BYU head coach Dave Rose has the Cougars just one win away from clinching at least a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season title. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
BYU GAME #28 FAST FACTS
No. 21 BYU COUGARS (21-6, 11-2 MWC)
SAN DIEGO ST. AZTECS (19-8, 8-5 MWC)
Saturday, Feb. 24, 2007
Cox Arena (12,414)
San Diego, Calif.
3 p.m. PT (4 p.m. MT)
BYU, Dave Rose (41-15 in second season; same overall)
SDSU, Steve Fisher (124-114 in eighth season; 308-196 in 16 years overall)
BYU leads, 40-19, after winning the first meeting this year in Provo, 80-58, on Jan. 6
CSTV (Tom Hart - play-by-play, Steve Lappas - color). Also available online through CSTV's broadband pay-per-view service, which can be purchased at www.CSTVPPV.com.
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (2 p.m. PT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)
Live video pay-per-view at www.cstvppv.com
Live audio and live stats links are available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
NO. 21 BYU PLAYS AT SAN DIEGO STATE SATURDAY
No. 21 BYU (21-6, 11-2 MWC) will play at San Diego State (19-8, 8-5 MWC) Saturday at 3 p.m. PT (4 p.m. MT) in Cox Arena. The game will be televised nationally on CSTV and can be heard live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 2 p.m. PT on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the Internet at KSL.com. The first-place Cougars have won eight straight and are coming off a 76-67 win over Colorado State on Wednesday while winning 16 of their last 18 games. The Aztecs have won six of their last seven contests including an 81-74 overtime victory at New Mexico on Tuesday.
BYU will continue its final road swing of the year playing at No. 13 Air Force on Tuesday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on CSTV.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- BYU entered the national rankings Monday for the first time since 1993. BYU is ranked No. 21 in the AP Top 25 rankings and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. BYU was last ranked on March 8, 1993 at No. 25 (AP).
-- BYU has won its last eight games, its longest win streak since the 2003-04 season and the 10th longest current win streak in the nation, including road wins at TCU, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming and home victories over then-No. 13 Air Force, then-No. 25 UNLV, New Mexico and Colorado State. With 30 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are tied for first with Air Force for the nation's longest active home winning streak.
-- MWC Player of the Year candidate Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (17.4) and is second on the team in rebounding (6.3). 2006 Freshman All-American Trent Plaisted leads the Cougars on the boards (6.4) and is second in scoring (12.3), while senior Austin Ainge leads BYU with 4.3 assists per game.
-- The Cougars currently lead the MWC in scoring (78.3), rebounding average (37.6), rebounding margin (+5.8) and assists (16.4) in overall play. In league games, in addition to owning first place in the standings, BYU paces the conference in scoring (80.2), scoring margin (+10.8), field-goal percentage (.516), three-point shooting (.445), assists (17.4) and assist/turnover ratio (1.42).
-- BYU has shot above 50 percent from the floor and above 40 percent from behind the arc in seven of its last nine games.
-- BYU has RPI ratings of 16 and 21 in the various RPI rankings. BYU is ranked No. 9 in the nation in three-point shooting, No. 12 in field goal percentage, No. 21 in scoring, No. 28 in scoring margin and No. 29 in assists.
-- The Cougars are 16-0 at home this season, 5-5 on the road and 0-1 on a neutral court.
LOOKING AT SAN DIEGO STATE
San Diego State (19-8, 8-5 MWC) is the defending Mountain West Conference regular-season and tournament champion, returning four starters and seven lettermen from last year's 24-9 team that earned a 13-3 conference record and an NCAA Tournament berth. The Aztecs began the year with eight straight wins and finished their nonconference schedule with an 11-3 record. After getting off to a slow start in league play at 2-4, SDSU has won six of its last seven games, including an 81-74 overtime win at New Mexico on Tuesday, to improve to fourth place in the standings at 8-5. The Aztecs are 12-2 in Cox Arena this year, including five straight MWC wins since opening league play with a 66-65 home loss to Wyoming. The Aztecs are 5-6 in away games overall, including 3-4 in league, and have a 2-0 neutral-court record. Brandon Heath, the MWC's all-time leader in scoring and steals and reigning MWC Player of the Year, scores 19.1 ppg to pace the Aztecs and rank second in the league. He moved past Michael Cage this year as San Diego State's all-time scoring leader. He adds 3.9 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game and has connected on a team-best 69 threes with 36.5 percent accuracy from behind the arc. Mohamed Abukar (15.3), Lorrenzo Wade (11.1) and Jerome Habel (11.0) also score in double figures for the Aztecs. Point guard Richie Williams dishes out 4.2 assists per game while adding 7.3 ppg and 3.9 rpg. Williams is SDSU's most accurate long-range shooter, going 31-of-62 to make 50 percent of his attempts. The Aztecs share the work on the boards with Habel leading the way at 6.3 rpg, followed by Abukar at 5.8, Wade at 5.4 and Kyle Spain at 4.7. As a team, the Aztecs are averaging 73.2 points on .473 shooting from the floor, .363 on threes and .724 from the line. SDSU is allowing 67.8 points on .424 shooting, including .322 from long range. The Aztecs are winning the battle of the boards 35.1-34.0.
SDSU'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 31 Lorrenzo Wade 6-6 228 So. 11.1 5.4
F 34 Mohamed Abukar 6-10 229 Sr. 15.3 5.8
F 4 Jerome Habel 6-10 200 Jr. 11.0 6.3
G 1 Brandon Heath 6-4 203 Sr. 19.1 3.9
G 3 Richie Williams 5-9 162 So. 7.3 3.9
SDSU'S LAST OUTING -- Aztecs Win In OT At New Mexico
ALBUQUERQUE -- Brandon Heath scored 30 points and Jerome Habel's back-to-back layups in overtime put San Diego State in front for good in an 81-74 win over New Mexico on Tuesday night. New Mexico had a chance to win in regulation, but Chad Toppert missed on a 3-pointer with just over two seconds left. San Diego State couldn't control the rebound and the Lobos got the ball back with half a second left. Guard Darren Prentice found center Aaron Johnson open, but Johnson missed the easy layup. Johnson gave New Mexico its last lead (74-72) with two free throws with 3:40 left in overtime. Habel, who got his first career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, scored inside, then intercepted a New Mexico pass and went in for another layup to make it 76-74. New Mexico's Tony Danridge, who tied his career-high with 24 points, had his short jumper in the lane partially blocked and Heath countered with a 10-foot baseline jumper, his first field goal since the 11:45 mark of the second half. Lobo guard Ryan Kersten had his shot deflected and Heath then added two free throws for a 78-74 lead with 1:21 left. Heath, the all-time leading scorer in San Diego State and Mountain West Conference history, has scored in double figures in 52 straight games. He matched his season-high in scoring. Aztec forward Lorenzo Wade scored 16 points, had 9 rebounds and a career-high 8 assists. New Mexico led 33-24 with 2:22 left in the first half after a 12-2 run, but the Aztecs scored the final nine points. Wade scored seven of the nine, including a 3-pointer with 19 seconds left. Heath found his shooting touch over a 2 1/2 minute early in the second half, during which he hit three 3-pointers, the last one giving the Aztecs a 47-41 lead with 15:58 left. New Mexico steadily cut into the deficit and two free throws by Danridge tied it at 62 with 3:55 left in regulation. A 3-pointer by Richie Williams put the Aztecs up 69-65 with 2:10 left but Danridge got a short jumper to roll in with 37.7 seconds left to put the Lobos up 70-69. San Diego State reserve forward Kyle Spain hit the first of two free throws with 17.1 seconds left for the final point in regulation. Prentice scored 15 points for New Mexico and had 7 assists.
BYU owns a 40-19 advantage over the Aztecs in a series that dates back to 1941 including an 80-58 win in Provo earlier this season. The Cougars are 25-3 in Provo, 15-15 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 13 of the last 19 games and owns a 10-6 advantage since the inception of the MWC, but the Aztecs had won three straight before BYU's win in the season finale between the two teams last year 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 2-1 against the Aztecs.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 40-19
BYU Record in Provo: 25-3
BYU Record in San Diego: 15-15
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-1
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 2-1
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, and 2005-2006)
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 a very, very talented team. Brandon Heath is arguably one of the best players to ever play in our league. Jerome Habel is playing really well for them. They have 5 or 6 guys that are capable of having huge games so we'll have to really prepare for them defensively."
"We played very well when we played them in Provo but that was a long time ago (since Jan. 6). We have our work cut out for us. We need to get ourselves ready to play well."
THIS YEAR AT BYU -- SEASON HIGHS BOOST COUGARS OVER AZTECS
PROVO -- In one of the most physical and intense games of the year, the BYU men's basketball team began Mountain West Conference play Saturday by beating the defending MWC-champion San Diego State Aztecs in the Marriott Center, 80-58. BYU's Rashaun Broadus led all scorers with a season-high 19 points. Lee Cummard had his second double-double in as many games with 16 points, tying a career high, and 11 rebounds. Trent Plaisted finished with 13 points, and Keena Young with 12 points and eight boards. A triple from Broadus gave the Cougars a 5-2 lead at the 17-minute mark and, although the score was tied three more times in the next five minutes, BYU was successful in not allowing SDSU to take the lead for the rest of the game. A shoot-out began with just under 13 minutes to go as BYU senior Mike Rose dropped a three from the wing that was answered by a Richie Williams deep ball of his own. Rose pulled up from the opposite wing on the next possession, and the ball went in and out, but was tipped in by Cummard. Cummard got a steal on the next possession and was fouled hard going up for the fast-break lay-up. The Cougars took a 13-9 lead after he hit both free throws. With the score tied at 13 with 10 minutes to go in the half, Cummard added a three-point bucket to his six rebounds and gave his team a 16-13 lead. He continued his impressive first-half performance with a rebound and a steal on the next two Aztec possessions. Another shot from behind the arc for Cummard spread the Aztec defense, and Broadus was able to hit Fernando Malaman for a bucket underneath to give the Cougars a 25-17 lead with five minutes left in the first half. The BYU lead reached nine at 28-19 with 3:05 to go when Cummard rolled off a Malaman pick on the right wing and knocked down his third three of half. That lead went to 10 on a Balderson free throw and 12 on a left-handed baby hook in the paint from Plaisted. Plaisted ended the half with a tough lay-up, getting bumped and going under the hoop to set the halftime score at 35-23. BYU came out of the break on a roll with free throws from Keena Young as well as a three-pointer and two free throws from Broadus to take the BYU lead to 42-25. That lead went to 44-25 on two more free throws from Young. BYU forced SDSU to run the shot clock to under 10 seconds as Heath attacked the lane and went to the line for two free ones. On the next SDSU possession Heath attacked again but was not as fortunate as Malaman sent Heath's effort back seven feet on a rejection. Following the Malaman rejection, the Aztecs tallied two steals in the next two Cougar possessions and lowered the lead to 11. Cummard proved just as relentless, however, as he hit an 18-footer from the baseline followed by a block on a Heath three-pointer. Plaisted blocked his fifth shot on a Lorrenzo Wade lay-up with just under 13 minutes remaining in the game, and Balderson followed by taking the BYU lead back to 16, 52-36, on a fast-break lay-up. SDSU looked to mount a comeback by getting a steal and lay-up on the full-court press, but Plaisted flushed those dreams with a monster, two-handed throw down on the next possession. The Cougars tied their season-high with nine blocks on yet another Plaisted rejection, taking his career high to six. Broadus went to the line with 7:58 to go in the game and sunk both attempts. BYU's lead reached 18 points with those and went to 20 on a Young tip-in. The real dagger, though, was Austin Ainge's three-point bucket from the left corner that followed, taking the score to 66-43 and capping a 10-0 BYU run. The Cougars opened up their largest lead of the game at 76-51 before sprinting to the 80-58 victory. Heath came into the game scoring 20 points or more in the last four games and more than 10 points in forty straight games. The seven-time MWC Player of the Week and all-time leading scorer for the Aztecs finished the game with 13 points and a season-high six turnovers.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought that this game might have been our best team effort defensively this year. Defensively, we finished really well."
-- "Lee (Cummard) did a great job on defense. He was great. He showed a lot of confidence. It was a great effort."
-- "Tonight was probably Rashaun's (Broadus) best game of the season. He created a great pace. He was great on defense."
San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher
-- "We were not able to have poise when they got a couple runs going. The crowd carried them, and we reacted in a way that carried them."
-- "They gave us a good old-fashioned, back-of-the-shed licking. Some of that was BYU. They're a good team. But some of that was us."
BYU NOTES FROM FIRST OUTING THIS YEAR
-- Individual Career Highs: Lee Cummard - 16 points (tied); Trent Plaisted - 6 blocks.
-- Individual Season Highs: Rashaun Broadus - 19 points.
-- Team Season Highs: 11 blocks.
-- BYU's win over San Diego State extended its home winning streak to 24 games, which is tied for the third-longest active home victory streak in the nation. The Cougars are 10-0 at home this season.
-- The Cougars are also now 5-3 in Mountain West Conference openers, including a 4-1 mark at home and a 3-2 record when opening against SDSU.
-- BYU's 22-point win (80-58) marked its largest margin of victory in MWC play since a 29-point win (82-53) on Jan. 17, 2004 against Colorado State.
-- With six straight victories over Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall and SDSU, the Cougars are enjoying their longest winning streak of the season and have tied their longest victory streak from last year.
-- BYU is now 11-1 when scoring at least 70 points and 10-0 when holding opponents under 70 points.
-- The Cougars are also 11-0 this season when outrebounding their opponents, posting a 43-28 advantage against the Aztecs on the glass.
-- BYU's 25-point lead three times in the second half marked San Diego State's largest deficit of the season, surpassing their 21-point deficit against No. 7 Arizona.
-- With a 35-23 halftime advantage, the Cougars led at the break for the 11th time this season, enjoying their fifth double-digit lead. BYU is now 10-1 when leading at the break.
-- Young's 12 points against the Aztecs marked the 14th time in BYU's 15 games he has scored in double figures.
-- Cummard posted the second double-double of his career and his second straight with 16 points and 11 rebounds against the Aztecs. Cummard had 16 points and 12 rebounds in BYU's last outing against Seton Hall.
-- Cummard also played well defensively, posting three steals and two blocks while holding the Aztecs' leading scorer Brandon Heath, who entered the game second in the MWC averaging 20.3 ppg, to just 13 points.
-- Broadus scored in double figures for the fourth time this season with a season-high 19 points.
-- After scoring just 11 points in BYU's first six games (1.8 ppg), senior Mike Rose has come on strong for the Cougars, scoring 45 points in the last seven games (6.4 ppg), including three against San Diego State.
-- Plaisted posted his 14th and BYU's 23rd dunk of the season at the 11:06 mark in the second half.
-- With the score tied 13-13 at the 10:55 mark of the first half, BYU used a 7-0 run with baskets from Cummard (three-pointer), Broadus and Young to take a 20-13 lead, which the Cougars never relinquished.
LAST YEAR AT SDSU -- AZTECS PROVE TOO MUCH FOR COUGARS
SAN -- The Cougars started strong but could not keep up with the Mountain West Conference's hottest team as BYU fell 88-61 to San Diego State Saturday night in Cox Arena. Keena Young was, once again, a bright spot for the Cougars in his first start of the season as he tied his career high with 16 points on 6-for-8 shooting while contributing a team-high nine rebounds. Young has scored 16 in three of the last five games. Trent Plaisted's scoring troubles on the road came to an end as he reached double figures with 12 points for the first time in MWC road play. Brock Reichner recorded 11 points while adding a career-high six boards. The two teams battled it out in the opening minutes, with a three-pointer from Brock Reichner giving BYU its largest lead of the game at 9-6. From there, the Aztecs went on a 6-0 spurt sparked by Marcus Slaughter to take their first lead of the game at 12-9. Slaughter scored 11 straight for SDSU to keep the Aztecs ahead as BYU continued to play tough and fight for the lead, trailing by just two points at 21-19. However, two consecutive turnovers from Rashaun Broadus bolstered the confidence of the Aztecs and sparked an 8-0 run. Keena Young put a stop to the BYU scoring drought with a jumper at the 5:45 mark but it was not enough to get the Cougars going as SDSU put together an 11-0 run from there to take a 40-21 lead. BYU managed just two baskets in the last 8:19 of the first half as the Aztecs outscored the Cougars 21-4 to take a 42-24 lead into the locker room. BYU came out confident in the second half, having outscored opponents in the second period of play in all but two games this season, and got two quick baskets, including Trent Plaisted's 15th dunk of the season. But the Aztecs were ready for the push and responded accordingly, doubling up the Cougars' makes for the first five minutes of the half to build a 65-39 lead. True freshman Jackson Emery entered the game at the 12:00 minute mark and made an immediate impact with a steal and a three-point make but could not spark BYU at either end of the floor. The Cougars continued struggling to find the hoop and could not stop the 1-2 punch of Slaughter and Brandon Heath, who rank first and third, respectively, in the conference in scoring and combined for 43 points. With the loss, BYU falls to 10-6 on the season and 2-3 in conference play while San Diego State improves to 12-6 overall and takes sole possession of first place in the MWC with a 5-1 record. The Cougars have now lost seven straight league road games dating back to last season.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "This is obviously a setback. But there are times when you get really discouraged with your team and this is not one of them. This team fought hard. We weren't very good tonight, but there's a lot of basketball left to play and this team is going to get better."
San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher
-- "I've been on the other side of a game like this when playing BYU. It can happen. If it happens, it usually happens on your home territory. We just have to keep things up, keep digging, not think that we are better than we really are and should just enjoy this win tonight."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING AT SDSU
-- Keena Young made his first start of the season at San Diego State as BYU coach Dave Rose went with his fifth different starting line-up of the year. Austin Ainge, making his second straight start, Brock Reichner, Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted rounded out the starting five.
-- Individual Career Highs: Keena Young -- 16 points (tied); Brock Reichner -- 6 rebounds.
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Largest Margin of Defeat -- 27; Fewest Field Goals Made -- 22 (tied); Fewest Three-point Field Goals Made -- 5 (tied); Fewest Steals -- 2; Fewest Assists -- 9; Fewest Opponent Turnovers -- 8; Most Opponent Steals -- 13.
-- With the loss, BYU has now lost its last seven Mountain West Conference road games, dating back to Feb. 5, 2005 when the Cougars won at UNLV. BYU has also now lost three straight to the Aztecs and three straight in Cox Arena. The Cougars have only dropped three straight to SDSU once in the history of the series with BYU losing twice in 1941 and then losing the next meeting in 1977.
-- The 27-point loss is BYU's worst loss of the season and its largest margin of defeat since falling by 31 (39-70) at Air Force on Feb. 21, 2005.
-- All six of BYU's losses this season have come when the Cougars trail at the break as BYU is 2-6 when opponents own the halftime advantage. The Cougars' 18-point deficit at SDSU is their second-largest halftime deficit of the year (down 19, 23-42, at Air Force).
-- BYU was outscored in the second half for just the third time this season as the Cougars average 5.6 more points in the second period of play than their opponents. BYU has lost all three games in which they have been outscored in the second half (Loyola Marymount, UNLV, San Diego State).
-- The Cougars came into the game shooting 47.5 percent on the year but have shot below that in every conference game this season. BYU shot above 50 percent in five of its 11 nonconference games.
-- Keena Young has tied his career high with 16 points in three of the last five games.
-- Rashaun Broadus checked into the game with 12:20 left in the first half, his first action since playing at UNLV. Broadus sat out against Wyoming serving a one-game suspension for violating team rules. Broadus finished with two points and two rebounds.
-- Trent Plaisted recorded his 15th dunk of the year at the 18:24 mark of the second half, BYU's 25th slam of the season.
-- True freshman Jackson Emery made an immediate impact upon coming into the game with 12 minutes left in the second half, recording a steal and then draining a three-pointer on the other end. Emery averages 3.3 points in 10.2 minutes per game.
-- After falling behind 9-6 early, the Aztecs went on a 6-0 spurt to take their first lead of the game. Marcus Slaughter scored the last four points of the run and continued his hot shooting from there, scoring 11 straight points for the Aztecs, seven of which came from the free throw line.
-- Down just 21-19, the Cougars allowed San Diego State to go on a 21-4 run to take a 42-24 halftime lead. BYU scored just two baskets in the last 8:18 of the half.
-- The Aztecs went 14-for-16 from the free-throw line in the first half, the most number of free throws BYU opponents have shot and made in the first half this season.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- CUMMARD AND YOUNG LIFT BYU OVER CSU
PROVO -- The No. 21 BYU men's basketball team improved its winning streak to eight games by defeating Colorado State Wednesday night, 76-67, in the Marriott Center. Senior forward Keena Young continued his league MVP campaign as he scored 24 points on 10-of-15 shooting, and Lee Cummard put up 20 points going 10-for-10 from the free-throw line. The Cougars showed the Rams early on how difficult it is to win in the Marriot Center as center Trent Plaisted connected on a three-point play and then put down a two-handed slam that got all 18,767 fans screaming. Plaisted finished the night with eight points and three boards. After CSU center Jason Smith tied the game with an alley-oop dunk, BYU captain Austin Ainge answered with the Cougars' first three-pointer of the game and then two field goals to put the Cougars up 17-12 with 8:25 left in the half. Ainge tied his career high in assists with eight and contributed 11 points on the night. As the Cougars took a nine-point lead on free throws by Cummard, the Rams opened up into a two-three zone to defend BYU's outside shooting attack and Young and Plaisted's inside game. Seeing the zone defense BYU went right at the Rams and connected on seven straight free throws, four from Cummard and three from guard Ben Murdock, to go up 27-20 with 3:37 left in the half. Right when the Rams began to make a run at the Cougars' 27-24 lead, Cummard hit a fade-away jumper and Ainge finished on a transition layup to put BYU's lead back to seven. Young then got hot as he went to work on CSU scoring the last four points of the half and sending the Cougars into the locker room up 37-28. CSU wished Young was done for night the way he ended the first half but he took his hot shooting right into the second half scoring nine of BYU's first 11 points and extending the Cougar lead to 48-35. Young took a short trip to the bench and then came back in and followed up his own miss to keep BYU up by 13. Right when the Cougars thought the game was won at the five-minute mark, CSU opened up into a full-court press that frustrated BYU into two consecutive turnovers and seven straight points for the Rams. The Cougars found their lead reduced to seven until Cummard stole the ball in the open court and took it the distance for a crowd-raising two-handed throwdown.
CSU's Smith answered with a layup to silence the Marriot Center fans but Ainge kept pacing the Cougars to victory as he connected on two free throws the next time down. Jimmy Balderson then took the life out of the Rams and any sort of run they wanted to start as he took a charge. The Rams weren't going to give the Cougars the easy victory as they tried to force BYU to win the game at the free-throw line down the stretch. BYU hit 77 percent of its free throws and eliminated any sort of comeback by CSU, making the game final at 76-67.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought it was a good team win. We defended well, rebounded well and got a good win despite not shooting the ball that well."
-- "A lot has happened since we last played Colorado State. Being able to fight through this and win a complete game is good for our team."
-- "Lee (Cummard) gets himself in position to make big plays. He hit some big free throws in the second half."
-- "You can see improvement in Keena (Young). He is a hard worker. He knows how to attack bigger guys. At times tonight he made some great moves."
Colorado State Head Coach Dale Layer
-- "It was a hard fought game. They're a good team."
-- "Turnovers really killed us. You can't give BYU twenty extra possessions and win here in the Marriott Center."
-- "We're close at pulling these out; that's the good thing about it and the frustrating thing about it."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Lee Cummard -- 20 points, 1.000 free-throw percentage (10-for-10); Austin Ainge - 8 assists (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Lowest three-point percentage - .118 (2-for-17).
-- BYU's win over Colorado State extended its home winning streak to 30 games, which is currently tied for the longest active home victory streak in the nation. The Cougars are 16-0 at home this season and 402-116 (.776) all-time in the Marriott Center.
-- At 11-2 in the MWC, BYU is now just one win away from clinching at least a share of the MWC regular-season crown. The Cougars would win the title outright with two more victories.
-- BYU has now won its last eight straight games, its longest winning streak since 2003-04.
-- With the win against CSU, BYU has now avenged both of its conference losses this season (also UNLV).
-- BYU is now 20-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 17-0 when holding opponents under the 70-point threshold.
-- With a 31-29 rebounding advantage against the Rams, the Cougars are now 20-0 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- With a 36-34 edge in points in the paint and a 15-10 advantage in second-chance points against the Rams, BYU remained undefeated this season when winning those two statistical categories, improving to 16-0 and 18-0, respectively.
-- With a 37-28 advantage at the break, the Cougars enjoyed their 21st halftime lead of the season. Overall, the Cougars are 19-2 when leading at the break, 2-3 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season.
-- Three Cougars scored in double figures against Colorado State, led by Keena Young's 24 points. BYU is 10-2 when led by Young and 10-3 when three players score in double figures. The Cougars are also 18-5 when Young scores in double figures, 8-1 when Austin Ainge scores in double digits (13 points) and 10-2 when Lee Cummard reaches double digits (20 points). BYU is undefeated (5-0) in league play when Ainge reaches double digits.
-- With 24 points against Colorado State, Young has now scored in double figures in 23 of 27 games this season including nine outings -- and five of the last six -- with at least 20 points. BYU is 18-5 when he scores in double figures. After scoring eight points in the first half, Young scored nine of BYU's first 11 points of the second period.
-- With a 10-for-10 night from the free-throw line, Lee Cummard became the first Cougar to go perfect from the charity stripe with a minimum of eight attempts since Keena Young was 8-for-8 on Feb. 8, 2006.
-- BYU's post players, Trent Plaisted and Keena Young, combined to score the Cougars' first 10 points of the game, contributing 6 and 4 points, respectively, until Austin Ainge hit BYU's first three-pointer of the night at the 10:22 mark of the first half.
-- Ainge followed that bomb with back-to-back layins, one on the reverse and the second on a fastbreak opportunity, to score seven straight points for the Cougars and turn a 10-10 tie into a 17-12 BYU lead while sparking a 14-5 Cougar run.
BYU ENTERS NATIONAL RANKINGS
BYU entered the national rankings this week for the first time since 1993. The Cougars are ranked No. 21 in the AP Top 25 Poll and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. BYU was last ranked in the top 25 on March 8, 1993 when the Cougars were No. 25 in the AP Poll. BYU's No. 21 ranking equals its highest ranking achieved during the 1992-93 season. BYU was ranked as high as No. 2 (UPI) and No. 4 (AP) in the 1987-88 season. BYU has been nationally ranked in the AP Poll during 15 seasons starting in 1950-51 when the Cougars won the national title as NIT Champions (unable to determine other seasons when BYU could also have been ranked in other polls due to incomplete in-season historical listings). Three BYU opponents appear in this week's polls as UCLA is ranked No. 4 in both polls, Air Force is ranked No. 13 (ESPN/USA Today) and No. 14 (AP) and UNLV is listed 34th (ESPN/USA Today) and 36th (AP).
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 of the 60 that played at least 27 games during a season earned a better record than this year's Cougar squad (noting that 46 teams did not total 27 games during the season, including the 20-5 NIT Championship team in 1965-66). Four other BYU teams have equaled the current Cougars' 21-6 start. If the Cougars can win their game Saturday at San Diego State, they would own a 28-game record that has been topped by only three other BYU squads and equaled by three others. (SEE CHART AT LEFT).
THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN
With an 11-2 Mountain West Conference record, BYU is just one victory away from securing at least a share of the MWC regular-season title and needs just two wins to bring home the outright league crown for the first time since the 1987-88 season. The Cougars are alone in first place in the second half of MWC play for the first time since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season. Before this year, BYU was last tied for first in 2003 when the Cougars ended the season with a win to tie for first place with Utah at 11-3. BYU also tied for first in 2001.
COACH ROSE OWNS TOP MWC MARK IN HIS TWO SEASONS
With a 23-6 record in Mountain West Conference games since taking the helm of the BYU program for the 2005-06 season, Dave Rose is currently the winningest MWC coach in league play in the past two years. With Air Force's loss at UNLV Tuesday, fellow second-year coach Jeff Bzdelik follows Rose with a 22-8 conference record in his two seasons with the Falcons. In addition to an 11-2 league and 21-6 overall record this year, Rose was named the Mountain West Conference and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year last season after coaching his team to a second-place MWC finish at 12-4 -- one game behind league-champion San Diego State -- while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success that proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.
At 21-6 so far this season, BYU has achieved the program's 30th 20-win season, including two straight for Cougar head coach Dave Rose in his first two seasons at the helm. Last year, the Cougars finished 20-9. BYU has averaged 20 wins every 2.6 years (BYU has played 79 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). Rose became the fourth Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first two years, joining G. Ott Romney, Stan Watts and Roger Reid. However, Rose is the first Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first two 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 last year. Both Watts and Reid achieved six 20-win seasons in their BYU coaching careers while Romney posted five and Rose's predecessor, Steve Cleveland, achieved four.
20-Win Seasons at BYU
Stan Watts had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 23 years of coaching
Roger Reid had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
G. Ott Romney had 5 seasons of 20 wins in 9 years of coaching
Steve Cleveland had 4 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Ladell Anderson had 3 season of 20 wins in 6 years of coaching
Frank Arnold had 3 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Dave Rose has 2 seasons of 20 wins in 2 years of coaching
Floyd Millet had 1 season of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
CURRENT COUGARS COULD RANK AMONG BEST EVER IN REGULAR SEASON WINS
This year's BYU team is the 16th Cougar squad to record its 21st win prior to the end of the regular season. With three games left in the regular season, this year's team still has a chance to equal the program-best 24 regular-season victories shared by three teams (1950-51, 1979-80, 1987-88). Only five BYU teams have reached 23 wins prior to postseason (with addition of 1929-30 and 1992-93). (SEE CHART AT LEFT)
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 this year's team. In the prior 19 seasons when this occurred, BYU earned a postseason invite each season, including 16 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 13 of those seasons (not including this year), with the lone exception being last year's 20-7 regular-season team that fell to 20-8 with a loss at the MWC Tournament before receiving an NIT invitation. Including this 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 the prior 10 years.
VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
The Cougars' victory over then-No. 25 UNLV marked the second consecutive BYU win over a ranked team in the Marriott Center, including a win over then-No. 13 Air Force the week before. Prior to that, BYU had not defeated a ranked opponent since beating then-No. 25 Oklahoma State 76-71 on Dec. 6, 2003 in Salt Lake City. BYU hadn't beaten a ranked team in the Marriott Center since Feb. 1, 1992 with an 80-63 win over No. 19 UTEP. When BYU plays at No. 13 Air Force on Tuesday, the Cougars will be the only team in the MWC to play five games against ranked teams this year. The Cougars are 2-2 in their prior games vs. ranked teams with a 90-63 win over UNLV, a 61-52 win over Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State.
BYU has won four of its 13 MWC games this season by more than 20 points, including a +27 (90-63) margin of victory against UNLV on Feb. 3, a 21-point (70-49) win at New Mexico on Jan. 24, a 24-point (89-65) win over TCU on Jan. 10 and a 22-point victory (80-58) over San Diego State to open MWC play. The UNLV win marked BYU's largest margin of victory in MWC play since a 29-point win (82-53) on Jan. 17, 2004 against Colorado State. BYU has won just 10 games by 20 points or more in MWC play since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season.
BYU is the only MWC team that has not had a game decided by three points or less this season. The Cougars have had some close games, however, as three games have required overtime this year. BYU is 2-1 in overtime with an 86-77 loss at Lamar on Dec. 13 and an 84-78 win against Idaho State on Nov. 18 and a 73-69 victory at Weber State on Dec. 2. This is the first season since 2001-02 that BYU has played multiple extra period games in one year (BYU was 0-3 in overtime that season). The Cougars' loss at Lamar ended a five-game overtime winning streak dating back to March 14, 2003, an 86-80 setback against Colorado State at the MWC Tournament. BYU is 50-45 (.526) all-time when playing past regulation.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 30 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are currently tied for the nation's longest active home victory streak. BYU has won its first 16 home games this season after going 14-1 at home last year. BYU's last home loss was in last year's season opener against Loyola Marymount. BYU has since won 15 straight over nonconference opponents and has won 15 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU is 402-116 (.776) all-time in the Marriott Center. The Cougars' longest home winning streak came from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003 when BYU won 44 straight in the Marriott Center.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (through games played Feb. 21, 2007)
Wins Team This year Next home game
30 Air Force 13-0 Feb. 27 vs. BYU
30 BYU 16-0 March 3 vs. Utah
28 Memphis 16-0 Feb. 25 vs. Houston
ON THE ROAD
BYU has won four straight games on the road including wins at TCU (85-72), at New Mexico (70-49), at Utah (76-66) and at Wyoming (77-73). The Cougars' win in the Huntsman Center was their first since 1994. BYU is 5-5 on the road this year and 4-2 in conference play with a season-opening loss at then-No. 5 UCLA, a Nov. 29 setback at Boise State, an overtime win at Weber State, an overtime defeat at Lamar and league losses at UNLV and at CSU. With two road contests left, the Cougars have a chance to record a winning record away from the Marriott Center for the first time since going 6-5 on the road in 2002-03. The Cougars lost their only neutral court game so far this season with a loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. BYU finished last year 6-8 away from home, including a 4-4 mark during MWC play.
BYU has won its last eight games overall with victories over New Mexico (twice), Air Force, Utah, UNLV, Wyoming, TCU and Colorado State, marking its longest victory streak since winning nine straight during the 2003-04 season and ranking tied for 10th nationally. The Cougars also won seven straight this year over Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall, San Diego State and TCU. Before coming to an end with a loss at UNLV on Jan. 13, that streak was tied for the 12th-longest active victory streak in the nation.
TRUE BLUE FANS
BYU is averaging 11,402 fans this season, including the 23rd largest crowd in the history of the Marriott Center with 22,700 fans against then-No. 13 Air Force. The Cougars are second in the MWC in attendance behind New Mexico's 12,831 average. BYU has consistently ranked among the national attendance leaders. The Cougars averaged 11,069 fans in 2005-06, outdrawing the regular-season conference champions of 27 out of 31 conferences as well as over half of the teams in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big East and Southeastern Conferences and all but Arizona in the Pacific-10 Conference. BYU also averaged more fans than 12 of the 16 NCAA Sweet Sixteen participants, including all of the Final Four teams.
Coach Rose has used four different starting lineups this year. Sophomore Lee Cummard and senior Keena Young have started every game this season, while sophomore Trent Plaisted has missed just one start because of injury. Jimmy Balderson has made 24 starts. Rashaun Broadus started 11 of 15 games before being suspended for the season. Austin Ainge has started 19 games.
BYU ranks ninth nationally in three-point shooting as of the last rankings. BYU set a school record with 15 three-pointers against UNLV on .682 (15-for-22) shooting from long range, the third time this season the Cougars have shot above .600 from downtown and the sixth time BYU has made a least 10 treys in a game. BYU has shot above 40 percent from behind the arc 13 times on the season, including seven of the last nine games. The Cougars lead the league in three-point percentage (.445) in MWC play. Cougar players rank first (Austin Ainge - .512) and second (Mike Rose - .476) in the league in three-point shooting percentage in MWC action. Rose tied the BYU individual record he set in 2003 with eight triples against UNLV.
BOUNCE BACK COUGARS
The Cougars have bounced back with wins after five of their six losses this season, including their current streak of eight wins after losing at Colorado State, including a 76-67 win on Wednesday to avenge the earlier loss to the Rams. After suffering its first back-to-back regular-season losses of the Dave Rose era with defeats vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar, BYU responded with seven straight wins. Last year with its 20-9 overall record, BYU suffered consecutive defeats only once -- against Utah in the Mountain West Conference Tournament and at Houston in the NIT in the last two games of the year, having bounced back from each prior loss with a victory.
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
This year the Cougars are scoring an MWC-leading 78.3 points and allowing 68.0 points. BYU is 17-0 when opponents score less than 70 points and 4-6 when they score 70 or more. BYU is 20-3 when it scores 70 or more points (exception at Lamar, at UNLV and at CSU) and 1-3 when scoring less than 70. The Cougars are also 10-0 this season when scoring at least 80 points. With its current scoring average, BYU is on pace to have its highest scoring output since 1996 (82.3 ppg) and its highest scoring margin since 1992 (+10.6).
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU is 20-0 this season when outrebounding its opponents and 1-6 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars lead the MWC in rebounding average (37.6) and rebounding margin (+5.8). BYU posted its largest margin of the season with a +22 (42-20) mark against then-No. 13 Air Force. Sophomore Trent Plaisted is fifth on the glass at 6.4 rpg while senior Keena Young is tied for sixth at 6.3 rpg. The Cougars recorded back-to-back season-high efforts of 52 rebounds vs. Oral Roberts and 55 against Seton Hall in the BYU Holiday Classic. BYU outrebounded the Pirates 55-34 as four Cougars had nine or more rebounds (Cummard 12, Young, Plaisted and Ainge 9). Cummard and Ainge set new career highs.
PLAYER OF THE YEAR CALIBER - KEENA YOUNG
Senior forward Keena Young has proven to be one of the top players in the Mountain West Conference this season. A consistent scoring threat and solid all-around performer for the Cougars, he is currently tied for third in the MWC in scoring (18.2) in league games while ranking sixth in field-goal percentage (.557) and ninth in free-throw percentage (.797). He has scored in double figures in 23 out of 27 games this year. He leads BYU in scoring overall (17.4), which ranks fourth among MWC players, and is second in rebounding (6.3), tied for sixth in the MWC. He is also fifth in the league in field-goal percentage (.560) and ninth in free-throw percentage (.805). The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring 12 times and rebounding 10 times, including his career-high 16-rebound performance vs. Oral Roberts for his fourth double-double of the season (21 points). He posted a career-high 29 points in each of his games against Wyoming this season (most since Dec. 6, 2003; Araujo - 32). He has scored at least 20 points in eight games, including five of the last six, averaging 21.8 ppg during that stretch.
VETERAN LEADERSHIP AT THE POINT - AUSTIN AINGE
Senior Austin Ainge is averaging a team-best 4.30 assists, fifth in the MWC, while leading the conference with a 2.11 assist/turnover ratio. He is averaging 5.1 apg in league play (2nd) while leading the conference with .512 shooting from three-point range and a 2.36 assist/turnover ratio. Ainge scored 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, against then-No. 25 UNLV while adding four assists and four rebounds. He posted a season-high 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field, including a 5-for-7 mark from three-point range, to go along with six assists against TCU. He totaled 16 points with a career-best nine rebounds off the bench against Seton Hall. His 14 points -- all in the second half -- against Boise State fueled BYU's furious comeback attempt. He has tied his career high with eight assists three times in the last eight games (at UNM, at Utah, vs. CSU).
DEFENSE, OFFENSE, DOING IT ALL - LEE CUMMARD
Sophomore Lee Cummard contributes across the box score and on the defensive end of the floor for BYU. On the year, Cummard averages 9.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocks while shooting .557 from the floor, .467 on threes and .816 from the line. He ranks among the top 15 in the MWC in six statistical categories overall. In conference action, he is fifth in assist/turnover ratio, (1.63), fourth in shooting (.592), sixth in steals (1.69), eighth in assists (3.00), ninth in blocks (1.38), tenth in defensive rebounds (3.92) and 15th in rebounds (5.4). He has had at least one steal in 22 of 27 games, including a career-high 5 steals against UNLV, and his hit a three-pointer in 22 of 27 games, including a string of 13 straight. He guards the opponent's top perimeter player. Among his defensive highlights was excelling in the tough assignment to guard the MWC's all-time scoring leader and reigning MVP Brandon Heath of San Diego State. He held Heath to season-low-tying 13 points -- well below his MWC No. 2-ranked 20.3 scoring average entering the game -- helping end Heath's string of four straight games with 20 or more points. He held Wyoming's Brandon Ewing, the league's top scorer, to 8 points on 2-of-12 shooting and TCU's Brent Hackett to 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting, while Cummard averaged 13.0 ppg on 77 percent shooting, 6.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.0 bpk and 2.0 spg in those back-to-back road games. He also helped hold Utah State's leading shooter Jaycee Carroll, who ranked 22nd in the nation shooting .629, to just .308 shooting (4-for-13) and 7 points below his average.
SUPER SOPHOMORE - TRENT PLAISTED
Just one year removed from his Freshman All-American campaign, sophomore Trent Plaisted is once again contributing solid play for the Cougars. He is currently second on the team with 12.3 points per game on .545 shooting from the field, ninth in the MWC. He also paces BYU and is fifth in the league with 6.4 rebounds per game while adding 1.30 blocks per game, eighth in the conference. Plaisted has scored in double figures in 16 games, helping the Cougars go 13-3 in those contests, while scoring at least 20 points in four outings. He has also reached double-digits on the boards in two games, posting two double-doubles on the year. He has led BYU in rebounds 10 times, scoring six times and assists twice. In league play, Plaisted is fifth in the MWC in field-goal percentage (.583), eighth in blocks (1.46), tied for 11th in rebounds (5.5) and 14th in scoring (13.8).
IT'S A TEAM GAME
BYU has shown balanced play in all aspects of the game this season as eight different Cougars have led the team in each of the three main statistical categories -- points, rebounds and assists -- in its 26 games. Keena Young has led BYU the most in scoring as he has paced the Cougars in 12 games. Young and Trent Plaisted have captained the BYU rebounding effort, leading the team on the boards in 10 games apiece. Austin Ainge is the Cougars' leading assist man with 17 games at the top of the assist category.
ROSE BECOMES EIGHTH COUGAR TO LEAD TEAM IN SCORING
Mike Rose became the eighth Cougar this year to lead the team in scoring during a game when he topped all scorers in BYU's win over then-No. 25 UNLV. Rose scored a career-high 27 points in 21 minutes off the bench to help BYU defeat the nationally ranked Rebels in the Marriott Center. He tied his own school record and equaled the season high by an MWC player this year (UNLV's Kevin Kruger) by making eight treys on 8-of-10 accuracy. His eighth triple also set a new BYU team record of 15 threes in a game.
On the year, BYU averages 37.0 points in the first half and 40.1 points in the second half (and adds another 1.1 to its overall scoring average with overtime points to total 78.3 ppg). BYU outscores its opponents by 6.0 points in the first half, 4.1 points in the second half and 10.3 points overall.
BYU scored more than 50 points in a half for the fourth time this year with its 51-point first half against New Mexico. BYU equaled its highest first-half production with the outburst, matching the 51 points it scored against Western Oregon. The Cougars also scored 51 points in the second half against Western Oregon to total a season-high 102 points for the game. BYU's top scoring half of the year was a 52-point tally in the second half against Wyoming. All four 50-plus point scoring totals have come at home in the Marriott Center. BYU has allowed a 50-point half just once this year when Colorado State outscored the Cougars 53-39 in the second half in Fort Collins to give BYU its last defeat, 90-78, on Jan. 20.
40 OR MORE
BYU has scored 40 or more points in the first half seven times and reached 40 points during the second half of 15 games.
SCORING ON THE ROAD
BYU's top scoring first half on the road this year is 41 points at TCU, followed by 39 points in the first 20 minutes at nationally ranked UCLA and at Colorado Sate. BYU's top scoring second half on the road is 46 points at Wyoming, followed by 44 points at TCU. BYU also topped 40 points in the second half at Boise State (43), at Lamar (42) and at Utah (42). BYU's largest overall output on the road is its 85 points at TCU, followed by 78 points at Colorado State and 76 at Utah.
LEADING/TRAILING AT THE BREAK
BYU has led at the half in 21 of the team's first 27 games, including a double-digit lead 10 times. The Cougars outscore their opponents by an average of 6.0 points in the first period of play. BYU's win over Seton Hall marked the first time the Cougars have won this year after trailing at the break. The second breakthrough after trailing at the break came at Wyoming. BYU's 82-69 loss at UCLA after leading 39-36 at the half marked the first time since the 2004-05 season that BYU has lost when leading at the half. BYU also lost at CSU after leading 39-37 at the break. The Cougars are 19-2 when leading at the half, 2-3 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season.
Including a season-high 58 points in the paint against New Mexico (BYU outscored the Lobos 58-22 inside), BYU has won the points-in-the-paint statistic in 15 games this year, going a perfect 15-0 in those games. Including BYU's wins over Colorado State and Idaho State when the Cougars and their opponents scored the same number of points inside, BYU is 17-0 when not getting outscored in the key. The Cougars have a 4-6 record when they are outproduced in the paint. Thanks to the inside play of Keena Young and Trent Plaisted, BYU is outscoring its opponents by 4.6 points inside on average.
CREATING SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
BYU is 16-1 when creating more points off of turnovers than its opponents. The lone loss in those games was vs. Michigan State when BYU held a 9-6 points-off-of-turnovers advantage. BYU on average is scoring 2.6 more points off of miscues than its opposition. BYU is averaging 13.4 turnovers to its opponents' 14.3.
BYU owns an 18-0 record when generating more second-chance points in a game this year. BYU is 2-5 when it doesn't and 1-1 when the two teams have equaled each other in the category. BYU averages 12.1 offensive rebounds to its opponents' combined 10.6 average and has scored 4.3 more points per game off the offensive glass. Trent Plaisted leads BYU with 2.7 offensive boards per game, followed by Keena Young (2.4).
With its uptempo philosphy, BYU has scored more fastbreak points than its opponents in 18 of 27 games and shared the same tally in four more. The Cougars are 16-2 when scoring more in transition (losses were back-to-back defeats vs. Michigan State and at Lamar) and 3-1 when tying the category. BYU is 2-3 when it has been outpaced on the break.
MOMENTUM OFF THE BENCH
Three-point shooting off the bench has often given BYU momentum this season. Several different Cougars have come off the bench and hit three or more treys in Cougar wins this year. Austin Ainge made three treys against Idaho State and Seton Hall while coming off the bench. Sam Burgess nailed three triples in a win over Portland. Jonathan Tavernari connected six times from long range against TCU and three times at Utah and against Western Oregon to help fuel BYU victories. Mike Rose tied his school record with eight bombs against then-No. 25 UNLV to allow BYU to pull away. He then added four threes at Wyoming for 12 more points off the bench and four threes against New Mexico. BYU's bench has outscored opposing reserves 641-493 this year, giving BYU 5.5 more points of production per game from its second unit. BYU's bench has outscored the opponent bench in 19 of 27 games, going 16-3 in those games.
BYU has enjoyed a double-digit lead in 19 of 27 games this year, including a 20-plus point advantage during nine of those games. The Cougars are 18-1 in games when they have led by 10 or more points with the lone loss being at UNLV where BYU led by 11 in the first half before falling. BYU has trailed by double figures in nine games, including a season-high deficit of 24 points at Boise State. The Cougars fought back and had a chance to win against the Broncos before losing by four points. BYU is 3-6 in games it has trailed by 10 or more points, coming back to gain wins over Oral Roberts, Seton Hall and Wyoming, BYU's largest deficit during its current eight-game victory streak has been six points vs. Air Force and at Wyoming. BYU has led the entire game in five contests (Portland, Southern Utah, Liberty, UNLV in Provo and Colorado State in Provo.)
KEENA YOUNG NAMED MWC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Feb 12)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU senior Keena Young and UNLV senior Joel Anthony were named the Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Co-Players of the Week. This is the second weekly award of the season and career for Young, while Anthony garners his first ever weekly accolade. Young, a 6-6 forward from Beaumont, Texas, led the Cougars to conference road wins at Wyoming (77-73) and TCU (85-72), helping BYU take sole possession of first place in the MWC standings. At Wyoming, Young tied his career-high with 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field, leading all scorers. He scored 19 of his 29 points in the second half, as BYU earned its first road win of the season when trailing at halftime. He also grabbed six rebounds in 32 minutes of action. He followed with a game-high 25 points (8-for-13 from the field) to go along with six boards against the Horned Frogs. He also collected a steal, while shooting 9-of-11 (81.8 percent) from the charity stripe. For the week, Young averaged 27.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 66.7 percent from the floor (18-for-27).
TRENT PLAISTED NAMED MWC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK (JAN 29)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU sophomore Trent Plaisted and UNLV sophomore Wink Adams were named the MWC Co-Players of the Week. This is the second career weekly award for Plaisted, while Adams collects his first-ever weekly honor. Plaisted, a native of San Antonio, Texas, led BYU to a 2-0 conference record, including a road win at New Mexico (70-49) and an upset victory over No. 16 Air Force (61-52). At New Mexico, he scored 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field, while also grabbing four rebounds, dishing out three assists and blocking one shot. Against the 16th-ranked Falcons, Plaisted scored a game-high 22 points (9-for-12 from the field) with seven rebounds (six offensive). With 34 seconds remaining in the game and the Cougars up by three points, he knocked down two free throws to put the game away. On the week, Plaisted averaged 16.5 points on 77.8 percent shooting from the field (14-for-18), 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
YOUNG NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK (JAN 2)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU senior Keena Young was named the MWC Player of the Week, marking his first career weekly honor. A 6-6 forward from Beaumont, Texas, Young was named tournament MVP at the BYU Holiday Classic as he led the Cougars to the title with victories over Liberty (73-59), Oral Roberts (72-62) and Seton Hall (77-68). He scored 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting against Liberty to open the Classic and followed with a career-high 16 rebounds to go along with 21 points scored versus Oral Roberts. Against the Golden Eagles, Young sank nine of his 13 shots from the floor, while his 16 rebounds is a team season-best. In the tournament finale against Seton Hall, he scored 18 of his season-high 26 points in the second half, helping BYU overcome an eight-point halftime deficit to claim the tournament crown. Young also added nine rebounds, a season-best tying three assists, while shooting 11-for-18 from the field and hitting all four of his free throw attempts. For the week, Young averaged 21.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 60.5 percent (26-for-43) from the field and 75.0 percent (12-for-16) from the charity stripe.
YOUNG NAMED BYU HOLIDAY CLASSIC MVP
After leading the Cougars to an undefeated 3-0 record in the BYU Holiday Classic, senior co-captain Keena Young was named the Holiday Classic Most Valuable Player. Young led the Cougars to the title with victories over Liberty (73-59), Oral Roberts (72-62) and Seton Hall (77-68). He scored 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting against Liberty to open the Classic and followed with a career-high and team season-best 16 rebounds to go along with 21 points versus Oral Roberts. In the tournament finale against Seton Hall, he scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half, helping BYU overcome an eight-point halftime deficit to claim the tournament crown. For the tournament, Young averaged 21.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 60.5 percent (26-for-43) from the field and 75.0 percent (12-for-16) from the charity stripe.
CUMMARD NAMED TO BYU HOLIDAY CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Lee Cummard was named to the BYU Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team after recording his first career double-double with career highs of 16 points and 12 rebounds in 34 minutes vs. Seton Hall. He was also 6-of-9 from the floor, 2-for-2 on threes and 2-for-2 from the line. He came one rebound away from the first double-double of his career against Oral Roberts with 13 points and a then career-high 9 rebounds to go along with 5 assists. Cummard also dished out 5 assists against Liberty to open the Classic while adding 6 rebounds, 5 points and 1 steal. He averaged 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists for the tournament while shooting .542 from the floor, .444 on threes and a perfect 4-for-4 from the line.
- As BYU's leading scorer in conference play (18.2 ppg), Young has led the Cougars to a solo first-place standing for the first time in the history of the MWC and the program's first national ranking since 1993 while riding an eight-game winning streak
- MWC Co-Player of the Week honoree (Feb. 12)
- Ranks among the top 10 in the MWC in three statistical categories including scoring (tied for third -- 18.2 ppg), field-goal percentage (sixth - .557) and free-throw percentage (ninth - .797) while also coming in tied for 11th in rebounding (5.5)
- Also ranks nationally in field-goal percentage and free-throw percentage
- Has started all 13 conference games, scoring in double figures in 10 of them
- Has topped the 20-point scoring mark six times in league play including 29-point outings in each of BYU's two games against Wyoming, the most points scored by a Cougar since Dec. 6, 2003 (Rafael Araujo -- 32 points)
- Has led BYU in scoring six times and rebounding three times in league action, including posting one double-double
- Led BYU with 21 points at Utah to help the Cougars defeat the Utes in the Huntsman Center for the first time since 1994
- Scored 17 points, including a 5-for-5 night from the free-throw line, while grabbing eight rebounds to help BYU defeat then-No. 13 Air Force in the Marriott Center, the Cougars' first home win over a ranked team since Feb. 1, 1992 and first win over a ranked team since Dec. 6, 2003. He scored a bucket with a foul with 19 seconds remaining to seal the 61-52 BYU win
- Has shot above .600 from the field in conference play five times, including a .714 (10-for-14) night at Wyoming
- With an 11-for-12 performance from the free-throw line against Wyoming, he became the first Cougar to make double-digit free throws since Mike Hall went 10-for-10 on Feb. 17, 2004
- His 11 field goals made against New Mexico is tied for first in MWC play
- League season highs of 29 points (also career high), 11 field goals made (tied career high), .714 field-goal percentage, 11 free throws made (also career high), 1.000 free-throw percentage (four times; also career high), 10 rebounds, three assists, one block, two steals and 35 minutes
- Has helped the Cougars to a solo first-place standing for the first time in the history of the MWC and the program's first national ranking since 1993 while riding an eight-game winning streak
- Contributes across the box score for BYU, earning stats in every category on a regular basis
- Ranks among the top 10 in the MWC in six statistical categories including field-goal percentage (fourth - .592), assists (eighth -- 3.00), steals (sixth -- 1.69), blocks (ninth -- 1.38), assist/turnover ratio (fifth -- 1.63) and defensive rebounds (10th -- 3.92) while ranking 15th in rebounds (5.4)
- Has started all 13 conference games
- Has scored in double figures five times in MWC play while averaging 8.5 ppg despite playing injured during a six-game stretch
- Has led BYU in scoring once, rebounds four times, assists four times, steals eight times and blocks seven times in league play
- Made a string of 11 straight shots, including five three-pointers, during a four-game stretch
- Posted just the second double-double of his career with 16 points and 11 rebounds in BYU's conference opener against San Diego State
- Has hit a three-pointer in 22 of 27 games this year, including nine league games, and has notched at least one steal in 22 of 27 games, including 10 MWC contests and a career-high five takeaways in BYU's win over then-No. 25 UNLV
- Scored a career-high 20 points against Colorado State on 5-for-7 shooting from the field and a perfect 10-for-10 mark from the free-throw line, becoming the first Cougar to shoot 100 percent from the charity stripe since Keena Young on Feb. 8, 2006 (minimum eight attempts)
- Often called upon to guard the opponent's top perimeter player. His defensive highlights include holding the MWC's all-time leading scorer and reigning MVP Brandon Heath of SDSU to a season-low-tying 13 points -- well below his scoring average -- while ending Heath's string of four straight 20-point games in BYU's league opener
- In back-to-back road games, he held Wyoming's Brandon Ewing, the league's top scorer, to just eight points on 2-for-12 shooting and TCU's Brent Hackett to six points on 2-of-7 shooting while Cummard averaged 13.0 ppg on 77 percent shooting, 6.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.0 bpg and 2.0 spg for the week
- League season highs of 20 points (also career high), seven field goals made (also career high), .778 field-goal percentage (minimum four field goals made; has shot 1.000 four times in league play, going 3-for-3 three times), four three-pointers made (also career high), 1.000 three-point field-goal percentage (four times in league play), 11 rebounds, five assists (tied career high), three blocks (three times; also career high), five steals (also career high) and 37 minutes (three times; also career high)
- As BYU's leading rebounder and second-leading scorer in conference play (5.5 rpg, 12.3 ppg), Plaisted has led the Cougars to a solo first-place standing for the first time in the history of the MWC and the program's first national ranking since 1993 while riding an eight-game winning streak.
- MWC Co-Player of the Week honoree (Jan. 29)
- Ranks among the top 15 in the MWC in five statistical categories in league play including field-goal percentage (fifth -- .583), blocks (eighth -- 1.46), offensive rebounds (tied for eighth -- 2.46), rebounding (tied for 13th -- 5.5 rpg) and scoring (14th -- 13.3 ppg)
- Has started all 13 conference games, scoring in double figures in nine of them
- Has topped the 20-point scoring mark twice in league action, including a career-high 27 points at Colorado State
- Has led BYU in scoring twice, rebounds four times and blocks eight times in MWC play
- His 11 field goals made at Colorado State is tied for first in MWC play and his six blocked shots against San Diego State is tied for third
- His six blocked shots also set an MWC sophomore record in league games
- Has shot above 60 percent nine times in conference action, including five outings above 70 percent
- Has recorded 18 dunks in MWC play and 32 on the season
- His play on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor has helped BYU win the battle in the paint in 15 games this season and go 15-0 in those games. The Cougars outscore their opponents by an average of 4.6 ppg inside
- Leads BYU with 2.7 offensive rebounds per game, helping the Cougars record more second-chance points than their opponents in 18 games (3.3 ppg) and go 18-0 in those contests
- Went 9-for-12 from the field to score 22 points while adding seven rebounds, 1 assist and one block in BYU's in over then-No. 13 Air Force in the Marriott Center, the Cougars' first home win over a ranked team since Feb. 1, 1992 and first win over a ranked team since Dec. 6, 2003. He drained two free throws with 35 seconds left in the game to give BYU a 56-51 lead
- League season highs of 27 points (also career high), 11 field goals made (also career high), .833 field-goal percentage (minimum four attempts; has also gone 2-for-2 once), nine rebounds (twice), four assists, six blocks (also career high) and 37 minutes (tied career high)
- As BYU's leading assist man in conference play (5.08 apg), Ainge has helped the Cougars to a solo first-place standing for the first time in the history of the MWC and the program's first national ranking since 1993 while riding an eight-game winning streak.
- Took over the starting point guard role after the suspension of Rashaun Broadus following BYU's league opener, starting the last 12 games
- Leads the MWC in both three-point field-goal percentage (.512) and assist/turnover ratio (2.36) in league play while ranking second in assists (5.08 apg) and 12th in three-pointers made (1.62 per game)
- Has scored in double figures five times, leading BYU in scoring once, while averaging 8.5 ppg
- Has led BYU in assists nine times in league play, dishing out at least three assists in each MWC game he has started
- Has shot at least 50 percent from the floor in seven contests, topping the .700 mark three times
- Has shot at least 50 percent from three-point range eight times, helping BYU lead the league in that category
- Tied his career high with eight assists while helping BYU record a season-low seven turnovers (Ainge -- 2) at Utah in the Cougars' first win at the Huntsman Center since 1994
- In his first outing after taking over the starting point guard spot, Ainge score 20 points against TCU on 7-for-9 (.778) shooting from the field, including 5-of-7 (.714) from three-point range, while adding six assists, four rebounds and 1 steal
- Scored 17 points on 6-of-7 (.857) shooting from the field and a 3-for-4 (.750) efficiency from three-point range to go along with four assists and four rebounds in BYU's win over then-No. 25 UNLV
- League season highs of 20 points, seven field goals made, .857 field-goal percentage, five three-pointers made (tied career high), .750 three-point field-goal percentage (minimum two three-pointers made; went 1-for-1 twice in league play), seven free throws made (tied career high), 1.000 free-throw percentage (three times), eight rebounds, eight assists (three times; tied career high), two steals and 36 minutes (twice)
- Has helped the Cougars to a solo first-place standing for the first time in the history of the MWC and the program's first national ranking since 1993 while riding an eight-game winning streak
- Has provided a consistent scoring spark off the bench for BYU in his true freshman campaign
- Has played in all 13 of BYU's league games, averaging 13.8 minutes per game
- Is averaging 7.8 ppg and 2.9 rpg while shooting .529 from the field, .436 on three-pointers and .765 from the free-throw line in MWC play
- Is the top-scoring freshman in the MWC
- Has scored in double figures in four outings, including a career-high 18 points twice
- Has shot .500 or above from the field seven times and from three-point range four times
- Made his first six three-point shots against TCU, tying the BYU record for most consecutive three-pointers made in a single game, before missing his final attempt while adding 18 points
- His .857 three-point percentage (6-for-7) against TCU set an MWC freshman record
- Scored 17 points off the bench at Utah on 7-for-12 (.583) shooting from the field to help BYU defeat the Utes in the Huntsman Center for the first time since 1994. He provided a huge spark off the bench for BYU in that game as he entered the contest at the 12:01 mark of the first half and drained two of his first three attempts from three-point range to turn a 17-15 Utah lead into a 21-17 Cougar advantage and then added a layin moments later to score eight straight points for BYU
- Went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 1:20 of the game at Wyoming to help BYU record the 77-73 win
- League season highs of 18 points (twice; also career high), seven field goals made (twice; tied career high), .875 field-goal percentage (also career high), six three-pointers made (also career high), 1.000 three-point field-goal percentage (also career high), six rebounds, two assists, one block, three steals and 24 minutes (also career high)