GAME 3 - BYU Hosts Jackson State

Trent Plaisted ranks eighth in the conference in shooting and free-throw percentage. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

BYU GAME #3 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (2-0)

vs.

JACKSON STATE TIGERS (0-2)

Friday, Nov. 16, 2007

Marriott Center (22,700)

Provo, Utah

7:05 p.m. MT

Coaches:

BYU, Dave Rose (47-18 in third season; same overall)

JSU, Tevester Anderson (63-67 in fifth season; 166-119 in 10th season overall)

Series:

First Meeting

TV:

Tape-delay on BYUTV after volleyball (between 8:30 and 9 p.m -- Chris Twitty, play-by-play; Andy Toolson, game analysis)

Radio:

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

Web:

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

BYU HOSTS JACKSON STATE FRIDAY AT 7 P.M.

After a 2-0 start to the 2007-08 season, BYU will play its first game of the Las Vegas Invitational hosting Jackson State on Friday at 7 p.m. The Cougars enter the game with the nation's second-longest active home victory streak at 32 games. Jackson State has started the season 0-2 this year with losses at Baylor and Stephen F. Austin. Friday's game will be aired tape-delay on BYUTV immediately following the BYU women's volleyball match with a likely start time between 8:30 and 9 p.m. It can also be heard live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 6 p.m. MT on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the Internet at KSL.com.

UP NEXT

BYU will continue play in the Las Vegas Invitational hosting Hartford on Tuesday as part of a double-header with the women's basketball team. The women's game, also against Hartford, will begin at 4:30 p.m. followed by the men at 7:30 p.m. Both will be televised live on BYUTV.

COUGAR QUICK HITS

-- 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.

-- BYU has been picked in the preseason poll to finish first in the MWC race this year by the league's media.

-- BYU currently owns the nation's second-longest active home win streak with 32 straight wins in the Marriott Center. The Cougars went 17-0 at home last year and began this season 1-0 with a win against Idaho State.

-- 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 in 2007-08 are MWC Player of the Year candidate Trent Plaisted, a two-time All-MWC Second Team selection in his first two seasons; versatile junior guard Lee Cummard, who earned All-MWC Third Team honors one year ago; and sophomore sharpshooter Jonathan Tavernari, who followed Plaisted's lead the prior season by being named the MWC Freshman of the Year in his first campaign as a Cougar.

LOOKING AT JACKSON STATE

Jackson State is 0-2 to start the 2007-08 season with losses at Baylor (100-76) and Stephen F. Austin (70-55) after being selected to win the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) by the league's media. The Tigers return three starters among six letterwinners from last year's team that finished 21-14 overall and played in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Junior center Jeremy Maxwell, who missed 10 games last season due to injury, leads the team with 14.5 points on 50 percent shooting from the field while coming in second for the Tigers with 6.0 rebounds per contest. Sophomore Grant Maxey, the team's only preseason All-SWAC selection, is right behind Maxwell with 13.0 ppg while boasting a team-best 6.5 rebounding average. Senior guard Catravia Givens also scores in double figures for Jackson State at 10.0 ppg. As a team, the Tigers are averaging 65.5 points per game on 35.8 percent shooting from the field, including a 24.2 percent efficiency from three-point range. JSU opponents are averaging 85.0 ppg on 53.7 percent field-goal shooting with a 37.5 percent efficiency from behind the arc. The Tigers are also being outrebounded 40.0-32.5 on the year.

JSU'S PROBABLE STARTERS

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

G 3 Catraiva Givens 5-8 155 Sr. 10.0 1.0

G 12 Darrion Griffin 6-3 185 Jr. 9.5 4.5

F 22 Edwin Jarrow 6-6 165 Sr. 1.5 3.0

F 32 Grant Maxey 6-7 180 So. 13.0 6.5

C 44 Jeremy Caldwell 6-8 251 Jr. 14.5 6.0

JSU'S LAST OUTING -- TIGERS FALL TO STEPHEN F. AUSTIN

NACOOGDOCHES -- The Jackson State University men's basketball team dropped its second game of the season as the Tigers fell 70-55 to the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks Tuesday night. With the loss Jackson State falls to a 0-2 overall record and Stephen F. Austin improves to a 2-0 overall record. After taking a brief five-point lead in the first half the Tigers could not keep up the intensity and Stephen F. Austin eventually pulled away. The Lumberjacks carried a 36-25 lead into halftime. Senior guard Catraiva Givens led JSU with 14 points on 3-10 shooting from the field and 7-9 from the free throw line. Senior Darrion Griffin followed with 13 points on 4-10 shooting and sophomore Grant Maxey added 12 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Matt Kingsley led SFA with 22 points, Eddie Williams added 16, Nick Shaw chipped in 13 and Gerald Fonzie scored 11. Kingsley also grabbed 13 boards for a double-double. "Our intensity was good in the first half, but down the stretch we got a little fatigued. When we had to start substituting we lost some intensity," said JSU head coach Tevester Anderson. "We also gave up to many second chance shots, when that happens your are in trouble." The Tigers were outscored 38-24 in the paint, 18-4 in second chance points and 8-2 in fast break points. "We must also establish an inside game if we are going to be a good team. We have to get 20-25 shots inside the paint. We need to put together two halves and we will be okay."

SERIES NOTES

This will be the first meeting in the series between Jackson State and BYU.

BYU NOTES

BYU'S LAST OUTING - COUGARS TRIUMPH IN HOME OPENER

PROVO -- BYU defeated Idaho State, 90-69, in its home opener Wednesday. The win extended the Cougars' home win streak to 32 games, which is the second-longest active home victory streak in the nation. Sam Burgess led the Cougars during the game with 18 points, breaking his previous career high of 15 points. Lee Cummard became the first Cougar to post a double-double this season with 10 rebounds and 13 points. As a team BYU shot 12-for-25 from three-point range, marking the 14th time in the program's history a Cougar team has made at least 12 three-pointers in a game. BYU got a small lead early in the game, leading Idaho State 4-0 before allowing a Bengal shot to fall after 4:22 had ticked off the clock. The Cougars broke ahead of the Bengals with a 10-point streak. The streak was put to an end after a timeout and a jump shot gave the Bengals two points. BYU quickly retaliated with three-pointer from Ben Murdock followed by two consecutive three-pointers from Jonathan Tavernari, bringing the Cougars' lead to 26-8. Tavernari was the first Cougar to enter double digits and finished the game with 17 points. The Cougars closed the first half with a 19-point lead over the Bengals at 44-25. BYU's defense held Idaho State to a 29.6 field-goal percentage, forcing nine turnovers. Sam Burgess led BYU in the first half with 16 points, shooting 5-for-7 from the field with four three-point shots. The Cougars lost no momentum coming into the second half of the game. During the first minute Cummard stole the ball from Idaho State and sent BYU down the court on a fast break. Cummard passed the ball to Trent Plaisted to put the Cougars up 46-25. Idaho State staged a comeback, narrowing BYU's lead to within 14 points with 13 minutes left. The Bengals led the Cougars in points scored during the first six minutes of the second half at 16 points to BYU's 14 before the Cougars gained energy. BYU got a surge of momentum topped off by a dunk from Plaisted to give the Cougars a 23-point lead over the Bengals with 11 minutes left. Idaho State battled against the Cougars, but an eight-point run from BYU, fueled by an undefended one-handed dunk from Plaisted, gave BYU an 83-59 lead with three minutes left in the game. From there, the Cougars cruised to the 90-69 win.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "As a staff, what we were pleased with the most tonight was the way our players shared the ball. I felt that the intensity of the game early on was good because we came out early and defensively put on a good presence."

-- "We are impressed by our freshmen players. We have a lot of confidence in them. This is a new experience for them. How they deal with that and how they come along will largely determine how well we do as a team. We're excited to have them as a part of it."

Idaho State Head Coach Joe O'Brien

-- "We played against a very aggressive defense tonight. They're good. There's a reason they were chosen to be No. 1 in their conference. I have a lot of respect for them."

-- "Their 10-point lead in the first half quickly turned into an 18-point lead before we collected ourselves. We have no depth inside. When I wanted to go man-to-man, everyone had two fouls and was sitting on the bench."

-- "I think BYU is a better team right now than Iowa. They have a very solid defense, and on offense they spread you so much inside and outside."

-- "Plaisted is their go-to-guy. You have to respect him."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- Individual Career Highs: Sam Burgess - 18 points, 5 assists (tied), 6 field goals made, 4 three-point field goals made; Ben Murdock - 5 assists (tied); Jimmer Fredette -- 10 points.

-- The 90-69 Cougar victory extended BYU's home win streak to 32 games dating back to Nov. 18, 2005. The streak is the second-longest active home win streak in the nation.

-- With a 21-point win against Idaho State and a 40-point victory Saturday at Long Beach State, BYU has posted a +30.5 average margin of victory in its first two games this season.

-- The Cougars finished the game 12-for-25 (.500) from three-point range, marking just the 14th time in school history a BYU team has made at least 12 three-pointers in a game. BYU set a school record with 256 threes made last year, including a program-record 15 against No. 25 UNLV, while ranking fifth in the nation shooting 41.5 percent from downtown.

-- Cummard became the first Cougar to record a double-double this season with 13 points and 10 rebounds in the game, the fourth double-double of his career.

-- Tavernari was the first Cougar in double figures as he scored his 10th point of the game with a free throw at the 7:35 mark in the first half. Burgess joined him in double figures with a make from the charity stripe with 4:16 remaining in the half. Burgess was the high scorer at the half as he topped his career high with 16 points in the first 20 minutes of play on 5-for-7 shooting from the field, including a 4-for-4 mark from three-point range.

-- With a 19-point advantage at the break against Idaho State (44-25), BYU has led by double digits at the half in both of its games this season (36-12 at Long Beach State), going 2-0. The Cougars held a double-digit lead at halftime in 14 games last year, going 13-1 in those games while going 22-4 in games BYU led at the half by any margin.

-- The Cougars' 44-25 halftime lead marked the first time this season BYU topped the 40-point mark in a half.

-- The Cougars also put together another solid first half defensively as BYU held its opponent under 30 percent shooting, under 30 points and under 10 field goals made in the first half for the second time this year.

-- BYU held the Bengals scoreless for the first 4:22 of the game as Idaho State missed its first five shots from the field before forward Chron Tatum scored at the 15:38 mark.

-- After missing their first two three-point attempts of the game, BYU made five of its next six, including two from Burgess to spark a 10-0 Cougar run, one from Murdock and two from Tavernari to put BYU up 26-8. - Tavernari scored seven of BYU's first 11 points in the second half, helping maintain a 19-point Cougar lead through the first five minutes.

- Plaisted recorded his second dunk of the season and the 73rd of his career to put BYU up 62-41 with 11:14 left in the game. He added his second of the game with 2:46 remaining. -- Returned missionary Chris Miles also saw first-half action for the Cougars for the first time since the 2004-05 season.

DEFENDING THE HOME COURT

With 32 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's second-longest active home victory streak. The Cougars won their home opener this season, 90-69 over Idaho State on Wednesday. BYU 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 16 straight over nonconference opponents and 16 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU is 404-116 (.777) 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 (As of Nov. 15, 2007)

Wins Team This year Next home game

34 Memphis 2-0 Nov. 20 vs. Arkansas State

32 BYU 1-0 Nov. 16 vs. Jackson State

ON THE ROAD

The Cougars picked up their first road win of the year in their season opener at Long Beach State on Saturday, continuing their success away from the Marriott Center. BYU won five of its last seven games on the road last season including wins at then-No. 20 Air Force (62-58), at TCU (85-72), at New Mexico (70-49), at Utah (76-66) and at Wyoming (77-73) and losses at San Diego State (86-74) and at then-No. 25 UNLV (78-70) in the MWC Tournament Championship game. The Cougars' win in the Huntsman Center was their first since 1994, and their win at Air Force snapped the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. BYU was 6-7 on the road last year and 5-3 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 was the only Mountain West Conference team with a winning record on the road in league play last year. The Cougars were 2-2 in neutral court games last season with a loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. and against Xavier in the first round of the NCAA Tournament in Lexington, Ky., and wins against TCU and Wyoming in the MWC Tournament.

FROM DOWNTOWN

The Cougars made 12 three-pointers on Wednesday while shooting 48.0 percent (12-for-25) from beyond the arc, marking just the 14th time in program history a BYU team has made at least 12 three-pointers in a game. With 256 three-pointers made last season, BYU set a new program record in that category, surpassing the mark of 214 set in 1992. The Cougars also set a school record with 15 three-pointers against UNLV on .682 (15-for-22) shooting from long range, the third time the Cougars shot above .600 from downtown last season. BYU shot above 40 percent from behind the arc 18 times on the year, including 12 of the last 15 games, and made at least 10 treys in a game on seven occasions. The Cougars ranked fifth nationally and led the MWC in three-point shooting (.415). BYU also paced the conference in three-point percentage (.457) in MWC play while Cougar players finished first (Austin Ainge - .525) and second (Mike Rose - .471) 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.

MAGIC NUMBER: 70

BYU is now 2-0 when scoring at least 70 points this season and 2-0 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 82.0 points per game and allowing just 51.5 ppg. Last year the Cougars scored an MWC-leading 78.1 points and allowed 69.0 points. BYU was 20-0 when opponents scored less than 70 points and 5-9 when they scored 70 or more. BYU was 23-6 when it scored 70 or more points and 2-3 when scoring less than 70 with both wins coming against nationally ranked Air Force. The Cougars were also 12-0 last season when scoring at least 80 points. With its scoring output, BYU recorded its highest scoring average since 1996 (82.3 ppg) and highest scoring margin since 1993 (also +9.1).

CLEANING THE GLASS

With another positive rebounding margin against Idaho State, BYU is now 2-0 this season when besting opponents on the boards. The Cougars posted a +15 rebounding margin at Long Beach State with a 55-40 advantage on the boards, matching last year's season high of 55 boards against Seton Hall. BYU was paced by nine rebounds each from Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari and six from true freshman Chris Collinsworth. BYU was 24-2 last season when outrebounding its opponents and 1-7 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars led the MWC in rebounding average (37.4) and rebounding margin (+6.2). BYU posted its largest margin of the season with a +22 mark against then-No. 13 Air Force (42-20) and against TCU in the MWC Tournament (46-24). Senior Keena Young was fourth at 6.6 rpg while sophomore Trent Plaisted was tied for sixth on the glass at 6.2 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).

COUGAR RECORD AMONG THE TOP IN SCHOOL HISTORY

BYU finished with a 25-9 record in 34 games last year, making it one of the best BYU teams in program history. Last year's Cougars tied for third all-time in BYU history for most overall wins. In the 105-year history of BYU men's basketball, only the 1950-51 NIT Championship team (28-9) and the 1987-88 WAC champion team (26-6) finished the year with more total wins. One other BYU team equaled the 2006-07 Cougars' 25-9 record. At 23-7 prior to postseason play, last year's BYU?team was just the sixth Cougar squad to record its 23rd win prior to the end of the regular season. The Cougar record for wins in the regular season is 24 achieved three times. Last year's BYU team is also tied for sixth all-time in program history with a .735 overall winning percentage.

HOT START

With a 2-0 record to begin the 2007-08 season, the Cougars are off to their best start since 2002-03 when BYU won its first five games before falling on Dec. 7 at Creighton. The Cougars have won in dominant fashion this season, besting opponents by an average of 30.5 points per game while scoring 82.0 ppg and allowing only 51.5 points per contest. BYU is also outshooting opponents .479-.298 and outrebounding foes 44.0-35.5.

TRUE BLUE FANS

The Cougars opened the home season with 12,153 fans on Wednesday against Idaho State. BYU averaged 12,073 fans last season, including the largest crowd in MWC history with 22,812 fans against Utah and another sellout crowd of 22,700 fans against then-No. 13 Air Force, marking the first time since 1981-82 that BYU has had multiple sellouts in the same year. BYU has consistently ranked among the national attendance leaders. The Cougars were second in the MWC in attendance in 2006-07 behind New Mexico's 12,853 average. BYU outdrew the regular-season conference champions of 26 of the nation's 30 other 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 11 of the 16 NCAA Sweet Sixteen participants, including three of the Final Four teams.

FANTASTIC FRESHMEN

Four Cougar freshman made their collegiate debuts at Long Beach State with results that bode well for the future. Freshmen Jimmer Fredette and Chris Collinsworth led the newcomers in scoring with nine points each. Fredette went 3-for-6 from three-point range while adding three assists. Collinsworth shot 3-for-4 from the field and 3-for-3 from the free-throw line to go along with six rebounds, including three on the offensive glass. Collinsworth immediately made his presence felt after checking in at the 15:31 mark in the first half with two rebounds, including an offensive board leading to a bucket for Trent Plaisted. Fredette also made noise in the first half with two three-point makes during a 14-0 Cougar run. Michael Loyd, Jr. had three rebounds in 11 minutes while Nick Martineau made his only shot from the field while adding two rebounds in 11 minutes.

FOR STARTERS

Cougar head coach Dave Rose has used the same starting lineup in each of BYU's first two games, electing to use two seniors in Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess, returning All-Mountain West Conference selections Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard, both juniors, and 2007 MWC Freshman of the Year Jonathan Tavernari to begin the game. Cummard started all 34 games last season, and Plaisted made 33 starts. Burgess made one start as a sophomore in 2004-05 while Murdock and Tavernari each earned their first career starts against Long Beach State. Rose used the same starting rotation in both of the Cougars' two exhibition games.

COUGAR MARKETING

The first 5,000 fans who come to BYU's game on Friday against Jackson State in the Marriott Center will receive a free 2007-08 BYU men's basketball poster.

WINNING BIG

The Cougars have won their first two games by an average margin of 30.5 points, including a 21-point victory (90-69) over Idaho State on Wednesday and a 40-point win (74-34) at Long Beach State on Saturday. 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. BYU held LBSU to just 19.1 percent shooting from the field while besting the 49ers in the rebound column, 55-40. The Cougars held a 36-12 lead at the half after allowing LBSU to make just three shots from the field in the first 20 minutes of the game and stretched the advantage to 40 in the second half, ending the game on a 14-0 run. 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 over the course of the year.

VICTORY STREAK

With a 2-0 start to this season, BYU picked up right where it left off last season when the Cougars won 12 of their last 15 games overall with victories over New Mexico (twice), Air Force (twice), Utah (twice), UNLV, Wyoming (twice), TCU (twice) and Colorado State and losses at SDSU, at then-No. 25 UNLV and vs. Xavier. The Cougars had won eight straight prior to the SDSU loss, marking their longest victory streak since winning nine straight during the 2003-04 season and ranking tied for 10th nationally. The Cougars also won seven straight last year over Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall, San Diego State and TCU.

HALFTIME REPORT

The Cougars are now 2-0 this season when leading at the half with both advantages coming by double digits. BYU has put together strong defensive starts in both of its games, holding Idaho State and Long Beach State under 30 points, under 30 percent shooting from the field and under 10 field goals made in the first 20 minutes. The Cougars' 36-12 lead at the break in Long Beach 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?led at the half in 26 of the team's 34 games last year, including a double-digit lead 14 times. The Cougars outscored their opponents by an average of 5.9 points in the first period of play. BYU's win over Seton Hall marked the first time the Cougars won this year after trailing at the break. The second breakthrough after trailing at the break came at Wyoming. The Cougars also won at AFA after trailing at the half. 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 lost when leading at the half. BYU also lost at CSU, at UNLV and vs. Xavier after leading at the break. The Cougars were 22-4 when leading at the half, 3-4 when trailing and 0-1 when tied last season.

COUGARS VOLUNTEER FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER CHRISTMAS FOUNDATION

For the ninth year, the BYU men's basketball team will join the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation in an effort to raise money for families who have children with cancer and participate in the Foundation's annual Christmas party for those families. The Foundation will be collecting monetary donations and any unwrapped toys through the first three weeks of December. Toys can be dropped off at the nearest Far West Bank location, at Harmon's Down Town Auto Center located in Provo or at the men's basketball office located next to the Ticket Office at the Marriott Center. Monetary contributions will also be accepted at the men's basketball office. One hundred percent of all donations to the Foundation will go directly towards the Christmas party for more than 90 families who have children with cancer living primarily in Utah County. A large portion of the money donated will purchase hundreds of toys that will enable these parents to have gifts under the Christmas tree for their children. In addition to all of these toys, there is food, free entertainment, such as games and ornament decorating, and local celebrities including Santa, Cosmo and the BYU men's basketball team. This is the eighth year BYU coaches, players and their families have volunteered for the Christmas party. BYU head coach Dave Rose will serve as Honorary Chairman for the third year. "This has always been a cause I feel strongly about," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "It has been such a positive experience for the coaches, players and families and is a tremendous opportunity for community members to be involved in brightening the holiday season for these children." Cheryl Rose, vice chairman of the Foundation and wife of coach Rose, discussed the challenges these families face financially and how the Foundation hopes to help these families now and in the future. "For many of these families, it is financially impossible to always have food on the table, a roof over their heads or even have Christmas," Cheryl Rose said. "We want to create a Christmas experience that they will never forget and hopefully in the future help families meet those basic needs that they can't on their own." Rose says that asking for donations has usually been difficult for her, but with such a meaningful cause it has been easy. It has enriched her life, which is something she hopes others will enjoy by contributing to these families. "It's a privilege for me to associate with these families," she said. "They are such an example to me. Even with all that they've been through, they have such a strength and passion for life. It's almost selfish on my part to be involved because I get so much out of it." This year's Christmas party will be held Dec. 19. Parents will be invited to choose the gifts their children will receive on Dec. 18. The gifts will then be distributed at the party. "The support we get from the community makes this event possible," Cheryl Rose said. "We couldn't serve these children without the donations of time, money and gifts we receive."

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