Senior Keena Young is making a case for MWC Player of the Year honors after scoring over 20 points in five of his last seven games.
BYU GAME #29 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (21-7, 11-3 MWC)
No. 20 AIR FORCE FALCONS (23-6, 10-5 MWC)
Tuesday, Feb. 27, 2007
Clune Arena (5,834)
7 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (41-16 in second season; same overall)
AFA, Jeff Bzdelik (47-13 in second season; 72-44 in four years overall)
BYU leads, 44-12, after winning the first meeting this year in Provo, 61-52, on Jan. 27
CSTV (Tom Hart - play-by-play, Sean Farnham - color)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (6 p.m. MT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Russell Larson, game analysis)
Live audio and live stats links are available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
BYU PLAYS AT AIR FORCE TUESDAY
BYU (21-7, 11-3 MWC) will play at No. 20/25 Air Force (23-6, 10-5 MWC) Tuesday at 7 p.m. MT in Clune Arena. The game will be televised nationally on CSTV and can be heard live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 6 p.m. on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the Internet at KSL.com. The first-place Cougars have won 16 of their last 19 games but are coming off an 86-74 loss at San Diego State on Saturday, snapping an eight-game win streak. The Falcons have lost two straight but are tied with BYU for the nation's longest active home win streak at 30 games.
BYU will play its final regular-season game of the year hosting Utah on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. The game will be televised nationally on CSTV.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- The Cougars are listed 29th in the Coaches Poll and 30th in the AP Poll this week. BYU entered the national rankings last Monday for the first time since 1993. BYU was ranked No. 21 in the AP Top 25 rankings and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. BYU was last ranked on March 8, 1993 at No. 25 (AP).
-- Coming off a loss at San Diego State Saturday, BYU has won eight of its last nine games, including road wins at TCU, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming and home victories over then-No. 13 Air Force, then-No. 25 UNLV, New Mexico and Colorado State. With 30 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are tied for first with Air Force for the nation's longest active home winning streak.
-- MWC Player of the Year candidate Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (17.3) and is second on the team in rebounding (6.1). 2006 Freshman All-American Trent Plaisted leads the Cougars on the boards (6.3) and is second in scoring (12.2), while senior Austin Ainge leads BYU with 4.3 assists per game.
-- The Cougars currently lead the MWC in scoring (78.1), rebounding average (37.4), rebounding margin (+5.7) and assists (16.3) in overall play. In league games, in addition to owning first place in the standings, BYU paces the conference in scoring (79.7), scoring margin (+9.1), field-goal percentage (.511), three-point shooting (.444), assists (17.1) and assist/turnover ratio (1.34).
-- BYU has RPI ratings of 20, 23 and 24 in the various RPI rankings. BYU is ranked No. 10 in the nation in three-point shooting, No. 19 in field-goal percentage, No. 21 in scoring, and No. 27 in scoring margin, assists and rebounding margin.
-- The Cougars are 16-0 at home this season, 5-6 on the road and 0-1 on a neutral court.
LOOKING AT AIR FORCE
Air Force (No. 20 Coaches Poll/No. 25 AP Poll) is 23-6 this season and 10-5 in MWC play. The Falcons have been ranked as high as No. 11 nationally this year. Air Force is coming off its first back-to-back losses of the year with road setbacks at UNLV (60-50) and TCU (71-66). With five league losses, Air Force still has a chance to share the MWC regular-season title with a win Tuesday against BYU (pending the outcomes of BYU and UNLV games during the week). The Falcons will honor their outstanding senior class when they host the Cougars in their regular-season and home finale Tuesday. The Falcons hope to avoid the lone possibility of being swept by a league foe this year as Air Force has beaten every MWC team at least once this year except BYU. Senior forward Dan Nwaelele leads AFA with 14.5 points per game on 53.9 percent shooting from the floor. Nwaelele, who is one of four Falcons who has started all 29 games for the Academy, shoots .747 from three-point range while making a team-best 65 triples. He adds 3.4 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game. Senior forward Jacob Burtschi contributes 13.2 ppg on .496 shooting to go along with a team-best 5.7 rpg. He is also one of four Falcons dishing out at least two assists per contest with an average of 2.3 and has made 53 threes on .402 accuracy from long range. Senior guard Matt McCraw is AFA's leading assist man with an even 3.0 average while adding 11.3 ppg, third on the team, and 3.5 rpg. Senior center Nick Welch also scores in double figures at 10.0 ppg on .490 shooting while adding 4.0 rpg and 2.1 apg. Junior guard Tim Anderson tallies 8.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 2.9 apg and a team-best 1.7 steals per game. Senior center John Frye (2.0 ppg, 1.7 rpg in 27 outings) and senior forward Ryan Teets (0.9 ppg, 0.7 rpg in 20 games) will also be honored at senior night. As a team, the Falcons are averaging 69.6 ppg on .494 shooting from the field, including a .409 mark from three-point range, while holding opponents to 55.5 ppg on .423 shooting, including a .310 percentage from behind the arc. In the last release of the NCAA statistics (2-22-07), Air Force ranks among the top 10 in the nation in eight statistical categories, including turnovers (2nd), scoring defense (2nd), free-throw percentage (5th), personal fouls per game (5th), three-point field-goal percentage (7th), field-goal percentage (8th), scoring margin (9th) and three-pointers made per game (10th). Falcon head coach Jeff Bzdelik is 47-13 in his second season at Air Force and 72-44 in his fourth year overall.
AIR FORCE'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 05 Matt McCraw 6-2 185 Sr. 11.3 3.5
G 12 Tim Anderson 6-3 180 Jr. 8.9 3.3
F 21 Jacob Burtschi 6-6 225 Sr. 13.2 5.7
F 34 Dan Nwaelele 6-5 206 Sr. 14.5 3.4
C 45 Nick Welch 6-8 212 Sr. 10.0 4.0
AIR FORCE'S LAST OUTING -- FALCONS FALL AT TCU
FORT WORTH -- TCU didn't do much right when it was routed by Air Force last month. In the second half Saturday, the Horned Frogs were nearly flawless as they shot 75 percent in a 71-66 upset of No. 14 Air Force that ended an 11-game losing streak. The Horned Frogs hit 15-of-20 shots and scored 46 points after halftime against the nation's second-leading scoring defense. Air Force (23-6, 10-5) has lost five of its last six conference road games. The Falcons shot a season-low 30 percent in losing 60-50 to UNLV on Tuesday. Matt McCraw scored 17 points, Nick Welch had 15 and Jacob Burtschi added 14 for the Falcons. Ryan Wall scored 14 of his 19 points in the second half for TCU, Alvardo Parker added 12 and Brent Hackett had 11. After hitting just 10-of-25 shots in the first half, the Horned Frogs finished the game shooting 56 percent from the field. The game was tied at 32 early in the second half before Parker started a 16-7 run with a layup. Hackett hit two straight 3-pointers to put TCU ahead 40-35, and Parker capped the spurt with a dunk that gave the Horned Frogs a 48-39 advantage. The Falcons got within 50-45 when Welch hit two free throws with 8:11 remaining. But the Horned Frogs went on a 9-2 run over the next 4:21 which Wall finished when he hit a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired. TCU jumped out to an 18-7 lead in the game's first 10 minutes before Air Force responded. The Falcons went on a 14-2 run to take a 21-20 lead. Air Force led 24-21 with 2 minutes left in the first half, but Femi Ibikunle and Andre Owens had consecutive baskets to put TCU ahead at halftime.
This will be the 57th meeting between the two teams, with BYU leading the series 44-12, including a 61-52 win over then-No. 13 Air Force in Provo this season. The Cougars are 23-4 in Provo, 18-7 at Air Force and 3-1 at a neutral site. BYU has won 10 of the 16 games in the series since the inception of the Mountain West Conference, but Air Force has won four of the last seven meetings, including a 16-point win last year in USAFA. BYU returned the favor with a 65-59 victory in Provo last season, snapping AFA's three-game winning streak, which marked the longest Falcon win streak in the series and was the first time the Falcons managed consecutive victories over the Cougars since the first two games in 1961 and 1963. BYU has won 11 of the last 18 outings since winning a series-best 15 straight over the Falcons from 1990-96. The Cougars have lost three straight in Clune Arena with their last 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.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 44-12
BYU Record in Provo: 23-4 (23-2 in the Marriott Center)
BYU Record in Colorado Springs: 18-7 (all in Clune Arena)
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 3-1
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 2-1
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 (2005-06)
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
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"Air Force has a long winning streak at home and they always play well there. They get a good crowd, and the fans are really close and involved in the game. It's an interesting situation to have your last road trip in your league be against two of the best home teams in the league. We have a real challenge."
"Air Force is very efficient offensively, and they don't waste a lot of possessions. They've shot the ball extremely well in Clune Arena. This will be the last home game for their group of seniors so there will be a lot of emotion in the building. Our game at San Diego State hopefully prepared us for what we're in for."
THIS 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 FIRST OUTING THIS YEAR
-- 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.
LAST YEAR AT AIR FORCE -- Cougars FALL IN MWC OPENER
USAFA -- The Cougars opened up Mountain West Conference play with a 75-59 loss Thursday night at Air Force, falling to 8-4 on the season and 0-1 in the MWC. In a game reminiscent of last season's 70-39 loss at Air Force, which began with a 19-0 Falcon lead, BYU came out cold to start the game, allowing Air Force to open up with a 10-1 run. Brock Reichner, the Cougars' lone senior, recorded BYU's first seven points on a free throw and back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to 10-7. However, the Falcons responded with an 11-0 run to take a 21-7 lead. Keena Young ended the 5:32 BYU scoring drought with a make from underneath the basket at the 10:41 mark, the first Cougar besides Reichner to score, but the Falcons continued to light up the scoreboard as they led by as many as 26 points in the first half. However, despite Air Force making eight three-pointers in the first half while BYU made just nine baskets, the Cougars put together a 7-0 spurt to end the half and cut the lead to 42-23. BYU's comeback magic continued to start the second half as the Cougars added to their scoring streak with an 8-2 run to begin the second period of play, cutting the lead to 44-31. BYU held the Falcons without a bucket for 5:09 in the half after Air Force scored the first bucket of the period. The BYU bench contributed to most of the Cougars' second-half scoring, recording 32 of BYU's 59 points in the game, as the Cougars tried to find the right scoring combination. But BYU could not complete the comeback as Air Force's lead proved too large to overcome. Despite the Cougars actually outscoring the Falcons 36-33 in the second half, they could get no closer than 12 points at 63-51 at the 5:41 mark, eventually falling by 16 points, their largest margin of defeat this season. Young proved to be a bright spot for BYU in the loss as he scored a career-high 16 points while tying his career-best with 11 rebounds to record the second double-double of his career. Young and Reichner combined for 29 of BYU's 59 points as Reichner added 13 to Young's total, his eighth game scoring in double figures. The two combined to shoot 13-for-23 from the field. Austin Ainge and Mike Rose each recorded six points in 15 and eight minutes off the bench, respectively. Rashaun Broadus was BYU's top assist maker with four but struggled from the floor, shooting 1-for-7 on the night. As a team, BYU shot 41 percent from the field (24-for-59) while allowing Air Force to shoot 52 percent from the floor (24-for-56), including 44 percent from three-point range (11-for-25). The Cougars outrebounded the Falcons 37-27, resulting in a season-high 22 second-chance points compared to just seven for Air Force.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "Air Force is a really good team. You try to get an idea of how good they really are on film, but they're better than they look. Their guards were really hard for us to contain."
-- "Defensively, we made a pretty good effort but Air Force made the big shots."
-- "We didn't keep our composure offensively. We turned the ball over too much and never got into a good flow in the first half. We got down big and then had to fight from behind the whole time."
-- "I think that we didn't do a very good job capitalizing on what our strengths are. We didn't get the ball into guards who were posting up, which is a real strength of our team. Trent Plaisted was having a hard time getting into position and wasn't getting the ball underneath."
-- "The loss was a compilation of a lot of things; we didn't get good looks at the basket and when we did, we didn't make them."
-- "Keena Young picked up really well in the second half. It was obvious how much better our offense was when he was able to get in there and make some moves."
-- "Our bench is one of the strengths of our team. We can go down the bench a while and be a fresher team. It helps to have guys who don't have to play as much in the first half and can come in for long stretches in the second half and give us some fresh legs."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT AIR FORCE
-- Lee Cummard started his third game of the season at Air Force, joining Brock Reichner, Rashaun Broadus, Fernando Malaman and Trent Plaisted in the starting five. Broadus, Malaman and Plaisted have started every game this season while Reichner has started the last 11 games for BYU. Reichner got the first start of his career last season at Air Force.
-- Individual Career Highs: Keena Young -- 16 points, 11 rebounds (tied), 8 field goals made, 2 steals (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Fewest Points Scored In a Game -- 59; Largest Margin of Defeat -- 16; Fewest Points Scored in a Half -- 23 (first); Largest Halftime Deficit -- 19 points; Most Second Chance Points -- 22; Most Opponent Three-Point Field Goals Made -- 11.
-- Keena Young recorded his first double-double of the season and the second of his career with 16 points and 11 rebounds against Air Force. Young's first career double-double also came against Air Force as he contributed 14 points and 11 rebounds in last season's home game against the Falcons.
-- Brock Reichner and Keena Young combined for 29 of BYU's 59 points as Young recorded a career-high 16 and Reichner added 13, his eighth game scoring in double figures. The two combined to shoot 13-for-23 from the field.
-- With the loss, the Cougars are 4-3 all-time in Mountain West Conference openers with a 1-2 mark on the road.
-- Air Force has defeated the Cougars in five of the last seven meetings at the Academy, giving the Falcons a 5-2 home record against BYU in MWC play. The Cougars have not won at Air Force since March 1, 2003.
-- Air Force jumped out to an early 10-1 lead as the Cougars did not score from the floor until the 16:55 mark. Last year at Air Force, BYU trailed 19-0 in the first half.
-- Brock Reichner scored BYU's first seven points of the game, making 1-of-2 from the line at the 17:18 mark and then hitting two three-pointers back-to-back to cut Air Force's lead to 10-7.
-- Keena Young became the second player to score for BYU with a make from underneath the basket at the 10:41 mark in the first half. The bucket ended an 11-0 Air Force run spanning 5:32.
-- After falling behind by 26 points at 42-16, BYU closed out the second half on a 7-0 run with a two-point make by Reichner, a three-pointer from Cummard and a long jumper from Broadus, who banked in his shot as time expired.
-- BYU's comeback magic continued in the second half as the Cougars added to their scoring streak with an 8-2 run to begin the second half, cutting the lead to 44-31. BYU held the Falcons without a bucket for 5:09 in the half after Air Force scored the first bucket of the period.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- BYU WIN STREAK ENDS AT SDSU
SAN -- The No. 21 BYU men's basketball team lost a little bit of its magic Saturday, losing 86-74 at San Diego State to snap an eight-game winning streak. True freshman Jonathan Tavernari led BYU with 18 points and seven rebounds, tying his career highs in both categories. He scored 17 of his points, including five three-pointers, during a six-minute span in the second half to fuel BYU's comeback attempt. Austin Ainge followed Tavernari with 17 points and a team-high three assists while Keena Young posted his 24th double-digit scoring night of the year with 15 points and Trent Plaisted made it to double figures with 10 points. The Aztecs were led by 30 points from reigning MWC MVP Brandon Heath and 27 points from Mohamed Abukar. The two teams traded buckets to a 4-4 tie until SDSU turned up the defensive pressure to force four Cougar turnovers. The Aztecs took advantage of the Cougar confusion to put together an 18-point run and jump out to a 22-4 lead with 12:54 left to play in the first half. Lee Cummard finally made BYU's first field goal in almost seven minutes with a layin with 11:51 left in the half, but the Cougars found themselves with a lot of ground to make up. The SDSU lead got even bigger after two more free-throw makes and back-to-back layins to go up 30-7. Young ended the 6-0 spurt with a make and then capitalized on an Aztec turnover with a layin from Plaisted to help BYU finally reach double-digits in the half. Burgess then kept the BYU momentum going with a putback score while being fouled, converting the free throw to cap a 9-0 Cougar run and cut a one-time 23-point deficit to 14 points at 30-16. Ainge nailed the Cougars' first three-pointer of the game at the 4:28 mark to cut the deficit to 38-25, but his bucket proved to be the Cougars' last of the half as the Aztecs took a 43-25 lead into the break. The second half started much as the first half ended as the Aztecs sandwiched a BYU make from Young with a layin and a dunk to go up by 20 points at 47-27. Young made good on a one-handed throwdown of his own and then drained two free throws to score six straight points for the Cougars. However, after the Aztecs extended the lead to 21 points at 63-42, the comeback bid was on as consecutive three-pointers fell for Tavernari. After an SDSU score, Ainge and Tavernari drained back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to 11 points at 65-54, capping a 12-2 run. The Aztecs scored again, but Tavernari's hot hand continued with another bomb from long range to get to within 10 at 67-57 with 6:27 left to play. Tavernari then picked the ball off and headed downcourt looking to get to within single digits but turned the ball over, resulting in a three-point play for the Aztecs. Heath then drained two free throws after a Cougar miss to push the lead back up to 15 points. But the Brazilian true freshman wasn't done as Tavernari drained another three-pointer to score 17 points in a six-minute span, including five makes from downtown. Young added to the BYU run with a layin to get back to within 10 points at 72-62, but the Cougars could not get a stop on the defensive end. After SDSU went up 81-67, BYU got five straight points, including a fifth three-pointer from Ainge, to cut the lead to single digits at 81-72 for the first time since the 16:25 mark in the first half. However, it was too little too late as the Cougars could not make up the rest of the deficit with 56 seconds left, allowing the Aztecs to record the 86-74 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought that the first four or five minutes were a big factor for us. We turned the ball over uncharacteristically. We haven't been in a situation like that for quite some time."
-- "I think that we finally got into a rhythm late in the second half and were playing more like ourselves. We were just too far behind."
-- "I think a lot of the credit has to go to SDSU. Tonight, they played really well and had a good game. They had some guys who played really well. Brandon Heath, Mohamed Abukar and Jerome Habel had big games."
San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher
-- "We were so good out of the gate at both ends of the floor. We made every shot we took, guarded like crazy and gave them nothing easy. We had a huge first half that gave ourselves a push and to their credit, they made a couple of runs at us in the second half, but we were able to hold them off. It really was a wonderful, wonderful day for the San Diego State Aztecs."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Jonathan Tavernari -- 18 points (tied), 7 rebounds (tied), 9 three-pointers attempted; Austin Ainge -- 5 three-pointers made (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Largest halftime deficit -- 18 points; Fewest points scored in a half -- 25 (tied); Highest field-goal percentage allowed -- .577 (34-for-59); Largest run allowed --18 points.
-- BYU's loss at SDSU snapped the Cougars' eight-game winning streak, their longest of the year and the 10th longest active win streak in the nation. BYU has now lost its last four games at San Diego State dating back to 2003.
-- The loss also snapped a four-game road winning streak for BYU. The Cougars are now 5-6 this season on the road and 4-3 in conference play, the only MWC team with a winning road record in league action.
-- Despite the loss, BYU (21-7, 11-3 MWC) is still just one win away from securing at least a share of the MWC regular-season title and two victories away from winning the league crown outright for the first time since 1987-88.
-- Before shooting .448 (26-for-58) at SDSU, BYU had shot above 50 percent in its five prior road contests.
-- With a No. 21 ranking in the latest AP Top 25 Poll and a No. 22 ranking in the current ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, the Cougars' game at SDSU marked their first road game as a ranked team since March 6, 1993 when BYU polished off UTEP, 84-63. The Cougars are now 129-53 all-time as a ranked team and 35-26 all-time as a ranked team on the road.
-- BYU is now 20-4 when scoring more than 70 points and 4-7 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold.
-- With a 30-28 rebounding advantage against the Aztecs, the Cougars fell for the first time this season when outpacing their opponent on the glass. BYU is now 20-1 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- The Cougars' 18-point (43-25) halftime deficit marked their largest halftime deficit of the year as BYU trailed at the break for just the second time in conference play and the sixth time overall this season. The Cougars' 25-point first-half scoring output tied their season low scoring output in a half.
-- Four Cougars scored in double figures against SDSU, led by Jonathan Tavernari's 18 points. BYU is now 1-1 when led by Young and 6-2 when four players score in double figures. The Cougars are also 5-1 when Tavernari scores in double figures, 18-6 when Keena Young scores in double figures (16 points), 8-2 when Austin Ainge scores in double digits (17 points) and 13-4 when Trent Plaisted reaches double digits (10 points).
-- With 16 points against Colorado State, Young has now scored in double figures in 24 of 28 games this season. BYU is 18-6 when he scores in double figures.
-- Jonathan Tavernari came up big for the Cougars in the second half as they attempted to climb back into the game, scoring 17 points in a six-minute span, including five three-pointers, to cut a one-time 21-point SDSU lead into a 10-point advantage.
-- The Cougars found themselves trailing 22-4 in the early going at SDSU, their largest deficit since trailing by 24 points at Boise State on Nov. 29. The Aztecs' 18-0 run after the game was tied at 4-4 is the longest spurt BYU has allowed this year. The Cougars had not trailed by more than six points during their eight-game win streak.
- After opening the game 2-for-11 from three-point range and 4 for their last 28 from downtown, BYU made 8-of-9 from long range to cut a one-time 21-point deficit into a nine-point deficit late in the game. The makes came from Jonathan Tavernari (five) and Ainge (three).
BYU IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
BYU is listed 29th in this week's ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll and 30th in the AP Poll. BYU entered the national rankings last week for the first time since 1993 as the Cougars were ranked No. 21 in the AP Top 25 Poll and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll. BYU was last ranked in the top 25 on March 8, 1993 when the Cougars were No. 25 in the AP Poll. BYU's No. 21 ranking equaled its highest ranking achieved during the 1992-93 season. BYU was ranked as high as No. 2 (UPI) and No. 4 (AP) in the 1987-88 season. BYU has been nationally ranked in the AP Poll during 15 seasons starting in 1950-51 when the Cougars won the national title as NIT Champions (unable to determine other seasons when BYU could also have been ranked in other polls due to incomplete in-season historical listings). Five BYU opponents appear in this week's polls as UCLA is ranked No. 2 in both polls, Air Force is ranked No. 20 (ESPN/USA Today) and No. 25 (AP) while Michigan State is listed 26th (AP) and 32nd (ESPN/USA Today), UNLV is listed 29th (AP) and 30th (ESPN/USA Today) and San Diego State is listed 43rd (ESPN/USA Today).
COUGAR START AMONG THE TOP IN SCHOOL HISTORY
BYU has a 21-7 record through 28 games this year. In the 105-year history of BYU men's basketball, only six teams of the 45 that played at least 28 games during a season earned a better record than this year's Cougar squad (noting that 60 teams did not total 28 games during the season, including the 20-5 NIT Championship team in 1965-66). Seven other BYU teams have equaled the current Cougars' 21-7 start. (SEE CHART AT LEFT).
THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN
With an 11-3 Mountain West Conference record, BYU is just one victory away from securing at least a share of the MWC regular-season title and can bring home the outright league crown for the first time since the 1987-88 season with two wins or one win and a UNLV loss. The Cougars are alone in first place in the second half of MWC play for the first time since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season. Before this year, BYU was last tied for first in 2003 when the Cougars ended the season with a win to tie for first place with Utah at 11-3. BYU also tied for first in 2001.
COACH ROSE OWNS TOP MWC MARK IN HIS TWO SEASONS
With a 23-7 record in Mountain West Conference games since taking the helm of the BYU program for the 2005-06 season, Dave Rose is currently the winningest MWC coach in league play in the past two years. SDSU's Steve Fisher is 22-8 while fellow second-year coach Jeff Bzdelik follows with a 22-9 conference record in his two seasons with the Falcons. UNLV's Lon Kruger is 22-10. In addition to an 11-3 league and 21-7 overall record this year, Rose was named the Mountain West Conference and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year last season after coaching his team to a second-place MWC finish at 12-4 -- one game behind league-champion San Diego State -- while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success that proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.
At 21-7 so far this season, BYU has achieved the program's 30th 20-win season, including two straight for Cougar head coach Dave Rose in his first two seasons at the helm. Last year, the Cougars finished 20-9. BYU has averaged 20 wins every 2.6 years (BYU has played 79 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). Rose became the fourth Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first two years, joining G. Ott Romney, Stan Watts and Roger Reid. However, Rose is the first Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first two years after taking over a program with less than 13 wins the prior year. BYU was 9-21 in 2004-05 before Rose turned the program into the second-most improved team in the nation last year.
20-Win Seasons at BYU
Stan Watts had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 23 years of coaching
Roger Reid had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
G. Ott Romney had 5 seasons of 20 wins in 9 years of coaching
Steve Cleveland had 4 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Ladell Anderson had 3 season of 20 wins in 6 years of coaching
Frank Arnold had 3 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Dave Rose has 2 seasons of 20 wins in 2 years of coaching
Floyd Millet had 1 season of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
CURRENT COUGARS COULD RANK AMONG BEST EVER IN REGULAR SEASON WINS
This year's BYU team is the 16th Cougar squad to record its 21st win prior to the end of the regular season. With two games left in the regular season, this year's team could go down as one of the best Cougar teams ever. Only five BYU teams have reached 23 wins prior to postseason. (SEE CHART AT LEFT)
REGULAR-SEASON BENCHMARKS FOR NCAA INVITES
Winning 20 or more games in the regular season has proven to be a significant indicator for receiving an invitation into the NCAA Tournament. Since the first NCAA Tournament in 1939, BYU has had 20 seasons with 20 regular-season wins, including this year's team. In the prior 19 seasons when this occurred, BYU earned a postseason invite each season, including 16 NCAA bids, three NIT berths (BYU played both NIT and NCAA in 1950-51) and one NAIB (1948-49) invite. In the modern era since the NCAA Tournament became the predominant championship over the NIT, BYU has had 15 seasons when it earned 20 or more wins during regular-season games (prior to starting the conference tournament). The Cougars have received an invite to play in the NCAA Tournament in 13 of those seasons (not including this year), with the lone exception being last year's 20-7 regular-season team that fell to 20-8 with a loss at the MWC Tournament before receiving an NIT invitation. Including this year, BYU has reached 21 regular-season wins during 11 of those 15 seasons and has been invited to play in the NCAA Tournament in each of the prior 10 years.
VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
The Cougars' victory over then-No. 25 UNLV marked the second consecutive BYU win over a ranked team in the Marriott Center, including a win over then-No. 13 Air Force the week before. Prior to that, BYU had not defeated a ranked opponent since beating then-No. 25 Oklahoma State 76-71 on Dec. 6, 2003 in Salt Lake City. BYU hadn't beaten a ranked team in the Marriott Center since Feb. 1, 1992 with an 80-63 win over No. 19 UTEP. When BYU plays at No. 13 Air Force on Tuesday, the Cougars will be the only team in the MWC to play five games against ranked teams this year. The Cougars are 2-2 in their prior games vs. ranked teams with a 90-63 win over UNLV, a 61-52 win over Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State. BYU is 48-108 all-time against ranked opponents and 7-47 when playing a ranked team on the road, with the last win coming at No. 12 New Mexico on Feb. 26, 1998.
BYU has won four of its 14 MWC games this season by more than 20 points, including a +27 (90-63) margin of victory against UNLV on Feb. 3, a 21-point (70-49) win at New Mexico on Jan. 24, a 24-point (89-65) win over TCU on Jan. 10 and a 22-point victory (80-58) over San Diego State to open MWC play. The UNLV win marked BYU's largest margin of victory in MWC play since a 29-point win (82-53) on Jan. 17, 2004 against Colorado State. BYU has won just 10 games by 20 points or more in MWC play since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season.
BYU is the only MWC team that has not had a game decided by three points or less this season. The Cougars have had some close games, however, as three games have required overtime this year. BYU is 2-1 in overtime with an 86-77 loss at Lamar on Dec. 13 and an 84-78 win against Idaho State on Nov. 18 and a 73-69 victory at Weber State on Dec. 2. This is the first season since 2001-02 that BYU has played multiple extra period games in one year (BYU was 0-3 in overtime that season). The Cougars' loss at Lamar ended a five-game overtime winning streak dating back to March 14, 2003, an 86-80 setback against Colorado State at the MWC Tournament. BYU is 50-45 (.526) all-time when playing past regulation.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 30 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are currently tied for the nation's longest active home victory streak. BYU has won its first 16 home games this season after going 14-1 at home last year. BYU's last home loss was in last year's season opener against Loyola Marymount. BYU has since won 15 straight over nonconference opponents and has won 15 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU is 402-116 (.776) all-time in the Marriott Center. The Cougars' longest home winning streak came from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003 when BYU won 44 straight in the Marriott Center.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (through games played Feb. 25, 2007)
Wins Team This year Next home game
30 Air Force 13-0 Feb. 27 vs. BYU
30 BYU 16-0 March 3 vs. Utah
29 Memphis 17-0 March 7 vs. First Round C-USA Tournament
ON THE ROAD
Prior to its loss at San Diego State on Saturday, BYU had won four straight games on the road including wins at TCU (85-72), at New Mexico (70-49), at Utah (76-66) and at Wyoming (77-73). The Cougars' win in the Huntsman Center was their first since 1994. BYU is 5-6 on the road this year and 4-3 in conference play with a season-opening loss at then-No. 5 UCLA, a Nov. 29 setback at Boise State, an overtime win at Weber State, an overtime defeat at Lamar and league losses at UNLV and at CSU. BYU is the only Mountain West Conference team with a winning record on the road in league play to date. The Cougars lost their only neutral court game so far this season with a loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. BYU finished last year 6-8 away from home, including a 4-4 mark during MWC play.
Prior to its loss at San Diego State Saturday, BYU had won its last eight games overall with victories over New Mexico (twice), Air Force, Utah, UNLV, Wyoming, TCU and Colorado State, marking its longest victory streak since winning nine straight during the 2003-04 season and ranking tied for 10th nationally. The Cougars also won seven straight this year over Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall, San Diego State and TCU. Before coming to an end with a loss at UNLV on Jan. 13, that streak was tied for the 12th-longest active victory streak in the nation.
TRUE BLUE FANS
BYU is averaging 11,402 fans this season, including the 23rd largest crowd in the history of the Marriott Center with 22,700 fans against then-No. 13 Air Force. The Cougars are second in the MWC in attendance behind New Mexico's 12,831 average. BYU has consistently ranked among the national attendance leaders. The Cougars averaged 11,069 fans in 2005-06, outdrawing the regular-season conference champions of 27 out of 31 conferences as well as over half of the teams in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big East and Southeastern Conferences and all but Arizona in the Pacific-10 Conference. BYU also averaged more fans than 12 of the 16 NCAA Sweet Sixteen participants, including all of the Final Four teams.
Coach Rose has used four different starting lineups this year. Sophomore Lee Cummard and senior Keena Young have started every game this season, while sophomore Trent Plaisted has missed just one start because of injury. Jimmy Balderson has made 25 starts. Rashaun Broadus started 11 of 15 games before being suspended for the season. Austin Ainge has started 20 games.
The Cougars rank 10th nationally in three-point shooting (.404). BYU set a school record with 15 three-pointers against UNLV on .682 (15-for-22) shooting from long range, the third time this season the Cougars have shot above .600 from downtown and the seventh time BYU has made a least 10 treys in a game. BYU has shot above 40 percent from behind the arc 14 times on the season, including eight of the last 10 games. The Cougars lead the league in three-point percentage (.444) in MWC play. Cougar players rank first (Austin Ainge - .531), tied for fourth (Jonathan Tavernari - .458) and seventh (Mike Rose - .455) in the league in three-point shooting percentage in MWC action. Rose tied the BYU individual record he set in 2003 with eight triples against UNLV.
BOUNCE BACK COUGARS
The Cougars will once again have a chance to show their resiliency on Tuesday after losing at San Diego State Saturday as they have bounced back with wins after five of their six prior losses this season. BYU won eight straight games after losing to Colorado State on Jan. 20, its longest win streak since teh 2003-04 season. After suffering its first back-to-back regular-season losses of the Dave Rose era with defeats vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar, BYU responded with seven straight wins. Last year with its 20-9 overall record, BYU suffered consecutive defeats only once -- against Utah in the Mountain West Conference Tournament and at Houston in the NIT in the last two games of the year, having bounced back from each prior loss with a victory.
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
This year the Cougars are scoring an MWC-leading 78.1 points and allowing 68.6 points. BYU is 17-0 when opponents score less than 70 points and 4-7 when they score 70 or more. BYU is 20-4 when it scores 70 or more points (exception at Lamar, at UNLV, at CSU and at SDSU) and 1-3 when scoring less than 70. The Cougars are also 10-0 this season when scoring at least 80 points. With its current scoring average, BYU is on pace to have its highest scoring output since 1996 (82.3 ppg) and its highest scoring margin since 1992 (+10.6).
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU is 20-1 this season when outrebounding its opponents and 1-6 when losing the battle of the boards. Its loss Saturday at San Diego State despite winning the rebounding battle, 30-28, was its first defeat when winning the battle of the boards. The Cougars lead the MWC in rebounding average (37.4) and rebounding margin (+5.7). BYU posted its largest margin of the season with a +22 (42-20) mark against then-No. 13 Air Force. Sophomore Trent Plaisted is tied for sixth on the glass at 6.3 rpg while senior Keena Young is eighth at 6.1 rpg. The Cougars recorded back-to-back season-high efforts of 52 rebounds vs. Oral Roberts and 55 against Seton Hall in the BYU Holiday Classic. BYU outrebounded the Pirates 55-34 as four Cougars had nine or more rebounds (Cummard 12, Young, Plaisted and Ainge 9).
PLAYER OF THE YEAR CALIBER - KEENA YOUNG
Senior forward Keena Young has proven to be one of the top players in the Mountain West Conference this season. A consistent scoring threat and solid all-around performer for the Cougars, he is currently fourth in the MWC in scoring (18.1) in league games while ranking eighth in field-goal percentage (.550) and seventh in free-throw percentage (.809). He has scored in double figures in 24 out of 28 games this year. He leads BYU in scoring overall (17.3), which ranks fourth among MWC players, and is second in rebounding (6.1), eighth in the MWC. He is also fifth in the league in field-goal percentage (.556) and ninth in free-throw percentage (.811). The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring 12 times and rebounding 10 times. He posted a career-high 29 points in each of his games against Wyoming this season (most since Dec. 6, 2003; Araujo - 32). He has scored at least 20 points in eight games, including five of the last seven.
VETERAN LEADERSHIP AT THE POINT - AUSTIN AINGE
Senior Austin Ainge is averaging a team-best 4.25 assists, fifth in the MWC, while ranking third in the conference with a 1.95 assist/turnover ratio. He is averaging 4.93 apg in league play (3rd) while leading the conference with .531 shooting from three-point range and tying for first with a 2.03 assist/turnover ratio. Ainge scored 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, against then-No. 25 UNLV while adding four assists and four rebounds. He posted a season-high 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field, including a 5-for-7 mark from three-point range, to go along with six assists against TCU. He totaled 16 points with a career-best nine rebounds off the bench against Seton Hall. His 14 points -- all in the second half -- against Boise State fueled BYU's furious comeback attempt. He has tied his career high with eight assists three times in the last eight games (at UNM, at Utah, vs. CSU).
DEFENSE, OFFENSE, DOING IT ALL - LEE CUMMARD
Sophomore Lee Cummard contributes across the box score and on the defensive end of the floor for BYU. On the year, Cummard averages 9.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.6 steals and 0.9 blocks while shooting .552 from the floor, .461 on threes and .824 from the line. He ranks among the top 15 in the MWC in seven statistical categories overall. In conference action, he is fourth in shooting (.579), eighth in steals (1.57), eighth in assists (2.93), ninth in blocks (1.36), tied for ninth in defensive rebounds (3.93), 11th in rebounds (5.5) and tied for 15th in offensive boards (1.57). He has had at least one steal in 22 of 28 games, including a career-high 5 steals against UNLV, and his hit a three-pointer in 22 of 28 games, including a string of 13 straight. He guards the opponent's top perimeter player. Among his defensive highlights was excelling in the tough assignment to guard the MWC's all-time scoring leader and reigning MVP Brandon Heath of San Diego State. He held Heath to season-low-tying 13 points -- well below his MWC No. 2-ranked 20.3 scoring average entering the game -- helping end Heath's string of four straight games with 20 or more points. He held Wyoming's Brandon Ewing, the league's top scorer, to 8 points on 2-of-12 shooting and TCU's Brent Hackett to 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting, while Cummard averaged 13.0 ppg on 77 percent shooting, 6.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.0 bpk and 2.0 spg in those back-to-back road games. He also helped hold Utah State's leading shooter Jaycee Carroll, who ranked 22nd in the nation shooting .629, to just .308 shooting (4-for-13) and 7 points below his average.
SUPER SOPHOMORE - TRENT PLAISTED
Just one year removed from his Freshman All-American campaign, sophomore Trent Plaisted is once again contributing solid play for the Cougars. He is currently second on the team with 12.2 points per game on .542 shooting from the field, eighth in the MWC. He also paces BYU and is tied for sixth in the league with 6.3 rebounds per game while adding 1.29 blocks per game, eighth in the conference. Plaisted has scored in double figures in 17 games, helping the Cougars go 13-4 in those contests, while scoring at least 20 points in four outings. He has also reached double-digits on the boards in two games, posting two double-doubles on the year. He has led BYU in rebounds 10 times, scoring six times and assists twice. In league play, Plaisted is fifth in the MWC in field-goal percentage (.575), tied for seventh in blocks (1.43), tied for 13th in rebounds (5.3) and 13th in scoring (13.1).
IT'S A TEAM GAME
BYU has shown balanced play in all aspects of the game this season as eight different Cougars have led the team in each of the three main statistical categories -- points, rebounds and assists -- in its 28 games. Keena Young has led BYU the most in scoring as he has paced the Cougars in 12 games. Young and Trent Plaisted have captained the BYU rebounding effort, leading the team on the boards in 10 games apiece. Austin Ainge is the Cougars' leading assist man with 18 games at the top of the assist category.
ROSE BECOMES EIGHTH COUGAR TO LEAD TEAM IN SCORING
Mike Rose became the eighth Cougar this year to lead the team in scoring during a game when he topped all scorers in BYU's win over then-No. 25 UNLV. Rose scored a career-high 27 points in 21 minutes off the bench to help BYU defeat the nationally ranked Rebels in the Marriott Center. He tied his own school record and equaled the season high by an MWC player this year (UNLV's Kevin Kruger) by making eight treys on 8-of-10 accuracy. His eighth triple also set a new BYU team record of 15 threes in a game.
On the year, BYU averages 36.6 points in the first half and 40.4 points in the second half (and adds another 1.1 to its overall scoring average with overtime points to total 78.1 ppg). BYU outscores its opponents by 5.2 points in the first half, 4.3 points in the second half and 9.5 points overall.
BYU scored more than 50 points in a half for the fourth time this year with its 51-point first half against New Mexico. BYU equaled its highest first-half production with the outburst, matching the 51 points it scored against Western Oregon. The Cougars also scored 51 points in the second half against Western Oregon to total a season-high 102 points for the game. BYU's top scoring half of the year was a 52-point tally in the second half against Wyoming. All four 50-plus point scoring totals have come at home in the Marriott Center. BYU has allowed a 50-point half just once this year when Colorado State outscored the Cougars 53-39 in the second half in Fort Collins to give BYU its last defeat, 90-78, on Jan. 20.
40 OR MORE
BYU has scored 40 or more points in the first half seven times and reached 40 points during the second half of 16 games.
SCORING ON THE ROAD
BYU's top scoring first half on the road this year is 41 points at TCU, followed by 39 points in the first 20 minutes at nationally ranked UCLA and at Colorado Sate. BYU's top scoring second half on the road is 49 points at San Diego State followed by 46 points at Wyoming and 44 points at TCU. BYU also topped 40 points in the second half at Boise State (43), at Lamar (42) and at Utah (42). BYU's largest overall output on the road is its 85 points at TCU, followed by 78 points at Colorado State and 76 at Utah.
LEADING/TRAILING AT THE BREAK
BYU has led at the half in 21 of the team's first 28 games, including a double-digit lead 10 times. The Cougars outscore their opponents by an average of 5.2 points in the first period of play. BYU's win over Seton Hall marked the first time the Cougars have won this year after trailing at the break. The second breakthrough after trailing at the break came at Wyoming. BYU's 82-69 loss at UCLA after leading 39-36 at the half marked the first time since the 2004-05 season that BYU has lost when leading at the half. BYU also lost at CSU after leading 39-37 at the break. The Cougars are 19-2 when leading at the half, 2-4 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season.
Including a season-high 58 points in the paint against New Mexico (BYU outscored the Lobos 58-22 inside), BYU has won the points-in-the-paint statistic in 15 games this year, going a perfect 15-0 in those games. Including BYU's wins over Colorado State and Idaho State when the Cougars and their opponents scored the same number of points inside, BYU is 17-0 when not getting outscored in the key. The Cougars have a 4-7 record when they are outproduced in the paint. Thanks to the inside play of Keena Young and Trent Plaisted, BYU is outscoring its opponents by 3.8 points inside on average.
CREATING SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
BYU is 16-1 when creating more points off of turnovers than its opponents. The lone loss in those games was vs. Michigan State when BYU held a 9-6 points-off-of-turnovers advantage. BYU on average is scoring 2.4 more points off of miscues than its opposition. BYU is averaging 13.6 turnovers to its opponents' 14.2.
BYU owns an 18-1 record when generating more second-chance points in a game this year with the lone loss being Saturday at SDSU. BYU is 2-5 when it doesn't and 1-1 when the two teams have equaled each other in the category. BYU averages 12.0 offensive rebounds to its opponents' combined 10.4 average and has scored 4.5 more points per game off the offensive glass. Trent Plaisted leads BYU with 2.7 offensive boards per game, followed by Keena Young (2.3).
With its uptempo philosphy, BYU has scored more fastbreak points than its opponents in 18 of 28 games and shared the same tally in four more. The Cougars are 16-2 when scoring more in transition (losses were back-to-back defeats vs. Michigan State and at Lamar) and 3-1 when tying the category. BYU is 2-4 when it has been outpaced on the break.
MOMENTUM OFF THE BENCH
Three-point shooting off the bench has often given BYU momentum this season. Several different Cougars have come off the bench and hit three or more treys in Cougar wins this year. Austin Ainge made three treys against Idaho State and Seton Hall while coming off the bench. Sam Burgess nailed three triples in a win over Portland. Jonathan Tavernari connected six times from long range against TCU and three times at Utah and against Western Oregon to help fuel BYU victories. Mike Rose tied his school record with eight bombs against then-No. 25 UNLV to allow BYU to pull away. He then added four threes at Wyoming for 12 more points off the bench and four threes against New Mexico. BYU's bench has outscored opposing reserves 666-500 this year, giving BYU 5.9 more points of production per game from its second unit. BYU's bench has outscored the opponent bench in 20 of 28 games, going 16-4 in those games.
BYU has enjoyed a double-digit lead in 19 of 28 games this year, including a 20-plus point advantage during nine of those games. The Cougars are 18-1 in games when they have led by 10 or more points with the lone loss being at UNLV where BYU led by 11 in the first half before falling. BYU has trailed by double figures in nine games, including a season-high deficit of 24 points at Boise State. The Cougars fought back and had a chance to win against the Broncos before losing by four points. BYU is 3-7 in games it has trailed by 10 or more points, coming back to gain wins over Oral Roberts, Seton Hall and Wyoming. BYU has led the entire game in five contests (Portland, Southern Utah, Liberty, UNLV in Provo and Colorado State in Provo.)
KEENA YOUNG NAMED MWC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Feb 12)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU senior Keena Young and UNLV senior Joel Anthony were named the Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Co-Players of the Week. This is the second weekly award of the season and career for Young, while Anthony garners his first ever weekly accolade. Young, a 6-6 forward from Beaumont, Texas, led the Cougars to conference road wins at Wyoming (77-73) and TCU (85-72), helping BYU take sole possession of first place in the MWC standings. At Wyoming, Young tied his career-high with 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field, leading all scorers. He scored 19 of his 29 points in the second half, as BYU earned its first road win of the season when trailing at halftime. He also grabbed six rebounds in 32 minutes of action. He followed with a game-high 25 points (8-for-13 from the field) to go along with six boards against the Horned Frogs. He also collected a steal, while shooting 9-of-11 (81.8 percent) from the charity stripe. For the week, Young averaged 27.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 66.7 percent from the floor (18-for-27).
TRENT PLAISTED NAMED MWC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK (JAN 29)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU sophomore Trent Plaisted and UNLV sophomore Wink Adams were named the MWC Co-Players of the Week. This is the second career weekly award for Plaisted, while Adams collects his first-ever weekly honor. Plaisted, a native of San Antonio, Texas, led BYU to a 2-0 conference record, including a road win at New Mexico (70-49) and an upset victory over No. 16 Air Force (61-52). At New Mexico, he scored 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field, while also grabbing four rebounds, dishing out three assists and blocking one shot. Against the 16th-ranked Falcons, Plaisted scored a game-high 22 points (9-for-12 from the field) with seven rebounds (six offensive). With 34 seconds remaining in the game and the Cougars up by three points, he knocked down two free throws to put the game away. On the week, Plaisted averaged 16.5 points on 77.8 percent shooting from the field (14-for-18), 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
YOUNG NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK (JAN 2)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU senior Keena Young was named the MWC Player of the Week, marking his first career weekly honor. A 6-6 forward from Beaumont, Texas, Young was named tournament MVP at the BYU Holiday Classic as he led the Cougars to the title with victories over Liberty (73-59), Oral Roberts (72-62) and Seton Hall (77-68). He scored 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting against Liberty to open the Classic and followed with a career-high 16 rebounds to go along with 21 points scored versus Oral Roberts. Against the Golden Eagles, Young sank nine of his 13 shots from the floor, while his 16 rebounds is a team season-best. In the tournament finale against Seton Hall, he scored 18 of his season-high 26 points in the second half, helping BYU overcome an eight-point halftime deficit to claim the tournament crown. Young also added nine rebounds, a season-best tying three assists, while shooting 11-for-18 from the field and hitting all four of his free throw attempts. For the week, Young averaged 21.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 60.5 percent (26-for-43) from the field and 75.0 percent (12-for-16) from the charity stripe.
YOUNG NAMED BYU HOLIDAY CLASSIC MVP
After leading the Cougars to an undefeated 3-0 record in the BYU Holiday Classic, senior co-captain Keena Young was named the Holiday Classic Most Valuable Player. Young led the Cougars to the title with victories over Liberty (73-59), Oral Roberts (72-62) and Seton Hall (77-68). He scored 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting against Liberty to open the Classic and followed with a career-high and team season-best 16 rebounds to go along with 21 points versus Oral Roberts. In the tournament finale against Seton Hall, he scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half, helping BYU overcome an eight-point halftime deficit to claim the tournament crown. For the tournament, Young averaged 21.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 60.5 percent (26-for-43) from the field and 75.0 percent (12-for-16) from the charity stripe.
CUMMARD NAMED TO BYU HOLIDAY CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Lee Cummard was named to the BYU Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team after recording his first career double-double with career highs of 16 points and 12 rebounds in 34 minutes vs. Seton Hall. He was also 6-of-9 from the floor, 2-for-2 on threes and 2-for-2 from the line. He came one rebound away from the first double-double of his career against Oral Roberts with 13 points and a then career-high 9 rebounds to go along with 5 assists. Cummard also dished out 5 assists against Liberty to open the Classic while adding 6 rebounds, 5 points and 1 steal. He averaged 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists for the tournament while shooting .542 from the floor, .444 on threes and a perfect 4-for-4 from the line.
- As BYU's leading scorer in conference play (18.1 ppg), Young has led the Cougars to a solo first-place standing for the first time in the history of the MWC and the program's first national ranking since 1993 while riding an eight-game winning streak
- MWC Co-Player of the Week honoree (Feb. 12)
- Ranks among the top 10 in the MWC in three statistical categories including scoring (fourth -- 18.1 ppg), field-goal percentage (eighth - .560) and free-throw percentage (seventh - .809)
- Also ranks nationally in scoring and field-goal percentage
- Has started all 14 conference games, scoring in double figures in 11 of them
- Has topped the 20-point scoring mark six times in league play including 29-point outings in each of BYU's two games against Wyoming, the most points scored by a Cougar since Dec. 6, 2003 (Rafael Araujo -- 32 points)
- Has led BYU in scoring six times and rebounding three times in league action, including posting one double-double
- Led BYU with 21 points at Utah to help the Cougars defeat the Utes in the Huntsman Center for the first time since 1994
- Scored 17 points, including a 5-for-5 night from the free-throw line, while grabbing eight rebounds to help BYU defeat then-No. 13 Air Force in the Marriott Center, the Cougars' first home win over a ranked team since Feb. 1, 1992 and first win over a ranked team since Dec. 6, 2003. He scored a bucket with a foul with 19 seconds remaining to seal the 61-52 BYU win
- Has shot above .600 from the field in conference play five times, including a .714 (10-for-14) night at Wyoming
- With an 11-for-12 performance from the free-throw line against Wyoming, he became the first Cougar to make double-digit free throws since Mike Hall went 10-for-10 on Feb. 17, 2004
- His 11 field goals made against New Mexico is tied for second in MWC play
- League season highs of 29 points (also career high), 11 field goals made (tied career high), .714 field-goal percentage, 11 free throws made (also career high), 1.000 free-throw percentage (five times; also career high), 10 rebounds, three assists, one block, two steals and 35 minutes (twice)
- As BYU's leading rebounder in league play (5.5 rpg), Cummard has helped the Cougars to a solo first-place standing for the first time in the history of the MWC and the program's first national ranking since 1993 while riding an eight-game winning streak
- Contributes across the box score for BYU, earning stats in every category on a regular basis
- Ranks among the top 10 in the MWC in five statistical categories including field-goal percentage (fourth -- .579), assists (eighth -- 2.93), steals (eighth -- 1.57), blocks (ninth -- 1.36) and defensive rebounds (ninth -- 3.93) while ranking 11th in rebounds (5.5)
- Has started all 14 conference games
- Has scored in double figures five times in MWC play while averaging 9.2 ppg despite playing injured during a six-game stretch
- Has led BYU in scoring once, rebounds five times, assists four times, steals eight times and blocks eight times in league play
- Made a string of 11 straight shots, including five three-pointers, during a four-game stretch
- Posted just the second double-double of his career with 16 points and 11 rebounds in BYU's conference opener against San Diego State
- Has hit a three-pointer in 22 of 28 games this year, including nine league games, and has notched at least one steal in 22 of 28 games, including 10 MWC contests and a career-high five takeaways in BYU's win over then-No. 25 UNLV
- Scored a career-high 20 points against Colorado State on 5-for-7 shooting from the field and a perfect 10-for-10 mark from the free-throw line, becoming the first Cougar to shoot 100 percent from the charity stripe since Keena Young on Feb. 8, 2006 (minimum eight attempts)
- Often called upon to guard the opponent's top perimeter player. His defensive highlights include holding the MWC's all-time leading scorer and reigning MVP Brandon Heath of SDSU to a season-low-tying 13 points -- well below his scoring average -- while ending Heath's string of four straight 20-point games in BYU's league opener
- In back-to-back road games, he held Wyoming's Brandon Ewing, the league's top scorer, to just eight points on 2-for-12 shooting and TCU's Brent Hackett to six points on 2-of-7 shooting while Cummard averaged 13.0 ppg on 77 percent shooting, 6.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.0 bpg and 2.0 spg for the week
- League season highs of 20 points (also career high), seven field goals made (also career high), .778 field-goal percentage (minimum four field goals made; has shot 1.000 four times in league play, going 3-for-3 three times), four three-pointers made (also career high), 1.000 three-point field-goal percentage (four times in league play; also career high), 1.000 free-throw percentage (four times in league play; also career high), 11 rebounds, five assists (tied career high), three blocks (three times; also career high), five steals (also career high) and 37 minutes (three times; also career high)
- As BYU's second-leading scorer and rebounder in conference play (12.2 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Plaisted has helped the Cougars to a solo first-place standing for the first time in the history of the MWC and the program's first national ranking since 1993 while riding an eight-game winning streak.
- MWC Co-Player of the Week honoree (Jan. 29)
- Ranks among the top 15 in the MWC in five statistical categories in league play including field-goal percentage (fifth -- .575), blocks (tied for seventh -- 1.43), offensive rebounds (eighth -- 2.43), rebounding (tied for 13th -- 5.3 rpg) and scoring (13th -- 13.1 ppg)
- Has started all 14 conference games, scoring in double figures in 10 of them
- Has topped the 20-point scoring mark twice in league action, including a career-high 27 points at Colorado State
- Has led BYU in scoring twice, rebounds four times and blocks eight times in MWC play
- His 11 field goals made at Colorado State is tied for second in MWC play and his six blocked shots against San Diego State is tied for third
- His six blocked shots also set an MWC sophomore record in league games
- Has shot above 60 percent nine times in conference action, including five outings above 70 percent
- Has recorded 18 dunks in MWC play and 32 on the season
- His play on both the offensive and defensive ends of the floor has helped BYU win the battle in the paint in 15 games this season and go 15-0 in those games. The Cougars outscore their opponents by an average of 3.8 ppg inside
- Leads BYU with 2.7 offensive rebounds per game, helping the Cougars record more second-chance points than their opponents in 19 games (+4.5 ppg) and go 18-1 in those contests
- Went 9-for-12 from the field to score 22 points while adding seven rebounds, 1 assist and one block in BYU's win over then-No. 13 Air Force in the Marriott Center, the Cougars' first home win over a ranked team since Feb. 1, 1992 and first win over a ranked team since Dec. 6, 2003. He drained two free throws with 35 seconds left in the game to give BYU a 56-51 lead
- League season highs of 27 points (also career high), 11 field goals made (also career high), .833 field-goal percentage (minimum four attempts; has also gone 2-for-2 once), nine rebounds (twice), four assists, six blocks (also career high) and 37 minutes (tied career high)
- As BYU's leading assist man in conference play (4.93 apg), Ainge has helped the Cougars to a solo first-place standing for the first time in the history of the MWC and the program's first national ranking since 1993 while riding an eight-game winning streak
- Took over the starting point guard role after the suspension of Rashaun Broadus following BYU's league opener, starting the last 13 games
- Leads the MWC in three-point field-goal percentage (.531) while tying for first in assist/turnover ratio (2.03) in league play and ranking third in assists (4.93 apg) and 12th in three-pointers made (1.86 per game)
- Has scored in double figures six times, leading BYU in scoring once, while averaging 9.1 ppg
- Has led BYU in assists 10 times in league play, dishing out at least three assists in each MWC game he has started
- Has shot at least .500 from the floor in eight contests, topping the .700 mark three times
- Has shot at least .500 from three-point range nine times, helping BYU lead the league in that category
- Tied his career high with eight assists while helping BYU record a season-low seven turnovers (Ainge -- 2) at Utah in the Cougars' first win at the Huntsman Center since 1994
- In his first outing after taking over the starting point guard spot, Ainge score 20 points against TCU on 7-for-9 (.778) shooting from the field, including 5-of-7 (.714) from three-point range, while adding six assists, four rebounds and 1 steal
- Scored 17 points on 6-of-7 (.857) shooting from the field and a 3-for-4 (.750) efficiency from three-point range to go along with four assists and four rebounds in BYU's win over then-No. 25 UNLV
- Scored 17 points on 5-for-8 shooting from three-point range and 6-for-12 shooting from the field at San Diego State
- League season highs of 20 points, seven field goals made, .857 field-goal percentage, five three-pointers made (twice; tied career high), .750 three-point field-goal percentage (minimum two three-pointers made; went 1-for-1 twice in league play), seven free throws made (tied career high), 1.000 free-throw percentage (three times), eight rebounds, eight assists (three times; tied career high), two steals and 36 minutes (twice)
- Has helped the Cougars to a solo first-place standing for the first time in the history of the MWC and the program's first national ranking since 1993 while riding an eight-game winning streak
- Has provided a consistent scoring spark off the bench for BYU in his true freshman campaign
- Has played in all 14 of BYU's league games, averaging 14.0 minutes per game
- Is averaging 8.6 ppg and 3.2 rpg while shooting .538 from the field, .458 on three-pointers and .737 from the free-throw line in MWC play
- Is the top-scoring freshman in the MWC
- Has scored in double figures in five outings, including a career-high 18 points three times
- Has shot .500 or above from the field eight times and from three-point range five times
- Made his first six three-point shots against TCU, tying the BYU record for most consecutive three-pointers made in a single game, before missing his final attempt while adding 18 points
- His .857 three-point percentage (6-for-7) against TCU set an MWC freshman record
- Scored 17 points off the bench at Utah on 7-for-12 (.583) shooting from the field to help BYU defeat the Utes in the Huntsman Center for the first time since 1994. He provided a huge spark off the bench for BYU in that game as he entered the contest at the 12:01 mark of the first half and drained two of his first three attempts from three-point range to turn a 17-15 Utah lead into a 21-17 Cougar advantage and then added a layin moments later to score eight straight points for BYU
- Went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line in the final 1:20 of the game at Wyoming to help BYU record the 77-73 win
- Scored 17 points, including five three-pointers, in a six-minute span in the second half at San Diego State to help fuel BYU's comeback bid, cutting a 21-point Aztec lead down to a 10-point SDSU advantage. Finished the game tying career highs with 18 points and seven rebounds
- League season highs of 18 points (three times; also career high), seven field goals made (twice; tied career high), .875 field-goal percentage (also career high), six three-pointers made (also career high), 1.000 three-point field-goal percentage (also career high), seven rebounds (tied career high), two assists, one block, three steals and 24 minutes (also career high)