Sam Burgess and the Cougars take a nine-game victory streak into San Diego Saturday to face San Diego State in Cox Arena. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
BYU GAME #27 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (21-5, 10-1 MWC)
SAN DIEGO STATE (17-9, 7-5 MWC)
Saturday, Feb. 23, 2008
Cox Arena (12,414)
San Diego, Calif.
8 p.m. PT (9 p.m. MT)
BYU, Dave Rose (66-23 in third season; same overall)
SDSU, Steve Fisher (144-126 in ninth season; 328-208 in 17th year overall)
BYU leads, 41-20, after a 59-56 Cougar win in Provo earlier this season
CSTV (Tom Hart, play-by-play; Sean Farnham, game analyst)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (7 p.m. PT [8 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 FACES SAN DIEGO STATE SATURDAY AT COX ARENA
BYU (21-5, 10-1 MWC) goes on the road to face San Diego State (17-9, 7-5 MWC) on Saturday at 8 p.m. PT (9 p.m. MT) at Cox Arena in San Diego. Boasting a season-best nine-game winning streak, the Cougars are coming off a 67-59 win over in-state rival Utah on Wednesday to set a school record with 45 straight home wins. The Aztecs rebounded from three straight losses with a 79-68 road victory at Wyoming on Tuesday. Saturday's game will be televised on CSTV. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM /1160 AM out of Salt Lake City and on the Internet at KSL.com beginning with the pregame show at 7 p.m. MT.
The Cougars play at New Mexico on Tuesday at 8 p.m. MT. The game will be televised on The Mtn.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- At 10-1 in MWC play, the Cougars are off to their best league start in Mountain West Conference history and their best conference start since 1993 (when started 14-1 in the WAC).
-- Only two BYU's teams have ever topped this year's 21-5 start. The last Cougar team with a better record through 25 games was in 1987-88 (23-3).
-- BYU owns the nation's second-longest active home win streak with a school-record 45 straight wins in the Marriott Center (No. 1 Memphis has 47). BYU went 17-0 at home last year and is 14-0 at home this season.
-- 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 are 2008 MWC Player of the Year candidates Trent Plaisted, a two-time All-MWC Second Team selection in his first two seasons, and Lee Cummard, a versatile junior guard who earned All-MWC Third Team honors one year ago. Sophomore forward Jonathan Tavernari and senior guards Sam Burgess and Ben Murdock are all full-time starters for the first time this season. Burgess and Murdock have contributed solid play at the guardline while Tavernari has provided a solid scoring punch. Last year Tavernari followed Plaisted's lead the prior season by being named the 2007 MWC Freshman of the Year.
LOOKING AT SAN DIEGO STATE
The San Diego State Aztecs are 17-9 overall on the year and 7-5 in Mountain West Conference play. The Aztecs won their first four league games but have gone 3-5 since then, beginning with a 59-56 loss at BYU on Jan. 23. The Aztecs return three starters among eight letterwinners from last year's team that finished 22-11 overall and tied for third in the MWC with a 10-6 record. Junior forward Lorrenzo Wade leads the team with 15.0 points per game, sixth in the league, on 45.3 percent shooting from the field while adding 4.3 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Junior forward Ryan Amoroso paces the Aztecs with 6.5 rpg and has scored in double figures in the last four contests, increasing his season scoring average to 10.8 ppg, third on the team. True freshman Billy White has also come on strong lately for SDSU, posting 19 points and 12 rebounds in the Aztecs' last outing to improve his numbers to 8.6 ppg and 5.8 rpg. The Aztecs have gotten solid production from true freshman D.J. Gay, who has started 19 games and is averaging 2.0 assists per contest. The Aztecs are without the services of junior forward Kyle Spain, who is second on the team scoring 13.2 ppg and third with 5.4 rpg in 20 contests but has been suspended for the remainder of the season. As a team, the Aztecs are averaging 68.9 points per game on 44.6 percent shooting from the field, including a 33.7 percent conversion rate from three-point range. SDSU is holding opponents to 64.0 ppg on 43.8 percent shooting from the field. The Aztecs outrebound their foes, 34.6-31.5.
SAN DIEGO STATE'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 31 Lorrenzo Wade 6-6 226 Jr. 15.0 4.3 Las Vegas, Nev.
F 32 Billy White 6-8 212 Fr. 8.6 5.8 Las Vegas, Nev.
C 43 Ryan Amoroso 6-8 257 Jr. 10.8 6.5 Burnsville, Minn.
G 21 Matt Thomas 6-4 204 Sr. 1.9 1.5 Riverside, Calif.
G 28 D.J. Gay 6-0 156 Fr. 5.2 1.5 Sun Valley, Calif.
SAN DIEGO STATE'S LAST OUTING -- SDSU DOWNS WYOMING
SAN -- LARAMIE, Wyo. -- Billy White scored 19 points, including 17 in the second half, and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead San Diego State to a 79-68 victory against Wyoming on Tuesday night. Lorrenzo Wade scored 14 points, Richie Williams finished with 13 and Ryan Amoroso added 12 points for the Aztecs (17-9, 7-5 Mountain West). The Cowboys (10-15, 3-9) led 35-32 at the break, but White's put-back with 18:21 remaining gave the Aztecs their first lead of the game. He and Wade combined for 22 of SDSU's first 23 second-half points, and the Aztecs led 55-47 with 9:22 to play. Wyoming's Tyson Johnson converted a three-point play with 8:55 remaining to spark a 7-3 run that cut the lead to four points, but that was as close as the Cowboys would get. Williams hit back-to-back layups to extend the advantage to 68-59 with 3:36 remaining. White was fouled on a dunk and converted the three-point play a minute and a half later to help seal the win. Johnson led Wyoming with a career-high 18 points. Ryan Dermody added 14 points and Brandon Ewing scored 12.
BYU owns a 41-20 advantage over the Aztecs in a series that dates back to 1941 including a 59-56 win in Provo earlier this season. The Cougars posted an 80-58 win in Provo and an 86-74 loss at SDSU last season. The Cougars are 26-3 in Provo, 15-16 in San Diego and 0-1 at a neutral site. BYU's last win in San Diego was on Jan. 2, 2003 with an 80-69 win. BYU has won 14 of the last 21 games and owns an 11-7 advantage since the inception of the MWC, but the Aztecs had won three straight before BYU's win in the 2006 season finale between the two teams in the Marriott Center. SDSU's three game victory streak matched its longest ever in the series when the Aztecs won the first three outings (two in 1941 and one in 1977). During the most recent three-game streak, SDSU swept the 2005 season series -- the first season sweep over BYU since 1985. Dave Rose is 3-2 against the Aztecs.
BYU SERIES RECORD VS. SDSU
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 41-20
BYU Record in Provo: 26-3 (26-3 in the Marriott Center)
BYU Record in San Diego: 15-16 (5-6 in Cox Arena)
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-1
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 3-2
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 3-2 (1-1 Rd, 2-1 Hm)
Last Overtime Game: 2004, BYU won in Provo, 83-69
Longest BYU Win Streak: 11 (1990-95)
Longest SDSU Win Streak: 3 (1941-77)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 40, 106-66 in 1982
Largest SDSU Margin of Victory: 27, 88-61 in 2006
Most Points Scored by BYU: 123 in 1980
Most Points Scored by SDSU: 104 in 1977
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"San Diego State is very athletic, probably as athletic as any team in our conference. They have good size and are great rebounding team on both ends of the floor. Without Kyle (Spain), it will be a different look and we'll need to have a different preparation. Obviously, you have to prepare for (Lorenzo) Wade, but with San Diego State you can't just stop one player and expect to stop them. They are a very talented, experienced team that is big and long and athletic. We'll need to be ready."
THIS YEAR AT BYU -- COUGARS TOPPLE LEAGUE-LEADING AZTECS
PROVO -- With the second-longest active home winning streak on the line, the BYU men's basketball team did what it needed to do get a win over San Diego State at the Marriott Center on Wednesday night. The Cougars toppled the top team in the Mountain West Conference, 59-56, to run their homecourt streak to 41 straight victories. The Cougars continued their shooting struggles, hitting just 34 percent from the field and shooting just 12-of-22 from the line, but a double-double night from BYU junior Trent Plaisted and solid defense at the end of the game nudged the Cougars past the Aztecs. Plaisted finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. BYU junior Lee Cummard followed his lead with 12 points and six boards. Junior forward Lorenzo Wade dominated the Aztec stat sheet with 21 points, eight rebounds and a 9-of-10 night from the free-throw line. With less than 40 seconds left in the game and BYU up 57-56, the six-foot-six Cummard posted up the five-foot-ten Richie Williams, but Cummard missed the shot off the glass. The Aztecs went to Spain on the ensuing possession, but his first shot was off the mark. Spain got his own rebound but missed that shot as well. The Cougars regained possession with less than seven seconds left. Sam Burgess got fouled and hit his two free throws to give the Cougars a 59-56 lead. The Aztecs got one more crack at it with 2.9 seconds left, heaving the inbounds pass the distance of the court. Aztec center Ryan Amoroso grabbed the pass and attempted a fade-away three-pointer but missed off the back of the rim. Despite an exciting finish for BYU, the Cougars got off to a sluggish start, shooting just 31 percent from the field in the first half. BYU has shot 40 percent or below in the first half of its past six games. Midway through the first half the Aztecs had a seven-point lead behind the solid play Wade, who scored 10 of the Aztecs' first 26 points. But as the half came to a close, Cummard nailed a fade-away jumper from the baseline to make the score 27-28. This was the first time the Cougars have been down at the half in the Marriott Center since Dec. 30, 2006 against Seton Hall. Cummard led the way for the Cougars at the break, scoring seven points and nabbing three rebounds. Plaisted and Tavernari were tied with six points apiece. Wade, who scored 10 points in the half, was the only player on either team with double-digit points. Plaisted got the first points of the second half, giving the Cougars a 29-28 lead. With 16:16 to go in the second half, a steal by Ben Murdock led to a layup at the other end of the court by Plaisted, giving BYU a 33-28 advantage. The Aztecs answered with two break-away dunks and a shot by Wade to grab the 33-35 lead. A back-and-forth battle ensued, with both teams exchanging buckets, until a Jimmer Fredettte three-pointer gave the Cougars a 50-44 lead. But two quick baskets, one by Kyle Spain and the other by Wade, got the Aztecs to within two points. Unfortunately for the Aztecs, that was as close as they would get.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "San Diego State is a good team. We knew that coming in. They are a talented, athletic, young team."
-- "It was a competitive game. Both teams were battling the whole time. I'm proud of our players for figuring out how to win this game."
-- "Trent (Plaisted) was a huge factor in tonight's win. He played long and hard against a very athletic team. Jimmer (Fredette) stepped up really well for us."
-- "Where we go from here is a big step. In conference play, everything's more important. I know we're capable of playing better offense."
-- "We got ourselves in tough situations without shooting well tonight, but I think the last couple of games have been good signs of our competitive spirit and mental toughness. Now we look forward to improving our offense. I have great confidence in our players. I know we will achieve great things this season."
San Diego State Coach Steve Fisher
-- "It was two teams that fought and fought for 40 minutes."
-- "We had a lot of opportunities and just couldn't quite make it. A lot of credit goes to the home crowd and to this BYU team."
BYU NOTES FROM THIS YEAR AT BYU
-- Individual Career Highs: Ben Murdock -- 5 rebounds (tied).
-- With the win, BYU improved its Marriott Center win streak to 41 games, the second-longest active home court victory streak in the nation behind No. 1 Memphis at 42 wins.
-- After beginning the year 0-4 when scoring less than 70 points, BYU has now won its last two games when coming short of the 70-point threshold, including a 59-56 win over SDSU and a 55-52 victory at Utah.
-- The three-point margin of victory for BYU (59-56) is the closest game the Cougars have had in the Marriott Center since a 75-72 victory over UNLV on Feb. 11, 2006.
-- The Cougars defeated the league-leading Aztecs despite recording their lowest shooting percentage (34.4) in the Marriott Center since shooting 30 percent in a 59-58 loss to Wyoming on Feb. 12, 2005.
-- With a 28-27 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, San Diego State became just the fourth team this season to post a halftime lead against the Cougars. Prior to the SDSU game, the Cougars had not trailed at the break at home since an eight-point (43-35) deficit against Seton Hall on Dec. 30, 2006, a game the Cougars won, 77-68. BYU is now 1-3 this season when trailing at halftime.
-- After making just three three-pointers in each of the last two games, BYU hit three treys in the first 11 minutes of the first half against San Diego State, getting makes from Cummard, Murdock and Jimmer Fredette. Three of BYU's first five buckets in the game came from long range.
-- Cummard has recorded a three-pointer in 17 of 19 games this year while Tavernari has done so in 16 games, Burgess has hit from behind the arc in 14 games and Jimmer Fredette has made a trey in 13 games this season.
-- BYU is now 7-1 this season when at least four players score in double figures (Plaisted -- 17, Cummard -- 12, Fredette -- 11, Tavernari -- 10)
-- Plaisted got back into the double-figure scoring column against the league-leading Aztecs with 17 points. After beginning the year scoring in double figures in the first 14 games, he had reached double-digits just once in the last four games prior to breaking out against SDSU. Plaisted scored the first six points of the second half to turn a 27-28 halftime deficit into a 33-28 Cougar lead. Now at 1,121 career points, Plaisted moved from 31st to 28th on BYU's all-time scoring list with his 17-point outing.
-- Plaisted added 11 rebounds in the game for his fifth double-double of the season and 14th of his career.
-- Cummard's free-throw miss at the 13:53 mark in the second half ended a streak of 21 straight free-throw makes for the junior. Cummard is still shooting 88.7 percent (47-of-53) from the line on the year after a 3-for-5 performance against the Aztecs.
-- True freshman Jimmer Fredette provided a huge spark off the bench for BYU as he scored 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting from the field (3-for-6 from three-point range), the sixth time this season he has scored in double figures, including three of the last seven games.
- San Diego State's nine-point lead at 22-13 with 8:32 left in the first half is the largest lead a Cougar opponent has had in the Marriott Center since Wyoming held a 10-point advantage on Jan. 16, 2007 before falling 89-81.
LAST YEAR AT SDSU -- BYU WIN STREAK ENDS AT SDSU
SAN -- The No. 21 BYU men's basketball team lost a little bit of its magic Saturday, losing 86-74 at San Diego State to snap an eight-game winning streak. True freshman Jonathan Tavernari led BYU with 18 points and seven rebounds, tying his career highs in both categories. He scored 17 of his points, including five three-pointers, during a six-minute span in the second half to fuel BYU's comeback attempt. Austin Ainge followed Tavernari with 17 points and a team-high three assists while Keena Young posted his 24th double-digit scoring night of the year with 15 points and Trent Plaisted made it to double figures with 10 points. The Aztecs were led by 30 points from reigning MWC MVP Brandon Heath and 27 points from Mohamed Abukar. The two teams traded buckets to a 4-4 tie until SDSU turned up the defensive pressure to force four Cougar turnovers. The Aztecs took advantage of the Cougar confusion to put together an 18-point run and jump out to a 22-4 lead with 12:54 left to play in the first half. Lee Cummard finally made BYU's first field goal in almost seven minutes with a layin with 11:51 left in the half, but the Cougars found themselves with a lot of ground to make up. The SDSU lead got even bigger after two more free-throw makes and back-to-back layins to go up 30-7. Young ended the 6-0 spurt with a make and then capitalized on an Aztec turnover with a layin from Plaisted to help BYU finally reach double-digits in the half. Burgess then kept the BYU momentum going with a putback score while being fouled, converting the free throw to cap a 9-0 Cougar run and cut a one-time 23-point deficit to 14 points at 30-16. Ainge nailed the Cougars' first three-pointer of the game at the 4:28 mark to cut the deficit to 38-25, but his bucket proved to be the Cougars' last of the half as the Aztecs took a 43-25 lead into the break. The second half started much as the first half ended as the Aztecs sandwiched a BYU make from Young with a layin and a dunk to go up by 20 points at 47-27. Young made good on a one-handed throwdown of his own and then drained two free throws to score six straight points for the Cougars. However, after the Aztecs extended the lead to 21 points at 63-42, the comeback bid was on as consecutive three-pointers fell for Tavernari. After an SDSU score, Ainge and Tavernari drained back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to 11 points at 65-54, capping a 12-2 run. The Aztecs scored again, but Tavernari's hot hand continued with another bomb from long range to get to within 10 at 67-57 with 6:27 left to play. Tavernari then picked the ball off and headed downcourt looking to get to within single digits but turned the ball over, resulting in a three-point play for the Aztecs. Heath then drained two free throws after a Cougar miss to push the lead back up to 15 points. But the Brazilian true freshman wasn't done as Tavernari drained another three-pointer to score 17 points in a six-minute span, including five makes from downtown. Young added to the BYU run with a layin to get back to within 10 points at 72-62, but the Cougars could not get a stop on the defensive end. After SDSU went up 81-67, BYU got five straight points, including a fifth three-pointer from Ainge, to cut the lead to single digits at 81-72 for the first time since the 16:25 mark in the first half. However, it was too little too late as the Cougars could not make up the rest of the deficit with 56 seconds left, allowing the Aztecs to record the 86-74 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought that the first four or five minutes were a big factor for us. We turned the ball over uncharacteristically. We haven't been in a situation like that for quite some time."
-- "I think that we finally got into a rhythm late in the second half and were playing more like ourselves. We were just too far behind."
-- "I think a lot of the credit has to go to SDSU. Tonight, they played really well and had a good game. They had some guys who played really well. Brandon Heath, Mohamed Abukar and Jerome Habel had big games."
San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher
-- "We were so good out of the gate at both ends of the floor. We made every shot we took, guarded like crazy and gave them nothing easy. We had a huge first half that gave ourselves a push and to their credit, they made a couple of runs at us in the second half, but we were able to hold them off. It really was a wonderful, wonderful day for the San Diego State Aztecs."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT SDSU
-- Individual Career Highs: Jonathan Tavernari -- 18 points (tied), 7 rebounds (tied), 9 three-pointers attempted; Austin Ainge -- 5 three-pointers made (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Largest halftime deficit -- 18 points; Fewest points scored in a half -- 25 (tied); Highest field-goal percentage allowed -- .577 (34-for-59); Largest run allowed --18 points.
-- BYU's loss at SDSU snapped the Cougars' eight-game winning streak, their longest of the year and the 10th longest active win streak in the nation. BYU has now lost its last four games at San Diego State dating back to 2003.
-- The loss also snapped a four-game road winning streak for BYU. The Cougars are now 5-6 this season on the road and 4-3 in conference play, the only MWC team with a winning road record in league action.
-- Despite the loss, BYU (21-7, 11-3 MWC) is still just one win away from securing at least a share of the MWC regular-season title and two victories away from winning the league crown outright for the first time since 1987-88.
-- Before shooting .448 (26-for-58) at SDSU, BYU had shot above 50 percent in its five prior road contests.
-- With a No. 21 ranking in the latest AP Top 25 Poll and a No. 22 ranking in the current ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, the Cougars' game at SDSU marked their first road game as a ranked team since March 6, 1993 when BYU polished off UTEP, 84-63. The Cougars are now 129-53 all-time as a ranked team and 35-26 all-time as a ranked team on the road.
-- With a 30-28 rebounding advantage against the Aztecs, the Cougars fell for the first time this season when outpacing their opponent on the glass. BYU is now 20-1 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- The Cougars' 18-point (43-25) halftime deficit marked their largest halftime deficit of the year as BYU trailed at the break for just the second time in conference play and the sixth time overall this season. The Cougars' 25-point first-half scoring output tied their season low scoring output in a half.
-- Four Cougars scored in double figures against SDSU, led by Jonathan Tavernari's 18 points. BYU is now 1-1 when led by Young and 6-2 when four players score in double figures. The Cougars are also 5-1 when Tavernari scores in double figures, 18-6 Keena Young scores in double figures (16 points), 8-2 when Austin Ainge scores in double digits (17 points) and 13-4 when Trent Plaisted reaches double digits (10 points).
-- With 16 points against Colorado State, Young has now scored in double figures in 24 of 28 games this season. BYU is 18-6 when he scores in double figures.
-- Jonathan Tavernari came up big for the Cougars in the second half as they attempted to climb back into the game, scoring 17 points in a six-minute span, including five three-pointers, to cut a one-time 21-point SDSU lead into a 10-point advantage.
-- The Cougars found themselves trailing 22-4 in the early going at SDSU, their largest deficit since trailing by 24 points at Boise State on Nov. 29. The Aztecs' 18-0 run after the game was tied at 4-4 is the longest spurt BYU has allowed this year. The Cougars had not trailed by more than six points during their eight-game win streak.
-- With 15 points against Utah, Young has now scored in double figures in 26 of 30 games this season, helping BYU go 20-6 in those games. Young scored 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the field in the first half.
-- After Plaisted began the game with a free-throw make, Young scored seven straight points for BYU to spark a 13-3 run that gave the Cougars a 13-9 lead.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- COUGARS SWEEP UTES IN CONFERENCE PLAY
PROVO -- With a 67-59 win over the University of Utah, the BYU men's basketball team set a new program record by improving its Marriott Center win streak to 45 games. The Cougars are now to 21-5 on the season and 10-1 in Mountain West Conference play. The win also extends BYU's lead in the Deseret First Duel to 28-19. With the win the Cougars have now won four straight games against their in-state rivals, marking the first time they've do so since the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons. Jonathan Tavernari led three Cougars scoring in double figures with 20 points, with Lee Cummard and Jimmer Fredette each contributing 14 points. Cummard also pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds, marking his third double-double of the season. Utah won the opening tipoff, but both teams were kept off the scoreboard until Tavernari scored on a running lay-in with 18:31 remaining in the first half. Back-to-back three-pointers by Cummard and Tavernari put the Cougars up 8-4. Tavernari's aggressive defensive efforts paid off as he converted a stolen ball into two points for the Cougars. Consecutive Utah field goals put the Utes on top 12-11, but Tavernari was there once again to regain the BYU lead. Fredette, Trent Plaisted and Chris Miles all made trips to the free-throw line, as the Utes collected 10 fouls in the first half compared to the Cougars' six. Utah's first field goal in almost five minutes of play came with 2:21 remaining in the first half. Just when it looked like the Utes would come back to take the lead, a costly Utah turnover resulted in a Fredette make from behind the arc to put BYU up 33-26 heading into the break. At the half, Plaisted, Cummard and Tavernari combined for a total of 25 points, the exact number they scored in the entire game against Utah on Jan. 19. After the break, Utah got out to a quick start, scoring the first five points of the second half. Cummard's put-back after a Tavernari miss gave BYU a four-point cushion at 35-31. The Utes continued to make shots, coming within one point after a Utah three with 12:08 remaining in the game. Once again Fredette hit a big three-pointer to preserve BYU's lead, and Tavernari followed with one of his own on the Cougars' next possession, bringing the score to 45-38. The Utes continued to fight however, with Luke Nevill scoring the next five points for Utah. Soon after, the center was forced to sub out as he was called for his fourth foul of the night with just over eight minutes to play in the game. Both teams continued to trade baskets back-and-forth, holding BYU's lead to single digits. Coming out of a timeout with only two minutes remaining in the game, a costly Utah turnover set up Tavernari's seventh make from the field, putting BYU up 62-57. The sophomore's 2-for-2 trip to the charity stripe helped clinch the victory for the Cougars.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "It was two good teams playing tonight, and because of that it came down to the end."
-- "I think it was great. The game came down to a couple of key plays. It wasn't about one particular player. It was two good teams battling each other."
-- "For a game where every shot and every rebound were contested, it was definitely a well-played game."
Utah Head Coach Jim Boylen
-- "My team battled out there tonight, and I am very proud of my guys. I am proud to be a Ute."
-- "I thought we did a great job controlling Lee Cummard this time with offensive rebounds. He is great at rebounding, and we did what we could."
-- "BYU is a good team, and they have a great coach. They made the plays that they needed to win."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Season Highs: Jonathan Tavernari -- 3 steals.
-- Individual Career Highs: Sam Burgess -- 8 rebounds; Ben Murdock -- 4 steals
-- With the 67-59 win, BYU improved its Marriott Center win streak to 45 games, setting a new program record, (old was 44 from Feb. 19, 2000 to Jan. 16, 2003). The Cougars have won 23 straight nonconference games and 22 games against MWC opponents dating back to an 83-71 setback against Loyola Marymount on Nov. 18, 2005. That game was also Dave Rose's head-coaching debut, meaning Rose has gone 45-1 in the Marriott Center as a head coach. BYU's current streak of 45 straight home wins is the second-longest active home court victory streak in the nation behind No. 1 Memphis. The BYU football team has won 12 straight home games with its last home loss coming on Nov. 19, 2005, the day after BYU's last home basketball defeat.
-- At 10-1 in Mountain West Conference play, the Cougars are off to their best league start since going 14-1 in 1993 when BYU still played in the Western Athletic Conference.
-- BYU has now won four straight games against Utah, including season sweeps in the last two years. Prior to the current streak, the Cougars had not won four straight against Utah since the 1993-94 and 1994-95 seasons and had not swept the Utes in back-to-back years since the 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons.
-- The Cougars' nine straight wins (@ Utah, San Diego State, New Mexico, @ Air Force, @ Wyoming, TCU, @ CSU, UNLV, Utah) marks their longest winning streak since 2003-04 when BYU also recorded nine straight wins. BYU has won at least six straight MWC games in each of Dave Rose's three seasons at the helm.
-- The Cougar defense held the Utes in check while recording the 67-59 win. Utah entered the game leading the MWC shooting 48.8 percent from the field but shot just 37.3 percent against BYU. The Utes were also ranked sixth nationally with a 40.9 percent three-point shooting mark but shot just 30.0 percent from behind the arc against the Cougars.
-- With a 33-26 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, BYU recorded its 22nd halftime lead of the season. The Cougars are now 20-2 when leading at the break. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 22 games while holding opponents under 30 points in the first half of 17 contests.
-- BYU has had at least one player top the 20-point mark in each of the last seven games and has had two players score at least 20 points in the same game in three of the last six contests. Tavernari scored 20 against Utah.
-- With three three-pointers against Utah, Tavernari is now just seven short of the single-season BYU record of 74 set by Andy Toolson in 1990. Tavernari's 67 treys this season is tied for fourth in Cougar history.
-- Tavernari has contributed more than just points for the Cougars as of late. Tavernari recorded 18 assists in the first 20 games of the season (0.9 apg) but has dished out 18 assists in the last six contests (3.0 apg).
-- With 14 points and 11 rebounds, Cummard recorded his third double-double of the season and the sixth of his career.
-- BYU's big three of Plaisted (7), Cummard (6) and Tavernari (12) scored the exact same number of points (25) in the first half of Wednesday's game as they did in the entire contest in the first meeting between the two teams on Jan. 19.
-- True freshman Jimmer Fredette showed why he was the preseason MWC Freshman of the Year as he scored 14 points against Utah, his highest scoring outing in league play.
COUGAR START AMONG THE TOP IN SCHOOL HISTORY
BYU has a 21-5 record through 26 games this year. In the 105-year history of BYU men's basketball, only two teams of the 62 that played at least 26 games during a season earned a better record than this year's Cougar squad. Four other BYU teams have equaled the current Cougars' 21-5 start. If the Cougars can win their game Saturday at San Diego State, they would own a 27-game record that has been topped by only two other BYU squads and equaled by three others. (SEE CHART IN PDF VERSION).
At 21-5 so far this season, BYU has achieved the program's 31st 20-win season, including three straight for Cougar head coach Dave Rose in his first three seasons at the helm. Last year, the Cougars finished 25-9 following a 20-9 campaign in 2005-06. BYU has averaged 20 wins every 2.6 years (BYU has played 80 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). Rose is the third Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first three years, joining G. Ott Romney and Roger Reid. However, Rose is the first Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first three years after taking over a program with less than 13 wins the prior year. BYU was 9-21 in 2004-05 before Rose turned the program into the second-most improved team in the nation in his first season.
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
Dave Rose has 3 seasons of 20 wins in 3 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
REGULAR-SEASON BENCHMARKS FOR NCAA INVITES
Winning 20 or more games in the regular season has proven to be a significant indicator for receiving an invitation into the NCAA Tournament. Since the first NCAA Tournament in 1939, BYU has had 20 seasons with 20 regular-season wins, including last year's team. In those 20 years, BYU has earned a postseason invite each season, including 17 NCAA bids, three NIT berths (BYU played both NIT and NCAA in 1950-51) and one NAIB (1948-49) invite. In the modern era since the NCAA Tournament became the predominant championship over the NIT, BYU has had 15 seasons when it earned 20 or more wins during regular-season games (prior to starting the conference tournament). The Cougars have received an invite to play in the NCAA Tournament in 14 of those seasons, with the lone exception being the 2005-06 team that finished the regular season 20-7 and fell to 20-8 with a loss at the MWC Tournament before receiving an NIT invitation. Including last year, BYU has reached 21 regular-season wins during 11 of those 15 seasons and has been invited to play in the NCAA Tournament in each of those 11 years.
COUGARS IN CONFERENCE
BYU basketball boasts a remarkable record of conference success during its history. After earning its 26th regular-season conference championship in 2007, the Cougars moved into a tie for ninth among all NCAA Division I programs for most regular-season league titles won (see list in PDF version). Including conference tournaments, BYU has claimed a conference championship trophy during 27 seasons. The Cougars won the 1991 WAC Tournament after a second-place regular-season finish. Other conference tournament titles in 1992 (WAC) and 2001 (MWC) have followed up regular-season rings, as was the case with conference playoff wins in 1924 and 1933 in the Rocky Mountain Conference. BYU won six Rocky Mountain Conference titles in 20 years, earned five Skyline championships in 24 years, recorded 12 WAC crowns in 37 years and has garned MWC honors in three of the league's first eight seasons. BYU won the in-state title against rivals Utah and Utah State during 10 of the 12 years before the Cougars first joined a conference in 1918.
COACH ROSE OWNS TOP MWC MARK
With a 35-8 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 three years. UNLV's Lon Kruger is 32-13 and SDSU's Steve Fisher is 30-14. In addition to this year's 10-1 MWC record, Rose coached the Cougars to a 13-3 league and 25-9 overall record last year, earning Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. He was named the MWC and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year in his first season after coaching BYU to a second-place MWC finish at 12-4 while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success--which proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.
WORTHY OF MENTION
-- BYU's 20-point club this year includes Trent Plaisted, Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari. Cummard and Plaisted have each scored 20 or more points in eight games while Tavernari has done so on five occasions. Among Plaisted's top scoring nights were 21 points against No. 6 Louisville, 24 points against No. 1 North Carolina, 25 points in BYU's Mountain West Conference opener against Colorado State and a career-high tying 27 points against TCU. Cummard has topped the 20-point mark in four of the last six games and had a career-high 27 points against Lamar. Tavernari totaled a career-best 29 vs. No. 6 Louisville and 25 against CSU before totaling 20 in BYU's win over Utah on Wednesday.
-- BYU has had 12 individual double-double performances this year with Plaisted accomplishing the feat seven times, Cummard in three games and Tavernari on two occasions. Cummard became the first Cougar to record a double-double this season with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Idaho State. He added his fifth career double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds against Lamar and posted 14 points and 11 rebounds against Utah. Plaisted had 21 points and 12 rebounds against No. 6 Louisville before tallying 24 points and 17 rebounds against No. 1 North Carolina. He totaled 14 points and 15 rebounds vs. Weber State and had 18 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds against Pepperdine. Plaisted has posted double-doubles in three of the last seven games while Tavernari has done so in two of the last five contests.
-- Senior point guard Ben Murdock dished out a personal-best 10 assists with only two turnovers at Portland as the lone Cougar to reach double-digit assists in a game this year. He has dished out five or more assists in a game 10 times this year. He ranks 13th nationally with a 2.66 assist/turnover ratio and has helped BYU rank 16th nationally with 17.5 assists per game as of Feb. 17.
-- Freshman guard Jimmer Fredette has hit from behind the arc in 17 games this season. Fredette is one of four true freshman playing for the Cougars this year, joining forward Chris Collinsworth and guards Michael Loyd and Nick Martineau. Collinsworth has started six games.
COUGARS BY THE NUMBERS
1 Rank of BYU coach Dave Rose's 66 wins and .742 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 (70-21 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.
7 Number of statistical categories in which Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the MWC including field-goal percentage (1st - .571), free-throw percentage (T2nd - .855), offensive rebounds (T2nd - 2.15), scoring (3rd - 16.0), total rebounds (T5th - 6.5), assists (8th - 3.38) and defensive rebounds (8th - 4.35).
8 Number of treys Jonathan Tavernari needs to surpass Andy Toolson's single-season school record of 74 triples. With 67 threes, Tavernari is currently tied for fourth on the list with Terrell Lyday. His next make will tie him for third with Danny Bower. Nick Sanderson is second on the list with 73 makes.
8 Number of statistical categories in which a BYU player ranks among the top three in the MWC out of the 12 categories tracked by the league.
10-1 BYU's MWC record so far this season, equaling the Cougars' best league start since 1993 when the Cougars still played in the Western Athletic Conference and went 14-1.
10 Number of games in which Lee Cummard has been perfect from the free-throw line out of 19 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 85.5 percent (71-for-83) on the year.
17 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 22 of 26 games this season while racking up halftime leads in 22 of 26 games, including 13 by double digits.
18.0 The Cougars' average margin of victory in their 21 wins this season. BYU has won eight 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 in which BYU has led by double digits. The Cougars have also led by at least 20 points in 13 contests and 30 points in four. BYU has led wire-to-wire in 12 games this year.
23 Number of games this season Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer. Sam Burgess has made a trey in 20 of 26 outings this year while Jimmer Fredette has done so in 18 games.
26 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 26 games after not starting last year in his first season in Provo.
46 Number of points Trent Plaisted needs to surpass Alan Taylor to move to 17th on BYU's all-time career scoring list. Plaisted currently has 1,239 career points.
64.6 Percent of BYU field goals created by an assist. The program record is 64.7 percent achieved in 1992-93.
83 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 also lead the league in most overall wins (183), one victory ahead of UNLV.
100 Percent of games BYU has won this year when leading with five minutes remaining. The Cougars are 21-0 when ahead on the scoreboard at the 5-minute mark.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With their 67-59 win over Utah in the Marriott Center Wednesday, the Cougars set a new program record with 45 straight home victories. The streak also ranks second nationally among current homecourt streaks, two wins behind No. 1 Memphis. The Cougars are 14-0 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 22 consecutive over MWC foes. BYU's last league loss at home was its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU is 417-116 (.782) all-time in the Marriott Center, and Cougar head coach Dave Rose is 45-1. Prior to Wednesday's win over Utah, BYU's longest homecourt victory streak was 44 games from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (As of Feb. 21, 2008)
Wins Team This year Next home game
47 Memphis 15-0 Feb. 23 vs. Tennessee
45 BYU 14-0 March 1 vs. Air Force
ON THE ROAD
The Cougars are 6-3 in true road games this year having won their last four games away from the Marriott Center after a 79-65 victory at Colorado State. With a 1-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is 7-5 this season away from home with a 4-1 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 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 bounceback 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 17-1 when scoring at least 70 points this year and 17-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 75.2 points and allowing 63.2 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 9-0 when scoring over 80 points on the year.
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU has won the battle of the boards in 20 games this year, going 18-2 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 6.3 boards per contest, leading the league in rebounding margin and rebound average (40.3). 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 four times this season, surpassing 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 with Lee Cummard pacing BYU a team-best 13 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 4.9 rebounds per game while ranking 11th among MWC players in conference play at 5.5 rpg. He has started six games. Fredette is fifth on the team in scoring with 7.0 ppg and third in steals with 22. Loyd is averaging 8.5 minutes per game and has posted 28 assists on the year. Martineau has 14 assists to 8 turnovers in his 17 games played.
After setting a program record with 256 three-pointers last season, the Cougars could break that record this year having already made 210 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 24 of 26 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 and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer in 23 of 26 games this season while Sam Burgess has done so in 20 contests and Jimmer Fredette in 18. 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 67 treys so far this season.
BYU IN THE RANKINGS
The Cougars are just out of the two polls released this week, listed 26th by the coaches and 27th in AP. BYU 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 26 games this year while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari has made 20 starts and freshman Chris Collinsworth has started six contests.
WINNING WITH ROSE
With a 66-23 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 (70-21 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06. (including games as of Feb. 20)
First-Year Coaches in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Dave Rose, BYU 66-23 .742
Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss* 60-31 .659
*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 70-21 .769
Dave Rose, BYU 66-23 .742
Tim Floyd, USC 60-34 .638
PLAISTED, GIDDENS SHARE MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
TRENT PLAISTED (FEB. 18) -- Junior forward/center Trent Plaisted earned his third MWC Player of the Week award this season after recording back-to-back 20-point scoring games last week to lead BYU to a road win at Colorado State and a home victory over UNLV. The 6-foot-11 San Antonio, Texas, native averaged 21.5 points on 65.4 percent shooting from the floor and 60 percent shooting at the free-throw line while adding 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 assists per game. For the week, he paced the Cougars in scoring and field-goal shooting and shared team-high honors in steals. Plaisted went a perfect 9-for-9 from the field while totaling 21 points in BYU's 79-65 win at Colorado State on Wednesday. His 9-for-9 shooting night is the top field-goal performance by any Mountain West Conference player this season. He added five rebounds and one steal in his 22 minutes on the court. Plaisted scored a game-high 22 points and threw down a season-high four dunks against UNLV on Saturday in the Marriott Center. He made 8-of-17 field goals and went 6-for-8 at the free-throw line while adding seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and one blocked shot in the 74-48 victory over the Rebels. He scored 10 points, including eight consecutive, during a 14-1 BYU run in the second half that put the game out of reach. During the run, Plaisted made all four of his free throws and put down two momentum-building dunks, one coming after he stole the ball on the defensive end and beat everyone down the floor to score on the other end. He totaled 16 second-half points in all while making 6-of-10 attempts to help the Cougars avenge its lone league loss of the season. UNM's J.R. Giddens was named MWC Co-Player of the Week with Plaisted after averaging 23.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.5 blocks and 2.0 steals in two Lobo victories last week.
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 1,239 career points, 18th 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 637 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 (8.3), third in field-goal shooting among players with at least 30 attempts (.424) and third in assists (1.8) while ranking second on the team in three-point shooting (.392). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 4.7 ppg while averaging 16.4 more minutes per game. His 10 double-figure scoring games this year has more than doubled last year's mark of four double-digit scoring outings. Burgess has started all 25 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 four players who are making 80 percent or more of their free-throw attempts this year (Jimmer Fredette, .893; Jonathan Tavernari, .857; Lee Cummard, .855; Sam Burgess, .854). 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 19 games he has gone to the line this year.
The Cougars' 21 victories this year have come by an average margin of 18.0 points, including a season-opening 40-point road win at Long Beach State (74-34), one of 17 double-digit wins for BYU this season and one of eight 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 12.0 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.
BYU is currently riding a nine-game win streak with victories at Utah, vs. San Diego State, vs. New Mexico, at Air Force, at Wyoming, vs. TCU, at Colorado State, against UNLV and vs. Utah. That mark is tied for seventh nationally and is the Cougars' longest victory string since also winning nine straight in the 2003-04 season. BYU has not won 10 straight games since winning 13 consecutive in 1992-93.
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 (25-2), Michigan State (21-5), Boise State (20-6), Wake Forest (16-8) and UNLV (19-6) have a combined 101-27 record for a .789 winning percentage as of games played Feb. 20. Wake Forest is coming off a 13-point home win over then-No. 2 Duke.
FROM THE FIELD
BYU is shooting 46.2 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 38.6 percent from the floor (No. 1 in the MWC). Overall, the Cougars have shot above 50 percent in 10 games this year. BYU has shot above 50 percent in the first half of eight games this season and in the second half of 12 contests, totaling 20 halves of play with a shooting percentage of 50 percent higher, including six above 60 percent. The Cougars posted a season-high 60.4 percent efficiency against Hartford bolstered by a 63.6 percent second-half shooting mark (14-for-22). Individually, Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 57.1 and 54.0 percent and 31st and 49th, respectively, in the national rankings as of Feb. 17.
The Cougars are 20-2 this season when leading at the half with 13 of the 22 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. 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 nine of 26 games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 22 of 26 games while holding opponents under 30 points 17 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 11 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 14 games and equaled them in one other this year, recording a +4.6 margin in that category. BYU has posted a double-digit margin in 10 games, including a season-best +38 margin (54-16) against Jackson State. The Cougars are 14-0 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 -0.5 turnover margin with their opponents on the year, the Cougars have outscored foes in points off of turnovers in 19 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 18 games, equaled them three times and been outpaced only five times. The Cougars average 4.4 more fastbreak points than their opponents. The Cougars scored a season-best 20 fastbreak 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 seven of the last 15 games after seven straight contests with a scoring deficit off the bench. On the whole, the BYU bench has outscored opponent reserves by 0.4 points per game this season, tallying 505 points or 19.4 points per game. BYU's leading scorer off the bench is freshman guard Jimmer Fredette, who is averaging 7.0 points per game. He had 14 points against Utah, his highest scoring output in conference play. He stepped up at Wake Forest, tying for team-high honors with 15 points off the bench.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
Including a game-high lead of 29 points against UNLV, the Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 20 of 26 games and have led by more than 20 points in 13 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, vs. San Diego State when BYU built a six-point advantage and vs. Utah when the Cougar game-high lead was eight points. The Cougars have led wire-to-wire in 12 games this season.
SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE MWC ...
-- BYU has had six 20-win seasons in the first eight seasons, leading all MWC schools. Utah has had five, UNLV four, Air Force, Wyoming and San Diego State three and New Mexico two.
-- BYU has had the league's top RPI three times, been second twice and third on three occasions. The Cougars were second last year (18) behind UNLV (10).
-- BYU has played the toughest schedule on average of any team in the MWC. Last year, BYU's schedule was rated third behind Utah and UNLV. BYU had the league's toughest schedule in two of the previous three seasons.
-- BYU has the most overall wins (183).
-- BYU has the most conference wins (83).
-- BYU has the second-most MWC regular-season titles (three). Utah leads with four.
-- BYU is one of six MWC teams to win the MWC Tournament title.
MWC TEAMS IN THE RPI
BYU has the Mountain West's best RPI. The Cougars have an RPI of 27, followed by UNLV at 33 and New Mexico at 51.