Austin Ainge scored 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting in BYU's last outing against TCU. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
BYU GAME #25 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (18-6, 8-2 MWC)
TCU HORNED FROGS (10-12, 2-8 MWC)
Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007
Daniel-Meyer Coliseum (7,201)
Fort Worth, Texas
7 p.m. CT
BYU, Dave Rose (38-15 in second season; same overall)
TCU, Neil Dougherty (58-87 in fifth season; same overall)
BYU leads, 7-3, after winning the first meeting this year in Provo 89-65 on Jan. 10, 2007
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (6 p.m. CT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)
Live audio and live stats links are available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
BYU PLAYS AT TCU SATURDAY
BYU (18-6, 8-2 MWC) faces the TCU Horned Frogs (10-12, 2-8 MWC) Saturday at 7 p.m. CT (6 p.m. MT) in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum in Fort Worth, Texas. The game will not be televised but can be heard live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 6 p.m. CT on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the Internet at KSL.com. The first-place Cougars have won five straight, including three straight on the road, while winning 13 of their last 15 games. After a 2-0 league start, the Horned Frogs have dropped their last eight games beginning with an 89-65 loss at BYU on Jan. 10.
BYU hosts New Mexico on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The game will be televised on the MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn).
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- 2006 All-MWC Third Team forward Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (16.6) and is second on the team in rebounding (6.2). 2006 Freshman All-American Trent Plaisted leads the Cougars on the boards (6.6) and is second in scoring (12.5), while senior Austin Ainge leads BYU with 4.1 assists per game.
-- In addition to owning first place in the standings, the Cougars currently lead the MWC in scoring (77.3), rebounding average (38.0), rebounding margin (+5.6) and assists (16.21) in overall play. In league action, BYU paces the conference in scoring (78.5), scoring margin (+10.5), field-goal percentage (.508), three-point shooting (.492), three-point percentage defense (.299), three-pointers made (8.90), assists (17.10) and assist/turnover ratio (1.39).
-- BYU has won its last five games, including road wins at New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming and home victories over then-No. 13 Air Force and then-No. 25 UNLV. With 28 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are currently tied with Air Force for the nation's second-longest active home winning streak.
-- BYU is 14-0 at home this season, 4-5 on the road and 0-1 on a neutral court.
-- BYU was picked to finish second in the Mountain West Conference in the preseason MWC media poll behind reigning champion San Diego State.
LOOKING AT TCU
After getting off to a 2-0 start in MWC play, the Horned Frogs have lost their last eight league games beginning with an 89-65 loss at BYU earlier this season, falling to 10-12 overall and 2-8 in conference action. TCU returns two starters and five letterwinners from last season's 6-25 team that won just two MWC games. The Horned Frogs have two players scoring in double figures this year led by University of California transfer Kevin Langford with 12.2 points per game. The 6-foot-8 sophomore forward adds 5.9 rebounds per game, second on the team, and has posted 21 blocks on the year. Junior guard Brent Hackett also scores in double figures with 11.0 ppg to go along with 2.0 rpg and 1.3 assists per contest. The Horned Frog rebounding effort is paced by junior forward Alvardo Parker with 6.3 rpg. Parker also adds 9.2 ppg and is third in the MWC in blocked shots with 51 on the year, 2.3 per game. Senior Neil P. Dougherty, the son of TCU head coach Neil Dougherty, runs the point for the Horned Frogs and averages 2.8 assists per game. As a team, TCU averages 62.3 ppg on .403 shooting from the field, including a .330 mark from three-point range, while allowing opponents to score 66.0 ppg on .434 shooting from the floor. The Horned Frogs outrebound their opponents 35.1-34.3. Head coach Neil Dougherty is in his fifth year at the helm of the TCU program with a 58-87 overall record.
TCU'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 32 Kevin Langford 6-8 242 So. 12.2 5.9
F 33 Alvardo Parker 6-8 218 Jr. 9.2 6.3
G 2 Brent Hackett 6-2 203 Jr. 11.0 2.0
G 5 Neiman Owens 6-3 195 Jr. 6.3 5.7
G 13 Neil P. Dougherty 6-0 195 Sr. 3.4 2.6
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 23 Blake Adams 6-6 232 Sr. 5.8 2.9
F 12 Femi Ibikunle 6-9 260 Sr. 3.4 3.2
TCU'S LAST OUTING -- UNLV DOWNS TCU, 82-67
LAS -- UNLV's Wendell White had a game-high 21 points and Joel Anthony set a school record with 12 blocks as the Rebels defeated TCU 82-67 in conference play Wednesday night. UNLV (20-5, 7-3 Mountain West) trailed by seven points at halftime, but went on a 15-4 run to open the second half and had a 42-38 lead with 16:12 to play. Kevin Kruger keyed the rally with a four-point play, adding a behind-the-back assist to Gaston Essengue for an easy lay-up. Kruger finished with 19 points, while Essengue added 10. TCU (10-12, 2-8) dominated most of the first half, using a 3-pointer from Kevin Langford to post its biggest lead, 34-25, with 1:25 to play. But the Horned Frogs were outscored by 22 points in the second half to lose their eighth straight game. Blake Adams led TCU with 20 points. Langford finished with 16.
The Cougars and Horned Frogs have met just 10 times in the history of the two programs with BYU owning a 7-3 series lead including an 89-65 win in Provo earlier this 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 four straight for the Cougars. Last season, 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, 1-1 in Fort Worth and 1-1 on a neutral court.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 7-3
BYU Record in Provo: 5-1 (3-1 in the Marriott Center)
BYU Record at TCU: 1-1 (2-1 in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum)
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-1
BYU Record Under Dave Rose: 3-0
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 1-0
Last Overtime Game: BYU won in Provo, 89-80 in 2006
Longest BYU Win Streak: 4 (1999-Present)
Longest TCU Win Streak: 3 (1985-97)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 24, 89-65 in 2007
Largest TCU Margin of Victory: 40, 101-61 in 1997
Most Points Scored by BYU: 90 in 1999
Most Points Scored by TCU: 101 in 1997
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"TCU is not shooting the ball as well as they were, which has caused them some problems, but they're a very athletic team. With that guard line, the matchups are very difficult. Brent Hackett is athletic and Blake Adams is a really big guy who can shoot the ball from the perimeter. They're post guys are also pretty long and can create problems."
"The month of February is such an important month for a basketball team. You have to make sure that you don't let down and guys are ready. If by chance a guy isn't bringing his best game, somebody has to step in and give us a lift. We've played ourselves into a pretty good position. The game on Saturday is the most important game of the year right now."
"We have to get a game plan together and get a mindset where we're ready every time we go on the road in conference. It's a battle, and nothing is easy."
FIRST OUTING IN PROVO -- 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 FIRST OUTING IN PROVO THIS YEAR
-- 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 IN FORT WORTH -- COUGARS VICTORIOUS IN FINAL ROAD GAME
FORT WORTH -- The Cougars completed the season series sweep of TCU with an 81-72 win over the Horned Frogs in Daniel-Meyer Coliseum. BYU has now won eight of its last nine games beginning with an 89-80 overtime win against TCU in Provo, a game some have dubbed the "Marriott Center Miracle." In a first half reminiscent of the first matchup of the season between the two teams, the Cougars started out slow, missing their first five shots before Rashaun Broadus drained a three-pointer 2:35 into the game. The BYU shooting drought did not last long, however, as the Cougars made five of their next six baskets to take an early 14-10 lead. Down 20-16, TCU put together a 10-0 run as BYU did not score from the field for 3:29. From there, BYU put together a 12-2 spurt of its own to end the half and retake the lead at 32-28. BYU opened up its largest lead of the game to that point at 39-32 just two minutes into the second half thanks to four points from Broadus and a three-pointer from Brock Reichner. The Horned Frogs fought back with a 13-5 run to wrestle the lead away from the Cougars at 45-44. However, Balderson, making his first appearance of the second half, drained a three-pointer to spark a 7-0 BYU run that gave the Cougars a 51-45 advantage. Keena Young, who had a quiet first half after posting a career-high 20 points against SDSU, took over the game from there, recording seven straight points for BYU to help the Cougars maintain a six-point cushion. The two teams went back and forth over the next four minutes until four straight free throws gave the Cougars a 10-point lead at 68-58. TCU refused to go down without a fight, however, preventing BYU from pulling away by making shots down the stretch to keep the Cougars on their toes. A three-pointer with a minute to play brought the Horned Frogs to within six at 76-70 and brought back memories of BYU's 11-3 run in the last minute of play to erase an eight-point deficit and force overtime in the first game between the two teams this season. But it was not to be for TCU as the Cougars showed why they are the league's hottest team in notching the 81-72 win. Plaisted put on a show against the Horned Frogs, leading BYU with 17 points and 18 rebounds, the most by a Cougar since Gary Trost pulled down 18 on Dec. 19, 1991. He was joined in double figures by Broadus with 16 points, Young with 15, Balderson with 11 and Lee Cummard with 10 points. Fourteen of Young's 15 points came in the second half. Austin Ainge came off the bench to lead BYU with six assists.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "The game was kind of dysfunctional as far as flow when you consider all the free throws and the clock malfunctions. We were playing a little out of character, especially in the first half. The pace of how we played in second half was much better. It really helped us play better."
-- "This game was really important for us. We wanted to go into the final week of the season in a position to get a piece of the Mountain West Conference Championship. We had to win tonight to do that. This win was big for our players and for our program at this point."
-- "Trent was terrific tonight. From the get-go, he was active and tracking down balls. His six offensive rebounds were really huge for us. He's a special athlete."
TCU Head Coach Neil Dougherty
-- "We weren't able to guard without fouling. Forty free throws is a large number. You've got to give them credit, they got us out of position. Plaisted is the best freshman in the conference.
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR IN FORT WORTH
-- Individual Career Highs: Trent Plaisted -- 18 rebounds; Jackson Emery -- 2 steals (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Most Free Throws Made -- 25 (tied); Most Free Throws Attempted -- 40.
-- With an 18-7 overall record, this season, BYU has doubled its win total from last year when the Cougars suffered a disappointing 9-21 season to end five straight postseason appearances.
-- BYU has now won its last four games and eight of its last nine.
-- With the win, the Cougars are now 13-0 when leading at the half, 16-0 when leading with five minutes left to play and 17-0 when leading with one minute left.
-- BYU is 15-3 when scoring 70 or more points and has reached the 70-point threshold in the last four games, all wins.
-- With the victory at TCU in their final regular-season road game, the Cougars finished the year 5-6 overall on the road and 4-4 in Mountain West Conference play. Including neutral court games, BYU is 6-6 away from the Marriott Center this year. The Cougars' four league road wins included victories at Colorado State, New Mexico, Wyoming and TCU. BYU's win at The Pit ended the Lobos' 21-game home win streak.
-- Just one game after shooting 59.4 percent against the league-leading San Diego State Aztecs, the Cougars shot just 36.7 percent in the first half against TCU, their fourth-worst first-half mark of the season. BYU has shot under 40 percent in the first half just four times in conference play with two of those outings coming against TCU.
-- Trent Plaisted recorded his fifth double-double of the season against TCU, finishing with 17 points and a career-high 18 rebounds, topping his previous career mark of 16 rebounds set in the earlier meeting between the two teams this season. Plaisted reached double figures in both categories in the first half with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
-- Plaisted's 18 rebounds are the most by a BYU player since Dec. 19, 1991 when Gary Trost recorded 18. Only 14 players have ever recorded more rebounds.
-- After going scoreless from the field in the first half, scoring just one point from the free-throw line, Keena Young came on strong in the second half, scoring 14 points in the second period of play, including seven straight points for BYU to help the Cougars maintain a six-point cushion over the Horned Frogs in the middle of the half. Young has scored in double figures in the last five games.
-- Fernando Malaman recorded his first block in the last five games. Malaman leads the Cougars with 25 blocks this season and is eighth in the league averaging 1.0 blocks per game.
-- Lee Cummard scored in double figures for just the second time this season with 10 points. Cummard recorded 13 points against Wyoming.
-- Jimmy Balderson reached double figures in scoring with his second dunk of the year in the closing seconds of the game, finishing with 11 points. Balderson has scored in double figures in eight of the last nine games, all BYU wins.
BYU's LAST OUTING -- BYU TAKES OVER FIRST PLACE WITH WIN AT WYOMING
LARAMIE -- The Cougars survived Wyoming's Arena-Auditorium Tuesday night after battling out a 77-73 win over the Cowboys to improve to 18-6 overall and 8-2 in the Mountain West Conference. BYU was led by Young, who tied the career high he set against Wyoming earlier this season in Provo with 29 points on 10-for-14 shooting from the field to go along with six rebounds. Trent Plaisted led the Cougars on the boards with seven rebounds while adding 13 points and one assist. Mike Rose and Lee Cummard also scored in double figures for BYU with 12 and 10 points, respectively. The Cougars held the Cowboys scoreless from the floor for the first 3:29 of the game as they built a 6-1 lead until Wyoming's Spencer scored a layin at the 16:31 mark. Cummard responded with a bucket on the other end for BYU, but the Cowboys roared back thanks to seven more points from Spencer to take the lead at 12-10 with just under 14 minutes to play in the half. Plaisted scored the next six Cougar points to keep the game close, but BYU had no answer for Spencer, who scored 13 of the Cowboys' first 16 points to maintain a 16-14 Wyoming lead. A jumper from Young out of the timeout and a free throw from Plaisted allowed the Cougars to retake the lead at 17-16, but a 6-2 Wyoming spurt put the Cowboys up 22-19 with nine minutes to go. The Cowboys extended their lead to 28-23 until Rose drained a three-pointer to get the Cougars within two at 28-26 with 4:28 left in the half. Rose drained another three-pointer to give BYU a 31-30 lead with just over a minute to play, but the Cowboys scored the last four points of the half, the final bucket coming at the buzzer on an airball putback. The Cowboys opened the second half with an emphatic dunk from Okoye and a three-point play from Bienvenu Songondo, both playing in place of unavailable starters, to take a 39-33 lead. Young converted a three-point play of his own after a fastbreak bucket to get BYU within one point, but Wyoming responded with just its second three-point make in 13 tries to go back up by four at 42-38. Young and the Cowboys traded buckets on the next four possessions as Young scored nine straight Cougar points, but BYU was unable to get back on top as Spencer drained a three to go up 47-42. Ben Murdock jumped a 15-footer as the shot clock wound down on the next Cougar possession to keep the game close before Rose once again did his part with his third three-pointer of the night to tie things up at 47-47 with 11:56 left to play. Plaisted gave BYU its first lead of the half moments later with two big free throws followed by another make from long range by Rose to cap a 12-2 Cougar run and give BYU a 54-49 advantage at the 9:53 mark. Wyoming clawed its way back with four straight makes from the free-throw line to make it a one-possession game at 58-55. Young responded with two big makes from the line, but the Cowboys scored another putback to make the score 60-57. Wyoming looked to be on a roll after Plaisted missed a dunk and the Cowboys had numbers on the other end, but Brad Jones missed the easy layup and was called for a technical foul, resulting in free throws and possession for BYU. Young made one-of-two on the technical trip and then missed both after being fouled on the ensuing possession, but the second miss was rebounded by Plaisted and immediately kicked out to Cummard, who drained a huge three-pointer from the left corner to give BYU a 64-57 lead. Just when the Cougars were getting comfortable with a 68-59 advantage, BYU recorded three straight turnovers resulting in five Cowboy points to cut the lead to 68-64 with just over two minutes left to play. Austin Ainge stopped the bleeding with a free-throw make at the 1:55 mark, and the Cougars sealed the deal from the charity stripe in the last two minutes, scoring eight more to post the 77-73 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "This game was like the majority of the wins we've had this year. A couple guys stepped up and made some big plays, but it was a team win from top to bottom. We got some good play out of our bench, and then Keena Young was great down low. I'm really proud of our guys."
-- "We've got a lot of really good players, and as a staff we have confidence in all those guys. When our bench players get an opportunity to go in there and help our team, they get it done. Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess gave us big lifts that we need for our team to be successful."
-- "These guys are very smart players. They know when they step up to the line late in the game that those are big free throws. The thing I feel good about is that very few of our misses are way off. We're close, and our guys are right there. It's something that we need to work on. We know it's an issue, but you have to give the guys a lot of credit for the effort and the competitive spirit they had to be able to overcome leaving so many points at the line."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Ben Murdock - 4 assists; Keena Young -- 29 points (tied), 13 free throws attempted; Lee Cummard -- 3 blocks (tied).
-- BYU is now 17-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 3-6 when allowing opponents to reach the 70-point threshold.
-- With a 31-30 rebounding advantage against the Cowboys, the Cougars are now 17-0 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- The Cougars trailed at halftime for just the fifth time this season and the first time in conference play, going into the locker room down 34-31 at the break. With the win, BYU has now come back from a halftime deficit twice this season, including overcoming an eight-point halftime deficit against Seton Hall. Overall, the Cougars are 16-2 when leading at the break, 2-3 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season.
-- After losing five of their first six true road games this season, BYU has now won its last three games away from the Marriott Center. The Cougars have shot above 50 percent in their last four road games, including a .543 (25-for-46) mark against the Cowboys.
-- BYU's .500 (14-for-28) first-half shooting mark marked the fourth of five MWC road games in which the Cougars have shot at least 50 percent in the first period of play.
-- With 29 points at Wyoming, Keena Young has now scored in double figures in 20 of 24 games this season, including six outings with at least 20 points. Young's highlight reel against the Cowboys included a 9-0 personal run in the early minutes of the second half to keep the Cougars close. He tied his career high of 29 points set against Wyoming in Provo earlier this season.
-- After making 11 straight shots dating back four games, including scoring his first two attempts at Wyoming, Lee Cummard recorded his first miss since Jan. 24 on a three-pointer with 3:38 left in the first half. Prior to the miss, Cummard had made his first two shots at Wyoming, gone 3-for-3 against then-No. 25 UNLV, 3-for-3 at Utah and 3-for-3 against then-No. 13 Air Force since missing his last shot at New Mexico. Cummard finished the night with 10 points on 3-for-4 shooting from the field, his 10th double-digit scoring outing of the year.
-- With two steals against Wyoming, Cummard has now recorded at least one takeaway in 20 of 24 games. Cummard leads BYU and ranks fifth in the MWC in that category. Cummard also tied his career high with three blocked shots against the Cowboys, his 12th game with at least one rejection.
-- After tying his own school record with eight three-pointers against UNLV last Saturday, Mike Rose continued his hot shooting from downtown against Wyoming, making 4-of-6 to score 12 points.
IN THE RANKINGS
BYU is listed 37th in this week's ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll and 38th in the AP Top 25 Poll. Three BYU opponents also appear in the Coaches Poll as UCLA is ranked No. 2, Air Force is ranked No. 13 and UNLV is listed 36th. UCLA and Air Force are also ranked in the AP Poll, coming in at Nos. 2 and 15, respectively, while UNLV is listed 43rd and MIchigan State is listed 48th.
THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN
With an 8-2 Mountain West Conference record, the Cougars are alone in first place in the second half of MWC play for the first time since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season. Before this year, BYU was last tied for first in 2003 when the Cougars ended the season with a win to tie for first place with Utah at 11-3. The Cougars were 6-4 in conference action last season through 10 games and in a third-place tie with Air Force before winning their final six MWC contests to finish in a tie for second place at 12-4.
With a +27 (90-63) margin of victory against UNLV on Saturday, BYU has now won four of its 10 MWC games this season by more than 20 points, including a 21-point (70-49) win at New Mexico on Jan. 24, a 24-point (89-65) win over TCU on Jan. 10 and a 22-point victory (80-58) over San Diego State to open MWC play. The UNLV win marked BYU's largest margin of victory in MWC play since a 29-point win (82-53) on Jan. 17, 2004 against Colorado State. BYU has won just 10 games by 20 points or more in MWC play since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season.
BYU set a school record with 15 three-pointers against UNLV on .682 (15-for-22) shooting from long range, the third time this season the Cougars have shot above .600 from downtown and the sixth time BYU has made a least 10 treys in a game. BYU has shot above 40 percent from behind the arc 12 times on the season, including a streak of seven straight games. The Cougars lead the league in three-point percentage (.492) in MWC play. Cougar players rank first (Austin Ainge - .533), second (Jonathan Tavernari - .516) and tied for third (Mike Rose - .500) in the league in three-point shooting percentage in MWC action. Rose tied the BYU individual record he set in 2003 with eight triples against UNLV.
BYU has now won five straight games. With seven straight wins against Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall, San Diego State and TCU, the Cougars put together their longest winning streak of the Dave Rose era and their longest since winning nine straight games during the 2003-04 season. Before coming to an end with a loss at UNLV on Jan. 13, the streak was tied for the 12th-longest active victory streak in the nation. Earlier this year with wins against Idaho State, Portland and Southern Utah, the Cougars put together a three-game win streak, which ended with a loss at Boise State. BYU had several winning streaks last season, including six straight victories. That streak was tied for the seventh-longest active winning streak in the nation. BYU won 10 of its last 13 games last year.
ON THE ROAD
BYU has now won three straight games on the road including wins at New Mexico (70-49), at Utah (76-66) and at Wyoming (77-73). The Cougars' win in the Huntsman Center was their first since 1994. BYU is 4-5 on the road this year with a season-opening loss at then-No. 5 UCLA, a Nov. 29 setback at Boise State, an overtime win at Weber State, an overtime defeat at Lamar and league losses at UNLV and at CSU. With three road contests left, the Cougars have a chance to record a winning record away from the Marriott Center for the first time since going 6-5 on the road in 2002-03. In BYU's nine away games, the Cougars have been outscored by an average of less than one point (74.4-73.6). The Cougars lost their only neutral court game so far this season with a loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. BYU finished last year 6-8 away from home, including a 4-4 mark during MWC play.
BOUNCE BACK COUGARS
After suffering its first back-to-back regular-season losses of the Dave Rose era with defeats vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar, BYU responded with seven straight wins. The Cougars have bounced back with wins after five of their six losses this season, including their current streak of five wins after losing at Colorado State. Last year with its 20-9 overall record, BYU suffered consecutive defeats only once -- against Utah in the Mountain West Conference Tournament and at Houston in the NIT in the last two games of the year, having bounced back from each prior loss with a victory.
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
This year the Cougars are scoring an MWC-leading 77.3 points and allowing 67.2 points. BYU is 15-0 when opponents score less than 70 points and 3-6 when they score 70 or more. BYU is 17-3 when it scores 70 or more points (exception at Lamar, at UNLV and at CSU) and 1-3 when scoring less than 70. The Cougars had scored at least 70 points in 12 straight games prior to a 61-52 win against then-No. 13 Air Force.
CLEANING OFF THE GLASS
BYU is 17-0 this season when outrebounding its opponents and 1-6 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars lead the MWC in rebounding average (38.0) and rebounding margin (+5.6). BYU posted its largest margin of the season with a +22 (42-20) mark against then-No. 13 Air Force. Sophomore Trent Plaisted is tied for fourth on the glass at 6.6 rpg while senior Keena Young is seventh at 6.2 rpg. The Cougars recorded back-to-back season-high efforts of 52 rebounds vs. Oral Roberts and 55 against Seton Hall in the BYU Holiday Classic. BYU outrebounded the Pirates 55-34 as four Cougars had nine or more rebounds (Cummard 12, Young, Plaisted and Ainge 9). Cummard and Ainge set new career highs.
BYU is the only MWC team that has not had a game decided by three points or less this season. The Cougars have had some close games, however, as three games have required overtime this year. BYU is 2-1 in overtime with an 86-77 loss at Lamar on Dec. 13 and an 84-78 win against Idaho State on Nov. 18 and a 73-69 victory at Weber State on Dec. 2. This is the first season since 2001-02 that BYU has played multiple extra period games in one year (BYU was 0-3 in overtime that season). The Cougars' loss at Lamar ended a five-game overtime winning streak dating back to March 14, 2003, an 86-80 setback against Colorado State at the MWC Tournament. BYU is 50-45 (.526) all-time when playing past regulation.
One of BYU's most consistent players this year has been senior forward Keena Young, who has scored in double figures in 20 out of 24 games. He leads BYU in scoring (16.5), which is tied for fifth in the league, and is second in rebounding (6.2), seventh in the conference. The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring nine times and rebounding eight times, including his career-high 16-rebound performance against Oral Roberts for his fourth double-double of the season (21 points). He posted a career-high 29 points in each of his outings against Wyoming this season (the most since Dec. 6, 2003; Araujo - 32).
Senior Austin Ainge is averaging a team-best 4.1 assists, fifth in the MWC, while leading the league in assist/turnover ratio (2.02). He is averaging 4.9 apg in league play while leading the conference with .533 shooting from three-point range. Ainge scored 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, against then-No. 25 UNLV while adding four assists and four rebounds. He posted a season-high 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field, including a 5-for-7 mark from three-point range, to go along with six assists against TCU. He totaled 16 points with a career-best nine rebounds off the bench against Seton Hall. His 14 points -- all in the second half -- against Boise State fueled BYU's furious comeback attempt. He has tied his career high with eight assists twice in the last four games (at UNM, at Utah).
DOING IT ALL
Lee Cummard contributes across the box score and on the defensive end of the floor for BYU. In the Cougars' conference opener against San Diego State, he recorded his second straight double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds while contributing 4 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. In the BYU Holiday Classic, he averaged 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists while shooting .542 from the floor, .444 on threes and was perfect from the line. He was named to the all-tournament team. After coming one rebound away from the first double-double of his career against Oral Roberts with 13 points and a then career-high 9 rebounds to go along with 5 assists, he finished the Classic with career highs of 16 points and 12 rebounds vs. Seton Hall. He has had at least one steal in 20 of 24 games, including a career-high 5 steals against UNLV. On the year, Cummard averages 9.1 points, 5.7 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.8 blocks while shooting .556 from the floor, .524 on threes and .800 from the line. He ranks among the top 15 in the MWC in seven statistical categories. He guards the opponent's top perimeter player. Among his defensive highlights was excelling in the tough assignment to guard the MWC's all-time scoring leader and reigning MVP Brandon Heath of San Diego State. He held Heath to season-low-tying 13 points -- well below his MWC No. 2-ranked 20.3 scoring average entering the game. Cummard helped end Heath's string of four straight games with 20 or more points. He also helped hold Utah State's leading shooter Jaycee Carroll, who ranked 22nd in the nation shooting .629, to just .308 shooting (4-for-13) and seven points below his average.
Coach Rose has used four different starting lineups so far this year. Sophomore Lee Cummard and senior Keena Young have started every game this season, while sophomore Trent Plaisted has missed just one start because of injury. Jimmy Balderson has made 21 starts. Rashaun Broadus started 11 of 15 games before being suspended for the season. Austin Ainge has started 16 games.
ROSE BECOMES EIGHTH COUGAR TO LEAD TEAM IN SCORING
Mike Rose became the eighth Cougar this year to lead the team in scoring during a game when he topped all scorers in last Saturday's win over then-No. 25 UNLV. A 6-foot-3 senior guard from Houston, Texas, Rose scored a career-high 27 points in 21 minutes off the bench Saturday to help BYU defeat the nationally ranked Rebels in the Marriott Center. He tied his own school record and equaled the season high by an MWC player this year (UNLV's Kevin Kruger) by making eight treys on 8-of-10 accuracy from behind the arc. His eighth triple also set a new BYU team record of 15 threes in a game.
VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
The Cougars' victory over then-No. 25 UNLV marked the second consecutive BYU win over a ranked team in the Marriott Center, including a win over then-No. 13 Air Force the week before. Prior to that, BYU had not defeated a ranked opponent since beating then-No. 25 Oklahoma State 76-71 on Dec. 6, 2003 in Salt Lake City. BYU hadn't beaten a ranked team in the Marriott Center since Feb. 1, 1992 with an 80-63 win over No. 19 UTEP. With the matchup against the No. 25 Rebels, BYU has now faced four ranked teams this season, the only Mountain West Conference team to do so. The Cougars are 2-2 in those games with a 90-63 win over UNLV, a 61-52 win over Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 28 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are currently tied for the nation's second-longest active home victory streak. BYU has won its first 14 home games this season after going 14-1 at home last year with wins in its last 14 straight home contests. BYU is 400-116 (.775) all-time in the Marriott Center.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (through games played Feb. 7, 2007)
Wins Team This year Next home game
49 Gonzaga 9-0 Feb. 10 vs. St. Mary's
28 BYU 14-0 Feb. 14 vs. New Mexico
28 Air Force 11-0 Feb. 14 vs. Utah
26 Memphis 14-0 Feb. 10 vs. Tulane
24 George Washington 9-0 Feb. 10 vs. Xavier
TRUE BLUE FANS
BYU is averaging 10,897 fans this season, including the 23rd largest crowd in the history of the Marriott Center with 22,700 fans against then-No. 13 Air Force. BYU has consistently ranked among the national attendance leaders. The Cougars averaged 11,069 fans in 2005-06, outdrawing the regular-season conference champions of 27 out of 31 conferences as well as over half of the teams in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big East and Southeastern Conferences and all but Arizona in the Pacific-10 Conference. BYU also averaged more fans than 12 of the 16 NCAA Sweet Sixteen participants, including all of the Final Four teams.
BYU has led at the half in 18 of the team's first 24 games, including a double-digit lead eight times. The Cougars outscore their opponents by an average of 5.5 points in the first period of play. BYU's win over Seton Hall marked the first time the Cougars have won this year after trailing at the break. BYU's 82-69 loss at UCLA after leading 39-36 at the half marked the first time since the 2004-05 season that BYU has lost when leading at the half. BYU also lost at CSU after leading 39-37 at the break. The Cougars are now 16-2 when leading at the half, 2-3 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season.
COACH ROSE RACKING UP THE WINS
With a 20-6 record in Mountain West Conference games since taking the helm of the BYU program for the 2005-06 season, Dave Rose is currently the winningest MWC coach in league play in the past two seasons. Air Force head coach Jeff Bzdelik is one game behind Rose with a 19-7 conference record in his two seasons with the Falcons. In addition to an 8-2 league and 18-6 overall record this year, Rose was named the Mountain West Conference and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year last season after coaching his team to a second-place MWC finish at 12-4 -- one game behind league-champion San Diego State -- while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success that proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.
With a win against New Mexico to conclude the regular season last year, the Cougars achieved their 29th 20-win season. BYU has averaged 20 wins every 2.7 years (BYU has played 78 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). BYU coach Dave Rose is the fifth Cougar head coach to reach 20 wins in his first season at the helm. He joins G. Ott Romney (20-10 in 1928-29), Stan Watts (22-12 in 1949-50), Ladell Anderson (20-11 in 1983-84) and Roger Reid (21-9 in 1989-90). Both Watts and Reid achieved six 20-win seasons in their BYU coaching careers while Romney posted five and Rose's predecessor, Steve Cleveland, achieved four.
20-win Seasons at BYU
Stan Watts had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 23 years of coaching
Roger Reid had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
G. Ott Romney had 5 seasons of 20 wins in 9 years of coaching
Steve Cleveland had 4 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Ladell Anderson had 3 season of 20 wins in 6 years of coaching
Frank Arnold had 3 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Floyd Millet had 1 season of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Dave Rose has 1 season of 20 wins in 1 year of coaching
MOMENTUM OFF THE BENCH
Three-point shooting off the bench has often given BYU momentum toward its victories this season. The shooting spark has come from different Cougars on different nights. Austin Ainge made three treys against Idaho State and against Seton Hall while coming off the bench to help BYU earn wins. Sam Burgess nailed three triples in a win over Portland. Jonathan Tavernari connected six times from long range against TCU and three times at Utah and against Western Oregon to help fuel BYU wins. Mike Rose tied his school record with eight bombs against then-No. 25 UNLV last Saturday to allow BYU to pull away in a battle of league leaders. He then added four threes at Wyoming Tuesday night for 12 more points off the bench. BYU's bench has outscored opposing reserves 582-402 this year, giving BYU 7.5 more points of production per game from its second unit. BYU's bench has outscored the opponent bench in 18 of 24 games, going 15-3 in those games.