Junior forward Keena Young is coming off a career-high 17-point peformance vs. UNLV. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
GAME #23 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (15-7, 7-4 MWC)
WYOMING COWBOYS (12-13, 5-7 MWC)
Saturday, Feb. 18, 2006
3:07 p.m. MST
BYU, Dave Rose (15-7 in first year; same overall)
Wyoming, Steve McClain (138-95 in eighth year; same overall)
BYU leads, 93-69, after winning the first outing in Provo this year, 80-67
SportsWest on KJZZ-14 in Utah and KTWO in Wyoming (3 p.m. MST air time -- Dave McCann, play-by-play; Blaine Fowler game analysis)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (2 p.m. MST pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)
Live audio and live stats broadcasts are available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
BYU PLAYS AT WYOMING SATURDAY AT 3 P.M.
BYU (15-7, 7-4 MWC) plays Wyoming (12-13, 5-7 MWC) Saturday at 3 p.m. in Arena-Auditorium in Laramie, Wyo. The Cougars have won five of their last six games and are currently tied for third in the Mountain West Conference standings. The Cowboys are tied for sixth after two close road defeats at Air Force (62-61) and New Mexico (47-45). BYU won the first meeting of the season in Provo, 80-67 on Jan. 18. Saturday's game will be a SportsWest Productions telecast available in Utah on KJZZ-14. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network, beginning with a 2 p.m. pregame show.
The Cougars return home to host league-leader San Diego State on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center (SportsWest in Utah on UPN-Z24). It will be the 500th BYU game played in the Marriott Center since becoming the Cougars' home in 1971-72.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- Cougar head coach Dave Rose is 15-7 in his first year at the helm after eight years as BYU's lead assistant.
-- The Cougars were picked to finish last in the Mountain West Conference in the league's preseason media poll. BYU is currently tied for third in the MWC with a 7-4 conference record.
-- BYU is 15-7 overall, including 11-1 at home, and has won 11 straight in the Marriott Center, which is tied for 13th in the nation. The Cougars are 3-6 away and 1-0 at a neutral site. BYU scores an MWC-leading 75.6 ppg and shoots .459 from the field, including .377 from long range and .721 from the line, second in the league. Cougar opponents average 70.9 points on .445 shooting, .355 from three and .718 from the line. BYU pulls down 35.2 rebounds per game, 1.8 more than its opponents. The Cougars dish out an MWC-leading 16.6 assists per game.
-- Redshirt freshman forward/center Trent Plaisted leads BYU in scoring (13.5), followed by senior guard Brock Reichner (11.1). Plaisted is also the Cougars' top rebounder (6.3) followed by junior forward Keena Young (5.7). Junior point guard Rashaun Broadus is second in the MWC in assists (4.0) followed by junior Austin Ainge (2.7), who is tied for 10th.
LOOKING AT WYOMING
Wyoming is 12-13 and tied with Utah at sixth in the Mountain West Conference standings with a 5-7 record. The Cowboys have six lettermen and one starter from 15-13 team that tied for fourth in the conference standings at 7-7. This year's team is 9-6 at home, 2-7 away and 1-0 on a neutral floor. The Cowboys are 3-3 at home and 2-4 on the road in league play after two tough road losses in the last two games at Air Force and New Mexico. The Cowboys lost those two games by a combined three points. The Cowboys lead the MWC and are ranked nationally at No. 4 in blocked shots and are ranked No. 31 and No. 32 nationally in field goal percentage defense and rebounding margin as the MWC leaders. Senior forward and returning starter Justin Williams is ranked No. 2 in the nation in blocked shots and No. 11 in rebounding, currently averaging 5.0 blocks and 11.0 rebounds. He averages a double-double with 11.3 points, which is third on the team. Junior forward Steve Leven scores a team-leading 13.3 points, while freshman guard Brandon Ewing has made an immediate impact with an 11.7 ppg average. Leven has made a team-best 55 treys, tied for second among MWC players. Sophomore guard Brad Jones dishes out a team-high 3.5 assists per game while adding 9.1 points. As a team, Wyoming shoots .418 from the floor, including .311 from behind the arc, and .659 from the free-throw line, while Cowboy opponents are shooting .401 from the field, .311 from three-point range and .674 from the line. Wyoming outscores its opponents 67.3 - 66.2 and has a significant edge on the glass, pulling down 40.2 rebounds to its opponents' 34.8 boards per game.
WYOMING's PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 2 Justin Williams 6-10 225 Sr. 11.3 11.0
F 15 Steve Leven 6-5 205 Jr. 13.3 2.0
C 54 Derek Wabbington 6-9 240 Sr. 6.4 4.9
G 1 Brad Jones 6-0 170 So. 9.1 4.4
G 23 Brandon Ewing 6-2 190 Fr. 11.7 3.7
WYOMING'S LAST OUTING -- Lobos Hold Off Cowboys in Albuquerque
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- Mark Walters scored 12 points help New Mexico edge Wyoming 47-45 on Wednesday night. New Mexico (16-9, 7-5 Mountain West) won its fourth straight but it wasn't pretty. The Lobos shot 38.8 percent, hit just 3-of-14 on 3-pointers and nearly squandered a 10-point lead in the final 4:41 when their only points were a pair of free throws. Wyoming (12-13, 5-7) got 17 points from Steve Leven and 18 rebounds from Justin Williams, but the Cowboys' problems on offense outdid New Mexico. The Cowboys hit just 15-of-51 shots (29.4 percent) and their 45 points was a season low. Leven and freshman guard Brandon Ewing, averaging 12 points a game, were a combined 5-of-24 from the field, with Ewing going 1-for-10. Williams, second nationally with 116 blocked shots, didn't have one against New Mexico, only the second time this season he has failed to get a block. Still, the Cowboys had a chance until the final buzzer. With New Mexico missing shots and making turnovers, the Cowboys cut a 45-35 deficit with 4:41 left to 46-44 with 34.7 seconds remaining on Leven's bank shot. New Mexico center David Chiotti hit one of two free throws with 25.6 seconds left and the Cowboys set up Leven for a 3-pointer. Leven, who hit three 3s in the game, couldn't shake defender Kris Collins and his off-balance 3-pointer with six seconds left came up short. Wyoming got a final chance after Lobo guard Tony Danridge missed the front end of a one-and-one with 2.6 seconds remaining. Collins fouled Ewing in backcourt to prevent the Cowboys from getting off a 3-point attempt. Ewing hit the first free throw and intentionally missed the second, but Walters tipped the ball out of bounds as time expired.
This will be the 163rd meeting between the two schools. BYU leads the series 93-69. BYU won the first meeting in Provo this year after Wyoming swept the season series last year for the first time since 1997. The Cowboys' sweep ended five straight Cougar wins in the series. BYU has won nine of the last 12 games and 10 of 15 meetings between the two schools since the formation of the Mountain West Conference. After Utah (241 games) and Utah State (223 games), BYU has faced Wyoming the third-most times in its history. Wyoming has a 53-27 advantage in Laramie while BYU boasts a 62-14 record in Provo. BYU has a 4-2 edge on a neutral floor, including a 2-0 advantage in conference tournament play.
QUOTING BYU HEAD COACH DAVE ROSE ...
"It will be an interesting matchup. We had a hard time with their post players in the first game. Justin Williams is a great shotblocker."
"Wyoming's guards are quick and are good shooters and are playing with a lot more confidence. Ewing seems to just get better with every game. Jones is also playing well."
THIS YEAR IN PROVO -- COUGAR RESERVES BIG IN VICTORY OVER POKES
PROVO -- Playing without two key players, BYU got big performances from Austin Ainge and Trent Plaisted leading to an 80-67 victory over Wyoming Wednesday night in the Marriott Center. The win marks BYU's eighth straight home victory. The Cougars, now 10-5 (2-2, MWC) were without the services of Rashaun Broadus and Derek Dawes. Broadus, who was suspended for violating team rules, had started every game for BYU this year prior to the Wyoming game while Dawes sat out due to an injury suffered at UNLV. Ainge started his second game of the season and his first game at point guard and scored 12 points while adding two assists. Wyoming head coach Steve McClain isn't surprised that Ainge had a big game. "Austin Ainge was All-Conference last year," he said. "I told our kids before the game that he would probably come out and show he should be the starting point guard." Plaisted scored a team-high 17 points and grabbed eight boards. Keena Young also came up big, tying his career high with 16 points and picking up six rebounds. Defense prevailed early in the game with the two teams combining for just one point in the first 2:33. The Cowboys' (10-8, 3-2 MWC) Justin Williams had two early blocked shots, but BYU's Lee Cummard came up with two steals that turned into five Cougar points. Offensively, each team settled in with BYU maintaining a 16-13 lead with 11:54 remaining. The two teams matched baskets with the Cougars getting hustle baskets from Keena Young, who scored four early points courtesy of two offensive rebounds in his first six minutes of play. Using the three-ball, Wyoming retook the lead 28-25 when Brandon Ewing hit consecutive triples. Ainge responded with a three of his own to tie the game as the Cougars retook the lead and clung to a 32-31 advantage with under four minutes to play in the first half. Ewing made a last second drive to the hoop to end the half, dropping in a floater to give the Cowboys a 38-36 halftime lead. Wyoming entered the game shooting 43 percent from the field. The Cowboys shot 52 percent in the first half while the Cougars managed only 40 percent shooting. BYU was led in the first half by Cummard, who picked up 1 of his career-best 13 points in the opening half. Sparked by Ainge, the Cougars came out running in the second half, jumping out with a 13-3 run to pick up a 49-41 lead. Ainge knocked down a three and a coast-to-coast layup to force a Wyoming timeout. "The key to winning the game was the first eight minutes of the second half," Rose said. BYU's run continued as the Cougar defense stymied the Cowboys. Wyoming missed 13 of its first 14 shots in the second half while BYU made nine of its first 15. The Cougars held the Cowboys scoreless for 6:30, a streak that ended with a free throw. Wyoming went without a field goal for almost nine minutes. BYU held the Cowboys to just 26 percent shooting in the second half. The Cougars built a 15-point lead midway through the second half and maintained the double-digit lead throughout much of the second half until, benefiting from free throws and a full-court press, the Cowboys cut the lead to eight with 3:53 left in the game. Wyoming maintained its pressure, cutting the BYU lead to 68-61 with 1:27 remaining in the game. The Cowboys would get no closer as the BYU beat the break and made foul shots down the stretch.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose:
-- "The key to winning the game was the first eight minutes of the second half. It was big to come out in the second half and get the crowd in the game. It really gave us a lot of energy."
-- "I'm proud of the way our guys came together. These games will all get pretty intense. Each night it will be the team that executes and puts forth the best effort."
-- "Justin (Williams) is a player. I played with a great shot-blocker in college in Hakeem Olajuwon. He reminds me of him."
Wyoming Head Coach Steve McClain
-- "We just couldn't make shots. Steve (Leven) had a couple wide-open shots from the three. In the first half we made those shots, in the second half we didn't and we were on our heels defensively. When you're not making shots, you're running back and you can't get your defense set. If we're making shots they don't get near as many opportunities to score."
-- "Every turnover tonight was crucial because it seemed like they scored off of them."
-- "Austin Ainge was All-Conference last year and I told the kids before the game he's probably going to come out and show he should be starting point guard."
GAME NOTES FROM FIRST OUTING THIS SEASON IN PROVO
-- Junior Austin Ainge made his second start of the season and his first at point guard in place of Rashaun Broadus, who was suspended for violating team rules.
-- Individual Career Highs: Lee Cummard -- 13 points, 5 field goals made, 4 assists, steals; Fernando Malaman -- 8 rebounds; Brock Reichner -- 8 free throws made.
-- Individual Season Highs: Austin Ainge -- 12 points, 5 field goals made.
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Least three-point field goals made -- 3, Lowest three-point field goal percentage -- .200; Most free throws made -- 25.
-- With the win, the Cougars improved to 10-5 while surpassing last year's victory total , when they suffered a disappointing 9-21 season to end five straight postseason appearances.
-- BYU's home victory over Wyoming marked its ninth home win of the season and its eighth straight.
-- With the win, BYU improved to 2-5 when trailing at the break, with the wins coming against Wyoming and Boise State. The Cougars trailed at the half with a 36-38 deficit. BYU overcame that deficit by opening the second half on a 20-3 run to take a 56-41 lead. The Cougars held Wyoming scoreless for almost seven minutes of the second half as the Cowboys were 1-for-14 from the field in the first 9:15 of the period. BYU also trailed at the half against Boise State, 44-36, but opened the second period with a 23-8 run, eventually winning 80-77.
-- The Cougars outrebounded Wyoming 43-38 on the night. The Cowboys came into the game leading the league and ranking 34th in the nation in rebounding margin (+5.7).
-- Wyoming head coach Steve McClain received a technical foul with 5:19 left in the second half, becoming the third opponent head coach this season to receive a technical foul (Billy Tubbs, Lamar, -- 2; Greg Graham, Boise State -- 1).
-- Freshman Lee Cummard, who finished with a career-high 13 points, surpassed his previous career high with 11 points on a jumper with 1:42 left in the first half, becoming the 10th Cougar to score in double figures this season. His first four points of the game came off of two steals in the first five minutes as he picked off Wyoming and put the ball in at the other end on the fast break.
-- Austin Ainge scored a season-high 12 points against Wyoming, becoming the 11th Cougar to score in double figures this year. Only Jermaine Odjegba, who has seen limited action in five games this season, has not reached double-digits in the scoring column.
LAST YEAR IN LARAMIE -- COWBOYS CORRAL COUGARS
LARAMIE -- BYU's Mountain West Conference woes continued Monday night as the Cougars fell 83-71 to the Wyoming Cowboys in Laramie, opening league play 0-3 for the first time in the Steve Cleveland era. The Cougars got off to a characteristic slow start, falling behind by as many as eight points in the first 10 minutes of play. An 11-2 BYU run capped by a Mike Rose three-pointer gave the Cougars their first lead at 24-23, but it was short-lived as the Cowboys came back to take a 35-31 halftime lead. BYU's top two scorers, Mike Hall and Austin Ainge, combined for a total of two first half points as the Cougars have now shot 18-70 (.250) in the opening periods of the last two games. BYU fought back to open the second half, tying the game at 39 with the help of Hall, who found the net for eight points in the first eight minutes of the period. But Wyoming proved resilient throughout the half, knocking down critical shots and pushing the lead. The Cougars consistently clawed their way back to within two or three points only to be answered on the other end as BYU could not find a way to get stops. A five-minute field goal drought to end the game did the Cougars in as they scored their last six points from the free throw line while the Cowboys padded their lead, eventually earning the 12-point win. Hall finished the game with a team-high 16 points and was the only BYU starter in double figures. Rose added 13 points while Derek Dawes scored a career-high 11 and Keena Young contributed 10, all off the bench. Just one game removed from a career-high 25 points, Ainge scored only two points against the Cowboys. Young, who leads the Cougars in rebounds, pulled down a team-high five boards. Wyoming's Dion Sherrell led the Cowboys with a season-high 19 points. Justin Williams, the league's top shot-blocker, recorded four rejections while also adding 19 points. As a team, BYU shot 37.7 percent from the field and has now made 35.8 percent of its buckets in league play. The Cougars are averaging 43 percent on the season. Wyoming shot 50.8 percent from field goal range, equaling the highest shooting percentage BYU has allowed all season. The Cougars also managed just 22.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc compared to the Cowboys' 39 percent effort from three-point range. The nation's 15th ranked free throw shooting team, BYU hit 78 percent (21-27) from the line, topping its season average.
LAST YEAR IN PROVO -- COUGARS DROP NAIL-BITER TO WYOMING
PROVO -- In another heart-breaker for the Cougars, the Wyoming Cowboys won 59-58 Saturday night in the Marriott Center, sweeping BYU for the first time since the 1996-97 season. Austin Ainge scored his tenth point on two free throws with two seconds left in the game, but could not convert the third to send the game into overtime. "This season has been a test of character for our team," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "We have had a lot of close games, but we just can't get over the hump." The Cougars powered their way through the Cowboys for most of the first half, leading by as many as six points. Later in the half, careless turnovers, missed free throws and an 0-8 shooting performance by team leader Mike Hall allowed the Cowboys to go on a 7-0 run, taking a 28-26 lead with less than 10 seconds to go. But Cougar point guard Austin Ainge pulled up from beyond the arc and knocked down a three-pointer to regain the BYU lead. Despite the Cougars' 29.7 first half shooting mark, compared to the Cowboys 50 percent, BYU went into halftime with a 29-28. The battle continued in the second half, with neither team being able to gain a comfortable lead. The Cougars' largest lead came after a Hall slam dunk and two three-pointers by Jimmy Balderson to give BYU a four-point advantage. That lead diminished quickly for the Cougars due to sharp shooting by Cowboy guard Jay Straight, who finished the game with 23 points. Down the stretch, the Cougars trailed by three with 25 seconds left. The Cougars got one last chance to tie the game, but a Hall three-pointer came up short, giving the ball back to the Cowboys with five seconds left to play. However, on the out-of-bounds play, Hall stole the ball and dished it off to Ainge for a three-pointer to tie the game. Ainge missed the shot but was fouled and left to shoot three free throws to send the game into overtime. Ainge would hit his first two free throws but the Cougars would come up short by one point after a missed third free throw that bounced in and out of the basket. Balderson led BYU with 11 points, his fourth straight game in double-figures. Keena Young pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. The Cougars continued their shooting woes in the second half and ended the game with their lowest shooting percentage this year at 30 percent. The Cougars also finished the game shooting 30.8 percent from the charity stripe.
BYU's LAST OUTING -- 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. "It was a great game," Rose said. "We had a great first half and things came down to just a couple of plays in the end."
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."
UNLV Head Coach Lon Kruger
-- "I thought BYU made some good plays. They made some big shots and came out on top."
-- "BYU is really playing well. They're playing with a lot of confidence. I like what Dave (Rose) has done."
-- "When you dig yourselves a hole, it's tough to come out of it, especially on the road. As a team you have to come out and play at a very high level. To come out and get down by 17, you just can't do that."
-- "I thought (Keena) Young was really good. He played tough."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Head coach Dave Rose has used the same starting lineup in the last five games, going with Rashaun Broadus, Brock Reichner, Lee Cummard, Keena Young and Trent Plaisted in the starting five. BYU is 4-1 with this starting lineup.
-- Individual Career Highs: Keena Young -- 17 points, 4 assists (tied); Trent Plaisted -- 4 assists; Jimmy Balderson -- 4 steals.
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Highest First-Half Field Goal Percentage in MWC play - .533.
-- BYU has now won 11 straight games in the Marriott Center. The Cougars entered the game with the 16th longest homecourt winning streak in the nation.
-- With the win, BYU is now 10-0 when leading at the half. The Cougars have led at the break just three times in conference play with their six-point advantage against UNLV being their largest (+4 vs. Utah, +2 at Colorado State).
-- Trent Plaisted has significantly improved his play against conference opponents as the season has progressed. Plaisted struggled early on in league road games, scoring five points at Air Force in BYU's first league game and then three points at UNLV two games later. However, Plaisted avenged those performances in the Marriott Center with 21 points against Air Force and 16 against UNLV. The freshman center surpassed both marks just minutes into both games.
-- Plaisted also recorded his fourth double-double of the season and his second straight with 16 points and a game-high 12 rebounds against UNLV.
-- With two three-pointers against UNLV, Jimmy Balderson moved into third place on the team in three-point field goals made with 19.
-- After making his last 15 straight free throws, including his first three against the Rebels, Keena Young missed his fourth attempt of the game from the line with 32 seconds left in the first half. However, Young rebounded by making two crucial free throws with 22 seconds left in the game to give BYU the 75-72 lead that the Cougars eventually rode to the win. His 15 straight makes is his longest streak of the season. Young shoots .757 percent from the line on the year.
-- After grabbing a 7-6 lead with 16:14 left in the first half, the Rebels did not score from the field for 4:49, settling for three free throws while allowing BYU to build a 17-10 lead.
-- With UNLV threatening a comeback at 17-14, the Cougars once again pushed the lead thanks to the play of Jimmy Balderson. Balderson scored 10 points in just under three minutes during a 15-4 BYU run.
-- BYU made just one basket in the final 5:30 of the first half, allowing UNLV to cut a 17-point lead (37-20) to just six points at the break (40-34). Fernando Malaman made BYU's only bucket at the 2:42 mark.
-- After failing to score in the first half, Brock Reichner scored eight of BYU's first 10 points in the second period of play. The Cougars' lone senior also hit a huge trey with 4:32 remaining to give BYU a 68-67 lead.
-- A three-pointer from Jason Petrimoulx gave the Rebels their first lead since 7-6 at 54-53 with 13:30 left to play in the game. UNLV took a 58-53 advantage thanks to a 17-3 run spanning 5:37.
-- Trailing by three with 13 minutes remaining, BYU assigned Jimmy Balderson to guard UNLV's Jason Petrimoulx, who had pouring in 27 points up to that point. Petrimoulx did not score the rest of the game.
Austin Ainge's wife Crystal gave birth to a seven-pound, 11-ounce baby boy on Wednesday. Austin and Crystal have named their son Andre Austin Ainge. Ainge is one of six married players on the team this season. Brock Reichner and his wife Chanell made BYU Coach Dave Rose a grandfather with the birth of their daughter, Annie Rose Reichner, last year.
BOUNCE BACK COUGARS
With its 15-7 overall record, BYU has yet to suffer consecutive defeats this season, having bounced back from each loss with victory. BYU alternated wins and losses the first five league games before winning four straight games, two of which came on the road. BYU split its two games last week. The Cougars are looking to start their fifth winning streak of the year with a win at Wyoming. BYU's prior victory streaks this year include one four-game streak, two three-game streaks and one two-game streak.
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
BYU is 9-0 this season when holding opponents under 70 points and 6-7 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold. Cougar foes are currently averaging 70.9 points per game. BYU is also 12-3 when scoring 70 or more points and 3-4 when falling below the 70-point mark. The Cougars lead the league in scoring, averaging 75.6 ppg.
Overall this year, eight players have started while Coach Dave Rose has used six starting lineups. Junior Rashaun Broadus has started the last five games after missing the first Wyoming game (team rules violation) and the next two starts. Junior Keena Young made his seventh straight start of the season Saturday vs. UNLV. Trent Plaisted has started each game while Brock Reichner has started every game but the first. Rashaun Broadus has started 19 games, Fernando Malaman 15 games, Lee Cummard 13 games, Jimmy Balderson nine games and Austin Ainge four games. The majority of BYU's starting lineups have featured two freshmen (Plaisted and Cummard), two junior transfers (Broadus and Malaman) and one senior (Reichner). Reichner is the only one of the five to have started a Division I game prior to this season. He made two starts late last year in his first season at BYU. Five Cougars who started between seven and 23 games on last year's team (Ainge, 23 starts; Balderson, 16 starts; Young, 15 starts, Derek Dawes, 13 starts; Mike Rose, 7 starts) have for the most part been coming off the bench this season. Coach Rose has used the same starting lineup in the last five games with Broadus, Reichner, Cummard, Young and Plaisted (4-1 record).
BYU AT THE POINT
BYU's Rashaun Broadus (4.0 apg) and Austin Ainge (2.7 apg) rank second and tied for 10th, respectively, among Mountain West Conference players in assists per game this season while helping the Cougars lead the MWC in team assists at 16.6 apg. Broadus and Ainge have combined for 100 assists compared to 49 turnovers in BYU's 15 wins while totaling 42 assists and 29 turnovers in the Cougars' seven defeats. Broadus has 58 assists and 31 turnovers in the wins with 25 assists and 20 turnovers in the losses. Ainge boasts 42 assists to only 18 turnovers in the victories while totaling 17 assists and 9 turnovers in defeats. With his overall 83 assists to 51 turnovers, Broadus ranks second in the league in assist/turnover ratio (1.63). Ainge tied his career high with 8 assists in BYU's third game of the season against Southern Utah. Broadus recorded a career-best 9 assists against Lamar and then tied that mark while Ainge added 4 to fuel BYU to a season-high 29 assists vs. Eastern Washington. In conference play, Ainge has 19 assists and 16 turnovers while Broadus has 27 assists and 23 turnovers. Broadus totaled a team-high 6 assists with no turnovers in BYU's game at New Mexico. As a team, BYU has made an assist on 61.8 percent of its field goals this season.
BYU IN THE POST
Trent Plaisted (13.5) leads BYU in scoring while fellow post players Keena Young (9.1) and Fernando Malaman (7.4) are fourth and sixth, respectively. Plaisted (13.5) and Young (11.0) rank first and third, respectively, in league games. Overall, Plaisted (.542), Young (.540) and Malaman (.540) rank among the MWC's top players in field goal percentage at second and tied for third, respectively. Derek Dawes is shooting .415 from the floor and .743 from the line. Young makes a strong .788 from the line. Malaman is second on the team with a 46.9 percent success rate (15-of-32) from behind the three-point arc.
BYU ON THE WING
Senior Brock Reichner has started all but the first game of the year at 2-guard and is second on the team in scoring at 11.1 ppg, including a team-high 45 threes on a team-leading 49.5 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Junior Jimmy Balderson is coming off the bench after starting the first nine games at small forward and is third in scoring at 9.3 ppg with 19 treys. Freshman Lee Cummard has started in place of Balderson the last 13 games and is averaging 5.2 points in 15.8 minutes while shooting 44.9 percent from the floor. Jackson Emery is shooting 40.4 percent from the floor and has made nine triples while averaging 2.5 points in 8.3 minutes. He has also been a solid defender for the Cougars, often helping guard the opponent's top perimeter player. Junior Mike Rose plays 9.9 minutes in the rotation on the wing, averaging 3.6 points, including 18 treys.
BYU's 75.6 points per game are coming in a variety of ways as the Cougars outscore their opponents in every statistical category on the season. BYU has scored 53 more points in the paint this season, outpacing its opponents underneath in 10 games, tying in three and being outscored in nine. The Cougars have also capitalized on opponent miscues in their 22 games to date, scoring 25 more points off of turnovers while outscoring foes in that category in 11 games, tying in one and being outscored in 10. BYU enjoys a 52-point advantage in second-chance points as BYU has outscored opponents in that category in 13 games. The Cougars' largest advantage, however, comes on the fastbreak as BYU has only been outscored on the break in five games this year, with a 213-139 margin.
Brock Reichner and Jimmy Balderson have stepped up their scoring in the last five games. The pair rank second and third, respectively, in scoring for the Cougars. Over the last five games, Balderson is scoring 15.2 points per game while Reichner is averaging 14.2 ppg. Balderson led BYU with a career-high 24 points against Colorado State while Reichner added 23. At New Mexico, Balderson scored 14 points and Reichner recorded 11. The two combined for 22 of BYU's 65 points against Air Force. At Utah, Reichner and Balderson were two of only five players to score as Reichner contributed a game-high 21 points and Balderson scored five. Balderson scored 16, 13 in the first half, and Reichner added 11 vs. UNLV.
FROM THE LINE
The Cougars have made significant progress from the free-throw line in conference play, shooting .781 from the stripe in MWC play, which ranks second in the league, and .721 overall, also rated second. BYU has shot 80 percent or above from the line in five of its 11 league games while reaching that mark just twice in the Cougars' 11 nonconference contests. No team in the MWC's first six seasons has shot 80 percent or better in conference play.
BYU APPROACHES 500TH GAME
The Cougars will play their 500th game in the Marriott Center on Feb. 22 against the San Diego State Aztecs. BYU has called the Marriott Center home since 1971, compiling a 383-116 (.768) record in 35 seasons. Over eight million fans have cheered the Cougars to victory during that time in the nation's third-largest on-campus arena. BYU has won its last 11 home games, tied for the 13th-longest active streak in the nation.
SCORING FOR THE COUGARS
BYU is averaging 75.6 ppg, which leads the MWC, led by redshirt freshman Trent Plaisted's 13.5 points per game. Six different Cougars have led the team in scoring in BYU's first 22 games. Plaisted has led BYU eight times (20 at USC, 13 vs. Southern Utah, 19 vs. Boise State, 15 vs. Weber State, 16 vs. Tulsa, 17 vs. Wyoming, 22 vs. TCU and 21 vs. Air Force), and junior Keena Young has led the team five times (12 vs. Northern Kentucky, 15 vs. Eastern Washington, 16 at Air Force, 16 at San Diego State and 17 vs. UNLV). Junior Jimmy Balderson has led the team three times (18 vs. Loyola Marymount, 21 vs. Lamar and 24 at Colorado State), senior Brock Reichner has led the team three times (18 at Washington State, 26 at Utah State and 21 at Utah), junior Rashaun Broadus has led the team twice (17 vs. Utah and 15 at UNM) and Fernando Malaman (13 at UNLV) has led the Cougars once. Eleven different Cougars have had a double-digit scoring outing for BYU this year (all except Jermaine Odjegba, high of 2 in his five limited appearances).
BYU is 10-0 when leading at the half, 4-7 when trailing and 1-0 when tied. Of the 10 games in which they have led at the half, the Cougars have led by double digits six times. BYU has been more impressive in the second half this season. The Cougars have outscored their opponents in the second period of play in all but six games this year (42-41 vs. Loyola Marymount, 45-42 at UNLV, 46-37 at San Diego State, 43-43 at Colorado State, 40-36 at Utah, 38-35 vs. UNLV). BYU averages 5.1 more second-half points than its opponents after a slight 0.3 deficit in the first half.
COACH ROSE RECEIVING NATIONAL NOTICE
BYU head coach Dave Rose is starting to receive national notice for the outstanding job he is doing during his first season guiding the Cougars. In a Feb. 12 column on ESPN.com, Pat Forde lists Rose among the top-three first-year coaches in the nation this season. Among the nearly 40 first-year coaches in college basketball this year, Forde names the 10 he feels are doing the best job, ranking Rose No. 3 overall. Picked to finish last in the Mountain West Conference in the preseason poll of MWC media members, BYU has earned a 15-7 record to date under Rose's tutelage, including a 7-4 conference mark. Last year, BYU finished with a 9-21 record to end five straight postseason berths. Tennessee's Bruce Pearl topped the list, followed by Virginia's Dave Leitao. Cincinnati's Andy Kennedy is fourth, followed by the MWC's Jeff Bzdelik of Air Force.
PLAISTED EARNS TWO NATIONAL FRESHMAN HONORS
BYU redshirt freshman forward/center Trent Plaisted received national recognition for his recent play against New Mexico and Air Force. Plaisted was named the Nivea for Men Fresh Face Player of the Week by CBS.Sportsline.com, an honor handed out to top performers in this year's national freshman class. ESPN's Dick Vitale also named Plaisted his Diaper Dandy of the Week for his play that same week (Feb. 6).
BROADUS SHARES MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS -- FEB. 6
COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU guard Rashaun Broadus and San Diego State guard Brandon Heath were named Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Co-Players of the Week. This is the first weekly honor of the season and career for Broadus. A 6-0 guard from Mililani, Hawai'i, Broadus helped the Cougars to a 2-0 conference record last week with wins at New Mexico (77-71) and at home vs. Air Force (65-59). He scored a game-high 15 points (13 in the second half) and dished out a game-best six assists (zero turnovers) vs. the Lobos. He also added three rebounds in his 33 minutes on the floor as the Cougars ended UNM's 21-game home winning streak, which was the fourth longest in the country. Against Air Force, Broadus scored 13 points, grabbed three rebounds, and added two assists and two steals. He once again came up big in the second half for BYU, scoring 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the field, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc. On the week, Broadus nearly doubled his scoring average (14.0 points per game), while also averaging 4.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. He shot 50.0 percent from the field (10-for-20) and 41.7 percent from three-point range (5-for-12), while tallying an assist-to-turnover ration of 4.0 (eight assists, two turnovers). Broadus' honor marks the second straight MWC Player of the Week award for the Cougars following Trent Plaisted's recognition last week.
PLAISTED NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- JAN. 30
COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU forward/center Trent Plaisted was named Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the week ending Jan. 30. This is the first weekly honor of the season and career for Plaisted. A 6-11 freshman from San Antonio, Texas, Plaisted led the Cougars to conference wins over TCU (89-80 OT) and Colorado State (86-84) last week, establishing career highs in eight different categories in the process. Against TCU, he recorded his second career double-double, scoring a career-high 22 points and pulling down a career-best 16 rebounds. Plaisted, who entered the game shooting 66.7 percent from the free throw line, knocked down all eight of his shots from the stripe while also tying a personal-best in blocked shots (two). Against Colorado State, he scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds, setting career highs in assists and steals (three each) along the way. For the week, Plaisted averaged 18.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game, while shooting 51.9 percent (14-for-27) from the field and 90.0 percent (9-for-10) from the free-throw stripe. He leads BYU in scoring (13.1 points per game) and rebounding (5.6 rebounds per game) this season, ranking 10th in the conference in both categories.
INTERNATIONAL PLAYERS THRIVE AT BYU
Ã½ A total of 25 international players have played basketball at BYU.
Ã½ The Cougars have had an international player on their varsity roster in 34 of the past 54 years.
Ã½ In the last five years, BYU has rostered five international players, including three on this season's team -- Jimmy Balderson (Canada), Fernando Malaman (Brazil) and Vuk Ivanovic (Serbia & Montenegro).
Ã½ Brazilian Luiz de Toledo has signed a National Letter of Intent to play for BYU next season.
Ã½ Foreign players at BYU have received eight all-conference citations, two conference player of the year awards (Timo Saarelainen -- 1985, Rafael Araujo -- 2004) and eight All-America citations (Kresimir Cosic -- 1972 and 1973, Rafael Araujo -- 2004).
Ã½ According to a book about basketball in Finland by Mikko Simon, BYU has the distinction of being the first NCAA Division I school to have an overseas player on its roster when Timo Lampen, a native of Lahti, Finland, took the court for the Cougars in 1961.
Ã½ BYU also boasts the first foreign All-American in Kresimir Cosic, who will have his BYU jersey retired on March 4. The Zadar, Yugoslavia, native played on the Cougar varsity team from 1971-73 and earned six All-America citations and three first-team All-Western Athletic Conference awards. He is the only BYU player to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. Cosic passed away in 1995.
Ã½ During the 2005 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, CBS Television analyst Billy Packer singled out Cosic during a discussion of the quality of international players now playing college basketball. Said Packer, "Kresimir Cosic, who played for BYU, was really the first great international player to play basketball in the United States."
BYU TO RETIRE COSIC JERSEY
In an historic event, BYU will retire the uniform of the late Kresimir Cosic on March 4, 2006, during the final regular season home game against New Mexico. The former Cougar great becomes the second BYU men's basketball player to have his jersey retired, joining Danny Ainge.
"Cosic was a great ambassador for both BYU and the game of basketball," said BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe. "His accomplishments on and off the basketball court have impacted the lives of many worldwide. This honor is a well-deserved tribute to a great man."
During his career at BYU, Cosic used his versatile inside-outside game to lead the Cougars in scoring (23.3 points per game) and rebounding (12.8 rebounds per game) as a junior and again as a senior (20.2 ppg, 9.5 rpg). His unselfish attitude also helped him to lead his team in assists.
He ranks second on BYU's all-time rebounding list with 919, an average of 11.6 per game, and fourth all-time with a 19.1 career scoring average while recording a BYU-record 47 double-doubles. Behind the play of Cosic, the Cougars won two WAC titles and reached the NCAA Regional Tournament in 1971 and 1972. Cosic was a three-time first-team All-WAC selection and earned All-American accolades following his junior season. He likely would have been a four-year award winner but freshmen were not allowed to play on varsity.
Upon graduation, Cosic became very involved with basketball throughout Europe. He played on four Olympic teams with his native land of Yugoslavia, winning a gold medal in 1980 and two silver medals in 1968 and 1976. He ended his career as the all-time Croatian scoring leader and went on to coach the Yugoslavian National Team for many years.
In September of 1992, Cosic was appointed as the Croatian Deputy Ambassador to the United States. He and his family lived in Washington D.C where he performed his diplomatic duties in the same excellent manner in which he played basketball.
BYU REDSHIRTS: SAM BURGESS, VUK IVANOVIC
Junior guard Sam Burgess is redshirting this season. The 6-foot-3 guard from Alpine, Utah, is one of nine juniors on the roster this year. Fellow junior Vuk Ivanovic will also redshirt while he sits out the season due to NCAA transfer rules.
TRANSFERRED: DAVID BURGESS
David Burgess, a 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman center, announced on Dec. 15 that he was transferring from BYU to complete his eligibility. BYU granted his request for a release. Burgess appeared in three of seven games this year, averaging 0.7 points and 1.7 rebounds. Said Burgess, "I thoroughly enjoyed my time at BYU and I think Coach Rose is an unbelievable coach but his system just isn't a good fit for me personally. When I signed, Coach Cleveland's system was a half-court offense, which fits me better as a player. I was excited for Coach Rose to be named the coach and I worked hard to lose some weight and try to prepare myself for his system but it's just not the best fit for me." Burgess has since announced he will transfer to Gonzaga.
BYU COACH DAVE ROSE
Dave Rose was named to succeed Steve Cleveland as BYU Men's Basketball Head Coach on April 11, 2005. He has starting to receive national notice for the outstanding job he is doing during his first season guiding the Cougars. In a Feb. 12 column on ESPN.com, Pat Forde listed Rose as one of the top-three first-year coaches in the nation this season. Among the nearly 40 first-year coaches in college basketball this year, Forde named the 10 he feels are doing the best job, ranking Rose No. 3 overall. Picked to finish last in the Mountain West Conference in the preseason poll of MWC media members, BYU has earned a 15-7 record to date under Rose's tutelage, including 7-4 conference mark. ESPN analyst Bob Valvano calls BYU "one of the great surprise teams in the country" this season. Rose, who served the past eight seasons as Cleveland's lead assistant in Provo, was promoted to BYU's head job two days after Cleveland announced his resignation to take the head-coaching position at Fresno State. A tireless worker, gifted motivator and strong strategist, Rose served as associate head coach the past five seasons and takes over the BYU program with 22 years of coaching experience, including 10 seasons as a head coach at the junior college and high school levels.