Trent Plaisted tied his career high with 27 points in BYU's last outing against Wyoming, a 96-84 win in last year's MWC Tournament Semifinals. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
BYU GAME #22 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (16-5, 5-1 MWC)
WYOMING COWBOYS (8-11, 2-5 MWC)
Saturday, Feb. 2, 2008
2 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (61-23 in third season; same overall)
Wyo., Heath Schroyer (8-11 in first season; 43-58 in fourth year overall)
BYU leads, 97-69, after three wins last year, including a victory in the MWC Tournament semifinals
The Mtn. (Mike Evans, play-by-play; Marty Fletcher, game analyst)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM). Pregame show will begin after KSL overage of Gordon B. Hinckley funeral (approx. 1:30--2 p.m.) -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analyst
Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com
BYU PLAYS AT WYOMING SATURDAY
BYU (16-5, 5-1 MWC) will play the second of back-to-back Mountain West Conference road games on Saturday at Wyoming (8-11, 2-5 MWC). The Cougars have won four straight league games after a 69-53 victory at Air Force on Wednesday and are now 2-1 on the road in conference play this season. The Cowboys have won back-to-back MWC contests after a 69-64 win at Utah on Wednesday. Saturday's game will be televised on The Mtn., while 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.
The Cougars return to the Marriott Center on Wednesday hosting TCU at 7 p.m.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- At 5-1 in MWC play, the Cougars are off to their best league start since the 2002-03 season when BYU also began 5-1 before finishing in a tie for first place at 11-3.
-- 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. BYU 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 WYOMING
Wyoming is 8-11 overall this seasonand 2-5 in Mountain West Conference play. The Cowboys have won their last two league games, 73-58 against Colorado State and 69-64 at Utah, after dropping their first five, including two in overtime of double overtime. Three starters among eight letterwinners return from last year's team that finished the year 17-15 overall and 7-9 in the MWC. Senior guard Brandon Ewing once again leads the team in scoing at 17.7 points per game on 43.5 percent shooting from the floor. He also dishes out a team-best 4.4 assists per contest and has posted 30 steals on the year. Senior guard Brad Jones also stars in the Wyoming backcourt with 12.8 ppg aand 6.6 rebounds per game, second on the team. He is right behing Ewing with 3.7 apg. Sophomore forward Ryan Dermody rounds out the double-digit scorers for the Cowboys with 10.4 ppg while contributing 5.7 rpg and pacing Wyoming with 28 blocks on the year. Sophomore center Travis Nelson shoots a team-best 65.7 percent from the field for the team while adding 8.9 ppg. Senior forward Joseph Taylor boasts 6.8 rpg to lead the team while posting 7.3 ppg on 62.8 percent shooting from the field. As a team, teh Cowboys average 70.1 ppg on 44.2 percent shooting from the floor while allowing opponents to score 73.2 ppg on 41 percent shooting. Former BYU assistant coach Heath Schroyer is in his first year at the helm of the Cowboys and is 43-58 in four years overall.
WYOMING'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 05 Ryan Dermody 6-8 205 So. 10.4 5.7 Loveland, Colo,
F 21 Tyson Johnson 6-6 235 Jr. 3.5 2.4 Long Island, N.Y,
C 13 Mikhail Linskens 7-0 270 Fr. 3.1 2.6 West-Vlaaneren, Belgium
G 01 Brad Jones 6-1 190 Sr. 12.8 6.6 Marked Tree, Ark.
G 23 Brandon Ewing 6-2 190 Jr. 17.7 3.2 Chicago, Ill.
WYOMING'S LAST OUTING -- WYOMING WINS SECOND STRAIGHT
SALT LAKE -- Brandon Ewing and Brad Jones combined for 38 points as the Wyoming Cowboys held on to beat Utah 69-64 on Wednesday and win back-to-back games for the first time all season. The Cowboys (8-11, 2-5 Mountain West) also snapped a five-game road losing streak against the Utes dating to 2002. Luke Nevill scored a season-high 25 points with nine rebounds for the Utes (11-8, 2-4), who trailed 65-64 after Tyler Kepkay's three-point play with 12.9 seconds left. But Jones made the last of his 11 straight free throws with 12.3 seconds remaining to stretch the lead to 67-64, and Ryan Dermody rebounded Kepkay's running 3-point attempt in the waning seconds to clinch the victory. Dermody made two free throws with 0.3 seconds left for the final margin. The Cowboys made 18 of 21 free throws, including their last nine in a row over the last 7 1/2 minutes. Ewing scored a team high 21 points, including 15 in the first half -- all on 3-pointers -- to give the Cowboys a 34-28 halftime lead. The Utes have not won in seven games this season when not leading at the break. The Utes did not make a basket for a 10-minute stretch, missing 10 straight shots between a Nevill lay-up with 7:58 left in the first half and a Carlon Brown basket with 17:58 remaining in the second. They scored their only five points in that span on free throws in the first half.
BYU and Wyoming have met 166 times. BYU leads the series 97-69 after a season series sweep last year and a victory in the MWC Tournament semifinals. Wyoming has a 53-29 advantage in Laramie while BYU boasts a 63-14 record in Provo. BYU has a 5-2 edge on a neutral floor, including a 3-0 advantage in conference tournament play (MWC Tournament wins in 2001, 2004 and 2007). The Cougars have won the last five games and 10 of the last 12 outings. Since the formation of the Mountain West Conference, BYU has won 14 of the 19 meetings. After Utah (245 games) and Utah State (224 games), BYU has faced Wyoming the third-most times in its history.
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"Over the last three or four games, Wyoming has really played well. Heath (Schroyer) has got his team guarding better and taking care of the ball better. They've got good guards in Jones and Ewing and two big guys inside. Heath is as competitive as any person I've ever been around, and this will be a good matchup."
RECENT SERIES OUTINGS
LAST YEAR AT BYU -- YOUNG LEADS COUGARS TO VICTORY
PROVO -- After a slow start, the BYU Cougars pulled out an 89-81 victory against the Wyoming Cowboys Tuesday night in the Marriott Center, improving to 13-5 overall and 3-1 in the Mountain West Conference. Senior Keena Young led his team with 29 points, a new career high, and 10 rebounds. BYU also improved their home-winning streak to 26 games. The Cougars started out slow with two turnovers in the beginning minutes. A three-pointer by Brandon Ewing carried the Cowboys to a 12-4 lead before a time-out was called by BYU. The game continued to go Wyoming's way until Ben Murdock hit a three-pointer to bring the Cougars within five points. A seven-point run by BYU was capped by a Mike Rose breakaway lay-up. With 10:25 left in the half, Trent Plaisted got his first bucket of the game after missing his previous six attempts. BYU continued to struggle when Murdock received his second foul with just over eight minutes left in the half. A Jonathan Tavernari jump shot was followed by an Austin Ainge three-pointer. Picking up where he left off during the Cougars' last home game against TCU, Tavernari made his first three-point attempt to bring his team within three. As the half came to a close, Young was sent to the free-throw line where he made both of his shots. A three-pointer by Jimmy Balderson tied the game for the first time. On the last play of the half, Tavernari hit his second three of the night, giving BYU its first lead of the game at 37-35. Young was fouled and sent to the line to open the second half where he made both of his free throws. A dunk by Plaisted with 16:05 on the clock tied the game, and a costly turnover by the Cowboys resulted in a breakaway lay-up by Rose, giving the Cougars a 51-45 advantage. BYU continued on a 17-0 run, with Young contributing nine points and Rose adding five. A strong defensive showing by the Cougars resulted in an expired Wyoming shot clock with just over 10 minutes to play. Murdock's fourth foul sent Eric Platt to the line, bringing the score to 66-54. Soon after, Plaisted recorded his second dunk of the night with 7:14 left in the half. At 6:53, Ewing recorded his first points of the half on a pair of free throws, having gone over 24 minutes without a score. Young tipped in a missed three-point attempt by Lee Cummard to give BYU a 12-point lead. On a trip to the free-throw line with four minutes left in the game, Young surpassed his previous career high of 27 points. Ewing's 800th career point came with just over two minutes to play. A steal by Ainge and ensuing tip-in by Plaisted put the Cougars up 85-79 with 30 seconds left in the game. A pair of free throws by Ainge sealed the BYU victory. Four Cougars scored in double figures, including Young with 29 points, Plaisted with 15, Ainge with 13 and Tavernari with 10. Ewing and Brown both led Wyoming with 22 points each. Brown also led his team with 18 rebounds.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "It was a physical game. Our guys responded well to that. All of the conference games will be physical. The teams are evenly matched so it will be a fight."
-- "Wyoming guards are very involved. They get the posts involved by penetration. In the second half we did a much better job of filling the lanes so the guards had to create shots."
-- "The defense sparked the 17-0 run. We got stops on defense and attacked them in transition."
-- "At the beginning of the game the energy level from our guys was suspect. That's why Jonathan Tavernari came in to give us a lift."
-- "Jonathan Tavernari's playing with a lot of confidence. He works really hard, has a great attitude and right now he is really helping our team."
Wyoming Head Coach Steve McClain
-- "I thought it was a great game. We got off to a great start. We did what we wanted to do. We are proud of our kids. We got it close but didn't get it."
-- "We go in at the half and feel like we are right there, and then we just missed shots. BYU did a good job defensively."
-- "I think our kids got frustrated by something they couldn't control. But I think that they really kept their composure."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT BYU
-- Individual Career Highs: Keena Young - 29 points; Lee Cummard -- 3 blocks.
-- Individual Season Highs: Mike Rose -- 3 assists, 2 steals (tied); Keena Young -- 2 steals.
-- Team Season Highs: 52 points in a half; 12,817 attendance.
-- BYU's win over Wyoming extended its home winning streak to 26 games, which the second-longest active home victory streak in the nation. The Cougars are 12-0 at home this season.
-- With a .412 (7-for-17) three-point shooting percentage against Wyoming, BYU has now shot above .400 percent from behind the arc in five straight games and nine on the season.
-- BYU put together two very different halves against Wyoming, starting the game 2-for-11 (.182) while shooting 14-for-38 (.368) in the first half. In the second half, BYU started 8-for-11 (.727) while cruising to a season high 52 second-half points on a 13-for-24 (.542) shooting mark, the 10th time this year the Cougars have scored at least 40 points in the second half. BYU shot 27-for-62 (.435) for the game.
-- After Wyoming's Joseph Taylor was whistled for a technical foul at the 14:58 mark with the game tied at 45-45, BYU went on a 17-0 run thanks in part to nine points from Young and five points from Mike Rose.
-- After scoring 16 second-half points at UNLV, Keena Young once again put together another impressive offensive performance against Wyoming, scoring a career-high 29 points on 9-for-16 (.563) shooting, marking the 16th time in 18 games he has scored in double figures and the fourth time he has posted 20+ points. His 29 points is the most scored by a Cougar since Rafael Araujo scored 32 points against then-No. 25 Oklahoma State on Dec. 6, 2003 at the Delta Center.
-- Young added 10 rebounds against the Cowboys to record his fifth double-double of the season and the eighth of his career.
-- With an 11-for-12 performance from the free-throw line, Young also became the first Cougar since Mike Hall on Feb. 7, 2004 to make double-digit free throws in a game.
-- With a three-point make at the 12:21 mark of the second half, Mike Rose has now made a three-pointer in 10 straight games, tying his career record. Rose has come on strong for BYU as of late, scoring 77 points in the last 10 games (7.7 ppg), including nine against Wyoming, after scoring just 11 points in the first eight games (1.4 ppg).
-- Lee Cummard recorded a career-high three blocks in the game, marking the ninth game this year he has recorded at least one rejection. Cummard entered the game ranked 15th in the MWC averaging 0.65 bpg.
-- Jimmy Balderson gave the Cougars their first tie of the night at 34-34 on a three-pointer with 1:34 left to play in the first half. Jonathan Tavernari then gave BYU its first lead at 37-35 on another three-pointer with three seconds remaining in the half. Wyoming led by as many as 10 points (16-6) in the first period of play.
LAST YEAR AT WYOMING -- BYU TAKES OVER FIRST PLACE WITH WIN AT WYOMING
LARAMIE -- The Cougars survived Wyoming's Arena-Auditorium Tuesday night after battling out a 77-73 win over the Cowboys to improve to 18-6 overall and 8-2 in the Mountain West Conference. BYU was led by Young, who tied the career high he set against Wyoming earlier this season in Provo with 29 points on 10-for-14 shooting from the field to go along with six rebounds. Trent Plaisted led the Cougars on the boards with seven rebounds while adding 13 points and one assist. Mike Rose and Lee Cummard also scored in double figures for BYU with 12 and 10 points, respectively. The Cougars held the Cowboys scoreless from the floor for the first 3:29 of the game as they built a 6-1 lead until Wyoming's Spencer scored a layin at the 16:31 mark. Cummard responded with a bucket on the other end for BYU, but the Cowboys roared back thanks to seven more points from Spencer to take the lead at 12-10 with just under 14 minutes to play in the half. Plaisted scored the next six Cougar points to keep the game close, but BYU had no answer for Spencer, who scored 13 of the Cowboys' first 16 points to maintain a 16-14 Wyoming lead. A jumper from Young out of the timeout and a free throw from Plaisted allowed the Cougars to retake the lead at 17-16, but a 6-2 Wyoming spurt put the Cowboys up 22-19 with nine minutes to go. The Cowboys extended their lead to 28-23 until Rose drained a three-pointer to get the Cougars within two at 28-26 with 4:28 left in the half. Rose drained another three-pointer to give BYU a 31-30 lead with just over a minute to play, but the Cowboys scored the last four points of the half, the final bucket coming at the buzzer on an airball putback. The Cowboys opened the second half with an emphatic dunk from Okoye and a three-point play from Bienvenu Songondo, both playing in place of unavailable starters, to take a 39-33 lead. Young converted a three-point play of his own after a fastbreak bucket to get BYU within one point, but Wyoming responded with just its second three-point make in 13 tries to go back up by four at 42-38. Young and the Cowboys traded buckets on the next four possessions as Young scored nine straight Cougar points, but BYU was unable to get back on top as Spencer drained a three to go up 47-42. Ben Murdock jumped a 15-footer as the shot clock wound down on the next Cougar possession to keep the game close before Rose once again did his part with his third three-pointer of the night to tie things up at 47-47 with 11:56 left to play. Plaisted gave BYU its first lead of the half moments later with two big free throws followed by another make from long range by Rose to cap a 12-2 Cougar run and give BYU a 54-49 advantage at the 9:53 mark. Wyoming clawed its way back with four straight makes from the free-throw line to make it a one-possession game at 58-55. Young responded with two big makes from the line, but the Cowboys scored another putback to make the score 60-57. Wyoming looked to be on a roll after Plaisted missed a dunk and the Cowboys had numbers on the other end, but Brad Jones missed the easy layup and was called for a technical foul, resulting in free throws and possession for BYU. Young made one-of-two on the technical trip and then missed both after being fouled on the ensuing possession, but the second miss was rebounded by Plaisted and immediately kicked out to Cummard, who drained a huge three-pointer from the left corner to give BYU a 64-57 lead. Just when the Cougars were getting comfortable with a 68-59 advantage, BYU recorded three straight turnovers resulting in five Cowboy points to cut the lead to 68-64 with just over two minutes left to play. Austin Ainge stopped the bleeding with a free-throw make at the 1:55 mark, and the Cougars sealed the deal from the charity stripe in the last two minutes, scoring eight more to post the 77-73 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "This game was like the majority of the wins we've had this year. A couple guys stepped up and made some big plays, but it was a team win from top to bottom. We got some good play out of our bench, and then Keena Young was great down low. I'm really proud of our guys."
-- "We've got a lot of really good players, and as a staff we have confidence in all those guys. When our bench players get an opportunity to go in there and help our team, they get it done. Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess gave us big lifts that we need for our team to be successful."
-- "These guys are very smart players. They know when they step up to the line late in the game that those are big free throws. The thing I feel good about is that very few of our misses are way off. We're close, and our guys are right there. It's something that we need to work on. We know it's an issue, but you have to give the guys a lot of credit for the effort and the competitive spirit they had to be able to overcome leaving so many points at the line."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT WYOMING
-- Individual Career Highs: Ben Murdock - 4 assists; Keena Young -- 29 points (tied), 13 free throws attempted; Lee Cummard -- 3 blocks (tied).
-- BYU is now 17-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 3-6 when allowing opponents to reach the 70-point threshold.
-- With a 31-30 rebounding advantage against the Cowboys, the Cougars are now 17-0 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- The Cougars trailed at halftime for just the fifth time this season and the first time in conference play, going into the locker room down 34-31 at the break. With the win, BYU has now come back from a halftime deficit twice this season, including overcoming an eight-point halftime deficit against Seton Hall. Overall, the Cougars are 16-2 when leading at the break, 2-3 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season.
-- After losing five of their first six true road games this season, BYU has now won its last three games away from the Marriott Center. The Cougars have shot above 50 percent in their last four road games, including a .543 (25-for-46) mark against the Cowboys.
-- BYU's .500 (14-for-28) first-half shooting mark marked the fourth of five MWC road games in which the Cougars have shot at least 50 percent in the first period of play.
-- With 29 points at Wyoming, Keena Young has now scored in double figures in 20 of 24 games this season, including six outings with at least 20 points. Young's highlight reel against the Cowboys included a 9-0 personal run in the early minutes of the second half to keep the Cougars close. He tied his career high of 29 points set against Wyoming in Provo earlier this season.
-- After making 11 straight shots dating back four games, including scoring his first two attempts at Wyoming, Lee Cummard recorded his first miss since Jan. 24 on a three-pointer with 3:38 left in the first half. Prior to the miss, Cummard had made his first two shots at Wyoming, gone 3-for-3 against then-No. 25 UNLV, 3-for-3 at Utah and 3-for-3 against then-No. 13 Air Force since missing his last shot at New Mexico. Cummard finished the night with 10 points on 3-for-4 shooting from the field, his 10th double-digit scoring outing of the year.
-- With two steals against Wyoming, Cummard has now recorded at least one takeaway in 20 of 24 games. Cummard leads BYU and ranks fifth in the MWC in that category. Cummard also tied his career high with three blocked shots against the Cowboys, his 12th game with at least one rejection.
-- After tying his own school record with eight three-pointers against UNLV last Saturday, Mike Rose continued his hot shooting from downtown against Wyoming, making 4-of-6 to score 12 points.
LAST YEAR AT MWC TOURNAMENT -- PLAISTED'S CAREER NIGHT LEADS BYU TO TITLE GAME
LAS -- The BYU men's basketball team (25-7) will be heading to the MWC Tournament Championship game for the first time since 2001 after beating Wyoming 96-84 in Friday's semifinal. BYU was led by All-MWC center Trent Plaisted, who tied his career high with 27 points and posted 10 boards. Lee Cummard, Austin Ainge and MWC Player of the Year Keena Young each scored in double figures with 21, 14 and 12 points, respectively. The Cougars began the game hot with Cummard hitting two threes and Ainge getting a mid-range jumper to take a quick 8-2 lead. Young then got a pair of free throw, which was immediately followed by a two-handed throwdown by Cummard, forcing Wyoming to take an early timeout with 16:38 left in the first half. BYU came out of the timeout going right at the Cowboys as Ainge hit a three and Cummard posted a layup. Wyoming thought the media timeout might cool the Cougars off but Jimmy Balderson hit a three at the top of the key to extend the lead to 20-5 and continue BYU's hot shooting. Plaisted then took over, scoring 11 straight for BYU and spurring a 17-1 Cougar run. MWC Freshman of the Year Jonathan Tavernari then gave Coach Rose huge minutes off the bench, hitting his first attempt from the field, and was followed by a Mike Rose three-pointer extending the lead 38-13. The Cougars traded baskets with Wyoming the rest of the first half and went into the intermission up 54-35. BYU shot 60 percent behind the arc in the period and was led by Plaisted and Cummard's 17 and 12 points, respectively. BYU came out of the locker room struggling to score until Balderson drove the lane and dished to Plaisted for a crowd raising one-handed slam at the 17:30 mark. On the next Cougar possession Balderson hit a deep three to extend the lead to 59-37. Over the next six minutes Wyoming held BYU to just seven points as the Cowboys tried to claw their way back into the game down by 16 with 10:29 left. Though the Cougars were struggling offensively, they took valuable time off the clock on the offensive end, making it difficult for Wyoming to mount any sort of quick comeback. BYU got back on track with a mid-range jumper by Young and a pair of Plaisted free throws to maintain a 70-53 lead with 9:06 remaining. Over the next four minutes Wyoming put pressure on BYU every time the Cougars brought the ball up the court, forcing BYU to turn the ball over and take difficult shots. Right after Wyoming got within seven of the BYU lead Ainge hit two huge free throws, and then Rose added the dagger with a deep three at the top of the key to extend the lead to 82-72 with 2:19 left. BYU then got back-to-back defensive stops and a pair of free throws from Young and Cummard to go up 14 with 1:30 remaining. The Cowboys then went on an 8-1 run to get within seven of the Cougars but, after failing to convert on the offensive end, they were forced to foul the rest of the way, resulting in the 96-84 BYU win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I'm very proud of our players," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "We came out and got off to a great start. We were playing well together, we were unselfish and sharing the ball and we were hitting shots. We got a nice lead and were able to carry that lead to victory."
-- "I think a lot of it was Wyoming; they're very athletic. You get in a situation at this time of year when players realize that the season's over if you don't win, and it changes the mindset. I think they came out in the second half with great determination. I think we were real fortunate we played as well as we did in the first half."
-- "There seems to be a lot more excitement here in Las Vegas. There seems to be a lot more excitement here as far as ticket requests are concerned. That must mean there's a lot more people that are here."
-- "When things got close, mainly we were just trying to be positive and get some confidence going. All we needed to do was make a free throw or make a shot, and it would really settle everything down. But we knew they were going to continue to contest every pass, contest every dribble, contest every catch, and that we just needed to get ourself in a positive mind frame. We just needed to finish the game off."
-- "I think Mike Rose's three was very big for our confidence. But I also think that put-back that Lee had sometime in that stretch was a real big shot for us. I've said this all year long: it's hard to win games. Your guys have to really compete for 40 minutes. I thought our guys did really well down the stretch."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT MWC TOURNAMENT
-- Individual Career Highs: Trent Plaisted -- 27 points (tied), Lee Cummard -- 21 points.
-- Individual Season Highs: Trent Plaisted -- 17 points in a half (first).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: 54 points in a half (first).
-- MWC Tournament Records -- BYU's 54 first-half points set an MWC Tournament record while its 96 points scored is fourth all-time and its .643 three-point shooting percentage is third.
-- BYU MWC Tournament Records -- The Cougars' 96 points is the most they've scored in the MWC Tournament while Trent Plaisted's 27 points is third, his 10 field goals is second and his 10 rebounds is tied for fifth. Keena Young's 10 rebounds is also tied for fifth.
-- MWC Tournament History -- With the win, the Cougars have advanced to the MWC Tournament finals for the third time in event history and the first time since 2001. BYU is now 9-6 all-time in the MWC Tournament, including a 3-2 semifinals record. The Cougars are also 8-3 at the event in Las Vegas including their two previous finals appearances with one title (2001). This year marks BYU's first as the No. 1 seed, giving the Cougars a 2-0 record so far as the top team.
-- BYU is now 23-4 when scoring over 70 points and 5-7 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold.
-- With a 42-38 rebounding advantage against the Cowboys, the Cougars are now 24-1 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- BYU has now shot above .500 from the field in 10 of the last 14 games, including a .518 mark against Wyoming. The Cougars have also shot above .400 from three-point range in 11 of the last 13 games with a .643 efficiency against the Cowboys. BYU has topped 60 percent from long range four times this year.
-- With a 54-35 advantage at the break, the Cougars enjoyed their 24th halftime lead of the season and their 13th in double figures. Overall, BYU is 22-2 when leading at the break, 3-4 when trailing and 0-1 when tied. The Cougars' 54 first-half points is the most they've scored in a half all season, led by Trent Plaisted's 17 points, also a season high for points in a half.
-- BYU had two players record double-doubles for the second time this season as Trent Plaisted posted his third of the year and the ninth of his career with 27 points and 10 rebounds and Keena Young added his sixth of the season and ninth of his career with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
-- Keena Young recorded his 1000th career point on a free-throw make just 3:30 into the game. Young is the 36th Cougar to join BYU's elite 1000 Point Club.
-- With 27 points against the Cowboys after a 22-point performance against TCU, Trent Plaisted has recorded back-to-back 20-point outings for the second time this season, reaching the 20-point scoring mark for the sixth time this year. He scored 11 straight points for BYU during the first half to give the Cougars a 31-8 lead and established a season-high for points scored in a half with 17 in the first period of play.
-- BYU began the game 10-for-13 (.769) from the field, including a 4-for-4 mark from three-point range, to build a 26-6 lead.
-- The 20-point lead marked the 12th time this season the Cougars have led by as many as 20 points in a game, including eight times against MWC opponents and the last three straight games.
- Wyoming did not score back-to-back baskets from the field until two makes at the 5:23 and 5:04 marks of the first half.
-- Lee Cummard scored 10 of the Cougars' first 17 points in the game, reaching double-digit points after less than five minutes of action.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- COUGARS RACK UP ROAD VICTORY
USAFA -- The BYU men's basketball team picked up its second Mountain West Conference road victory of the year with a 69-53 win at Air Force on Wednesday. At 16-5 overall and 5-1 in league play, the Cougars are off to their best MWC start since 2002-03. The big three once again led the Cougars as Jonathan Tavernari paced BYU with 22 points and Lee Cummard was right behind with 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field. Despite battling flu-like symptoms for the last four days, Trent Plaisted pulled down a game-high nine rebounds while adding nine points in 19 minutes. Cummard dished out a BYU-best five assists and added eight boards while Tavernari tallied a career-high four assists. True freshman Jimmer Fredette also scored in double figures with 10 points. A surprise starter while fighting his stomach ailment, Plaisted scored the first bucket of the game. After a layin on the other end, Tavernari made it 5-2 in favor of the Cougars as he drained his first shot of the night and continued his hot three-point shooting after a 5-for-6 outing from long range against New Mexico. The two teams traded treys from there as the Falcons' Keith Maren scored Air Force's first 11 points, including three makes from behind the arc, to keep the game tied at 11-11. Nursing a 13-12 advantage, the Cougars put together a 7-1 run with scores from Cummard and freshmen Chris Collinsworth and Fredette to go up 20-13. Anderson became the first Falcon other than Maren to score from the field with a fastbreak layin to end a 6:39 AFA scoring drought from the floor. Riding a 7-1 spurt, the Falcons got within one point at 21-20 after another bucket from Maren with 4:46 to play. Cummard ended the Cougar dry spell with a jumper at the 3:11 mark and then scored on the fastbreak after picking off the Falcons' Evan Washington. Fredette then added his own teardrop jumper to put some distance between the two teams as the BYU lead grew to 27-20 before an eventual-halftime margin of 29-24. Cummard led the Cougars with 10 points in the half while he and Plaisted each pulled down five rebounds. Anderson began the second half with a huge three-point make for the Falcons before Tavernari scored the first BYU bucket of the half. But Anderson came right back and made it a one-point game with a three-point play on the next trip down the floor. However, just as the Falcons threatened to take their first lead of the game, Plaisted came up with a bucket followed by a big three from Cummard to push the Cougar lead up to 36-30. The two teams battled from there as BYU hung tenaciously to a lead that hovered between five and seven points. Tavernari got into the double-digit scoring column with his third three-pointer of the night to equal the game-high lead at 41-34, but Air Force responded with four straight points to cut the lead back to three with 12:10 to play. However, Tavernari scored the next four Cougar points, part of a 16-point second-half performance for the sophomore, to once again push the lead to seven points at 45-38. Moments later, treys from Cummard and Tavernari sandwiched around a Falcon free throw gave BYU its largest lead of the game to that point at 51-42. Despite another Air Force rally, the Cougars continued to hit big shots, making nine in a row to take a 65-50 lead with just under five minutes to play after a back-breaking three-pointer from Fredette, allowing BYU to cruise to the 69-53 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "This was really as good a team win as we've had all year long. We got great play out of our bench and really good play from our starters. Different players carried us at different points. At one point in the second half, we had three freshmen on the floor, which says at lot about your team."
-- "Just the fact that Trent (Plaisted) was willing to push himself through the sickness says a lot. He gave us great minutes and crucial baskets in a crucial time. I think it was a big, big plus for us. Coming over here, we didn't think we'd be able to get any minutes from him at all. Every minute we played for us was a bonus. Trent made a big sacrifice tonight. He laid it out there for us and that's a real positive sign."
-- "When you get a couple players that are leading your team and they play well, other players can build off of that. Tonight with Lee (Cummard) and Jonathan (Tavernari) and Trent (Plaisted) having big games for us, that really gets all of our guys going."
Air Force Head Coach Jeff Reynolds
-- "They're a very talented offensive team. I thought we did a good job in the first half, and then in the second half we had four real critical breakdowns. We hit a four-minute stretch where we couldn't put the ball in the basket."
-- "They shot the ball extremely well in the second half, and you have to get them credit. With about four minutes left to go in the game, we didn't handle a couple situations very well and panicked a bit on the defensive end."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Jonathan Tavernari - 4 assists.
-- At 5-1 in Mountain West Conference play, the Cougars are off to their best league start since the 2002-03 season when they also began 5-1 through the first six games. BYU finished the 2002-03 season tied for first in the conference at 11-3.
-- With the 69-53 win, BYU has now won its last three games when scoring under 70 points (55-52 at Utah, 59-56 vs. SDSU).
-- BYU picked up its second MWC road win with the victory at Air Force, moving to 2-1 on the road in league play and 4-3 overall. BYU won five of its last seven road games last season and was the only MWC team with a winning road record in league play at 5-3.
-- With a game-high lead of 16 points, the Cougars have now held a double-digit lead in 16 of 21 games in the year. BYU has led wire-to-wire in nine games this season.
-- BYU has made 23 three-pointers in the last two games with 13 against New Mexico and 10 at Air Force. The Cougars have made double-digit three-pointers in eight games this year. With 174 treys on the year, BYU is on pace to break the single-season three-point record of 256 set last year. Cummard has now made a three-pointer in 19 of 21 games this season while Tavernari has done so in 18 games and Burgess in 16.
-- With a 29-24 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, BYU recorded its 17th halftime lead of the season. The Cougars are now 15-2 when leading at the break. BYU has held its opponents under 30 points in the first half of 15 games. The Cougars shot 39.3 percent from the field in the half, their highest first-half shooting percentage on the road since shooting 46.7 percent in the first period at Boise State.
-- Despite battling flu-like symptoms that limited his playing time to 19 minutes, Plaisted recorded nine points and nine rebounds to move to 26th on BYU's all-time career scoring list with 1,143 points and surpass 600 career rebounds with 608. Plaisted is one of only 11 Cougars all-time to record at least 1,000 points and 600 rebounds.
-- Cummard's 21-point outing at Air Force marked the sixth time this season and the eight time in his career he has scored at least 20 points. Cummard has had back-to-back 20-point outings including 20 against New Mexico on Saturday.
-- Tavernari also surpassed the 20-point mark for the third time this season with 22 points against the Falcons.
-- With 10 points in the first half on 4-for-7 shooting from the field, Cummard reached double digits in the first 20 minutes for the seventh time this season.
COUGARS BY THE NUMBERS
1 Rank of BYU coach Dave Rose's 61 wins and .726 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.
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.
7 Number of statistical categories in which Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the MWC including field-goal percentage (1st - .564), free-throw percentage (2nd - .871), offensive rebounds (2nd - 2.29), scoring (3rd - 15.9), assists (6th - 3.43), total rebounds (7th - 6.3) and defensive rebounds (T10th - 4.05).
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 points Trent Plaisted needs to surpass Elwood Romney to move to 25th on BYU's all-time career scoring list. Plaisted currently has 1,143 career points.
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.
10 Number of games in which Lee Cummard has been perfect from the free-throw line out of 15 games in which he taken free throws. Cummard made a career-best21 straight free throws before missing on his first attempt against San Diego State. He also had a streak of 19 straight earlier this year prior to a miss against Southern Utah. He is shooting 87.1 percent (54-for-62) on the year.
15 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 21 games this season while racking up halftime leads in 17 of 21 games, including 12 by double digits.
16 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 nine games this year.
19 Number of games this season Lee Cummard has made a three-pointer. Jonathan Tavernari has connected from long range in 18 games while Sam Burgess has made a trey in 16 of 21 outings this year.
19.3 The Cougars' average margin of victory in their 16 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.
21 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 21 games after not starting last year in his first season in Provo.
78 Number of MWC games BYU has won since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season, leading all MWC teams. The Cougars are second in overall wins with 178, one victory behind UNLV.
100 Percent of games BYU has won this year when leading with five minutes remaining. The Cougars are 16-0 when ahead on the scoreboard at the 5-minute mark.
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. 31, 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 4-3 in true road games this year coming off a 69-53 win at Air Force on Wednesday. With a 1-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is 5-5 this season away from home with a 2-1 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 13-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 75.2 points and allowing 63.7 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 16 games this year, going 14-2 in those contests. The Cougars tied an opponent on the boards for the first time this year against SDSU when both the Cougars and Aztecs pulled down 41 rebounds. BYU is besting opponents by an average of 6.7 boards per contest, leading the league in rebounding margin and rebound average (40.8). 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 5.0 rebounds per game while ranking 11th among MWC players in conference play at 6.5 rpg. He has started six games. Fredette is fifth on the team in scoring with 7.0 ppg and third in steals with 20. Loyd is averaging 8.9 minutes per game and has posted 24 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 174 treys so far. BYU has posted double-digit triples in a game eight times this year, including 10 at Air Force, 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 19 of 21 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, which is also an MWC record in league games. Individually, Lee Cummard has made a three-pointer in 19 of 21 games this season while Jonathan Tavernari has connected in 18 games and Sam Burgess has done so in 16 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 54 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 21 games this year while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari has made 15 starts and freshman Chris Collinsworth has started six contests.
WINNING WITH ROSE
With a 61-23 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. 30)
First-Year Coaches in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Dave Rose, BYU 61-23 .726
Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss* 58-27 .682
*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 64-21 .753
Dave Rose, BYU 61-23 .726
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 1,143 career points, tied for 26th 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 608 career rebounds, making him just the 11th player overall to record at least 1,000 career points and 600 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 (8.6), third in field-goal shooting among players with at least 30 attempts (.433) and third in assists (2.1) while ranking second on the team in three-point shooting (.410). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 5.0 ppg while averaging 15.8 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 21 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, .871; Jonathan Tavernari, .852; Sam Burgess, .838; Ben Murdock, .846). 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' 16 victories this year have come by an average margin of 19.3 points, including a season-opening 40-point road win at Long Beach State (74-34), one of 13 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 11.5 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 45.8 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 38.6 percent from the floor (No. 1 in the MWC). Overall, the Cougars have shot above 50 percent in eight games this year. BYU has shot above 50 percent in the first half of seven games this season and in the second half of 10 contests, totaling 17 halves of play with a shooting percetage of 50 percent higher, including four 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. 2, respectively, among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 56.4 and 53.8 percent and 42nd and 69th, respectively, in the national rankings as of Jan. 27.
The Cougars are 15-2 this season when leading at the half with 12 of the 17 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 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 8.2 points in the first period of play while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of eight of 21 games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 17 of 21 games while holding opponents under 30 points 15 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 nine 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 +5.4 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 16 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 four times. The Cougars average 5.0 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 four 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) and a win at Air Force (0-2).
FROM THE BENCH
BYU's reserves have outscored the opposition's bench only eight times this year but they have done it in six of the last 10 games after seven straight contests with a scoring deficit off the bench. On the whole, the BYU bench has outscored opponent reserves by 1.5 points per game this season, tallying 433 points or 20.6 points per game. BYU's leading scorer off the bench is freshman guard Jimmer Fredette, who is averaging 7.0 points per game. He had 10 points on Wednesday ay Air Force and 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 and is averaging 9.4 ppg in BYU's last five road games.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
Including a game-high lead of 16 points at Air Force, the Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 16 of 22 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 nine games this season.