BYU has won 22 straight games in the Marriott Center, which ranks fourth in the nation. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
BYU GAME #14 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (9-4, 0-0 MWC)
Seton Hall Pirates (8-3, 0-0 Big East)
Saturday, Dec. 30, 2006
Marriott Center (22,700)
7:35 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (29-13 in second season; same overall)
SHU, Bobby Gonzalez (8-3 in first season; 137-80 in eight years overall)
Series tied 1-1 with Seton Hall winning the last meeting in the series, 82-80 (OT) on Dec. 29, 1958
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (6:30 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/basketball_m/
BYU HOLIDAY CLASSIC SCHEDULE
Thursday, Dec. 28, 2006
5 p.m. Oral Roberts 76, Seton Hall 74
7:30 p.m. BYU 73, Liberty 59
Friday, Dec. 29, 2006
5 p.m. Seton Hall 85, Liberty 81
7:30 p.m. BYU 72, Oral Roberts 62
Saturday, Dec. 30, 2006
5 p.m. Liberty vs. Oral Roberts
7:30 p.m. BYU vs. Seton Hall
BYU HOLIDAY CLASSIC -- DAY 2
The BYU men's basketball team sought and got its second win of the BYU Holiday Classic against Oral Roberts Friday at the Marriott Center as the Cougars clipped the Golden Eagles wings, 72-62. Friday's action also saw Seton Hall emerge victorious with an 85-81 win over Liberty. BYU improves to 9-4 on the season with the win and Oral Roberts falls to 6-7 with the loss. Seton Hall is now 8-3, while Liberty is 6-6. Saturday's games pit Oral Roberts against Liberty at 5 p.m. MT and Seton Hall vs. BYU at 7:30 p.m. MT to close out the tournament in the Marriott Center.
YOUNG LEADS COUGARS OVER GOLDEN EAGLES
The BYU men's basketball team sought and got its second win of the BYU Holiday Classic against Oral Roberts Friday at the Marriott Center as the Cougars clipped the Golden Eagles wings, 72-62. "Every game takes on its own feel," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "It was that way from the start tonight." The Cougars struggled in the first two minutes of the game as they went down 6-0, missing their first three shots and turning the ball over twice. Keena Young broke BYU's opening drought with a tough shot in the lane followed by a Trent Plaisted put-back to take the score to 6-4 before the Golden Eagles went on a run of their own to go up 12-4. Oral Roberts' Caleb Green led the way for the Golden Eagles in the opening minutes of the game, scoring eight points in seven minutes. Momentum shifted the Cougars' way when Young hit a turn-around 15-footer over Green to pull the blue and white within six. The following two possessions for the Cougars spelled dunks for Plaisted and Lee Cummard, respectively, to pull within two. Fernando Malaman completed the Cougar comeback with a triple from the top of the arc to give BYU its first lead of the game at 17-16. BYU's run went to 11-0 with a Mike Rose jumper to give the Cougars a three-point lead at 19-16 with just over 11 minutes to go in the game. After a circus-esque melee at center court with both teams scrambling for the ball, BYU's Jimmy Balderson came away with the leather and was fouled hitting a lay-up. He hit his free throw, and the Cougar run went to 14-0 with the score at 22-16. Oral Roberts' Ken Tutt scooped a lay-up at the front of the rim to end the scoreless drought and try to stop the bleeding. Plaisted kept the wound fresh, though, answering with a right-handed scoop of his own at the opposite end of the floor. With 7:30 to go in the first half Tutt pulled up from behind the arc to pull the Golden Eagles within four, and Green hit another high-percentage shot to pull them within one. BYU's Austin Ainge hit a three of his own to go up 27-23. At 27-25, Tutt continued the shootout and dropped another triple from the wing to give his team the lead again at 28-27. A three by ORU's Adam Liberty gave the Golden Eagles another one-point lead at 33-32 with just over a minute to go in the half, but BYU's Mike Rose wouldn't be left out of the action as he responded with a three of his own from the corner. Cummard scored a fast-break lay-up with eight seconds to go, and the Cougars took a 37-33 lead into the locker room at the break. Malaman blocked one of Green's shots on the next possession, and Green fouled him as he pulled away; Malaman hit both free throws to take a 29-28 lead. Ainge then stole the ball from Green and dished it to Jimmy Balderson, taking the Cougars to a 31-28 lead with four minutes to go in the first half, a lead which they would extend to 37-33 at the break. Tutt came out of the break on a mission, scoring six points by hitting a big shot from down town, getting a steal and completing another three-point play from the free throw line to put ORU up two in the first minute of the second half. Green followed with a tip-in. The 8-0 Golden Eagle run was stopped by a Keena Young fade-away, but the Cougars were still down two at 41-39. Shooting woes haunted the Cougars at the start of the second half just as they did at the start of the first, going 1-8 in the first five minutes of the second half, and the Golden Eagles took an eight-point lead at 47-39, matching their biggest lead of the first half. After ORU went up 10 at 49-39, the Cougars decided they had had enough and Cummard hit a runner, Rose hit another three and Young dropped one from the middle of the lane to pull the Cougars within three at 49-46. Tutt did not let BYU's scoring drive last long as he pulled up from two feet behind the arc and knocked down his fourth three of the game. With just under 12 minutes to go in the game, Cummard fed a bounce pass to Young in the lane through three defenders, and Young took the ball hard to the rim to hit the bucket and draw the foul. He drained it, and BYU's deficit was reduced to three, 52-49. Following that impressive performance, Young tipped in one of his own shots and brought the Cougars within one and the crowd went wild. Young then became the hero of an entire Marriott Center crowd as he hit another lay-up, gave his team the lead again and took a charge at the other end of the floor. Balderson stole the ball on the next Golden Eagle possession and hit two free throws after being stopped in the lane to put the Cougars on top by three, 55-52. After a quiet start to the second half, Green got to the hole and brought ORU within one before Plaisted rocked his second dunk of the night to the cheers of the mob. With just over six minutes left in the game, Tutt scored his 22nd point of the game on a free throw and tied the game at 57. Plaisted answered with a lay-up, and BYU went up by two again. On the ensuing possession, as Green was battling for possession underneath his own basket, he was called for his fifth foul. He left the game with 21 points and 13 rebounds. ORU's Marchello Vealy followed Green off the court with his fifth foul with just under four minutes to go. As he left the court Vealy was charged with a technical foul, and Young hit two of the four free throws to push BYU's lead to four at 61-57. Cummard hit his only three-pointer of the night from the corner, and the Cougars went up seven. After ORU's Liberty responded with a triple of his own, Cummard took the rock to the rim and hit a lay-up. Tutt then hit two more free throws to pull within four. Young got an offensive board at the other end and put it away to go up 68-62 with two minutes to go. Balderson followed with a fast-break lay-up and Cummard followed him with a steal and dunk of his own. With a 10-point deficit entering the final minute of the game, ORU's fate was sealed. "To win a game like that was great," Rose said. "We played hard, and we competed well. I'm proud of our guys... Sometimes when you win certain games, you can take a step forward. I hope this was one of those games." Young led the Cougars with 21 points and sixteen rebounds, recording his fourth double-double of the season. Plaisted also recorded a double-double with 12 and 11, respectively. Cummard was only one rebound away from one of his own with 13 and nine, respectively. Oral Roberts' Tutt led all scorers with 24.
PIRATES PUT OUT FLAMES IN MARRIOTT CENTER
The 8-3 Seton Hall Pirates wore their home whites for the first time in the 2006 BYU Holiday Classic in an 85-81 victory against the 6-6 Liberty Flames Friday at the Marriott Center as the Pirates played their second close game in as many nights. "I like that we won a game in the 80's," said Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez. "We needed to win a high-scoring game. We needed to close and we came through." Seton Hall came out swinging with a full-court-defense in response to its two-point loss to Oral Roberts in Thursday's opening match of the Holiday Classic, a game in which the Pirates found themselves down by 12 early, leading by eight in the second half and tied at 74 with three seconds left before Oral Roberts hit two free throws to push the Pirates off the plank. However, Liberty was not about to go down easily as it jumped out to and early 10-7 lead and allowed only one Seton Hall field goal in the first five minutes of the game. Five of the Pirates' first seven points came from a perfect 5-for-5 from the free-throw line. In the first nine minutes of the game, with a 13-11 score in Liberty's favor, the Flames were shooting 62.5 percent from the field and had held the Pirates to just 25 percent. Free throws and steals kept Seton Hall in the game despite the shooting woes as the Pirates took a 16-13 lead with 10:36 to go after hitting two more from the line and a fast break lay-up on a Jamar-Nutter steal. After starting the game 3-for-12 from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 from the line, the Pirates went five for the next 10 and added to the team's nine steals and 14 points off of turnovers for the game to take a 25-18 lead. Seton Hall took its largest lead of the half into the locker room at the break at 42-31. By halftime the surging Pirates had improved their field-goal percentage to 39 percent and had racked up 12 steals. The Flames' field-goal percentage had dropped to 53 percent, and they had accumulated 14 turnovers. Seton Hall extended the largest lead of the game to 46-31 in the first minute of the second half with an 18-foot jumper from Nutter and two free throws from Paul Gause. Liberty's Alex McLean answered with a tough shot inside, but Seton Hall's Stan Gaines hit two more free throws on the other end hoping to stifle any hope of reversing the momentum and cut the lead back to 15. The largest lead of the game for either team came with 18 minutes to go in the game at 50-33 for Seton Hall. The momentum was reversed, though, as the Flames lowered their deficit to eight with 16 minutes to go in the game with a deep three from Anthony Smith in the corner. The lead went to six at 50-44 with a B.J. Jenkins steal and transition lay-up. Seton Hall head coach Bobby Gonzalez called time-out and told his team that the game was far from over before his team turned the ball over on the ensuing possession Liberty's McLean hit another lay-up inside to take the score to 50-46. With a 56-53 lead and 11 minutes to go in the game, the Pirates turned the ball over and gave the Flames an opportunity to pull within one or tie the game. Seton Hall responded by forcing a jump ball to get the ball back only to air ball a wide open three and give the Flames another shot. Both teams traded the next five possessions without scoring before Seton Hall's Gause was fouled on a running one-hander from the base line, made his free throw to complete the three-point play and pushed the lead back to six at 59-53. With seven minutes to go, the Flames' Larry Blair hit a turn-around one-hander to tie the game at 65 for the first tie of the game. A dunk by Seton Hall's Brian Laing gave his team the lead again and hit two free throws on the next possession, and the Pirates took a 69-65 lead. Blair proved he truly is a Flame on fire, hitting a turn-around, 20-foot jumper from the baseline as he fell to the ground to bring the game back to within two. The game was tied four more times after that, at 71,75, 77 and 79, but Liberty could never take the lead back. Laing was the Pirate that doused the Liberty's flame as he hit a tough shot in the lane, drew a foul and knocked down the free throw to take an 82-79 lead with 37.7 seconds to go in the contest. Gause extinguished the fire with a steal on Liberty's next possession and hit one of two free throws to create a two-possession game at 83-79 with 28.2 seconds to go. Another Laing lay-up in transition took the game to 85-79, and Liberty could only hit one more shot before the final buzzer, losing the heart-breaker, 85-81. In the end, Seton Hall forced a total of 20 turnovers and only gave up 10. Laing was the leading scorer of the game with 23 points and 11 rebounds, pacing four Pirates in double figures for the game. Liberty's leading scorer was Blair with 22. The Flames also had four players in double figures.
LOOKING AT SETON HALL
Seton Hall (South Orange, N.J.) is off to a 7-2 start this season. The Pirates return eight lettermen and three starters from last year's 18-12 team that earned an NCAA invitation out of the Big East Conference. The Pirates are 6-1 at home this year and 1-1 in away games, including a neutral-court loss to Virginia Tech on Dec. 21. Seton Hall's wins include victories over Penn State, St. Mary's and Pennsylvania. The Pirates have four players averaging double figures in points, led by guard Eugene Harvey at 15.8 ppg. Forward Brian Laing adds 14.8, followed by guards Jamar Nutter at 12.2 and Paul Gause at 10.3. Laing pulls down a team-high 6.8 rebounds. The Pirates are scoring 80.6 points while allowing 67.3.
With four straight wins against Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty and Oral Roberts, the Cougars are currently enjoying their longest winning streak of the season. Earlier this year with wins against Idaho State, Portland and Southern Utah, the Cougars put together a three-game win streak, which ended with a loss at Boise State. BYU had several winning streaks last season, including its longest since the 2003-04 season at six straight victories. That streak was tied for the seventh-longest active winning streak in the nation. The Cougars' prior victory streaks last year included one four-game streak, two three-game streaks and two two-game streaks. BYU won 10 of its last 13 games last year.
ON THE ROAD
BYU's win at Weber State marked the Cougars' first road win of the season. BYU is now 1-3 on the road this year with a season-opening loss at current No. 1 UCLA, a Nov. 29 setback at Boise State and an overtime defeat at Lamar. The Cougars lost their only neutral court so far this season with a loss against No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. The victory over the Wildcats snapped a three-game road losing streak dating back to last year's season-ending defeat at Houston in the NIT and a five-game nonconference road losing streak since defeating Washington State last year in Spokane Arena on Nov. 22, 2005. BYU finished last year 6-8 away from home, including a 4-4 mark during MWC play.
BOUNCE BACK COUGARS
The Cougars' back-to-back losses vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar marked the first time since the 2004-05 season BYU has lost consecutive regular-season games. Prior to the Lamar loss, BYU had bounced back from each of its two losses this season with wins, including back-to-back victories after their loss at Boise State on Nov. 29. BYU recovered from its season-opening loss at then No. 5 UCLA (now ranked No. 1 in the polls) with three straight wins. Last year with its 20-9 overall record, BYU suffered consecutive defeats only once -- against Utah in the Mountain West Conference Tournament and at Houston in the NIT in the last two games of the year, having bounced back from each prior loss with a victory.
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
This year the Cougars are scoring 76.5 points and allowing 66.6 points. BYU is 8-0 when opponents score less than 70 points this year and 1-4 when they score 70 or more. BYU is 9-1 when it scores 70 or more points (exception at Lamar) and 0-3 when scoring less than 70. Last year BYU was 12-0 when holding opponents under 70 points and 8-9 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold. Cougar foes averaged 71.7 points per game last year. BYU was also 17-4 when scoring 70 or more points and 3-5 when falling below the 70-point mark. The Cougars led the MWC in scoring last year, averaging 76.2 ppg, and scored 100 points in conference play for the first time since Feb. 10, 1994 in their home game against league-champion San Diego State.
CLEANING OFF THE GLASS
BYU is 9-0 this season when outrebounding its opponents and 0-4 when losing the battle of the boards. Sophomore Trent Plaisted leads BYU with 7.1 rpg, followed by senior Keena Young at 6.8 rpg.
JUST A LITTLE LONGER
The Cougars have already played three overtime games this season, losing 86-77 at Lamar and winning 84-78 against Idaho State on Nov. 18 and 73-69 at Weber State on Dec. 2. This is the first season since 2001-02 that BYU has played multiple extra period games in one year (BYU was 0-3 in overtime that season). The Cougars' loss at Lamar ended a five-game overtime winning streak dating back to March 14, 2003, an 86-80 setback against Colorado State at the MWC Tournament. BYU is 50-45 (.526) all-time when playing past regulation.
VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
BYU has faced two ranked opponents this season. The Cougars lost 76-61 to then-No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. BYU suffered a season-opening (82-69) loss at then-No. 5 UCLA on Nov. 15. BYU's last win over a ranked team came at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Dec. 6, 2003 with a 76-71 victory vs. 25th-ranked Oklahoma State, who advanced to the Final Four that season.
BYU men's basketball coach Dave Rose announced Nov. 23 that 6-foot-6 freshman forward Jonathan Tavernari would not redshirt this season. Tavernari saw his first action on Nov. 24 when the Cougars hosted Southern Utah in the Marriott Center. A native of Sao Bernardo, Brazil, Tavernari did not play in BYU's first three regular-season games as a potential redshirt while a review of his two years of high school in the United States was being conducted by the NCAA. Freshmen swingmen Jordan Cameron and Brock Zylstra are expected to redshirt this season.
AINGE, BALDERSON, YOUNG SERVE AS TEAM CAPTAINS
Coach Rose and the Cougar coaching staff have announced this year's team captains, calling upon seniors Austin Ainge, Jimmy Balderson and Keena Young to lead this year's team. "I'm proud of the way these three players have developed and of their dedication to our team," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "They are totally commitment to this program and have earned the respect and confidence of their teammates. They will provide us with good leadership as we work together as a team to achieve our goals." Ainge, a co-captain of last season's team, proved a valuable asset off the bench in 2005-06 after starting at the point guard spot and receiving All-Mountain West Conference honorable mention as a sophomore. Last season he ranked 11th in the MWC in assists while helping BYU lead the league in both scoring and assists. Balderson also provided a spark off the bench for the Cougars last season as he scored in double figures in 11 of the last 13 games and was the only player in the conference averaging more than 10 points per game off the bench with a 10.2 scoring average. Young led BYU in rebounding as a sophomore before becoming an All-MWC Third Team pick last year after starting the last 14 games of the year and ranking second on the team in rebounding (5.8 rpg) and third in scoring (10.3 ppg).
BYU's most consistent player this year has been senior forward Keena Young, who has scored in double figures in 12 out of 13 games. He leads BYU in scoring (15.8) and is second in rebouding (6.8). The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring five times and rebounding six times, including his career-high 16-rebound performance against Oral Roberts for his fourth double-double of the season (21 points). His 27 points at Weber State is the most by a Cougar since Dec. 13, 2003 (Rafael Araujo - 28).
Senior Austin Ainge is averaging a team-best 3.6 assists and is second on the team in three-pointers (15). He scored 11 points off the bench-- all in the first half -- to give BYU early control of the game against Utah State. 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 six outings.
DOING IT ALL
Lee Cummard contributes across the box score and on the defensive end of the floor for BYU. In the BYU Holiday Classic, he is averaging 9.0 points, 7.5 rebounds and 5.0 assists. He came one rebound away from the first double-double of his career against Oral Roberts with 13 points and a career-high 9 rebounds to go along with 5 assists. He equaled his career-best 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting in BYU's win over Western Oregon. He added six rebounds for his the third straight game with at least six boards and contributed a game-best four assists (along with fellow Cougar Jimmy Balderson) to total at least three assists in five straight contests. He also came up with three steals in his 20 minutes on the floor. He has had at least one steal in 10 straight games. On the year, Cummard averages 9.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.5 blocks while shooting .517 from the floor, .436 on threes and .833 from the line. One of his defensively highlights was helping hold Utah State'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.
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 (11.8) and is the team's top rebounder (7.1). In the last seven games, he is averaging 14.0 points and 8.1 rebounds for the Cougars. 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."
BYU BASKETBALL ON TELEVISION
BYU's next televised game will be on Jan. 6 when BYU hosts reigning MWC champion San Diego State to open conference play. The game will be aired nationally on VERSUS. The Mountain West Conference's 2006-07 men's basketball television schedule features an unprecedented 99 games on national and regional television, including 65 of the 72 conference contests and all eight MWC Championship matchups. The television coverage provided by the MWC broadcast partners in 2006-07 is more than triple the national and regional telecasts MWC men's basketball has received in previous years. Seventy-five games will be shown on the MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.), with 17 to be broadcast nationally on College Sports Television (CSTV) and seven on VERSUS (formerly OLN). BYU will have 18 regular-season games televised as part of the 2006-07 MWC television schedule, including three games on CSTV, one on VERSUS and 14 on the mtn. With the exception of a road game at TCU, BYU's entire conference schedule will be televised in 2007. BYU's nonconference games featured in the MWC broadcast schedule include home dates with Southern Utah (Nov. 24, 8 p.m. MT), San Jose State (Dec. 6, 7 p.m. MT) and Utah State (Dec. 16, 4 p.m. MT). While not part of the MWC television package, BYU's regular-season opener at 2006 NCAA runner-up UCLA on Nov. 15 was televised on Fox Sports Net Prime Ticket, while the BYU-Michigan State matchup on Dec. 9 at The Palace at Auburn Hills was carried on ESPN2. BYU's game at Boise State on Nov. 29 was aired on KTVB in Boise and the matchup with Weber State was carried in Utah on KJZZ-TV.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 22 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the fourth-longest active home victory streak in the nation. BYU has won its first eight home games this season after going 14-1 at home last year including wins in their last 14 straight home contests.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (As of Saturday Dec. 30, 2006)
Wins Team This year Next home game
45 Gonzaga 5-0 Jan. 6 vs. Loyola Marymount
30 Connecticut 11-0 Jan. 2 vs. South Florida
23 Air Force 6-0 Jan. 6 vs. UNLV
22 BYU 8-0 Saturday vs. Seton Hall
21 Memphis 8-0 Jan. 4 vs. Cincinnati
19 George Washington 4-0 Jan. 3 vs. Fordham
18 Northwestern St. 4-0 Jan. 11 vs. Texas A&M Corpus Christi
BYU has led at the half in 10 of the team's first 13 games. The Cougars' 82-69 loss at UCLA after leading 39-36 at the half marked the first time since the 2004-05 season that BYU has lost when leading at the half. The Cougars are now 9-1 when leading at the half and 0-3 when trailing this season and have had a double-digit lead at the break four times. Last year, BYU was 14-0 when leading at the half, 5-9 when trailing and 1-0 when tied. Of the 14 games in which they led at the half, the Cougars led by double digits six times.