Game 28 - BYU vs. Utah in MWC Quarterfinals

All-MWC Freshman of the Year Trent Plaisted will make his first appearance at the MWC Tournament Thursday for No. 3 BYU against No. 6 Utah in the Quarterfinals. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

GAME #28 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (20-7, 12-4 MWC)

vs.

UTAH UTES (13-14, 6-10 MWC)

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Pepsi Center (19,099)

Denver, Colo.

10:05 p.m. MST

Coaches:

BYU, Dave Rose (20-7 in first year; same overall)

UTAH, Ray Giacoletti (42-20 in second year; 159-103 in nine years overall)

Series:

Utah leads, 123-118, after the two teams split the season series this year with home wins

TV:

ESPN -- 10 p.m. air time (Dave Pasch, play-by-play, Hubert Davis, game analysis)

Radio:

KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (9 p.m. MST pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)

Web:

Live audio and live stats broadcasts are available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/

BYU FACES UTAH IN QUARTERFINALS OF MWC TOURNAMENT

BYU (20-7, 12-4 MWC) will face Utah (13-14, 6-10 MWC) in the Quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo. on Thursday. The game will tipoff at 10 p.m. on ESPN. The third-seeded Cougars finished league play in a second-place tie with Air Force and split the season series with the Falcons but lost the tiebreak by virtue of splitting the season series with No. 4 seed UNLV while the Falcons swept the Rebels. The Utes are the sixth seed. BYU has won 10 of its last 11 games, including the last six straight, which is tied for eighth in the nation and is the Cougars' longest winning streak since 2003-04, while Utah has lost four of its last five heading into the Tournament. The game can be heard live on KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network, beginning with a 9 p.m. MST pregame show.

UP NEXT

The BYU-Utah winner will face the winner of No. 2 Air Force vs. No. 7 Wyoming in the semifinals Friday at 10 p.m. on ESPN. The Cougars swept the Cowboys during the regular season and split with the Falcons, winning the most recent contest, 65-59, in Provo.

COUGAR QUICK HITS

-- Cougar head coach Dave Rose is 20-7 in his first year at the helm after eight years as BYU's lead assistant and was named the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year.

-- After being picked to finish last in the Mountain West Conference in the league's preseason meda poll, the Cougars earned a tie for second place with Air Force, just one game back of league-champion San Diego State.

-- BYU is 20-7 overall, including 14-1 at home having won 14 straight in the Marriott Center, which is eighth in the nation. The Cougars are 5-6 away and 1-0 at a neutral site. BYU scores an MWC-leading 76.7 ppg and shoots .461 from the field, including .392 from long range, which is third in the league, and .718 from the line. Cougar opponents average 71.4 points on .451 shooting, .361 from three and .698 from the line. BYU pulls down 35.7 rebounds per game, 2.3 more than its opponents. The Cougars dish out 16.1 assists per game, leading the MWC.

-- Redshirt freshman forward/center Trent Plaisted leads BYU in scoring (13.4) followed by senior guard Brock Reichner (10.9). Plaisted is also the Cougars' top rebounder with 6.7 rebounds per game, which is fifth in the MWC, followed by junior forward Keena Young (5.9). Junior point guard Rashaun Broadus is fourth in the MWC in assists (3.7) followed by junior Austin Ainge (2.7), who is 11th. Broadus is second in assist/turnover ratio (1.43).

BYU IN THE MWC TOURNAMENT

IN THE SEVEN YEARS OF THE MWC ...

- BYU has had five 20-win seasons, tied for first among MWC schools with Utah. UNLV has had three, Wyoming three, New Mexico, San Diego State and Air Force two and Colorado State none.

- BYU has had the league's top RPI three times, been second twice and third once. The Cougars are second this year (56) behind Air Force (39) as of the Feb. 27th rankings.

- BYU has played the toughest schedule on average of any team in the MWC (average strength of schedule rating the past six years is 63rd, Utah is next at 70). BYU has had the league's toughest schedule in two of the past three seasons.

- BYU has the second-most overall wins in the seven years of the MWC (137, Utah leads at 154).

- BYU is also second in conference wins (60, Utah has 69).

- BYU has the second-most MWC regular-season titles (two) along with Wyoming (Utah leads with four). BYU is one of six MWC teams to win the MWC Tournament title.

BYU IN THE TOURNAMENT

The Cougars have a 7-5 Mountain West Conference Tournament record. BYU advanced to the finals in the first two years of the MWC Tournament, winning the title over UNM in 2001 after losing to host UNLV in 2000. Overall, BYU has a 19-18 record in conference tournament games, which includes a 12-13 record in WAC tournament games. BYU has won the opening game in four of the last six postseason conference tournaments (including a 90-74 upset over MWC-newcomer TCU in the WAC Tournament in 1999).

MWC TITLE GOES THROUGH BYU

If the six-year history of the Mountain West Tournament, BYU or the team that has knocked the Cougars out of the tournament has won the title. After losing in the title game to host UNLV at the inaugural MWC Tournament in 2000, BYU won the title in 2001. The past four years the Cougars were knocked out by the eventual champion. BYU was defeated by San Diego State in the 2002 quarterfinals before back-to-back semifinal loses to 2003 champion Colorado State and 2004 champion Utah. In 2005, New Mexico went on to win the title after defeating BYU in the quarterfinals.

SIX MWC TOURNAMENTS, SIX DIFFERENT CHAMPIONS

With New Mexico's win in 2005, the MWC Tournament title has been won by a different team each season. The only teams not to win an MWC title are Wyoming and Air Force.

BYU SEEDS AT MWC TOURNAMENT

This season marks the first time that the Cougars have been the No. 3 seed in the Mountain West Conference Tournament. BYU was the No. 7 seed at the MWC Tournament for the first time in 2005. BYU has been the sixth seed once (advanced to the finals in 2000), the fourth seed once (suffering a first-round exit with loss to eventual champion San Diego State in 2002) and the second seed three times (5-2 combined record in 2001, 2003 and 2004, including 2001 title).

RIVALRY CONTINUES AT MWC TOURNAMENT

The Cougars will face in-state rival Utah in the Quarterfinals for the first time in the history of the Mountain West Conference. BYU and Utah split two prior MWC Tournament meetings, both semifinal games. BYU won 58-54 in 2000 but lost 54-51 in 2004. Overall, the Cougars own a 4-3 advantage over the Utes in conference tournament games, including a 3-1 record in the Western Athletic Conference Tournament. BYU defeated Utah 51-49 in overtime on March 9, 1991 to claim the WAC Tournament crown and beat the Utes again on March 13, 1992 in the semifinals of the WAC Tournament enroute to winning the title over UTEP. The Cougars also defeated Utah 96-65 in Salt Lake City in 1994 but lost 81-62 in 1999. The BYU-Utah series ranks 10th in the NCAA record book in terms of most games in a rivalry and is the 11th longest running rivalry dating back to 1909.

FRUITS OF THE SEEDS

In the first six years of the MWC Tournament, the teams with the No. 2 seed boast the best overall record with a 10-4 mark. The No. 1 seeds have gone 7-5. The No. 4 teams have gone 7-6. The No. 6 seeds have a combined 6-5 record, the same mark as their first-round opponent No. 3 seeds. Fifth-seeded teams are 4-5. The teams with the worst seed, No. 8, have a 1-5 record while the No. 7 teams have never won a game, going 0-6. The tournament title has been won by the top seed once (UNLV in 2000); the second seed twice (BYU in 2001 and New Mexico in 2005); the third seed once (Utah in 2004); the fifth seed once (San Diego State in 2002); and the sixth seed once (Colorado State in 2004).

BYU TOURNAMENT TITLES

BYU won the MWC Tournament title in 2001. BYU won WAC Tournament titles in 1991 and 1992. The Cougars' Kevin Nixon hit a dramatic three-quarter-court shot at the buzzer to defeat UTEP, 73-71, in Fort Collins, Colo., for the 1992 title. BYU won its first WAC Tournament title in 1991 with an overtime win over Utah. The Cougars also won the postseason conference playoff series in the Rocky Mountain Conference in 1924 (defeated Colorado College, 2-1) and 1933 (defeated Wyoming, 2-1).

MWC TEAMS IN THE NCAA

In the first six years of the MWC, the then eight members of the conference advanced to the NCAA Tournament at least once each. New Mexico became the final MWC team to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament by winning the 2005 MWC Tournament.

BYU AND THE MWC IN POSTSEASON

BYU has earned an invite to a postseason tournament in five of the first six years of the MWC. Utah is the only MWC school to advance to postseason play each of the prior six seasons. BYU is second to Utah in NCAA appearances since the formation of the MWC (BYU has made three NCAA and two NIT while Utah has made 5 NCAA and one NIT). UNLV has received five invites (one NCAA and four NIT). New Mexico has received four invites (one NCAA, three NIT) while Wyoming has three (one NCAA, two NIT). San Diego State has been twice (one NCAA, one NIT), and Colorado State and Air Force have both been to one NCAA tournament.

MWC POSTSEASON AWARDS

BYU'S ROSE, PLAISTED, YOUNG RECIEVE MWC HONORS; REICHNER, BROADUS EARN HONORABLE MENTION

The Mountain West Conference announced its 2005-06 men's basketball awards Monday. The league's nine men's head coaches along with selected media picked the all-conference teams, as well as the coach, player, freshman and defensive awards. BYU head coach Dave Rose captured Coach of the Year honors, while Brandon Heath of San Diego State was selected as the Player of the Year. Freshman of the Year honors went to Trent Plaisted of BYU, while Wyoming's Justin Williams was named Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year. First-year head coach Dave Rose led BYU to a 20-win season after the Cougars were picked to finish last in the preseason media poll. Rose served as associate head coach for BYU from 2001-05 before assuming head coaching duties prior to the season. Overall, Rose has been with the Cougar basketball program since 1997. Plaisted, a 6-11, forward from San Antonio, Texas, led all freshmen in rebounding (8.0 per game), while helping the Cougars to a second-place finish in the conference. He received National Freshman of the Week awards three times during league play (CBS Sportsline.com, ESPN-Dick Vitale, Rivals.com) and MWC Player of the Week honors once. Regular-season champion San Diego State led the league with three all-conference selections, including unanimous first-team honorees Brandon Heath and Marcus Slaughter. Air Force, BYU, New Mexico and Wyoming also had multiple players chosen with two apiece, while Colorado State, TCU, UNLV and Utah each had one. All institutions were represented on the three all-conference teams for the fourth straight season. Six players were repeat all-conference selections. First-team honorees Heath and Slaughter of San Diego State and Antoine Hood of Air Force were second-team selections last season, while Utah's Bryant Markson and Wyoming's Justin Williams were third-team selections for the second straight year. New Mexico's David Chiotti was a second-team member this after earning third-team honors in 2004-05. Heath, a 6-4, 198-pound junior from Los Angeles, Calif., led the Aztecs to their first outright conference championship since 1978. The only player to score double figures in every MWC game this season, Heath leads the league with 19.5 points per game. He also led the MWC with 54 made three-pointers in league games (3.38 per game). Heath is the only player to be named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week three times this season and was a first-team NABC all-District 13 selection along with teammate Slaughter. Williams set the all-time single-season league mark with 140 blocked shots (5.19 per game) and also holds the career MWC block record with 221. Ranked second nationally in blocks, he set the MWC single-game record with 11 blocks vs. BYU Feb. 18. He is tied for the league lead with 17 double-doubles on the season.

DAVE ROSE -- MWC COACH OF THE YEAR

-- Picked last in MWC preseason, first-year head coach Dave Rose directed BYU to a second-place tie with a a 12-4 record, one game behind preseason favorite and eventual regular-season champion San Diego State.

-- BYU's current 20-7 record is a 12.5-game improvement over last year's 9-21 team. BYU's .741 winning percentage compared to last season's .300 is the most improved in the nation this season and the Cougars' +11 win total from last year is tied for the best in the country.

-- The Cougars have won 10 of their last 11 games while avenging their three prior league losses with wins over MWC champion San Diego State, Air Force and UNLV.

-- Three freshmen, two transfers and one walk-on have accounted for 62.5 percent of team scoring and 54.8 percent of team rebounding.

-- BYU leads the MWC in scoring and assists.

-- Solid coaching in tight games has helped BYU go 10-1 in games decided by nine points or less this season after going 1-10 in games decided by a single digit last year.

-- Rose's .750 MWC winning percentage this season ranks second all-time among MWC coaches, his .741 overall winning percentage is second and his career win percentage (also .741) is second.

TRENT PLAISTED -- MWC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR, ALL-MWC SECOND TEAM

-- As BYU's top scorer (13.2) and rebounder (8.3) in conference play, Plaisted helped last-place-predicted BYU to a second-place tie at 12-4, including 10 wins in the last 11 games.

-- Led BYU in five categories as a freshman: points per game (13.2), rebounds per game (8.0), offensive rebounds (57), defensive rebounds (88) and blocked shots (14).

-- Plaisted ranked in the top 11 among MWC players overall in five categories and in the top 18 in seven categories: 12th in scoring (13.2), fourth in total rebounds (8.0), offensive rebounds (3.06) and defensive rebounds (4.94), 11th in blocked shots (0.88), 16th in free-throw percentage (.648) and 18th in field-goal percentage (.470).

-- Ranked first among freshmen with four double-double games in league play -- the third most double-double games among all MWC players -- averaging 16.8 points and 14.5 rebounds in those games.

-- Ranked first among MWC freshmen in rebounds (8.0), offensive rebounds (3.06) and defensive rebounds (4.94), was second in scoring (13.2), blocked shots (0.88) and field-goal percentage (.474), and third in free-throw percentage (.648).

-- His 211 points was the most ever scored by a freshman center in league games in the history of the MWC, passing Andrew Bogut (182). He ranked second overall in points scored by an MWC freshman in conference action.

-- His 128 rebounds during league games ranks third all-time among MWC freshmen players.

-- Set an MWC freshman record in league play with 18 rebounds at TCU -- the most rebounds ever by a BYU freshman. His 18 rebounds are also tied for fifth all-time among all MWC players during league play and are the most by any Cougar player since Gary Trost had 18 rebounds in 1991.

-- Scored in double figures in 14 of 16 conference games, including the last 13 straight outings.

-- Achieved conference-season highs of 22 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks.

-- Did not miss a free throw in the final two minutes of a game during league play.

KEENA YOUNG -- ALL-MWC THIRD TEAM

-- During league play was BYU's second-leading scorer (12.0) and rebounder (6.3) while leading BYU with a .503 shooting percentage.

-- Ranked in the top 10 among MWC players in four categories and is in the top 20 in seven categories: fifth in offensive rebounds (2.62), seventh in rebounds per game (6.3), eighth in free-throw percentage (.774) and ninth in field-goal percentage (.503). He also ranked 11th in defensive rebounds (3.62), 17th in scoring (12.0) and tied for 19th in blocked shots (0.4).

-- Started the last 12 games in conference play. BYU went 10-2 in those games.

-- Scored in double figures in 11 MWC games, including six of the last seven, while averaging 14.5 points in those seven outings.

-- Recorded two double-doubles in conference play, bringing his career total to three.

-- Was 21-for-24 (.875) from the free-throw line with less than five minutes to play in conference games.

-- Achieved conference-season highs of 20 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and .750 shooting from the field.

BYU IN THE MWC

BALDERSON GARNERS MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS -- MARCH 6

COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU guard Jimmy Balderson was named MWC Player of the Week for the week ending March 6. Coming off the bench, the junior swingman led BYU in scoring (16.5) and tied for team-high honors in rebounds (5.5), while shooting 58.8 percent (10-for-17) from the floor, 80 percent (4-of-5) from three-point range and going a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line. Balderson scored a game-high 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor and a 7-for-7 night at the line, while grabbing a game- and career-best eight rebounds to help BYU hold off New Mexico Saturday. He totaled 15 points and six rebounds in the second half, making two treys and hitting all seven of his free throws. Balderson hit his first two treys of the game to extend his BYU-record nine-straight three-point makes before missing his final attempt. He scored 12 points with three rebounds in BYU's win over CSU, connecting on both trey attempts.

BROADUS SHARES MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS -- FEB. 6

COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU guard Rashaun Broadus and San Diego State guard Brandon Heath were named MWC Co-Players of the Week. Broadus helped the Cougars record wins at New Mexico (77-71) and vs. Air Force (65-59). He scored a game-high 15 points (13 in the second half) and dished out a game-best six assists (zero turnovers) vs. the Lobos. He also added three rebounds as the Cougars ended UNM's 21-game home winning streak, which was the fourth longest in the country. Against Air Force, Broadus scored 13 points, grabbed three rebounds, and added two assists and two steals. He once again came up big in the second half for BYU, scoring 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the field, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc. On the week, Broadus averaged 14.0 points, 4.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. He shot 50.0 percent from the field (10-for-20) and 41.7 percent from three-point range (5-for-12), while tallying an assist-to-turnover ration of 4.0 (eight assists, two turnovers).

PLAISTED NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- JAN. 30

COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU forward/center Trent Plaisted was named MWC Player of the Week for the week ending Jan. 30. A 6-11 freshman from San Antonio, Texas, Plaisted led the Cougars to wins over TCU (89-80 OT) and Colorado State (86-84), establishing career highs in eight different categories in the process. Against TCU, he recorded his second career double-double, scoring a career-high 22 points and pulling down a career-best 16 rebounds. Plaisted knocked down all eight of his shots from the stripe while also tying a personal-best in blocked shots (two). Against Colorado State, he scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds, setting career highs in assists and steals (three each) along the way. For the week, Plaisted averaged 18.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game, while shooting 51.9 percent (14-for-27) from the field and 90.0 percent (9-for-10) from the free-throw stripe.

NCAA SELECTIONS AND THE MWC

The MWC is currently ranked eighth as a league in RPI. Since the first year of the MWC in 1999-2000, the No. 8 RPI conference has received a combined 10 at-large bids to the NCAA Tournament for a combined average of 1.7 at-large bids per season. The MWC has ranked as high as No. 6 in the RPI in 2002-03 and as low as No. 11 last season. The only No. 8-ranked RPI league to not receive an at-large bid was the MWC in 2000-01, when automatic-qualifer BYU was the only team to be invited to the Tournament. In 2002-03 when the MWC earned the No. 6 RPI in the nation, three MWC teams, including two at-large, were invited to the NCAA Tournament. In the last six years, that is the only season the No. 6-rated RPI conference has had less than four teams invited to the Tournament. That season, UNLV had a mid-40s RPI and was not invited after losing to Colorado State in the MWC Tournament title game.

YEAR No. 8-RPI LEAGUE (Teams in NCAA) MWC RPI RANK (Teams in NCAA)

99-00 WAC (2 teams, 1 at-large) MWC No. 9 (2 teams, both at-large)

00-01 MWC (1 team, 0 at-large) same

01-02 C-USA (3 teams, 2 at-large) MWC No. 7 (3 teams, 2 at-large)

02-03 C-USA (4 teams, 3 at-large) MWC No. 6 (3 teams, 2 at-large)

03-04 MWC (3 teams, 2 at-large) same

04-05 MVC (3 teams, 2 at-large) MWC No. 11 (2 teams, 1 at-large)

LOOKING AT UTAH

The Utes are 13-14 this season and finished sixth in the Mountain West Conference with a 6-10 record. With the loss of National Player of the Year Andrew Bogut and All-MWC guard Marc Jackson, Utah returns two starters and six letterwinners from last season's Sweet Sixteen team. Senior forward Bryant Markson, a third-team All-MWC pick, leads the way for the Utes this season averaging 13.3 points per game along with sophomore transfer and honorable-mention All-MWC selection Johnnie Bryant, who also scores 13.3 ppg. Markson is Utah's second-best rebounder with 5.3 per game and leads the team in steals (36). Bryant is Utah's top assist maker with 64 on the year while pulling down 2.8 rpg. Freshman center Luke Nevill, a 7-1 Australian honorable-mention All-MWC pick, pulls down a team-best 6.2 rebounds per contest while scoring 10.7 ppg, third on the team, on .542 shooting from the field. Senior center Chris Jackson is fourth on the team in rebounds with 3.4 per game to go along with his 6.1 ppg on a team-leading .737 field goal percentage. As a team, the Utes average 65.1 ppg while shooting 47.5 percent from the floor, including 38.5 percent from three-point range and 66.5 percent from the free-throw line. Utah opponents are averaging 64.3 ppg on 43.6 percent shooting from the floor, 35.4 percent from beyond the arc and 70.0 percent from the line. Utah leads the MWC in rebounding defense as the Utes pull down 33.2 rebounds per game compared to opponents' 28.6. Last year's MWC Coach of the Year Ray Giacoletti is 42-20 in his second year at Utah and 159-103 in his ninth year overall.

UTAH'S PROBABLE STARTERS

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

F 20 Bryant Markson 6-7 198 Sr. 13.3 5.3

F 21 Shaun Green 6-8 208 Fr. 6.7 3.9

C 50 Luke Nevill 7-1 250 Fr. 10.7 6.2

G 1 Johnnie Bryant 6-0 190 So. 13.3 2.8

G 3 Chris Grant 6-3 200 So. 2.6 2.3

UTAH's LAST OUTING -- Utah Earns Sixth Seed With Win Over Wyoming

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Utah broke a three-game losing streak and withstood a late rally, beating Wyoming 79-70 Saturday night. The Utes (13-14,5-10 Mountain West) were led by sophomore guard Johnnie Bryant with 17 points. Ute senior forward Bryant Markson scored 16 points in his final home game, including 14 in the second half. Freshman point guard Brandon Ewing scored 25 for the Cowboys (12-17,5-10), even though he didn't score his first point until 11:46 remained in the game. Senior center Justin Williams notched a double-double for Wyoming, with 22 points and 10 rebounds. Leading 27-21 at the half, the Utes went on runs of 13-0 and 8-0 in the second half to pull away. The Utes led by as many as 20 before Wyoming went on an 8-0 run thanks in part to back-to-back Ewing 3-pointers to cut the Utah advantage down to 12 with 3:52 to play. The Cowboys cut the lead to five with 50 seconds to play, but Utah made enough free throws down the stretch to halt the rally. Both teams now head to Denver for the Mountain West Conference Tournament next week. With the win, the Utes clinched a sixth seed in the tournament while the Cowboys earned a seven seed.

SERIES NOTES

BYU and Utah will meet for the 242nd time Thursday. The series ranks 10th in the NCAA record book in terms of most games in a rivalry and is the 11th longest running rivalry dating back to 1909. Utah is the opponent that BYU has played the most in its history (241 games) and is BYU's second longest running series (Utah State series began in 1905 and includes 221 games). BYU won the inaugural game, 32-9, in Provo, on Jan. 23, 1909, and won again on March 5 of that year, 40-27, in SLC on its way to winning the first eight games against the Utes. BYU won the first meeting this year in Provo, 72-60, but lost 79-60 in Salt Lake. Last year, the Utes swept the season series with a 14-point victory in Provo and a nine-point win in Salt Lake City. In 2004, BYU won in Provo after the Utes' come-from-behind win in Salt Lake City and then lost to Utah in the semifinals of the MWC Tournament. The Utes' 2003 victory in Provo ended BYU's nation-best 44-game homecourt victory streak. Utah has won nine of the last 13 games since BYU ended a string of 12 straight Utah wins, its longest in the series, with the Cougars' 58-54 win at the 2000 MWC Tournament semifinals. BYU has a 66-47 record in the Marriott Center against the Utes, while Utah holds a 72-46 advantage in the Salt Lake City. Utah has won 12 straight in the Huntsman Center. BYU has a 6-4 edge on neutral floors. This will be the first time BYU has played Utah in the Quarterfinals of the MWC Tournament.

Overall Series Record: Utah leads 123-118

BYU Record in Provo: 66-47

BYU Record in Salt Lake: 46-72

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 6-4

BYU Record under Dave Rose: 1-1

BYU Record in OT Games: 4-6* (1-1 Rd, 2-5 Hm, 1-0 Ntrl)

*1-0 in 2OT, 0-2 in 3OT - all in Provo (83-85)

Last Overtime Game: 1991, won v. Utah @ WAC, 51-49

Longest BYU Win Streak: 8 (1909-12)

Longest Utah Win Streak: 12 (1995-2000)

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 31 two times (1965, 94)

Largest Utah Margin of Victory: 36, 85-49 (1997)

Most Points Scored by BYU: 115 (1966)

Most Points Scored by Utah: 106 two times (1962, 1963)

UTES HOLD RECENT SERIES EDGE

In the 97 years of the BYU-Utah series, this season will mark only the fifth year the Cougars have trailed Utah in the overall series. Utah swept the regular-season series in 2000 to take its first-ever lead (114-113) in the overall series since it began in 1909. BYU evened the series with a 2000 MWC Tournament victory that year. Utah again held a one-game edge (116-115) in 2002 with its win in Salt Lake City. In the second game that year the Cougars staged a second-half comeback from 21 points down to even the series again at 116-116. With its sweep of the season series in 2003, Utah earned its third overall advantage in the long-running series and finished a season with the lead for the first time ever. It was also Utah's first-ever multi-game lead (118-116). Utah had won four out of five meetings over the past two years to earn its largest series lead of five games (122-117) until a BYU win earlier this season. A Utah win in Salt Lake in the second meeting of the year has once again increased the Utes' overall series lead to five games at 123-118.

RECENT SERIES OUTINGS

BYU's FIRST OUTING AGAINST UTAH THIS YEAR -- Broadus, Cougars Run Past Utes

PROVO -- In his first game against in-state rival Utah, Rashaun Broadus scored a team-high 17 points, including a deep three-pointer with one minute left in the game and the shot clock at zero, to lead BYU to a thrilling 72-60 victory over Utah in front of a loud Marriott Center crowd. Broadus added three assists and six rebounds while helping the Cougars control the tempo. BYU Coach Dave Rose said Broadus set the pace for the Cougars. BYU improved to 9-4 (1-1 MWC) with the victory while the Utes dropped to 8-5 (1-1 MWC). The win was the Cougars' first against the Utes since the 2003-2004 season. BYU started slow, hitting only two of its first eight shots in the first four minutes. Broadus was the bright spot early for the Cougars, scoring six early points and making three of his first four shots. Utah only made two of its first six. Jimmy Balderson's three-point play gave BYU an 11-9 lead with 13:39 remaining in the first half. The two teams played back and forth with the Cougars holding onto a one-point lead midway through the first half. Johnnie Bryant scored five consecutive points, leading the Utes on a 5-0 run and giving them a 20-18 lead with 7:50 left in the first period. The Cougars countered with an 11-4 run of their own, including a stretch of seven consecutive points. The run helped BYU regain the lead at 32-28 with 2:30 remaining in the half. Overall, the Cougars finished the half on a 16-6 run to take a 34-30 lead into the break. The second half started much the same way the first ended, with BYU running. The Cougars got an early 11-4 run in the first four minutes to go up 45-36 and force a Utah timeout. Two minutes later, Mike Rose drained a three-pointer to give BYU a 10-point lead. Shaun Green hit threes on consecutive trips for the Utes to cut the lead to six points. Utah used the three-ball to stay in the game, hitting five of its first six treys in the second period. BYU kept the tempo up, bouncing back to open a game-high 11-point lead. But Utah battled back again as Bryant hit a three to cut BYU's lead to 63-58 with under five minutes to play in the game. But BYU's tempo was too much, and it showed as the Cougars ran away at the end of the game. BYU never trailed in the second half. As time wound down, BYU maintained its double-digit lead. Broadus hit the late three to put the finishing touches on the victory.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose:

-- "I'm proud of our players. They responded well to a tough situation. When your team has 14 assists and only seven turnovers and scores 70 points, those are some pretty good numbers."

-- "Rashaun (Broadus) was really big today. He got off to a great start and gave us some energy. He's a good competitor and he showed it today"

-- "In the first half, we got a lot of stops defensively and were able to push the ball and force the action. I think that made them tired and in the second half it paid off."

-- "To beat Utah is big for the confidence of our players. It was important that we were able to protect our home court. It feels good to beat Utah."

-- "Coming in the key to the game was rebounding. When we needed big boards we got big boards and that helped our offense."

Utah Head Coach Ray Giacoletti:

-- "We're going to get better with these kids. It's not going to happen overnight. We'll keep competing and getting better."

-- "Coach Rose has done a heckuva job. I think they have really found roles for their guys and they've really bought into those things. They're pretty darn good."

-- "We need to get better defensively. We missed some critical stops; we're not there yet. There were critical stops we couldn't get tonight offensively too."

BYU NOTES FROM FIRST OUTING

-- Individual Career Highs: Rashaun Broadus -- 8 field goals made, 13 field goals attempted (tied).

-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Fewest Turnovers -- 7 (tied).

-- The Cougars' win over the Utes is their first since March 1, 2004, snapping a three-game Utah winning streak in the series. Utah still holds a slim 122-118 edge in the series, which dates back to 1909.

-- With the win against Utah, BYU is now 8-0 when leading at the half. The Cougars' average halftime lead is 11.8 points, and they have led by double digits six times. Their four-point (34-30) halftime lead against Utah ties their smallest halftime lead of the season (34-30 at Washington State).

-- With 12 points against the Utes, Trent Plaisted bounced back from a five-point performance at Air Force, a season-low, to score in double figures for the 10th time this year.

-- Fernando Malaman recorded his first dunk of the season with 52 seconds left in the first half while Trent Plaisted added his 12th slam of the year 40 seconds into the second half and his 13th at the 9:45 mark. BYU has recorded 22 dunks this season.

-- BYU's Rashaun Broadus came out hot from the field as he scored the Cougars' first six points and 10 of their first 15 on 5-for-6 shooting in the first 10 minutes of the game. Broadus finished the game with a team-leading 17 points.

-- After finding themselves down 24-18 in the first half, the Cougars went on a 14-5 run to take a 32-28 lead. The run featured four free throws by Derek Dawes during the initial 7-0 spurt and six points from Lee Cummard.

-- The Cougars made another offensive push to begin the second half as they outscored the Utes 11-6 in the first 3:31 of play.

-- Mike Rose made an immediate impact in the game after coming off the bench in the second half. Rose made his first two three-point shots, the first to give the Cougars their largest lead of the game up to that point at 48-38 and the second to push BYU's lead back to nine points after Utah had cut the deficit to just six at 52-46. Rose finished the game with eight points and two assists.

-- BYU's largest lead of the game was 12 points at 70-58 and 72-60. Utah's largest lead was six at 24-18. The game featured four lead changes and 15 ties.

BYU's SECOND OUTING AGAINST UTAH THIS YEAR -- Rivalry Game Goes to the Utes

SALT LAKE -- Utah's mastery over BYU in the Huntsman Center continued Wednesday night as the Cougars fell 79-60 to the Utes, snapping their four-game winning streak. BYU had not won in the Huntsman Center since 1994 but was confident going into the game, having won four in a row and beaten Utah in the season's earlier game. However, the Utes showed why a rivalry game is always up for grabs in dropping the Cougars. Brock Reichner, BYU's leading scorer on the road, once again came up big for the Cougars in scoring a game-high 21 points on six three-pointers and three free throws. Trent Plaisted recorded his third double-double of the year with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds, and Keena Young notched 14 points on the night. Only two other Cougars scored as Rashaun Broadus logged eight points and Jimmy Balderson added five. Broadus also took home game-high assist honors with four but BYU shot just 30.0 percent (18-for-60) from the field, its lowest mark of the season. Utah's Bryant Markson recorded the first point of the game on a free throw at the 17:59 mark, but Reichner followed that up with a three-pointer on the other end. From there, the nets heated up with each team scoring on the next four possessions, including another make from long range for BYU's walk-on senior. Plaisted recorded his 25th dunk of the year on the Cougars' next trip down the floor despite being fouled on the way up to give BYU an 11-5 lead after the free-throw make. Utah's Markson tried the same thing on the fastbreak after intercepting a BYU pass but missed the wide-open dunk. However, instead of capitalizing on their 11-5 lead, the Cougars went cold, allowing Utah to put together a 34-13 run to end the half. BYU shot just 32.1 percent from the field in the opening period of play, their second lowest mark of the season, while the Utes shot 51.9 percent to take a 39-24 lead into the locker room. Reichner once again came up big for the Cougars to start the second half, scoring BYU's first nine points of the half on three three-pointers to keep the lead at 15 points with 15 minutes to play. However, Utah drained a three-pointer to tie its largest lead of the game at 51-33 with 14:14 left in the game. But the Cougars toughness prevailed over the next several minutes as BYU put together a 13-4 run to cut the lead to nine points at 55-46 with 6:26 left to play, holding the Utes scoreless from the field for 8:06. Plaisted put the exclamation point on the run with his 26th dunk of the year at the 6:26 mark. However, then it was BYU's turn to go cold from the field as the Cougars could not convert from the floor for 3:10. BYU went 7-for-10 from the free-throw line during that stretch to keep the Utes close at 66-55. But with 2:43 remaining, Utah turned up the heat, outscoring the Cougars 13-5 to end the game and secure the 79-60 win.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose:

-- "We saw a different Utah team tonight from what we saw at our place. It's really tough here. It takes a really good game on the part of the visitors to win here. We wanted to come here and play well, but we didn't."

-- "During that early Utah run, we weren't patient enough. We took some quick shots."

-- "Give our guys credit. They fought to the end. We made some steals and cut the lead but it just wasn't meant to be tonight."

-- "I talked to the team after the game about tomorrow. We have to get ready to play a UNLV team that's ahead of us in the standings. UNLV is a very good defensive team. Their pressure caused us problems in Las Vegas. We will need to execute offensively."

Utah Head Coach Ray Giacoletti:

-- "We talked about on Monday to try and recommit ourselves for 26 more days, and this is a step in the right direction. When you give that much effort, it doesn't matter whether in basketball or whatever in life, believe me I don't have all the answers, you can lie down at night and feel good about yourself. Win, lose or draw, lay it out on the line and give a great effort and they did a great job tonight."

-- "Our defense was pretty solid. Everybody seemed to do a good job with their assignment. It was a pretty good battle, the two big kids. I'm just happy for these kids because they've continued to battle and fight. It is a good BYU team, they're playing well and they've got a lot of different weapons."

BYU NOTES FROM SECOND OUTING

-- Individual Career Highs: Brock Reichner -- 6 three-point field goals made (tied), 8 three-point field goals attempted (tied), 1 block (tied); Keena Young -- 8 free throws made, 1.000 free throw percentage (tied), 2 steals (tied).

-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Lowest field goal percentage -- 30.0.

-- Utah's homecourt win over BYU marks the 12th straight time the Cougars have lost in the Huntsman Center, dating back to Jan. 8, 1994.

-- The Cougars' loss snaps a four-game winning streak, BYU's longest since 2004.

-- The Cougars' 32.1 percent (9-for-28) shooting performance in the first half was their second-lowest mark of the season (28.1 vs. TCU). BYU's 24 first-half points were also tied for the second-lowest output in a half for the Cougars this year (24 at San Diego State, 23 at Air Force).

-- Trent Plaisted recorded his 25th dunk of the year just 4:11 into the game despite being fouled on the way up. He added his 26th with 6:26 left in the game to cap a 13-4 BYU run that saw an 18-point Utah lead cut to just nine points.

-- Plaisted also recorded his third double-double of the year with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

-- Brock Reichner, BYU's leading scorer on the road, averaging 15.0 points, once again came up big for the Cougars in hostile territory, leading BYU with 21 points.

-- After making his last 19 straight free throws, the longest streak on the team, Brock Reichner missed his first against the Utes. Reichner had not missed a free throw since Jan. 18 against Wyoming.

-- After missing the last two games, Derek Dawes saw five minutes of action against the Utes, finishing with three rebounds

-- Leading 11-5 with 15:49 left to play, BYU allowed Utah to go on a 34-13 run to end the half.

POSSIBLE SEMIFINAL OPPONENTS

BYU'S LAST OUTING AGAINST AIR FORCE - Hard-Fought Win For The Cougars

PROVO -- The second half of the Mountain West Conference season started with a win for BYU as the Cougars outlasted Air Force, 65-59 in the Marriott Center. Trent Plaisted led all scorers and rebounders with 21 and nine, respectively. Jimmy Balderson came off the bench to add 17. The Cougars made two of their first four field goal attempts to take a 4-1 lead with 15:55 remaining in the first half. Plaisted began to establish himself inside, hitting his first three shots from the post while grabbing three early offensive rebounds. BYU was able to maintain an 18-13 lead by virtue of its stifling defense. The Cougars held the Falcons to just 25 percent shooting in the first 12 minutes. The Falcons went on an 8-0 run over the next 3:30 to take their first lead of the game, a 21-18 advantage. The first half finished with a Rashaun Broadus steal and coast-to-coast circus layup to tie the score at 29 at the break. Antoine Hood scored five early second-half points leading the Falcons out of the break on a 7-2 run to give Air Force a 36-31 lead with 17:30 remaining. Down eight, BYU managed to put together a quick 5-0 run to cut the lead to three only to have Air Force manage to come back and extend the lead back to five. With under 12 minutes to play, the Cougars again clawed back with an 11-5 run capped off by consecutive Broadus threes to put BYU back up 52-48. Air Force had a 5-0 run of its own to once again retake the lead. But BYU answered right back with a pair of Plaisted free throws to hold a 56-55 advantage with 2:51 left in the game. Dan Nwaelele came up with a big three pointer with 1:45 remaining to give the Falcons a one-point advantage. Plaisted answered for the Cougars, scoring a layup to tilt the see-saw BYU's way once again. A BYU defensive stop forced the Academy to foul Broadus, who made the front end of the one-and-one. On the ensuing possession, Air Force's Matt McCraw missed a three-pointer and Plaisted secured the rebound and was immediately fouled. Plaisted's two clutch free throws pushed the lead to four and seal the win for BYU.

SERIES NOTES

This will be the 56th meeting between the two teams, with BYU leading the series 43-12. The Cougars are 22-4 in Provo, 18-7 at Air Force, and 3-1 at a neutral site. BYU has won nine of the 15 games in the series since the inception of the Mountain West Conference, but Air Force has won four of the last six meetings, including a 16-point win in the first meeting this year in Colorado Springs and its first-ever season sweep in the series last year. BYU ended the three-game Air Force winning streak, the Falcons' longest in the series, with a 65-59 win in Provo in the second meeting between the two teams this season. The Falcons handed BYU its largest margin of defeat in an MWC game at last year's meeting in Clune Arena, downing the Cougars 70-39. The Falcons defeated BYU by a margin of 22 points the prior meeting at Clune Arena in 2004 while shooting 72.5 percent, AFA's highest percentage ever against a Division I team. BYU has won nine of the last 16 outings since winning a series-best 15 straight over the Falcons from 1990-96. AFA's three-point win at the Marriott Center last year ended 13 straight Cougar wins in the Marriott Center since a 79-78 Falcon win in 1989. BYU is 1-0 against Air Force in MWC Tournament play.

Overall Series Record: BYU leads 43-12

BYU Record in Provo: 22-4

BYU Record in Colorado Springs: 18-7

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 3-1

BYU Record under Dave Rose: 1-1

BYU Record in Overtime Games: 2-0

Last Overtime Game: 1989, won at AFA, 89-88

Longest BYU Win Streak: 15 (1990-96)

Longest Air Force Win Streak: 3 (2005-2006)

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 35, 103-68 in 1993

Largest Air Force Margin of Victory: 31, 70-39 in 2005

Most Points Scored by BYU: 110 in 1965

Most Points Scored by Air Force: 93 in 1987

BYU'S LAST OUTING AGAINST WYOMING - Emery Sparks Win For Cougars

LARAMIE -- True freshman Jackson Emery had a career game for BYU as the Cougars got another hard-fought victory over Wyoming, 74-68, in the Arena Auditorium. Emery scored a person-best 13 points, making 3-of-4 treys, in 17 minutes of play on Saturday. After the Cougars took an early 4-2 lead, Brandon Ewing came back for the Cowboys, scoring five consecutive points on a three and a two-point jumper to give Wyoming an early 7-4 lead. The two teams battled back and forth in the early going, playing to an 8-8 tie at the 15:42 mark. Defense stepped up on both sides midway through the first half, with each team forcing turnovers before Rashaun Broadus went coast-to-coast to give BYU a 14-12 with 11:44 remaining in the half. The Cougars built a seven-point lead after a 7-0 run when Brock Reichner nailed a three and Fernando Malaman got free for a layup. The Cowboys countered with a 6-2 run to cut the BYU lead to 21-18 with 7:41 left in the first half. The teams matched runs once again with the Cougars scoring six in a row to build a nine-point advantage before Wyoming's Ewing answered with seven consecutive points by himself. Keena Young and Emery helped the Cougars score five unanswered points as the see-saw tilted back in BYU's direction. Emery scored five points in the last 38 seconds of the half, including a three-pointer from the corner with seven seconds remaining, to give the Cougars a 43-35 at the break. The Cougars came out flat early in the second half and the Cowboys took advantage, cutting the lead in half and forcing an early BYU timeout. BYU countered with Emery, who nailed consecutive three pointers to put the Cougars back up by eight points. Moments later, Trent Plaisted hit a hook shot to give BYU a game-high, 10 point lead. Wyoming scored five in a row to cut the lead back down to five. After Broadus hit a foul shot, Wyoming scored seven consecutive points to give it a 55-54 lead with 10:35 remaining, its first advantage since a 12-10 lead early in the game. Down two at 62-60, the Cougars went on a 5-0 run to regain the lead. BYU kept the lead, holding on to a 67-66 advantage with two minutes remaining when Broadus followed his own miss -- one of Williams' 11 blocked shots on the day -- with a layin to give the Cougars a three-point lead with under one minute left. The Cowboys' Ewing missed two foul shots with 35 seconds left and Young made two on the Cougars side after a foul. Reichner made one free throw and Plaisted added two more in the final seconds to secure the win. Young led BYU with 15 points and a career-high 12 rebounds to record his second double-double of the year. Plaisted (12 points) and Balderson (11 points) joined Young and Emery in double figures for BYU.

SERIES NOTES

This will be the 164th meeting between the two schools. BYU leads the series 94-69. BYU swept the season series this year after Wyoming swept the season series last year for the first time since 1997. The Cowboys' sweep ended five straight Cougar wins in the series. BYU has won 10 of the last 13 games and 11 of 16 meetings between the two schools since the formation of the Mountain West Conference. After Utah (241 games) and Utah State (223 games), BYU has faced Wyoming the third-most times in its history. Wyoming has a 53-28 advantage in Laramie while BYU boasts a 62-14 record in Provo. BYU has a 4-2 edge on a neutral floor, including a 2-0 advantage in conference tournament play.

Overall Series Record: BYU leads 94-69

BYU Record in Provo: 62-14

BYU Record in Laramie: 28-53

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 4-2

BYU Record under Dave Rose: 2-0

BYU Record in Overtime Games: 1-3* (all in Laramie)

*0-1 in 2OT games (1981 in Laramie, 84-86)

Last OT Game: 1981, lost in Laramie, 84-86 (2OT)

Longest BYU Win Streak: 12 (1972-77)

Longest Wyoming Win Streak: 9 (1942-46)

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 35, 78-43 in 1966

Largest Wyoming Margin of Victory: 32, 63-31 in 1931

Most Points Scored by BYU: 102 in 1965

Most Points Scored by Wyoming: 107 in 1966

BYU NOTES

TAKE NOTE OF THE COUGARS ...

RECORD (20-7, 12-4 -- T2nd, Mountain West Conference) Last 10 games: 9-1, including six straight wins

Record away from the Marriott Center this year: 6-6, winning four of the last five road games

FIRST-YEAR COACH MAKING DIFFERENCE

Picked last in MWC preseason, first-year head coach Dave Rose has directed Cougars to 20 wins to date -- current 20-7 record is a 12.5-game improvement from last year (last year's most improved team in Division I was 12.5 games). Rose earned a .746 winning percentage when he last served as a head coach at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, from 1990-97, as six of his seven teams earned a national ranking. His current winning percentage this season with BYU is .741.

MOST IMPROVED

With its 20-7 overall record compared to last year's 9-21 mark, BYU is currently the most improved team in the nation this season. The Cougars' .441 jump in winning percentage (.741 in 2006 from .300 in 2005) leads the country as well as its overall 12.5-game improvement. BYU's +11 wins is tied with South Alabama for top honors.

PLAYING STRONG DOWN THE STRETCH

Cougars have won 10 of their last 11 games while avenging their three prior league losses with wins over MWC champion San Diego State, Air Force and UNLV. BYU lost to Air Force in the league opener as the Cougars started 2-3 in league play, but finished tied for second with the Falcons at 12-4. In this stretch, BYU also won at New Mexico, snapping the Lobos' 21-game home win streak, while going 4-1 on the road. BYU's current six-game victory streak is ranked eighth in the nation among active streaks.

NEW PLAYERS MAKING SOLID CONTRIBUTORS

Five of BYU's top seven scorers and rebounders are first-year players and a walk-on. While growing into their roles this year, three freshmen, two transfers and one walk-on have accounted for 62.5 percent of team scoring and 54.8 percent of team rebounding while playing 63.6 percent of total minutes and making 81.5 percent of starts.

BALANCED ATTACK

BYU boasts a balanced attack with five players averaging between 9 and 14 points. BYU has had five players in double figures on nine occasions this season, including seven times during league play and the last four consecutive games. Experienced starters from last year, Austin Ainge and Jimmy Balderson, are playing key roles off the bench with the infusion of new players.

OFFENSIVE PRODUCTION

BYU is the first team to score 100 points in an MWC game since 2003 (100-90 win over San Diego State). BYU leads the MWC in scoring and assists and ranks among the nation's top 40 in scoring offense (76.7 ppg -- 36th), three-point shooting (39.2 percent -- 39th ) and assists (16.1 apg -- 30th). Only 25 teams in the country have less than BYU's seven losses.

CLUTCH PLAY

BYU has exhibited clutch play, solid mental toughness and strong coaching while going 11-1 in games decided by nine points or less this season after going 1-10 in games decided by a single digit last year.

SOUNDING OFF ABOUT COACH ROSE ...

"Major props, respect and "shugs" (half handshake, half hug) to Dave Rose at Brigham Young. BYU was 9-21 last year, and Steve Cleveland left to take the Fresno State job. Rose, a long time juco head coach at Dixie State and an assistant at BYU prior to taking over, has only one senior on his roster but has run off eight of nine in the MWC. BYU was picked dead last by the media and in the coaches' polls, but will finish (if the Cougars can beat Colorado State and New Mexico, both at home) tied for second place, with 20 wins overall." -- ESPN's Doug Gottlieb, on ESPN.com

"20-7 isn't a record we usually single out here compared to some of the other teams in the country, but Dave Rose has done a great job of turning this program around in his first year as a head coach. He's got his team playing well when it really counts." -- ESPN's Doug Gottlieb, on ESPN

"(On why he ranked Rose No. 3 among first year coaches) He took over a 21-loss team and now has the Cougars 14-7 and second in the Mountain West. His leading scorer is a redshirt freshman (forward Trent Plaisted) and his No. 2 scorer (senior guard Brock Reichner) has more than quadrupled his points per game from last year (2.5 to 10.7)." -- ESPN.com's Pat Forde

"Nobody could have envisioned the Cougars would have entered the final week of the regular season with a chance to tie for the league title, but here they are, 10-4 and just a loss behind the league-winning Aztecs. Under first-year coach Rose, BYU has won eight of its past nine to keep faint at-large hopes alive."

-- ESPN.com's Pat Forde

"BYU is one of the great surprise teams in the country." -- ESPN analyst Bob Valvano

"Coach Rose has done a heckuva job. I think they have really found roles for their guys and they've really bought into those things. They're pretty darn good." -- Utah Coach Ray Giacoletti

"Dave has done a great job. I like the way they are playing. They are aggressive and they are active in every way. They have some size and they shoot it well. They are maybe the biggest surprise in the league this season. I like what Dave has done. I really like their team." -- UNLV Coach Lon Kruger

"I've always thought BYU was a very good team. Coach Rose and the coaching staff are good." -- Air Force Coach Jeff Bzdelik

ROSE NAMED MWC COACH OF THE YEAR BY ESPN'S PAT FORDE AND BY COLLEGE INSIDERS.COM

In addition to the league's official honor awarded Monday, BYU's Dave Rose has received the nod as the MWC Coach of the Year by several others to date. ESPN's Pat Forde named Rose his choice for MWC Coach of the Year, as did CollegeInsiders.com. Said Forde, "Nobody could have envisioned the Cougars would have entered the final week of the regular season with a chance to tie for the league title, but here they are, 10-4 and just a loss behind the league-winning Aztecs. Under first-year coach Rose, BYU has won eight of its past nine to keep faint at-large hopes alive."

ROSE RANKED NO. 3 AMONG NATION'S FIRST-YEAR COACHES

BYU head coach Dave Rose has received national notice for the outstanding job he is doing during his first season guiding the Cougars. In a Feb. 12 column on ESPN.com, Pat Forde lists Rose among the top-three first-year coaches in the nation this season. Among the nearly 40 first-year coaches in college basketball this year, Forde names the 10 he feels are doing the best job, ranking Rose No. 3 overall. Picked to finish last in the Mountain West Conference in the preseason poll of MWC media members, BYU finished tied for second at 12-4, one game behind league-champion San Diego State.

COUGAR RECRUITS HAVE EXCELLED

With Trent Plaisted receiving the 2006 MWC Freshman of the Year award, BYU has now had nine recruits earn conference freshman/newcomer or a major award in their first season as a Cougar in the nine years BYU coach Dave Rose has been in Provo. Rose was Steve Cleveland's recruiting coordinator and lead assistant the past eight seasons before taking over the program this season. Six BYU players have been singled out as either the conference newcomer or freshman of the year.

PLAISTED EARNS THREE NATIONAL FRESHMAN HONORS

BYU redshirt freshman forward/center Trent Plaisted has received national recognition for his play. Plaisted was named the Nivea for Men Fresh Face Player of the Week by CBS.Sportsline.com, an honor handed out to top performers in this year's national freshman class, while ESPN's Dick Vitale also named Plaisted his Diaper Dandy of the Week for his play the week of Feb. 6. He also was named the Rivals.com Freshman Player of the Week for his outings against San Diego State and at TCU, which included a BYU freshman-record 18 rebounds against the Horned Frogs.

BYU's LAST OUTING -- Cougars END REGULAR SEASON WITH VICTORY

PROVO -- On a night set apart to honor arguably BYU's best foreign-born player, Kresimir Cosic, it was Canadian Jimmy Balderson who came up big, leading the Cougars to a 76-68 win over New Mexico in front of a season-high crowd of 20,732. Balderson led the Cougars (20-7, 12-4 MWC) with 21 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field, 7-for-7 shooting from the foul line and a career-high eight rebounds. Brock Reichner scored 11 for BYU and led the Cougars with four assists in his senior night game. BYU--picked to finish last in the preseason media poll--secured a second-place tie with Air Force with the victory. The win is the sixth straight for the Cougars and their 14th in a row at home. BYU has also won 10 of its last 11 games to finish the regular season. The first ten minutes of the game included a flurry of three pointers. Jeff Hart nailed three shots from behind the arc in less than three minutes. The Lobos (17-12, 8-8 MWC) hit 64 percent of their shots in the early part of the game to build a 21-11 lead with 10:37 remaining in the first half. The Cougars followed with an 11-5 run capped by a Lee Cummard three ball to cut the lead to 26-22 with 7:16 left. Defense tightened as the first half wound down, and the two teams played physical back-and-forth basketball with New Mexico maintaining a 34-33 halftime lead. The physical play continued into the second half with BYU taking its first lead at the 16:13 mark when Balderson nailed a three. But the Cougars' first lead of the game was short-lived as Hart nailed a three on the Lobos next possession. BYU bounced right back, going on an 8-0 run to give the Cougars a 49-42 lead. New Mexico countered with a 5-0 run of its own to keep the game a one-possession contest. Balderson's three-point play gave BYU a one-point lead but was answered by a Kellen Walter three-pointer as the Lobos held to a 62-60 lead with 3:47 left in the game. But the Marriott Center magic prevailed down the stretch as the Cougars went on a 14-0 run over the last four minutes of the game. Balderson and Rashaun Broadus showed that ice runs through their veins in pressure situations as they combined for eight consecutive foul shots. BYU's stifling defense held New Mexico scoreless from the 4:29 mark until Chad Toppert hit a desperation three with 22 seconds remaining.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "I give a lot of credit to our guys. They took their best shot, hung in there and kept their composure."

-- "Jimmy (Balderson) was terrific. He hit some big shots."

-- "This is the way games are supposed to be played in March."

-- "This was a very different feeling to our players with everything surrounding our team and the university right now. When it was time to win though, our guys stepped up and were ready."

-- "Our effort was good all night. We settled into our game much better the second half though."

New Mexico Head Coach Ritchie McKay

-- "We needed more offensive consistency tonight, and we did not perform as well as we would have liked.

-- "I haven't analyzed BYU very much, but they seem to be right where we were last year."

-- "They're a tough team and I wouldn't want to play them [in the tournament]."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- True freshman Jackson Emery has started the last four games, his first collegiate starts. He has been joined in the starting five by Rashaun Broadus, Brock Reichner, Keena Young and Trent Plaisted.

-- Individual Career Highs: Jimmy Balderson -- 8 rebounds.

-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Crowd -- 20,732; Highest Opponent Field Goal Percentage In a Half - .667 (tied).

-- BYU retired the No. 11 jersey of Kresimir Cosic at halftime of the New Mexico game. Cosic is just the second Cougar basketball player to have his jersey retired, joining Danny Ainge. Neither Cosic's No. 11 or Ainge's No. 22 are available for players to wear in the future.

-- BYU's lone senior Brock Reichner was honored prior to the start of the Cougars' final home game of the season. Reichner is second on the team in scoring this year and has been an integral part of BYU's success this season.

-- With the win the Cougars finished the season in a second-place tie in the Mountain West Conference, joining Air Force at 12-4 in league play. BYU was picked to finish last in the preseason media poll.

-- The Cougars will be a No. 3 seed heading into next week's MWC Tournament. BYU tied with Air Force for second in the league and split the season series with the Falcons but lost the tiebreak by virtue of splitting the season series with No. 4 seed UNLV while the Falcons swept the Rebels. The Cougars will play Utah at 10 p.m. on Thursday in the first round.

-- BYU achieved its 29th 20-win season with the victory over New Mexico, finishing the regular season at 20-7.

-- The Cougars are now 12-0 when holding opponents under 70 points and 19-0 when leading with one minute remaining in the game.

-- BYU's victory in its final home game of the regular season improved the Cougars' homecourt winning streak to 14 games. BYU entered the game ninth in the nation in consecutive home wins.

-- The Cougars have now won their last six games, the first time they have won six straight since the 2003-04 season when they did it twice. The winning streak is among the top 10 in the nation. BYU has also won 10 of its last 11 games.

-- The Cougars had at least five players score in double figures for the eighth time this season.

-- Balderson was the first Cougar to reach double figures on the night with a three-pointer at the 14:05 mark to give BYU a 46-42 lead and give him 12 points. Balderson has scored in double figures in 10 of BYU's last 11 games, all Cougar wins. He also made nine straight three-point attempts over the last five games, including his first two against New Mexico, before missing one in the second half against the Lobos.

-- The Cougars took their first lead of the game 41-39 at the 16:13 mark of the second half on a three-pointer from Jimmy Balderson.

ON A ROLL

The Cougars are currently enjoying their longest winning streak of the year and their longest since the 2003-04 season with six straight victories. The streak is tied for the eighth-longest active winning streak in the nation. BYU's prior victory streaks this year include one four-game streak, two three-game streaks and two two-game streaks. BYU has also won 10 of its last 11 games.

COUGAR CROWDS RANK NO. 2 IN MWC ATTENDANCE

An average of 11,069 fans packed the Marriott Center this season for each BYU home game, second only to New Mexico's 13,387 average in the Mountain West Conference. A total of 20,732 fans attended BYU's last home game on Saturday during which former Cougar great Kresimir Cosic's jersey was retired. The mark is the BYU's highest since March 1, 2004. The Cougars went 14-1 at home this year including wins in their last 14 straight home contests, eighth in the nation. BYU celebrated its 500th game in the Marriott Center on Feb. 22 and owns a 386-116 (.769) record there.

BOUNCE BACK COUGARS

With its 20-7 overall record, BYU has yet to suffer consecutive defeats this season, having bounced back from each loss with a victory. BYU alternated wins and losses in the first five league games before winning four straight games, two of which came on the road.

MAGIC NUMBER: 70

BYU is 12-0 this season when holding opponents under 70 points and 8-7 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold. Cougar foes are currently averaging 71.4 points per game. BYU is also 17-3 when scoring 70 or more points and 3-4 when falling below the 70-point mark. The Cougars lead the league in scoring, averaging 76.7 ppg, and scored 100 points in conference play for the first time since Feb. 10, 1994 in their home game against league-champion San Diego State.

FOR STARTERS

Overall this year, nine players have started while Coach Dave Rose has used seven starting lineups. True freshman Jackson Emery has started the last four games, the first starts of his career. Junior Rashaun Broadus has started the last 10 games after missing the first Wyoming game (team rules violation) and the next two starts. Junior Keena Young made his 12th straight start of the season against New Mexico. Trent Plaisted has started each game while Brock Reichner has started every game but the first. Rashaun Broadus has started 24 games, Fernando Malaman 15 games, Lee Cummard 14 games, Jimmy Balderson nine games and Austin Ainge four games. The majority of BYU's starting lineups have featured two freshmen (Plaisted and Cummard). Five Cougars who started between seven and 23 games on last year's team (Ainge, 23 starts; Balderson, 16 starts; Young, 15 starts, Derek Dawes, 13 starts; Mike Rose, 7 starts) have for the most part been coming off the bench this season.

BYU AT THE POINT

BYU's Rashaun Broadus (3.7 apg) and Austin Ainge (2.7 apg) rank fourth and 11th, respectively, among Mountain West Conference players in assists per game this season while helping the Cougars lead the MWC in team assists at 16.1 apg. Broadus and Ainge have combined for 127 assists compared to 77 turnovers in BYU's 20 wins while totaling 42 assists and 29 turnovers in the Cougars' seven defeats. Broadus has 72 assists and 48 turnovers in the wins with 25 assists and 20 turnovers in the losses. Ainge boasts 55 assists to 29 turnovers in the victories while totaling 17 assists and 9 turnovers in defeats. With his overall 97 assists to 68 turnovers, Broadus ranks second in the league in assist/turnover ratio (1.43). As a team, BYU has made an assist on 59.4 percent of its field goals this season. In conference play, Broadus has 37 assists and 35 turnovers while Ainge has 31 assists and 26 turnovers. Ainge tied his career high with 8 assists in BYU's third game of the season against Southern Utah. Broadus recorded a career-best 9 assists against Lamar and then tied that mark while Ainge added 4 to fuel BYU to a season-high 29 assists vs. Eastern Washington.

BYU IN THE POST

Trent Plaisted (13.4) leads BYU in scoring while fellow post players Keena Young (10.0) and Fernando Malaman (7.1) are fourth and sixth, respectively. Plaisted (13.2) and Young (12.0) rank first and second, respectively, in league games. Overall, Plaisted (.516) is tied for eighth among the MWC's top players in field-goal percentage while Young (.515) is ninth. Malaman (.516) would be tied for eighth but is two makes shy of the 81 required to be ranked. Derek Dawes is shooting .415 from the floor and .743 from the line. Young makes a strong .770 from the line. Malaman is second on the team with a 43.6 percent success rate (17-of-39) from behind the three-point arc.

BYU ON THE WING

Senior Brock Reichner has started all but the first game of the year at 2-guard and is second on the team in scoring at 10.9 ppg, including a team-high 51 threes on 48.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Junior Jimmy Balderson is coming off the bench after starting the first nine games at small forward and is third in scoring at 10.3 ppg with 29 treys. Freshman Lee Cummard started in place of Balderson in 14 games until the last four games and is averaging 5.0 points in 14.6 minutes while shooting 46.1 percent from the floor. Jackson Emery, a solid defender who often helps guard the opponent's top perimeter player, is shooting 40.9 percent from the floor and has made 13 triples while averaging 3.0 points in 10.0 minutes and has started the last four games, his first collegiate starts. Junior Mike Rose plays 9.2 minutes in the rotation on the wing, averaging 3.3 points, including 18 treys, in his 21 appearances.

COUGAR OFFENSE

BYU's 76.7 points per game are coming in a variety of ways as the Cougars outscore their opponents in every statistical category on the season. BYU has scored 55 more points in the paint this season, outpacing its opponents underneath in 13 games, tying in three and being outscored in 11. The Cougars have also capitalized on opponent miscues in their 27 games to date, scoring 54 more points off of turnovers while outscoring foes in that category in 15 games, tying in one and being outscored in 11. BYU enjoys a 71-point advantage in second-chance points as BYU has outscored opponents in that category in 16 games. The Cougars' largest advantage, however, comes on the fastbreak as BYU has only been outscored on the break in six games this year with a 256-169 margin.

20-WIN SEASONS

With a win against New Mexico to conclude the regualr season, the Cougars achieved their 29th 20-win season. BYU has averaged 20 wins every 2.7 years (BYU has played 78 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). BYU coach Dave Rose is the fifth Cougar head coach to reach 20 wins in his first season at the helm. He joins G. Ott Romney (20-10 in 1928-29), Stan Watts (22-12 in 1949-50), Ladell Anderson (20-11, 1983-84) and Roger Reid (21-9 in 1989-90). Both Watts and Reid achieved six 20-win seasons in their BYU coaching careers while Romney posted five and Rose's predecessor, Steve Cleveland, achieved four.

Stan Watts had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 23 years of coaching

Roger Reid had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching

G. Ott Romney had 5 seasons of 20 wins in 9 years of coaching

Steve Cleveland had 4 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching

Ladell Anderson had 3 season of 20 wins in 6 years of coaching

Frank Arnold had 3 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching

Floyd Millet had 1 season of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching

Dave Rose has 1 season of 20 wins in 1 year of coaching

KING OF THE GLASS

Redshirt freshman Trent Plaisted pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds at TCU, the most by a Cougar since Gary Trost recorded 18 on Dec. 19, 1991. The mark is a Mountain West Conference record among freshmen in league play and is the most ever by a BYU freshman. Only 14 Cougars have ever pulled down more rebounds in a game.

MAKING NOISE

Jimmy Balderson has played a significant role in helping the Cougars win 10 of their last 11 games. Balderson has scored in double figures in all 10 wins while scoring just five points in BYU's lone loss at Utah during the streak. He is averaging 14.4 points per game over the last 11 contests and led BYU with 21 points against New Mexico in BYU's last outing. Balderson was awarded MWC Player of the Week honors for his performance against the Lobos and Colorado State in BYU's last two games.

FROM THE FIELD

BYU had one of its best scoring nights of the year against San Diego State as the Cougars scored 100 points for the first time since Jan. 11, 2005 in overall play and the first time since Feb. 10, 1994 in conference play. The Cougars' 59 second-half points were their most points in a half since scoring 59 in the second half against Santa Clara on Dec. 31, 2004. The Cougars also shot 59.4 percent from the floor overall, their best mark in MWC play this season, and 75.9 percent (22-for-29) in the second half, their best shooting half since shooting 82.4 percent (14-for-17) in the second half against Air Force on Feb. 23, 2004.

HALFTIME REPORT

BYU is 14-0 when leading at the half, 5-7 when trailing and 1-0 when tied. Of the 14 games in which they have led at the half, the Cougars have led by double digits six times. BYU has been more impressive in the second half this season. The Cougars have outscored their opponents in the second period of play in all but seven games this year. BYU averages 5.0 more second-half points than its opponents after a slight 0.37 edge in the first half.

SENIOR NIGHT SPOTLIGHTED BROCK REICHNER

BYU's lone senior, Brock Reichner, was honored prior to the start of the Cougars' final home game Saturday night against New Mexico. Reichner is second on the team in scoring this season at 10.9 points per game and has started every game except the season opener. He also leads the team in three-point field goal percentage at .481 having made 51 of his 106 attempts from lone range. Reichner has served as the team's co-captain along with Austin Ainge this season.

AINGE RECEIVES NEW ADDITION

Austin Ainge's wife Crystal gave birth to a seven-pound, 11-ounce baby boy on Wednesday, Feb. 15. Austin and Crystal have named their son Andre Austin Ainge. Ainge is one of six married players on the team this season. Brock Reichner and his wife Chanell made BYU Coach Dave Rose a grandfather with the birth of their daughter, Annie Rose Reichner, last year.

BYU REDSHIRTS: SAM BURGESS, VUK IVANOVIC

Junior guard Sam Burgess is redshirting this season. The 6-foot-3 guard from Alpine, Utah, is one of nine juniors on the roster this year. Fellow junior Vuk Ivanovic will also redshirt while he sits out the season due to NCAA transfer rules.

TRANSFERRED: DAVID BURGESS

David Burgess, a 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman center, announced on Dec. 15 that he was transferring from BYU to complete his eligibility. BYU granted his request for a release. Burgess appeared in three of seven games this year, averaging 0.7 points and 1.7 rebounds. Said Burgess, "I thoroughly enjoyed my time at BYU and I think Coach Rose is an unbelievable coach but his system just isn't a good fit for me personally. When I signed, Coach Cleveland's system was a half-court offense, which fits me better as a player. I was excited for Coach Rose to be named the coach and I worked hard to lose some weight and try to prepare myself for his system but it's just not the best fit for me." Burgess has since announced he will transfer to Gonzaga.

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