Sam Burgess is one of three seniors who will be honored prior to Wednesday's final home game at 8 p.m. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
BYU GAME #30 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (23-6, 12-2 MWC)
WYOMING (12-16, 5-10 MWC)
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Marriott Center (22,700)
8:05 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (68-24 in third season; same overall)
WYO, Heath Schroyer (12-16 in first season; 47-63 in fourth year overall)
BYU leads, 98-69, after the Cougars' 73-63 win at Wyoming on Feb. 2
The Mtn. (James Bates, play-by-play; Joe Cravens, game analyst)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (7 p.m. MT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analyst)
Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com
Discounted tickets are available for Wednesday's game to celebrate BYU's 46-game home winning streak. Fans can purchase tickets in the upper bowl for $4 and the lower bowl for $6. Contact the BYU Ticket Office at 801-422-3781 or www.byutickets.com.
NO. 24 BYU HOSTS WYOMING WEDNESDAY AT 8 P.M.
No. 24 BYU (23-6, 12-2 MWC) will play its final home game of the season this Wednesday hosting Wyoming at 8 p.m. MT. The Cougars are coming off a 76-57 victory against Air Force on Saturday, their 11th win in 12 games. The Cowboys have won back-to-back games including a 72-64 win over Utah Saturday. Wednesday's game will be televised on The Mtn. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM /1160 AM out of Salt Lake City and on the Internet at KSL.com beginning with the pregame show at 7 p.m. MT.
BYU will play its final regular-season game Saturday at TCU at 7 p.m. CT. The game will be televised on The Mtn.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- No. 24 BYU is in first place in the MWC standings at 12-2, followed by UNLV (11-3) and New Mexico (9-5).
-- Only two BYU teams have ever topped this year's 23-6 start. The last Cougar team with a better record through 29 games was in 1987-88 (25-4).
-- BYU owns the nation's longest active home win streak with a school-record 46 straight wins in the Marriott Center. BYU went 17-0 at home last year and is 15-0 at home this season.
-- BYU is 5-2 on the road in conference play, winning four straight between losses at UNLV and San Diego State. The Cougars bounced back from a loss at SDSU with a win at New Mexico. Overall, BYU is 7-4 in away games this season and 1-2 on a neutral floor.
-- Two-time reigning MWC Coach of the Year Dave Rose helped make BYU the second-most improved program in the nation in his first season with a 20-9 record and guided the Cougars to the outright MWC?title and a top-25 ranking in his second campaign in Provo as the Cougars went 25-9 last season.
-- This year's BYU squad returns two starters among seven lettermen from last year's outright league leaders (13-3 MWC record) as well as returned missionary Chris Miles, who made six starts as a freshman in 2004-05. Headlining BYU's top returners are 2008 MWC Player of the Year candidates Trent Plaisted, a two-time All-MWC Second Team selection in his first two seasons, and Lee Cummard, a versatile junior guard who earned All-MWC Third Team honors one year ago. Sophomore forward Jonathan Tavernari and senior guards Sam Burgess and Ben Murdock are all full-time starters for the first time this season. Burgess and Murdock have contributed solid play at the guardline while Tavernari has provided a solid scoring punch. Last year Tavernari followed Plaisted's lead the prior season by being named the 2007 MWC Freshman of the Year.
LOOKING AT WYOMING
Wyoming is 12-16 overall this season and 5-10 in Mountain West Conference play, currently in eighth place. The Cowboys have won their last two league games, 77-67 at Colorado State and 72-64 against Utah in their final home game, after dropping the prior three games. Three starters among eight letterwinners return from last year's team that finished the year 17-15 overall and 7-9 in the MWC. Senior guard Brandon Ewing once again leads the team in scoring at 16.7 points per game on 42.4 percent shooting from the floor. He also dishes out a team-best 4.3 assists per contest and has posted 38 steals on the year. Senior guard Brad Jones also stars in the Wyoming backcourt with 12.4 ppg and 5.4 rebounds per game, second on the team. He is right behind Ewing with 3.6 apg. Sophomore forward Ryan Dermody is third in scoring for the Cowboys with 9.7 ppg while contributing 5.2 rpg and 32 blocks on the year. Sophomore center Travis Nelson shoots a team-best 62.4 percent from the field for the team while adding 7.5 ppg. Senior forward Joseph Taylor boasts 6.9 rpg and 35 blocks to lead the team while posting 7.4 ppg on 61.8 percent shooting from the field. As a team, the Cowboys average 69.5 ppg on 44.4 percent shooting from the floor while allowing opponents to score 72.3 ppg on 41.6 percent shooting. Former BYU assistant coach Heath Schroyer is in his first year at the helm of the Cowboys and is 47-63 in four years overall.
WYOMING'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
G 01 Brad Jones 6-1 190 Sr. 12.4 5.4 Marked Tree, Ark.
G 23 Brandon Ewing 6-2 190 Jr. 16.7 3.5 Chicago, Ill.
F 05 Ryan Dermody 6-8 205 So. 9.7 5.2 Loveland, Colo,
F 20 Joseph Taylor 6-8 210 Sr. 7.4 6.9 Los Angeles, Calif.
C 13 Mikhail Linskens 7-0 270 Fr. 4.4 3.1 West-Vlaaneren, Belgium
WYOMING'S LAST OUTING -- SECOND-HALF COWBOY RUN KEYS VICTORY
LARAMIE -- Brad Jones scored 20 points in leading Wyoming to a 72-64 victory over Utah on Saturday. Utah kept within range as the game wound down but the Cowboys prevailed on free throws. Jones hit two 3-pointers toward a 17-6 run that gave Wyoming (12-16, 5-10 Mountain West Conference) a 45-34 lead with about 12 minutes left. Utah responded, with Johnnie Bryant scoring a pair of 3-pointers to help the Utes (15-12, 6-8) pull within 49-45 with 7:03 left. Utah came within four points four more times. But Wyoming sealed the win by making 12 of 12 free throws in the final six minutes. Jones scored half his points on free throws, a perfect 10 of 10. Brandon Ewing added 14 points and dished out five assists, while Joseph Taylor and Tyson Johnson each scored 12. Luke Nevill led the Utes with 22 points. Bryant finished with 15 points, and Luka Drca scored 12 for Utah. The game began with a 19-12 Wyoming lead. The Utes used an 11-3 run to get up 23-22 but Wyoming recovered for a 28-24 lead at the half
BYU and Wyoming have met 167 times. BYU leads the series 98-69 after a 73-63 win in Laramie earlier this season and a season series sweep last year followed by a victory in the MWC Tournament semifinals. Wyoming has a 53-30 advantage in Laramie while BYU boasts a 63-14 record in Provo. BYU has a 5-2 edge on a neutral floor, including a 3-0 advantage in conference tournament play (MWC?Tournament wins in 2001, 2004 and 2007). The Cougars have won the last six games and 12 of the last 13 outings. Since the formation of the Mountain West Conference, BYU has won 15 of the 20 meetings. After Utah (246 games) and Utah State (224 games), BYU has faced Wyoming the third-most times in its history.
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"Brandon Ewing and Brad Jones are great in the backcourt. You really have to do a good job of stopping their penetration. Joseph Taylor has been playing very well for them, and their other big guys do a good job of sharing the ball and scoring in the low post. Ryan Dermody has been shooting pretty well, and Eric Platt has been playing a lot better. They have a lot of weapons that we need to prepare for."
"We were fortunate in Laramie. Their two post players both got two quick fouls early in the game so we really didn't see their team like they have been playing in the last couple games. They are on a bit of roll right now. Hopefully our players will be focused in, and we can have a couple of intense practices to prepare for them."
THIS YEAR AT WYOMING -- BYU POSTS FIFTH STRAIGHT WIN
LARAMIE -- The BYU men's basketball team tied its longest win streak of the year with a 73-63 triumph at Wyoming on Saturday, marking the Cougars' fifth straight victory. Lee Cummard topped the 20-point mark for the third straight contest with a game-high 25 points on 8-for-13 shooting from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, to go along with eight rebounds. For the first time this season, two Cougars recorded double-doubles as Trent Plaisted posted his seventh double-double of the year with 17 points and 10 boards while Jonathan Tavernari tallied the first of his career with 10 points and a career-high 10 rebounds. BYU was outshot in the game, 40 percent to 41.7 percent for Wyoming, but did not give up a three-pointer for the first time since Dec. 16, 2006 as the Cowboys went 0-for-15 from long range. Burgess nailed an open three on BYU's first possession to set the tone for the Cougars as BYU took an early 5-2 lead in the first minute of play. Plaisted added two free throws to extend the advantage to 7-2, but neither team was able to score from the field until Wyoming's Brad Jones scored a driving layin and was fouled at the 15:56 mark, converting the free throw to cut the lead to two points. The Cougars continued to struggle offensively after a 2-for-2 start, going 1-for-10 from the floor until Chris Miles scored with just over 13 minutes to play. Wyoming responded on the other end, but was quickly answered with a three-pointer from Jimmer Fredette and a layin by Cummard to give BYU a 17-9 lead. Tavernari became the fourth Cougar to score from long range with a three-point make at the 10:52 mark to push the lead to double-digits at 20-10. However, Wyoming scored eight of the next 10 points to cut the deficit to four points as Plaisted sat on the bench with two fouls. A spate of BYU turnovers finally gave the Cowboys the chance to complete the comeback as Ryan Dermody drove and scored followed by a layin from Tyson Johnson to knot the score at 24-24 with six minutes to play in the half. Finally, the Cowboys took their first lead of the game with a three-point play to make it 31-28. The three-point advantage held at 35-32 until Cummard scored the last five points of the half, including a buzzer-beating trey, to give BYU its 18th halftime lead of the year at 37-35. Cummard began the second half where he left off with a jumper on BYU's first possession. That was followed by a trey from Burgess on the next trip down the floor to cap a 10-0 Cougar run spanning the half and give BYU a 42-35 lead. The Cowboys responded once again with four straight points from Brandon Ewing to make it a one-possession game before Tavernari made a big shot from downtown to keep Wyoming at bay. Nursing a five-point lead at 48-43, BYU got some bad news when Cummard picked up his fourth foul at the 13:21 mark. Foul trouble continued to play a large role in the game as two BYU starters -- Cummard and Burgess -- spent time on the bench with four fouls apiece and the Cowboys' Travis Nelson fouled out midway through the half. With BYU up 56-54, Cummard re-entered the game and hit from behind the arc to push the lead back up to five points. After Wyoming answered with a three-point play on the other end, Cummard and Burgess made back-to-back buckets and Plaisted drained two free throws to create some space for the Cougars with a 65-57 lead. Then, with 2:32 left to play, Cummard sank a fadeaway jumper and the accompanying free throw to push the lead to nine points at 68-59 and seal the 73-63 win for BYU.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I'm really proud of our players. They battled well and had to just to an interesting flow in the game. Lee (Cummard) and Trent (Plaisted) did a really good job of keeping themselves on the floor and in a position where they could help our team."
-- "Our players have really been able to get themselves in a position to make plays and then make them. Lee (Cummard) has been terrific leading the group. Trent (Plaisted) has been rebounding well and was great for us tonight defensively and at the free-throw line. Sam (Burgess) gave us a great night defensively on Brad Jones. Ben (Murdock) did a terrific job of guarding Brandon Ewing and contesting his shots."
-- "I thought we did a really good job of closing them down in the zone. A lot of credit goes to our coaching staff -- Terry Nashif, Dave Rice and John Wardenburg. They spend so much time watching film and breaking things down. They made a good game plan for us, and they were right on. It was really effective for us."
BYU NOTES FROM THIS YEAR AT WYOMING
-- Individual Career Highs: Jonathan Tavernari - 10 rebounds.
-- The BYU coaching staff participated in the Coaches vs. Cancer Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend, sporting suits and sneakers against the Cowboys. Coaches vs. Cancer is a joint effort by the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches that empowers basketball coaches, schools and communities nationwide to help fight cancer.
-- At 6-1 in Mountain West Conference play, the Cougars are off to their best league start since the 2002-03 season when they also began 6-1 through the first seven games. BYU finished the 2002-03 season tied for first in the conference at 11-3.
-- BYU picked up its third straight MWC road win with the victory at Wyoming, moving to 3-1 on the road in league play and 5-3 overall. BYU won five of its last seven road games last season and was the only MWC team with a winning road record in league play at 5-3.
-- The Cougars' five straight wins ties their longest win streak of the season (@ LBSU, Idaho State, Jackson State, Hartford, vs. No. 6 Louisville).
-- With the 73-63 win, BYU is now 14-1 when scoring at least 70 points and 14-1 when holding opponents under 70 points.
-- With a game-high lead of 12 points, the Cougars have now held a double-digit lead in 17 of 22 games in the year.
-- Wyoming went 0-for-15 from three-point range in the game, marking the first time since Dec. 16, 2006 when Utah State went 0-for-11 that BYU has held its opponent without a trey. The Cowboys had hit from long range in 158 straight games dating back to Jan. 4, 2003 before misfiring on all of their three-point attempts against BYU.
-- With a 37-35 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, BYU recorded its 18th halftime lead of the season. The Cougars are now 16-2 when leading at the break.
-- Plaisted's 7-for-11 performance at the free-throw line at Wyoming marked the most free throws he has made in a game since going 8-for-16 on Dec. 8 against No. 9 Michigan State.
-- For the first time this season, two Cougars recorded double-doubles. Plaisted posted his seventh double-double of the year and 16th of his career with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Tavernari tallied the first of his career with 10 points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
-- Murdock dished out five assists at Wyoming, marking the eighth time this year and the third time in league play he has posted at least five assists.
-- Including 25 points at Wyoming, Cummard has now scored at least 20 points in the last three straight games (21 at Air Force, 20 against New Mexico). Cummard has recorded at least 20 points in seven games overall this season and nine in his career.
- Tavernari had the hot hand in the first half as he scored a first-half season-high 16 points in the first 20 minutes, marking the sixth time this season he has reached double-digits before halftime. Tavernari made his first five shots from the field, including three from long range.
LAST YEAR AT BYU -- YOUNG LEADS COUGARS TO VICTORY
PROVO -- After a slow start, the BYU Cougars pulled out an 89-81 victory against the Wyoming Cowboys Tuesday night in the Marriott Center, improving to 13-5 overall and 3-1 in the Mountain West Conference. Senior Keena Young led his team with 29 points, a new career high, and 10 rebounds. BYU also improved their home-winning streak to 26 games. The Cougars started out slow with two turnovers in the beginning minutes. A three-pointer by Brandon Ewing carried the Cowboys to a 12-4 lead before a time-out was called by BYU. The game continued to go Wyoming's way until Ben Murdock hit a three-pointer to bring the Cougars within five points. A seven-point run by BYU was capped by a Mike Rose breakaway lay-up. With 10:25 left in the half, Trent Plaisted got his first bucket of the game after missing his previous six attempts. BYU continued to struggle when Murdock received his second foul with just over eight minutes left in the half. A Jonathan Tavernari jump shot was followed by an Austin Ainge three-pointer. Picking up where he left off during the Cougars' last home game against TCU, Tavernari made his first three-point attempt to bring his team within three. As the half came to a close, Young was sent to the free-throw line where he made both of his shots. A three-pointer by Jimmy Balderson tied the game for the first time. On the last play of the half, Tavernari hit his second three of the night, giving BYU its first lead of the game at 37-35. Young was fouled and sent to the line to open the second half where he made both of his free throws. A dunk by Plaisted with 16:05 on the clock tied the game, and a costly turnover by the Cowboys resulted in a breakaway lay-up by Rose, giving the Cougars a 51-45 advantage. BYU continued on a 17-0 run, with Young contributing nine points and Rose adding five. A strong defensive showing by the Cougars resulted in an expired Wyoming shot clock with just over 10 minutes to play. Murdock's fourth foul sent Eric Platt to the line, bringing the score to 66-54. Soon after, Plaisted recorded his second dunk of the night with 7:14 left in the half. At 6:53, Ewing recorded his first points of the half on a pair of free throws, having gone over 24 minutes without a score. Young tipped in a missed three-point attempt by Lee Cummard to give BYU a 12-point lead. On a trip to the free-throw line with four minutes left in the game, Young surpassed his previous career high of 27 points. Ewing's 800th career point came with just over two minutes to play. A steal by Ainge and ensuing tip-in by Plaisted put the Cougars up 85-79 with 30 seconds left in the game. A pair of free throws by Ainge sealed the BYU victory. Four Cougars scored in double figures, including Young with 29 points, Plaisted with 15, Ainge with 13 and Tavernari with 10. Ewing and Brown both led Wyoming with 22 points each. Brown also led his team with 18 rebounds.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "It was a physical game. Our guys responded well to that. All of the conference games will be physical. The teams are evenly matched so it will be a fight."
-- "Wyoming guards are very involved. They get the posts involved by penetration. In the second half we did a much better job of filling the lanes so the guards had to create shots."
-- "The defense sparked the 17-0 run. We got stops on defense and attacked them in transition."
-- "At the beginning of the game the energy level from our guys was suspect. That's why Jonathan Tavernari came in to give us a lift."
-- "Jonathan Tavernari's playing with a lot of confidence. He works really hard, has a great attitude and right now he is really helping our team."
Wyoming Head Coach Steve McClain
-- "I thought it was a great game. We got off to a great start. We did what we wanted to do. We are proud of our kids. We got it close but didn't get it."
-- "We go in at the half and feel like we are right there, and then we just missed shots. BYU did a good job defensively."
-- "I think our kids got frustrated by something they couldn't control. But I think that they really kept their composure."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT BYU
-- Individual Career Highs: Keena Young - 29 points; Lee Cummard -- 3 blocks.
-- Individual Season Highs: Mike Rose -- 3 assists, 2 steals (tied); Keena Young -- 2 steals.
-- Team Season Highs: 52 points in a half; 12,817 attendance.
-- BYU's win over Wyoming extended its home winning streak to 26 games, which the second-longest active home victory streak in the nation. The Cougars are 12-0 at home this season.
-- With a .412 (7-for-17) three-point shooting percentage against Wyoming, BYU has now shot above .400 percent from behind the arc in five straight games and nine on the season.
-- BYU put together two very different halves against Wyoming, starting the game 2-for-11 (.182) while shooting 14-for-38 (.368) in the first half. In the second half, BYU started 8-for-11 (.727) while cruising to a season high 52 second-half points on a 13-for-24 (.542) shooting mark, the 10th time this year the Cougars have scored at least 40 points in the second half. BYU shot 27-for-62 (.435) for the game.
-- After Wyoming's Joseph Taylor was whistled for a technical foul at the 14:58 mark with the game tied at 45-45, BYU went on a 17-0 run thanks in part to nine points from Young and five points from Mike Rose.
-- After scoring 16 second-half points at UNLV, Keena Young once again put together another impressive offensive performance against Wyoming, scoring a career-high 29 points on 9-for-16 (.563) shooting, marking the 16th time in 18 games he has scored in double figures and the fourth time he has posted 20+ points. His 29 points is the most scored by a Cougar since Rafael Araujo scored 32 points against then-No. 25 Oklahoma State on Dec. 6, 2003 at the Delta Center.
-- Young added 10 rebounds against the Cowboys to record his fifth double-double of the season and the eighth of his career.
-- With an 11-for-12 performance from the free-throw line, Young also became the first Cougar since Mike Hall on Feb. 7, 2004 to make double-digit free throws in a game.
-- With a three-point make at the 12:21 mark of the second half, Mike Rose has now made a three-pointer in 10 straight games, tying his career record. Rose has come on strong for BYU as of late, scoring 77 points in the last 10 games (7.7 ppg), including nine against Wyoming, after scoring just 11 points in the first eight games (1.4 ppg).
-- Lee Cummard recorded a career-high three blocks in the game, marking the ninth game this year he has recorded at least one rejection. Cummard entered the game ranked 15th in the MWC averaging 0.65 bpg.
-- Jimmy Balderson gave the Cougars their first tie of the night at 34-34 on a three-pointer with 1:34 left to play in the first half. Jonathan Tavernari then gave BYU its first lead at 37-35 on another three-pointer with three seconds remaining in the half. Wyoming led by as many as 10 points (16-6) in the first period of play.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- COUGARS OUTSHOOT FALCONS IN VICTORY
PROVO -- With its 76-57 win over Air Force on Saturday, the No. 25 BYU men's basketball team improved to 23-6 on the season and 12-2 in Mountain West Conference play. The Cougars also extended the nation's longest active homecourt winning streak to 46 games. Trent Plaisted's 20 points led four Cougars scoring in double figures. Jonathan Tavernari added 12 points, with Lee Cummard and Jimmer Fredette contributing 10 points apiece. Cummard also secured a team-high eight rebounds. Plaisted started things off for the Cougars, scoring the first points of the game on a made lay-in. Tough defensive efforts by BYU held the Falcons to only one made free throw in the first five minutes of play. Shots continued to fall for Plaisted as he scored his 10th point of the game with 14:51 remaining in the first half. Down by eight points, Air Force battled back to tie the score at 14-14 with 9:30 to play in the half. Turnovers kept both teams off the scoreboard until back-to-back threes by Ben Murdock and Michael Loyd, Jr. gave BYU the advantage at 20-16. Air Force's Eric Kenzik brought his team to within two points after a successful trip to the free-throw line and a made jumper. The comeback attempt proved unsuccessful as Lee Cummard scored five straight points for BYU as the first half wound down. Fredette's make from beyond the arc gave the Cougars a 32-24 lead heading into the locker room. Plaisted started the second half much like he started the first. His five-point contribution was capped off by a two-handed dunk with 17:29 to play in the game. BYU went on to outscore Air Force 28-5 in the first 10 minutes of the half. A creative, over-and-behind-the-head pass from Tavernari to Plaisted set up the junior's second dunk of the night with just over 13 minutes remaining. Everything from long distance seemed to fall for the Cougars, as Loyd, Tavernari and Burgess combined for four consecutive three-pointers, bringing the lead to 63-31. With less than 10 minutes to play in the game, Air Force scored 15 points from the free-throw line to cut into the Cougars' 30-point lead. Fredette's five-point run in the last 1:16 of the game helped maintain BYU's comfortable lead.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought we came out strong in the second half with confidence. We were more aggressive on the weak side and were able to stop the penetration from the first half."
-- "We were competitive in the first half, but in the second we were very good at being the aggressor and putting on the attack to get the results we needed."
-- "We're at this difficult point and the stakes are high, but this is what we started the whole season to be. We knew what the challenge would be, and we're ready to take that on and finish strong."
Air Force Coach Jeff Reynolds
-- "I think everyone in this league plays better at home. BYU really got things going tonight, and they play confidently at home."
-- "Dave Rose has done a good job with the team here. He has put together a nice team."
-- "Overall I thought we played well in the first half, but we got out of control and couldn't control BYU in the second half. We just couldn't make our shots."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- With the 76-57 win, BYU improved its Marriott Center win streak to 46 games, improving on its program record. The Cougars have won 23 straight nonconference games and 23 games against MWC opponents dating back to an 83-71 setback against Loyola Marymount on Nov. 18, 2005. That game was also Dave Rose's head-coaching debut, meaning Rose has gone 46-1 in the Marriott Center as a head coach. BYU's current streak of 46 straight home wins is the longest active home court victory streak in the nation. The BYU football team has won 12 straight home games with its last home loss coming on Nov. 19, 2005, the day after BYU's last home basketball defeat.
-- At 23-6, BYU is off to its best record since 1992-93 when the Cougars were also 23-6 after 29 games. Only two teams at BYU have ever achieved a record better than the Cougars' current 23-6 record while four others have equaled that mark.
-- The 2007-08 Cougars are also one of just seven BYU squads to record at least 23 regular-season wins. Three BYU teams posted 24 regular-season victories while three others achieved 23 wins before postseason play (not including this year's team). With two regular-season games remaining, this year's team could become the only Cougar squad to ever post 25 regular-season victories.
-- With the 76-57 win, BYU is now 19-1 when scoring at least 70 points and 19-1 when holding opponents under 70 points.
-- With a 32-24 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, BYU recorded its 23rd halftime lead of the season. The Cougars are now 21-2 when leading at the break. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 23 games while holding opponents under 30 points in the first half of 19 contests.
-- With a game-high lead of 32 points, the Cougars have now posted a double-digit lead in 21 of 29 games and have led by 20 or more in 14 games and by 30 or more in five contests. BYU has led wire-to-wire in 13 games this season, including both contests against the Falcons.
-- BYU's 11 three-pointers on the night marked the 10th time this season the Cougars have made double-digit treys. Their season total of 238 leaves them just 18 shy of the program record for threes in a season set last year with 256.
-- After holding a slim 26-24 lead, BYU put together a 16-0 run spanning halftime to take a 42-24 advantage. The spurt was the Cougars' longest since scoring 19 straight in their first league game against Colorado State on Jan. 12.
-- With 20 points against the Falcons, Plaisted has scored at least 20 points in five of the last seven games. BYU has had at least one player top the 20-point mark in each of the last 10 games.
-- Tavernari drained twothree-pointers against Air Force to improve his season total to 72, leaving him just two treys shy of tying the single-season BYU record of 74 set by Andy Toolson in 1990. Tavernari's 72 treys ties the Mountain West Conference sophomore record set by Utah's Nick Jacobsen in 2001-02.
-- The Cougars held the Falcons without a bucket for the first 4:26 of the game while building a 9-1 lead.
-- Plaisted made his first four shots from the field and his first three free throws to score 11 of the Cougars' first 14 points.
COUGAR SEASON AMONG THE TOP IN SCHOOL HISTORY
BYU has a 23-6 record through 29 games this year. In the 105-year history of BYU men's basketball, only two teams earned a better record than this year's Cougar squad.
At 23-6 so far this season, BYU has achieved the program's 31st 20-win season, including three straight for Cougar head coach Dave Rose in his first three seasons at the helm. Last year, the Cougars finished 25-9 following a 20-9 campaign in 2005-06. BYU?has averaged 20 wins every 2.6 years (BYU has played 80 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). Rose is the third Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first three years, joining G. Ott Romney and Roger Reid. However, Rose is the first Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first three years after taking over a program with less than 13 wins the prior year. BYU was 9-21 in 2004-05 before Rose turned the program into the second-most improved team in the nation in his first season.
20-Win Seasons at BYU
Stan Watts had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 23 years of coaching
Roger Reid had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
G. Ott Romney had 5 seasons of 20 wins in 9 years of coaching
Steve Cleveland had 4 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Dave Rose has 3 seasons of 20 wins in 3 years of coaching
Ladell Anderson had 3 season of 20 wins in 6 years of coaching
Frank Arnold had 3 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Floyd Millet had 1 season of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
REGULAR-SEASON BENCHMARKS FOR NCAA INVITES
Winning 20 or more games in the regular season has proven to be a significant indicator for receiving an invitation into the NCAA Tournament. Since the first NCAA Tournament in 1939, BYU has had 20 seasons with 20 regular-season wins, including last year's team. In those 20 years, BYU has earned a postseason invite each season, including 17 NCAA bids, three NIT berths (BYU played both NIT and NCAA in 1950-51) and one NAIB (1948-49) invite. In the modern era since the NCAA Tournament became the predominant championship over the NIT, BYU has had 15 seasons when it earned 20 or more wins during regular-season games (prior to starting the conference tournament). The Cougars have received an invite to play in the NCAA Tournament in 14 of those seasons, with the lone exception being the 2005-06 team that finished the regular season 20-7 and fell to 20-8 with a loss at the MWC Tournament before receiving an NIT invitation. Including last year, BYU has reached 21 regular-season wins during 11 of those 15 seasons and has been invited to play in the NCAA Tournament in each of those 11 years.
COUGARS IN CONFERENCE
BYU basketball boasts a remarkable record of conference success during its history. After earning its 26th regular-season conference championship in 2007, the Cougars moved into a tie for ninth among all NCAA Division I programs for most regular-season league titles won (see list at left). Including conference tournaments, BYU has claimed a conference championship trophy during 27 seasons. The Cougars won the 1991 WAC Tournament after a second-place regular-season finish. Other conference tournament titles in 1992 (WAC) and 2001 (MWC) have followed up regular-season rings, as was the case with conference playoff wins in 1924 and 1933 in the Rocky Mountain Conference. BYU won six Rocky Mountain Conference titles in 20 years, earned five Skyline championships in 24 years, recorded 12 WAC crowns in 37 years and has garned MWC honors in three of the league's first eight seasons. BYU won the in-state title against rivals Utah and Utah State during 10 of the 12 years before the Cougars first joined a conference in 1918.
COACH ROSE OWNS TOP MWC MARK
With a 37-9 record in Mountain West Conference games since taking the helm of the BYU program for the 2005-06 season, Dave Rose is currently the winningest MWC?coach in league play in the past three years. UNLV's Lon Kruger is 35-13 and SDSU's Steve Fisher is 32-15. In addition to this year's 12-2 MWC record, Rose coached the Cougars to a 13-3 league and 25-9 overall record last year, earning Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. He was named the MWC and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year in his first season after coaching BYU to a second-place MWC finish at 12-4 while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success--which proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.
CURRENT COUGARS RANK AMONG BEST EVER IN REGULAR SEASON WINS
This year's BYU?team is the seventh Cougar squad to record its 23rd 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, breaking the program record for regular-season victories. No BYU team has ever posted 25 regular-season wins while three squads have reached 24 victories prior to postseason play and three others have posted 23 wins.
BYU AND THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
The BYU men's basketball team has re-entered the top-25 rankings in the last two weeks, earning a No. 24 ranking in this week's ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll after entering the poll at No. 25 last week. BYU is listed 26th in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll. The Cougars fell out of the top-25 polls released on Dec. 31 after a 73-70 road loss at Boise State. BYU appeared in the top-25 rankings the previous five weeks. In the Dec. 24 polls, BYU was ranked 20th in the AP Poll and 21st in the Coaches Poll. This season BYU first entered the national rankings on Nov. 26, earning the program's earliest appearance in the national polls since the 1980-81 season when the Cougars entered the rankings at No. 21 in the AP Poll and No. 23 in the Coaches Poll. In his third year guiding the program, Rose has seen his team earn the respect of the national voters for the second consecutive season. Last year, BYU entered the polls on Feb. 19 to receive the program's first national ranking since 1993. BYU finished last year ranked No. 24 in the final AP Poll, something a Cougar team had not accomplished since 1988. BYU has now been ranked in back-to-back season for the first time since 1980-81 and 1981-82. The Nov. 26 entry into the national rankings marks the earliest the Cougars have been included in the polls since receiving a No. 18 ranking in the 1980-81 AP preseason poll. It also marked the first time BYU's football and men's basketball teams have been nationally ranked the same week in the AP poll since Dec. 28, 1992. The Cougar basketball program has now been ranked in the AP Poll during 16 seasons since its first national ranking in 1950-51 (see list below).
SEASONS BYU HAS BEEN RANKED IN THE AP POLL
SEASON HIGHEST RANKING
BYU AS A RANKED TEAM
BYU owns a 138-57 record as a ranked team. The Cougars are 80-12 at home, 37-28 on the road and 21-17 at neutral sites when nationally ranked. BYU's victory at Portland on Dec. 1 marked the Cougars' first road win as a ranked team since an 84-63 victory at UTEP on March 4, 1993 when BYU was ranked No. 21. The Cougars also recorded a road victory as a ranked team with a 70-69 win at New Mexico last Tuesday. BYU is 11-5 as a ranked team under Dave Rose.
VS. RANKED TEAMS
BYU's victory over No. 6 Louisville on Nov. 23 marked the highest-ranked team the Cougars have defeated since beating No. 2 St. Joseph's, 103-83, on Dec. 21, 1965. BYU is now 50-111 all-time against teams ranked in the Associated Press Poll and 1-2 this season including a 73-63 loss to No. 1 North Carolina in the championship game of the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational on Nov. 24 and a 68-61 loss to No. 9 Michigan State at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City on Dec. 8. Prior to the UNC game, the Cougars had not faced the nation's top-ranked team since Dec. 23, 1992, an 89-66 loss to No. 1 Duke at the Maui Invitational. The Cougars were 3-3 in their games vs. ranked teams last year with a 78-70 loss at then-No. 25 and evential Sweet-16 participant UNLV in the MWC Tournament Championship game, a 62-58 victory at then-No. 20 Air Force, a 90-63 win over then-No. 25 UNLV, a 61-52 win over then-No. 13 Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan St.
PLAYING THE BEST
BYU's game against No. 9 Michigan State on Dec. 8 was its third game in three weeks against a top-10 opponent, including a victory over No. 6 Louisville on Nov. 23 and a loss to No. 1 North Carolina on Nov. 24. BYU has played at least three regular-season games against top-10 opponents in a season just six times previously in program history with the last coming in 1983-84. Only twice previously have the Cougars played three top-10 teams during a three-week stretch, once in 1990-91 with a loss to No. 9 Utah on March 2, a win over No. 8 Utah on March 9 in the WAC Tournament and a loss to No. 8 Arizona on March 16 in the NCAA Tournament and once in 1980-81 with a victory over No. 9 Utah on March 7 in the WAC Tournament, a win over No. 10 UCLA on March 14 in the NCAA Tournament, a victory over No. 7 Notre Dame on March 19 in the NCAA Tourney and a loss to No. 5 Virginia on March 21 in the NCAAs.
COUGARS BY THE NUMBERS
1 Rank of BYU coach Dave Rose's 68 wins and .739 winning percentage among the 18 head coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level along with Rose in 2005-06. Rose ranks second to only Tennessee's Bruce Pearl (72-22 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06.
3 Number of top 10 teams BYU has played this season - then-No. 1 North Carolina, then-No. 6 Louisville and then-No. 9 Michigan State. The Cougars beat the Cardinals, 78-76, before falling, 73-63, to the Tarheels despite battling UNC through six second-half lead changes. BYU held a double-digit halftime lead against the Spartans before losing, 68-61.
3 Number of treys Jonathan Tavernari needs to surpass Andy Toolson's single-season school record of 74 triples. With 72 threes, Tavernari is currently in third place on the list. Nick Sanderson is second with 73 makes. Tavernari's 72 treys has also tied the sophomore Mountain West Conference record.
5 Number of games in which BYU has scored at least 90 points, the most since 1995-96 when the Cougars also reached 90 points in five games. BYU has not scored at least 90 in six games on the year since 1993-94.
7 Number of statistical categories in which Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the MWC including field-goal percentage (1st), scoring (T4th), free-throw percentage (2nd), offensive rebounds (T6th), total rebounds (6th), assists (6th) and defensive rebounds (6th).
7 Number of statistical categories in which a BYU player ranks among the top three in the MWC out of the 12 categories tracked by the league.
10 Number of games in which Lee Cummard has been perfect from the free-throw line out of 22 games in which he taken free throws. Cummard made a career-best 21 straight free throws before missing on his first attempt against San Diego State. He also had a streak of 19 straight earlier this year prior to a miss against Southern Utah.
12 Number of points Trent Plaisted needs to surpass Dick Nemelka to move to 16th on BYU's all-time career scoring list. Plaisted currently has 1,288 career points.
17.3 The Cougars' average margin of victory in their 23 wins this season. BYU has won eight games by more than 20 points, including two by more than 30. The Cougars' 40-point win at Long Beach State to begin the year was BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995.
19 Number of times this season BYU has held its opponents under 30 points in the first half. The Cougars have scored at least 30 first-half points in 23 of 29 games this season while racking up halftime leads in 23 of 29 games, including 13 by double digits.
21 Number of games in which BYU has led by double digits. The Cougars have also led by at least 20 points in 14 contests and 30 points in five. BYU has led wire-to-wire in 13 games this year.
26 Number of games this season Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer. Sam Burgess has made a trey in 23 of 29 outings this year while Jimmer Fredette has done so in 21 games.
29 Number of starts made this season by Sam Burgess after the senior made just one start in his two prior seasons as a Cougar. Fellow senior Ben Murdock has also started all 29 games after not starting last year in his first season in Provo.
64.7 Percent of BYU field goals created by an assist. The program record is 64.7 percent achieved in 1992-93.
85 Number of MWC games BYU has won since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season, leading all MWC teams. The Cougars also lead the league in most overall wins (185) along with UNLV.
95.7 Percent of games BYU has won this year when leading with five minutes remaining. The Cougars are 22-1 when ahead on the scoreboard at the 5-minute mark. BYU held a one-point lead at SDSU when the clock ticked 5:00 to go before Lorrenzo Wade hit a jumper 3 seconds later to give the Aztecs the advangage. SDSU held on for the win.
COUGARS IN CONFERENCE PLAY
-- He is the only player in the league to rank in the top 10 in nine of the 12 MWC statistical categories, appearing in two more categories than the next closest player.
-- Team captain has started every game while leading BYU to an MWC-leading 12-2 record with two games remaining.
-- He is BYU's top scorer (15.7 ppg along with Trent Plaisted), rebounder (7.0), and percentage shooter (.555 FG, .500 3FG) and ranks second on the team in assists (3.4), blocks (0.9) and steals (0.9).
-- Among all MWC players, he ranks No. 2 in field-goal percentage (.555), No. 3 in defensive rebounds (5.14), No. 4 in total rebounds (7.0), No. 5 in free-throw percentage (.800), No. 7 in scoring (15.7) and assists (3.36), No. 9 in blocked shots (.86) and No. 10 in three-pointers made (1.71) and offensive rebounds (1.86). He is shooting .500 on threes (24-of-48) but did not qualify in the MWC top-10 based on the minimum of 2.5 makes per game.
-- Through 14 games, he is on pace to set the MWC junior record for three-point percentage having made 50 percent of his three-pointers (24-for-48), which also ranks No. 4 on the all-time MWC list.
-- He has received one MWC Player of the Week award in league play and two overall this season.
-- He has scored in double figures in 13 of 14 conference games to date.
-- He has scored 20 or more points in five games.
-- He has eight or more rebounds in six league games.
-- He has made a trey in 12 of 14 games, including eight games with two or more triples.
-- He has led BYU in scoring six times, rebounding five times, assists five times, steals six times and blocked shots six times.
-- He has achieved conference-season highs of 25 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals.
-- He is shooting 60 percent and leads BYU in scoring and rebounding during the final five minutes of games.
-- With two games remaining, he ranks in the top 10 in six categories in the MWC statistics.
-- Team captain has started every game while leading BYU to an MWC-leading 12-2 record with two games remaining.
-- He is BYU's leading scorer (15.7 ppg along with Lee Cummard) and shot blocker (0.93) while ranking second in rebounds (6.4) and field-goal percentage (.522) and fourth in steals (0.6).
-- Among all MWC players, he ranks No. 4 in field-goal percentage (.522), No. 6 in rebounding (6.4), No. 7 in scoring (15.7), blocked shots (0.93) and defensive rebounds (4.5) and No. 9 in offensive rebounds (1.93).
-- He achieved the best shooting night by any MWC player this season with a perfect 9-for-9 performance at Colorado State.
-- His 13 rebounds vs. New Mexico is the second-most totaled in an MWC game this season.
-- His five blocked shots at New Mexico ties the most totaled by any MWC player during league play.
-- He has received one MWC Player of the Week award in league play and three overall this season.
-- He has scored in double figures in nine conference games and has scored 20 or more points in six games, including five of the last seven outings.
-- He has grabbed double-digit rebounds in four games while recording a team-leading three double-double games.
-- He has led BYU in scoring six times, rebounding four times, steals four times and blocked shots five times.
-- He has achieved conference-season highs of 27 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks, 3 assists and 2 steals. His 27 points tied a career high.
-- He is shooting 75 percent from the floor during the final five minutes of games, having missed only two attempts down the stretch in 14 games.
-- He hit the game-winning free throws in a road win at New Mexico when he converted both attempts with 5 seconds remaining in overtime for the 70-69 victory.
-- With two games remaining, he ranks in the top 10 in three categories in the MWC statistics.
-- He has started in 13 of 14 games while helping BYU to an MWC-leading 12-2 record with two games remaining.
-- He is BYU's third-leading scorer (12.4) and ranks fourth in rebounds (5.0) and third in assists (2.1).
-- He leads BYU in three-pointers made (2.4), steals (1.3) and free-throw percentage (.938) while ranking third in scoring blocks (0.4).
-- Among all MWC players, he ranks No. 4 in three-pointers made (2.36), No. 10 in steals (1.29) and defensive rebounds (4.29), No. 13 in scoring (12.4) and No. 15 in rebounding (5.0).
-- He shares the best three-point shooting night among MWC players with 5-for-6 (.833) accuracy from long range vs. New Mexico.
-- Providing instant offense, he has made multiple treys in 10 games with three or more treys in five games and five triples in two outings. He has made a three in 12 of 14 games to date.
-- He has scored in double figures in 10 conference games.
-- He has scored 20 or more points in four games.
-- He has grabbed double-digit rebounds in two games while recording two double-double performances. He has five games with 6 or more rebounds.
-- He has led BYU in scoring three times, rebounding three times, assists once, steals six times and blocked shots three times.
-- He has achieved conference-season highs of 25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocked shots.
-- He set career highs with 10 rebounds at Wyoming and at Colorado State and 5 assists vs. TCU.
-- He leads BYU in assists and steals and is second in rebounding during the final five minutes of league games. He has missed just one free throw during the critical final five minutes of a game.
-- After only starting one prior game in his career, he has started in every game while helping BYU to an MWC-leading 12-2 record with two games remaining.
-- He is a tough defender who draws the assignment to guard the opposing team's top perimeter player.
-- Guarding UNLV's Wink Adams, he helped hold the Rebel star to 5 points on 0-for-5 shooting. Adams entered the game averaging 14.6 points on 38.7 percent shooting.
-- He held the nation's No. 2 three-point shooter Henry Salter of TCU to 2-for-8 (.250) shooting on threes and 4-of-14 (.286) overall and 10 total points. Salter entered the game shooting 52.4 percent on threes and 47.1 percent overall with a 14.1 scoring average.
-- He held Air Force star Tim Anderson to 4-of-13 (.308) shooting and 9 points. Anderson entered the game scoring 14.3 points on 43.6 shooting.
-- He is the team's fourth-leading scorer (7.9) and ranks fifth in rebounds (4.0) and assists (1.7).
-- He has made 20 treys, third on the team, and has made a trey in 11 of 14 games, including six games with two or more triples.
-- He is third in steals (0.7) and blocks (0.4).
-- He is shooting 92 percent from the free-throw line and has been perfect at the line in five of the seven games in which he has attempted a free throw.
-- He is a perfect 10-for-10 from the line in the final five minutes of games.
-- He went 7-for-8 at the line, including 4-for-4 clutch shooting in overtime to help BYU earn a one-point win at New Mexico.
-- He has recorded six double-digit scoring games.
-- He has led BYU in steals six times, assists three times, blocks three times and rebounding once.
-- He has achieved conference-season highs of 15 points, 8 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and 2 blocks. He set a career high with eight rebounds vs. Utah and at New Mexico.
-- After one year coming off the bench at BYU, he has started every game this year while guiding BYU to an MWC-leading 12-2 record with two games remaining.
-- His leadership at the point has helped BYU rank No. 1 in assists and No. 2 in scoring and scoring margin. He ranks 19th nationally in assist/turnover ratio.
-- He ranks fourth among MWC players in assist/turnover ratio (2.50) and sixth in assists (3.57)
-- He leads BYU in assists (3.57).
-- He has dished out five or more assists in five games.
-- He has committed 1 turnover or less in nine of 14 games.
-- He has led BYU in assists in six games and in steals in two contests.
-- He is shooting 88.9 percent at the free-throw line in the final five minutes of games.
-- He has made a trey in six games.
-- He has achieved conference-season highs of 13 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 4 steals.
-- In his first season, he has helped BYU to an MWC-leading 12-2 record with two games remaining.
-- He is a key contributor for the Cougars playing both guard positions while logging 19.4 minutes per game.
-- He has achieved conference-season highs of 14 points, 4 rebounds, 6 assists, 1 steal and 1 block.
-- He is fifth on the team in scoring (6.9) and tied for third in assists (2.1) while adding 1.2 rebounds.
-- He is shooting 41.8 percent from the floor and 40.4 percent on three-point attempts.
-- His 20 treys ranks third on the team.
-- He has made a trey in 12 of 14 games and made multiple treys in six games to date.
-- His 3-for-6 effort on threes and 11 points helped BYU earn a close 59-56 win over San Diego State in the Marriott Center.
-- He scored a conference-season high of 14 points in a win over Utah in Provo and recorded a career-high 4 rebounds against the Utes in Salt Lake City.
-- He is shooting 92.3 percent at the line, missing only once during league play.
-- He has led BYU in assists, steals and blocks in two games each.
-- He has recorded five double-digit scoring nights with two games to play. BYU is 5-0 in games he scored in double figures.
-- In the final five minutes of games, he is shooting 50 percent from the floor and 100 percent at the line while sharing top team assist honors and ranking third in scoring.
-- In his first season, he has helped BYU to an MWC-leading 12-2 record with two games remaining.
-- He ranks 11th among all MWC players and third on the team in rebounding (5.6).
-- A key contributor, he leads BYU in rebounds per minute, making 0.4 rebounds every minute he is on the floor.
-- During the critical final five minutes of games, he joins Lee Cummard as the team's top rebounder.
-- With two games remaining, he has had 7 or more rebounds in six games and 9 or more rebounds in three outings.
-- He has led BYU in rebounds five times, blocks twice and steals once.
-- He is adding 3.4 points for the Cougars primarily off the bench. He has started one game in league play.
-- He has achieved conference-season highs of 11 rebounds, 9 points, 2 blocks, 1 assist, and 1 steal.
A 6-foot-3 shooting guard from Alpine, Utah, Sam Burgess has started every game this year while helping lead BYU to first place in the Mountain West Conference Standings. He is the team's fourth-leading scorer at 8.5 points per game and is third in assists and three-pointers made. A key perimeter defender, Burgess has helped BYU rank first in the MWC in field-goal percentage defense. He has played in 87 games and recorded career highs of 18 points, 8 rebounds, 5 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks while helping BYU earn a national top-25 ranking in back to back seasons for the first time since the 1981 and 1982 seasons.
A 6-foot-10 forward/center from Pancevo, Serbia, Vuk Ivanovic played in 39 games as a Cougar after transferring from Seton Hill University, helping BYU achieve a 48-15 record over the past two seasons. After reshirting in 2005-06, Ivanovic played in 24 games as a junior on BYU's 2006-07 Mountain West Conference Championship team, averaging 2.2 points and 2.2 rebounds per game. A skilled big man, Ivanovic averaged 3.3 points and 2.4 rebounds per game through the first 15 contests of his senior season before having his career cut short due to injury. In addition to his work for the Cougars, Ivanovic was selected to play on the Serbian National team during the offseason and played at the University Olympics in Bangkok, Thailand, helping his team earn the silver medal.
A 6-foot-2 point guard from Bountiful, Utah, Ben Murdock has provided strong leadership during his career as a Cougar. During his two-year tenure with the team, BYU has achieve a 48-15 record, including a 23-6 resume this year with Murdock as the full-time starter at the point. He ranks 19th in the nation in assist/turnover ratio and leads BYU in assists at 3.9 per game to fuel the Cougar's high-scoring offense. While adding 4.3 points and 2.3 rebounds, he has recorded career highs of 13 points, 6 rebounds, 10 assists, 4 steals and 1 blocked shot.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
BYU has won a school-record 46 straight games in the Marriott Center. The Cougars set the record with their 67-59 win over Utah in the Marriott Center last Wednesday, their 45th straight home win. The streak also ranks first nationally. The Cougars are 15-0 at home this year and won 17 home games last season after going 14-1 at home in 2005-06. BYU's last home loss was in the 2005-06 season opener against Loyola Marymount. BYU?has since won 23 straight over nonconference opponents and 23 consecutive over MWC foes. BYU's last league loss at home was its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU?is 418-116 (.783) all-time in the Marriott Center, and Cougar head coach Dave Rose is 46-1. Prior to Wednesday's win over Utah, BYU's longest homecourt victory streak was 44 games from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003.
ON THE ROAD
The Cougars are 7-4 in true road games this year. With a 1-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is 8-6 this season away from home with a 5-2 record in Mountain West Conference play. BYU won five of its last seven games on the road last season including a win at then-No. 20 Air Force (62-58), snapping the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. BYU was 6-7 on the road last year and 5-3 in conference play, becoming the only MWC team with a winning record on the road in league play last year.
With the Cougars' 70-69 win at New Mexico coming on the heels of a loss at San Diego State, BYU has bounced back from all six of its losses this season with wins. BYU recovered from a setback against No. 1 North Carolina with a victory at Portland, a loss vs. then-No. 9 Michigan State with a win over Lamar, a loss at Boise State with a triumph against Loyola Marymount, a defeat at Wake Forest with a victory over Colorado State and a loss at UNLV with a win at Utah. The Cougars have won their bounceback games by an average margin of 16.3 points. BYU head coach Dave Rose has only lost back-to-back regular-season games once in his Cougar career (vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar in 2006-07).
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
BYU is 19-1 when scoring at least 70 points this year and 19-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark. The Cougars' 55-52 win at Utah marked the first time this season BYU has won a game when scoring less than 70 points. The Cougars have scored 90 or more points in five games this season, reaching 100 against Jackson State, and are 9-0 when scoring over 80 points on the year.
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU has won the battle of the boards in 21 games this year, going 19-2 in those contests. The Cougars have tied an opponent on the boards twice this year, both times against SDSU. BYU is besting opponents by an average of 5.7 boards per contest, leading the league in rebounding margin and rebound average (40.0). The Cougars posted a season-high +19 rebounding margin (38-19) against Hartford as four Cougars pulled down at least five rebounds. BYU began the season with a 55-40 rebounding advantage at Long Beach State, matching last year's season high of 55 boards against Seton Hall. Five Cougars posted at least six rebounds in BYU's win over Lamar, marking the first time since Jan. 8, 2005 that feat has been done.
BYU has had five players score in double figures in a game four times this season, surpassing last year's total of three games in which at least five players reached double digits. Five different Cougars have led the team in scoring with Lee Cummard pacing BYU a team-best 14 times.
Four Cougar freshman are making an impact this year as Chris Collinsworth, Jimmer Fredette, Michael Loyd, Jr. and Nick Martineau have all made a difference for BYU. Collinsworth is fourth for BYU with 5.0 rebounds per game while ranking 11th among MWC players in conference play at 5.6 rpg. He has started six games. Fredette is fifth on the team in scoring with 7.0 ppg and third in steals with 24. Loyd is averaging 8.6 minutes per game and has posted 33 assists on the year. Martineau has 14 assists to 8 turnovers in his 18 games played.
TOP OF THE HEAP
Lee Cummard has done as much for his team in the most variety of ways this season than any other player in the MWC. In conference play, Cummard ranks in the top 10 in nine of the 12 MWC statistical categories. New Mexico's J.R. Giddens ranks in the top 10 in seven categories and BYU's Trent Plaisted is joined by four other players--Wink Adams (UNLV), Lorrenzo Wade (SDSU), Brandon Ewing (Wyo) and Luke Nevill (Utah)--with six top-10 rankings. Cummard not only produces more numbers across the stat sheet than anyone in the conference but also does so more efficiently, averaging less playing time per game than Giddens, Adams, Wade and Ewing.
Player School Top-10 MWC Rankings
Lee Cummard BYU 9
J.R. Giddens New Mexico 7
Trent Plaisted BYU 6
Wink Adams UNLV 6
Lorrenzo Wade San Diego State 6
Brandon Ewing Wyoming 6
Luke Nevill Utah 6
After setting a program record with 256 three-pointers last season, the Cougars could break that record this year having already made 238 treys so far. BYU has posted double-digit triples in a game 10 times this year and has made at least five three-pointers in 27 of 29 games this season. The Cougars recorded the sixth-best three-point shooting percentage in program history with 81.3 percent accuracy (13-of-16) against New Mexico, which is also an MWC record in league games. Individually, Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer in 26 of 29 games this season while Sam Burgess has done so in 23 contests and Jimmer Fredette in 21. Tavernari is on pace to break the Cougars' single-season three-point record of 74 with 72 treys so far this season. The mark has already tied the Mountain West Conference sophomore record set by Utah's Nick Jacobsen in 2001-02.
Seniors Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess along with juniors Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted have started all 29 games this year while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari has made 23 starts and freshman Chris Collinsworth has started six contests.
WINNING WITH ROSE
With a 68-24 record in his third season, BYU coach Dave Rose ranks first in wins and winning percentage among the 18 head coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level along with Rose in 2005-06. Rose ranks second to only Tennessee's Bruce Pearl (72-22 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06. (including games as of March 2)
First-Year Coaches in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Dave Rose, BYU 68-24 .739
Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss* 61-33 .649
*includes one season as the interim head coach at Cincinnati
Head Coaches in Their First Year With a Program in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Bruce Pearl, Tennessee 72-22 .766
Dave Rose, BYU 68-24 .739
Tim Floyd, USC 63-35 .643
BYU PLAYER OF THE WEEK
TRENT PLAISTED (MARCH 3) -- Junior forward/center Trent Plaisted averaged 21.5 points on 61.5 percent shooting and tied the MWC single-game season high of five blocks to lead BYU to a road win at New Mexico and a home victory over Air Force. The 6-foot-11 native of San Antonio, Texas, recorded back-to-back 20-point outings during the week while adding 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 0.5 assists per game. A 53.6 percent free throw shooter entering the week, Plaisted converted 61.1 percent of his free-throw attempts over the two games, including the clutch game winners in BYU's victory in The Pit. With BYU trailing by one at New Mexico, Plaisted stepped to the line with five seconds left in overtime and drained two free throws in front of a sellout crowd of 18,018 at The Pit to give the Cougars a 70-69 road victory. On the night, he scored a team-best 23 points on 9-of-15 shooting from the floor and 5-of-9 makes at the line. He pulled down six rebounds and tied his season high by blocking five Lobo shot attempts. The five blocks equals the most be any MWC player this season. Plaisted made his first four shots from the field and his first three free throws to score 11 of BYU's first 14 points against Air Force. He finished with 20 points on 7-for-11 accuracy to lead all scorers and total 20 or more points for the fifth time in the last seven games. He added three rebounds and one assist in the 76-57 Cougar win. His dunk at the 13-minute mark in the second half moved Plaisted into 17th place on BYU's all-time scoring list. He has scored 1,288 points in his three-year career.
PLAISTED IN 1,000 POINT CLUB
With 22 points against Lamar, junior Trent Plaisted became the 37th member of BYU's elite 1,000 Point Club, joining such Cougar greats as Danny Ainge, Michael Smith, Devin Durrant, Fred Roberts, Kresimir Cosic and Andy Toolson to score at least 1,000 points in their Cougar careers. Plaisted now has 1,288 career points, 17th on BYU's all-time scoring list. Before Plaisted, Keena Young was the most recent addition to the club as he posted 1,068 points during his three-year BYU stint from 2005-07. Of four-year players, Plaisted is just the 10th Cougar to reach the 1,000-point milestone as a junior. The last four-year player to reach 1,000 points as a junior was Mark Bigelow with 1,312 following the 2002-03 season. Plaisted also has 649 career rebounds, making him just the 11th player overall to record at least 1,000 career points and 600 career rebounds.
BURGESS COMIN' UP BIG
Senior co-captain Sam Burgess is making the most of his final BYU campaign as he is fourth on the team in scoring (8.5), fourth in field-goal shooting among players with at least 60 attempts (.441) and third in assists (2.0) while ranking second on the team in three-point shooting (.423). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 4.9 ppg while averaging 16.6 more minutes per game. His 12 double-figure scoring games this year has more than doubled last year's mark of four double-digit scoring outings. Burgess has started all 29 games this season after starting just one game in his two prior seasons as a Cougar. He scored 15 points against New Mexico on 4-for-6 shooting from the field and a 3-for-3 mark from three-point range. He went 7-for-8 from the free-throw line at New Mexico, including 4-for-4 in overtime.
BYU boasts four players who are making 80 percent or more of their free-throw attempts this year (Jimmer Fredette, .900; Jonathan Tavernari, .865; Lee Cummard, .840; Sam Burgess, .857). Lee Cummard made a career- and team-season-high 21 straight free throws before missing his first attempt vs. SDSU. He earlier had made 19 straight before a miss against Southern Utah, meaning he had made 40 of 41 attempts (97.6 percent) over that stretch. He has been perfect at the line in 10 of 22 games he has gone to the line this year.
The Cougars' 23 victories this year have come by an average margin of 17.3 points, including a season-opening 40-point road win at Long Beach State (74-34), one of 18 double-digit wins for BYU this season and one of eight victories by over 20 points. The win over the 49ers marked BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995. Including BYU's five losses, the Cougars still boast a scoring margin of 11.3 points this year. With that mark, the Cougars are on pace to record their highest margin of victory since 1966 (+12.6) and the third-highest in program history. 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.
BYU had a season-best nine-game win streak end with a loss at SDSU. The victories were at Utah, vs. San Diego State, vs. New Mexico, at Air Force, at Wyoming, vs. TCU, at Colorado State, against UNLV and vs. Utah. That mark was tied for seventh nationally and is the Cougars' longest victory string since also winning nine straight in the 2003-04 season.
THIS YEAR'S LOSSES
BYU's six losses this year have come on neutral floors against then-No. 1 North Carolina and then-No. 9 Michigan State and on the road at Boise State, at Wake Forest, at UNLV and at SDSU. BYU held double-digit leads over both Michigan State and Boise State and battled the top-rated Tar Heels through six second-half lead changes. North Carolina (27-2), Michigan State (23-6), Boise State (22-7), Wake Forest (16-11) and UNLV (22-6) have a combined 110-32 record for a .775 winning percentage as of games played March 2. Wake Forest recently recorded a 13-point home win over then-No. 2 Duke while North Carolina is currently ranked No. 1.
FROM THE FIELD
BYU is shooting 46.0 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 38.5 percent from the floor (No. 1 in the MWC). Overall, the Cougars have shot above 50 percent in 10 games this year. BYU has shot above 50 percent in the first half of nine games this season and in the second half of 12 contests, totaling 21 halves of play with a shooting percentage of 50 percent higher, including six above 60 percent. The Cougars posted a season-high 60.4 percent efficiency against Hartford bolstered by a 63.6 percent second-half shooting mark (14-for-22). Individually, Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted rank No. 1 and No. 3, respectively, among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 57.2 and 53.9 percent and 25th and 60th, respectively, in the national rankings as of Feb. 28.
The Cougars are 21-2 this season when leading at the half with 13 of the 23 advantages coming by double digits. No. 1 North Carolina, Wake Forest, UNLV, San Diego State and New Mexico are the only teams this season to post a halftime lead against BYU. The Cougars are besting opponents by an average of 7.3 points in the first period of play while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of nine of 29 games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 23 of 29 games while holding opponents under 30 points 19 times. The Cougars' 36-12 lead at the break at Long Beach State marked their largest halftime advantage since being up by 28 points (51-23) against Western Oregon on Dec. 22, 2006. The 12 points given up by BYU in the first 20 minutes of the game at LBSU marked the fewest points allowed in a half by the Cougars since allowing a record-low 10 points against Air Force in 2003. BYU has topped 40 points in the second half of 12 games this year while surpassing the 50-point mark in the second half four times.
PAINTING THE TOWN
The Cougars have outscored their opponents in the paint in 15 games and equaled them in one other this year, recording a +3.1 margin in that category. BYU has posted a double-digit margin in 10 games, including a season-best +38 margin (54-16) against Jackson State. The Cougars are 15-0 when besting opponents in the paint while all six of BYU's losses on the season have come when the Cougars have been outscored in the paint.
MAKING THE MOST OF THE MISCUE
Despite recording a -0.9 turnover margin with their opponents on the year, the Cougars have outscored foes in points off of turnovers in 19 games this season, posting a +3.4 scoring margin in that category. BYU scored a season-best 26 points off of turnovers against Loyola Marymount.
FAST AND FURIOUS
BYU has outscored opponents in transition in 20 games, equaled them three times and been outpaced only six times. The Cougars average 4.2 more fastbreak points than their opponents. The Cougars scored a season-best 20 fastbreak points against Jackson State while tying their season high with a +16 margin. BYU's five deficits in that category came in losses against No. 1 North Carolina (0-4), against No. 9 Michigan State (0-4) and at Wake Forest (0-8) and wins at Air Force (0-2) and at New Mexico (2-6).
FROM THE BENCH
BYU's reserves have outscored the opposition's bench only 10 times this year, but they have done it in eight of the last 18 games after seven straight contests with a scoring deficit off the bench. On the whole, the BYU bench has outscored opponent reserves by 0.1 points per game this season, tallying 532 points or 18.3 points per game. BYU's leading scorer off the bench is freshman guard Jimmer Fredette, who is averaging 7.0 points per game. He had 14 points against Utah, his highest scoring output in conference play. He stepped up at Wake Forest, tying for team-high honors with 15 points off the bench.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
Including a game-high lead of 32 points against Air Force, the Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 21 of 29 games and have led by more than 20 points in 14 games and more than 30 points in five contests. The Cougars have led wire-to-wire in 13 games this season.