GAME 23 - BYU Hosts No. 25 UNLV Saturday at 3:30 p.m.

Jonathan Tavernari scored 17 points at Utah and is third in the MWC in three-point percentage in league play. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

BYU GAME #23 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (16-6, 6-2 MWC)

vs.

UNLV REBELS (19-4, 6-2 MWC)

Saturday, Feb. 3, 2007

Marriott Center (22,700)

Provo, Utah

3:30 p.m. MT

Coaches:

BYU, Dave Rose (36-15 in second season; same overall)

UNLV, Lon Kruger (53-31 in third season; 371-264 in 21st year overall)

Series:

Series tied, 11-11, after UNLV won the first meeting this season in Las Vegas

TV:

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

Radio:

KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (2:30 p.m. MT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)

Web:

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

BYU HOSTS NO. 25 UNLV SATURDAY

BYU (16-6, 6-2 MWC) starts the second half of Mountain West Conference play hosting 25th-ranked UNLV (19-4, 6-2 MWC) at 3:30 p.m. in the Marriott Center Saturday. The game will be televised on the MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.) and can be heard live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 2:30 p.m. on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the Internet at KSL.com. The Cougars are coming off a home win over nationally ranked Air Force and a league road win at Utah to end the first half of conference play while winning 11 of their last 13 games. The Rebels are coming off a road win at Colorado State and have won their last five games. Both UNLV and BYU are tied with No. 16 Air Force for first place in the league standings.

UP NEXT

BYU plays at Wyoming Tuesday at 7 p.m. (televised on the mtn.)

COUGAR QUICK HITS

-- 2006 All-MWC Third Team forward Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (16.3) and is second on the team in rebounding (6.4). 2006 Freshman All-American Trent Plaisted leads the Cougars on the boards (6.5) and is second in scoring (12.5), while senior Austin Ainge leads BYU with 4.2 assists per game.

-- The Cougars currently lead the MWC in scoring (76.8), field-goal percentage defense (.425), rebounding average (38.4) and assists (16.05) in overall play. In league action, BYU paces the conference in scoring (77.2), scoring margin (+9.2), three-point shooting (.469), assists (16.88), three-pointers made (8.63) and assist/turnover ratio (1.30).

-- With 27 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are currently tied with Air Force for the nation's second-longest active home winning streak. BYU is 13-0 at home this season, 3-5 on the road and 0-1 on a neutral court.

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

LOOKING AT UNLV

The 25th-ranked Rebels are 19-4 overall and 6-2 in the Mountain West Conference and are ranked for the first time in 14 years. UNLV has won its last five contests and is the only MWC team besides BYU to have faced three ranked teams this year, going 1-2 in those games with losses at then-No. 16 Arizona and then-No. 16 Air Force and a win at then-No. 19 Nevada. The Rebels are led by senior guard Wendell White, who averages 16.1 points and 6.7 rebounds per game - both team bests. The 6-foot-6 MWC Player of the Week honoree (Dec. 11) is shooting a team-best .530 from the floor. Sophomore guard Wink Adams is second on the team in scoring at 15.3 ppg while adding 4.0 rpg and 35 steals. Adams scored a career-high 27 points against BYU earlier this year in Las Vegas. Arizona State transfer Kevin Kruger runs the point for the Rebels and is averaging 12.5 ppg and 4.41 assists per game. The senior guard who is also the son of UNLV head coach Lon Kruger missed six games due to injury, including the Rebels' first outing this year against BYU, but returned in UNLV's game last Tuesday. Senior Gaston Essengue is second on the team in rebounding at 5.0 rpg while adding 7.8 ppg. As a team, the Rebels average 76.3 ppg on .443 shooting from the field, including a .349 mark from three-point range, while holding opponents to 66.8 ppg on .430 shooting. UNLV and its opponents are even on the boards at 35.6 rebounds per game. Rebel head coach Lon Kruger is 53-31 in his third season at UNLV and 371-264 in his 21st year overall.

UNLV'S PROBABLE STARTERS

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

G 01 Wink Adams 6-0 190 So. 15.3 4.0

G 02 Kevin Kruger 6-2 185 Sr. 12.5 2.2

G 03 Michael Umeh 6-2 205 Sr. 7.0 2.9

G 05 Wendell White 6-6 215 Sr. 16.1 6.7

F 52 Gaston Essengue 6-8 245 Sr. 7.8 5.0

UNLV'S LAST OUTING -- REBELS CLIMB ATOP MWC STANDINGS WITH WIN

FORT COLLINS -- The reinforced Runnin' Rebels (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today) turned to their superior athleticism and speed to counter Colorado State's two 7-footers. Smith, one-half of the Rams' twin towers, had 12 points and 10 rebounds but it seemed like he was always leaving the post along with center Stuart Creason to help the guards, who were getting double-teamed and harassed by a UNLV defense that forced 21 turnovers, including 16 in the first half. Wendell White added 16 points for the Rebels (19-4, 6-2), who moved into a first-place tie with 17th-ranked Air Force in the Mountain West standings. The Rebels, who led by as many as 19, also got back Kevin Kruger from a three-week absence. Kruger, the Rebels' third-leading scorer, scored 6 points over 16 minutes in his return to action after missing four games and most of a fifth with a deep thigh bruise that he suffered in the opening minutes at Wyoming on Jan. 10. He showed a little hesitation but wasn't gimpy for a player who was still hurting as late as Monday. Kruger, who said he expected to be 100 percent by Thursday, celebrated his comeback with a long 3-pointer right after he entered the game. Lon Kruger, UNLV's coach and Kevin's father, said his son informed him at shootaround that he felt good enough to play, but Kevin Kruger said he decided Saturday that he'd had enough of this sitting on the bench. Stephan Gilling's 13 points led Colorado State (14-6, 4-4), which lost for the seventh straight time to UNLV. The Rebels built an early nine-point lead at 24-15 but went nearly five minutes without a point until seldom-used guard Rene Rougeau sank a free throw to give UNLV a 25-23 lead with 4:19 left in the first half. The Rams tied it on a jumper by Lewis, but the Rebels closed the first half with a 12-3 run to take a 37-28 lead into the locker room. Rougeau scored two of the buckets, including a buzzer-beating jumper.

SERIES NOTES

This will be the 23rd meeting in the series between the two schools that dates back to 1981. The series is currently tied at 11-11 thanks to an 83-75 Rebel win earlier this season in Las Vegas. The two teams split the season sereis last year with each squad winning on its home floor. BYU swept the season series in 2004 and split the series in 2005, with each team winning on the road. The series has been tied eight times over the last four years. The Cougars won the first two meetings in the series in 1981 before the Rebels ran off four straight victories. Prior to 2004, the last time the Cougars swept the regular season series was in 1999-2000. The Rebels came back that year to achieve their largest margin of victory over BYU (23 points) in the title game of the 2000 MWC Tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center. BYU is 7-3 in Provo against UNLV and 4-8 in Las Vegas against the Rebels. BYU has won nine of the 16 games as MWC opponents.

BYU SERIES RECORD VS. UNLV

Overall Series Record: Series tied 11-11

BYU Record in Provo: 7-3 (7-3 in the Marriott Center)

BYU Record in Las Vegas: 4-8 (3-8 in the Thomas & Mack Center)

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-0

BYU Record under Dave Rose: 1-2

BYU Record in Overtime Games: 2-0

Last Overtime Game: 2005, won in OT in Las Vegas, 82-72

Longest BYU Win Streak: 3 (2004-2005)

Longest UNLV Win Streak: 4 (1981-98)

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 28, 91-63 in 2001

Largest UNLV Margin of Victory: 23, 79-56 in 2000

Most Points Scored by BYU: 92 in 1981

Most Points Scored by UNLV: 90 in 1981

QUOTING COACH ROSE

"UNLV is a really classy team. They're playing with a lot of confidence right now, and they've won some games without some of their key players. We struggled at their place, but we're excited to get another chance. We want to get it done at home."

"UNLV is a good team, as you can tell by their ranking, but I think we have a good team. Hopefully we can keep the momentum going."

FIRST OUTING THIS YEAR -- COUGARS' WIN STREAK ENDS AT UNLV

LAS -- The BYU men's basketball team saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end Saturday night as the Cougars fell, 83-75, at UNLV. Sophomore Lee Cummard was the high scorer for the Cougars as he posted a career-high 18 points while tying his personal-best with a team-high five assists. Senior Keena Young scored 16 points in the game, all after halftime, while sophomore Trent Plaisted added 13 points and senior Mike Rose posted 12. Plaisted paced BYU on the boards with nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Wink Adams led UNLV with a career-high 27 points. UNLV struck first with a layin at the 18:37 mark, but Plaisted matched the Rebel bucket with one of his own to get BYU on the board. Plaisted and Cummard set the tone early for the Cougars as the pair scored BYU's first 11 points to give the Cougars an early 11-8 lead despite two quick fouls on leading scorer Young. After UNLV cut the lead to one at 11-10, Fernando Malaman ended a 3:23 BYU drought with a jumper from the free-throw line to maintain the Cougar advantage. UNLV got back to within one on the next possession, but Mike Rose extended the Cougar lead to 16-12 with his 18th three-point make of the year. Cummard and Plaisted then scored on back-to-back BYU trips to cap a 7-0 Cougar run and give BYU a 20-12 lead at the 9:14 mark. Cummard kept the Cougar momentum going with his second three-pointer of the night at the 7:37 mark to give BYU its largest lead of the game to that point at 25-14. The Rebels responded with a three ball of their own and then picked off Austin Ainge to get another score and cut the lead to 25-19. Ainge made up for the turnover with a three-point make on the other end, but Malaman picked up his second foul on the next UNLV possession, resulting in two Rebel free throws. With both Malaman and Young on the bench with two fouls apiece, Coach Rose called on true freshman Jonathan Tavernari, who drained his first two three-point attempts to give BYU a 34-25 advantage. However, 11 straight UNLV points gave the Rebels their first lead since 6-4 with a 36-34 advantage with 41 seconds to play in the half. A layin from Plaisted to end a 3:37 BYU scoring drought sent the Cougars into the locker room with their first halftime tie of the year at 36-36. Jimmy Balderson put BYU back in front with a pair of free throws just 26 seconds into the second half. UNLV could not convert three early Cougar turnovers, going 0-for-6 to start the half, allowing BYU to extend its lead to 41-36 on a three-pointer from Cummard. However, after struggling to find the basket to begin the half, UNLV put together a 14-4 run to take a 50-45 lead. Young, the only Cougar to score during the spurt, added his second dunk of the year to get BYU within three at 50-47, but the Rebels weren't done scoring as they increased their lead to 54-47 thanks in part to strong rebounding on the offensive glass. The UNLV scoring continued as the Rebels matched BYU's large lead of the game with a 59-48 advantage at the 9:22 mark. Young continued his second-half scoring run with a three-point play but was answered on the other end with a three-pointer to maintain the 11-point Rebel lead. After UNLV pushed its advantage to 13 points at 66-53, Rose drained his second three-pointer of the night, but the Rebels' hot shooting continued as they made their eighth shot in 10 attempts to take a 74-58 lead with 2:56 left to play. Rose drained back-to-back three-pointers between the two- and three-minute marks to get BYU to within 10 points at 74-64, and then Ben Murdock drained a three after two UNLV free throws to cut the deficit to single digits at 76-67. The Cougars kept pushing as the clock wound down, getting to within seven points at 80-73 on a three-pointer from Cummard, but time was not on BYU's side as the Cougars could not complete the comeback.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "They played better than we did over the course of 40 minutes. We had a lot of chances, but we couldn't get it done."

-- "We got stuck for quite a while where we didn't score. We got the shots we wanted but they weren't going in and then we started shooting quick shots. Keena (Young) got us going a little bit but by then we were down 12 or 13 points and had to dig out of a hole."

-- "Tonight we didn't have a good enough offensive game combined with a good enough defensive game to get this done."

-- "Lee Cummard continues to play well. He continues to be consistent for us. We used him to break the pressure for us a lot tonight. I think that he just continues to get better."

-- "It's a tough league. It's a long process. We jumped out to a nice start, but tonight we had a setback. But we've got a long way to go."

BYU NOTES FROM FIRST OUTING THIS YEAR

-- Individual Career Highs: Lee Cummard -- 18 points, 7 field goals made, 4 three-point field goals made, 5 assists (tied); Fernando Malaman -- 2 assists (tied); Vuk Ivanovic -- 2 assists (tied).

-- The loss at UNLV snapped a seven-game Cougar winning streak, their longest since the 2003-04 season.

-- The Cougars are now 12-2 when scoring at least 70 points with losses at Lamar and at UNLV and 1-5 when allowing opponents to score at least 70 points. Prior to the 83-75 loss, BYU had held opponents under the 70-point mark in seven straight games. The Cougars have scored at least 70 points in nine straight games.

-- With a .571 (12-for-21) three-point shooting mark against UNLV, BYU has now shot above .400 from behind the arc in four straight games and eight on the season. The Cougars have shot at least .500 from three-point range in five games.

-- BYU's .750 (9-for-12) free-throw efficiency marked its highest percentage since shooting .867 (13-for-15) against San Jose State on Dec. 6.

-- After outrebounding their opponents in six straight games, including a double-digit margin in the last five, the Cougars have been bested on the glass in the last two games, including a 39-31 deficit at UNLV. BYU entered the game leading the Mountain West Conference in both rebounding average and rebounding margin. The Cougars are now 11-0 this season when outrebounding their opponents and 1-5 when losing the battle of the boards.

-- BYU went into the locker room at the half tied for the first time this season at 36-36. The Cougars have led at the half in 12 games and trailed in four.

-- Keena Young bounced back from a six-point performance against TCU in which he was hampered by foul trouble to score 16 points against the Rebels, marking the 15th time in 17 games he has scored in double figures. All of Young's points came in the second half.

-- With a three-point make at the 10:38 mark, Mike Rose has now made a three-pointer in nine straight games, just one game short of his career record. Rose has come on strong for BYU as of late, scoring 68 points in the last nine games (7.6 ppg), including 12 against UNLV, after scoring just 11 points in the first eight games (1.4 ppg).

-- Plaisted and Cummard combined for BYU's first 11 points as Plaisted scored six and Cummard scored five points in the first 4:48 of the game.

-- Plaisted recorded his 15th dunk of the season and the 48th of his career just 4:48 into the game. BYU's big man has slammed one home in 11 of 17 games this year. Young also recorded a dunk in the game, his second of the season and fifth of his career.

LAST YEAR IN LAS VEGAS -- COUGARS FALL AT UNLV

LAS -- The Cougars could not mount the second-half comeback they needed Wednesday night at UNLV, losing 82-72. Both teams came out slow to start the game as each squad made just one shot in the first 4:48. UNLV scored first on the opening possession 21 seconds into the game while BYU did not make its first basket until the 17:22 mark when Fernando Malaman found the hoop. Neither team scored again from the field until the 16:12 mark when a Rebel three-pointer followed by a steal and a layin gave UNLV an early 8-2 lead. The Cougars put together a 7-2 spurt of their own from there as Rashaun Broadus hit a big three-pointer and Derek Dawes and Brock Reichner both contributed on the offensive end of the court. The two teams battled it out throughout the next several minutes until a long ball from Austin Ainge gave BYU its first lead of the game, 14-12, at the 9:42 mark. The Cougars continued fighting off the Rebels until, trailing 22-21, UNLV put together a 10-0 run, holding BYU scoreless for 3:53 until two free throws by Derek Dawes ended the drought. The remainder of the half was more of the same as the Rebels took a 37-30 lead into the locker room at halftime. BYU came into the second half ready to mount a comeback. BYU was able to keep the Rebel lead at seven points in the opening minutes of the half until a 10-0 UNLV run left the Cougars reeling. Broadus hit a three-pointer to end the drought, and BYU got a stop on the defensive end to put the ball in Jimmy Balderson's hands on the Cougar side of the floor. Balderson drove into the lane and thought he drew a charge, but no call was made, prompting a protest from Coach Rose that resulted in a technical foul, the first of Rose's head-coaching career. UNLV hit both free throws and a three-pointer on the ensuing offensive possession to take its largest lead of the game at 56-28. But the Cougars caught fire from three, hitting back-to-back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to nine points. After four straight points from the Rebels, BYU scored five of its own on a three-point play by Balderson and a jumper from Fernando Malaman to cut the lead to eight points at 60-52. The two teams battled it out for the next several minutes until another UNLV run, 10-1, pushed the lead to 74-57 and dashed any hopes of a BYU comeback, leaving the Cougars with the 82-72 loss. Only two Cougars managed to score in double digits as Fernando Malaman recorded 13 points and Brock Reichner added 10. Lee Cummard tied his career-high with nine points while Broadus also contributed nine. Malaman was also BYU's high rebounder, pulling down a career-high seven boards.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "I think that looking at the stats explains the problem. We had 18 turnovers and 11 assists. When we play well, that number is flipped around. We turned ball over way too much tonight. When you turn the ball over that many times, you have to shoot 60 or 70 percent to stay in the game. We didn't."

-- "We didn't win the hustle plays and the rebounding plays when we had to. Those are things we do well when we win. We had a hard time coming up with loose balls and getting big rebounds. The rebounding numbers don't tell the story. We got into a position three or four times to cut the lead and came up with the stops but couldn't get the rebounds."

-- "This is a setback for us, but we're halfway through the season, and everything we want to do as a basketball team is still right in front of us. We're going to get back home, work harder, get better and see what we can do the next time out."

LAST YEAR IN PROVO -- COUGARS OUTLAST REBELS

PROVO -- Keena Young scored a career-high 17 points, but none were bigger than the two foul shots he hit with 23 seconds remaining to propel the Cougars to a 75-72 win in front of 11,466 screaming fans. Young led four BYU (15-7, 7-4 MWC) players in double figures. Trent Plaisted picked up his second straight double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The game got off to a quick start with the two teams trading baskets in the early going. UNLV maintained 7-6 lead with 15:43 left in the first half after Curtis Terry hit a three-pointer. BYU scored six unanswered points with a Keena Young three-point play and a Jimmy Balderson three-pointer. The Cougars' 14-7 run gave them a 20-14 lead with 10:08 left. Sparked by Jimmy Balderson's 13 points, BYU continued running, opening up a 32-18 lead with 7:43 left in the half. After Lee Cummard nailed a three-pointer to put BYU up 37-20, the Rebels went on a scoring run of their own, cutting the lead to 37-28 with 3:00 remaining. UNLV used the foul line and the inside play of Louis Amundson to power a 14-2 run and cut the BYU lead to 39-34 with 32 seconds left. A Young foul shot gave the Cougars the six-point halftime advantage. Balderson scored 13 points and grabbed three rebounds in the first half while Young and Plaisted each scored nine and grabbed five boards. Jason Petrimoulx scored 15 for the Rebels including 7-for-7 on foul shots. Both teams came out of the halftime break hot. Brock Reichner hit two threes while the Rebels crashed the boards and converted second-chance points. Petrimoulx hit on a three-point play to cut the Cougars' lead at 50-48 with 16:16 remaining. Petrimoulx nailed threes on consecutive trips to give the Rebels a 54-53 lead. The lead was their first since 7-6. Moments later, UNLV pushed its lead to 56-53 with 13:10 remaining. BYU then assigned Balderson to guard Petrimoulx, holding him scoreless the rest of the game. Down five, the Cougars put together a 7-2 run to even the game at 60. A UNLV foul shot gave the Rebels a one-point lead with 7:59 left. The game turned into a see-saw battle down the stretch with the Rebels maintaining the advantage. BYU re-captured a 68-67 lead when Reichner nailed a trey from the corner. The Cougars then forced a turnover and came back with a three-point play. BYU got aggressive on the defensive side and built a 73-67 lead. The Rebels got physical in the post and scored five unanswered points to once again cut the Cougars' lead to 73-72. With under one minute to play, UNLV had a chance to take the lead but Balderson forced Petrimoulx into a difficult shot and Young made two clutch foul shots.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "It was a great game. We had a great first half and things just came down to a couple plays in the end. I'm really proud of our players."

-- "UNLV missed some shots early and from that we were able to come off and score in transition."

-- "I was really happy with our guys going in up six points at halftime. It's a very competitive group of guys."

-- "There is a really fine line between winning games and losing games, and right now we seem to be in a good frame."

BYU NOTES

BYU's LAST OUTING -- BYU ENDS UTAH RUN IN THE HUNTSMAN CENTER

SALT LAKE -- The Cougars made history Wednesday night, snapping a 12-year drought in the Huntsman Center with a crucial 76-66 win at Utah. The victory improves BYU to 16-6 overall and 6-2 in the Mountain West Conference, which is tied for first place with No. 16 Air Force and No. 25 UNLV through the first half of league action. Keena Young led the Cougars with 21 points while Jonathan Tavernari posted 17 and Jimmy Balderson added 11. Balderson, Austin Ainge and Vuk Ivanovic each pulled down five rebounds to pace the Cougars, and Ainge tied his career high with eight assists while helping BYU record a season-low seven turnovers. Utah's Luke Nevill scored the first five points for his team to establish an early 5-2 Ute lead, but Plaisted quickly made his presence known with a spectacular one-handed dunk to spark a 7-0 Cougar run. However, Utah responded with four straights points to knot the score at 9-9 at the first break. The two teams battled back and forth from there with neither able to gain more than a two-point advantage. Utah kept the pressure on BYU as the Utes scored on every trip and forced the Cougars to answer. BYU was up to the task despite losing Plaisted at the 13:40 mark to his second foul as Ivanovic and Tavernari both scored off the bench, including a three-pointer from Tavernari to put the Cougars up 18-17 with 10:59 remaining in the half. Tavernari heated up from downtown after that, draining another shot from beyond the arc to extend the BYU lead to 21-17 at the 9:40 mark. After the Utes responded with a Nevill dunk, Tavernari demonstrated his versatility with a layin, marking eight straight BYU points for the true freshman. Two straight buckets from Young gave the Cougars their largest lead of the game thus far at 28-21 with 5:30 left in the first period of play, bringing his game total to 11 points and marking the 19th time in 22 games he has scored in double figures. The Utes got back to within three points at 30-27, but BYU scored the final four points of the half to take a 34-27 lead into the locker room, marking the 17th time this season the Cougars have held the lead at the break. Balderson got the Cougars started in the second half with a make from long range on BYU's first possession. After a defensive stop, Lee Cummard continued the three-point barrage with another make from downtown to put the Cougars ahead 40-27 just 46 seconds into the second half. The Utes got on the board with a make from Nevill and a three-pointer of their own to cut the lead to 40-32, but Young quickly ended the Utah scoring run with a putback following two offensive rebounds. Another battle ensued from there as the rims opened wide for both teams and the scoring became fast and furious. After trading scores to a 51-42 BYU lead, Balderson sparked an 11-2 Cougar run, thanks in part to seven points from Tavernari, to take a 62-44 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining. Trailing 66-47, the Utes began a comeback bid with a 12-2 run to cut the lead to nine points at 68-59 with 3:25 left to play. However, Young scored huge back-to-back buckets for the Cougars to re-establish a double-digit lead at 72-59 with 1:56 remaining. Utah's Chris Grant drained a three-pointer at the 1:36 mark, but it was too little too late as BYU posted the 76-66 win.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "I thought this was a great college basketball game. I thought it was a great crowd. It was a great atmosph"Obviously, this win is really, really big for our program. These guys have played well all year on the road against some tough teams. Now we're getting the confidence we need to win on the road. We ended the first half of league play in a good spot."

-- "Our three post players, Vuk Ivanovic, Trent Plaisted and Gavin MacGregor, did a great job. When you're trying to stop Luke Nevill down low, you have to anticipate foul trouble. The three of them did a good job of giving us solid minutes when we needed it."

-- "Gavin (MacGregor) worked a lot more with the first team this week in practice than he ever has before. He got a lot of reps and did a good job of putting it together in the game tonight."

-- "Austin (Ainge) did a good job of running our offense and getting the ball where we needed it. He's been playing with more and more confidence."

-- "It was a very physical game, and I thought our guys responded well to that. We knew that rebounding was going to be a big key, and we did a good job."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- Individual Career Highs: Gavin MacGregor - 4 points, 2 rebounds, 10 minutes; Austin Ainge - 8 assists (tied).

-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Fewest turnovers - 7

-- BYU's 76-66 win over the Utes in the Huntsman Center marked the first time the Cougars have defeated Utah in Salt Lake City since a 64-62 win on Jan. 8, 1994, a 12-year drought.

-- With a 6-2 Mountain West Conference record through the first half of league play, the Cougars are in a first-place tie with No. 16 Air Force and No. 25 UNLV in the league standings. Three teams are tied for fourth place at 4-4 and three teams, including the Utes, are tied for seventh place at 2-6.

-- The Cougars' win over the Utes also secured the Oquirrh Bucket for BYU as the in-state basketball team with the best record against in-state teams (4-0). BYU had not won the Bucket since 2001.

-- BYU is now 15-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 14-0 when holding opponents below the 70-point threshold.

-- With a 33-26 rebounding advantage against the Utes, the Cougars are now 15-0 when winning the battle of the boards.

-- Leading 34-27 at Utah, BYU went into the locker room with a halftime lead for the 17th time this season, The Cougars have held opponents under 30 points in the first half 13 times this year. The Cougars are now 15-2 when leading at the break. BYU is also 15-0 when leading at the five-minute mark and 15-0 when leading at the one-minute mark.

-- The Cougars' .462 (12-for-26) first-half shooting percentage at Utah marked the first MWC road game in which BYU did not shoot at least 50 percent in the first half. Including their marks at Utah, the Cougars are now shooting .529 from the floor and .548 from three-point range in the first half of league road games.

-- With 21 points against the Utes, Keena Young has now scored in double figures in 19 of 22 games. Young scored 13 of his points in the first half, his highest first-half scoring total of the season.

-- Jonathan Tavernari again provided a huge spark for BYU off the bench as he scored in double figures for the fifth time this season and the fourth time in seven games with 17 points. He entered the game at the 12:01 mark of the first half and drained two of his first three attempts from three-point range to turn a 17-15 Utah lead into a 21-17 Cougar advantage. Tavernari added a layin moments later to score eight straight points for BYU.

-- Jimmy Balderson added 11 points to mark his 10th double-figure scoring outing of the season.

-- Trent Plaisted recorded his 26th dunk of the season and the 58th of his career just 1:11 into the game with a spectacular one-handed throwdown.off of an assist by Jimmy Balderson.

-- Gavin MacGregor made an appearance with 1:35 left in the first half, his first playing time since Jan. 10 when he played 2 minutes against TCU. The sophomore walk-on scored a career-high four points and two rebounds in a career-best 10 minutes.

IN THE RANKINGS

BYU is listed 38th in this week's ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll. Four BYU opponents also appear in the poll as UCLA is ranked No. 5, Air Force is ranked No. 16 and UNLV is ranked No. 25. Michigan State is listed 33rd. UCLA and Air Force are also ranked in the AP Top 25 Poll, coming in at Nos. 5 and 17, respectively, while UNLV is listed 32nd and MSU is listed 33rd.

WINNING BIG

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

FROM DOWNTOWN

Prior to shooting .350 from three-point range in its last two games, BYU had shot .557 (49-for-88) from beyond the arc in its previous five games, including a .500 mark (9-for-18) at New Mexico, marking the seventh game this year the Cougars have shot at least .500 from long range. BYU shot .538 (7-of-13) at Colorado State. Before shooting .412 against Wyoming, BYU shot .565 (26-for-46) from three-point range in its two games against TCU and UNLV. The Cougars tied a school record with 14 triples (14-of-25, .560) in their win over the Horned Frogs Jan. 6 and followed with 12 treys (12-for-21, .571) at UNLV on Jan. 13. BYU has shot above 40 percent from behind the arc 11 times on the season, having a streak of seven straight games come to an end against Air Force last Saturday. The Cougars lead the league in three-point percentage (.469) in MWC play. Cougar players rank first (Lee Cummard - .632), second (Austin Ainge - .542) and third (Jonathan Tavernari - .536) in the league in three-point shooting percentage in MWC action.

VICTORY STREAKS

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

ON THE ROAD

BYU has now won two straight games on the road including wins at New Mexico (70-49) and at Utah (76-66), the Cougars' first win in the Huntsman Center since 1994. BYU is 3-5 on the road this year with a season-opening loss at then-No. 5 UCLA, a Nov. 29 setback at Boise State, an overtime win at Weber State, an overtime defeat at Lamar and league losses at UNLV and at CSU. In BYU's eight away games, the Cougars have been outscored by an average of just over one point (74.6-73.2). The Cougars lost their only neutral court so far this season with a loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. The victory over Weber State earlier in the year snapped a three-game road losing streak dating back to last year's season-ending defeat at Houston in the NIT and a five-game nonconference road losing streak since defeating Washington State last year in Spokane Arena on Nov. 22, 2005. BYU finished last year 6-8 away from home, including a 4-4 mark during MWC play.

BOUNCE BACK COUGARS

With three straight wins coming after a loss at CSU, the Cougars have now recovered from five of their six losses this season with wins. After suffering their first back-to-back regular-season losses of the Dave Rose era with defeats vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar, BYU responded with seven straight wins. Prior to the Lamar loss, BYU bounced back from each of its two losses this season with wins, including back-to-back victories after their loss at Boise State on Nov. 29. BYU recovered from its season-opening loss at then-No. 5 UCLA with three straight wins. Last year with its 20-9 overall record, BYU suffered consecutive defeats only once -- against Utah in the Mountain West Conference Tournament and at Houston in the NIT in the last two games of the year, having bounced back from each prior loss with a victory.

MAGIC NUMBER: 70

This year the Cougars are scoring an MWC-leading 76.8 points and allowing 67.2 points. BYU is 14-0 when opponents score less than 70 points and 2-6 when they score 70 or more. BYU is 15-3 when it scores 70 or more points (exception at Lamar, at UNLV and at CSU) and 1-3 when scoring less than 70. The Cougars had scored at least 70 points in 12 straight games prior to a 61-52 win against then-No. 13 Air Force last Saturday. Last year BYU was 12-0 when holding opponents under 70 points and 8-9 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold as Cougar foes averaged 71.7 ppg. BYU was also 17-4 when scoring 70 or more points and 3-5 when falling below the 70-point mark.

CLEANING OFF THE GLASS

BYU is 15-0 this season when outrebounding its opponents and 1-6 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars lead the MWC in rebounding average (38.4) after posting their largest margin of the season with a +22 (42-20) mark against then-No. 13 Air Force last Saturday. Sophomore Trent Plaisted is sixth on the glass at 6.5 rpg while senior Keena Young is seventh at 6.4 rpg. The Cougars recorded back-to-back season-high efforts of 52 rebounds vs. Oral Roberts and 55 against Seton Hall in the BYU Holiday Classic. BYU outrebounded the Pirates 55-34 as four Cougars had nine or more rebounds (Cummard 12, Young, Plaisted and Ainge 9). Cummard and Ainge set new career highs.

CLOSE CALLS

BYU is the only MWC team that has not had a game decided by three points or less this season. The Cougars have had some close games, however, as three games have required overtime this year. BYU is 2-1 in overtime with an 86-77 loss at Lamar on Dec. 13 and an 84-78 win against Idaho State on Nov. 18 and a 73-69 victory at Weber State on Dec. 2. This is the first season since 2001-02 that BYU has played multiple extra period games in one year (BYU was 0-3 in overtime that season). The Cougars' loss at Lamar ended a five-game overtime winning streak dating back to March 14, 2003, an 86-80 setback against Colorado State at the MWC Tournament. BYU is 50-45 (.526) all-time when playing past regulation.

CONSISTENT COUGAR

One of BYU's most consistent players this year has been senior forward Keena Young, who has scored in double figures in 19 out of 22 games. He leads BYU in scoring (16.3), which is sixth in the league, and is second in rebounding (6.4), seventh in the conference. The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring eight times and rebounding eight times, including his career-high 16-rebound performance against Oral Roberts for his fourth double-double of the season (21 points). His 27 points at Weber State is the most by a Cougar since Dec. 13, 2003 (Rafael Araujo - 28). He posted a career-high 29 points against Wyoming (the most since Dec. 6, 2003; Araujo - 32) to go along with 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double fo the year.

VETERAN LEADERSHIP

Senior Austin Ainge is averaging a team-best 4.2 assists, fourth in the MWC. He also ranks second in the league in assist/turnover ratio (2.00). He is averaging 5.25 apg in league play. In BYU's win at UNM, he tied his career high with eight assists. He posted a season-high 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field, including a 5-for-7 mark from three-point range, to go along with six assists against TCU. He totaled 16 points with a career-best nine rebounds off the bench against Seton Hall. He scored 11 points off the bench-- all in the first half -- to give BYU early control of the game against Utah State. His 14 points -- all in the second half -- against Boise State fueled BYU's furious comeback attempt.

DOING IT ALL

Lee Cummard contributes across the box score and on the defensive end of the floor for BYU. In the Cougars' conference opener against San Diego State, he recorded his second straight double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds while contributing 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. In the BYU Holiday Classic, he averaged 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting .542 from the floor, .444 on threes and was perfect from the line. He was named to the all-tournament team. After coming one rebound away from the first double-double of his career against Oral Roberts with 13 points and a then career-high 9 rebounds to go along with 5 assists, he finished the Classic with career highs of 16 points and 12 rebounds vs. Seton Hall. He is second on the team with 28 treys. He has had at least one steal in 18 of 22 games. On the year, Cummard averages 9.2 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.7 blocks while shooting .541 from the floor, .517 on threes and .806 from the line. He ranks among the top 15 in the MWC in seven statistical categories. He guards the opponent's top perimeter player. Among his defensive highlights was excelling in the tough assignment to guard the MWC's all-time scoring leader and reigning MVP Brandon Heath of San Diego State. He held Heath to season-low-tying 13 points -- well below his MWC No. 2-ranked 20.3 scoring average entering the game. Cummard helped end Heath's string of four straight games with 20 or more points. He also helped hold Utah State's leading shooter Jaycee Carroll, who ranked 22nd in the nation shooting .629, to just .308 shooting (4-for-13) and seven points below his average.

FOR STARTERS

Coach Rose has used four different starting lineups so far this year. Sophomore Lee Cummard and senior Keena Young have started every game this season, while sophomore Trent Plaisted has missed just one start because of injury. Jimmy Balderson has made 19 starts. Rashaun Broadus started 11 of 15 games before being suspended for the season. Austin Ainge has started 14 games.

VS. RANKED OPPONENTS

With their game on Saturday coming against No. 25 UNLV, the Cougars will face their fourth ranked opponent this season, more than any other Mountain West Conference team. BYU is 1-2 in its three previous games against ranked teams with a 61-52 victory over the Falcons, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State. The Rebels are also 1-2, with losses at then-No. 16 Arizona and then-No. 16 Air Force and a win at then-No. 19 Nevada. The Cougars' victory over Air Force marked their first win over a ranked team since defeating then-No. 25 Oklahoma State 76-71 on Dec. 6, 2003 in Salt Lake City. BYU hadn't beaten a ranked team in the Marriott Center since Feb. 1, 1992 with an 80-63 win over No. 19 UTEP. The Cougars' last win over a team ranked as high as No. 13 was Dec. 22, 2001 with an 81-76 win over No. 13 Stanford at the Thomas & Mack Center.

DEFENDING THE HOME COURT

With 27 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are currently tied for the nation's second-longest active home victory streak. BYU has won its first 13 home games this season after going 14-1 at home last year including wins in its last 14 straight home contests. The Cougars are 399-116 (.775) all-time in the Marriott Center

Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (through games played Feb. 1, 2007)

Wins Team This year Next home game

49 Gonzaga 9-0 Feb. 10 vs. St. Mary's

27 BYU 13-0 Feb. 3 vs. UNLV

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

25 Memphis 13-0 Feb. 3 vs. SMU

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

HALFTIME REPORT

BYU has led at the half in 17 of the team's first 22 games, including a double-digit lead seven times. The Cougars outscore their opponents by an average of 5.5 points in the first period of play. BYU's win over Seton Hall marked the first time the Cougars have won this year after trailing at the break. BYU's 82-69 loss at UCLA after leading 39-36 at the half marked the first time since the 2004-05 season that BYU has lost when leading at the half. BYU also lost at CSU after leading 39-37 at the break. The Cougars are now 15-2 when leading at the half, 1-3 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season. .

STARTING HOT

The Cougars have put together incredible first-half shooting performances in their three MWC road games, including a .520 mark from the field and a .600 mark from three-point range against New Mexico. Including its games at Utah, at UNLV and at Colorado State, BYU is shooting .529 from the floor and .528 from three-point range in the first half of play in league road contests. The Cougars have led at the break in three of those games and been tied in one.

BYU BASKETBALL ON TELEVISION

BYU's next televised game will be on Feb. 3 when the Cougars host UNLV. The game will be aired on the mtn. The Mountain West Conference's 2006-07 men's basketball television schedule features an unprecedented 99 games on national and regional television, including 65 of the 72 conference contests and all eight MWC Championship matchups. The television coverage provided by the MWC broadcast partners in 2006-07 is more than triple the national and regional telecasts MWC men's basketball has received in previous years. Seventy-five games will be shown on the MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.), with 17 to be broadcast nationally on College Sports Television (CSTV) and seven on VERSUS (formerly OLN). BYU will have 18 regular-season games televised as part of the 2006-07 MWC television schedule, including three games on CSTV, one on VERSUS and 14 on the mtn. With the exception of a road game at TCU, BYU's entire conference schedule will be televised in 2007. BYU's nonconference games featured in the MWC broadcast schedule include home dates with Southern Utah (Nov. 24), San Jose State (Dec. 6) and Utah State (Dec. 16). While not part of the MWC television package, BYU's regular-season opener at 2006 NCAA runner-up UCLA on Nov. 15 was televised on Fox Sports Net Prime Ticket, while the BYU-Michigan State matchup on Dec. 9 at The Palace at Auburn Hills was carried on ESPN2. BYU's game at Boise State on Nov. 29 was aired on KTVB in Boise and the matchup with Weber State was carried in Utah on KJZZ-TV.

20-WIN SEASONS

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

20-Win Seasons at BYU

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TRUE BLUE FANS

The Cougars are averaging 10,512 fans this season, including the 23rd largest crowd in the history of the Marriott Center with 22,700 fans last Saturday against then-No. 13 Air Force. BYU has consistently ranked among the national attendance leaders. The Cougars averaged 11,069 fans in 2005-06, outdrawing the regular-season conference champions of 27 out of 31 conferences as well as over half of the teams in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big East and Southeastern Conferences and all but Arizona in the Pacific-10 Conference. BYU also averaged more fans than 12 of the 16 NCAA Sweet Sixteen participants, including all of the Final Four teams.

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