Game 21 - BYU at Utah

Senior walk-on Brock Reichner is BYU's leading scorer on the road, averaging 14.3 points per game. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

GAME #21 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (14-6, 5-3 MWC)

at

UTAH UTES (10-10, 3-6 MWC)

Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2006

Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000)

Salt Lake City, Utah

7:07 p.m. MST

Coaches:

BYU, Dave Rose (14-6 in first year; same overall)

UTAH, Ray Giacoletti (39-16 in second year; 156-99 in ninth season overall)

Series:

Utah leads 122-118 after dropping the first meeting this season 72-60 in Provo

TV:

KJZZ-14 in Utah and nationally via ESPN Full Court (Steve Brown, play-by-play; Pace Mannion, game analysis)

Radio:

KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (6 p.m. MST pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)

Web:

Live audio and live stats broadcasts are available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/

BYU FACES IN-STATE RIVAL UTAH WEDNESDAY

BYU (14-6, 6-3 MWC) faces in-state rival Utah (10-10, 3-6 MWC) on Wednesday night in Salt Lake City. The Cougars are riding a four-game win streak, their longest since 2004. BYU won the first meeting between the two teams this year in Provo, 72-60, the first of a five-game Ute losing streak. Utah, however, has won two of its last three games, and the Cougars have not won in Salt Lake City since 1994. BYU is currently tied for third place in the Mountain West Conference while Utah is seventh. The 7:07 p.m. game can be seen live in Utah on KJZZ-14 and nationally via ESPN Full Court with Steve Brown and Pace Mannion calling the action. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network.

UP NEXT

The Cougars return home to take on the second-place UNLV Rebels on Saturday night in a 6 p.m. MST game. The contest will be televised nationally on ESPN2.

COUGAR QUICK HITS

-- Cougar head coach Dave Rose is 14-6 in his first year at the helm after eight years as BYU's lead assistant.

-- The Cougars were picked to finish last in the Mountain West Conference in the league's preseason media poll. BYU is currently tied for third in the MWC with a 6-3 conference record.

-- BYU is 14-6 overall, including 10-1 at home, and has won 10 straight in the Marriott Center. The Cougars are 3-5 away and 1-0 at a neutral site. BYU scores an MWC-leading 76.4 ppg and shoots .466 from the field, including .379 from long range, third in the league, and .721 from the line, second in the league. Cougar opponents average 70.4 points on .440 shooting, .343 from three and .713 from the line. BYU pulls down 35.3 rebounds per game, 1.9 more than its opponents. The Cougars dish out an MWC-leading 17.0 assists per game.

-- Redshirt freshman forward/center Trent Plaisted leads BYU in scoring (13.5), followed by senior guard Brock Reichner (10.7). Junior forward Keena Young is the Cougars' top rebounder (5.8) followed by Plaisted (5.7). Junior point guard Rashaun Broadus is second in the MWC in assists (4.11) followed by junior combo guard Austin Ainge (2.80), who is 10th. Nine Cougars are logging 10 minutes or more per game.

LOOKING AT UTAH

The Utes are 10-10 this season, including 8-3 at home, and 3-6 in the Mountain West Conference having won two of their last three games. With the loss of National Player of the Year Andrew Bogut and All-MWC guard Marc Jackson, Utah returns two starters and six letterwinners from last season's Sweet Sixteen team. Senior forward Bryant Markson, a third-team All-MWC pick last year, leads the way for the Utes this season averaging 14.0 points per game and is Utah's second-best rebounder with 5.6 per game. He is also Utah's top assist maker with 58 on the year. Freshman center Luke Nevill, a 7-1 Australian, pulls down a team-best 6.0 rebounds per contest while scoring 9.9 ppg, third on the team, on .526 shooting from the field. Sophomore transfer Johnnie Bryant, a 6-0 guard, is second on the team in scoring with 12.2 ppg while contributing 2.5 boards per contest and has started all but one game for the Utes this season. Senior center Chris Jackson is fourth on the team in rebounds with 3.7 per game to go along with his 7.1 ppg on a team-leading .759 field goal percentage. As a team, the Utes average 64.9 ppg while shooting 46.8 percent from the floor, including 36.2 percent from three-point range and 66.2 percent from the free-throw line. Utah opponents are averaging 64.2 ppg on 43.9 percent shooting from the floor, 35.0 percent from beyond the arc and 68.7 percent from the line. Utah leads the MWC in rebounding defense as the Utes pull down 33.8 rebounds per game compared to opponents' 29.2. Last year's MWC Coach of the Year Ray Giacoletti is 39-16 in his second year at Utah and 156-99 in his ninth year overall.

UTAH'S PROBABLE STARTERS

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

F 20 Bryant Markson 6-7 198 Sr. 14.0 5.6

F 21 Shaun Green 6-8 208 Fr. 6.9 3.8

C 50 Luke Nevill 7-1 250 Fr. 9.9 6.0

G 1 Johnnie Bryant 6-0 190 So. 12.2 2.5

G 3 Chris Grant 6-3 200 So. 2.6 1.9

UTAH's LAST OUTING -- Utes Fall at New Mexico

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- The Utes (10-10, 3-6 MWC) had 19 turnovers, 13 of them in the first half. Utah had just five field goals in the first half, missing 15 of 20 field goals. The Utes shot better in the second half, hitting 11 of 21 shots, but still trailed 56-40 with 5:48 left after David Chiotti scored inside. But New Mexico's shooters then went cold and Utah scored nine straight points. The run ended with a 3-pointer by point guard Johnnie Bryant that got the Utes within 56-49 with 3:41 left. Bryant led the Utes in scoring with 15 points, 10 of them in the second half.

SERIES NOTES

BYU and Utah will meet for the 241st time Wednesday. The series ranks 10th in the NCAA record book in terms of most games in a rivalry and is the 11th longest running rivalry dating back to 1909. Utah is the opponent that BYU has played the most in its history (240 games) and is BYU's second longest running series (Utah State series began in 1905 and includes 221 games). BYU won the inaugural game, 32-9, in Provo, on Jan. 23, 1909, and won again on March 5 of that year, 40-27, in SLC on its way to winning the first eight games against the Utes. The Cougars won the first meeting this year in Provo, 72-60, and are looking for their first win in Salt Lake City since 1994. Last year, the Utes swept the season series with a 14-point victory in Provo and a nine-point win in Salt Lake City. In 2004, BYU won in Provo after the Utes' come-from-behind win in Salt Lake City and then lost to Utah in the semifinals of the MWC Tournament. The Utes' 2003 victory in Provo ended BYU's nation-best 44-game homecourt victory streak. Utah has won eight of the last 12 games since BYU ended a string of 12 straight Utah wins, its longest in the series, with the Cougars' 58-54 win at the 2000 MWC Tournament semifinals. BYU has a 66-47 record in the Marriott Center against the Utes, while Utah holds a 71-46 advantage in the Salt Lake City. Utah has won 11 straight in the Huntsman Center. BYU has a 6-4 edge on neutral floors.

BYU SERIES RECORD VS. UTAH

Overall Series Record: Utah leads 122-118

BYU Record in Provo: 66-47

BYU Record in Salt Lake: 46-71

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 6-4

BYU Record under Dave Rose: 1-0

BYU Record in OT Games: 4-6* (1-1 Rd, 2-5 Hm, 1-0 Ntrl)

*1-0 in 2OT, 0-2 in 3OT - all in Provo (83-85)

Last Overtime Game: 1991, won v. Utah @ WAC, 51-49

Longest BYU Win Streak: 8 (1909-12)

Longest Utah Win Streak: 12 (1995-2000)

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 31 two times (1965, 94)

Largest Utah Margin of Victory: 36, 85-49 (1997)

Most Points Scored by BYU: 115 (1966)

Most Points Scored by Utah: 106 two times (1962, 1963)

UTES HOLD RECENT SERIES EDGE

In the 97 years of the BYU-Utah series, this season will mark only the fifth year the Cougars have trailed Utah in the overall series. Utah swept the regular-season series in 2000 to take its first-ever lead (114-113) in the overall series since it began in 1909. BYU evened the series with a 2000 MWC Tournament victory that year. Utah again held a one-game edge (116-115) in 2002 with its win in Salt Lake City. In the second game that year the Cougars staged a second-half comeback from 21 points down to even the series again at 116-116. With its sweep of the season series in 2003, Utah earned its third overall advantage in the long-running series and finished a season with the lead for the first time ever. It was also Utah's first-ever multi-game lead (118-116). Utah had won four out of five meetings over the past two years to earn its largest series lead of five games (122-117) until a BYU win earlier this season.

OLD OQUIRRH BUCKET

The winner of Wednesday's game between the Cougars and the Utes will claim the Old Oquirrh bucket, which is awarded to the in-state school with the best won-loss record against in-state competition. Both teams are 3-1 this year against in-state schools. BYU has not won the bucket since the 2001 season.

RECENT SERIES OUTINGS

THIS YEAR IN PROVO -- Broadus, Cougars Run Past Utes

PROVO -- In his first game against in-state rival Utah, Rashaun Broadus scored a team-high 17 points, including a deep three-pointer with one minute left in the game and the shot clock at zero, to lead BYU to a thrilling 72-60 victory over Utah in front of a loud Marriott Center crowd. Broadus added three assists and six rebounds while helping the Cougars control the tempo. BYU Coach Dave Rose said Broadus set the pace for the Cougars. BYU improved to 9-4 (1-1 MWC) with the victory while the Utes dropped to 8-5 (1-1 MWC). The win was the Cougars' first against the Utes since the 2003-2004 season. BYU started slow, hitting only two of its first eight shots in the first four minutes. Broadus was the bright spot early for the Cougars, scoring six early points and making three of his first four shots. Utah only made two of its first six. Jimmy Balderson's three-point play gave BYU an 11-9 lead with 13:39 remaining in the first half. The two teams played back and forth with the Cougars holding onto a one-point lead midway through the first half. Johnnie Bryant scored five consecutive points, leading the Utes on a 5-0 run and giving them a 20-18 lead with 7:50 left in the first period. The Cougars countered with an 11-4 run of their own, including a stretch of seven consecutive points. The run helped BYU regain the lead at 32-28 with 2:30 remaining in the half. Overall, the Cougars finished the half on a 16-6 run to take a 34-30 lead into the break. The second half started much the same way the first ended, with BYU running. The Cougars got an early 11-4 run in the first four minutes to go up 45-36 and force a Utah timeout. Two minutes later, Mike Rose drained a three-pointer to give BYU a 10-point lead. Shaun Green hit threes on consecutive trips for the Utes to cut the lead to six points. Utah used the three-ball to stay in the game, hitting five of its first six treys in the second period. BYU kept the tempo up, bouncing back to open a game-high 11-point lead. But Utah battled back again as Bryant hit a three to cut BYU's lead to 63-58 with under five minutes to play in the game. But BYU's tempo was too much, and it showed as the Cougars ran away at the end of the game. BYU never trailed in the second half. As time wound down, BYU maintained its double-digit lead. Broadus hit the late three to put the finishing touches on the victory.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose:

-- "I'm proud of our players. They responded well to a tough situation. When your team has 14 assists and only seven turnovers and scores 70 points, those are some pretty good numbers."

-- "Rashaun (Broadus) was really big today. He got off to a great start and gave us some energy. He's a good competitor and he showed it today"

-- "In the first half, we got a lot of stops defensively and were able to push the ball and force the action. I think that made them tired and in the second half it paid off."

-- "To beat Utah is big for the confidence of our players. It was important that we were able to protect our home court. It feels good to beat Utah."

-- "Coming in the key to the game was rebounding. When we needed big boards we got big boards and that helped our offense."

Utah Head Coach Ray Giacoletti:

-- "We're going to get better with these kids. It's not going to happen overnight. We'll keep competing and getting better."

-- "Coach Rose has done a heckuva job. I think they have really found roles for their guys and they've really bought into those things. They're pretty darn good."

-- "We need to get better defensively. We missed some critical stops; we're not there yet. There were critical stops we couldn't get tonight offensively too."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- Individual Career Highs: Rashaun Broadus -- 8 field goals made, 13 field goals attempted (tied); Trent Plaisted -- 2 assists.

-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Fewest Three-Pointers Made -- 5 (tied); Fewest Turnovers -- 7.

-- The Cougars' win over the Utes is their first since March 1, 2004, snapping a three-game Utah winning streak in the series. Utah still holds a slim 122-118 edge in the series, which dates back to 1909.

-- With the win against Utah, BYU is now 8-0 when leading at the half. The Cougars' average halftime lead is 11.8 points, and they have led by double digits six times. Their four-point (34-30) halftime lead against Utah ties their smallest halftime lead of the season (34-30 at Washington State).

-- With 12 points against the Utes, Trent Plaisted bounced back from a five-point performance at Air Force, a season-low, to score in double figures for the 10th time this year.

-- Fernando Malaman recorded his first dunk of the season with 52 seconds left in the first half while Trent Plaisted added his 12th slam of the year 40 seconds into the second half and his 13th at the 9:45 mark. BYU has recorded 22 dunks this season.

-- BYU's Rashaun Broadus came out hot from the field as he scored the Cougars' first six points and 10 of their first 15 on 5-for-6 shooting in the first 10 minutes of the game. Broadus finished the game with a team-leading 17 points.

-- After finding themselves down 24-18 in the first half, the Cougars went on a 14-5 run to take a 32-28 lead. The run featured four free throws by Derek Dawes during the initial 7-0 spurt and six points from Lee Cummard.

-- The Cougars made another offensive push to begin the second half as they outscored the Utes 11-6 in the first 3:31 of play.

-- Mike Rose made an immediate impact in the game after coming off the bench in the second half. Rose made his first two three-point shots, the first to give the Cougars their largest lead of the game up to that point at 48-38 and the second to push BYU's lead back to nine points after Utah had cut the deficit to just six at 52-46. Rose finished the game with eight points and two assists.

-- BYU's largest lead of the game was 12 points at 70-58 and 72-60. Utah's largest lead was six at 24-18. The game featured four lead changes and 15 ties.

LAST YEAR IN PROVO -- No. 21 UTES PULL AWAY IN SECOND HALF

PROVO -- A solid first half was not enough for the Cougars as the University of Utah pulled away to defeat BYU, 72-58, Monday in the Marriott Center in the first of two meetings between the in-state rivals. No. 21 Utah increased its lead to 121-117 in the series, its largest margin ever. BYU Coach Steve Cleveland said his team played a solid first half but made too many mistakes to stay in the game. Austin Ainge led three double figure scorers for BYU with 15 points while Jimmy Balderson recorded 13 and Keena Young contributed 10. Ainge added five assists, and Young and Garner Meads had four rebounds each. Four Utes finished with double digits, led by Andrew Bogut's game-high 20. Bryant Markson and Tim Drisdom had 11 points each, and Mark Jackson chipped in 10. Bogut also had a game-high nine rebounds and added four assists. For the game, the Cougars shot 43.2 percent (19-44) while Utah connected on 61.9 percent of its shots (26-42). The Utes also won the rebounding battle, grabbing 27 to BYU's 20. The Cougars did not let Utah's No. 21 ranking intimidate them in the first period as they came out aggressive on both sides of the ball. Derek Dawes gave BYU its first lead at 3-2 with a thunderous dunk off a feed from Ainge. The Utes went ahead at 7-5 before an Ainge three gave the Cougars a lead they would hold for more than nine minutes. Rose hit a three from the corner that was followed by an Ainge turnaround jumper over Bogut, putting BYU up 15-9. Utah chipped its way back into the game with a 5-0 run, cutting the lead to 15-14, but a Balderson layup for the Cougars pushed the lead back to three. The Utes then went on an 8-2 run, capped by layups from Jackson and Bogut to give Utah a 22-19 lead. BYU put together a run of its own with Jared Jensen and Ainge hitting two-point field goals and Balderson nailing a three. A Jensen free throw extended the Cougars' lead to 27-24. Utah took the lead once more on four consecutive free throws by Bogut. Meads came down the floor determined to send his team into the locker room with the lead, rebounding his own miss and putting it back for the 29-28 halftime lead. It marked only the fourth time this season the Utes have gone into the locker room trailing. The shot also made Meads the eighth BYU player to score in the first half. Utah stormed out of the gates in the second period of play, scoring the first four points before Balderson tied the score at 32 with a three pointer from the corner. The Utes then scored seven straight points, forcing a BYU timeout. The timeout did not halt the momentum as Markson kept the run alive by getting a dunk and a three-pointer to put the Utes up 44-32, extend the run to 16-3 and forcing another Cougar timeout. Hall ended the run with a turnaround jumper out of the timeout to pull the Cougars to within 10. But Utah again pulled away, going up by 13 at 54-41. Balderson responded with a three to again cut the lead to 10. BYU would get no closer as the Utes stayed in control the rest of the way to take the game and stay perfect in the Mountain West.

WHAT FORMER BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME IN PROVO LAST YEAR

"The turning point of the game was in the second half. We had control of the basketball game but we let it go in the first three or four minutes of the second half. We're not good enough to beat this caliber of team when our whole team isn't playing well."

LAST YEAR IN SALT LAKE CITY -- UTES TOP COUGARS

SALT LAKE -- Despite a fast start, BYU lost an early lead and the game to in-state rival Utah, 69-60, Saturday in the Huntsman Center. The loss drops the Cougars to 9-19, 3-10 in Mountain West Conference play, while the No. 12 Utes improve to 24-4 and 12-1 in the MWC. "Our aggression level was good. We competed," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "A coach can't be upset with this kind of effort." BYU came out scrappy and very aggressive, taking an early 20-9 lead, while holding Utah to a 1-for-10 shooting start. Foul shots kept the Utes in the game early. Utah had 16 first half foul shots compared to BYU's two. Foul shooting helped propel a Ute 20-9 run to end the first half. Over the final 2:21 of the first half, Utah scored the last seven points to tie the Cougars at the half, 29-29. Associate head coach Dave Rose was encouraged with the way the Cougars came out after their demoralizing loss at Air Force. "The guys were able to bounce back, and had a good week in practice," he said. "It's just a shame we weren't able to take advantage of that early lead." Utah pulled away in the second half, going on a 21-9 in the first eight minutes of the second half to stretch the lead to 50-38. The Cougars put together a small run to cut the Utes' lead to five, 56-51. Utah was able to overcome the late surge to win the game by nine. Rose credits Utah for its ability to execute in the second half. "You have to give a lot of credit to Utah for their patience and execution in their half-court offense in the second half," Rose said. Austin Ainge led the way for the Cougars with 17 points in the losing cause. Walk-on Brock Reichner had a career-high 9 points on 3-for-3 shooting, including 2-for-2 from three-point range. Bogut led the Utes with 26 points. Justin Hawkins added 21.

WHAT FORMER BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME IN SALT LAKE LAST YEAR

"Our aggression level was good. We competed. A coach can't be upset with this kind of effort. We've got to keep putting forth this type of effort next week and at the Mountain West Tournament. If we do we will be in every game. Generally speaking we did a good job of guarding them. We did a better job on (Andrew) Bogut in the second half, not fouling."

BYU NOTES

BYU's LAST OUTING -- 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, he's strong, he's bouncy, and he's aggressive. He's getting better."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- 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.

-- The Cougars are also currently enjoying a four-game overall winning streak, their 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 AT THE POINT

BYU's Rashaun Broadus (4.11 apg) and Austin Ainge (2.80 apg) rank second and 10th, respectively, among Mountain West Conference players in assists per game this season while helping the Cougars lead the MWC in team assists at 17.0 apg. Broadus and Ainge have combined for 96 assists compared to 47 turnovers in BYU's 14 wins while totaling 38 assists and 28 turnovers in the Cougars' six defeats. Broadus has 57 assists and 30 turnovers in the wins with 21 assists and 19 turnovers in the losses. Ainge boasts 39 assists to only 17 turnovers in the victories while totaling 17 assists and 9 turnovers in defeats. With his overall 56 assists to 26 turnovers, Ainge would rank second in the conference in assist/turnover ratio at 2.15 but is four assists short of the 60 required to be officially ranked. Broadus officially ranks second (1.59). After starting the season slow, Broadus and Ainge showed marked improvement in the Cougars' win at Washington State, where the two combined to dish out 10 assists while committing only two turnovers, as each posted a line of a game-high 5 assists with only one turnover. In BYU's victory over Southern Utah, they combined for 13 assists with only one turnover, as Ainge tied a career high with 8 assists without a turnover and Broadus had 3 assists and one turnover while scoring 11 points. Against Lamar, Broadus dished out a career-best 9 assists, including an assist on BYU's first six baskets, while Ainge added two assists to help BYU achieve 22 assists for the second straight game. Broadus recorded a team-high 6 assists against Boise State and the two combined for 7 assists (4 Ainge, 3 Broadus) and only 1 turnover (Broadus) vs. Northern Kentucky and 7 assists (4 Ainge, 3 Broadus) and only 2 turnovers vs. Weber State. Ainge had 7 assists without a turnover at USU while Broadus had 8 assists and 4 turnovers while scoring a career-best 21 points. Broadus tied a career-best 9 assists while Ainge added 4 to fuel BYU to a season-high 29 assists vs. Eastern Washington. In conference play, Ainge has 16 assists and 15 turnovers while Broadus has 22 assists and 21 turnovers. Broadus totaled a team-high 6 assists with no turnovers in BYU's most recent game at New Mexico. As a team, BYU has made an assist on 62.4 percent of its field goals this season.

BYU IN THE POST

Trent Plaisted (13.5) leads BYU in scoring while fellow post players Keena Young (8.5) and Fernando Malaman (8.0) are fifth and sixth, respectively. Plaisted (13.3) and Young (10.0) rank first and third, respectively, in league games. Overall, Malaman, Young and Plaisted rank third, fourth and fifth, respectively, in the league in field goal percentage. Malaman is shooting a team-best .550 (66-of-120) followed by Young at .546 (65-of-119) and Plaisted at .541 (98-of-181). Derek Dawes is making .436 (17-of-39). Malaman also boasts a team-leading 50.0 percent success rate (15-of-30) from behind the three-point arc.

BYU ON THE WING

Senior Brock Reichner has started the last 19 games at 2-guard and is second on the team in scoring at 10.7 ppg, including a team-high 36 threes, while junior Jimmy Balderson started the first nine games at small forward and is third in scoring at 9.2 ppg with 16 treys. Balderson is averaging 18.3 points in the last three games while Reichner is averaging 14.0. BYU's two freshman wings are playing significant roles. Lee Cummard has started in place of Balderson the last 11 games and is averaging 5.5 points in 15.8 minutes while shooting 45.2 percent from the floor. Jackson Emery is shooting 41.3 percent from the floor and has made nine triples while averaging 2.7 points in 8.5 minutes. He has also been a solid defender for the Cougars, often helping guard the opponent's top perimeter player. Junior Mike Rose plays 9.9 minutes in the rotation on the wing, averaging 3.8 points, including 18 treys.

COUGAR OFFENSE

BYU's 76.4 points per game are coming in a variety of ways as the Cougars outscore their opponents in every statistical category on the season. BYU has scored 57 more points in the paint this season, outpacing its opponents underneath in nine games, tying in three and being outscored in eight. The Cougars have also capitalized on opponent miscues in their 20 games to date, scoring 29 more points off of turnovers while outscoring foes in that category in 10 games, tying in one and being outscored in nine. BYU enjoys a 43-point advantage in second-chance points, partly due to the Cougars' +1.9 rebounding margin, as BYU has outscored opponents in that category in 11 games. The Cougars' largest advantage, however, comes on the fastbreak as BYU has only been outscored on the break in five games this year, with a 201-127 margin.

COMEBACK COUGARS

With its 14-6 overall record, BYU has yet to suffer consecutive defeats this season, having bounced back from each loss with victory, and is currently enjoying its longest winning streak since the 2003-04 season at four games. BYU had alternated wins and losses since beginning league play before winning its last four games, two of which came on the road. BYU's three conference road defeats have been against the MWC's top three teams in the standings in San Diego State, UNLV and Air Force. The Cougars have achieved four winning streaks this year -- one four-game streak, two three-game streaks and one two-game streak.

MAGIC NUMBER: 70

BYU is 9-0 this season when holding opponents under 70 points and 5-6 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold. Cougar foes are currently averaging 70.4 points per game. BYU is also 11-3 when scoring 70 or more points and 3-3 when falling below the 70-point mark. The Cougars lead the league in scoring, averaging 76.4 ppg.

FOR STARTERS

Overall this year, eight players have started while Coach Dave Rose has used six starting lineups. Junior Rashaun Broadus has started the last three games after losing his starting spot the three previous games while junior Keena Young made his fifth start of the season against Air Force. Trent Plaisted has started each game while Fernando Malaman has started every game but the last five, Brock Reichner has started 19 games, Broadus 17 games, Jimmy Balderson nine games and Austin Ainge four games. Lee Cummard has 11 starts, the last 11 games. The majority of BYU's starting lineups have featured two freshmen (Plaisted and Cummard), two junior transfers (Broadus and Malaman) and one senior (Reichner). Reichner is the only one of the five to have started a Division I game prior to this season. He made two starts late last year in his first season at BYU. Five Cougars who started between seven and 23 games on last year's team (Ainge, 23 starts; Balderson, 16 starts; Young, 15 starts, Derek Dawes, 13 starts; Mike Rose, 7 starts) have primarily been coming off the bench.

MAKING NOISE

Brock Reichner and Jimmy Balderson have stepped up their play in the last three games as the pair now rank second and third, respectively, in scoring for the Cougars. Balderson led BYU with a career-high 24 points against Colorado State while Reichner added 23. At New Mexico, Balderson scored 14 points and Reichner recorded 11. The two combined for 22 of BYU's 65 points against Air Force. Over the last three games, Balderson is averaging 18.3 points per game while Reichner is scoring 14.0 ppg.

FROM THE LINE

The Cougars have made significant progress from the free-throw line in conference play, shooting .793 from the stripe in MWC play, which ranks first in the league, and .721 overall, which is second. BYU has shot 80 percent or above from the line in five of its nine league games while reaching that mark just twice in the Cougars' 11 nonconference contests. BYU has a chance to become the first MWC team in league history to shoot 80 percent or better in conference play. Senior Brock Reichner has made his last 19 straight free throws.

BYU APPROACHES 500TH GAME

The Cougars will play their 500th game in the Marriott Center on Feb. 22 against the San Diego State Aztecs. BYU has called the Marriott Center home since 1971, compiling a 382-116 (.767) record in 35 seasons. Over eight million fans have cheered the Cougars to victory during that time in the nation's third-largest on-campus arena.

SCORING FOR THE COUGARS

BYU is averaging an MWC-leading 76.4 ppg led by redshirt freshman Trent Plaisted's 13.5 points per game. Six different Cougars have led the team in scoring in BYU's first 20 games. Plaisted has led BYU eight times (20 at USC, 13 vs. Southern Utah, 19 vs. Boise State, 15 vs. Weber State, 16 vs. Tulsa, 17 vs. Wyoming, 22 vs. TCU and 21 vs. Air Force), and junior Keena Young has led the team four times (12 vs. Northern Kentucky, 15 vs. Eastern Washington, 16 at Air Force and 16 at San Diego State) while junior Jimmy Balderson has led the team three times (18 vs. Loyola Marymount, 21 vs. Lamar and 24 at Colorado State), senior Brock Reichner has led the team twice (18 at Washington State and 26 at Utah State), junior Rashaun Broadus has led the team twice (17 vs. Utah and 15 at UNM) and Fernando Malaman (13 at UNLV) has led the Cougars once. Eleven different Cougars have had a double-digit scoring outing for BYU this year (all except Jermaine Odjegba, high of 2).

HALFTIME REPORT

With its win against Air Force, BYU is now 9-0 when leading at the half, 4-6 when trailing and 1-0 when tied. The win over the Falcons marked the first time this season the Cougars have been tied at the break. The Cougars' average halftime lead is 10.7 points, and they have led by double digits six times. BYU has been more impressive in the second half this season. The Cougars have outscored their opponents in the second period of play in all but four games this year (42-41 vs. Loyola Marymount, 45-42 at UNLV, 46-37 at San Diego State, 43-43 at Colorado State). BYU averages 6.0 more second-half points than its opponents.

BROADUS SHARES MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS

COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU guard Rashaun Broadus and San Diego State guard Brandon Heath were named Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Co-Players of the Week. This is the first weekly honor of the season and career for Broadus. A 6-0 guard from Mililani, Hawai'i, Broadus helped the Cougars to a 2-0 conference record last week with wins at New Mexico (77-71) and at home vs. Air Force (65-59). He scored a game-high 15 points (13 in the second half) and dished out a game-best six assists (zero turnovers) vs. the Lobos. He also added three rebounds in his 33 minutes on the floor as the Cougars ended UNM's 21-game home winning streak, which was the fourth longest in the country. Against Air Force, Broadus scored 13 points, grabbed three rebounds, and added two assists and two steals. He once again came up big in the second half for BYU, scoring 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the field, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc. On the week, Broadus nearly doubled his scoring average (14.0 points per game), while also averaging 4.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. He shot 50.0 percent from the field (10-for-20) and 41.7 percent from three-point range (5-for-12), while tallying an assist-to-turnover ration of 4.0 (eight assists, two turnovers). Broadus' honor marks the second straight MWC Player of the Week award for the Cougars following Trent Plaisted's recognition last week.

PLAISTED NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK

COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU forward/center Trent Plaisted was named Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the week ending Jan. 30. This is the first weekly honor of the season and career for Plaisted. A 6-11 freshman from San Antonio, Texas, Plaisted led the Cougars to conference wins over TCU (89-80 OT) and Colorado State (86-84) last week, establishing career highs in eight different categories in the process. Against TCU, he recorded his second career double-double, scoring a career-high 22 points and pulling down a career-best 16 rebounds. Plaisted, who entered the game shooting 66.7 percent from the free throw line, knocked down all eight of his shots from the stripe while also tying a personal-best in blocked shots (two). Against Colorado State, he scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds, setting career highs in assists and steals (three each) along the way. For the week, Plaisted averaged 18.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game, while shooting 51.9 percent (14-for-27) from the field and 90.0 percent (9-for-10) from the free-throw stripe. He leads BYU in scoring (13.1 points per game) and rebounding (5.6 rebounds per game) this season, ranking 10th in the conference in both categories.

INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS THRIVE AT BYU

- A total of 25 international players have played basketball at BYU.

- The Cougars have had an international player on their varsity roster in 34 of the past 54 years.

- In the last five years, BYU has rostered five international players, including three on this season's team -- Jimmy Balderson (Canada), Fernando Malaman (Brazil) and Vuk Ivanovic (Serbia & Montenegro).

- Brazilian Luiz de Toledo has signed a National Letter of Intent to play for BYU next season.

- Foreign players at BYU have received eight all-conference citations, two conference player of the year awards (Timo Saarelainen -- 1985, Rafael Araujo -- 2004) and eight All-America citations (Kresimir Cosic -- 1972 and 1973, Rafael Araujo -- 2004).

- According to a book about basketball in Finland by Mikko Simon, BYU has the distinction of being the first NCAA Division I school to have an overseas player on its roster when Timo Lampen, a native of Lahti, Finland, took the court for the Cougars in 1961.

- BYU also boasts the first foreign All-American in Kresimir Cosic, who will have his BYU jersey retired on March 4. The Zadar, Yugoslavia, native played on the Cougar varsity team from 1971-73 and earned six All-America citations and three first-team All-Western Athletic Conference awards. He is the only BYU player to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

- During the 2005 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, CBS Television analyst Billy Packer singled out Cosic during a discussion of the quality of international players now playing college basketball. Said Packer, "Kresimir Cosic, who played for BYU, was really the first great international player to play basketball in the United States."

BYU TO RETIRE COSIC JERSEY

In an historic event, BYU will retire the uniform of the late Kresimir Cosic on March 4, 2006, during the final regular season home game against New Mexico. The former Cougar great becomes the second BYU men's basketball player to have his jersey retired, joining Danny Ainge. "Cosic was a great ambassador for both BYU and the game of basketball," said BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe. "His accomplishments on and off the basketball court have impacted the lives of many worldwide. This honor is a well-deserved tribute to a great man." During his career at BYU, Cosic used his versatile inside-outside game to lead the Cougars in scoring (23.3 points per game) and rebounding (12.8 rebounds per game) as a junior and again as a senior (20.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg). His unselfish attitude also helped him to lead his team in assists. He ranks second on BYU's all-time rebounding list with 919, an average of 11.6 per game, and fourth all-time with a 19.1 career scoring average while recording a BYU-record 47 double-doubles. Behind the play of Cosic, the Cougars won two WAC titles and reached the NCAA Regional Tournament in 1971 and 1972. Cosic was a three-time first-team All-WAC selection and earned All-American accolades following his junior season. He likely would have been a four-year award winner but freshmen were not allowed to play on varsity. Upon graduation, Cosic became very involved with basketball throughout Europe. He played on four Olympic teams with his native land of Yugoslavia, winning a gold medal in 1980 and two silver medals in 1968 and 1976. He ended his career as the all-time Croatian scoring leader and went on to coach the Yugoslavian National Team for many years. In September of 1992, Cosic was appointed as the Croatian Deputy Ambassador to the United States. He and his family lived in Washington D.C where he performed his diplomatic duties in the same excellent manner in which he played basketball.

BYU REDSHIRTS: SAM BURGESS, VUK IVANOVIC

Junior guard Sam Burgess is redshirting this season. The 6-foot-3 guard from Alpine, Utah, is one of nine juniors on the roster this year. Fellow junior Vuk Ivanovic will also redshirt while he sits out the season due to NCAA transfer rules.

TRANSFERRED: DAVID BURGESS

David Burgess, a 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman center, announced on Dec. 15 that he was transferring from BYU to complete his eligibility. BYU granted his request for a release. Burgess appeared in three of seven games this year, averaging 0.7 points and 1.7 rebounds. Said Burgess, "I thoroughly enjoyed my time at BYU and I think Coach Rose is an unbelievable coach but his system just isn't a good fit for me personally. When I signed, Coach Cleveland's system was a half-court offense, which fits me better as a player. I was excited for Coach Rose to be named the coach and I worked hard to lose some weight and try to prepare myself for his system but it's just not the best fit for me." Burgess has since announced he will transfer to Gonzaga.

BYU BASKETBALL ON KSL NEWSRADIO

(102.7 FM and 1160 AM)

The "Voice of the Cougars" is KSL Newsradio 1160's Greg Wrubell. He is in his 10th season as the play-by-play voice of BYU basketball. Wrubell, also the voice of BYU football, is joined by former Cougar lettermen Mark Durrant and Russell Larson (for select broadcasts) as color analysts. Durrant has been part of the KSL broadcast team for nine years while Larson is in his first season as an analyst. In addition to live coverage of every Cougar game, the following programs can be heard each week on KSL Newsradio.

COACH ROSE ON KSL NEWSRADIO ...

Coach's Corner with Dave Rose

Mondays at 8:45 a.m.

The Dave Rose Show

Mondays from 7-8 p.m.

THE DAVE ROSE SHOW ON KSL-TV

BYU coach Dave Rose's weekly television show airs on Sunday evenings at 11 p.m. on KSL-TV, channel 5 in Salt Lake City. The show will resume airing at the conclusion of the 2006 Winter Olympics

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