GAME 29 - BYU Hosts Air Force Saturday

Jonathan Tavernari scored 22 points in BYU's last outing against Air Force, a 69-53 win on Jan. 30. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

BYU GAME #29 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (22-6, 11-2 MWC)

vs.

AIR FORCE (14-12, 6-7 MWC)

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Marriott Center (22,700)

Provo, Utah

7 p.m. MT

Coaches:

BYU, Dave Rose (67-24 in third season; same overall)

AFA, Jeff Reynolds (14-12 in first season; 96-46 in fifth year overall)

Series:

BYU leads, 46-12, after the Cougars' 69-53 win at Air Force on Jan. 30

TV:

None

Radio:

KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (6 p.m. MT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analyst)

Web:

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

NO. 25 BYU HOSTS AIR FORCE SATURDAY

No. 25 BYU (22-6, 11-2 MWC) returns to the Marriott Center to host Air Force (14-12, 6-7 MWC) on Saturday at 7 p.m. MT. The Cougars are coming off a 70-69 overtime victory at New Mexico on Tuesday, their 10th win in 11 games. The Falcons have won two of their last three games, including a 61-59 victory at Colorado State on Saturday. Saturday's game will be not televised. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM /1160 AM out of Salt Lake City and on the Internet at KSL.com beginning with the pregame show at 6 p.m. MT.

UP NEXT

The Cougars host Wyoming on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in their home finale. The game will be televised on The Mtn.

COUGAR QUICK HITS

-- No. 25 BYU is in first place in the MWC standings at 11-2, followed by UNLV (10-3) and New Mexico (9-5).

-- Only three BYU teams have ever topped this year's 22-6 start. The last Cougar team with a better record through 28 games was in 1987-88 (24-4).

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

-- BYU is 5-2 on the road in conference play, winning four straight between losses at UNLV and San Diego State. The Cougars bounced back from Saturday's loss at SDSU with a win at New Mexico on Tuesday. Overall, BYU is 7-4 in away games this season and 1-2 on a neutral floor.

-- Two-time reigning MWC?Coach of the Year Dave Rose helped make BYU the second-most improved program in the nation in his first season with a 20-9 record and guided the Cougars to the outright MWC title and a top-25 ranking in his second campaign in Provo as the Cougars went 25-9 last season.

-- This year's BYU squad returns two starters among seven lettermen from last year's outright league leaders (13-3 MWC record) as well as returned missionary Chris Miles, who made six starts as a freshman in 2004-05. Headlining BYU's top returners are 2008 MWC Player of the Year candidates Trent Plaisted, a two-time All-MWC Second Team selection in his first two seasons, and Lee Cummard, a versatile junior guard who earned All-MWC Third Team honors one year ago. Sophomore forward Jonathan Tavernari and senior guards Sam Burgess and Ben Murdock are all full-time starters for the first time this season. Burgess and Murdock have contributed solid play at the guardline while Tavernari has provided a solid scoring punch. Last year Tavernari followed Plaisted's lead the prior season by being named the 2007 MWC Freshman of the Year.

LOOKING AT AIR FORCE

Air Force returns nine lettermen and one starter from last year's 26-9 team that advanced to the NIT semifinals after finishing tied for third in the Mountain West Conference with a 10-6 record. Under the direction of new coach Jeff Reynolds, the Falcons have earned a 14-12 record overall and 6-7 mark in the MWC. Returning starter Tim Anderson (6-foot-3, Sr., G) paces Air Force on the scoreboard at 14.3 points per game while making 43.6 percent from the floor, 35.9 percent on threes and 82.6 percent at the line. He dishes out 2.8 assists per game. Andrew Henke (6-foot-6, Jr., G) comes off the bench to score 10.8 points per contest as the only other Falcon averaging double figures. He also leads AFA on the boards (4.4 rpg) and from behind the three-point arc (52 triples on .423 shooting). Coach Reynolds has used the same starting lineup in all 26 games this season, sending out 6-foot-5 junior forward Anwar Johnson (7.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg), 6-foot-4 freshman guard Evan Washington (6.8 ppg, 4.0 rpg), 6-foot-8 senior center Keith Maren (7.9 ppg, 3.5 rpg) and 6-foot-6 junior forward Matt Holland (5.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg) along with Anderson. As a team, Air Force shoots .448 from the floor, .382 from behind the arc and .701 at the free-throw line while scoring 59.7 points per game. The Falcons are holding opponents to 58.0 points on .414 shooting from the field, including .364 accuracy from three-point range. AFA is outboarded by five rebounds per game (31.4--26.2) but is nearly two possessions better in the turnover battle (14.3--12.6). Like BYU, Air Force also suffered defeat at Wake Forest in nonconference play, falling 78-67 on Dec. 30. Overall, the Falcons are 10-4 in Clune Arena this season with the lone loss coming against Colorado (60-50) and former AFA coach Jeff Bzdelik while racking up a 3-7 road record.

AIR FORCE'S PROBABLE STARTERS

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

F 31 Matt Holland 6-6 205 Jr. 5.2 2.1 Dallas, Texas

F 42 Anwar Johnson 6-5 195 Jr. 7.9 3.5 San Gabriel, La.

C 44 Keith Maren 6-8 240 Sr. 7.9 3.5 West Milwaukee, Wis.

G 12 Tim Anderson 6-3 180 Sr. 14.3 2.8 El Paso, Texas

G 35 Evan Washington 6-4 190 Fr. 6.8 4.0 Columbus, Ohio

AIR FORCE'S LAST OUTING -- FALCONS HALT RAMS

FORT COLLINS -- Anwar Johnson and Andrew Henke scored 14 points each as Air Force dealt Colorado State its 13th consecutive loss with a 61-59 victory Saturday night. Johnson sealed the win with two free throws in the last 13 seconds for Air Force (14-12, 6-7 Mountain West), which also beat the Rams for the 11th consecutive time in the regular season. The Falcons last lost to them in the regular season on Jan. 18, 2003, 51-49. Marcus Walker scored 18 points for Colorado State (6-20, 0-12). The Rams made just one 3-pointer in the second half after making 10 in the first half. Air Force cut a 13-point first-half deficit to 41-39 with a 9-0 run capped by Johnson's layup with 13:56 left in the game. Air Force took its first lead of the second half with 6:39 to play on a three-pointer by Keith Maren. Walker's jumper and free throw tied it at 57, but Henke made two free throws to give Air Force the lead, 59-57 with 2:23 left. The Rams had a chance to tie or take the lead on their next two possessions, but Walker made 1-of-2 free throws and then had the ball stolen by Maren, who finished the game with three steals. Air Force gave the ball right back when Maren missed the front end of a 1-and-1 but Walker missed wildly with 12.7 seconds left. Johnson sealed the game with two free throws that made it 61-58. Henke pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds, posting the first double-double for Air Force this season.

SERIES HISTORY

BYU and Air Force have met 58 times, with BYU leading the series 46-12, including a 69-53 win at USAFA earlier this season. The Cougars also posted a 61-52 victory over then-No. 13 Air Force in Provo last season and a 62-58 victory over the then 20th-ranked Falcons at Clune Arena -- ending their nation-leading 30 game home winning streak the Cougars shared at the time. BYU?has won the last four games in the series. The Cougars are 23-4 in Provo, 20-7 at Air Force and 3-1 at a neutral site. BYU owns a 3-1 advantage when the two teams have met in the conference tournament (1-0 in MWC Tournament with win in 2001). The Cougars have won three straight in conference tournament meetings since falling at home to the Falcons in the 1985 WAC?Tournament preliminary-round game, 82-79. BYU has won 12 of the 18 games in the series since the inception of the Mountain West Conference. BYU has won 13 of the last 20 outings since winning a series-best 15 straight over the Falcons from 1990-96. Before their win in 2006, the Cougars had lost three straight in Clune Arena with their prior win coming March 1, 2003, the same year BYU?last won the conference title (tied with Utah). AFA's three-point win at the Marriott Center in 2005 ended 13 straight Cougar wins in the Marriott Center since a 79-78 Falcon win in 1989.

RECENT SERIES OUTINGS

THIS YEAR AT AIR FORCE -- COUGARS RACK UP ROAD VICTORY

USAFA -- The BYU men's basketball team picked up its second Mountain West Conference road victory of the year with a 69-53 win at Air Force on Wednesday. At 16-5 overall and 5-1 in league play, the Cougars are off to their best MWC start since 2002-03. The big three once again led the Cougars as Jonathan Tavernari paced BYU with 22 points and Lee Cummard was right behind with 21 points on 8-for-12 shooting from the field. Despite battling flu-like symptoms for the last four days, Trent Plaisted pulled down a game-high nine rebounds while adding nine points in 19 minutes. Cummard dished out a BYU-best five assists and added eight boards while Tavernari tallied a career-high four assists. True freshman Jimmer Fredette also scored in double figures with 10 points. A surprise starter while fighting his stomach ailment, Plaisted scored the first bucket of the game. After a layin on the other end, Tavernari made it 5-2 in favor of the Cougars as he drained his first shot of the night and continued his hot three-point shooting after a 5-for-6 outing from long range against New Mexico. The two teams traded treys from there as the Falcons' Keith Maren scored Air Force's first 11 points, including three makes from behind the arc, to keep the game tied at 11-11. Nursing a 13-12 advantage, the Cougars put together a 7-1 run with scores from Cummard and freshmen Chris Collinsworth and Fredette to go up 20-13. Anderson became the first Falcon other than Maren to score from the field with a fastbreak layin to end a 6:39 AFA scoring drought from the floor. Riding a 7-1 spurt, the Falcons got within one point at 21-20 after another bucket from Maren with 4:46 to play. Cummard ended the Cougar dry spell with a jumper at the 3:11 mark and then scored on the fastbreak after picking off the Falcons' Evan Washington. Fredette then added his own teardrop jumper to put some distance between the two teams as the BYU lead grew to 27-20 before an eventual-halftime margin of 29-24. Cummard led the Cougars with 10 points in the half while he and Plaisted each pulled down five rebounds. Anderson began the second half with a huge three-point make for the Falcons before Tavernari scored the first BYU bucket of the half. But Anderson came right back and made it a one-point game with a three-point play on the next trip down the floor. However, just as the Falcons threatened to take their first lead of the game, Plaisted came up with a bucket followed by a big three from Cummard to push the Cougar lead up to 36-30. The two teams battled from there as BYU hung tenaciously to a lead that hovered between five and seven points. Tavernari got into the double-digit scoring column with his third three-pointer of the night to equal the game-high lead at 41-34, but Air Force responded with four straight points to cut the lead back to three with 12:10 to play. However, Tavernari scored the next four Cougar points, part of a 16-point second-half performance for the sophomore, to once again push the lead to seven points at 45-38. Moments later, treys from Cummard and Tavernari sandwiched around a Falcon free throw gave BYU its largest lead of the game to that point at 51-42. Despite another Air Force rally, the Cougars continued to hit big shots, making nine in a row to take a 65-50 lead with just under five minutes to play after a back-breaking three-pointer from Fredette, allowing BYU to cruise to the 69-53 win.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "This was really as good a team win as we've had all year long. We got great play out of our bench and really good play from our starters. Different players carried us at different points. At one point in the second half, we had three freshmen on the floor, which says at lot about your team."

-- "Just the fact that Trent (Plaisted) was willing to push himself through the sickness says a lot. He gave us great minutes and crucial baskets in a crucial time. I think it was a big, big plus for us. Coming over here, we didn't think we'd be able to get any minutes from him at all. Every minute we played for us was a bonus. Trent made a big sacrifice tonight. He laid it out there for us and that's a real positive sign."

-- "When you get a couple players that are leading your team and they play well, other players can build off of that. Tonight with Lee (Cummard) and Jonathan (Tavernari) and Trent (Plaisted) having big games for us, that really gets all of our guys going."

Air Force Head Coach Jeff Reynolds

-- "They're a very talented offensive team. I thought we did a good job in the first half, and then in the second half we had four real critical breakdowns. We hit a four-minute stretch where we couldn't put the ball in the basket."

-- "They shot the ball extremely well in the second half, and you have to get them credit. With about four minutes left to go in the game, we didn't handle a couple situations very well and panicked a bit on the defensive end."

BYU NOTES FROM THIS YEAR AT AIR FORCE

-- Individual Career Highs: Jonathan Tavernari - 4 assists.

-- At 5-1 in Mountain West Conference play, the Cougars are off to their best league start since the 2002-03 season when they also began 5-1 through the first six games. BYU finished the 2002-03 season tied for first in the conference at 11-3.

-- With the 69-53 win, BYU has now won its last three games when scoring under 70 points (55-52 at Utah, 59-56 vs. SDSU).

-- BYU picked up its second MWC road win with the victory at Air Force, moving to 2-1 on the road in league play and 4-3 overall. BYU won five of its last seven road games last season and was the only MWC team with a winning road record in league play at 5-3.

-- With a game-high lead of 16 points, the Cougars have now held a double-digit lead in 16 of 21 games in the year. BYU has led wire-to-wire in nine games this season.

-- BYU has made 23 three-pointers in the last two games with 13 against New Mexico and 10 at Air Force. The Cougars have made double-digit three-pointers in eight games this year. With 174 treys on the year, BYU is on pace to break the single-season three-point record of 256 set last year. Cummard has now made a three-pointer in 19 of 21 games this season while Tavernari has done so in 18 games and Burgess in 16.

-- With a 29-24 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, BYU recorded its 17th halftime lead of the season. The Cougars are now 15-2 when leading at the break. BYU has held its opponents under 30 points in the first half of 15 games. The Cougars shot 39.3 percent from the field in the half, their highest first-half shooting percentage on the road since shooting 46.7 percent in the first period at Boise State.

-- Despite battling flu-like symptoms that limited his playing time to 19 minutes, Plaisted recorded nine points and nine rebounds to move to 26th on BYU's all-time career scoring list with 1,143 points and surpass 600 career rebounds with 608. Plaisted is one of only 11 Cougars all-time to record at least 1,000 points and 600 rebounds.

-- Cummard's 21-point outing at Air Force marked the sixth time this season and the eight time in his career he has scored at least 20 points. Cummard has had back-to-back 20-point outings including 20 against New Mexico on Saturday.

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

LAST YEAR AT BYU -- COUGARS DOWN NO. 13 AIR FORCE

PROVO -- The BYU Cougars recorded a huge 61-52 victory against the No. 13 Air Force Falcons at the soldout Marriott Center Saturday, improving to 15-6 overall and 5-2 in the Mountain West Conference. The game also marked BYU's 27th win at home, which is tied for second nationally. Trent Plaisted led the Cougars in scoring with 22 points, followed by Keena Young with 17 points. The post duo also recorded eight rebounds each. BYU outshot the Falcons 43.4 percent to 37.8 percent, AFA's lowest mark of the year, and recorded a season-high +22 rebounding margin (42-20). The Falcons, with Matt McCraw hitting a three scored the first point of the game. Lee Cummard of BYU returned the favor with a quick lay up. After 13:35, the Falcons led 10-4. Young answered the cheers of the soldout crowd with a lay-up narrowing the lead to 10-6. Mike Rose then scored a three for 10-9. At 10:59, Plaisted scored a two, putting BYU above the Falcons at 11-10. At 8:45, the Falcons tied the score up at 12-12. Young went back to make it a Cougar lead of 14-12 at 7:38. The BYU lead continued to grow with another three-pointer made by Rose. The three and the 17-12 lead put the crowd in an uproar, which happened once again with Cummard hitting another three to widen the lead to 20-12. Austin Ainge connected on another three at 3:13 in the first half to make it a 27-16 lead. With 1:27 remaining in the half, the Cougars led the game 31-18. BYU's first half lead of 31-21 at the break marked the fewest points allowed by BYU in the first period of play this season. The first points of the second half were a dunk by Plaisted, which he followed with another throwdown on the next Cougar possession to show that BYU was a force to be reckoned with. At 16:06 the Falcons hit a three to lessen the gap to 37-29. At 14:55 they hit another to cut the deficit to 37-32. With the gap lessening, another three was hit by McCraw to make the score 38-35. Young ended the three-point barrage from the Falcons by scoring a quick lay-up. After Plaisted went on to score another four points, Air Force responded by making another three-point shot to make the score 44-40 in favor of BYU. Cummard, with a quick break away at the 11:22 mark, scored two points and with a foul, got another point to widen the BYU lead to 47-40. With 6:56 left in the game Jimmy Balderson ended the 4:24 Cougar scoring drought by sinking a two. Trying to come back, the Falcons narrowed the score to 49-48 with 5:49 left in the game. The 22,700-strong crowd roared for the Cougars to take back their lead that at one time was 14 points. After Plaisted made a two, the Cougars were back in action with a three made by Ainge at the 3:59 mark for a Cougar lead of 54-48. After a foul was called with 35.8 seconds remaining, Plaisted knocked down two big free throws to push the Cougar lead to 56-51. After another foul was called with 19.7 left for the Cougars, the score was 59-51 after a Young converted the three-point play, sealing the win for BYU.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "I thought this was a great college basketball game. I thought it was a great crowd. It was a great atmosphere. There have been games in my career here that have been loud and your ears ring for three or four hours after the game, and this was loud. My ears are ringing."

-- "I thought our guys just made some big plays. We made our free throws and hit some big shots late. It was a big win for us."

-- "Rebounding is a big factor for our team to be successful."

Air Force Head Coach Jeff Bzdelik

-- "There are three things that didn't really help us in this game. We got outrebounded, we had some bad turnovers and we had some great shots go in and out."

-- "It was a good game from the stand point that these are two good teams. BYU is a good team. Everybody in this conference is playing good basketball. Give them credit. They're tough at home, and we're tough at home. I've said from the start, and I'll say it again, that this is going to be a great race."

-- "(Trent) Plaisted was tougher than our guys today. That comes from a strong will and a desire to win."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT BYU

-- Team Season Highs: Attendance: 22,700; Fewest points scored: 61; Largest rebounding advantage: +22.

-- BYU's win over Air Force extended its home winning streak to 27 games, which is tied for the second-longest active home victory streak in the nation. The Cougars are 13-0 at home this season.

-- The Cougars' victory over No. 13 Air Force marked their first win over a ranked team since defeating 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. The Cougars' last win over a team ranked as high as No. 13 was Dec. 22, 2001 with an 81-76 win over No. 13 Stanford in Las Vegas.

-- With a matchup against the No. 13 Falcons, BYU has now faced three ranked teams this season, joining UNLV as the only Mountain West Conference team to do so. The Cougars are 1-2 in those games with a 61-52 win over the Falcons, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State. The Rebels are also 1-2, with losses at then-No. 16 Arizona and then-No. 16 Air Force and a win at then-No. 19 Nevada.

-- BYU's sellout crowd of 22,700 was a season high and the Cougars' best attendance mark since 22,718 fans watched BYU defeat Utah 70-57 on March 1, 2004. The is the 23rd largest crowd in Marriott Center history (record is 23,106 on March 7, 1981 when BYU defeated Utah 95-76).

-- BYU's 61 points against the Falcons snapped a string of 12 straight games in which the Cougars had scored at least 70 points. BYU is now 1-4 when scoring below 70 points and 13-0 when holding opponents below the 70-point threshold.

-- BYU's .278 shooting mark from three-point range against the Falcons ended a streak of seven straight games in which the Cougars had shot at least .400 from long range.

-- With a 42-20 rebounding advantage, their largest of the season, the Cougars are 14-0 when winning the battle of the boards. BYU has outrebounded its opponents by more than 10 boards nine times.

-- Leading 31-21 against Air Force, BYU went into the locker room with a halftime lead for the 16th time this season, including its seventh game with a double-digit lead. The Cougars have held opponents under 30 points in the first half 12 times this year, including 21 first-half points scored by the Falcons, the fewest BYU has allowed all year. The Cougars are now 14-2 when leading at the break. BYU is also 14-0 when leading at the five-minute mark and 14-0 when leading at the one-minute mark.

-- With 22 points against Air Force, Trent Plaisted reached the 20-point mark for the fourth time this season and the seventh in his career.

-- Plaisted also knocked down two big free throws with 35 seconds left to play to give BYU a 56-51 lead. Plaisted is 3-for-5 on the year from the free-throw line with under two minutes to play.

-- With 17 points against the Falcons, Keena Young has now scored in double figures in 18 of 21 games.

-- Trailing 10-4 early, the Cougars used a 16-2 run to take a 20-12 lead during which they held the Falcons scoreless from the floor for increments of 4:50 and 3:37.

-- Trent Plaisted opened the second half with a dunk, a blocked shot and another dunk to give BYU its largest lead of 14 points. He added a third midway through the period, bringing his season total to 25 and his career mark to 57. Plaisted has posted multiple throwdowns in six games this year.

BYU NOTES

BYU'S LAST OUTING -- PLAISTED'S FREE THROWS LEFT COUGARS OVER LOBOS

ALBUQUERQUE -- BYU center Trent Plaisted made two free throws with five seconds left in overtime to beat New Mexico 70-69 in The Pit on Tuesday night. Plaisted, a 53.6 percent free-throw shooter, kept the Cougars atop the Mountain West Conference standings with the two clutch free throws. BYU moves to 22-6 overall and 11-2 in MWC play. New Mexico drops to 22-7 and 9-5. The Cougars battled back from a 50-58 deficit with five minutes left in regulation to tie the game and send it into overtime. BYU freshman Chris Collinsworth made 1-of-2 free throws with 43 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 63-63 and send it into the extra period. A back-and-forth battle ensued in overtime with neither team taking more than a three-point lead. Plaisted had three points in overtime, all of which came at the line, to give BYU the victory. Despite entering the game with the lowest free-throw percentage in the league, the Cougars went 7-for-8 from the stripe in overtime. BYU senior Sam Burgess was 4-for-4 from the line. Plaisted finished the game with 23 points, six rebounds and five blocks. Burgess added 12 points and eight rebounds, tying his career high. New Mexico guard J.R. Giddens scored a game-high 30 points. New Mexico, the team with the highest field-goal percentage in the conference, was flat from the three-point line, shooting just 3-of-21. BYU came out hot in the first half, shooting 3-of-4 from three-point land in the first eight minutes to go up 17-10. But a trapping man-to-man defense by New Mexico allowed the Lobos to respond to BYU's solid shooting early, forcing BYU into nine turnovers in the period. The Lobos led 24-23 with seven minutes left in the first half, the teams' first lead since leading 2-0. The Lobos' offense went through Giddens, who had nine points in the first 12 minutes. The crowd of more than 18,000 at The Pit came to its feet when a turnover by BYU forward Chris Collinsworth led to a Giddens dunk at the other end, giving the Lobos a 29-28 lead with 3:30 to go in the half. The Lobos would extend their lead into the locker room at halftime with a score of 33-29. BYU's three-point shooting, and the lack of three-point shooting from the Lobos, is what kept the Cougars in the game early on. BYU shot 5-of-10 from behind the arc while New Mexico was just 1-for-10. Lee Cummard led all Cougar scorers at the break with seven points. Plaisted added six points and three rebounds. Giddens led the Lobos' stat sheet with 14 points, going 5-of-11 from the field. Plaisted came out in the second half to score the Cougars' first four points but would soon commit his third foul and be forced to take a seat on the bench. A three-pointer by Sam Burgess with 12 minutes left in the game brought the Cougars to within two points, 42-44. The Lobos had enjoyed a five-point cushion for the first eight minutes of the half. With six minutes to go in the game, the Lobos went on a 6-2 run to jump to a 58-50 lead. New Mexico freshman Jonathan Wills hit a triple, and a three-point play from Roman Marinez sparked the Lobos on the run. A right-handed hook shot from the left-handed Plaisted and a Cummard three-pointer from the top of the key tied the game at 58. A layup by Cummard with 1:20 left gave the Cougars their first lead since the first half. Cummard would later foul out. With the score tied at 63-63 and 20 seconds left in regulation, Jimmer Fredette stole the ball from Jamaal Smith to give the Cougars possession. But a Fredette turnover with 10 seconds left gave the Lobos the final shot of regulation, which Dairese Gary missed as time ran out. In the overtime period neither team could manage to shake the other, going back and forth with neither team leading by more than three points. Plaisted went to the line shooting two with the Cougars down 68-69 and hit both free throws get the 70-69 victory.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "Trent (Plaisted) was pretty pumped, and he steps up to the line and hits them. He told everybody in the huddle before the second free throw that he was going to make it, so that was a good sign."

-- "I was just really proud of how they battled. It was competitive and back and forth and just what we expected from that game. Our guys gave everything they had, and we were lucky that we made one more play."

New Mexico Head Coach Steve Alford

-- "I take my hats off to BYU. I thought we played hard. This is gonna hurt for a while. It was a great college basketball game; we just came up a point shy."

-- "They got the job done better one more possession than we did. We missed a lot of shots that we normally make. That's the worst three-point shooting we've had all year, and we still only lose by one point to the best team in our league."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- Individual Career Highs: Sam Burgess -- 8 rebounds (tied); Trent Plaisted -- 5 blocks

-- BYU's overtime game against New Mexico was its first of the season. The Cougars' last overtime victory on the road came against Weber State on Dec. 6, 2006.

-- The last time BYU came back to win a road game after trailing at halftime was Feb. 27, 2007 at Air Force.

-- Sam Burgess and Trent Plaisted combined for six consecutive free throws for BYU to end the overtime period and win the game.

-- The Cougars have yet to lose back-to-back Mountain West Conference games since Dave Rose took over as head coach in 2005-2006.

-- With a 33-29 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, New Mexico became just the fifth team this season to post a halftime lead against the Cougars. Prior to the UNM game, the Cougars had not trailed at the break since trailing by one point (28-27) against SDSU on Jan. 23, 2008, a game the Cougars won 59-56. BYU is now 2-3 this season when trailing at halftime.

-- Trent Plaisted scored a team-high 23 points against UNM. BYU has had at least one player top the 20-point mark in each of the last nine games.

-- Lee Cummard (14) and Sam Burgess (12) also contributed double-figures for the Cougars.

-- With the 70-69 win, BYU is now 17-1 when scoring at least 70 points and 16-1 when holding opponents under 70 points.

-- Jonathan Tavernari made one triple against the Lobos. He needs to make four more three-pointers to tie the single-season BYU record of 74 set by Andy Toolson in 1990.

-- BYU is off to its best record since 1992-93 when the Cougars were 22-6 after 28 games. Only four teams at BYU have ever achieved a record better than the Cougars' current 21-6 record.

-- Lee Cummard scored BYU's final field goal of the first half with 5:24 remaining contributing to the Lobo's 9-1 run heading into the break. The Cougars ended the half with 1-for-10 shooting.

-- Leading the country in three-point shooting percentage with 43.7 percent, New Mexico was 3-for-21 from beyond-the-arc against the Cougars. Until this point, UNM has averaged 8.6 three-pointers per game.

-- New Mexico's J.R. Giddens finished with 30 points, the most points scored against his season (previous was 28 points by Lorrenzo Wade of SDSU).

-- The game had eight ties and seven lead changes. BYU's biggest lead was nine points at 20-11. New Mexico's largest lead was eight points at 58-50.

COUGAR START AMONG THE TOP IN SCHOOL HISTORY

BYU has a 22-6 record through 28 games this year. In the 105-year history of BYU men's basketball, only three teams earned a better record than this year's Cougar squad.

20-WIN SEASONS

At 22-6 so far this season, BYU has achieved the program's 31st 20-win season, including three straight for Cougar head coach Dave Rose in his first three seasons at the helm. Last year, the Cougars finished 25-9 following a 20-9 campaign in 2005-06. BYU?has averaged 20 wins every 2.6 years (BYU has played 80 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). Rose is the third Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first three years, joining G. Ott Romney and Roger Reid. However, Rose is the first Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first three years after taking over a program with less than 13 wins the prior year. BYU was 9-21 in 2004-05 before Rose turned the program into the second-most improved team in the nation in his first season.

20-Win Seasons at BYU

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

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

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

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

Dave Rose has 3 seasons of 20 wins in 3 years of coaching

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

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

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

REGULAR-SEASON BENCHMARKS FOR NCAA INVITES

Winning 20 or more games in the regular season has proven to be a significant indicator for receiving an invitation into the NCAA Tournament. Since the first NCAA Tournament in 1939, BYU has had 20 seasons with 20 regular-season wins, including last year's team. In those 20 years, BYU has earned a postseason invite each season, including 17 NCAA bids, three NIT berths (BYU played both NIT and NCAA in 1950-51) and one NAIB (1948-49) invite. In the modern era since the NCAA Tournament became the predominant championship over the NIT, BYU has had 15 seasons when it earned 20 or more wins during regular-season games (prior to starting the conference tournament). The Cougars have received an invite to play in the NCAA Tournament in 14 of those seasons, with the lone exception being the 2005-06 team that finished the regular season 20-7 and fell to 20-8 with a loss at the MWC Tournament before receiving an NIT invitation. Including last year, BYU has reached 21 regular-season wins during 11 of those 15 seasons and has been invited to play in the NCAA Tournament in each of those 11 years.

COUGARS IN CONFERENCE

BYU basketball boasts a remarkable record of conference success during its history. After earning its 26th regular-season conference championship in 2007, the Cougars moved into a tie for ninth among all NCAA Division I programs for most regular-season league titles won (see list at left). Including conference tournaments, BYU has claimed a conference championship trophy during 27 seasons. The Cougars won the 1991 WAC Tournament after a second-place regular-season finish. Other conference tournament titles in 1992 (WAC) and 2001 (MWC) have followed up regular-season rings, as was the case with conference playoff wins in 1924 and 1933 in the Rocky Mountain Conference. BYU won six Rocky Mountain Conference titles in 20 years, earned five Skyline championships in 24 years, recorded 12 WAC crowns in 37 years and has garned MWC honors in three of the league's first eight seasons. BYU won the in-state title against rivals Utah and Utah State during 10 of the 12 years before the Cougars first joined a conference in 1918.

COACH ROSE OWNS TOP MWC MARK

With a 36-9 record in Mountain West Conference games since taking the helm of the BYU program for the 2005-06 season, Dave Rose is currently the winningest MWC coach in league play in the past three years. UNLV's Lon Kruger is 34-13 and SDSU's Steve Fisher is 31-15. In addition to this year's 11-2 MWC record, Rose coached the Cougars to a 13-3 league and 25-9 overall record last year, earning Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. He was named the MWC and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year in his first season after coaching BYU to a second-place MWC finish at 12-4 while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success--which proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.

CURRENT COUGARS RANK AMONG BEST EVER IN REGULAR SEASON WINS

This year's BYU team is the 12th Cougar squad to record its 22nd win prior to the end of the regular season. With three games left in the regular season, this year's team could go down as one of the best Cougar teams ever, breaking the program record for regular-season victories. No BYU team has ever posted 25 regular-season wins while three squads have reached 24 victories prior to postseason play and three others have posted 23 wins.

COUGARS BY THE NUMBERS

1 Rank of BYU coach Dave Rose's 67 wins and .736 winning percentage among the 18 head coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level along with Rose in 2005-06. Rose ranks second to only Tennessee's Bruce Pearl (71-22 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06.

3 Number of top 10 teams BYU has played this season - then-No. 1 North Carolina, then-No. 6 Louisville and then-No. 9 Michigan State. The Cougars beat the Cardinals, 78-76, before falling, 73-63, to the Tarheels despite battling UNC through six second-half lead changes. BYU held a double-digit halftime lead against the Spartans before losing, 68-61.

5 Number of treys Jonathan Tavernari needs to surpass Andy Toolson's single-season school record of 74 triples. With 70 threes, Tavernari is currently in third place on the list. Nick Sanderson is second with 73 makes.

5 Number of games in which BYU has scored at least 90 points, the most since 1995-96 when the Cougars also reached 90 points in five games. BYU has not scored at least 90 in six games on the year since 1993-94.

7 Number of statistical categories in which Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the MWC including field-goal percentage (1st), scoring (T3rd), free-throw percentage (2nd), offensive rebounds (6th), total rebounds (7th), assists (6th) and defensive rebounds (6th).

8 Number of statistical categories in which a BYU player ranks among the top three in the MWC out of the 12 categories tracked by the league.

10 Number of games in which Lee Cummard has been perfect from the free-throw line out of 21 games in which he taken free throws. Cummard made a career-best 21 straight free throws before missing on his first attempt against San Diego State. He also had a streak of 19 straight earlier this year prior to a miss against Southern Utah.

17 Number of points Trent Plaisted needs to surpass Alan Taylor to move to 17th on BYU's all-time career scoring list. Plaisted currently has 1,268 career points.

17.2 The Cougars' average margin of victory in their 22 wins this season. BYU has won eight games by more than 20 points, including two by more than 30. The Cougars' 40-point win at Long Beach State to begin the year was BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995.

18 Number of times this season BYU has held its opponents under 30 points in the first half. The Cougars have scored at least 30 first-half points in 22 of 28 games this season while racking up halftime leads in 22 of 28 games, including 13 by double digits.

20 Number of games in which BYU has led by double digits. The Cougars have also led by at least 20 points in 13 contests and 30 points in four. BYU has led wire-to-wire in 12 games this year.

25 Number of games this season Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer. Sam Burgess has made a trey in 22 of 28 outings this year while Jimmer Fredette has done so in 20 games.

28 Number of starts made this season by Sam Burgess after the senior made just one start in his two prior seasons as a Cougar. Fellow senior Ben Murdock has also started all 28 games after not starting last year in his first season in Provo.

64.1 Percent of BYU field goals created by an assist. The program record is 64.7 percent achieved in 1992-93.

84 Number of MWC games BYU has won since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season, leading all MWC teams. The Cougars also lead the league in most overall wins (184) along with UNLV.

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

DEFENDING THE HOME COURT

With their 67-59 win over Utah in the Marriott Center last Wednesday, the Cougars set a new program record with 45 straight home victories. The streak also ranks first nationally after No. 1 Memphis lost on Saturday to No. 2 Tennessee. The Cougars are 14-0 at home this year and won 17 home games last season after going 14-1 at home in 2005-06. BYU's last home loss was in the 2005-06 season opener against Loyola Marymount. BYU has since won 23 straight over nonconference opponents and 22 consecutive over MWC foes. BYU's last league loss at home was its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU is 417-116 (.782) all-time in the Marriott Center, and Cougar head coach Dave Rose is 45-1. Prior to Wednesday's win over Utah, BYU's longest homecourt victory streak was 44 games from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003.

ON THE ROAD

The Cougars are 7-4 in true road games this year. With a 1-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is 8-6 this season away from home with a 5-2 record in Mountain West Conference play. BYU won five of its last seven games on the road last season including a win at then-No. 20 Air Force (62-58), snapping the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. BYU was 6-7 on the road last year and 5-3 in conference play, becoming the only MWC team with a winning record on the road in league play last year.

BOUNCEBACK COUGARS

With the Cougars' 70-69 win at New Mexico coming on the heels of a loss at San Diego State, BYU has bounced back from all six of its losses this season with wins. BYU recovered from a setback against No. 1 North Carolina with a victory at Portland, a loss vs. then-No. 9 Michigan State with a win over Lamar, a loss at Boise State with a triumph against Loyola Marymount, a defeat at Wake Forest with a victory over Colorado State and a loss at UNLV with a win at Utah. The Cougars have won their bounceback games by an average margin of 16.3 points. BYU head coach Dave Rose has only lost back-to-back regular-season games once in his Cougar career (vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar in 2006-07).

MAGIC NUMBER: 70

BYU is 18-1 when scoring at least 70 points this year and 18-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark. The Cougars' 55-52 win at Utah marked the first time this season BYU has won a game when scoring less than 70 points. The Cougars have scored 90 or more points in five games this season, reaching 100 against Jackson State, and are 9-0 when scoring over 80 points on the year.

CLEANING THE GLASS

BYU has won the battle of the boards in 20 games this year, going 18-2 in those contests. The Cougars have tied an opponent on the boards twice this year, both times against SDSU. BYU is besting opponents by an average of 5.8 boards per contest, leading the league in rebounding margin and rebound average (40.1). The Cougars posted a season-high +19 rebounding margin (38-19) against Hartford as four Cougars pulled down at least five rebounds. BYU began the season with a 55-40 rebounding advantage at Long Beach State, matching last year's season high of 55 boards against Seton Hall. Five Cougars posted at least six rebounds in BYU's win over Lamar, marking the first time since Jan. 8, 2005 that feat has been done.

BALANCED SCORING

BYU has had five players score in double figures in a game four times this season, surpassing last year's total of three games in which at least five players reached double digits. Five different Cougars have led the team in scoring with Lee Cummard pacing BYU a team-best 14 times.

FOUR FRESHMEN

Four Cougar freshman are making an impact this year as Chris Collinsworth, Jimmer Fredette, Michael Loyd, Jr. and Nick Martineau have all made a difference for BYU. Collinsworth is fourth for BYU with 4.9 rebounds per game while ranking 11th among MWC players in conference play at 5.5 rpg. He has started six games. Fredette is fifth on the team in scoring with 6.9 ppg and third in steals with 23. Loyd is averaging 8.5 minutes per game and has posted 30 assists on the year. Martineau has 14 assists to 8 turnovers in his 17 games played.

FROM DOWNTOWN

After setting a program record with 256 three-pointers last season, the Cougars could break that record this year having already made 227 treys so far. BYU has posted double-digit triples in a game nine times this year and has made at least five three-pointers in 26 of 28 games this season. The Cougars recorded the sixth-best three-point shooting percentage in program history with 81.3 percent accuracy (13-of-16) against New Mexico, which is also an MWC record in league games. Individually, Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer in 25 of 28 games this season while Sam Burgess has done so in 22 contests and Jimmer Fredette in 20. Tavernari is on pace to break the Cougars' single-season three-point record of 74 with 70 treys so far this season.

BYU IN THE RANKINGS

The Cougars re-entered the national rankings this week, being ranked No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today poll. BYU previously fell out of the top-25 polls released on Dec. 31 after a 73-70 road loss at Boise State. This season BYU first entered the national rankings on Nov. 26, earning the program's earliest appearance in the national polls since the 1980-81 season when the Cougars entered the rankings at No. 21 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll. BYU has now been ranked in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1980-81 and 1981-82. Last year, BYU entered the polls on Feb. 19 to receive the program's first national ranking since 1993, finishing the season ranked No. 24 in the final AP Poll, something a Cougar team had not accomplished since 1988. The Cougar basketball program has now been ranked in the AP Poll during 16 seasons since its first national ranking in 1950-51.

BYU AS A RANKED TEAM

BYU owns a 137-57 record as a ranked team. The Cougars are 79-12 at home, 37-28 on the road and 21-17 at neutral sites when nationally ranked. BYU's victory at Portland on Dec. 1 marked the Cougars' first road win as a ranked team since an 84-63 victory at UTEP on March 4, 1993 when BYU was ranked No. 21. BYU is 9-5 as a ranked team under Dave Rose.

PLAYING THE BEST

BYU's game against No. 9 Michigan State on Dec. 8 was its third game in three weeks against a top-10 opponent, including a victory over No. 6 Louisville on Nov. 23 and a loss to No. 1 North Carolina on Nov. 24. BYU has played at least three regular-season games against top-10 opponents in a season just six times previously in program history with the last coming in 1983-84. Only twice previously have the Cougars played three top-10 teams during a three-week stretch, once in 1990-91 with a loss to No. 9 Utah on March 2, a win over No. 8 Utah on March 9 in the WAC Tournament and a loss to No. 8 Arizona on March 16 in the NCAA Tournament and once in 1980-81 with a victory over No. 9 Utah on March 7 in the WAC Tournament, a win over No. 10 UCLA on March 14 in the NCAA Tournament, a victory over No. 7 Notre Dame on March 19 in the NCAA Tourney and a loss to No. 5 Virginia on March 21 in the NCAAs.

FOR STARTERS

Seniors Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess along with juniors Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted have started all 28 games this year while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari has made 22 starts and freshman Chris Collinsworth has started six contests.

WINNING WITH ROSE

With a 67-24 record in his third season, BYU coach Dave Rose ranks first in wins and winning percentage among the 18 head coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level along with Rose in 2005-06. Rose ranks second to only Tennessee's Bruce Pearl (71-22 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06. (including games as of Feb. 27)

First-Year Coaches in 2005-06 By Wins

Coach, School Record Percentage

Dave Rose, BYU 67-24 .736

Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss* 60-33 .645

*includes one season as the interim head coach at Cincinnati

Head Coaches in Their First Year With a Program in 2005-06 By Wins

Coach, School Record Percentage

Bruce Pearl, Tennessee 71-22 .763

Dave Rose, BYU 67-24 .736

Tim Floyd, USC 62-34 .646

BYU PLAYER OF THE WEEK

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

PLAISTED IN 1,000 POINT CLUB

With 22 points against Lamar, junior Trent Plaisted became the 37th member of BYU's elite 1,000 Point Club, joining such Cougar greats as Danny Ainge, Michael Smith, Devin Durrant, Fred Roberts, Kresimir Cosic and Andy Toolson to score at least 1,000 points in their Cougar careers. Plaisted now has 1,268 career points, 18th on BYU's all-time scoring list. Before Plaisted, Keena Young was the most recent addition to the club as he posted 1,068 points during his three-year BYU stint from 2005-07. Of four-year players, Plaisted is just the 10th Cougar to reach the 1,000-point milestone as a junior. The last four-year player to reach 1,000 points as a junior was Mark Bigelow with 1,312 following the 2002-03 season. Plaisted also has 646 career rebounds, making him just the 11th player overall to record at least 1,000 career points and 600 career rebounds.

BURGESS COMIN' UP BIG

Senior co-captain Sam Burgess is making the most of his final BYU campaign as he is fourth on the team in scoring (8.5), third in field-goal shooting among players with at least 60 attempts (.432) and third in assists (2.0) while ranking second on the team in three-point shooting (.407). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 4.9 ppg while averaging 16.9 more minutes per game. His 12 double-figure scoring games this year has more than doubled last year's mark of four double-digit scoring outings. Burgess has started all 27 games this season after starting just one game in his two prior seasons as a Cougar. He scored 15 points against New Mexico on 4-for-6 shooting from the field and a 3-for-3 mark from three-point range. He went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line at New Mexico, including 4-for-4 in overtime.

.800 CLUB

BYU boasts four players who are making 80 percent or more of their free-throw attempts this year (Jimmer Fredette, .900; Jonathan Tavernari, .857; Lee Cummard, .841; Sam Burgess, .857). Lee Cummard made a career- and team-season-high 21 straight free throws before missing his first attempt vs. SDSU. He earlier had made 19 straight before a miss against Southern Utah, meaning he had made 40 of 41 attempts (97.6 percent) over that stretch. He has been perfect at the line in 10 of 21 games he has gone to the line this year.

WINNING BIG

The Cougars' 22 victories this year have come by an average margin of 17.2 points, including a season-opening 40-point road win at Long Beach State (74-34), one of 17 double-digit wins for BYU this season and one of eight victories by over 20 points. The win over the 49ers marked BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995. Including BYU's five losses, the Cougars still boast a scoring margin of 11.0 points this year. BYU won 17 games by double-digits last year, including seven by 20 or more points, and was the only team in the Mountain West Conference to not have a regular-season game decided by less than four points. With an average scoring margin of +9.1 last season, the Cougars posted their largest margin of victory since 1993.

VICTORY STREAK

BYU had a season-best nine-game win streak end with a loss at SDSU Saturday. The victories were at Utah, vs. San Diego State, vs. New Mexico, at Air Force, at Wyoming, vs. TCU, at Colorado State, against UNLV and vs. Utah. That mark was tied for seventh nationally and is the Cougars' longest victory string since also winning nine straight in the 2003-04 season.

THIS YEAR'S LOSSES

BYU's six losses this year have come on neutral floors against then-No. 1 North Carolina and then-No. 9 Michigan State and on the road at Boise State, at Wake Forest, at UNLV and at SDSU. BYU held double-digit leads over both Michigan State and Boise State and battled the top-rated Tar Heels through six second-half lead changes. North Carolina (26-2), Michigan State (22-5), Boise State (20-7), Wake Forest (16-9) and UNLV (21-6) have a combined 105-29 record for a .784 winning percentage as of games played Feb. 27. Wake Forest recently recorded a 13-point home win over then-No. 2 Duke.

FROM THE FIELD

BYU is shooting 45.9 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 38.7 percent from the floor (No. 1 in the MWC). Overall, the Cougars have shot above 50 percent in 10 games this year. BYU has shot above 50 percent in the first half of eight games this season and in the second half of 12 contests, totaling 20 halves of play with a shooting percentage of 50 percent higher, including six above 60 percent. The Cougars posted a season-high 60.4 percent efficiency against Hartford bolstered by a 63.6 percent second-half shooting mark (14-for-22). Individually, Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted rank No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 57.7 and 53.5 percent and 25th and 62nd, respectively, in the national rankings as of Feb. 24.

HALFTIME REPORT

The Cougars are 20-2 this season when leading at the half with 13 of the 22 advantages coming by double digits. No. 1 North Carolina, Wake Forest, UNLV, San Diego State and New Mexico are the only teams this season to post a halftime lead against BYU. The Cougars are besting opponents by an average of 7.3 points in the first period of play while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of nine of 28 games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 22 of 28 games while holding opponents under 30 points 18 times. The Cougars' 36-12 lead at the break at Long Beach State marked their largest halftime advantage since being up by 28 points (51-23) against Western Oregon on Dec. 22, 2006. The 12 points given up by BYU in the first 20 minutes of the game at LBSU marked the fewest points allowed in a half by the Cougars since allowing a record-low 10 points against Air Force in 2003. BYU has topped 40 points in the second half of 11 games this year while surpassing the 50-point mark in the second half four times.

PAINTING THE TOWN

The Cougars have outscored their opponents in the paint in 14 games and equaled them in one other this year, recording a +3.1 margin in that category. BYU has posted a double-digit margin in 10 games, including a season-best +38 margin (54-16) against Jackson State. The Cougars are 14-0 when besting opponents in the paint while all six of BYU's losses on the season have come when the Cougars have been outscored in the paint.

MAKING THE MOST OF THE MISCUE

Despite recording a -0.8 turnover margin with their opponents on the year, the Cougars have outscored foes in points off of turnovers in 19 games this season, posting a +3.7 scoring margin in that category. BYU scored a season-best 26 points off of turnovers against Loyola Marymount.

FAST AND FURIOUS

BYU has outscored opponents in transition in 19 games, equaled them three times and been outpaced only six times. The Cougars average 4.2 more fastbreak points than their opponents. The Cougars scored a season-best 20 fastbreak points against Jackson State while tying their season high with a +16 margin. BYU's five deficits in that category came in losses against No. 1 North Carolina (0-4), against No. 9 Michigan State (0-4) and at Wake Forest (0-8) and wins at Air Force (0-2) and at New Mexico (2-6).

FROM THE BENCH

BYU's reserves have outscored the opposition's bench only eight times this year, but they have done it in eight of the last 17 games after seven straight contests with a scoring deficit off the bench. On the whole, the BYU bench has outscored opponent reserves by 0.5 points per game this season, tallying 532 points or 19.0 points per game. BYU's leading scorer off the bench is freshman guard Jimmer Fredette, who is averaging 6.9 points per game. He had 14 points against Utah, his highest scoring output in conference play. He stepped up at Wake Forest, tying for team-high honors with 15 points off the bench.

LEADERS OF THE PACK

Including a game-high lead of 29 points against UNLV, the Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 20 of 28 games and have led by more than 20 points in 13 games and more than 30 points in four contests. The Cougars have led wire-to-wire in 12 games this season.

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