Senior Ben Murdock ranks 25th nationally in assists/turnover ratio while helping BYU rank 17th nationally in assists per game. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
BYU GAME #23 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (17-5, 6-1 MWC)
TCU HORNED FROGS (11-9, 3-4 MWC)
Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2008
Marriott Center (22,700)
7 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (62-23 in third season; same overall)
TCU, Neil Dougherty (72-101 in sixth season; same overall)
BYU leads, 9-3, after three wins last year, including a victory in the MWC Tournament Quarterfinals
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (6 p.m. MT pregame show -- 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 HOSTS TCU WEDNESDAY
BYU (17-5, 6-1 MWC) will return to the Marriott Center Wednesday to host the TCU Horned Frogs (11-9, 3-4 MWC) in a 7 p.m. tip. The Cougars have won five straight league games after a 73-63 victory at Wyoming on Saturday and currently own the nation's second-longest active home win streak with 42 straight victories in the Marriott Center. The Horned Frogs have lost three straight after a 56-46 setback against Air Force on Saturday. Wednesday's game will not be televised, but the radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City and on the Internet at KSL.com beginning with the pregame show at 6 p.m. MT.
The Cougars have a bye Saturday before playing at Colorado State on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- At 6-1 in MWC play, the Cougars are off to their best league start since the 2002-03 season when BYU also began 6-1 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, two victories behind No. 1 Memphis. BYU went 17-0 at home last year and is 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 TCU
TCU returns four starters and eight lettermen from last year's 13-17 team that tied for eighth in the Mountain West Conference with a 4-12 record. Coach Neil Dougherty's squad this year is 11-9 overall and 3-4 in league play entering Wednesday's game at BYU. The Horned Frogs have been a team of streaks this year. After starting out 4-0, TCU lost its next three games before rebounding with four straight wins, followed by three consecutive losses, three more wins and its current string of three straight defeats. TCU defeated common BYU opponent Jackson State (79-68) at home and suffered a respectable eight-point loss on the road at Texas (67-59) during nonconference play. In MWC games, the Horned Frogs started 3-1 before their current three-game losing skid. TCU is 2-2 at home and 1-2 on the road in league play with a road victory at Colorado State (70-58) and home wins over Wyoming (83-56) and New Mexico (74-72). TCU is coming off a 56-46 home loss to Air Force on Saturday. An athletic team, the Horned Frogs boast three double-digit scorers in 6-foot-8 junior forward Kevin Langford (14.4 ppg), 6-foot-4 junior guard Henry Salter (14.1 ppg) and 6-foot-2 senior guard Brent Hackett (11.8 ppg). Salter has had a significant impact in his first season. An NJCAA All-American out of Mississippi Gulf Coast College, he is the nation's second-best three-point shooter at 52.4 percent but is currently hobbled by an ankle injury (suffered vs. UNLV) and did not play against Air Force on Saturday after being listed as questionable. The rest of the scoring load for TCU is shared broadly as the next five point-producers average between 5.4 and 4.4 points per game. John Ortiz, a 6-foot-8 junior forward, leads the Horned Frogs on the glass, pulling down 5.4 rebounds per game, followed by Salter at 5.1 rpg. Junior Jason Ebie (6-1, G) paces TCU with 3.2 assists while making five starts while freshman Mike Scott (6-0, G) adds 2.7 assists and has started the other 15 games. As a team, TCU scores 71.4 points on .414 shooting from the field, .354 accuracy from long range and a .649 clip at the free-throw line. The Horned Frogs are holding opponents to 67.3 points on .441 shooting overall and a .344 success rate from behind the arc. On the boards, TCU holds a slim 37.1--36.5 edge over its opposition and has a +3.8 turnover margin with 14.4 miscues compared to its opponents' 18.2 turnovers per game. The Frogs create turnovers with a defense that ranks sixth nationally in steals per game at 10.1 while recording 12 games this year with double-digit thefts. Ebie ranks 42nd in the nation at 2.1 steals per game. Overall this year, TCU is 10-3 at home and 1-6 on the road.
TCU'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 32 Kevin Langford 6-8 245 Jr. 14.4 4.8 Fort Worth, Texas
F 42 John Ortiz 6-8 225 Jr. 5.4 5.4 Cali, Columbia
G 01 Mike Scott 6-0 175 Fr. 4.4 1.3 Philadelphia, Penn.
G 12 Brent Hackett 6-2 205 Sr. 11.8 1.3 Fort Worth, Texas
G 22 Keion Mitchem 6-0 159 So. 4.6 1.2 Rochester, N.Y.
TCU'S LAST OUTING -- AIR FORCE ESCAPES WITH VICTORY
FORT WORTH -- The Air Force Academy held the TCU men's basketball program to a combined 31.5 percent from the field en route to securing a 56-46 victory over the Horned Frogs at the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum on Saturday. The Falcons connected on 55.3 percent (21-of-38) of their field goal attempts - including 58.8 percent (10-of-17) in the second half of action. Tim Anderson proved to be a thorn in the side of the Purple and White as the AFA guard proceeded to connect on the second of his four three-pointers to give the Falcons a 13-11 lead. Anderson finished the game with a game-high 18 points on 6-of-13 shooting to go along with three rebounds, two blocked shots, two steals and one assist in 39 minutes of action. Following Anderson's three-pointer, the Falcons never looked back as they held off the struggling Frog shooters while connecting on a series of three-pointers to go along with under-the-basket lay-ins. The Air Force Academy was able to score seven of the final eight points of the first half to take an eight-point advantage at 28-20 heading into intermission. In the second half of action, the Frogs battled to get within one point at 41-40 with 8:30 remaining in the game following a lay-in by John Ortiz. However, the Falcons were quickly able to recover and begin an 11-2 run over the next five minutes, which were highlighted by a pair of treys by Anderson and one from Keith Maren. After increasing their lead to 10 points at 52-42, the Falcons were able to hold off an attempts for the Frogs to get within striking distance as the Air Force Academy escaped the Daniel-Meyer Coliseum with a 56-46 victory. Langford posted his 18th consecutive double-digit scoring performance as the TCU forward finished with 11 points to go along with four rebounds in 29 minutes of action. Keion Mitchem started his first collegiate game and collected 10 points - including a trio of three-pointers - to go along with two rebounds and one steal in a career-high 26 minutes of action.
The Cougars and Horned Frogs have met just 12 times in the history of the two programs with BYU owning a 9-3 series lead including an 89-65 win in Provo, an 85-72 victory in Fort Worth and a 77-64 triumph in the MWC Tournament quarterfinals last season. The series began with three straight Cougar victories, two in 1953 and one in 1960, before TCU?was able to win three straight from 1985 to 1997. The two teams next met in the first round of the 1999 WAC?Tournament in Las Vegas when BYU recorded a 90-74 win, the first of six straight for the Cougars. In 2006, the two schools met as members of the Mountain West Conference for the first time with BYU coming away with an 89-80 overtime win in the Marriott Center and then winning 81-72 at TCU. The Cougars are 5-1 against the Horned Frogs in Provo, 2-1 in Fort Worth and 2-1 on a neutral court.
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"TCU is very athletic. They're a team that always causes us some matchup problems. They like to force the action defensively and press a lot. We'll have to be able to handle the ball, not turn it over and take advantage of situations. We need to really be able to read and react."
RECENT SERIES OUTINGS
LAST YEAR AT BYU -- HOT SHOOTING LIFTS COUGARS OVER HORNED FROGS
PROVO -- The BYU men's basketball team tied a program record by hitting 14 three-pointers on the way to defeating TCU Wednesday night, 89-65. The Cougars improved to 12-4 (2-0 MWC) on the season while TCU falls to 10-5 (2-1 MWC). The win was BYU's 25th consecutive victory at home, which is tied for the second-longest streak active win streak in the nation. BYU was led by starting point guard Austin Ainge and freshman Jonathan Tavernari as they combined for 38 points and together shot 11-for-14 from three-point land. BYU set the up-tempo pace early on running TCU up and down the court. The Cougars converted on eight of their first 10 possessions and were led by Ainge's eight points during that run. BYU took a 17-5 advantage early on by forcing seven Horned Frog turnovers. TCU found out how difficult it is to win in Provo as the Horned Frogs trailed the Cougars 24-10 midway through the first half. Senior guard Mike Rose came off the bench to lift the Cougars by burying a deep three and nailing a mid-range jumper. Rose ended the night with 11 points. Aside from BYU's stellar shooting the Cougars' defensive pressure seemed to be too much for the Horned Frogs to handle as BYU held TCU to .241 shooting in the half. Tavernari gave the Cougars huge minutes off the bench blasting back-to-back triples to give BYU its biggest lead of the half, 33-17, with six minutes left. Rose ended the half with his hot shooting as he connected on a three-point play and hit a three as time expired to put BYU up 48-25. BYU came out of the locker room ready to end any sort of TCU comeback with a balanced offensive attack. Ainge and Jimmy Balderson hit from the outside while Trent Plaisted and Keena Young pounded the Horned Frogs down low. Though TCU allowed only one of the Cougar starters to score in double figures, the Horned Frogs had problems all night defending players that came off the BYU bench. Later in the second half Tavernari got all 10,806 fans in the Marriot Center screaming as he drilled back-to-back threes. His 18 points on 6-of-7 shooting was a career high. Ainge then decided to answer Tavernari's hot shooting by hitting back-to-back threes himself. Ainge's 20 points on the night was a season high and helped improve the Cougars' current win streak to seven games, the longest streak since the 2003-04 season.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I think our guys responded really well to a unique style of play. We shot the ball really well."
-- "We got started well. Austin (Ainge) got some big shots and gave us some confidence and a little bit of a lead early on."
-- "The whole thing with Jonathan (Tavernari) is patience. He really gave our team a lift."
-- "TCU was really physical, coming at us and contesting our shots. They're playing really well."
-- "The whole situation in the last day or two was about opportunities, and I think Austin (Ainge) took advantage of his opportunity. I've got a lot of confidence in our players."
-- "Now well go out and try to initiate some pressure during these next few games."
TCU Head Coach Neil Dougherty
-- "My hat is off to what they did tonight. They had an unbelievable night offensively."
-- "I like our guys. We had a lot going on over there on the bench with Kevin (Langford) in foul trouble and Alvardo Parker with the knee trouble combined with a very good BYU team to deal with."
-- "I know that our team is better. The conference is better. What I don't know yet is if our team has grown as much as the conference, and that is what we are trying to figure out."
-- "The way they shot we may have had seven fouls apiece and still been up the creek."
-- "We missed a lot of shots that could have sustained us offensively in the first half. We missed four or five shots around the rim, and that extra eight or ten points would have given us a much-needed boost."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT BYU
-- Individual Career Highs: Jonathan Tavernari - 18 points.
-- Individual Season Highs: Austin Ainge - 20 points, 6 assists (tied).
-- Team Season Highs: Field-goal percentage - .593; First-half points against DI opponent -- 48; Largest halftime lead against D1 opponent -- 23; Three-pointers made -- 14.
-- BYU's win over TCU extended its home winning streak to 25 games, which is now tied for the second-longest active home victory streak in the nation combined with a Connecticut home loss on Wednesday night. The Cougars are 11-0 at home this season..
-- With seven straight victories over Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall, SDSU and TCU, the Cougars are enjoying their longest winning streak since winning nine straight games during the 2003-04 season.
-- BYU's 24-point win (89-65) marked its largest margin of victory in MWC play since a 29-point win (82-53) on Jan. 17, 2004 against Colorado State.
-- During their seven-game win streak, the Cougars are outscoring opponents by an average of 22.0 points per game with six of their seven wins coming by double digits (exception 9 vs. Seton Hall).
-- BYU is now 12-1 when scoring at least 70 points in a game and 11-0 when holding opponents under 70 points. The Cougars have reached the 70-point mark in the last eight straight games and have scored 80+ points in their last two games.
-- With 14 three-pointers made in the game, BYU tied its program record in makes from beyond the arc. The Cougars also made 14 three-pointers on Dec. 28, 2003 against Southern Utah.
-- With a 48-25 halftime advantage, the Cougars led at the break for the 12th time this season, enjoying their sixth double-digit lead. BYU is outscoring its opponents by an average of 5.7 points in the first period of play with a +10.4 point margin during the Cougars' seven-game winning streak. BYU is now 11-1 when leading at the break.
-- All 12 of BYU'a active players saw action and scored against TCU.
-- Jonathan Tavernari came up big for the Cougars against TCU, making his first six three-point attempts until a miss at the 6:19 mark in the second half. Tavernari scored a career-high 18 points in the win.
-- Ainge made an immediate impact in his first start since Dec. 13, scoring eight of BYU's first 17 points on 3-for-3 shooting from the field, including two three-pointers, to help the Cougars jump out to a 17-5 lead. Ainge scored 11 first-half points on 4-for-5 shooting, the second time this season he has reached double digits before the half. Ainge finished the game with a season-high 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field including a 5-for-7 mark from three-point range.
-- Vuk Ivanovic's bucket at the 9:21 mark of the first half marked his first points since scoring 10 on Dec. 22 against Western Oregon.
-- Ben Murdock also made the most out of his seven first-half minutes, scoring at the 3:28 mark for the first time since Western Oregon.
LAST YEAR AT TCU -- BYU CONTINUES WIN STREAK WITH VICTORY AT TCU
FORT WORTH -- The Cougars maintained their hold on the top spot in the Mountain West Conference Saturday night with an 85-72 win over the TCU Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Texas. The win, BYU's sixth straight overall and fourth consecutive on the road, improves the Cougars to 19-6 on the season and 9-2 in MWC play. BYU was led by Keena Young with 25 points, the third time in the last four games he has topped the 20-point mark. Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted also scored in double figures with 16 and 11 points, respectively, while Cummard paced the Cougars on the boards with seven rebounds. Cummard's 7-for-9 shooting performance helped BYU shoot a season-high .615 (32-for-52) from the field. TCU scored the first bucket of the game with a three-pointer on the next possession, but Plaisted took control with back-to-back makes to spark a 9-0 Cougar run, including a jumper from Austin Ainge and a long-range bucket from Cummard. After falling behind 11-3, the Horned Frogs put together a 10-0 run to take a 13-11 lead. Cummard stopped the bleeding for the Cougars with a one-handed tip and then tied the game again off an assist from Ben Murdock after a TCU score. BYU got some bad news when Plaisted was forced to check out at the 13:03 mark with two fouls, but Young made up the difference in the post with three straight makes to put the Cougars up 21-15. TCU's Alvardo Parker ended the 6-0 Young run, but Mike Rose drained a three-pointer off a long pass from Jimmy Balderson to extend the BYU advantage to 24-17 with 9:51 left in the half. A three-point play from TCU followed by a layin on the next Horned Frog possession cut the lead to two at 24-22, but BYU's bench came up big with a drive and score from Jonathan Tavernari and a Vuk Ivanovic layin. Back-to-back makes from Cummard pushed the BYU advantage to 32-22. TCU's Brent Hackett ended the 8-0 Cougar run with a jumper at the 4:13 mark but was answered by Young, who reached double digits at 10 points with the layin. The Cougar dominance continued as they built a 41-29 halftime lead while holding the Horned Frogs to just three buckets in the last 8:32 of the period. Plaisted returned to the game in the second half to record a three-point play on the first Cougar possession, but a 5-0 TCU spurt cut the lead back to 10 points at 44-34. Cummard continued his hot shooting with his sixth make in seven tries. However, Plaisted's luck ran out just seconds later as he picked up his fourth foul at the 16:38 mark and was forced to once again ride the pine. The two teams traded scores to a 49-38 Cougar lead until Murdock took a pass from Cummard and drained an open three-pointer and then answered a TCU score with a layin to put BYU up 54-40. Despite shooting percentages hovering around or above 50 percent for both teams, neither could find the basket from the floor over the next two minutes as TCU settled for two points from the free-throw line and BYU recorded three. Tavernari finally ended the drought with a three-point make at the 12:43 mark to give the Cougars a 59-42 lead. BYU continued to maintain a double-digit advantage over the next several minutes thanks in part to its bench play and despite continual pressure from TCU, who refused to go without a fight. The Horned Frogs kept the Cougars shy of a blowout with clutch free-throw shooting, making six of seven over a two-minute period despite being held without a bucket from the field to keep the BYU lead at 12 points, 65-53. After withstanding the TCU spurt, the Cougars put together a 10-4 run of their own to take a 75-57 lead and all but put the game away with just over four minutes remaining. A flurry of three-pointers from the Horned Frogs proved too little too late as BYU recorded the 85-72 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I'm really proud of our guys. This is a tough team to play against, especially here in this building. They get so many runs going. All the games that have been played in here have been close."
-- "We recognized the defense they were in and spread the ball and took good shots. We shot well and played at a good pace. Anytime you shoot 60 percent, especially on the road, is a great night."
-- "Right now, offensively, Keena (Young) is really, really consistent for us. I really think as good as Keena is, the fact that he's got Trent in that other post with guys that have to stay on him is really opening a lot of opportunities for Keena. Other teammates are doing a good job of giving him the ball where he can really operate and do a lot of good things."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT TCU
-- Individual Career Highs: Lee Cummard - 7 field goals made (tied), 3 blocks (tied).
-- Team Season Highs: .615 shooting (32-of-52).
-- With the 85-72 win at TCU, the Cougars improved to 9-2 in the Mountain West Conference, maintaining their first-place standing. BYU is alone atop the conference leader board in the second half of league play for the first time ever in the MWC.
-- BYU has now won its last six straight games, coming just one win off their longest winning streak of the season.
-- After losing five of their first six true road games this season, BYU has now won its last four games away from the Marriott Center, compiling a 5-5 road record. The Cougars are 4-2 on the road in conference play, the only team in the MWC with three road wins. With two games away from the Marriott Center left on the schedule (at SDSU, at Air Force), BYU has a chance to post a winning road record for the first time since 2002-03 when the Cougars went 6-5 overall on the road. Last season, BYU was 6-8 overall and 4-4 away from the Marriott Center.
-- The Cougars have shot above 50 percent in their last five road games and in six of their last seven games overall, including a season-high .615 (32-for-52) mark against the Horned Frogs. BYU has also shot above 40 percent from three-point range in 10 of its last 12 games, with a .455 (5-for-11) mark at TCU
-- BYU is now 18-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 4-6 when allowing opponents to reach the 70-point threshold. The Cougars have scored at least 80 points nine times this season, going 9-0 in those games.
-- With a 30-25 rebounding advantage against the Horned Frogs, the Cougars are now 18-0 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- With a 41-29 advantage at the break, the Cougars enjoyed their 19th halftime lead of the season and their ninth in double figures, including a 48-25 first-half lead in the first meeting between the two teams. BYU has held opponents under 30 first-half points 14 times this year while topping the 40-point mark six times. Overall, the Cougars are 17-2 when leading at the break, 2-3 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season.
-- BYU's .567 (17-for-30) first-half shooting mark marked the fifth of six MWC road games in which the Cougars have shot at least 50 percent in the first period of play.
-- Three Cougars scored in double figures at TCU, led by Keena Young's 23 points. BYU is 8-2 when led by Young and 9-3 when three players score in double figures. The Cougars are also 16-5 when Young scores in double figures, 12-3 when Trent Plaisted scores in double digits (11 points) and 9-2 when Lee Cummard reaches double digits (16 points).
-- With 23 points at Wyoming, Young has now scored in double figures in 21 of 25 games this season including seven outings -- and three of the last four -- with at least 20 points. Young is averaging 21.0 points per game over the last four games.
-- Cummard has now shot 19-for-22 (.864) in his last five games, including a 7-for-9 (.778) mark at TCU. Cummard made 11 straight shots during his recent hot shooting streak and is shooting .570 on the year.
LAST YEAR AT MWC QUARTERFINALS -- PLAISTED LEADS BYU TO QUARTERFINAL WIN
LAS -- Sophomore Trent Plaisted led the No. 23 BYU Cougars to a 77-64 win over the TCU Horned Frogs in the Mountain West Conference Tournament quarterfinals Thursday. BYU has now won 11 of its last 12 games and improves to 24-7 on the season and 3-0 against the Horned Frogs this year. BYU will advance to the MWC semifinals for the first time since 2004. Plaisted led all scorers with 22 points and nine rebounds. Also scoring in double figures for BYU was Mike Rose with 16 points and Jimmy Balderson with 10 points. Sophomore Lee Cummard's defensive play limited Brent Hackett, coming off a 24-point game against New Mexico, to two points. Austin Ainge finished the game with seven assists. Balderson opened the game by scoring on the team's first three-point attempt, which was soon followed by a Keena Young jumper, giving BYU a 5-0 lead. Turnovers plagued the Cougars early, allowing TCU the opportunity to tie the score at 8-8 with 14 minutes left in the first half. Rose made his first three-pointer of the night at the 11:30 mark, before TCU's Neiman Owens was sent to the free-throw line to complete a three-point play. BYU continued to struggle before Balderson drove to the basket and laid it in with just under nine minutes to play in the half. Young scored two points off a Horned Frog turnover to give the Cougars a 21-16 lead. The BYU bench continued to contribute as it has all season with Vuk Ivanovic's layup and ensuing rebound. TCU's Neil Dougherty capitalized on the Cougars' eighth turnover, narrowing BYU's lead to three points. With 4:32 left in the first half, Jonathan Tavernari's running layup was good off of a pass by Ainge. Ainge's second assist of the game resulted in a Plaisted one-handed dunk. BYU's successful defensive play with 1:21 left in the first half resulted in a Horned Frog shot clock violation. Plaisted recorded another dunk, putting the Cougars up 34-24. Young's second foul of the game sent Hackett to the charity stripe where he went 2-for-2, giving the Cougars a 10-point lead at 36-26 going into the half. Plaisted's jumper to open the second half gave BYU a 12-point lead followed by a similar play on the opposite end of the court by Femi Ibikunle. Young's assist to Balderson with 17:27 left in the second half resulted in two points for the Cougars, bringing the score to 42-32. Rose hit his second three-pointer of the game followed by a jump hook from Plaisted at the 12:58 mark. Ryan Wall drilled a three for the Horned Frogs, followed by another from Rose, bringing the score to 52-41. Following an 0-for-2 trip to the free-throw line for Balderson, Plaisted secured the rebound, scoring two points. With 11:33 left in the second half, Rose found his fourth basket from behind the arc, building on an 8-0 BYU run. Ben Murdock kicked it out to Ivanovic for a reverse layin, giving the Cougars a 61-42 lead with 7:38 to play in the game. TCU's Ibikunle went 1-for-2 from the line before a long three was made by Wall. Two made free throws by Murdock put BYU up by 20 points. With 3:35 left to play in the second half, a tip-in by Cummard gave the Cougars a 68-52 lead. TCU continued to fight with Kevin Langford scoring on a layup and later drawing a third foul on Young. Balderson scored on a running layin before Ibikunle followed suit with under two minutes to play in the game. Fernando Malaman scored two points to end the game. TCU was led by Langford with 23 points and Ibikunle with 13 points.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought TCU played really, really well. They played hard. They battled. Our guys needed to respond to that. I thought we had a difficult time guarding them off the dribble. We probably fouled more than we should have."
-- "In the second half, I thought TCU did a good job of playing together. We hit some shots and were able to get a little bit of a lead and then ride that lead in."
-- "TCU did a really good job of controlling the pace of the game. We really like to initiate offense and push the ball. Defensively, Keena Young had guys all around him when he would make a catch."
-- "It took a little bit of time, but we finally figured out that some of those perimeter guys were going to be open when they were sagging a little bit, and we were able to hit a few jump shots, especially there in the second half."
-- "We've had balanced scoring all year long. Keena (Young) has been really consistent for us. Trent (Plaisted) has been really consistent for us. Those two are our leading scorerds. Our perimeter guys are all capable of having big nights. When we shoot the ball well from the perimeter, it really, really helps the inside game."
-- "Lee Cummard does a great job on perimeter scoring guards. He's done it from the very first game of the season. He works hard at it. We wear him out. It might affect his offensive game, but defensively he's long. He's just figured out a way to get through screens."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT MWC QUARTERFINALS
-- Individual Career Highs: Jonathan Tavernari -- 7 rebounds (tied).
-- Individual Season Highs: Mike Rose -- 3 rebounds (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Highest rebounding margin - +22 (tied).
-- MWC Tournament Records -- With seven assists, Austin Ainge tied the BYU MWC Tournament record that he set in 2005 against New Mexico. Trent Plaisted's nine field goals is second behind Mekeli Wesley's mark of 11 in 2001 while Mike Rose's four three-pointers is tied for second with Wesley in 2001, just one behind Terrell Lyday's mark of five in 2001.
-- MWC Tournament History -- With the win, the Cougars have advanced to the MWC Tournament semifinals for the first time since 2004. BYU is now 8-6 all-time in the MWC Tournament, including a 5-3 first-round record. The Cougars are also 7-3 at the event in Las Vegas including two finals appearances and one title (2001). This year marks BYU's first as the No. 1 seed, giving the Cougars a 1-0 record so far as the top team.
-- BYU is now 22-4 when scoring over 70 points and 20-0 when holding opponents under the 70-point threshold.
-- With a 46-24 rebounding advantage against the Horned Frogs, the Cougars are now 23-1 when winning the battle of the boards. BYU has posted a double-digit advantage on the glass 14 times this season and tied its season high in rebounding margin with +22 against TCU.
-- With a 42-30 scoring advantage inside, the Cougars remain undefeated this season when winning the points in the paint category at 18-0.
-- With a 36-26 advantage at the break, the Cougars enjoyed their 23rd halftime lead of the season and their 12th in double figures. Overall, BYU is 21-2 when leading at the break, 3-4 when trailing and 0-1 when tied. The Cougars have held their opponents under 30 points in the first half 17 times this season while topping the 30-point mark in all but three games.
-- Trent Plaisted topped the 20-point scoring mark for the fifth time this year and eighth time in his BYU career with 22 points against TCU on 9-for-12 shooting from the field. He also added nine rebounds.
-- Mike Rose came up big for BYU off the bench against the Horned Frogs, draining four three-pointers while scoring 16 points and tying his season high with three rebounds. Rose has come off the bench and drained at least three three-pointers seven times this season.
-- Five different Cougars scored BYU's first 10 points of the game as Jimmy Balderson struck first with a three-pointer followed by a layin from Young and a free-throw make by Trent Plaisted. Lee Cummard then recorded a putback at the 15:03 mark and Mike Rose rounded out the balanced scoring effort with a jumper to give BYU a 10-8 lead.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- BYU POSTS FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN
LARAMIE -- The BYU men's basketball team tied its longest win streak of the year with a 73-63 triumph at Wyoming on Saturday, marking the Cougars' fifth straight victory. Lee Cummard topped the 20-point mark for the third straight contest with a game-high 25 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, to go along with eight rebounds. For the first time this season, two Cougars recorded double-doubles as Trent Plaisted posted his seventh double-double of the year with 17 points and 10 boards while Jonathan Tavernari tallied the first of his career with 10 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. BYU was outshot in the game, 40 percent to 41.7 percent for Wyoming, but did not give up a three-pointer for the first time since Dec. 16, 2006 as the Cowboys went 0-for-15 from long range. Burgess nailed an open three on BYU's first possession to set the tone for the Cougars as BYU took an early 5-2 lead in the first minute of play. Plaisted added two free throws to extend the advantage to 7-2, but neither team was able to score from the field until Wyoming's Brad Jones scored a driving layin and was fouled at the 15:56 mark, converting the free throw to cut the lead to two points. The Cougars continued to struggle offensively after a 2-for-2 start, going 1-for-10 from the floor until Chris Miles scored with just over 13 minutes to play. Wyoming responded on the other end, but was quickly answered with a three-pointer from Jimmer Fredette and a layin by Cummard to give BYU a 17-9 lead. Tavernari became the fourth Cougar to score from long range with a three-point make at the 10:52 mark to push the lead to double-digits at 20-10. However, Wyoming scored eight of the next 10 points to cut the deficit to four points as Plaisted sat on the bench with two fouls. A spate of BYU turnovers finally gave the Cowboys the chance to complete the comeback as Ryan Dermody drove and scored followed by a layin from Tyson Johnson to knot the score at 24-24 with six minutes to play in the half. Finally, the Cowboys took their first lead of the game with a three-point play to make it 31-28. The three-point advantage held at 35-32 until Cummard scored the last five points of the half, including a buzzer-beating trey, to give BYU its 18th halftime lead of the year at 37-35. Cummard began the second half where he left off with a jumper on BYU's first possession. That was followed by a trey from Burgess on the next trip down the floor to cap a 10-0 Cougar run spanning the half and give BYU a 42-35 lead. The Cowboys responded once again with four straight points from Brandon Ewing to make it a one-possession game before Tavernari made a big shot from downtown to keep Wyoming at bay. Nursing a five-point lead at 48-43, BYU got some bad news when Cummard picked up his fourth foul at the 13:21 mark. Foul trouble continued to play a large role in the game as two BYU starters -- Cummard and Burgess -- spent time on the bench with four fouls apiece and the Cowboys' Travis Nelson fouled out midway through the half. With BYU up 56-54, Cummard re-entered the game and hit from behind the arc to push the lead back up to five points. After Wyoming answered with a three-point play on the other end, Cummard and Burgess made back-to-back buckets and Plaisted drained two free throws to create some space for the Cougars with a 65-57 lead. Then, with 2:32 left to play, Cummard sank a fadeaway jumper and the accompanying free throw to push the lead to nine points at 68-59 and seal the 73-63 win for BYU.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I'm really proud of our players. They battled well and had to just to an interesting flow in the game. Lee (Cummard) and Trent (Plaisted) did a really good job of keeping themselves on the floor and in a position where they could help our team."
-- "Our players have really been able to get themselves in a position to make plays and then make them. Lee (Cummard) has been terrific leading the group. Trent (Plaisted) has been rebounding well and was great for us tonight defensively and at the free-throw line. Sam (Burgess) gave us a great night defensively on Brad Jones. Ben (Murdock) did a terrific job of guarding Brandon Ewing and contesting his shots."
-- "I thought we did a really good job of closing them down in the zone. A lot of credit goes to our coaching staff -- Terry Nashif, Dave Rice and John Wardenburg. They spend so much time watching film and breaking things down. They made a good game plan for us, and they were right on. It was really effective for us."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Jonathan Tavernari - 10 rebounds.
-- The BYU coaching staff participated in the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend, sporting suits and sneakers against the Cowboys. Coaches vs. Cancer is a joint effort by the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches that empowers basketball coaches, schools and communities nationwide to help fight cancer.
-- At 6-1 in Mountain West Conference play, the Cougars are off to their best league start since the 2002-03 season when they also began 6-1 through the first seven games. BYU finished the 2002-03 season tied for first in the conference at 11-3.
-- BYU picked up its third straight MWC road win with the victory at Wyoming, moving to 3-1 on the road in league play and 5-3 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.
-- The Cougars' five straight wins ties their longest win streak of the season (@ LBSU, Idaho State, Jackson State, Hartford, vs. No. 6 Louisville).
-- With the 73-63 win, BYU is now 14-1 when scoring at least 70 points and 14-1 when holding opponents under 70 points.
-- With a game-high lead of 12 points, the Cougars have now held a double-digit lead in 17 of 22 games in the year.
-- Wyoming went 0-for-15 from three-point range in the game, marking the first time since Dec. 16, 2006 when Utah State went 0-for-11 that BYU has held its opponent without a trey. The Cowboys had hit from long range in 158 straight games dating back to Jan. 4, 2003 before misfiring on all of their three-point attempts against BYU.
-- With a 37-35 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, BYU recorded its 18th halftime lead of the season. The Cougars are now 16-2 when leading at the break.
-- Plaisted's 7-for-11 performance at the free-throw line at Wyoming marked the most free throws he has made in a game since going 8-for-16 on Dec. 8 against No. 9 Michigan State.
-- For the first time this season, two Cougars recorded double-doubles. Plaisted posted his seventh double-double of the year and 16th of his career with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Tavernari tallied the first of his career with 10 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
-- Murdock dished out five assists at Wyoming, marking the eighth time this year and the third time in league play he has posted at least five assists.
-- Including 25 points at Wyoming, Cummard has now scored at least 20 points in the last three straight games (21 at Air Force, 20 against New Mexico). Cummard has recorded at least 20 points in seven games overall this season and nine in his career.
- With 12 first-half points at Wyoming, Cummard has now scored in double digits in the first 20 minutes of play eight times this season, including three of the last five games overall and the last three road games.
COUGARS BY THE NUMBERS
1 Rank of BYU coach Dave Rose's 62 wins and .729 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 (65-21 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 75.1 ppg.
6-1 BYU's MWC record so far this season, equaling the Cougars' best league start since 2002-03 when BYU also began conference play 6-1 before finishing 11-3, tying for first place.
7 Number of points Trent Plaisted needs to surpass Randy Reid to move to 22nd on BYU's all-time career scoring list. Plaisted currently has 1,160 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.
9 Number of statistical categories in which Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the MWC including offensive rebounds (2nd - 2.27), field-goal percentage (3rd - .567), free-throw percentage (3rd - .870), scoring (3rd - 16.3), three-point percentage (6th - .435), assists (7th - 3.36), assist/turnover ratio (7th - 1.42), total rebounds (7th - 6.4) and defensive rebounds (10th - 4.14). Cummard in the only player in the MWC to accomplish the feat.
10 Number of games in which Lee Cummard has been perfect from the free-throw line out of 16 games in which he taken free throws. Cummard made a career-best 21 straight free throws before missing on his first attempt against San Diego State. He also had a streak of 19 straight earlier this year prior to a miss against Southern Utah. He is shooting 87.0 percent (60-for-69) 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 18 of 22 games this season while racking up halftime leads in 18 of 22 games, including 12 by double digits.
17 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.
18.7 The Cougars' average margin of victory in their 17 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.
20 Number of games this season Lee Cummard has made a three-pointer. Jonathan Tavernari has connected from long range in 19 games while Sam Burgess has made a trey in 17 of 22 outings this year.
22 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 22 games after not starting last year in his first season in Provo.
79 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 179, one victory behind UNLV.
100 Percent of games BYU has won this year when leading with five minutes remaining. The Cougars are 17-0 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 two wins 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 Feb. 2, 2008)
Wins Team This year Next home game
44 Memphis 12-0 Feb. 6 vs. SMU
42 BYU 11-0 Feb. 6 vs. TCU
ON THE ROAD
The Cougars are 5-3 in true road games this year having won their last three games away from the Marriott Center after a 73-63 victory at Wyoming on Saturday. With a 1-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is 6-5 this season away from home with a 3-1 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 14-1 when scoring at least 70 points this year and 14-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 75.1 points and allowing 63.6 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 17 games this year, going 15-2 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 6.6 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 12 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 4.8 rebounds per game while ranking 14th among MWC players in conference play at 5.6 rpg. He has started six games. Fredette is fifth on the team in scoring with 6.8 ppg and third in steals with 20. Loyd is averaging 8.9 minutes per game and has posted 25 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 182 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 20 of 22 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 20 of 22 games this season while Jonathan Tavernari has connected in 19 games and Sam Burgess has done so in 17 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 56 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 22 games this year while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari has made 16 starts and freshman Chris Collinsworth has started six contests.
WINNING WITH ROSE
With a 62-23 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 (65-21 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06. (including games as of Feb. 3)
First-Year Coaches in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Dave Rose, BYU 62-23 .729
Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss* 58-28 .674
*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 65-21 .756
Dave Rose, BYU 62-23 .729
Tim Floyd, USC 59-32 .648
MWC/BYU PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LEE CUMMARD (FEB. 4) -- Junior Lee Cummard led BYU to back-to-back road victories last week while scoring 23.0 points per game on 64.0 percent (16-of-25) shooting from the floor, 60.0 percent (6-of-10) accuracy from three-point range and an 88.9 percent (8-of-9) conversion rate at the free-throw line. The 6-foot-7 swingman was not only extremely accurate on his wide range of shot attempts but also equally effective in nearly every other statistical category, contributing 7.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.0 steals, and 0.5 blocks per game in BYU wins at Air Force and Wyoming. Cummard scored a game-high 25 points on 8-of-13 shooting, including 3-for-4 accuracy from long range, to lead BYU to victory at Wyoming on Saturday. He also made 6-of-7 free-throw attempts while contributing eight rebounds, two assists and one steal against the Cowboys. He scored seven straight points during a 10-0 BYU run spanning the half that helped the Cougars turn a three-point deficit into a seven-point advantage. His 13 second-half points helped BYU stay in front the rest of the way for the win. The Mesa, Ariz., native scored 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting to help BYU hand Air Force its lone league loss in Clune Arena on Wednesday. He connected three times from behind the arc on six attempts while added a game-high five assists along with seven rebounds, one block and one steal in the victory. He scored 10 points to pace the Cougars in the first half and followed with 11 second-half points to help stave off several Falcon rallies.
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 1,150 career points, 23rd 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 618 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 (8.7), third in field-goal shooting among players with at least 30 attempts (.433) and third in assists (2.0) while ranking second on the team in three-point shooting (.409). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 5.1 ppg while averaging 15.9 more minutes per game. His nine double-figure scoring games this year has already surpassed last year's mark of four double-digit scoring outings. Burgess has started all 22 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, .870; Jonathan Tavernari, .852; Sam Burgess, .846; Ben Murdock, .857). Lee Cummard made a career- and team-season-high 21 straight free throws before missing his first attempt vs. SDSU. 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. He has been perfect at the line in 10 of 16 games he has gone to the line this year.
The Cougars' 17 victories this year have come by an average margin of 18.7 points, including a season-opening 40-point road win at Long Beach State (74-34), one of 14 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 (21-1), Michigan State (19-3), Boise State (16-5), Wake Forest (13-7) and UNLV (17-4) have a combined 86-20 record for a .811 winning percentage as of Feb. 4.
FROM THE FIELD
BYU is shooting 45.5 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 38.7 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. 3 and No. 5, respectively, among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 56.7 and 53.0 percent and 35th and 73rd, respectively, in the national rankings as of Feb. 3.
The Cougars are 16-2 this season when leading at the half with 12 of the 18 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 8.0 points in the first period of play while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of eight of 22 games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 18 of 22 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 +4.0 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 -0.6 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 +4.6 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 three times and been outpaced only four times. The Cougars average 4.7 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 11 games after seven straight contests with a scoring deficit off the bench. On the whole, the BYU bench has outscored opponent reserves by 0.9 points per game this season, tallying 440 points or 20.0 points per game. BYU's leading scorer off the bench is freshman guard Jimmer Fredette, who is averaging 6.8 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 12 points at Wyoming, the Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 17 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.