Senior Vuk Ivanovic leads the MWC in field-goal percentage after going 4-for-4 from the field at Long Beach State. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
BYU GAME #2 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (1-0)
IDAHO STATE BENGALS (0-1)
Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2007
Marriott Center (22,700)
7:05 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (46-18 in fourth season; same overall)
ISU, Joe O'Brien (13-18 in second season; same overall)
BYU leads, 28-6, with the Cougars winning 84-78 in overtime last season in Provo
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/basketball_m/
BYU HOSTS IDAHO STATE WEDNESDAY AT 7 P.M.
Coming off its largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since 1995, BYU will make its home debut hosting Idaho State on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Cougars defeated defending Big West Champion Long Beach State, 74-34, in Long Beach, Calif., on Saturday in their season opener to begin the year 1-0 for the first time since the 2003-04 season. Idaho State dropped its season opener, 58-43, at Iowa on Friday. Wednesday's game will not be televised but can be heard live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 6 p.m. MT on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the Internet at KSL.com.
WEDNESDAY WHITE OUT & WHEELCHAIR BASKETBALL
BYU Athletics is hoping to "White Out" the Marriott Center for Wednesday's game against Idaho State, encouraging all fans to wear white. The first 15,000 fans in the Marriott Center will receive a free t-shirt courtesy of Omniture. At halftime, members of the United States Wheel Chair Basketball Team and Team Utah will demonstrate their abilities in a scrimmage against Team Cosmo.
BYU will play its first game of the 2007 Las Vegas Invitational, hosting Jackson State (Miss.) on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- 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.
-- BYU went 17-0 at home last year and enters the 2007-08 season with the nation's second-longest active home victory streak at 31 games.
-- 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 ISU
The Bengals return two starters among seven letterwinners from last year's team that finished 13-17 overall and 8-8 in the Big Sky conference, tied for fifth place. Idaho State dropped its season opener, 58-43, at Iowa on Friday after shooting 1-for-20 from three-point range. Junior guard Matt Stucki is the team's top returning scorer with 7.9 points per game in 2006-07 to go along with 3.8 rebounds per contest. Stucki recorded nine points and three boards in ISU's season opener. Senior forward Logan Kinghorn was right behind Stucki last season with 7.8 ppg while posting 4.5 rpg. Junior Lucas Steijn, a 6-foot-11 forward, led the Bengals against the Hawkeyes with 10 points on 5-for-9 shooting from the field and a team-best six rebounds. Junior forward Chron Tatum also contributed 10 points in the loss with five rebounds. The Bengals recorded 10 steals while forcing 16 turnovers but shot just 32.7 percent in the game.
ISU'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 04 Logan Kinghorn 6-5 215 Sr. 3.0 4.0
F 25 Chron Tatum 6-7 220 Jr. 10.0 5.0
C 14 Lucas Steijn 6-11 240 Jr. 10.0 6.0
G 31 Matt Stucki 6-6 210 Jr. 9.0 3.0
G 32 Cory O'Brien 6-4 230 Sr. 6.0 1.0
ISU'S LAST OUTING -- BENGALS DROP OPENER IN GAME OF THREES
Iowa City, IA -- Idaho State held the Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big 10 to just 58 points and forced 17 turnovers, but a dismal 1-for-20 night from three-point range proved to be ISU's undoing as the Bengals dropped their season opener 58-43 in Iowa City on Friday night in a game broadcast in HD on the Big Ten Network. Statistically the Bengals did well, except for the three-point stats, and those were telling numbers. The Hawkeyes (1-0), who won their 45th consecutive home opener, hit three early threes to take a 13-4 lead before ISU's Matt Stucki answered with a straight away three of his own to cut it to 13-7. However, the Bengals wouldn't make another three, missing their final 17 attempts, including the final 11 they attempted in the first half. Meanwhile, the Hawkeyes got a career night from Justin Johnson, who was 7-for-12 from deep, the seven equaling the third-most in Hawkeye history. Down 15 at the break, ISU cut the lead back down to 11 at the 13:55 mark of the second half on a Stucki jumper, but Iowa answered with an old-fashioned three-point play by Chris Tate, and then Chris Bohall scored immediately following that, pushing the lead back to 16, and it stayed near there the rest of the game. The opener marked a Homecoming for most of the ISU coaching staff, as Joe O'Brien named the sidelines at Southeastern Iowa Community College in Burling just an hour down the road, winning three JUCO national titles, and assistants Steve Swanson and Geoff Alexander also spent time at SEICC. Also, Director of Operations Cody VanFleet graduated from Iowa in 2003, and O'Brien's oldest son Eric is currently enrolled at Iowa, although he sat at the end of the ISU bench wearing Idaho State gear. ISU opened their only lead of the game at 4-2 on a Stucki jumper and a Chron Tatum jumper. Tatum and fellow JC transfer Lucas Steijn tied for the team lead with 10 points each, and Steijn led ISU in rebounds with six. The Bengals were outrebounded by the bigger Hawkeyes by just 11 at 39-28, and ISU forced 17 turnovers while committing just nine themselves. Iowa shot .457 for the game, but just .400 in the second half. The major factor in the game was the three-pointers. Sophomore Austin Kilpatrick, who was .444 from the three last year for one of the top 10 shooting seasons in school history, was 0-for-7 from deep, and he wasn't the only one. Cory O'Brien, who hit all three of his two-point shots, was 0-for-3 from deep, and Logan Kinghorn, Tatum, and Amorrow Morgan were all 0-for-2. "There were a lot of positives for us," said O'Brien. "We turned it over only nine times, gave up zero fast break points, we gave them only six second chance points, and we scored more from the two then they did, as well as from the line. We did everything on our checklist except shoot and defend the three."
BYU owns a 28-6 all-time series lead over Idaho State, including a 13-2 mark in Provo and a 5-0 record in the Marriott Center. The Cougars have won the last three meetings in the series after the Bengals won 94-87 in 1977 to stop a 15-game BYU winning streak over ISU. BYU won the last outing, 84-78, in overtime in the Cougars' home opener last season on Nov. 18, 2006. BYU and Idaho State also met to open the Cougar home season on Nov. 26, 1976, a 102-84 BYU win. Despite a losing record in Provo, the Bengals do have fond memories of the Marriott Center dating back to a March 16, 1977 NCAA West Regional Semifinal game in which they beat UCLA, 76-75 to advance to the Elite Eight.
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"They played us really tough last year. It was tough for us to even get it to overtime. I reminded our players of that after the Long Beach State game. We have to get ready for another tough game."
LAST YEAR VS. ISU -- BALDERSON LEADS COUGARS IN OVERTIME THRILLER
PROVO -- BYU defeated Idaho State in thrilling fashion Saturday evening at the Marriott Center, as the Cougars posted an 84-78 overtime victory. With the win, BYU climbs to 1-1, while Idaho State falls to 1-2 on the season. Jimmy Balderson paced the Cougars with 23 points, while Keena Young added 18 points and 10 rebounds to record the fourth double-double of his career. Idaho State's Akbar Abdul-Ahad led all scorers with 26 points on the evening. Austin Ainge posted a game-high four assists. BYU got off to a fast start, jumping out to an early 8-0 lead, which included two steals and a block. Trent Plaisted started the Cougar scoring with a baseline dunk 15 seconds into the game followed by a BYU steal that resulted in a Young jumper. Moments later, Plaisted blocked Idaho State's John Ofoegbu, resulting in another bucket from Young. Balderson and Lee Cummard teamed up to score the final bucket of the run. Balderson made a steal and flipped the ball up court to Cummard, who netted the layup. Ofoegbu finally put the Bengals on the board at the 15:47 mark, scoring back-to-back layups. Matt Stucki then hit a three pointer for Idaho State, drawing the score even, 10-10, with just under 14 minutes remaining in the half. Cummard immediately responded with an offensive putback to regain the Cougar lead, 12-10. Austin Ainge added a spark for BYU when he entered the game at the 11-minute mark, going 3-for-5 from behind the arc overall and converting his first three attempts. With nine minutes remaining in the half, Ainge brought the ball down the floor, hesitated at the free-throw line and lobbed a pass to a streaking Malaman, giving the Cougars a nine-point lead, 25-16. Balderson extended the lead to 12 points with 6:47 left in the half. He received the ball on the left wing, slipped past a Bengal defender, drove to the opposite side of the basket and layed the ball in. Balderson was fouled on the shot and converted the three-point play. David Schroeder then nailed a much-needed three pointer for Idaho State, but Ainge quickly responded with a three-point bucket of his own. The Bengals held on for the last shot of the half with Austin Kilpatrick draining a three-pointer to send Idaho State into the half down 13 points, 42-29. Idaho State started the second half on fire, going on a 24-5 run during the first 11 minutes. BYU went just 1-for-10 from the field to open the half. The Bengals started the half with a free throw from David Schroeder, an offensive putback by Ofoegbu and a layup from Logan Kinghorn. BYU finally got on the board three minutes into the half when Malaman hit a streaking Balderson for a layup, giving the Cougars a seven-point lead, 44-36. Kinghorn then scored six straight points to bring the Bengals to within two, 44-42. Abdul-Ahad tied the game at 45 points apiece with 11:33 remaining and then scored another jumper at the 9:50 mark to give the Bengals their first lead of the game, 48-47. Balderson broke the Cougar slump with eight minutes remaining, nailing a three-pointer from the right baseline. The bucket cut Idaho State's lead to three, 53-50. BYU came alive with five minutes left, sparked by a Plaisted free throw and buckets from Broadus and Young. A three pointer from Balderson moments later drew BYU to within two points at 60-58. Broadus regained the BYU lead at the 3:53 mark when he netted a three-point shot. Balderson followed that up with another three-pointer. Ofoegbu kept Idaho State's hopes alive, closing the gap to one-point at 64-63. With 24 seconds remaining in regulation, Broadus hit two free throws to give BYU a three-point advantage, 66-63. Idaho State's Abdul-Ahad then hit a three-pointer with six seconds left to tie the score at 68 points after two complete halves of action. BYU started off the overtime period with a bucket from Young, but seconds later Plaisted was called for his fifth foul of the evening. The Cougars were forced to play the rest of the game without the sophomore standout. Broadus netted a three-pointer with 3:39 remaining, giving BYU a four-point lead, 74-40. Balderson sealed the deal with 27 seconds remaining when he hit his fourth three-pointer of the night. Bengal head coach Joe O'Brien said he was pleased with how hard his team fought in the second half. BYU, which shot just 28 percent during the second half, managed to hit 47.4 percent of its shots on the evening, while the Bengals shot 44.4 percent from the field.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "We knew they we'e going to be a quality team and that we were going to be tested. Tonight was good. Our guys got in a fight; they battled, competed and made big shots and free throws. Our guys were determined and fought until the end. There was a good atmosphere tonight for an early November game."
-- "In the second half, it took us a long time to get started. We went four, five, six, minutes only getting one field goal. We played on our heels. They had some good double teams that created turnovers."
-- "Keena battled the whole night and stepped up for us. I was proud of his efforts. Jimmy showed a lot of leadership tonight, and Austin Ainge did a good job in the first half."
-- "Tonight came down to the guys making big plays and they did."
Idaho State Head Coach Joe O'Brien
-- "We've played two really good teams this week (No. 16 Marquette and BYU). I am proud of where we are at but frustrated at not being to pull one out (losing in overtime at Marquette and again at BYU)."
-- "I was really pleased with our defensive effort. It was a tale of two halves."
-- "BYU is a great shooting team. They are very mature and very experienced. They run into their offense and into transition so well. We had to run a zone just to be competitive."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Vuk Ivanovic -- points (7), rebounds (3)
-- Individual Season Highs: Keena Young -- points (18), rebounds (10); Jimmy Balderson -- points (23), rebounds (6); Lee Cummard -- rebounds (6); Fernando Malaman -- points (6)
-- The overtime period marked the first time in the BYU-Idaho State series that the two teams have gone to an extra period. BYU's last overtime game was an 89-80 win on Jan. 25, 2006 against TCU.
-- BYU's win against Idaho State in the Marriott Center extended the Cougars' home win streak to 15 games. The mark is currently the seventh-longest active home win streak in the nation.
-- The Cougars reached the 40-point threshold in a half for the first time this season with a 42-29 halftime lead against Idaho State. BYU scored at least 40 points in a half 26 times last year, reaching that mark six times in the first half and 20 in the second.
-- With 18 points and 10 rebounds, Young recorded the fourth double-double of his career and his first of the season. Young followed up his 6-for-8 shooting performance at UCLA with a 6-for-10 night against the Bengals. Young made his first four shot attempts and was the only player to score in double figures in the first half with 10 points.
-- Young also extended his free-throw shooting streak to 10 straight with a 6-for-6 performance from the charity stripe against the Bengals. Young was 4-for-4 from the line at UCLA.
-- After going 2-for-3 from three-point range against UCLA, helping BYU shoot 8-for-9 from long range in the first half, Austin Ainge's hot hand from three-point range continued against Idaho State as he drained his first three attempts from behind the arc, finishing the night 3-for-5 from long range.
BYU'S LAST OUTING - COUGARS WIN BIG IN SEASON OPENER
LONG BEACH -- The BYU men's basketball team came out firing and never looked back as the Cougars opened the season with a 74-34 win at Long Beach State Saturday. The 40-point victory marked BYU's largest winning margin over a Division I opponent since 1995. Junior Lee Cummard led the Cougars with 15 points on 6-for-12 shooting while adding nine rebounds. Fellow junior and 2007 All-Mountain West Conference selection Trent Plaisted also scored in double figures with 12 points. 2007 MWC Freshman of the Year tied with Cummard for game-high rebounding honors with nine boards. BYU opened the season hot with a 10-0 run in the first three minutes of the game, including four points and an assist from Cummard. Long Beach State finally got on the scoreboard at the 16-minute mark, but Cummard quickly took it the other way with a driving layin to put the Cougars up 12-2. Jimmer Fredette and Chris Collinsworth made their respective Cougar debuts early on as they both checked in at the 15:31 mark. Collinsworth immediately made his presence felt with two rebounds, including an offensive board leading to a bucket for Plaisted and a 14-2 BYU lead. Jonathan Tavernari got the Cougars going again with a three-pointer after a four-minute scoring drought that saw BYU miss seven shots. However, the Cougars stormed back with four straight makes from long range, including two from Fredette, to take a 27-4 lead. Plaisted then made some noise of his own with a dunk at the 6:15 mark to cap a 14-0 Cougar run. The BYU momentum continued with a three-pointer from Ben Murdock, which gave the Cougars a 26-point lead that turned into a 36-12 halftime advantage. Long Beach State made just three buckets in the first 20 minutes of the game as BYU allowed its fewest points in a half since giving up a record-low 10 points against Air Force in 2003. LBSU made its first three-pointer of the game to open the second half after going 0-for-11 before the break. Turnovers plagued BYU in the early going of the second half until Cummard scored the first field goal of the period for the Cougars at the 15:30 mark. Murdock made it back-to-back scores with a three-point play before Plaisted converted one of his own to put BYU on top 47-19. After the then-game-high 28-point lead, the 49ers attempted to comeback with a 6-1 run, including their first back-to-back buckets of the game. But three-point makes from Cummard and Fredette put the Cougars up by 29 points at 54-25 as the clock ticked past the 10-minute mark. Moments later, it was a 60-29 lead after freshman Nick Martineau scored his first bucket as a Cougar. Senior Vuk Ivanovic heated up in the last 10 minutes of the game with six points in a three-minute span, sparking a 14-0 Cougar run. The spurt featured seven points from Collinsworth and was capped by a dunk from Chris Miles to give BYU a 74-34 lead, which would hold until the final buzzer.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I'm really pleased with our players, especially with their intensity and how hard they played. There are a lot of things we can work on to play better, but I was excited to watch them in this situation, our first game of the year and our first road game. A lot of times you have first-game jitters, but our guys did a good job of playing hard."
-- "I spent a lot of time last night running a lot of scenarios in my head about how this game would go and the things we could do, especially with this many inexperienced players. I didn't put this scenario together. To come out and get a big lead like that and basically be able to substitute as freely as we did was great."
-- "The thing I'm pleased about with the first half and our new guys going in there was the opportunity they got to go in and play and get those first-game jitters out. You could tell there was a lot of emotion at play for those guys, but once they settled down a little bit, they played the way we know they can in the second half."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Scouts from six NBA teams attended the game as the Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Memphis Grizzlies, Los Angeles Clippers, Detroit Pistons and Dallas Mavericks were represented.
-- BYU is now 73-33 all-time in season openers and 15-15 when opening on the road. The Cougars are also now 8-3 in openers since Dave Rose has been at BYU. The victory against Long Beach State was Rose's first season-opening win as the Cougars' head coach.
-- The Cougars are now 1-0 this season when leading at the half after a 36-12 lead at the break in Long Beach. BYU was 22-4 last year when holding the halftime advantage.
-- BYU's 40-point margin of victory (74-34) was its largest winning margin against a Div. I opponent since a 41-point victory (110-69) against Morgan State on Dec. 28, 1995.
-- Ten of the 12 players who saw action in the game scored, led by Cummard with 15 points.
-- The 12 points given up by the Cougars in the first 20 minutes of the game marked the fewest points allowed in a half by BYU since allowing a record-low 10 points against Air Force in 2003. Long Beach State shot just 11 percent in the first half on 3-of-27 shooting.
-- BYU scored the first 10 points of the game before Long Beach State got on the scoreboard at the 16-minute mark after missing its first five shots.
-- After missing their first five three-point attempts of the game, the Cougars made their next five shots from long range, including two from Jimmer Fredette, two from Tavernari and one from Murdock, during a 17-2 run.
-- Cummard scored four of the Cougars' first five points and six of the first 12 with a 3-for-3 start.
-- True freshmen Jimmer Fredette and Chris Collinsworth made their respective Cougar debuts as they both checked in at the 15:31 mark of the first half. Collinsworth immediately made his presence felt with two rebounds, including an offensive board leading to a bucket for Plaisted. Fredette also made noise in the first half with two three-point makes during a 14-0 Cougar run.
-- Michael Loyd, Jr., another true freshman, made his first regular-season appearance in a BYU uniform at the 13:25 mark while fellow freshman Nick Martineau entered the game at the 6:15 mark in the first half. Archie Rose became the final eligible Cougar to make his BYU debut with four minutes to play in the second half.
-- Returned missionary Chris Miles also saw first-half action for the Cougars for the first time since the 2004-05 season.
EXHIBITION #2 - COUGARS FINISH EXHIBITION PLAY WITH EMPHATIC WIN
PROVO -- The BYU men's basketball team finished its exhibition play on Wednesday night at the Marriott Center defeating Division II powerhouse Bryant University, 83-53. The Bulldogs have gone to the Div. II NCAA Tournament four straight times, making it all the way to the championship game in 2005. But the Cougars showed their dominance early and never looked back. "I thought we were more consistent tonight," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "We did a better job of executing our defensive game plan." The Cougars forced the Bulldogs into 20 turnovers and 33 percent shooting in the game. Though the Cougars had 17 turnovers of their own, a 43 percent shooting night was too much for Bryant to handle. Seventeen points from BYU sophomore guard Jonathan Tavernari and 12 points and seven rebounds from Trent Plaisted lifted the Cougars past the Bulldogs. Bryant came out shooting well from behind the arc in the first half with Peter Lambert and Jon Ezeokoli each netting a three-pointer. The Cougars responded well with a three-pointer from Tavernari and four points in the post from Plaisted, giving BYU an 11-8 lead at the 15-minute mark. Tavernari continued to put points on the board early in the first half, scoring nine of the Cougars' first 18 points. But a balanced scoring attack from the Bulldogs kept them within four points at the eight-minute mark. With six minutes left in the first half, BYU senior Vuk Ivanovic made a key steal that led to a Tavernari layup on the other end. The transition bucket gave BYU a 28-18 lead. A three-pointer from Ezeokoli kept the Bulldogs within striking distance to end the first half, but the Cougars maintained a 39-27 lead going into the locker room. Tavernari led all BYU scorers with 15 first-half points. BYU shot 46 percent from the field in the half. Ezeokoli and Chris Lambert led the Bulldogs with eight points apiece. Plaisted scored six of the Cougars' first nine points to start the second half, giving the Cougars the jumpstart they would need to put away the Bulldogs for good. Bryant unsuccessfully attempted to chip away at the Cougars' 20-point lead throughout the second half. BYU's defense limited the Bulldogs to 27 percent shooting in the half.
EXHIBITION #1 - PLAISTED LEADS FOUR PLAYERS IN DOUBLE FIGURES AGAINST LAVAL
PROVO -- The BYU men's basketball team opened exhibition play with a 91-60 win against Canada's Laval University on Friday in the Marriott Center. Junior Trent Plaisted led four Cougars in double figures with 18 points. Sam Burgess and Jonathan Tavernari contributed with 15 points each, and Lee Cummard added 11. Tavernari also recorded a game-high eight rebounds. BYU held Laval to a .368 field-goal percentage and scored 28 points off of turnovers. The opening tip went the Cougars' way and from there the team never looked back. Despite being unable to convert on its first possession, two steals by Lee Cummard and Sam Burgess gave the Cougars the early lead, which they would never lose. Burgess and Plaisted combined to score BYU's first nine points. Newcomer Jimmer Fredette's first touch of the game resulted in a turn-around jumper to give the Cougars a 19-8 lead. Burgess scored his third three-pointer with 9:30 to play in the first half, increasing BYU's lead to 10 points. The physical play of both teams came to a head when Murdock and Fredette collided on the floor. Murdock received three stitches to his forehead, and Fredette received 13. Though Murdock returned to the game, the coaches chose to hold Fredette out, but he is expected to play again on Wednesday. BYU's good defensive play and two three-pointers by Tavernari put the Cougars up 35-22. However, plagued by constant traveling calls and turnovers, both teams were unable to establish a run despite BYU having a 42-29 lead going into the half. The Cougars opened the second half with a forced Laval turnover and dunk by Cummard. Momentum began to shift in BYU's favor after Plaisted went 2-for-3 from the free-throw line in two trips, and Cummard recorded his second dunk of the night with less than 17 minutes to play in the game. Not wanting to be left out of the dunking action, Plaisted knocked one down to put the Cougars up 52-34. He went on to score 10 points in BYU's 18-5 scoring run to begin the second half. Two breakaway lay-ins by Burgess and Michael Loyd Jr. increased the BYU lead to 28 points. Tavernari recorded his first block of the night with 6:10 to play in the game and continued his contributions with a three-pointer on BYU's next possession. Vuk Ivanovic tipped in a missed attempt by Burgess from beyond the arc, while Loyd scored two after forcing a Laval turnover. BYU's 34 point lead, its largest of the night, came with 2:35 left in the game.
TAVERNARI HELPS WHITE TEAM CLAIM VICTORY AT COUGAR TIPOFF
PROVO -- The BYU men's basketball team gave Cougar fans a glimpse of what to expect from its 2007-08 squad when the team split in half to participate in a full-length scrimmage on Wednesday at the annual Cougar Tipoff. 2007 Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year Jonathan Tavernari led the White team to a 77-64 victory with a game-high 27 points and 12 rebounds. "I'm pleased with Jonathan [Tavernari]," said head coach Dave Rose. "He shot the ball well." Other players for the White team included recently returned-missionary Chris Miles, Sam Burgess, Ben Murdock, Archie Rose, Nick Martineau, Matt Pinegar and Gavin MacGregor. The Blue team consisted of returning starters Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted along with newcomers Jimmer Fredette, Chris Collinsworth, Lamont Morgan Jr., Michael Loyd Jr. and James Anderson. A three-pointer by Burgess gave the White team its first points of the night to start the scrimmage. Collinsworth answered on the opposite end of the floor on the Blue team's next possession. The threes continued to fall for the White team, however, totaling eight in the first half alone and giving the team a 38-29 lead going into the locker room. The White team continued to dominate in the second half with its largest lead of 17 coming with 13:49 to play in the game. With just under nine minutes to play, the Blue team attempted its comeback, fueled by a three-pointer by Loyd. Fredette would go on to score the Blue team's next 14 points, bringing the score to 66-58. "Jimmer [Fredette] really settled down in the second half and played with more confidence," said Rose. "I like our competitive spirit. We have some talented offensive players that can score baskets." The Blue team's efforts would fall short, coming to within only six points.
MEN'S BASKETBALL HONORED FOR HIGH ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT
The NCAA honored the BYU men's basketball team with a public recognition award for the Cougars' Academic Progress Rate scores. BYU posted multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent of all men's basketball teams in the country. "The athletes have really worked hard at striving to be good students," said E.J. Caffaro, Student Athlete Academic Center director and men's basketball academic coach. "We've worked hard to put together a strong academic program. Their high score is a result of their hard work and the success of that program." Out of the 336 Division I men's basketball programs in the country, BYU is one of 35 to be honored by the NCAA and the only basketball team from Mountain West Conference to receive the recognition. The Cougars are also one of only 10 teams to earn high academic achievement and also qualify for the past year's NCAA Tournament. Other NCAA Tournament teams who also received public recognition awards were Belmont (NCAA No. 15 seed), Holy Cross (No. 13 seed), Davidson (No. 13 seed), Illinois (No. 12 seed), North Carolina (No. 1 seed), Notre Dame (No. 6 seed), Pennsylvania (No. 14 seed), Villanova (No. 9 seed) and Xavier (No. 9 seed).
BURGESS, CUMMARD, PLAISTED NAMED TEAM CAPTAINS
BYU men's basketball head coach Dave Rose has announced that senior Sam Burgess and juniors Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard have been selected to serve as captains on this year's team. "Each of our captains have qualities we really want in all of our players," Rose said. "Sam is a hard worker and tough competitor who leads by example. Trent and Lee have proven their leadership ability both on and off the court over the past two years." Both Cummard and Plaisted are two year starters who received all-conference accolades last season after helping the Cougars win their first outright league title since 1988 and achieve their first national ranking since 1993. A two-time All-MWC Second Team selection and Freshman All-American, Plaisted was second on the team last year in both scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg). The junior forward/center from San Antonio scored in double figures 21 times while posting three double-doubles on the year in 33 starts. Cummard was named to the All-MWC Third Team last season after starting every game for the Cougars. He averaged 9.4 points, third on the team, on a team-best .553 shooting mark from the field. The junior guard from Mesa, Ariz., also led the team in steals and minutes, was second in assists and blocks and was third in rebounds with 5.6 per contest. He ranked among the top 15 in the conference in seven statistical categories. After redshirting the 2005-06 season, Burgess provided a spark off the bench for the Cougars last year, playing in 31 of 34 games and averaging 3.6 points and 1.5 rebounds in 10.2 minutes of action. The senior guard from Alpine, Utah, came on especially strong during BYU's run to the conference championship, playing double-digit minutes in eight of the Cougars' last 12 outings. The best-conditioned perimeter player on the team the past two seasons, Burgess averaged 15.0 points and 5.2 assists per game while shooting .615 from the floor during BYU's successful tour of France over the summer.
IVANOVIC TABBED FOR SERBIAN NATIONAL TEAM
BYU senior Vuk Ivanovic was selected to play on the Serbian National Team for the European Championship. The 6-foot-10 forward/center was one of 32 players on the Serbian roster, including NBA veterans Marko Jaric (Minnesota Timberwolves), Darko Milicic (Memphis Grizzlies) and Sasha Pavlovic (Cleveland Cavaliers).
"Vuk answered my call while he was in the lab and couldn't believe that I was calling him to play for the national team," said newly appointed Serbian coach Zoran Slavnic in an interview reported by PA SportsTicker. "We need that kind of patriot, those who love their country, who are ready to play for it and who are great players." Serbia played in Group A of the EuroBasket, which began on Sept. 3, along with defending-champion Greece and Russia. Due to his commitment to the National Team, Ivanovic did not participate in BYU's foreign tour to France Aug. 15-25.
Three players plan to redshirt during the 2007-08 season. They are junior guard Lamont Morgan, Jr., freshman center James Anderson and freshman guard Matt Pinegar.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 31 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's second-longest active home victory streak. BYU 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 15 straight over nonconference opponents and has won 16 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU?is 403-116 (.776) 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 Nov. 12, 2007)
Wins Team This year Next home game
34 Memphis 2-0 Nov. 20 vs. Arkansas State
31 BYU 0-0 Nov. 14 vs. Idaho State
ON THE ROAD
The Cougars picked up their first road win of the year in their season opener at Long Beach State on Saturday, continuing their success away from the Marriott Center. BYU won five of its last seven games on the road last season including wins at then-No. 20 Air Force (62-58), at TCU (85-72), at New Mexico (70-49), at Utah (76-66) and at Wyoming (77-73) and losses at San Diego State (86-74) and at then-No. 25 UNLV (78-70)?in the MWC?Tournament Championship game. The Cougars' win in the Huntsman Center was their first since 1994, and their win at Air Force snapped the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. BYU was 6-7 on the road last year and 5-3 in conference play with a season-opening loss at then-No. 5 UCLA, a Nov. 29 setback at Boise State, an overtime win at Weber State, an overtime defeat at Lamar and league losses at UNLV and at CSU. BYU was the only Mountain West Conference team with a winning record on the road in league play last year. The Cougars were 2-2 in neutral court games last season with a loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. and against Xavier in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Ky., and wins against TCU and Wyoming in the MWC Tournament.
With 256 three-pointers made last season, BYU set a new program record in that category, surpassing the mark of 214 set in 1992. The Cougars also set a school record with 15 three-pointers against UNLV on .682 (15-for-22) shooting from long range, the third time the Cougars shot above .600 from downtown last season. 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. The Cougars ranked fifth nationally and led the MWC in three-point shooting (.415). BYU also paced the conference in three-point percentage (.457) in MWC play while Cougar players finished first (Austin Ainge - .525) and second (Mike Rose - .471) in the league in three-point shooting percentage in MWC action. Rose tied the BYU?individual record he set in 2003 with eight triples against UNLV.
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
With its 74-34 win on Saturday, BYU is now 1-0 when scoring at least 70 points and 1-0 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark. Last year the Cougars scored an MWC-leading 78.1 points and allowed 69.0 points. BYU?was 20-0 when opponents scored less than 70 points and 5-9 when they scored 70 or more. BYU was 23-6 when it scored 70 or more points and 2-3 when scoring less than 70 with both wins coming against nationally ranked Air Force. The Cougars were also 12-0 last season when scoring at least 80 points. With its scoring output, BYU?recorded its highest scoring average since 1996 (82.3 ppg) and highest scoring margin since 1993 (also +9.1).
CLEANING THE GLASS
The Cougars posted a +15 rebounding margin at Long Beach State with a 55-40 advantage on the boards, matching last year's season high of 55 boards against Seton Hall. BYU was paced by nine rebounds each from Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari and six from true freshman Chris Collinsworth. BYU was 24-2 last season when outrebounding its opponents and 1-7 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars led the MWC in rebounding average (37.4) and rebounding margin (+6.2). BYU posted its largest margin of the season with a +22 mark against then-No. 13 Air Force (42-20) and against TCU in the MWC Tournament (46-24). Senior Keena Young was fourth at 6.6 rpg while sophomore Trent Plaisted was tied for sixth on the glass at 6.2 rpg. The Cougars?recorded back-to-back season-high efforts of 52 rebounds vs. Oral Roberts and 55 against Seton Hall in the BYU Holiday Classic. BYU outrebounded the Pirates 55-34 as four Cougars had nine or more rebounds (Cummard 12, Young, Plaisted and Ainge 9).
COUGAR RECORD AMONG THE TOP IN SCHOOL HISTORY
BYU finished with a 25-9 record in 34 games last year, making it one of the best BYU teams in program history. Last year's Cougars tied for third all-time in BYU history for most overall wins. In the 105-year history of BYU men's basketball, only the 1950-51 NIT Championship team (28-9) and the 1987-88 WAC champion team (26-6) finished the year with more total wins. One other BYU team equaled the 2006-07 Cougars' 25-9 record. At 23-7 prior to postseason play, last year's BYU team was just the sixth Cougar squad to record its 23rd win prior to the end of the regular season. The Cougar record for wins in the regular season is 24 achieved three times. Last year's BYU team is also tied for sixth all-time in program history with a .735 overall winning percentage.
BYU IN HOME OPENERS
BYU is 81-24 (.771) all-time in home openers, including a 25-11 (.694) mark in the Marriott Center. The Cougars won their home opener last season with an 84-78 overtime victory over Idaho State after losing their first game played in the Marriott Center the previous two seasons. Prior to last year, BYU and Idaho State met once before to open the Cougar home season, a 102-84 BYU win on Nov. 26, 1976.
The Cougars' 40-point win (74-34) at Long Beach State on Saturday marked their largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995. BYU held LBSU to just 19.1 percent shooting from the field while besting the 49ers in the rebound column, 55-40. The Cougars held a 36-12 lead at the half after allowing LBSU to make just three shots from the field in the first 20 minutes of the game and stretched the advantage to 40 in the second half, ending the game on a 14-0 run. 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.
With its season-opening win on Saturday, BYU picked up right where it left off last season when the Cougars won 12 of their last 15 games overall with victories over New Mexico (twice), Air Force (twice), Utah (twice), UNLV, Wyoming (twice), TCU (twice) and Colorado State and losses at SDSU, at then-No. 25 UNLV and vs. Xavier. The Cougars had won eight straight prior to the SDSU loss, marking their longest victory streak since winning nine straight during the 2003-04 season and ranking tied for 10th nationally. The Cougars also won seven straight last year over Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall, San Diego State and TCU.
In BYU's first game of the year, head coach Dave Rose elected to start two seniors in Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess, returning All-Mountain West Conference selections Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard, both juniors, and 2007 MWC Freshman of the Year Jonathan Tavernari. 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 the 49ers. Rose used the same starting rotation in both of the Cougars' two exhibition games.
TRUE BLUE FANS
BYU averaged 12,073 fans last season, including the largest crowd in MWC history with 22,812 fans against Utah and another sellout crowd of 22,700 fans against then-No. 13 Air Force, marking the first time since 1981-82 that BYU has had multiple sellouts in the same year. BYU has consistently ranked among the national attendance leaders. The Cougars were second in the MWC in attendance in 2006-07 behind New Mexico's 12,853 average. BYU outdrew the regular-season conference champions of 26 of the nation's 30 other conferences as well as over half of the teams in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big East and Southeastern Conferences and all but Arizona in the Pacific-10 Conference. BYU also averaged more fans than 11 of the 16 NCAA Sweet Sixteen participants, including three of the Final Four teams.
Four Cougar freshman made their collegiate debuts at Long Beach State with results that bode well for the future. Freshmen Jimmer Fredette and Chris Collinsworth led the newcomers in scoring with nine points each. Fredette went 3-for-6 from three-point range while adding three assists. Collinsworth shot 3-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line to go along with six rebounds, including three on the offensive glass. Collinsworth immediately made his presence felt after checking in at the 15:31 mark in the first half with two rebounds, including an offensive board leading to a bucket for Trent Plaisted. Fredette also made noise in the first half with two three-point makes during a 14-0 Cougar run. Michael Loyd, Jr. had three rebounds in 11 minutes while Nick Martineau made his only shot from the field while adding two rebounds in 11 minutes.
The Cougars are now 1-0 this season when leading at the half after a 36-12 lead at the break in Long Beach, 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. Long Beach State shot just 11 percent in the first half on 3-of-27 shooting. BYU led at the half in 26 of the team's 34 games last year, including a double-digit lead 14 times. The Cougars outscored their opponents by an average of 5.9 points in the first period of play. BYU's win over Seton Hall marked the first time the Cougars won this year after trailing at the break. The second breakthrough after trailing at the break came at Wyoming. The Cougars also won at AFA after trailing at the half. BYU's 82-69 loss at UCLA after leading 39-36 at the half marked the first time since the 2004-05 season that BYU lost when leading at the half. BYU also lost at CSU, at UNLV and vs. Xavier after leading at the break. The Cougars were 22-4 when leading at the half, 3-4 when trailing and 0-1 when tied last season.
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."