball game."
-- "BYU's got a good ball club, and they're going to get better. They're a young, talented team."
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- TAVERNARI LEADS COUGARS TO 70-55 VICTORY
PROVO -- BYU sophomore Jonathan Tavernari led the No. 21 Cougars Friday night with 19 points in a 70-55 victory over Southern Utah University in the Marriott Center. With this win the Cougars improved to 10-2 on the season while the Thunderbirds fell to 2-10. Lee Cummard also contributed heavily in the Cougars' 38th consecutive home win as he filled out his stat line with 12 points, seven rebounds, seven assists, five steals and two blocks. Center Trent Plaisted and guard Sam Burgess also reached double-digits in scoring for the Cougars as they finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Plaisted had a game-high nine rebounds. The beginning of the game saw both teams get out to slow starts as only seven total points were scored in the first five minutes of the game. The Thunderbirds found themselves on top early, 4-3. By the 13:37 mark of the first half, BYU was only 1-for-8 from the field while SUU was 2-for-9. Yet the Cougars were a perfect 4-for-4 from the line to help keep them right in the game. The Cougars were able to find their shooting touch in the next few minutes as they went on an 8-0 run that gave them their first lead of the game. This run helped the Cougars get an 11-4 lead with 12:12 left in the first half. BYU led the rest of the way in the first half. On the defensive end, BYU had an impressive eight first-half blocks from four different players while holding the Thunderbirds to 33 percent shooting from the field. The Cougars had 12 points in the paint on the other end of the court to help them go into the halftime break up 31-21. In the second half the Cougars led from start to finish including an advantage of 17 points. Fifteen of Tavernari's game-high 19 points came in the second half. BYU starting point guard Ben Murdock scored all six of his points during the second period. All 12 members of the Cougars' roster checked into the game and helped contribute in the win over the Thunderbirds, improving BYU's record against in-state teams this year to 2-0. SUU had three players reach double-digit scoring as the Thunderbirds were led by Geoff Payne and Davis Baker, who each finished with 15 points. BYU is now a perfect 11-0 all-time against the SUU.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "We made enough plays to win the game even though we weren't shooting as well as we're capable of. A lot of that had to do with Southern Utah. They played well."
-- "We played Lee (Cummard) a lot tonight because there were a lot of things that were being changed up and one of Lee's strengths is that he can recognize what's happening and be a stabilizing factor. He had a really good line."
-- "Jonathan (Tavernari) was terrific. He really gave us an offensive lift. He was the one player that was playing with a lot of confidence, especially in the second half. The other guys were pressing a little too hard, but Jonathan was playing with a lot of confidence.
-- "This coming week is a good time for us. We take a little break here for Christmas and then come back and practice a couple days before Boise State. It's important for our team to concentrate on getting better."
Southern Utah Head Coach Roger Reid
-- "They're an excellent basketball team, and they played well, especially defensively. A couple of our players that we count on couldn't get going because of their defensive pressure."
-- "Their size inside really hurt, and that was a big difference. They pose a great threat because they have great shooters and they have a great inside presence and great depth."
-- "I'm proud of our effort and proud of our team. We were only down 10 points with five minutes to go, and things can happen. But we missed some shots and turned the ball over because of their defense and size inside."
-- "In a game like this, you have to hit baskets. You can't make mistakes against top teams. You have to be pretty much flawless, and we didn't do that."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Sam Burgess: 5 rebounds (tied); Archie Rose - 3 points.
-- Team Season Highs: 9 blocks (tied).
-- With the win, BYU improved its Marriott Center win streak to 38 games, the longest active home court victory streak in the nation.
-- With the win, BYU is now 136-56 all-time as a ranked team, including an 8-4 mark under Dave Rose.
-- With the 15-point win, BYU is now outscoring its opponents by 17.0 points on the year. That margin jumps to 22.1 points in the Cougars' 10 wins.
-- With the 70-55 win, BYU is now 10-0 when scoring at least 70 points in a game and 8-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark.
-- The Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 11 of 12 games, including a game-high lead of 17 points against the Thunderbirds. The lone exception came against No. 1 North Carolina when the game-high BYU lead was two points.
-- With a 55.3 percent (26-for-47) shooting performance against the Thunderbirds, BYU has now shot at least 50 percent from the floor in six games.
-- With 11 points against SUU, Plaisted remains the only Cougar to score in double figures in every game this season. Tavernari and Cummard have posted double-digit points in 10 of 12 games.
-- Tavernari scored a game-high 19 points against SUU on 9-for-15 (.600) shooting from the field, marking the second-time this year he has led BYU in scoring. Tavernari paced the Cougars with a career-high 29 points in BYU's upset of No. 6 Louisville.
-- Prior to a miss at the 3:27 mark in the second half, Cummard had made 19 straight free throws.
-- Plaisted fouled out for the first time this season, picking up his fifth with 1:04 left in the game.
-- With a 31-21 halftime lead against Southern Utah, the Cougars have now led at halftime in 11 of 12 games this year, including nine double-digit leads. BYU has gone 10-1 when holding a halftime advantage while outscoring opponents by an average of 12.5 points in the first half.
-- The 21 first-half points given up by the Cougars against Southern Utah tied for the second-lowest first-half point total by a BYU opponent this year (lowest - 12 by Long Beach State). BYU has held all 12 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.
-- After starting the game 1-for-8 (.250) from the field, BYU finished the first half shooting 11-for-14 (.786) to record an overall shooting mark of 54.5 percent (12-for-22) in the first period. On the year, the Cougars have shot at least 50 percent in the first half of six games.
-- Archie Rose's buzzer-beater three-pointer to end the first half marked his first trey of the year and set a new career high in points for the junior transfer.
JUST ANOTHER CUMMARD DAY AT THE OFFICE
Junior guard Lee Cummard filled the stat sheet again in his last outing vs. Southern Utah, tying career highs with 8 assists and 5 steals while scoring 12 points with 7 rebounds and 2 blocks in a career-equaling 37 minutes. He had career-best string of 19 straight free-throw makes come to an end, going 5-for-6 from the line. Over the last three games, he is averaging 20.0 points, 7.6 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 2.7 steals and 2.3 blocks while shooting .686 (24-35) from the floor, .583 (7-for-12) on threes and .833 (5-of-6) at the line. He has made 74 percent of his two-point attempts over that span, converting on 17-of-23 shots inside the arc.
BYU PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
JONATHAN TAVERNARI (DEC. 24) -- Sophomore forward Jonathan Tavernari scored a game-best 19 points and shared game-high honors with two blocks while adding six rebounds, two assists and two steals in 27 minutes off the bench vs. Southern Utah. The native of Sao Bernardo, Brazil, converted 60 percent of his field goal attempts, making 9-of-15 shots from the floor, including 1-for-3 from behind the arc. Tavernari carried the Cougar scoring load in the second half, scoring 15 points in his 17 minutes on the floor to lead BYU to the 70-55 victory that extended the nation's longest homecourt win streak to 38 games. Tavernari has led BYU in scoring twice this season. He also paced the Cougars with a career-high 29 points in BYU's upset of No. 6 Louisville.
LEE CUMMARD (DEC. 17; MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK)
TRENT PLAISTED (DEC. 10; MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK)
LEE CUMMARD (DEC 3)
TRENT PLAISTED (NOV. 26; MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK)
TRENT PLAISTED (NOV. 19)
LEE CUMMARD (NOV. 12)
WORTHY OF MENTION
? BYU's 20-point club this year includes Trent Plaisted, Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari. Plaisted has scored 20 points or more in four games while Cummard has reached 20 three times and Tavernari once. Among Plaisted's top scoring nights were 21 points against No. 6 Louisville and a season-high 24 points against No. 1 North Carolina. Cummard had a career-high 27 points against Lamar while Tavernari totaled a career-best 29 vs. No. 6 Louisville.
? BYU has had six individual double-double performances this year with Plaisted accomplishing the feat four times and Cummard on two occasions. Cummard became the first Cougar to record a double-double this season with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Idaho State. He added his fifth career double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds against Lamar. Plaisted had 21 points and 12 rebounds against No. 6 Louisville before tallying 24 points and 17 rebounds against No. 1 North Carolina. He totaled 14 points and 15 rebounds vs. Weber State and had 18 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds against Pepperdine.
? Senior point guard Ben Murdock has 53 assists and 19 turnovers in his first 12 starting assignments. He ranks second in the MWC in assists per game (4.4). Against Portland, he dished out a personal-best 10 assists with only two turnovers. He has dished out five or more assists in a game five times this year.
? BYU leads all MWC teams in scoring (79.8), scoring margin (+17.0), field-goal percentage defense (.373), rebounding margin (+7.6), assists (18.6) and defensive rebounds (29.6).
? BYU has led at the half in 11 of 12 games this year, including nine double-digit leads. The Cougars' only deficit came when they trailed 38-31 against No. 1 North Carolina. The Cougars are outscoring opponents by 12.5 points in the first period of play.
? The Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 11 of 12 games. The lone exception came against No. 1 North Carolina when the game-high BYU lead was two points.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 38 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's longest active home victory streak. The Cougars are 7-0 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 22 straight over nonconference opponents and 16 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU is 409-116 (.779) 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. 26, 2007)
Wins Team This year Next home game
38 BYU 7-0 Jan. 3 vs. Loyola Marymount
37 Memphis 5-0 Dec. 29 vs. Arizona
ON THE ROAD
The Cougars are 2-0 in true road games this year. With a 1-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is 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 10-0 when scoring at least 70 points this season and 8-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 79.8 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 and are 5-0 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 10 of 12 games this year with the only deficits coming against No. 6 Louisville (39-37) and No. 9 Michigan State (37-29). BYU is besting opponents by an average of 7.6 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 done.
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 12 games with Lee Cummard pacing BYU five times, Trent Plaisted three times, Sam Burgess and Jonathan Tavernari twice each. Team-high rebounding and assist honors have been shared by four players through 12 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 79.8 ppg and allowing only 62.8 points per contest.
After setting a program record with 256 three-pointers last season, the Cougars have recorded 100 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 had made at least six three-pointers in every game this season until connecting five times vs. SUU in their last outing. BYU is shooting 38.0 percent from beyond the arc this year and has shot 40 percent or better in four games, including a season high 59.1 percent efficiency against the Hartford Hawks (13-for-22). Last year, BYU shot above 40 percent from behind the arc 18 times, 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, Collinsworth is for 19th in the Mountain West Conference in rebounds (4.6).
After using the same starting lineup in the first nine games of the season, Cougar head coach Dave Rose has started forward Chris Collinsworth in the last three games, marking the first career starts for the Cougar freshman. Seniors Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess along with juniors Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted have started all 12 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 in this year's opener at Long Beach State.
The Cougars' 10 victories this year have come by an average margin of 22.1 points, including a seaon-opening 40-point road 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.
HITTING THE MARK
BYU is shooting 49.2 percent from the field this season (second in the MWC) while allowing opponents to shoot just 37.3 percent from the floor (No. 1 in the MWC). Overall, the Cougars have shot above 50 percent in six games this year. BYU has shot above 50 percent in the first half of six games this season and in the second half of seven contests, totaling 13 halves of play out of 24 with a shooting percetage of 50 percent higher, including three above 60 percent. 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). 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 against Pepperdine when the Cougars shot 62.1 percent from the field while building a 40-33 halftime lead over the Waves. Individually, Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted rank one and two among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 61.6 and 59.1 percent, respectively.
The Cougars are 10-1 this season when leading at the half with nine of the 11 advantages coming by double digits. BYU suffered its first loss of the year after holding a halftime lead 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 12.5 points in the first period of play after while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of seven of 12 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 eight 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 40 points in the second half of six games this year while surpassing the 50-point mark in the second half twice.
COUGARS BRING CHRISTMAS CHEER TO LOCAL FAMILIES
For the ninth year, the BYU men's basketball team joined 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 has been collecting monetary donations and unwrapped toys since the beginning of December. One hundred percent of all donations to the Foundation went directly towards the Christmas party, which was held Wednesday for more than 90 families who have children with cancer living primarily in Utah County. A large portion of the money donated purchased 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 was 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 ninth year BYU coaches, players and their families have volunteered for the Christmas party. BYU head coach Dave Rose served 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." In addition to the presents the families received, Rose said the event is also a blessing for all of those involved. "This is the most exciting part of my job as the coach's wife," she said. "It's such a joy to be involved. Our lives are blessed so much by what happens here. We love these families and these children." Of course, the party, which started with just 15 families 10 years ago, would not be possible without the donations made by community members. "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. We even had some school children this year who drew pictures for the kids because they didn't have any money to donate but wanted to help. It's such an amazing experience to see the outpouring of love and support we get from the community. It really helps these parents know that they're not fighting this fight alone."
Fueled by Jonathan Tavernari's game-high 19 points, BYU's bench outscored SUU's reserves by a 31-10 tally in the Cougars' last outing. It is only the third game all year and the first time since the third outing of the year vs. Jackson State that the BYU bench has outscored the opposition. In the first nine games with Tavernari starting, BYU's bench was outscored by an average of 1.6 points, which included a season-high 23-point Cougar advantage by its reserves in the season opener at Long Beach State. BYU's reserves have averaged 3.6 more points than the opposition in the three games since Tavernari was moved from the starting lineup. BYU was outscored by 6 and 4 points in the two games prior to last Friday's SUU win.
SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE MWC ...
-- BYU has had six 20-win seasons in the first eight seasons, leading all MWC schools. Utah has had five, UNLV four, Air Force, Wyoming and San Diego State three and New Mexico two.
-- BYU has had the league's top RPI three times, been second twice and third on three occasions. The Cougars were second last year (18) behind UNLV (10).
-- BYU has played the toughest schedule on average of any team in the MWC. Last year, BYU's schedule was rated third behind Utah and UNLV. BYU had the league's toughest schedule in two of the previous three seasons.
-- BYU has the second-most overall wins (172, Utah leads at 173).
-- BYU is second in conference wins (73, Utah has 75).
-- BYU has the second-most MWC regular-season titles (three). Utah leads with four.
-- BYU is one of six MWC teams to win the MWC Tournament title.