Trent Plaisted averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds in BYU's two wins last week. The Cougars play at Air Force Wednesday at 7 p.m. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
BYU GAME #21 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (15-5, 4-1 MWC)
AIR FORCE FALCONS (11-7, 3-2 MWC)
Wednesday, Jan. 30, 2008
Clune Arena (5,858)
7 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (60-23 in third season; same overall)
AFA, Jeff Reynolds (11-7 in first season; 93-41 in fifth year overall)
BYU leads, 45-12, after the Cougars swept the season series last year
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (6 p.m. MT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Andy Toolson, game analyst)
Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com
BYU PLAYS AT AIR FORCE WEDNESDAY
BYU (15-5, 4-1 MWC) hits the road again this week, traveling to the Air Force Academy to face the Falcons (11-7, 3-2 MWC) on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Cougars have won three straight Mountain West Conference games after an 83-66 victory over New Mexico on Saturday and are 1-1 on the road in league play this season. The Falcons are 9-1 at home this year after a 75-59 win over Colorado State last Wednesday. Wednesday's game will not be televised. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City and on the Internet at KSL.com beginning with the pregame show at 6 p.m. MT.
The Cougars continue their Front Range road swing with a game at Wyoming on Saturday at 2 p.m. on The Mtn.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- BYU was picked in the preseason poll to finish first in the MWC race this year by the league's media.
-- BYU currently owns the nation's second-longest active home win streak with 42 straight wins in the Marriott Center, one victory behind No. 1 Memphis. The Cougars went 17-0 at home last year and are 11-0 at home this year.
-- Two-time reigning MWC Coach of the Year Dave Rose helped make BYU the second-most improved program in the nation in his first season with a 20-9 record and guided the Cougars to the outright MWC title and a top-25 ranking in his second campaign in Provo as the Cougars went 25-9 last season.
-- 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.
-- After five straight weeks in the top-25 polls, BYU dropped out of both polls in the Dec. 31 rankings after a 73-70 loss at Boise State. The Cougars' entrance into the national rankings on Nov. 26 marked the program's earliest appearance in the national polls since the 1980-81 season. With a ranking as high as No. 21 last year, BYU has now been ranked in back-to-back season for the first time since 1980-81 and 1981-82.
LOOKING AT AIR FORCE
Air Force returns nine lettermen and one starter from last year's 26-9 team that advanced to the NIT semifinals after finishing tied for third in the Mountain West Conference with a 10-6 record. Under the direction of new coach Jeff Reynolds, the Falcons have earned an 11-7 record overall and 3-2 mark in the MWC. Returning starter Tim Anderson (6-foot-3, Sr., G) paces Air Force on the scoreboard at 15.1 points per game while making 46.9 percent from the floor, 37.8 percent on threes and 85.1 percent at the line. He dishes out 2.7 assists per game. Andrew Henke (6-foot-6, Jr., G) comes off the bench to score 10.8 points per contest as the only other Falcon averaging double figures. He also leads AFA on the boards (4.6 rpg) and from behind the three-point arc (37 triples on .416 shooting). Coach Reynolds has used the same starting lineup in all 18 games this season, sending out 6-foot-5 junior forward Anwar Johnson (8.2 ppg, 3.4 rpg), 6-foot-4 freshman guard Evan Washington (7.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg), 6-foot-8 senior center Keith Maren (7.4 ppg, 3.4 rpg) and 6-foot-6 junior forward Matt Holland (5.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg) along with Anderson. Johnson paces the team with 50 assists, one more than Anderson. As a team, Air Force shoots .453 from the floor, .389 from behind the arc and .722 at the free-throw line while scoring 61.7 points per game. The Falcons are holding opponents to 56.9 points on .399 shooting from the field, including .349 accuracy from three-point range. AFA is outboarded by nearly four rebounds per game (31.1--27.3) but is nearly two possessions better in the turnover battle (15.1--13.4). In league play, the Falcons have home wins over UNLV (65-53) and Colorado State (75-59) while going 1-2 on the road with an overtime win at Wyoming (64-62) and losses at Utah (58-36) and New Mexico (59-44). Like BYU, Air Force also suffered defeat at Wake Forest in nonconference play, falling 78-67 on Dec. 30. Overall, the Falcons are 9-1 in Clune Arena this season with the lone loss coming against Colorado (60-50) and former AFA coach Jeff Bzdelik.
AIR FORCE'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 31 Matt Holland 6-6 205 Jr. 5.4 2.7 Dallas, Texas
F 42 Anwar Johnson 6-5 195 Jr. 8.2 3.4 San Gabriel, La.
C 44 Keith Maren 6-8 240 Sr. 7.4 3.4 West Milwaukee, Wis.
G 12 Tim Anderson 6-3 180 Sr. 15.1 2.7 El Paso, Texas
G 35 Evan Washington 6-4 190 Fr. 7.4 3.9 Columbus, Ohio
AIR FORCE'S LAST OUTING -- AIR FORCE ROUTS COLORADO STATE
AIR FORCE ACADEMY -- Tim Anderson scored 26 points, including 12 straight to open the second half, in leading Air Force to a 75-59 win over Colorado State Tuesday night. Air Force jumped ahead early and held on to the narrow lead of 29-28 at the intermission. Colorado State kept it close behind the shooting of Marcus Walker, who entered the contest averaging a conference-best 17.2 points per game. Walker hit six of nine field goals in the opening half, including three of five from beyond the arc, and had 15 points at the break. Anderson, with 12 first-half points, hit 12 consecutive points to open scoring in the second and post Air Force to a 41-28 lead that all but put the game out of the Rams' reach. The Air Force defense began playing more aggressively, and the Rams, who had been shooting around 50 percent from the field earlier, began missing shots. Colorado State (0-4 Mountain West Conference, 6-12) managed a 7-2 run later in the half, but couldn't overcome the Air Force lead. Anwar Johnson contributed 18 points for the Falcons (3-2, 11-7), including 10 of 10 from the free-throw line. Andrew Henke was in double figures with 11. Walker finished with 23 points and Jesse Woodard hit 11 for Colorado State.
BYU and Air Force have met 57 times, with BYU leading the series 45-12, including a 61-52 win over then-No. 13 Air Force in Provo last season and a 62-58 victory over the then 20th-ranked Falcons at Clune Arena -- ending their nation-leading 30 game home winning streak the Cougars shared at the time. BYU has won the last three games in the series. The Cougars are 23-4 in Provo, 19-7 at Air Force and 3-1 at a neutral site. BYU owns a 3-1 advantage when the two teams have met in the conference tournament (1-0 in MWC Tournament with win in 2001). The Cougars have won three straight in conference tournament meetings since falling at home to the Falcons in the 1985 WAC Tournament preliminary-round game, 82-79. BYU has won 11 of the 17 games in the series since the inception of the Mountain West Conference, but the two teams have split the last eight outings. BYU has won 12 of the last 19 outings since winning a series-best 15 straight over the Falcons from 1990-96. Before their win last year, the Cougars had lost three straight in Clune Arena with their prior win coming March 1, 2003, the same year BYU last won the conference title (tied with Utah). 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.
BYU SERIES RECORD VS. AIR FORCE
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 45-12
BYU Record in Provo: 23-4 (24-2 in the Marriott Center)
BYU Record in Colorado Springs: 19-7 (19-7 in Clune Arena)
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 3-1
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 3-1
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 2-0
Last Overtime Game: 1989, won at AFA, 89-88
Longest BYU Win Streak: 15 (1990-96)
Longest Air Force Win Streak: 3 (2005-06)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 35, 103-68 in 1993
Largest Air Force Margin of Victory: 31, 70-39 in 2005
Most Points Scored by BYU: 110 in 1965
Most Points Scored by Air Force: 93 in 1987
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"It's obviously one of the big road games of the season because not a lot of teams go in there and get a win. We will have to do a good job guarding their shooters and contesting shots."
LAST YEAR AT BYU -- COUGARS DOWN NO. 13 AIR FORCE
PROVO -- The BYU Cougars recorded a huge 61-52 victory against the No. 13 Air Force Falcons at the soldout Marriott Center Saturday, improving to 15-6 overall and 5-2 in the Mountain West Conference. The game also marked BYU's 27th win at home, which is tied for second nationally. Trent Plaisted led the Cougars in scoring with 22 points, followed by Keena Young with 17 points. The post duo also recorded eight rebounds each. BYU outshot the Falcons 43.4 percent to 37.8 percent, AFA's lowest mark of the year, and recorded a season-high +22 rebounding margin (42-20). The Falcons, with Matt McCraw hitting a three scored the first point of the game. Lee Cummard of BYU returned the favor with a quick lay up. After 13:35, the Falcons led 10-4. Young answered the cheers of the soldout crowd with a lay-up narrowing the lead to 10-6. Mike Rose then scored a three for 10-9. At 10:59, Plaisted scored a two, putting BYU above the Falcons at 11-10. At 8:45, the Falcons tied the score up at 12-12. Young went back to make it a Cougar lead of 14-12 at 7:38. The BYU lead continued to grow with another three-pointer made by Rose. The three and the 17-12 lead put the crowd in an uproar, which happened once again with Cummard hitting another three to widen the lead to 20-12. Austin Ainge connected on another three at 3:13 in the first half to make it a 27-16 lead. With 1:27 remaining in the half, the Cougars led the game 31-18. BYU's first half lead of 31-21 at the break marked the fewest points allowed by BYU in the first period of play this season. The first points of the second half were a dunk by Plaisted, which he followed with another throwdown on the next Cougar possession to show that BYU was a force to be reckoned with. At 16:06 the Falcons hit a three to lessen the gap to 37-29. At 14:55 they hit another to cut the deficit to 37-32. With the gap lessening, another three was hit by McCraw to make the score 38-35. Young ended the three-point barrage from the Falcons by scoring a quick lay-up. After Plaisted went on to score another four points, Air Force responded by making another three-point shot to make the score 44-40 in favor of BYU. Cummard, with a quick break away at the 11:22 mark, scored two points and with a foul, got another point to widen the BYU lead to 47-40. With 6:56 left in the game Jimmy Balderson ended the 4:24 Cougar scoring drought by sinking a two. Trying to come back, the Falcons narrowed the score to 49-48 with 5:49 left in the game. The 22,700-strong crowd roared for the Cougars to take back their lead that at one time was 14 points. After Plaisted made a two, the Cougars were back in action with a three made by Ainge at the 3:59 mark for a Cougar lead of 54-48. After a foul was called with 35.8 seconds remaining, Plaisted knocked down two big free throws to push the Cougar lead to 56-51. After another foul was called with 19.7 left for the Cougars, the score was 59-51 after a Young converted the three-point play, sealing the win for BYU.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought this was a great college basketball game. I thought it was a great crowd. It was a great atmosphere. There have been games in my career here that have been loud and your ears ring for three or four hours after the game, and this was loud. My ears are ringing."
-- "I thought our guys just made some big plays. We made our free throws and hit some big shots late. It was a big win for us."
-- "Rebounding is a big factor for our team to be successful."
Air Force Head Coach Jeff Bzdelik
-- "There are three things that didn't really help us in this game. We got outrebounded, we had some bad turnovers and we had some great shots go in and out."
-- "It was a good game from the stand point that these are two good teams. BYU is a good team. Everybody in this conference is playing good basketball. Give them credit. They're tough at home, and we're tough at home. I've said from the start, and I'll say it again, that this is going to be a great race."
-- "(Trent) Plaisted was tougher than our guys today. That comes from a strong will and a desire to win."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT BYU
-- Team Season Highs: Attendance: 22,700; Fewest points scored: 61; Largest rebounding advantage: +22.
-- BYU's win over Air Force extended its home winning streak to 27 games, which is tied for the second-longest active home victory streak in the nation. The Cougars are 13-0 at home this season.
-- The Cougars' victory over No. 13 Air Force marked their first win over a ranked team since defeating then-No. 25 Oklahoma State 76-71 on Dec. 6, 2003 in Salt Lake City. BYU hadn't beaten a ranked team in the Marriott Center since Feb. 1, 1992 with an 80-63 win over No. 19 UTEP. The Cougars' last win over a team ranked as high as No. 13 was Dec. 22, 2001 with an 81-76 win over No. 13 Stanford in Las Vegas.
-- With a matchup against the No. 13 Falcons, BYU has now faced three ranked teams this season, joining UNLV as the only Mountain West Conference team to do so. The Cougars are 1-2 in those games with a 61-52 win over the Falcons, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State. The Rebels are also 1-2, with losses at then-No. 16 Arizona and then-No. 16 Air Force and a win at then-No. 19 Nevada.
-- BYU's sellout crowd of 22,700 was a season high and the Cougars' best attendance mark since 22,718 fans watched BYU defeat Utah 70-57 on March 1, 2004. The is the 23rd largest crowd in Marriott Center history (record is 23,106 on March 7, 1981 when BYU defeated Utah 95-76).
-- BYU's 61 points against the Falcons snapped a string of 12 straight games in which the Cougars had scored at least 70 points. BYU is now 1-4 when scoring below 70 points and 13-0 when holding opponents below the 70-point threshold.
-- BYU's .278 shooting mark from three-point range against the Falcons ended a streak of seven straight games in which the Cougars had shot at least .400 from long range.
-- With a 42-20 rebounding advantage, their largest of the season, the Cougars are 14-0 when winning the battle of the boards. BYU has outrebounded its opponents by more than 10 boards nine times.
-- Leading 31-21 against Air Force, BYU went into the locker room with a halftime lead for the 16th time this season, including its seventh game with a double-digit lead. The Cougars have held opponents under 30 points in the first half 12 times this year, including 21 first-half points scored by the Falcons, the fewest BYU has allowed all year. The Cougars are now 14-2 when leading at the break. BYU is also 14-0 when leading at the five-minute mark and 14-0 when leading at the one-minute mark.
-- With 22 points against Air Force, Trent Plaisted reached the 20-point mark for the fourth time this season and the seventh in his career.
-- Plaisted also knocked down two big free throws with 35 seconds left to play to give BYU a 56-51 lead. Plaisted is 3-for-5 on the year from the free-throw line with under two minutes to play.
-- With 17 points against the Falcons, Keena Young has now scored in double figures in 18 of 21 games.
-- Trailing 10-4 early, the Cougars used a 16-2 run to take a 20-12 lead during which they held the Falcons scoreless from the floor for increments of 4:50 and 3:37.
-- Trent Plaisted opened the second half with a dunk, a blocked shot and another dunk to give BYU its largest lead of 14 points. He added a third midway through the period, bringing his season total to 25 and his career mark to 57. Plaisted has posted multiple throwdowns in six games this year.
LAST YEAR AT AIR FORCE -- BYU EARNS MWC TITLE WITH WIN AT NO. 20 AIR FORCE
USAFA -- The Cougars took care of business Tuesday night on the road, securing at least a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season title and snapping Air Force's 30-game home winning streak with a 62-58 win over the No. 20 Falcons. The victory gives BYU (22-7, 12-3) its first league title since 2002-03 and guarantees the Cougars the No. 1 seed in next week's MWC Tournament. The low-scoring affair was truly a team effort for BYU as four Cougars scored in double figures led by Austin Ainge's 14 points. Ainge was followed by Keena Young with 12 points, Jimmy Balderson with 11 and Trent Plaisted with 10. Young and Ainge also shared high-rebounding honors with six apiece while Ainge dished out a game-high five assists. The Cougars struck first with a three-pointer from Balderson and continued to maintain a slim advantage through the first four minutes, leading 7-4 after a layin from Young at the 16:08 mark. Ainge drained BYU's second three-pointer of the night to put the Cougars up 10-6 and then made his second at the 11:21 mark to tie the school record of 214 three-pointers made in a season set in 1992. However, after starting 3-for-11 from the field, the Falcons responded by making their next five shots to go on an 11-3 run and take a 17-13 lead. Plaisted ended the 3:42 BYU scoring drought, but Air Force responded to push the advantage back to four points at 19-15. Mike Rose then set the BYU school record as he drained a three-pointer to give the Cougars 215 long-range makes for the year. However, the Falcon push continued as Air Force scored seven straight points as part of its 18-5 run to go up 26-18 with 4:22 left in the half. But the Cougars responded with a 12-3 run of their own thanks in part to back-to-back three-pointers from Ainge and an assist to Sam Burgess, who put in the layin on the fastbreak to give BYU a 30-29 lead. The team teams battled it out in the final 90 seconds but it was Air Force who came out on top as the Falcons were able to convert a three-point play after two offensive rebounds to take a 32-30 lead into the locker room. Ainge tied the game at 34-34 in the opening minutes of the second half. However, after the two teams traded buckets, the Falcons began to run away with a 13-2 spurt to take a 49-38 lead. Balderson finally stopped the bleeding with a three-point make followed by two Falcon misses andfive points from Jonathan Tavernari to cut the lead to 49-46. Air Force finally scored, but Plaisted drained two free throws in response. Young then made it a 12-2 Cougar run with a layin to get BYU back to within one point at 50-51 with just under eight minutes to play. Young hit a fadeaway jumper to give BYU its first lead since late in the first half at 52-51. Nick Welch gave the Falcons back the lead with two free throws on the next possession, but the fight was on as both teams prepared to battle to the end. Young took over with two more buckets, but just when it looked like BYU had the momentum, Air Force's Jacob Burtschi stepped back with ice in his veins and drained a three-pointer to put his team up 58-56 with 4:50 left to play. Plaisted tied things up with a great post look and then drained two free throws after a defensive stop to retake the lead at 60-58. As the clock ticked towards the one-minute mark, Young secured a rebound and then Balderson was fouled, giving him a one-and-one opportunity with 1:00 left to play. The Cougars never looked back as they secured the 62-58 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "This was definitely a team victory. We got a lot of good play out of a lot of our players. They responded really well to a difficult situation on Saturday, but that's the personality of this group. This team has a great competitive spirit. We sure needed all of it from everybody tonight because it was a heck of a game."
-- "I knew from the beginning that our guys were here and that they were going to play and compete. We just had to do everything we could to keep ourselves together and composed. These guys have put a lot of work into this season, and they were embarrassed on Saturday. Tonight the resolve to bounce back is something I'm really, really proud of with this team."
-- "We saw a lot of big plays. The last four minutes is what you remember the most because that's what determined the game. We really defended them well and got them in a situation where they weren't as aggressive attacking the basket and made them take some shots that bounced off."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT AIR FORCE
-- Individual Season Highs: Austin Ainge -- 12 first-half points; Keena Young -- 3 assists (tied)
-- With the victory, BYU has secured at least a share of the MWC regular-season title, its 27th conference title and first since 2002-03 when the Cougars tied with Utah. The Cougars can win their first outright title since 1987-88 with a win at Utah on Saturday.
-- The Cougars are now 6-6 this season on the road and 5-3 in conference play, the only MWC team with a winning road record in league action.
-- By virtue of the win at Air Force, BYU now owns the nation's longest home winning streak at 30 games, snapping the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. The Cougars' win also snapped a three-game Air Force winning streak against BYU in Clune Arena dating back to 2003.
-- BYU is the only team to sweep Air Force this season, winning 61-52 at home and 62-58 at AFA.
-- With the win at Air Force coming after a loss at San Diego State, BYU has now bounced back from six of its seven losses this year with wins, suffering back-to-back defeats only once (vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State, at Lamar). The Cougars have only lost back-to-back games twice in the Dave Rose era including losses last season vs. Utah in the MWC Tournament and at Houston in the NIT.
-- The Cougars are now 3-2 in their games vs. ranked teams with a 62-58 victory at No. 20 Air Force, a 90-63 win over then-No. 25 UNLV, a 61-52 win over then--No. 13 Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State.
-- The win at No. 20 Air Force was BYU's first win over a ranked team on the road since a win at No. 12 New Mexico on Feb. 26, 1998. BYU is 50-108 all-time against ranked opponents and 8-47 when playing a ranked team on the road.
-- With eight three-pointers made against the Falcons to bring their season total to 219, BYU set a new team record for three-pointers made in a season, surpassing the old mark of 214 set in 1992. Austin Ainge tied the record with a make at the 11:21 mark of the first half, and Mike Rose set the record with 6:48 to play in the first period.
-- With a .511 (24-for-47) field-goal percentage against at Air Force, BYU has now shot above 50 percent from the field in six of its last seven road games.
-- BYU is now 2-3 when scoring less than 70 points and 18-0 when holding opponents under the 70-point threshold. Both Cougar wins when scoring under 70 points have come against the Falcons.
-- The Cougars' two-point (32-30) halftime deficit marked just the third time in conference play and the seventh time overall this season BYU has trailed at the break. The Cougars are now 3-4 when behind at the half, having won three of their last four games when trailing at the break.
-- Four Cougars scored in double figures at Air Force, led by Austin Ainge's 14 points. BYU is now 2-0 when led by Young and 7-2 when four players score in double figures. The Cougars are also 9-2 when Ainge scores in double digits, 19-6 when Keena Young scores in double figures (12 points), 9-3 when Jimmy Balderson reaches double figures (11 points) and 14-4 when Trent Plaisted reaches double digits (10 points).
-- With 12 points against Air Force, Young has now scored in double figures in 25 of 29 games this season. BYU is 19-6 when he scores in double figures.
-- The Cougars held Air Force scoreless for the final 4:41 of the game, allowing them to come back from a double-digit deficit for the fourth time this year.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- HOT SHOOTING LIFTS COUGARS OVER LOBOS
PROVO -- Shooting over 50 percent from the field and over 80 percent from three-point range, the BYU men's basketball team beat the New Mexico Lobos 83-66 on Saturday in the Marriott Center. BYU improved its Mountain West Conference record to 4-1 (15-5 overall), while New Mexico fell to 3-3 in conference play (16-5 overall). Four of BYU's starters reached double figures in the game -- Lee Cummard, Jonathan Tavernari, Trent Plaisted and Sam Burgess. This happened for the eight time this season for the Cougars. Cummard finished with a game-high 20 points, and Tavernari was not far behind with 19. Tavernari and Cummard split the spotlight as each scored double figures in one of the two halves against the Lobos. Tavernari had a season high in first-half points with 16, while Cummard tied his season high in second-half points with 13. On BYU's first possession of the game, Tavernari hit a short baseline jumper which proved to be the first of a very productive half for the sophomore forward. Tavernari continued his success as he went on to hit his first five shots from the field. Things were going the Cougars' way from early on as they started the game on a 10-5 run in the first 4:17 of the game. This early run was capped off with Burgess completing a three-point play after he connected on a reverse lay-up and was fouled. At the 12:46 mark, New Mexico called a 30-second timeout in hopes of slowing the game down after Tavernari hit a three-pointer, which extended the Cougar lead to 20-9. With just under 10 minutes into the game, BYU was a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc. BYU not only excelled on the offensive end early in the game, but the Cougars also held the Lobos to just 24 percent shooting up to the 7:57 point of the first half, allowing BYU to extend its lead to 27-13. The Cougars found themselves on the positive end of a 16-13 run over a length of 8:41 as BYU was up 36-22 with 4:05 left in the half. Another impressive BYU first-half performance came from Plaisted, who was one shy of recording double-digit rebounds in the first stanza. At the break, BYU went into the locker room up by 20, 44-24. This was on 51 percent shooting from the field and 72 percent from the three-point line. The Cougars' hot shooting continued in the second half as they were up 59-34 with 14:44 left in the game -- a run of 15-10 for BYU. This came off of sharp shooting from Cummard, who scored eight quick second-half points to improve his total to 15 points on the game to that point. Plaisted had a dunk with 11:30 left in the game that ignited the season-high crowd of 19,932 as the Cougars went ahead 69-38. Then shortly after that BYU widened its lead to the largest of the game at 34 points as Plaisted hit two free throws to make the score 79-45. BYU cruised from there to the game's final score of 83-66. The Cougars tied their season high with 13 three-pointers made. The previous season-high three-point percentage was 59 percent, and the 81 percent game total for the Cougars was the sixth-highest in BYU history. A couple other notable performances for BYU came from Plaisted and Jimmer Fredette. Plaisted recorded his sixth double-double of the season against the Lobos as he had 13 rebounds to go along with his 13 points, while Fredette finished with a career-high six assists.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "We did a good job of coming out and executing our defensive game plan early. Our concentration and execution was excellent."
-- "We did a really good job of taking good shots and sharing the ball. Our players hit their shots early, which was good."
New Mexico Coach Steve Alford
-- "Dave [Rose] has done a good job and has a great program. They played at a higher level, and we had no answers for them. We're just not deep enough or big enough."
-- "They have big-time shooters. They haven't been shooting well recently, but today they shot well."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Jimmer Fredette - 6 assists.
-- Team Season Highs: 19,932 attendance; 13 three-pointers made (tied); .813 three-point percentage (sixth-highest in program history); 25 assists (tied); 8 three-pointers in a half (first half; tied); 1.000 three-point percentage in a half (5-for-5 in the second half).
-- With the 83-66 win, BYU improved its Marriott Center win streak to 42 games, the second-longest active home court victory streak in the nation behind No. 1 Memphis at 43 wins.
-- With the 83-66 win, BYU is now 13-1 when scoring at least 70 points in a game. The Cougars are also 8-0 when scoring at least 80 points.
-- The Cougars tied their season high with 13 three-pointers against New Mexico, going 13-for-16 from long range to record the sixth-highest three-point percentage in program history at 81.3 percent. The Cougars posted single-half season highs of eight three-pointers made (tied) and 72.7 percent three-point shooting (8-for-11) in the first half against New Mexico. BYU made its first five three-point shots, with 15 of the Cougars' first 23 points coming from behind the arc, and eight of the first nine before finishing the first half 8-for-11 from behind the arc. BYU then made all five of its shots from long range in the second half.
-- The Cougar defense also came up big against the Lobos. After coming into the game leading the league in points per game (75.3), field-goal percentage (47.1), three-point field-goal percentage (42.5) and assists (17.2), New Mexico posted 66 points on 34.4 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent shooting from three-point range with seven assists. The assist and field-goal percentage marks are both season.
-- BYU's 20-9 lead with 12:46 left in the first half marked the first time the Cougars had led by double digits in a game since a 19-point final margin against Colorado State in BYU's league opener. With a game-high lead of 34 points, the Cougars have now held a double-digit lead in 15 of 20 games in the year and have led by at least 20 points in 11 games and 30 points in four contests.
-- With a 44-24 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, BYU recorded its 16th halftime lead of the season and 12th in double figures. The Cougars are now 14-2 when leading at the break.
-- BYU's 44 first-half points are the most scored by the Cougars since the fourth game of the season (46 vs. Hartford on Nov. 20) and its 51.7 percent shooting in the first half is the highest first-half mark since the Cougars shot 54.5 percent against Southern Utah on Dec. 21. BYUs final 50.9 percent shooting mark was also its highest since the SUU game.
-- Cummard's 20-point outing against New Mexico marked the fifth time this season and the seventh time in his career he has scored at least 20 points.
-- With 13 points and 13 rebounds, Plaisted had his sixth double-double of the season and 15th of his career.
-- With 15 points in the game, Burgess scored in double figures for the eighth time this season and the second time in three games (12 at Utah). Burgess reached double-digit scoring four times last year. Burgess came out firing against the Lobos, scoring nine of BYU's first 13 points on 3-for-3 shooting from the field, including two treys and a three-point play.
- Tavernari had the hot hand in the first half as he scored a first-half season-high 16 points in the first 20 minutes, marking the sixth time this season he has reached double-digits before halftime. Tavernari made his first five shots from the field, including three from long range.
COUGARS BY THE NUMBERS
1 Rank of BYU coach Dave Rose's 60 wins and .723 winning percentage among the 18 head coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level along with Rose in 2005-06. Rose ranks second to only Tennessee's Bruce Pearl (63-21 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06.
3 Number of top 10 teams BYU has played this season - then No. 1 North Carolina, then-No. 6 Louisville and then-No. 9 Michigan State. The Cougars beat the Cardinals, 78-76, before falling, 73-63, to the Tarheels despite battling UNC through six second-half lead changes. BYU held a double-digit halftime lead against the Spartans before losing, 68-61.
4 Number of points Trent Plaisted needs to surpass Travis Hansen to move to 26th on BYU's all-time career scoring list. He needs 10 points to pass Doug Howard. Plaisted currently has 1,134 career points.
5 Number of games in which BYU has scored at least 90 points, the most since 1995-96 when the Cougars also reached 90 points in five games. BYU has not scored at least 90 in six games on the year since 1993-94. The Cougars currently lead the Mountain West Conference in scoring at 75.5 ppg.
6 Number of statistical categories in which Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the MWC including field-goal percentage (1st - .558), free-throw percentage (2nd - .867), scoring (3rd - 15.7), offensive rebounds (4th - 2.20), total rebounds (6th - 6.3) and assists (6th - 3.35).
T7th Rank in BYU program history of Jonathan Tavernari's 12-game streak with a made three-pointer to start the season. Lee Cummard's streak of 11 straight games with a three-point make, which came to an end at Utah, is tied for ninth all-time.
8 Number of statistical categories in which a BYU player ranks among the top three in the MWC out of the 12 categories tracked by the league.
9 Number of games in which Lee Cummard has been perfect from the free-throw line out of 14 games in which he taken free throws. Cummard made a career-best 21 straight free throws before missing on his first attempt against San Diego State last Wednesday. He also had a streak of 19 straight earlier this year prior to a miss against Southern Utah. He is shooting 86.7 percent (52-for-60) on the year.
14 Number of times this season BYU has held its opponents under 30 points in the first half. The Cougars have scored at least 30 first-half points in 17 of 20 games this season while racking up halftime leads in 16 of 20 games, including 12 by double digits.
15 Number of games in which BYU has led by double digits. The Cougars have also led by at least 20 points in 11 contests and 30 points in four. BYU has led wire-to-wire in eight games this year.
18 Number of games this season Lee Cummard has made a three-pointer. Jonathan Tavernari has connected from long range in 17 games while Sam Burgess has made a trey in 15 of 20 outings this year.
20 Number of starts made this season by Sam Burgess after the senior made just one start in his two prior seasons as a Cougar. Fellow senior Ben Murdock has also started all 20 games after not starting last year in his first season in Provo.
19.5 The Cougars' average margin of victory in their 15 wins this season. BYU has won seven games by more than 20 points, including two by more than 30. The Cougars' 40-point win at Long Beach State to begin the year was BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995.
100 Percent of games BYU has won this year when leading with five minutes remaining. The Cougars are 15-0 when ahead on the scoreboard at the 5-minute mark.
25 Points scored by Trent Plaisted and Jonathan Tavernari against Colorado State in BYU"s Mountain West Conference home opener, marking the first time BYU has had two players score 25 or more points in a game since March 1, 2001 when Terrell Lyday totaled 26 and Mekeli Wesley 25 at New Mexico.
57 Number of wins Dave Rose has recorded in his 2+ seasons as a head coach, going 57-23 for a 71.3 winning percentage and winning back-to-back Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors in his first two years.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 42 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's second-longest active home victory streak, just one win behind No. 1 Memphis. The Cougars are 11-0 at home this year and won 17 home games last season after going 14-1 at home in 2005-06. BYU's last home loss was in the 2005-06 season opener against Loyola Marymount. BYU has since won 23 straight over nonconference opponents and 19 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU is 414-116 (.781) 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 Jan. 28, 2008)
Wins Team This year Next home game
43 Memphis 11-0 Feb. 2 vs. UTEP
42 BYU 11-0 Feb. 6 vs. TCU
ON THE ROAD
The Cougars are 3-3 in true road games this year coming off a 55-52 win at Utah on Saturday. With a 1-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is 4-5 this season away from home with a 1-1 record in Mountain West Conference play. BYU won five of its last seven games on the road last season including a win at then-No. 20 Air Force (62-58), snapping the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. BYU was 6-7 on the road last year and 5-3 in conference play, becoming the only MWC team with a winning record on the road in league play last year.
With the Cougars' 55-52 win at Utah coming on the heels of a loss at UNLV, BYU has now bounced back from all five of its losses this season with wins. BYU recovered from a setback against No. 1 North Carolina with a victory at Portland, a loss vs. then-No. 9 Michigan State with a win over Lamar, a loss at Boise State with a triumph against Loyola Marymount and a defeat at Wake Forest with a victory over Colorado State. The Cougars have won their comeback games by an average margin of 19.4 points. BYU head coach Dave Rose has only lost back-to-back regular-season games once in his Cougar career (vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar in 2006-07).
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
BYU is 13-1 when scoring at least 70 points this year and 12-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 75.5 points and allowing 64.2 ppg. The Cougars' 55-52 win at Utah marked the first time this season BYU has won a game when scoring less than 70 points. The Cougars have scored 90 or more points in five games this season, reaching 100 against Jackson State, and are 8-0 when scoring over 80 points on the year.
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU has won the battle of the boards in 15 games this year, going 13-2 in those contests. The Cougars tied an opponent on the boards for the first time this year last Wednesday when both the Cougars and Aztecs pulled down 41 rebounds. BYU is besting opponents by an average of 6.5 boards per contest, leading the league in rebounding margin and rebound average (41.1). The Cougars posted a season-high +19 rebounding margin (38-19) against Hartford as four Cougars pulled down at least five rebounds. BYU began the season with a 55-40 rebounding advantage at Long Beach State, matching last year's season high of 55 boards against Seton Hall. Five Cougars posted at least six rebounds in BYU's win over Lamar, marking the first time since Jan. 8, 2005 that feat has been done.
BYU has had five players score in double figures in a game three times this season, matching last year's total of three games in which at least five players reached double digits. Five different Cougars have led the team in scoring this year with Lee Cummard pacing BYU a team-best 11 times.
Four Cougar freshman are making an impact this year as Chris Collinsworth, Jimmer Fredette, Michael Loyd, Jr. and Nick Martineau have all made a difference for BYU. Collinsworth is fourth for BYU with 5.2 rebounds per game while ranking eighth among MWC players in conference play at 7.2 rpg. He has started six games. Fredette is fifth on the team in scoring with 6.9 ppg and third in steals with 20. Loyd is averaging 9.1 minutes per game and has posted 23 assists on the year. Martineau has 14 assists to 7 turnovers in his 15 games played.
After setting a program record with 256 three-pointers last season, the Cougars are on pace to break that record this year having already made 164 treys so far. BYU has posted double-digit triples in a game seven times this year, including 13 against New Mexico, 10 against Colorado State, 10 at Wake Forest, 12 against Loyola Marymount, 11 against Lamar, 12 at Long Beach State and 13 vs. Hartford. The Cougars have made at least five three-pointers in 18 of 20 games this season. The Cougars tied the program record with 33 three-point attempts against Loyola Marymount and recorded the sixth-best three-point shooting percentage in program history with 81.3 percent accuracy (13-of-16) against New Mexico. Individually, Lee Cummard has made a three-pointer in 18 of 20 games this season while Jonathan Tavernari has connected in 17 games and Sam Burgess has done so in 15 contests. Cummard had an 11-game streak with a make from long range, which ranks ninth all-time at BYU, come to an end at Utah, while Tavernari's 12-game streak to begin the year is tied for seventh all-time in BYU history. Tavernari is on pace to break the Cougars' single-season three-point record of 74 with 50 treys so far this season.
BYU IN THE RANKINGS
The BYU men's basketball team fell out of the top-25 polls released on Dec. 31 after a 73-70 road loss at Boise State. This season BYU first entered the national rankings on Nov. 26, earning the program's earliest appearance in the national polls since the 1980-81 season when the Cougars entered the rankings at No. 21 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll. BYU has now been ranked in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1980-81 and 1981-82. Last year, BYU entered the polls on Feb. 19 to receive the program's first national ranking since 1993, finishing the season ranked No. 24 in the final AP Poll, something a Cougar team had not accomplished since 1988. The Cougar basketball program has now been ranked in the AP Poll during 16 seasons since its first national ranking in 1950-51
PLAYING THE BEST
BYU's game against No. 9 Michigan State on Dec. 8 was its third game in three weeks against a top-10 opponent, including a victory over No. 6 Louisville on Nov. 23 and a loss to No. 1 North Carolina on Nov. 24. BYU has played at least three regular-season games against top-10 opponents in a season just six times previously in program history with the last coming in 1983-84. Only twice previously have the Cougars played three top-10 teams during a three-week stretch, once in 1990-91 with a loss to No. 9 Utah on March 2, a win over No. 8 Utah on March 9 in the WAC Tournament and a loss to No. 8 Arizona on March 16 in the NCAA Tournament and once in 1980-81 with a victory over No. 9 Utah on March 7 in the WAC Tournament, a win over No. 10 UCLA on March 14 in the NCAA Tournament, a victory over No. 7 Notre Dame on March 19 in the NCAA Tourney and a loss to No. 5 Virginia on March 21 in the NCAAs.
Seniors Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess along with juniors Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted have started all 20 games this year while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari has made 14 starts and freshman Chris Collinsworth has started six contests.
WINNING WITH ROSE
With a 60-23 record in his third season, BYU coach Dave Rose ranks first in wins and winning percentage among the 18 head coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level along with Rose in 2005-06. Rose ranks second to only Tennessee's Bruce Pearl (63-21 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06. (as of Jan. 28)
First-Year Coaches in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Dave Rose, BYU 60-23 .723
Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss* 57-27 .679
*includes one season as the interim head coach at Cincinnati
Head Coaches in Their First Year With a Program in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Bruce Pearl, Tennessee 63-21 .750
Dave Rose, BYU 60-23 .723
Tim Floyd, USC 58-31 .652
BYU PLAYER OF THE WEEK
TRENT PLAISTED (JAN. 28) -- Junior forward/center Trent Plaisted recorded back-to-back double-double performances last week while helping BYU achieve victories over San Diego State and New Mexico. The 6-foot-11 native of San Antonio, Texas, averaged 15.0 points and 12.0 rebounds while adding 2.0 assists, 1.5 blocked shots and 1.0 steals per game. Plaisted recorded a team-leading 17 points and game-best 11 rebounds to help BYU hand San Diego State its first defeat in five league games on Wednesday. With BYU trailing at the break, Plaisted scored the first six points of the second half to turn the 28-27 halftime deficit into a 33-28 Cougar lead. The Cougar center totaled 11 points, five rebounds, two blocks, one steal and one assist in his 17 second-half minutes to lead BYU to the hard-fought 59-56 win over the Aztecs, marking the first time in four games this year that BYU has come back after trailing at the half to earn the win. Helping BYU earn a home sweep for the week, Plaisted delivered his sixth double-double game of the season with 13 points and a game-high 13 rebounds against New Mexico on Saturday. Contributing across the box score, Plaisted dished out three assists while adding a blocked shot and a steal in the 83-66 Cougar victory. With his effort, Plaisted posted back-to-back double-double outings for the first time since recording double-digit points and rebounds against then-No. 6 Louisville and then No. 1 North Carolina in late November.
PLAISTED IN 1,000 POINT CLUB
With 22 points against Lamar, junior Trent Plaisted became the 37th member of BYU's elite 1,000 Point Club, joining such Cougar greats as Danny Ainge, Michael Smith, Devin Durrant, Fred Roberts, Kresimir Cosic and Andy Toolson to score at least 1,000 points in their Cougar careers. Plaisted now has 1,134 career points, 27th on BYU's all-time scoring list. Before Plaisted, Keena Young was the most recent addition to the club as he posted 1,068 points during his three-year BYU stint from 2005-07. Of four-year players, Plaisted is just the 10th Cougar to reach the 1,000-point milestone as a junior. The last four-year player to reach 1,000 points as a junior was Mark Bigelow with 1,312 following the 2002-03 season. Plaisted also has 599 career rebounds, making him just the 21st player overall and fifth junior among four-year players to record at least 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.
BURGESS COMIN' UP BIG
Senior co-captain Sam Burgess is making the most of his final BYU campaign as he is fourth on the team in scoring (8.9), third in field-goal shooting among players with at least 30 attempts (.438) and third in assists (2.1) while tying for first on the team in three-point shooting (.413). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 5.3 ppg while averaging 16.2 more minutes per game. His eight double-figure scoring games this year has already surpassed last year's mark of four double-digit scoring outings. Burgess has started all 20 games this season after starting just one game in his two prior seasons as a Cougar. He scored 15 points against New Mexico on 4-for-6 shooting from the field and a 3-for-3 mark from three-point range.
BYU boasts five players who are making 80 percent or more of their free-throw attempts this year (Jimmer Fredette, .889; Lee Cummard, .867; Jonathan Tavernari, .840; Sam Burgess, .838; Ben Murdock, .833). Lee Cummard made a career- and team-season-high 21 straight free throws before missing his first attempt vs. SDSU last Wednesday. He has been perfect at the line in nine of 14 games he has gone to the line this year. He earlier had made 19 straight before a miss against Southern Utah, meaning he had made 40 of 41 attempts (97.6 percent) over that stretch.
The Cougars' 15 victories this year have come by an average margin of 19.5 points, including a season-opening 40-point road win at Long Beach State (74-34), one of 12 double-digit wins for BYU this season and one of seven victories by over 20 points. The win over the 49ers marked BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995. Including BYU's five losses, the Cougars still boast a scoring margin of 11.3 points this year. BYU won 17 games by double-digits last year, including seven by 20 or more points, and was the only team in the Mountain West Conference to not have a regular-season game decided by less than four points. With an average scoring margin of +9.1 last season, the Cougars posted their largest margin of victory since 1993.
THIS YEAR'S LOSSES
BYU's five losses this year have come on neutral floors against then-No. 1 North Carolina and No. 6 (then No. 9) Michigan State and on the road at Boise State, at Wake Forest and at UNLV. BYU held double-digit leads over both Michigan State and Boise State and battled the top-rated Tar Heels through six second-half lead changes. North Carolina (19-1), Michigan State (18-2), Boise State (14-5), Wake Forest (12-6) and UNLV (15-4) have a combined 78-18 record for a .813 winning percentage as of Jan. 27.
FROM THE FIELD
BYU is shooting 45.6 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 38.5 percent from the floor (No. 1 in the MWC). Overall, the Cougars have shot above 50 percent in seven games this year. BYU has shot above 50 percent in the first half of seven games this season and in the second half of nine contests, totaling 16 halves of play with a shooting percetage of 50 percent higher, including three above 60 percent. The Cougars posted a season-high 60.4 percent efficiency against Hartford bolstered by a 63.6 percent second-half shooting mark (14-for-22). Individually, Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted rank No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 55.8 and 53.5 percent and 42nd and 69th, respectively, in the national rankings as of Jan. 27.
The Cougars are 14-2 this season when leading at the half with 12 of the 16 advantages coming by double digits. No. 1 North Carolina, Wake Forest, UNLV and San Diego State are the only teams this season to post a halftime lead against BYU. BYU's win over SDSU last Wednesday was the Cougars' first triumph after trailing at the break. BYU suffered its first loss of the year after holding a halftime lead with a 68-61 defeat against No. 9 Michigan State after a 35-25 lead at the break. The Cougars led by 11 points at the half at Boise State but fell by three points to the Broncos. The Cougars are besting opponents by an average of 8.4 points in the first period of play while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of eight of 20 games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 17 of 20 games while holding opponents under 30 points 14 times. The Cougars' 36-12 lead at the break at Long Beach State marked their largest halftime advantage since being up by 28 points (51-23) against Western Oregon on Dec. 22, 2006. The 12 points given up by BYU in the first 20 minutes of the game at LBSU marked the fewest points allowed in a half by the Cougars since allowing a record-low 10 points against Air Force in 2003. BYU has topped 40 points in the second half of eight games this year while surpassing the 50-point mark in the second half four times.
PAINTING THE TOWN
The Cougars have outscored their opponents in the paint in 11 games and equaled them in one other this year, recording a +5.8 margin in that category. BYU has posted a double-digit margin in eight games, including a season-best +38 margin (54-16) against Jackson State. The Cougars are 11-0 when besting opponents in the paint while all five of BYU's losses on the season have come when the Cougars have been outscored in the paint.
MAKING THE MOST OF THE MISCUE
Despite recording a -0.7 turnover margin with their opponents on the year, the Cougars have outscored foes in points off of turnovers in 15 games this season, posting a +5.1 scoring margin in that category. BYU scored a season-best 26 points off of turnovers against Loyola Marymount.
FAST AND FURIOUS
BYU has outscored opponents in transition in 15 games, equaled them twice and been outpaced only three times. The Cougars average 5.3 more fastbreak points than their opponents. The Cougars scored a season-best 20 fast-break points against Jackson State while tying their season high with a +16 margin. BYU's three deficits in that category came in losses against No. 1 North Carolina (0-4), against No. 9 Michigan State (0-4) and at Wake Forest (0-8).
FROM THE BENCH
BYU's reserves have outscored the opposition's bench only seven times this year but they have done it in five of the last nine games after seven straight contests with a scoring deficit off the bench. On the whole, the BYU bench has outscored opponent reserves by 1.2 points per game this season, tallying 421 points or 21.1 points per game. BYU's leading scorer off the bench is freshman guard Jimmer Fredette, who is averaging 6.9 points per game. He had 11 points last Wednesday against San Diego State. He stepped up at Wake Forest, tying for team-high honors with 15 points off the bench.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
Including a game-high lead of 34 points against New Mexico, the Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 15 of 20 games and have led by more than 20 points in 11 games and more than 30 points in four contests. The exception to the double-digit leads came against No. 1 North Carolina when the game-high BYU lead was two points, at Wake Forest when BYU never led, at UNLV when the Cougars' large lead was three points, at Utah when the Cougar game-high lead was seven points and vs. San Diego State when BYU built a six-point advantage. The Cougars have led wire-to-wire in eight games this season.
WORTHY OF MENTION
-- BYU's 20-point club this year includes Trent Plaisted, Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari. Plaisted and Cummard have scored 20 points or more in five games while Tavernari has done so twice. Among Plaisted's top scoring nights were 21 points against No. 6 Louisville, 24 points against No. 1 North Carolina and a season-high 25 points in BYU's Mountain West Conference opener against Colorado State. Cummard had a career-high 27 points against Lamar and 26 at Boise State while Tavernari totaled a career-best 29 vs. No. 6 Louisville and 25 against CSU.
-- BYU has had eight individual double-double performances this year with Plaisted accomplishing the feat six times and Cummard on two occasions. Cummard became the first Cougar to record a double-double this season with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Idaho State. He added his fifth career double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds against Lamar. Plaisted had 21 points and 12 rebounds against No. 6 Louisville before tallying 24 points and 17 rebounds against No. 1 North Carolina. He totaled 14 points and 15 rebounds vs. Weber State and had 18 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds against Pepperdine. Plaisted had 17 points and 11 boards to lead BYU to a win over San Diego State last Wednesday and 13 points and 13 rebounds against New Mexico on Saturday.
-- Senior point guard Ben Murdock dished out a personal-best 10 assists with only two turnovers at Portland as the lone Cougar to reach double-digit assists in a game this year. He has dished out five or more assists in a game seven times this year. He ranks 20th nationally with a 2.73 assist/turnover ratio and has helped BYU rank 19th nationally with 17.3 assists per game as of Jan. 27.
-- Freshman guard Jimmer Fredette has hit from behind the arc in 14 games this season. Fredette is one of four true freshman playing for the Cougars this year, joining forward Chris Collinsworth and guards Michael Loyd and Nick Martineau. Collinsworth has started six games.
-- BYU has led at the half in 16 of 20 games this year, including 12 double-digit leads.
SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE MWC ...
-- BYU has had six 20-win seasons in the first eight seasons, leading all MWC schools. Utah has had five, UNLV four, Air Force, Wyoming and San Diego State three and New Mexico two.
-- BYU has had the league's top RPI three times, been second twice and third on three occasions. The Cougars were second last year (18) behind UNLV (10).
-- BYU has played the toughest schedule on average of any team in the MWC. Last year, BYU's schedule was rated third behind Utah and UNLV. BYU had the league's toughest schedule in two of the previous three seasons.
-- BYU is tied with Utah for the most overall wins (177).
-- BYU is tied with Utah for the most conference wins (77).
-- BYU has the second-most MWC regular-season titles (three). Utah leads with four.
-- BYU is one of six MWC teams to win the MWC Tournament title.