GAME 28 - BYU Plays at New Mexico Tuesday

Jonathan Tavernari has averaged 15.3 points in his first three games against New Mexico. BYU has won five straight over the Lobos. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

BYU GAME #28 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (21-6, 10-2 MWC)

at

NEW MEXICO (22-6 9-4 MWC)

Tuesday, Feb. 26, 2008

The Pit/Bob King Court (18,018)

Albuquerque, N.M.

8 p.m. MT

Coaches:

BYU, Dave Rose (66-24 in third season; same overall)

UNM, Steve Alford (22-6 in first season; 330-189 in 17th year overall)

Series:

BYU leads, 72-50, after the Cougars' 83-66 win in Provo on Jan. 26

TV:

The Mtn. (Rich Cellini, play-by-play; Dave Bollwinkel, game analyst)

Radio:

KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (7 p.m. MT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analyst)

Web:

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

No. 25 BYU FACES NEW MEXICO TUESDAY IN THE PIT

BYU (21-6, 10-2 MWC) stays on the road to face New Mexico (22-6, 9-4 MWC) on Tuesday at 8 p.m. MT at The Pit in Albuquerque. The Cougars are coming off a 69-65 defeat at San Diego State that ended a season-best nine-game victory streak. Coming off a win at Utah on Saturday, the Lobos have won six in a row and are 15-1 at home this season. Tuesday's game will be televised on The Mtn. 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.

UP NEXT

The Cougars host Air Force on Saturday at 7 p.m. MT.

COUGAR QUICK HITS

-- No. 25 BYU is in first place in the MWC standings at 10-2, followed by UNLV (9-3) and New Mexico (9-4).

-- Only four BYU teams have ever topped this year's 21-6 start. The last Cougar team with a better record through 27 games was in 1992-93 (22-5).

-- BYU owns the nation's longest active home win streak with a school-record 45 straight wins in the Marriott Center. BYU went 17-0 at home last year and is 14-0 at home this season.

-- BYU is 4-2 on the road in conference play, winning for straight between losses at UNLV and San Diego State. Overall, BYU is 6-4 in away games this season and 1-2 on a neutral floor.

-- 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 NEW MEXICO

The New Mexico Lobos are 22-4 so far this season with a 9-4 mark in Mountain West Conference action. The Lobos are looking to achieve their third seven-game winning streak of the year. UNM began the year with seven straight wins before back-to-back setbacks and then won seven more games before going 2-4 in the next four contests, including a loss at BYU. Since then, the Lobos have won six straight entering Tuesday's matchup with the Cougars. Senior guard J.R. Giddens leads the team in both scoring at 15.1 points per game and rebounds with 8.5 boards per contest. Giddens, who transferred from Kansas prior to last season, also adds 3.0 assists and 1.5 steals per game while shooting 52.4 percent from the field and posting a team-high 34 blocks on the year. Junior guard Chad Toppert is the only other Lobo scoring in double figures with 10.9 ppg on 48.3 percent shooting from the field, including 49.4 percent from three-point range while making a team-best 76 triples already this year. Senior guard Jamaal Smith adds 9.5 ppg and shoots a team-high 54.7 percent on threes (35-of-64). Junior forward Daniel Faris is second on the team with 4.4 boards per contest while contributing 9.2 ppg. Freshman guard Dariese Gary paces the Lobos with 3.4 assists per game and joins Gidden's with a team-high 41 steals. The Lobos have won all 12 games with freshman guard Jonathan Wills in the starting lineup. As a team, New Mexico averages 75.0 ppg on 47.3 percent shooting from the floor, including 43.7 percent shooting from three-point range. Lobo opponents are posting 62.6 ppg on 41.3 percent shooting from the floor. New Mexico outrebounds its opponents, 34.6--31.6.

NEW MEXICO'S PROBABLE STARTERS (based on last game)

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

F 30 Roman Martinez 6-6 185 So. 6.9 3.7 El Paso, Texas

F 53 Daniel Faris 6-9 235 Jr. 9.2 4.4 Albuquerque, N.M.

G 05 Dairese Gary 6-1 205 Fr. 7.8 2.2 Elkhart, Ind.

G 15 J.R. Giddens 6-5 205 Sr. 15.1 8.5 Oklahoma City, Okla.

G 2 Jonathan Wills 6-5 185 Fr. 3.3 1.0 Carson, Calif.

Key Reserve

G 33 Chad Toppert 6-7 215 Jr. 10.9 3.3 Albuquerque, N.M.

NEW MEXICO'S LAST OUTING -- LOBOS EDGE UTES IN SALT LAKE CITY

SALT LAKE CITY -- J.R. Giddens scored 19 points, including one of three straight 3-pointers down the stretch as New Mexico pulled ahead and then held on for a 72-71 win over Utah on Saturday. The Lobos (22-6, 9-4 Mountain West) snapped an 18-game losing streak to the Utes at the Hunstman Center, dating to 1989. Chad Toppert and Jamaal Smith also hit 3-pointers during a late 11-2 run for the Lobos, mostly while Utah's Luke Nevill was on the bench after picking up his fourth foul. By the time Nevill returned for the final 1:49, the Utes (15-10, 6-6) trailed 63-59 and never recovered. The Lobos led 72-69 with 8.8 seconds left after Dairese Gary missed the second of two free throws and Utah's Shaun Green got the rebound. The Utes rushed downcourt, but Tyler Kepkay drove for a layup instead of taking a 3-pointer, which could have tied it. Kepkay missed the layup and put back his own rebound as the horn sounded with the Lobos holding the 1-point edge. Smith finished with 17 points, including 8 of 10 free throws in the final 1:11 as the Lobos extended their season-long winning streak to six games. Darren Prentice added 10 points for New Mexico. Johnnie Bryant scored 17 points for the Utes, including a steal and 3-pointer with 15.6 seconds left that allowed the Utes to make it close. Nevill added 16 points and five rebounds.

SERIES HISTORY

This will be the 123rd game in the series that started in the 1949-50 season. The Cougars lead the series 72-50 after winning 83-66 in Provo in the first meeting this year. Last year, BYU won 70-49 at The Pit and 96-83 in Provo. BYU has won the last five games vs. the Lobos, including two straight wins at The Pit. BYU has won eight straight over UNM in the Marriott Center. New Mexico's last win in Provo was a 78-74 victory in 2000. The Cougars are 16-26 in The Pit. In 2006, BYU won 77-71 at The Pit to end the Lobos' 21-game home win streak. BYU had a four-game winning streak in the series halted with a season series split in 2004. The Cougars swept the season series in 2003 and defeated the Lobos in the opening round of the 2003 MWC Tournament. BYU has won 15 of the last 19 games in the series after New Mexico had won eight of the prior nine contests.

QUOTING COACH ROSE

"One thing that's tough when facing New Mexico is they have very good shooters with Darren Prentice, Jamaal Smith, Chad Toppert, J.R. Giddens, and even their point guard Dairese Gary. They can spread you out. You have to be in a position where you can contest their shots."

"J.R. Giddens is playing very well. He's a very versitale player. He can put the ball on the floor and get to the basket. He can hit perimter shots and make plays for himself off the dribble or make plays for his teammates."

"We had an chance to win at San Diego on Saturday and it got away from us. Hopefully we can learn from that. I'm sure (The Pit) will be rockin. The Lobos are on a six-game winning streak. We expect a highly competitive, emotional night there in The Pit."

BYU SERIES RECORD VS. NEW MEXICO

Overall Series Record: BYU leads 72-50

BYU Record in Provo: 42-15 (27-12 in the Marriott Center)

BYU Record in Albuquerque: 26-31 (18-26 in The Pit)

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 4-4

BYU Record under Dave Rose: 5-0

BYU Record in Overtime Games: 1-3 (1-1 Rd, 0-2 Hm)

Last Overtime Game: 1994, lost in Provo, 82-84

Longest BYU Win Streak: 14 (1950-57)

Longest New Mexico Win Streak: 5 (1996-98)

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 30, 92-62 two times in 1955 and 1959

Largest New Mexico Margin of Victory: 42, 74-32 and 90-48 in 1997

Most Points Scored by BYU: 100 in 1979

Most Points Scored by New Mexico: 102 in 1987

THIS YEAR AT BYU -- HOT SHOOTING LIFTS COUGARS OVER LOBOS

PROVO -- Shooting over 50 percent from the field and over 80 percent from three-point range, the BYU men's basketball team beat the New Mexico Lobos 83-66 on Saturday in the Marriott Center. BYU improved its Mountain West Conference record to 4-1 (15-5 overall), while New Mexico fell to 3-3 in conference play (16-5 overall). Four of BYU's starters reached double figures in the game -- Lee Cummard, Jonathan Tavernari, Trent Plaisted and Sam Burgess. This happened for the eight time this season for the Cougars. Cummard finished with a game-high 20 points, and Tavernari was not far behind with 19. Tavernari and Cummard split the spotlight as each scored double figures in one of the two halves against the Lobos. Tavernari had a season high in first-half points with 16, while Cummard tied his season high in second-half points with 13. On BYU's first possession of the game, Tavernari hit a short baseline jumper which proved to be the first of a very productive half for the sophomore forward. Tavernari continued his success as he went on to hit his first five shots from the field. Things were going the Cougars' way from early on as they started the game on a 10-5 run in the first 4:17 of the game. This early run was capped off with Burgess completing a three-point play after he connected on a reverse lay-up and was fouled. At the 12:46 mark, New Mexico called a 30-second timeout in hopes of slowing the game down after Tavernari hit a three-pointer, which extended the Cougar lead to 20-9. With just under 10 minutes into the game, BYU was a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc. BYU not only excelled on the offensive end early in the game, but the Cougars also held the Lobos to just 24 percent shooting up to the 7:57 point of the first half, allowing BYU to extend its lead to 27-13. The Cougars found themselves on the positive end of a 16-13 run over a length of 8:41 as BYU was up 36-22 with 4:05 left in the half. Another impressive BYU first-half performance came from Plaisted, who was one shy of recording double-digit rebounds in the first stanza. At the break, BYU went into the locker room up by 20, 44-24. This was on 51 percent shooting from the field and 72 percent from the three-point line. The Cougars' hot shooting continued in the second half as they were up 59-34 with 14:44 left in the game -- a run of 15-10 for BYU. This came off of sharp shooting from Cummard, who scored eight quick second-half points to improve his total to 15 points on the game to that point. Plaisted had a dunk with 11:30 left in the game that ignited the season-high crowd of 19,932 as the Cougars went ahead 69-38. Then shortly after that BYU widened its lead to the largest of the game at 34 points as Plaisted hit two free throws to make the score 79-45. BYU cruised from there to the game's final score of 83-66. The Cougars tied their season high with 13 three-pointers made. The previous season-high three-point percentage was 59 percent, and the 81 percent game total for the Cougars was the sixth-highest in BYU history. A couple other notable performances for BYU came from Plaisted and Jimmer Fredette. Plaisted recorded his sixth double-double of the season against the Lobos as he had 13 rebounds to go along with his 13 points, while Fredette finished with a career-high six assists.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "We did a good job of coming out and executing our defensive game plan early. Our concentration and execution was excellent."

-- "We did a really good job of taking good shots and sharing the ball. Our players hit their shots early, which was good."

New Mexico Coach Steve Alford

-- "Dave [Rose] has done a good job and has a great program. They played at a higher level, and we had no answers for them. We're just not deep enough or big enough."

-- "They have big-time shooters. They haven't been shooting well recently, but today they shot well."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- Individual Career Highs: Jimmer Fredette - 6 assists.

-- Team Season Highs: 19,932 attendance; 13 three-pointers made (tied); .813 three-point percentage (sixth-highest in program history); 25 assists (tied); 8 three-pointers in a half (first half; tied); 1.000 three-point percentage in a half (5-for-5 in the second half).

-- With the 83-66 win, BYU improved its Marriott Center win streak to 42 games, the second-longest active home court victory streak in the nation behind No. 1 Memphis at 43 wins.

-- With the 83-66 win, BYU is now 13-1 when scoring at least 70 points in a game. The Cougars are also 8-0 when scoring at least 80 points.

-- The Cougars tied their season high with 13 three-pointers against New Mexico, going 13-for-16 from long range to record the sixth-highest three-point percentage in program history at 81.3 percent. The Cougars posted single-half season highs of eight three-pointers made (tied) and 72.7 percent three-point shooting (8-for-11) in the first half against New Mexico. BYU made its first five three-point shots, with 15 of the Cougars' first 23 points coming from behind the arc, and eight of the first nine before finishing the first half 8-for-11 from behind the arc. BYU then made all five of its shots from long range in the second half.

-- The Cougar defense also came up big against the Lobos. After coming into the game leading the league in points per game (75.3), field-goal percentage (47.1), three-point field-goal percentage (42.5) and assists (17.2), New Mexico posted 66 points on 34.4 percent shooting from the field and 33.3 percent shooting from three-point range with seven assists. The assist and field-goal percentage marks are both season.

-- BYU's 20-9 lead with 12:46 left in the first half marked the first time the Cougars had led by double digits in a game since a 19-point final margin against Colorado State in BYU's league opener. With a game-high lead of 34 points, the Cougars have now held a double-digit lead in 15 of 20 games in the year and have led by at least 20 points in 11 games and 30 points in four contests.

-- With a 44-24 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, BYU recorded its 16th halftime lead of the season and 12th in double figures. The Cougars are now 14-2 when leading at the break.

-- BYU's 44 first-half points are the most scored by the Cougars since the fourth game of the season (46 vs. Hartford on Nov. 20) and its 51.7 percent shooting in the first half is the highest first-half mark since the Cougars shot 54.5 percent against Southern Utah on Dec. 21. BYUs final 50.9 percent shooting mark was also its highest since the SUU game.

-- Cummard's 20-point outing against New Mexico marked the fifth time this season and the seventh time in his career he has scored at least 20 points.

-- With 13 points and 13 rebounds, Plaisted had his sixth double-double of the season and 15th of his career.

-- With 15 points in the game, Burgess scored in double figures for the eighth time this season and the second time in three games (12 at Utah). Burgess reached double-digit scoring four times last year. Burgess came out firing against the Lobos, scoring nine of BYU's first 13 points on 3-for-3 shooting from the field, including two treys and a three-point play.

- Tavernari had the hot hand in the first half as he scored a first-half season-high 16 points in the first 20 minutes, marking the sixth time this season he has reached double-digits before halftime. Tavernari made his first five shots from the field, including three from long range.

LAST YEAR AT NEW MEXICO -- COUGARS WIN BIG AT NEW MEXICO

ALBUQUERQUE -- The Cougars put an end to their road woes Wednesday night with a resounding 70-49 win over the New Mexico Lobos at The Pit. The victory is BYU's first Mountain West Conference road win of the season and improves the Cougars to 14-6 overall and 4-2 in league play. The Lobos, who entered the game averaging 87 points per game at home, fall to 12-9 overall and 1-5 in conference action. BYU was led by true freshman Jonathan Tavernari, who tied his career high with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field to go along with four rebounds and three steals. Trent Plaisted and Jimmy Balderson also scored in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Lee Cummard paced the Cougars on the boards with five rebounds, and Austin Ainge tied his career high with eight assists. As a team, the Cougars shot 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range, marking the seventh straight game BYU has topped the 40 percent mark from long range. New Mexico shot just 38 percent from the floor and 25 percent from behind the arc. The Cougars also outrebounded the Lobos, 30-29, improving to 13-0 when winning the battle of the boards. New Mexico's Tony Dandridge scored the Lobos' first eight points of the game and finished with a game-high 21, but BYU's guard play kept the game tight as Cummard, Balderson and Ainge answered each UNM score. After trading scores to a 10-9 Lobo lead, UNM got a steal and a score to take its largest lead of the game to that point at 12-9. Ainge finally ended a 4:25 Cougar drought as he jumped a three-pointer in transition to knot the score with 11:30 left to play. Vuk Ivanovic gave BYU the lead with an 18-footer to make it 14-12 but the advantage was short-lived as the Lobos answered on their next possession and the two teams traded buckets from there. With the Cougars trailing 19-18, Ivanovic added to the BYU highlight reel as he sent a behind-the-back pass to an open Tavernari who put up the easy layin underneath. The see-saw battle continued as the first half neared completion with both teams draining shots at will. Trailing 26-25, the Lobos drained a three-pointer to push the lead for either team past one point for the first time in almost six minutes, but Tavernari answered on the other end with a long-range make of his own to make the score 29-28 with 3:11 left to play in the half. The bucket proved big as the Cougars used it to spark an 11-0 run in the final three minutes of the half, taking a 37-28 lead into the locker room. After an opening bucket from the Lobos, BYU scored the next six points, including a three from Balderson to take a 43-30 lead. However, the Lobos answered with a 7-0 scoring run to cut the lead to just six points at 43-37 with 13:27 left to play. Tavernari, who provided a huge spark off the bench for BYU in the first half, did so again as he scored back-to-back buckets to end a 3:45 Cougar drought and push the lead back to double digits at 47-37. A New Mexico score had the Lobos thinking comeback but BYU was not about to let it happen as the Cougars went on an 8-0 run to take a 55-39 lead. Two minutes later, Mike Rose put the nail in the coffin with a three-point make to give the Cougars a 60-42 lead. New Mexico got no closer as BYU cruised to the 70-49 win.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "This was very much a team win from the starters to the guys who came off the bench. We did a lot of things really well. We got a nice run at the end of the first half to give us some confidence. They gave us a nice run back but we kept it going."

-- "Austin (Ainge) was terrific tonight. He got involved scoring early and had eight assists with just one turnover. He was really able to run our offense. We knew that being able to get the ball into the post and play of the post men was going to be key, and he did that for us."

-- "Tonight we had to guard the three-point line because that's their success. Our guys did a good job of staying out on them and making it tough for them. I thought we contested shots well."

-- "Give a lot of credit to all the players that came in and really helped us. Jonathan (Tavernari) was terrific. The matchup was really well for him tonight defensively at the small forward spot. He came in for defensive purposes to get a bigger body in there and ended up hitting some shots."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT NEW MEXICO

-- Individual Career Highs: Jonathan Tavernari -- 18 points (tied). Austin Ainge - 8 assists (tied).

-- Team Season Highs: Fewest points allowed against a Div. I opponent - 49

-- BYU's win at New Mexico ended a four-game Cougar losing streak away from the Marriott Center. The Cougars have won two straight at UNM and have had success at The Pit in the past as BYU has ended three Lobo home win streaks during the all-time series. The Cougars have more wins at The Pit than any other UNM opponent.

-- With a 21-point (70-49) win over the Lobos, the Cougars have now won three of their six Mountain West Conference games by at least 20 points, including a 24-point win over TCU (89-65) and a 22-point victory over San Diego State (80-58). BYU has won just nine games by 20 points or more in MWC play since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season.

-- The Cougars are now 14-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 2-6 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold. The Cougars have scored at least 70 points in 12 straight games. New Mexico entered the game scoring 87 points per game at home but recorded a season-low 49 points against BYU.

-- With a .500 (9-for-18) three-point shooting mark at UNM, BYU has now shot above .400 from behind the arc in seven straight games and 11 on the season. The Cougars have shot above .500 in seven games.

-- With a 30-29 rebounding advantage against the Lobos, the Cougars are now 13-0 when winning the battle of the boards.

-- With the win at UNM coming after a loss at Colorado State, BYU has now bounced back from five of its six losses this season with wins. The Cougars have suffered back-to-back losses only twice in the last two years - once this season (vs. Michigan State, at Lamar) and once last season (vs. Utah at MWC Tournament and at Houston in the NIT).

-- Leading 37-28 at UNM, BYU went into the locker room with a halftime lead for the 15th time this season. The Cougars have held opponents under 30 points in the first half 11 times this season and are now 13-2 when leading at the break. BYU is also 13-0 when leading at the five-minute mark and 13-0 when leading at the one-minute mark.

-- The Cougars have put together incredible first-half shooting performances in their three MWC road games, including a .520 mark from the field and a .600 mark from three-point range against the Lobos. Including its games at UNLV and at Colorado State, BYU is shooting .551 from the floor and .727 from three-point range in the first half of play in league road contests. The Cougars have led at the break in two of those games and been tied in one.

-- After getting just six points off the bench against Colorado State in their last game, the Cougars posted a 31-9 advantage off the bench over the Lobos. BYU has outscored its opponents from the bench in 14 games this season and been outscored in just six.

- After going 5-for-8 from three-point range against Colorado State in BYU's last game, Jimmy Balderson drained two more three-pointers against the Lobos to bring his two-game total to seven. Prior to the last two contests, Balderson had scored 12 three-pointers in BYU's first 18 games.

- Jonathan Tavernari came off the bench for 10 first-half points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field including two threes. The true freshman ended the game tying his career high with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go along with four rebounds and three steals.

BYU NOTES

BYU'S LAST OUTING -- COUGARS SUFFER CLOSE LOSS IN SAN DIEGO

SAN -- Reminiscent of its defeat in San Diego last season, the BYU men's basketball team suffered a close 69-65 loss to San Diego State on Saturday, breaking its nine-game winning streak. With the loss the Cougars fall to 21-6 on the season and 10-2 in Mountain West Conference play. "We just needed a couple more plays to go our way and it would have been a different game," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "We got some good looks at the basket and had a chance in the second half to open things up a little bit, but things didn't go out way." Lee Cummard led BYU with 20 points, his fifth 20-point game in the last eight outings. Also scoring in double figures was Jonathan Tavernari with 12 points and Sam Burgess with 11 points. Cold shooting plagued the Cougars early, giving SDSU a 7-0 lead. Tavernari put BYU on the scoreboard with a running lay-in at the 15:45 mark. Burgess followed with a three-point make to quickly cut into BYU's deficit. Turnovers and the inability to secure rebounds allowed SDSU to reestablish its lead at 15-5. With 11:30 to play in the first half, Chris Collinsworth's three-point make helped spark BYU's own 10-2 run. Michael Loyd contributed to the run, scoring only his second field-goal this season against a MWC opponent. The Cougars found themselves down by only two points after a Cummard make from beyond-the-arc. "We got some good help off the bench and put ourselves in a position where we could get back in the game at the half," said Rose. "I thought those guys came in with good energy and focus." Poor free-throw shooting by SDSU opened things up for Cummard, as he scored back-to-back field goals to both tie and give the Cougars their first lead of the game with 3:29 remaining in the first half. Holding a two-point lead as the clock ran down, a dunk by SDSU's Billy White tied the game at 29-29, marking the first time BYU has been tied heading into the break this season. With the second half underway, neither team could miss a shot. A combination of four BYU three-pointers by Tavernari, Burgess and Cummard, and 10 points by the Aztecs' Lorrenzo Wade, gave the Cougars a 46-41 advantage. Jimmer Fredette soon added a three of his own with 13:15 remaining. Chris Miles converted a big three-point play for BYU after he laid it in with the foul. A make from the charity stripe increased the Cougars' lead to 52-47. As SDSU continued to make shots, Tavernari was there to answer, scoring BYU's next five points. The Cougars had no defensive response for Wade, as he continued to makes shots, giving SDSU a one-point lead with 4:57 to play. Playing with four fouls, Cummard put BYU up 61-60 on a made jumper, cutting into the Aztecs' run. Untimely miscues and missed shots kept the Cougars from retaking the lead as the clock wound down to under four minutes. Down by four, Tavernari's running lay-in off a SDSU steal put the score at 65-63 in favor of the Aztecs. With one minute remaining in the game, Cummard went to the sidelines for good, receiving his fifth foul on the night.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "We got some good help off the bench and put ourselves in a position where we could get back in the game at the half. I thought those guys came in with good energy and focus."

-- "We just needed a couple more plays to go our way and it would have been a different game. We got some good looks at the basket and had a chance in the second half to open things up a little bit, but things didn't go our way."

-- "They're a good team. We had our chances but we just didn't finish it. It came down to two teams who were really competing against each other."

SDSU Head Coach Steve Fisher

-- "This is really a terrific win for our kids, our fans and our program. This is a victory that five teams in the league were excited about, none more than Vegas. It was a really good win for us."

-- "We did a great job attacking on offense and getting to the free throw line. We did a better job, than we did at BYU, of guarding. We did a nice job in terms of how we guarded."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- BYU's season-best nine-game victory streak ends at the hands of the Aztecs. Last year SDSU also halted a season-best string of eight straight Cougar wins with a win in San Diego.

-- The Cougars' nine straight wins (@ Utah, San Diego State, New Mexico, @ Air Force, @ Wyoming, TCU, @ CSU, UNLV, Utah) is 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 29-29 tie at the half marks the first time this year BYU has entered the break even on the scoreboard. The Cougars are 20-2 when leading at the half this year and 1-4 when trailing or tied.

-- 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 18 contests.

-- Lee Cummard scored a team-high 20 points against SDSU. BYU has had at least one player top the 20-point mark in each of the last eight games and has had two players score at least 20 points in the same game in three of the last seven contests.

-- Jonathan Tavernari made two triples against the Aztecs. He needs to make five more three-pointers to tie the single-season BYU record of 74 set by Andy Toolson in 1990.

-- 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 21 assists in the last seven contests (3.0 apg), including two against SDSU.

-- Sam Burgess made 4-of-5 shots, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, against the Aztecs. He finished with 11 points, joining Cummard (20) and Tavernari (12) in double figures.

-- Even with the loss, BYU is off to its best record since 1992-93 when the Cougars were 22-5 after 27 games. Only four teams at BYU have ever achieved a record better than the Cougars' current 21-6 record.

-- San Diego State scored the first seven points of the game and the Cougars did not score their first point of the game until the 15:43 mark of the first half.

-- Lorrenzo Wade and Billy White combined to score San Diego State's first 15 points of the game. Wade finished with 28 points, the most points scored against the Cougars this season (previous was 26 points by Jeff Teague of Wake Forest).

-- The Aztecs missed their first eight three-point field goal attempts of the game, until Kelvin Davis' three with about 13:45 to play in the second half.

-- The game had two ties and eight lead changes. BYU's biggest lead was seven points at 46-39. The Cougars led 57-51, when the Aztecs used a 12-4 run to regain the lead. BYU lost for the first time in 22 games this year when leading at the five-minute mark of the second half.

COUGAR START AMONG THE TOP IN SCHOOL HISTORY

BYU has a 21-6 record through 27 games this year. In the 105-year history of BYU men's basketball, only four teams earned a better record than this year's Cougar squad. (SEE CHART IN PDF VERSION).

20-WIN SEASONS

At 21-6 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 33-13 and SDSU's Steve Fisher is 31-14. In addition to this year's 10-2 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.

COUGARS BY THE NUMBERS

1 Rank of BYU coach Dave Rose's 66 wins and .733 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 (71-21 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), scoring (3rd), free-throw percentage (3rd), offensive rebounds (5th), total rebounds (7th), assists (7th) and defensive rebounds (T7th).

6 Number of treys Jonathan Tavernari needs to surpass Andy Toolson's single-season school record of 74 triples. With 69 threes, Tavernari is currently in third place on the list. Nick Sanderson is second 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 Number of games in which Lee Cummard has been perfect from the free-throw line out of 20 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.

18 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 27 games this season while racking up halftime leads in 22 of 27 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.

24 Number of games this season Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer. Sam Burgess has made a trey in 21 of 27 outings this year while Jimmer Fredette has done so in 19 games.

27 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 27 games after not starting last year in his first season in Provo.

40 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 1,245 career points.

64.0 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) along with UNLV.

95.5 Percent of games BYU has won this year when leading with five minutes remaining. The Cougars are 21-1 when ahead on the scoreboard at the 5-minute mark. BYU held a one-point lead at SDSU when the clock ticked 5:00 to go before Lorrenzo Wade hit a jumper 3 seconds later to give the Aztecs the advangage. SDSU held on for the win.

DEFENDING THE HOME COURT

With their 67-59 win over Utah in the Marriott Center last Wednesday, the Cougars set a new program record with 45 straight home victories. The streak also ranks first nationally after No. 1 Memphis lost on Saturday to No. 2 Tennessee. 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.

ON THE ROAD

The Cougars are 6-4 in true road games this year. With a 1-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is 7-6 this season away from home with a 4-2 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.

BOUNCEBACK COUGARS

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. 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 have tied an opponent on the boards twice this year, both times against SDSU. BYU is besting opponents by an average of 6.1 boards per contest, leading the league in rebounding margin and rebound average (40.1). 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.

BALANCED SCORING

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 14 times.

FOUR FRESHMEN

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 12th among MWC players in conference play at 5.5 rpg. He has started six games. Fredette is fifth on the team in scoring with 6.9 ppg and third in steals with 22. Loyd is averaging 8.6 minutes per game and has posted 30 assists on the year. Martineau has 14 assists to 8 turnovers in his 17 games played.

FROM DOWNTOWN

After setting a program record with 256 three-pointers last season, the Cougars could break that record this year having already made 220 treys so far. BYU has posted double-digit triples in a game nine times this year, including 10 at SDSU, 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 25 of 27 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 24 of 27 games this season while Sam Burgess has done so in 21 contests and Jimmer Fredette in 19. 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 69 treys so far this season.

BYU IN THE RANKINGS

The Cougars re-entered the national rankings this week, being ranked No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. BYU previously 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.

FOR STARTERS

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 66-24 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 (71-21 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06. (including games as of Feb. 24)

First-Year Coaches in 2005-06 By Wins

Coach, School Record Percentage

Dave Rose, BYU 66-24 .733

Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss* 60-32 .652

*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 71-21 .772

Dave Rose, BYU 66-24 .733

Tim Floyd, USC 62-34 .646

PLAISTED, GIDDENS SHARE MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS

LEE CUMMARD (FEB. 25) -- Junior guard Lee Cummard led BYU in nearly every category last week. He was the top Cougar in scoring (17.0 ppg), rebounds (8.0 rpg), assists (3.0 apg), blocks (1.5 bpg), field-goal percentage (.647) and three-point percentage (.667) while also making 80 percent of his free throws. In BYU's two games, he connected on 11-of-17 shots from the floor, including 4-fo-6 treys, and converted 8-of-10 attempts from the charity stripe. He recorded his third double-double game of the year with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds against Utah on Wednesday. He added a team-best three blocks along with two assists and one steal to help BYU extend its homecourt victory streak to a school record 45 games. Cummard scored a team-high 20 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 3-for-4 three-point accuracy, at San Diego State on Saturday. He also shared game-high honors with four assists while adding five rebounds for the Cougars. He has scored 20 or more points in five of the last eight games.

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 1,245 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 640 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 (8.4), third in field-goal shooting among players with at least 60 attempts (.435) and third in assists (2.0) while ranking second on the team in three-point shooting (.406). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 4.8 ppg while averaging 16.4 more minutes per game. His 11 double-figure scoring games this year has more than doubled last year's mark of four double-digit scoring outings. Burgess has started all 27 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.

.800 CLUB

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, .847; 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 20 games he has gone to the line this year.

WINNING BIG

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.

VICTORY STREAK

BYU had a season-best nine-game win streak end with a loss at SDSU Saturday. The victories were 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 was tied for seventh nationally and is the Cougars' longest victory string since also winning nine straight in the 2003-04 season.

THIS YEAR'S LOSSES

BYU's six 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, at UNLV and at SDSU. 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 (26-2), Michigan State (22-5), Boise State (20-7), Wake Forest (16-9) and UNLV (20-6) have a combined 104-29 record for a .782 winning percentage as of games played Feb. 24. Wake Forest recently recorded a 13-point home win over then-No. 2 Duke.

FROM THE FIELD

BYU is shooting 46.1 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 38.8 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. 3, respectively, among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 57.8 and 53.2 percent and 25th and 62nd, respectively, in the national rankings as of Feb. 24.

HALFTIME REPORT

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 7.7 points in the first period of play while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of nine of 27 games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 22 of 27 games while holding opponents under 30 points 18 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 +3.9 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 six of BYU's losses on the season have come when the Cougars have been outscored in the paint.

MAKING THE MOST OF THE MISCUE

Despite recording a -0.6 turnover margin with their opponents on the year, the Cougars have outscored foes in points off of turnovers in 19 games this season, posting a +4.2 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 19 games, equaled them three times and been outpaced only five times. The Cougars average 4.5 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 eight of the last 16 games after seven straight contests with a scoring deficit off the bench. On the whole, the BYU bench has outscored opponent reserves by 0.5 points per game this season, tallying 519 points or 19.2 points per game. BYU's leading scorer off the bench is freshman guard Jimmer Fredette, who is averaging 6.9 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 27 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, vs. Utah when the Cougar game-high lead was eight points and at SDSU when BYU led by seven points. The Cougars have led wire-to-wire in 12 games this season.

SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE MWC ...

-- BYU has had seven 20-win seasons in the first nine seasons, leading all MWC schools. Utah and UNLV have five while Air Force, Wyoming, San Diego State and New Mexico have each had three to date.

-- BYU has had the league's top RPI four times, including this season. BYU's RPI has 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 is tied with UNLV for 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 32 and New Mexico at 43.

AttachmentSize
GAME-28---BYU-Plays-at-New-Mexico-Tuesday.pdf849.16 KB