GAME 21 - BYU Hosts No. 13 Air Force

BYU is planning a White Out for Saturday's game against No. 13 Air Force in the Marriott Center. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

BYU GAME #21 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (14-6, 4-2 MWC)

vs.

NO. 13 AIR FORCE FALCONS (19-2, 6-1 MWC)

Saturday, Jan. 27, 2007

Marriott Center (22,700)

Provo, Utah

4 p.m. MT

Coaches:

BYU, Dave Rose (34-15 in second season; same overall)

AFA, Jeff Bzdelik (43-9 in second season; 68-40 in fourth season overall)

Series:

BYU leads, 43-12, after splitting the season series last year with both teams winning at home

TV:

The MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.) (James Bates, play-by-play; Blaine Fowler, color)

Radio:

KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (3 p.m. MT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)

Web:

Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/

BYU HOSTS NO. 13 AIR FORCE SATURDAY

BYU (14-6, 4-2 MWC) will host league-leader and 13th-ranked Air Force (19-2, 5-1 MWC) on Saturday at 4 p.m. MT in the Marriott Center. The game will be televised on the MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.) and can be heard live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 3 p.m. on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the Internet at KSL.com. The Cougars are coming off their first league road win at New Mexico and have won nine of their last 11 games. The Falcons are coming off a home victory over TCU on Tuesday night and have won 15 of their last 16 contests. BYU owns the nation's third-longest home win streak at 26 games.

BYU Athletics is hoping to WHITE OUT the Marriott Center and is encouraging all Cougar fans to wear white to the game. BYU is also offering a special ticket promotion allowing fans to purchase tickets anywhere in the Marriott Center at a reduced price. Upper bench tickets are available for $1 in advance and $3 at the door. Upper chair reserved tickets, normally $12, will be just $5 while lower chair reserved tickets, normally $18, are $10.

UP NEXT

BYU will face in-state rival Utah on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in Salt Lake City. The game will be televised on the mtn.

COUGAR QUICK HITS

-- 2006 All-MWC Third Team forward Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (16.1) and is second on the team in rebounding (6.4). 2006 Freshman All-American Trent Plaisted leads the Cougars on the boards (6.7) and is second in scoring (12.1), while senior Austin Ainge leads BYU with 3.95 assists per game.

-- The Cougars currently lead the MWC in scoring (77.6), field-goal percentage defense (.422), rebounding average (38.5) and assists (16.35) in overall play. In league action, BYU paces the conference in scoring (80.2), scoring margin (+9.2), three-point shooting (.514) and assists (18.2).

-- With 26 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's third-longest active home winning streak. BYU is 12-0 at home this season, 2-5 on the road and 0-1 on a neutral court.

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

LOOKING AT AIR FORCE

Air Force (No. 13 Coaches Poll/No. 16 AP Poll) is 19-2 this season and 6-1 in MWC play with its only two losses coming against Duke and at Utah, a game the Utes won 85-79 while shooting 70.7 percent from the field. Prior to the Utah loss, the Falcons had won 13 straight games and been ranked as high as No. 11 nationally. AFA is led by senior forward Dan Nwaelele with 15.0 points per game on 58.1 percent shooting from the floor, which ranks 34th in the nation. Nwaelele, who is one of four Falcons who have started all 21 games for the Academy, also shoots .505 from three-point range while adding 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game. Senior forward Jacob Burtschi is not far behind in the scoring column as he contributes 14.3 ppg on .522 shooting to go along with a team-best 5.6 rpg. He is also one of five Falcons dishing out at least two assists per contest with an average of 2.6. Senior guard Matt McCraw is AFA's leading assist man with an even 3.0 while adding 12.3 ppg, third on the team, and 3.8 rpg. Junior guard Tim Anderson tallies 9.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.8 apg and 1.5 steals per game. As a team, the Falcons are averaging 72.6 ppg on .523 shooting from the field, including a .440 mark from three-point range, while holding opponents to 55.2 ppg on .426 shooing. Air Force ranks among the top 10 in the nation in seven statistical categories including turnovers (2nd), field-goal percentage (3rd), three-point field-goald percentage (4th), scoring defense (6th), free-throw percentage (7th), three-pointers made per game (7th) and scoring margin (9th). Falcon head coach Jeff Bzdelik is 43-9 in his second season at Air Force and 68-40 in his fourth year overall.

AIR FORCE'S PROBABLE STARTERS

Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG

G 05 Matt McCraw 6-2 185 Sr. 12.3 3.8

G 12 Tim Anderson 6-3 180 Jr. 9.5 3.4

F 21 Jacob Burtschi 6-6 225 Sr. 14.3 5.6

F 34 Dan Nwaelele 6-5 206 Sr. 15.0 3.3

C 45 Nick Welch 6-8 212 Sr. 9.4 3.8

AIR FORCE'S LAST OUTING -- NO. 16 FALCONS SHOOT DOWN TCU

AIR FORCE ACADEMY -- Dan Nwaelele scored 13 points and the 16th-ranked Air Force Falcons used sharp shooting and a stifling defense to cruise past TCU 72-39 on Tuesday night for their 27th straight home win. Matt McCraw and Tim Anderson each added 11 points for the Falcons (19-2, 6-1 Mountain West), who turned the tables on TCU, which brought the league's best field goal percentage defense (41 percent) into Clune Arena but were quickly overwhelmed at both ends of the court. The Falcons shot 62 percent from the floor and 50 percent from beyond the arc. It was the Horned Frogs (10-8, 2-4) who couldn't find an offensive rhythm, shooting 32 percent. They doomed themselves to a fourth straight loss with a slow start, making just one jumper, one layup and one free throw in the first 13 1/2 minutes and falling behind 19-6, an insurmountable deficit against the disciplined Falcons. Air Force pushed its lead to 33-15 at halftime, closing with an impressive 8-0 run over the final three minutes, including 3-pointers from Anderson and John Frye, who picked up the slack with seven first-half points when starting center Nick Welch got into foul trouble and took a seat just 5 minutes in. Air Force was coming off a season-low 39-percent shooting performance against San Diego State on Saturday but sank 60 percent of its shots in the tone-setting first half, when the Horned Frogs shot 26 percent. It didn't stop there. Anwar Johnson's midcourt steal and breakaway jam highlighted a 10-2 spurt that made it 55-28 and Jacob Burtschi stole an inbound pass for an easy bucket in a 12-0 run that made it 67-32. By the time it was over, coach Jeff Bzdelik had used all 15 of his players, 11 of whom scored. Brent Hackett's nine points led the Horned Frogs, who made just five baskets in the first half.

SERIES NOTES

This will be the 56th meeting between the two teams, with BYU leading the series 43-12. The Cougars are 22-4 in Provo, 18-7 at Air Force and 3-1 at a neutral site. BYU has won nine of the 15 games in the series since the inception of the Mountain West Conference, but Air Force has won four of the last six meetings, including a 16-point win last year in USAFA. BYU returned the favor with a 65-59 victory in Provo last season, snapping AFA's three-game winning streak, which marked the longest Falcon win streak in the series and was the first time the Falcons managed consecutive victories over the Cougars since the first two games in 1961 and 1963. In 2005, the Falcons earned their first-ever season sweep in the series, including handing BYU its largest margin of defeat in an MWC game in a 70-39 victory at Clune Arena. BYU has won 10 of the last 17 outings since winning a series-best 15 straight over the Falcons from 1990-96. AFA's three-point win at the Marriott Center in 2005 ended 13 straight Cougar wins in the Marriott Center since a 79-78 Falcon win in 1989.

QUOTING COACH ROSE

"Air Force is a very good team. We know their personnel pretty well because they're pretty similar to last year. They play really hard. They're an extremely talented team that plays well together."

"They score a lot more than they have in the past. It's something we'll have to focus on with our guys and get a great effort. This game will be another challenge for us as far as guarding the perimeter. They have great shooters, and they run their offense really well. We'll have to make sure we have our defense together so we can stay out on the perimeter."

"It should be a great game on Saturday. We all are looking forward to preparing for it and playing it."

LAST YEAR AT AIR FORCE -- COUGARS FALL IN MWC OPENER

USAFA -- The Cougars opened up Mountain West Conference play with a 75-59 loss Thursday night at Air Force, falling to 8-4 on the season and 0-1 in the MWC. In a game reminiscent of last season's 70-39 loss at Air Force, which began with a 19-0 Falcon lead, BYU came out cold to start the game, allowing Air Force to open up with a 10-1 run. Brock Reichner, the Cougars' lone senior, recorded BYU's first seven points on a free throw and back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to 10-7. However, the Falcons responded with an 11-0 run to take a 21-7 lead. Keena Young ended the 5:32 BYU scoring drought with a make from underneath the basket at the 10:41 mark, the first Cougar besides Reichner to score, but the Falcons continued to light up the scoreboard as they led by as many as 26 points in the first half. However, despite Air Force making eight three-pointers in the first half while BYU made just nine baskets, the Cougars put together a 7-0 spurt to end the half and cut the lead to 42-23. BYU's comeback magic continued to start the second half as the Cougars added to their scoring streak with an 8-2 run to begin the second period of play, cutting the lead to 44-31. BYU held the Falcons without a bucket for 5:09 in the half after Air Force scored the first bucket of the period. The BYU bench contributed to most of the Cougars' second-half scoring, recording 32 of BYU's 59 points in the game, as the Cougars tried to find the right scoring combination. But BYU could not complete the comeback as Air Force's lead proved too large to overcome. Despite the Cougars actually outscoring the Falcons 36-33 in the second half, they could get no closer than 12 points at 63-51 at the 5:41 mark, eventually falling by 16 points, their largest margin of defeat this season. Young proved to be a bright spot for BYU in the loss as he scored a career-high 16 points while tying his career-best with 11 rebounds to record the second double-double of his career. Young and Reichner combined for 29 of BYU's 59 points as Reichner added 13 to Young's total, his eighth game scoring in double figures. The two combined to shoot 13-for-23 from the field. Austin Ainge and Mike Rose each recorded six points in 15 and eight minutes off the bench, respectively. Rashaun Broadus was BYU's top assist maker with four but struggled from the floor, shooting 1-for-7 on the night. As a team, BYU shot 41 percent from the field (24-for-59) while allowing Air Force to shoot 52 percent from the floor (24-for-56), including 44 percent from three-point range (11-for-25). The Cougars outrebounded the Falcons 37-27, resulting in a season-high 22 second-chance points compared to just seven for Air Force.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "Air Force is a really good team. You try to get an idea of how good they really are on film, but they're better than they look. Their guards were really hard for us to contain."

-- "Defensively, we made a pretty good effort but Air Force made the big shots."

-- "We didn't keep our composure offensively. We turned the ball over too much and never got into a good flow in the first half. We got down big and then had to fight from behind the whole time."

-- "I think that we didn't do a very good job capitalizing on what our strengths are. We didn't get the ball into guards who were posting up, which is a real strength of our team. Trent Plaisted was having a hard time getting into position and wasn't getting the ball underneath."

-- "The loss was a compilation of a lot of things; we didn't get good looks at the basket and when we did, we didn't make them."

-- "Keena Young picked up really well in the second half. It was obvious how much better our offense was when he was able to get in there and make some moves."

-- "Our bench is one of the strengths of our team. We can go down the bench a while and be a fresher team. It helps to have guys who don't have to play as much in the first half and can come in for long stretches in the second half and give us some fresh legs."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT AIR FORCE

-- Lee Cummard started his third game of the season at Air Force, joining Brock Reichner, Rashaun Broadus, Fernando Malaman and Trent Plaisted in the starting five. Broadus, Malaman and Plaisted have started every game this season while Reichner has started the last 11 games for BYU. Reichner got the first start of his career last season at Air Force.

-- Individual Career Highs: Keena Young -- 16 points, 11 rebounds (tied), 8 field goals made, 2 steals (tied).

-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Fewest Points Scored In a Game -- 59; Largest Margin of Defeat -- 16; Fewest Points Scored in a Half -- 23 (first); Largest Halftime Deficit -- 19 points; Most Second Chance Points -- 22; Most Opponent Three-Point Field Goals Made -- 11.

-- Keena Young recorded his first double-double of the season and the second of his career with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Air Force. Young's first career double-double also came against Air Force as he contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds in last season's home game against the Falcons.

-- Brock Reichner and Keena Young combined for 29 of BYU's 59 points as Young recorded a career-high 16 and Reichner added 13, his eighth game scoring in double figures. The two combined to shoot 13-for-23 from the field.

-- With the loss, the Cougars are 4-3 all-time in Mountain West Conference openers with a 1-2 mark on the road.

-- Air Force has defeated the Cougars in five of the last seven meetings at the Academy, giving the Falcons a 5-2 home record against BYU in MWC play. The Cougars have not won at Air Force since March 1, 2003.

-- Air Force jumped out to an early 10-1 lead as the Cougars did not score from the floor until the 16:55 mark. Last year at Air Force, BYU trailed 19-0 in the first half.

-- Brock Reichner scored BYU's first seven points of the game, making 1-of-2 from the line at the 17:18 mark and then hitting two three-pointers back-to-back to cut Air Force's lead to 10-7.

-- Keena Young became the second player to score for BYU with a make from underneath the basket at the 10:41 mark in the first half. The bucket ended an 11-0 Air Force run spanning 5:32.

-- After falling behind by 26 points at 42-16, BYU closed out the second half on a 7-0 run with a two-point make by Reichner, a three-pointer from Cummard and a long jumper from Broadus, who banked in his shot as time expired.

-- BYU's comeback magic continued in the second half as the Cougars added to their scoring streak with an 8-2 run to begin the second half, cutting the lead to 44-31. BYU held the Falcons without a bucket for 5:09 in the half after Air Force scored the first bucket of the period.

LAST YEAR AT BYU -- HARD-FOUGHT WIN FOR THE COUGARS

PROVO -- The second half of the Mountain West Conference season started with a win for BYU as the Cougars outlasted Air Force, 65-59 in front of a season-high 16,541 fans in the Marriott Center Saturday afternoon. BYU's fourth-consecutive victory improved its record to 14-6 (6-3, MWC) while Air Force dropped to 18-4 and 6-3 in conference play. Trent Plaisted led all scorers and rebounders with 21 and nine, respectively. Seven of Plaisted's nine boards were offensive. Jimmy Balderson came off the bench to add 17 for the Cougars. The hard-fought game saw eight ties and 12 lead changes. Both teams started sluggish in the first four minutes. BYU had the turnover bug early, giving the ball away four times, but Air Force was only able to pick up one point off of the early turnovers. Meanwhile, the Cougars made two of their first four field goal attempts to take a 4-1 lead with 15:55 remaining in the first half. Plaisted began to establish himself inside, hitting his first three field goals from the post while grabbing three early offensive rebounds. Plaisted's seven points in the first eight minutes were more than he scored in the two teams' first game this year. BYU was able to maintain an 18-13 lead by virtue of its stifling defense. The Cougars held the Falcons to just 25 percent shooting in the first 12 minutes. Air Force stayed close because of early three-pointers and foul shots. The Falcons went on an 8-0 run over the next 3:30 to take their first lead of the game, a 21-18 advantage with 4:46 remaining. BYU answered, and the two teams battled back and forth. The first half finished with a Rashaun Broadus steal and coast-to-coast circus layup to tie the score at 29 at the break. Antoine Hood scored five early second-half points leading the Falcons out of the break on a 7-2 run to give Air Force a 36-31 lead with 17:30 remaining. Down eight, BYU managed to put together a quick 5-0 run to cut the lead to three only to have Air Force manage to come back and extend the lead back to five. With under 12 minutes to play, the Cougars again clawed back with an 11-5 run capped off by consecutive Broadus threes to put BYU back up 52-48. Air Force had a 5-0 run of its own to once again retake the lead. But BYU answered right back with a pair of Plaisted free throws to hold a 56-55 advantage with 2:51 left in the game. Dan Nwaelele came up with a big three pointer with 1:45 remaining to give the Falcons a one-point advantage. Plaisted answered for the Cougars, scoring a layup to tilt the see-saw BYU's way once again. A BYU defensive stop forced the Academy to foul Broadus, who made the front end of the one-and-one. On the ensuing possession, Air Force's Matt McCraw missed a three-pointer and Plaisted secured the rebound and was immediately fouled. Plaisted's two clutch free throws pushed the lead to four. Moments later, Plaisted came up huge defensively, blocking away Hood's lay up attempt to seal the win for BYU.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "Our players are really engaged and encourage each other. When someone makes a mistake, they're right there encouraging them to move on and get better."

-- "They're (Air Force) so good offensively. You try to prepare for them, but they know their offense a lot better than we do. They hit a lot of big shots. We did a good job defensively of forcing them to take shots out of their offense early in the game."

-- "It's way better winning than losing. Right now, our guys are making big plays. Things are going our way."

-- "There was great energy in the building. The way to get that energy is to make plays."

Air Force Head Coach Jeff Bzdelik

-- "Give BYU credit; it was a heck of a basketball game. I've always thought BYU was a very good team. Coach Rose and the coaching staff are good."

-- "BYU gained momentum going into the second half and got the crowd energized. We just missed some open looks. It's a fine line between winning and losing."

-- "I've always known he (Trent Plaisted) was good. I have a lot of NBA friends that call me about players. I tell them to keep an eye on Plaisted. He's athletic, strong, bouncy and aggressive. He's getting better."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT BYU

-- Individual Career Highs: Lee Cummard - 4 assists (tied); Trent Plaisted - 3 blocks.

-- Individual Season Highs: Austin Ainge - 4 rebounds (tied).

-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Season-high Attendance - 16,541.

-- With the win, BYU has now won 10 straight games in the Marriott Center and improves to 10-1 at home this season and 382-116 all-time in the Marriott Center.

-- BYU is also currently enjoying a four-game overall winning streak, its longest since the 2004 season.

-- BYU's win over Air Force ends the Falcons' three-game winning streak in the series and improves the Cougars' overall record against Air Force to 43-14.

-- After shooting 80 percent or above from the free-throw line in four of the last five games, the Cougars shot 72.2 percent from the charity stripe against Air Force. Brock Reichner, who has made his last 19 straight free throws, has not been to the line in the last two games.

-- Air Force's 40 percent (20-for-50) shooting marks the lowest field goal percentage by a Cougar opponent in conference play.

-- BYU's 29-29 halftime tie against Air Force marks the first time this season that the Cougars have been tied at the half. Last season's home game against Air Force was also tied 29-29 at the break.

-- The Cougars shot 46.4 (13-for-28) in the first half against Air Force, marking the third straight game BYU has shot over 45 percent in the opening period of play.

-- Jimmy Balderson has come on strong for BYU in the last four games, scoring in double figures in each one while averaging 16.3 points.

-- Trent Plaisted significantly improved his play in the second game of the Air Force season series with 21 points and nine rebounds, seven of which came on the offensive glass. The MWC's leading freshman scorer also played well on the defensive end of the floor, taking three first-half charges. Plaisted recorded just five points with no rebounds in BYU's first game against the Falcons on Jan. 5 at Air Force but surpassed those numbers just eight minutes into Saturday's game with seven points and three rebounds.

-- Mike Rose saw his first action since the TCU game on Jan. 25 when he came into the game at the 8:05 mark of the first half against Air Force.

-- After turning the ball over just seven times at New Mexico, tying their season low, the Cougars recorded four turnovers in the first four minutes of the game against Air Force. The Cougars settled down after that, committing just 11 total turnovers in the game, 3.5 below their season average.

-- After shooting 55.6 percent in the first half and 52.2 percent for the game against BYU in the first game this season, Air Force missed its first eight shots of the game, going scoreless from the field until the 13:20 mark.

- After Keena Young scored the first bucket of the second half to give BYU a 31-29 lead, Air Force used a 9-0 run to take a 38-31 lead.

BYU NOTES

BYU's LAST OUTING -- COUGARS WIN BIG AT NEW MEXICO

ALBUQUERQUE -- The Cougars put an end to their road woes Wednesday night with a resounding 70-49 win over the New Mexico Lobos at The Pit. The victory is BYU's first Mountain West Conference road win of the season and improves the Cougars to 14-6 overall and 4-2 in league play. The Lobos, who entered the game averaging 87 points per game at home, fall to 12-9 overall and 1-5 in conference action. BYU was led by true freshman Jonathan Tavernari, who tied his career high with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field to go along with four rebounds and three steals. Trent Plaisted and Jimmy Balderson also scored in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Lee Cummard paced the Cougars on the boards with five rebounds, and Austin Ainge tied his career high with eight assists. As a team, the Cougars shot 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range, marking the seventh straight game BYU has topped the 40 percent mark from long range. New Mexico shot just 38 percent from the floor and 25 percent from behind the arc. The Cougars also outrebounded the Lobos, 30-29, improving to 13-0 when winning the battle of the boards. New Mexico's Tony Dandridge scored the Lobos' first eight points of the game and finished with a game-high 21, but BYU's guard play kept the game tight as Cummard, Balderson and Ainge answered each UNM score. After trading scores to a 10-9 Lobo lead, UNM got a steal and a score to take its largest lead of the game to that point at 12-9. Ainge finally ended a 4:25 Cougar drought as he jumped a three-pointer in transition to knot the score with 11:30 left to play. Vuk Ivanovic gave BYU the lead with an 18-footer to make it 14-12 but the advantage was short-lived as the Lobos answered on their next possession and the two teams traded buckets from there. With the Cougars trailing 19-18, Ivanovic added to the BYU highlight reel as he sent a behind-the-back pass to an open Tavernari who put up the easy layin underneath. The see-saw battle continued as the first half neared completion with both teams draining shots at will. Trailing 26-25, the Lobos drained a three-pointer to push the lead for either team past one point for the first time in almost six minutes, but Tavernari answered on the other end with a long-range make of his own to make the score 29-28 with 3:11 left to play in the half. The bucket proved big as the Cougars used it to spark an 11-0 run in the final three minutes of the half, taking a 37-28 lead into the locker room. After an opening bucket from the Lobos, BYU scored the next six points, including a three from Balderson to take a 43-30 lead. However, the Lobos answered with a 7-0 scoring run to cut the lead to just six points at 43-37 with 13:27 left to play. Tavernari, who provided a huge spark off the bench for BYU in the first half, did so again as he scored back-to-back buckets to end a 3:45 Cougar drought and push the lead back to double digits at 47-37. A New Mexico score had the Lobos thinking comeback but BYU was not about to let it happen as the Cougars went on an 8-0 run to take a 55-39 lead. Two minutes later, Mike Rose put the nail in the coffin with a three-point make to give the Cougars a 60-42 lead. New Mexico got no closer as BYU cruised to the 70-49 win.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "This was very much a team win from the starters to the guys who came off the bench. We did a lot of things really well. We got a nice run at the end of the first half to give us some confidence. They gave us a nice run back but we kept it going."

-- "Austin (Ainge) was terrific tonight. He got involved scoring early and had eight assists with just one turnover. He was really able to run our offense. We knew that being able to get the ball into the post and play of the post men was going to be key, and he did that for us."

-- "Tonight we had to guard the three-point line because that's their success. Our guys did a good job of staying out on them and making it tough for them. I thought we contested shots well."

-- "Give a lot of credit to all the players that came in and really helped us. Jonathan (Tavernari) was terrific. The matchup was really well for him tonight defensively at the small forward spot. He came in for defensive purposes to get a bigger body in there and ended up hitting some shots."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- Individual Career Highs: Jonathan Tavernari -- 18 points (tied). Austin Ainge - 8 assists (tied).

-- Team Season Highs: Fewest points allowed against a Div. I opponent - 49

-- BYU's win at New Mexico ended a four-game Cougar losing streak away from the Marriott Center. The Cougars have won two straight at UNM and have had success at The Pit in the past as BYU has ended three Lobo home win streaks during the all-time series. The Cougars have more wins at The Pit than any other UNM opponent.

-- With a 21-point (70-49) win over the Lobos, the Cougars have now won three of their six Mountain West Conference games by at least 20 points, including a 24-point win over TCU (89-65) and a 22-point victory over San Diego State (80-58). BYU has won just nine games by 20 points or more in MWC play since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season.

-- The Cougars are now 14-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 2-6 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold. The Cougars have scored at least 70 points in 12 straight games. New Mexico entered the game scoring 87 points per game at home but recorded a season-low 49 points against BYU.

-- With a .500 (9-for-18) three-point shooting mark at UNM, BYU has now shot above .400 from behind the arc in seven straight games and 11 on the season. The Cougars have shot above .500 in seven games.

-- With a 30-29 rebounding advantage against the Lobos, the Cougars are now 13-0 when winning the battle of the boards.

-- With the win at UNM coming after a loss at Colorado State, BYU has now bounced back from five of its six losses this season with wins. The Cougars have suffered back-to-back losses only twice in the last two years - once this season (vs. Michigan State, at Lamar) and once last season (vs. Utah at MWC Tournament and at Houston in the NIT).

-- Leading 37-28 at UNM, BYU went into the locker room with a halftime lead for the 15th time this season. The Cougars have held opponents under 30 points in the first half 11 times this season and are now 13-2 when leading at the break. BYU is also 13-0 when leading at the five-minute mark and 13-0 when leading at the one-minute mark.

-- The Cougars have put together incredible first-half shooting performances in their three MWC road games, including a .520 mark from the field and a .600 mark from three-point range against the Lobos. Including its games at UNLV and at Colorado State, BYU is shooting .551 from the floor and .727 from three-point range in the first half of play in league road contests. The Cougars have led at the break in two of those games and been tied in one.

-- After getting just six points off the bench against Colorado State in their last game, the Cougars posted a 31-9 advantage off the bench over the Lobos. BYU has outscored its opponents from the bench in 14 games this season and been outscored in just six.

- After going 5-for-8 from three-point range against Colorado State in BYU's last game, Jimmy Balderson drained two more three-pointers against the Lobos to bring his two-game total to seven. Prior to the last two contests, Balderson had scored 12 three-pointers in BYU's first 18 games.

- Jonathan Tavernari came off the bench for 10 first-half points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field including two threes. The true freshman ended the game tying his career high with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go along with four rebounds and three steals.

DEJA VU

With a 14-6 record to date, the Cougars have an identical record as they did last season through 20 games. BYU lost its 21st game last year at Utah before winning six straight games to end the regular season. The Cougars are 4-2 through six league games this year, bettering last season's mark of 3-3 through six contests by one game. BYU improved to 4-3 with a win in its seventh MWC game last year on the way to winning 10 of its last 11 games in league play.

WINNING BIG

BYU has won three of its six Mountain West Conference games by more than 20 points, including a 21-point (70-49) win at New Mexico Wednesday. The Cougars' 24-point (89-65) win over TCU Jan. 10 marked BYU's largest margin of victory in MWC play since a 29-point win (82-53) on Jan. 17, 2004 against Colorado State. The big win came just one game after a 22-point victory over San Diego State to open MWC play. BYU has won just nine games by 20 points or more in MWC play since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season.

FROM DOWNTOWN

BYU has shot .557 (49-for-88) from three-point range in its last five games, including a .500 mark (9-for-18) at New Mexico on Wednesday, marking the seventh game this year the Cougars have shot at least .500 from long range. BYU shot .538 (7-of-13) at Colorado State last Saturday. Before shooting .412 against Wyoming, BYU shot .565 (26-for-46) from three-point range in its two games against TCU and UNLV. The Cougars tied a school record with 14 triples (14-of-25, .560) in their win over the Horned Frogs Jan. 6 and followed with 12 treys (12-for-21, .571) at UNLV on Jan. 13. BYU has shot above 40 percent from behind the arc in seven straight games and 11 times on the season. The Cougars lead the league in three-point percentage (.514) in MWC play. Cougar players rank first (Jonathan Tavernari - .667), second (Austin Ainge - .647), third (Lee Cummard - .563) and tied for fourth (Jimmy Balderson - .529) in the league in three-point shooting percentage in MWC action.

VICTORY STREAKS

With seven straight wins against Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall, San Diego State and TCU, the Cougars put together their longest winning streak of the Dave Rose era and their longest since winning nine straight games during the 2003-04 season. Before coming to an end with a loss at UNLV on Jan. 13, the streak was tied for the 12th-longest active victory streak in the nation. 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 six straight victories. That streak was tied for the seventh-longest active winning streak in the nation. BYU won 10 of its last 13 games last year.

ON THE ROAD

BYU's win at New Mexico marked the Cougars' first league road win of the season. BYU is 2-5 on the road this year 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. In BYU's seven away games, the Cougars have been outscored by an average of three points (75.8-72.8). The Cougars lost their only neutral court so far this season with a loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. The victory over Weber State earlier in the year 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

With their win at New Mexico coming after a loss at CSU, the Cougars have now recovered from five of their six losses this season with wins. After suffering their first back-to-back regular-season losses of the Dave Rose era with defeats vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar, BYU responded with seven straight wins. Prior to the Lamar loss, BYU 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 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 an MWC-leading 77.6 points and allowing 68.0 points. BYU is 12-0 when opponents score less than 70 points and 2-6 when they score 70 or more. BYU is 14-3 when it scores 70 or more points (exception at Lamar, at UNLV and at CSU) and 0-3 when scoring less than 70. The Cougars have scored at least 70 points in 12 straight games. Last year BYU was 12-0 when holding opponents under 70 points and 8-9 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold as Cougar foes averaged 71.7 ppg. BYU was also 17-4 when scoring 70 or more points and 3-5 when falling below the 70-point mark.

CLEANING OFF THE GLASS

BYU is 13-0 this season when outrebounding its opponents and 1-6 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars lead the MWC in rebounding average (38.5). Sophomore Trent Plaisted is sixth on the glass at 6.7 rpg while senior Keena Young is seventh at 6.4 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). Cummard and Ainge achieved new career highs.

CLOSE CALLS

BYU is the only MWC team that has not had a game decided by three points or less this season. The Cougars have had some close games, however, as three games have required overtime this year. BYU is 2-1 in overtime with an 86-77 loss at Lamar on Dec. 13 and an 84-78 win against Idaho State on Nov. 18 and a 73-69 victory 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.

CONSISTENT COUGAR

One of BYU's most consistent players this year has been senior forward Keena Young, who has scored in double figures in 17 out of 20 games. He leads BYU in scoring (16.1), which is eighth in the league, and is second in rebounding (6.4), seventh in the conference. The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring seven times and rebounding seven 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). He posted a career-high 29 points against Wyoming (the most since Dec. 6, 2003; Araujo - 32) to go along with 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double fo the year.

VETERAN LEADERSHIP

Senior Austin Ainge is averaging a team-best 3.95 assists, fifth in the MWC, and leads the team in three-pointers (29). In BYU's win at New Mexico, he tied his career high with eight assists. He posted a season-high 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field, including a 5-for-7 mark from three-point range, to go along with six assists against TCU. He totaled 16 points with a career-best nine rebounds off the bench against Seton Hall. 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.

DOING IT ALL

Lee Cummard contributes across the box score and on the defensive end of the floor for BYU. In the Cougars' conference opener against San Diego State, he recorded his second straight double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds while contributing 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. In the BYU Holiday Classic, he averaged 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting .542 from the floor, .444 on threes and was perfect from the line. He was named to the all-tournament team. After coming one rebound away from the first double-double of his career against Oral Roberts with 13 points and a then career-high 9 rebounds to go along with 5 assists, he finished the Classic with career highs of 16 points and 12 rebounds vs. Seton Hall. He is second on the team with 28 treys. He has had at least one steal in 16 of 20 games. On the year, Cummard averages 9.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.7 blocks while shooting .519 from the floor, .491 on threes and .800 from the line. He ranks among the top 15 in the MWC in seven statistical categories, including leading the league in assist/turnover ratio (2.26). He guards the opponent's top perimeter player. Among his defensive highlights was excelling in the tough assignment to guard the MWC's all-time scoring leader and reigning MVP Brandon Heath of San Diego State. He held Heath to season-low-tying 13 points -- well below his MWC No. 2-ranked 20.3 scoring average entering the game. Cummard helped end Heath's string of four straight games with 20 or more points. He also helped 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.

FOR STARTERS

Coach Rose has used four different starting lineups so far this year. Sophomore Lee Cummard and senior Keena Young have started every game this season, while sophomore Trent Plaisted has missed just one start because of injury. Jimmy Balderson has made 17 starts. Rashaun Broadus started 11 of 15 games before being suspended for the season. Austin Ainge has started 12 games.

VS. RANKED OPPONENTS

BYU is the only MWC team to face two ranked opponents during nonconference play. 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 (recently renamed EnergySolutions Arena) 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.

DEFENDING THE HOME COURT

With 26 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's third-longest active home victory streak. BYU has won its first 12 home games this season after going 14-1 at home last year including wins in its last 14 straight home contests.

Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (through games played Jan. 24, 2007)

Wins Team This year Next home game

47 Gonzaga 7-0 Jan. 27 vs. San Francisco

27 Air Force 10-0 Feb. 3 vs. Wyoming

26 BYU 12-0 Jan. 27 vs. Air Force

24 Memphis 11-0 Jan. 27 vs. Southern Mississippi

24 George Washington 9-0 Feb. 10 vs. Xavier

HALFTIME REPORT

BYU has led at the half in 15 of the team's first 20 games, including a double-digit lead six times. The Cougars outscore their opponents by an average of 5.2 points in the first period of play. BYU's win over Seton Hall marked the first time the Cougars have won this year after trailing at the break. 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 has lost when leading at the half. BYU also lost at CSU after leading 39-37 at the break. The Cougars are now 13-2 when leading at the half, 1-3 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season. .

STARTING HOT

The Cougars have put together incredible first-half shooting performances in their three MWC road games, including a .520 mark from the field and a .600 mark from three-point range against New Mexico. Including its games at UNLV and at Colorado State, BYU is shooting .551 from the floor and .727 from three-point range in the first half of play in league road contests. The Cougars have led at the break in two of those games and been tied in one.

BYU BASKETBALL ON TELEVISION

BYU's next televised game will be on Jan. 27 when the Cougars host Air Force. The game will be aired on the mtn. 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.

20-WIN SEASONS

With a win against New Mexico to conclude the regular season last year, the Cougars achieved their 29th 20-win season. BYU has averaged 20 wins every 2.7 years (BYU has played 78 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). BYU coach Dave Rose is the fifth Cougar head coach to reach 20 wins in his first season at the helm. He joins G. Ott Romney (20-10 in 1928-29), Stan Watts (22-12 in 1949-50), Ladell Anderson (20-11 in 1983-84) and Roger Reid (21-9 in 1989-90). Both Watts and Reid achieved six 20-win seasons in their BYU coaching careers while Romney posted five and Rose's predecessor, Steve Cleveland, achieved four.

20-Win Seasons at BYU

Stan Watts had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 23 years of coaching

Roger Reid had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching

G. Ott Romney had 5 seasons of 20 wins in 9 years of coaching

Steve Cleveland had 4 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching

Ladell Anderson had 3 season of 20 wins in 6 years of coaching

Frank Arnold had 3 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching

Floyd Millet had 1 season of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching

Dave Rose has 1 season of 20 wins in 1 year of coaching

TRUE BLUE FANS

The Cougars are averaging 9,496 fans this season, including a season-high 12,817 against Wyoming. BYU has consistently ranked among the national attendance leaders. The Cougars averaged 11,069 fans in 2005-06, outdrawing the regular-season conference champions of 27 out of 31 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 12 of the 16 NCAA Sweet Sixteen participants, including all of the Final Four teams.

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