GAME 32 - BYU Opens MWC Tournament Thursday

MWC Co-Player of the Year Lee Cummard leads the Cougars into the MWC Tournament this week. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

BYU GAME #32 FAST FACTS

NO. 23/24 BYU COUGARS -- #1 SEED (25-6, 14-2 MWC)

VS.

WYOMING -- #8 SEED / COLORADO STATE -- #9 SEED

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Thomas & Mack Center (18,500)

Las Vegas

Noon PT (1 p.m. MT)

TV:

The Mtn. (Tim Neverett, play-by-play; Blaine Fowler, game analyst)

Radio:

KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar?Sports Network (11 a.m. PT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analyst)

Web:

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

NO. 23/24 BYU OPENS MWC QUARTERFINALS THURSDAY AT NOON

No. 23/24 BYU (25-6, 14-2 MWC) will open the 2008 Phillips 66 Mountain West Conference Championship with a quarterfinal matchup on Thursday at noon PT (1 p.m. MT) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. As the No. 1 seed, the Cougars will play the winner of Wednesday's first round game between No. 8-seed Wyoming (12-17, 5-11 MWC) and No. 9-seed Colorado State (6-24, 0-16 MWC). BYU has won 13 of its last 14 games, ending the regular season with a 61-54 win at TCU on Saturday. Thursday'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 11 a.m. PT (noon MT).

UP NEXT

If BYU wins, the Cougars will advance to the MWC semifinals and play the winner of Thursday's second quarterfinal between fourth-seeded San Diego State and fifth-seeded Air Force. Friday's semifinal will begin at 6:30 p.m. and will be televised nationally on CBS College Sports (formerly CSTV).

COUGAR QUICK HITS

-- No. 23/24 BYU became the first MWC team to win two outright league titles with a 14-2 record in conference play. The Cougars also won the MWC crown outright last season.

-- BYU won its second straight league title with a one-game improvement over last year's 13-3 record, setting a league record with 14 conference victories. The Cougars also improved their margin from last season to this year, winning the title by two games over UNLV this year after just a one-game margin last season.

-- With a 25-6 overall regular-season record, the Cougars set a program record for regular-season victories.

-- BYU was 6-2 on the road in conference play, winning four straight between losses at UNLV and San Diego State. Overall, BYU is 8-4 in away games this season and 1-2 on a neutral floor. BYU's road victory marks in overall and league play tie MWC records.

-- Two-time 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. With a 25-6 record this season, Rose helped BYU achieve the second-best 31-game mark in program history. The Cougars have also been nationally ranked in back-to-back seasons.

-- Junior Lee Cummard became BYU's fourth MWC Player of the Year in the nine-year history of the league as he earned Co-Player of the Year honors this season along with New Mexico's J.R. Giddens. Cummard and junior Trent Plaisted were named to the All-MWC First Team while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari earned third-team honors.

POTENTIAL QUARTERFINAL OPPONENTS

LOOKING AT WYOMING

Wyoming finished the regular season 12-17 overall and 5-11 in Mountain West Conference play, earning an eighth-place finish. The Cowboys won two of their last three league games with a 77-67 victory at Colorado State and a 72-64 win against Utah followed by a 78-61 loss at BYU in their final regular-season contest last Wednesday. 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 16.8 points per game on 42.8 percent shooting from the floor. He also dishes out a team-best 4.1 assists per contest and has posted 38 steals on the year. Senior guard Brad Jones also stars in the Wyoming backcourt with 12.2 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 9.6 ppg while contributing 5.1 rpg and 33 blocks on the year. Sophomore center Travis Nelson shoots a team-best 61.6 percent from the field for the team while adding 7.4 ppg. Senior forward Joseph Taylor boasts 6.8 rpg and 37 blocks to lead the team while posting 7.2 ppg on 60.7 percent shooting from the field. As a team, the Cowboys average 69.2 ppg on 44.4 percent shooting from the floor while allowing opponents to score 72.5 ppg on 41.7 percent shooting. Former BYU assistant coach Heath Schroyer is in his first year at the helm of the Cowboys and is 47-64 in four years overall.

WYOMING'S PROBABLE STARTERS

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

G 01 Brad Jones 6-1 190 Sr. 12.2 5.4 Marked Tree, Ark.

G 23 Brandon Ewing 6-2 190 Jr. 16.8 3.7 Chicago, Ill.

F 05 Ryan Dermody 6-8 205 So. 9.6 5.1 Loveland, Colo,

F 21 Tyson Johnson 6-6 235 Jr. 7.0 3.8 Long Island, N.Y.

C 13 Mikhail Linskens 7-0 270 Fr. 4.4 3.0 West-Vlaaneren, Belgium

WYOMING'S LAST OUTING -- WYOMING FALLS TO BYU

PROVO -- Trent Plaisted scored 23 points and pulled down 11 rebounds to lead Brigham Young to a 78-61 win over Wyoming on Wednesday night, clinching the Mountain West title with one game remaining in the regular season. It's the second straight for BYU (24-6, 13-2 Mountain West), the only team in the short history of the Mountain West to win two outright titles. The Cougars have also played two straight seasons without a loss at home. Their home court winning streak is now 47 consecutive games, which is the longest active streak in the nation. Jonathan Tavernari scored all 18 of his points in the first half including his 75th 3-pointer of the season, which set a new single season record for the Cougars. He finished the game with 76. The old record of 74 was set by Andy Toolson in 1990. Tavernari also had a career high five steals. The Cougars pulled away from Wyoming (12-17, 5-11) early in the second half with a 19-4 run that gave them a 57-33 lead with 14:02 left to play. BYU's largest lead of 26 points came when Sam Burgess connected on a 3-pointer with 12:34 remaining. Burgess and Lee Cummard also scored in double figures with 13 and 12 points respectively. Tyson Johnson and Brandon Ewing led the Cowboys with 20 points each.

SERIES HISTORY

BYU and Wyoming have met 168 times. BYU leads the series 99-69 after a 78-61 in Provo last Wednesday and a 73-63 win in Laramie earlier this season. The Cougars recorded a season series sweep last year followed by a victory in the MWC Tournament semifinals. Wyoming has a 53-31 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 seven games and 13 of the last 14 outings. Since the formation of the Mountain West Conference, BYU has won 16 of the 21 meetings. After Utah (246 games) and Utah State (224 games), BYU has faced Wyoming the third-most times in its history.

LOOKING AT COLORADO STATE

Colorado State (6-24, 0-16 MWC) returns just two lettermen and one starter from last year's 17-13 team that tied for sixth in the Mountain West Conference at 6-10 under Dale Layer. First-year CSU coach Tim Miles has a 218-156 record in his 13th year as a head coach, recently coming from North Dakota State. The Rams started the year 5-3 but dropped 21 of their last 22 despite some close home contests. CSU's losing streak currently stands at 17 games. CSU's close losses in Moby Arena have included a three-point loss to Colorado (73-70), a three-point set back to UNLV (65-62) and a one-point defeat to San Diego State (83-82). The lone win in the last 22 games was a 40-point victory over Western State (87-47) on Dec. 29 in Fort Collins. The Rams ended the regular season with a 71-52 loss to New Mexico on Saturday. The Rams have been plagued by injuries, which have kept both of their 7-footers (Stuart Creason and Ronnie Aguilar) out of multiple contests. CSU is led in scoring by Marcus Walker, who is averaging 17.2 points per game overall and 18.9 points in league games, both of which led the MWC. He has made a team-high 56 three-pointers this season. Creason, a senior, adds 12.2 points and 5.7 boards in his 20 appearances this year while shooting 57.7 percent from the floor and 77.8 percent at the line. Willis Gardner is third on the team in scoring, contributing 9.9 points per game and making 34 triples. Freshman Andre McFarland is fourth in scoring at 8.0 points per game. Aguilar, a sophomore, is pulling down a team-best 6.3 rebounds while scoring 3.9 points with eight starts in Creason's absence. He averaged 7.2 rebounds and 5.6 points in 21.9 minutes during conference play. As a team, CSU is scoring 64.0 points while allowing 72.2 points per game. The Rams are shooting 43.5 percent, including 34.1 percent from behind the arc, while converting 71.9 percent at the line. Their opponents have shot a combined 44.4 percent from the floor and 34.7 percent from three-point range. The Rams have a deficit on the boards (32.3--35.4). CSU is 3-10 at home this year, 3-0 on a neutral floor and 0-14 in away games.

COLORADO STATE'S PROBABLE STARTERS

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

F 13 Andre McFarland 6-6 225 Fr. 8.0 4.5 Las Vegas, Nev.

C 30 Stuart Creason 7-0 260 Sr. 12.2 5.7 Coppell, Texas

G 04 Marcus Walker 6-0 175 Jr. 17.2 2.9 Kansas City, Kan.

G 21 Josh Simmons 6-4 185 Fr. 5.2 2.9 Houston, Texas

G 43 Willis Gardner 6-1 182 Jr. 9.9 3.2 Norristown, Penn.

COLORADO STATE'S LAST OUTING -- RAMS FALL TO LOBOS IN SEASON FINALE

FORT COLLINS -- Senior Stuart Creason, playing his final game in Moby Arena, was serious motivation for a young CSU squad but New Mexico proved to be too strong for the Rams as they fell 71-52 before a crowd of 3,318 fans Saturday afternoon. Creason finished with eight points and five rebounds. Now the Rams will have to regain their focus as they travel to Las Vegas for the Mountain West tournament next week. "They just made us pay," said Head Coach Tim Miles. "We just don't have quite enough players. We need to find a better rhythm on offense by Wednesday. Marcus Walker had a bull's eye on him and he is a smaller guy which is hard on the defensive matchups. "Our freshmen have come a long way. They are motivated. They are more in tune defensively and better on offense as Andre's (McFarland) double-double tonight showed. Now we just have to get these young guys some help." The Lobos got a spark from a trio of players in double figures led by Daniel Faris with 15. Chad Toppert and J.R. Giddens had 14 and 13 points respectively. On the boards, Faris led New Mexico with eight. As a team, the Lobos shot 45.5 percent from the field. One bright spot for the Rams was McFarland, who finished the night with his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. McFarland was the rebounding leader for CSU. Fellow freshman Josh Simmons notched double figures with 12 points, his best performance in three games, to lead the squad in scoring. Simmons was 10-of-10 from the free-throw line. With the Rams' loss, CSU becomes the first team to go 0-16 in Mountain West play. They're not the first MWC team to go without a conference win, but the first to do it since the league expanded to nine teams and 16 conference games. CSU shot 31.1 percent overall and made just five three-pointers in the game. The two teams tied with 33 boards each. Creason, who was the only returning player to have started a game coming into the season, was 4-of-5 from the line on the night. "It has been a distinct pleasure to coach Stu Creason," said Miles."Stu is a first-class person that represents the CSU family and our program to the highest standard. Stu's accolades on the court speak for themselves, but it is his selflessness, accountability and loyalty that will always be remembered. He epitomizes everything we want out of the men in our program."

SERIES NOTES

BYU and Colorado State have met 130 times in a series that dates back to 1938. BYU leads the series 83-46 after a 92-73 home win and a 79-65 road victory this season. The Cougars also recorded a 76-67 home win and a 90-78 loss in Fort Collins last year. The Cougars own a 54-10 record in Provo while the Rams hold a 34-27 advantage in Fort Collins. The Cougars have won 12 of the last 16 games overall and nine straight in Provo since CSU swept the series in 1998. The two teams did not meet in 1999. BYU swept both meetings in 2006 with an 86-84 win in Fort Collins and a 77-69 victory in Provo. In 2005, the two teams split the season series with each school defending its homecourt. In 2004, BYU swept the regular-season series for the second consecutive year, beating the Rams in Fort Collins and again in Provo. CSU has a 3-1 advantage in neutral court games, including an 86-80 win in the quarterfinals of the 2003 MWC Tournament in Las Vegas.

BYU NOTES

BYU IN THE TOURNAMENT

The Cougars have a 9-7 Mountain West Conference Tournament record. BYU advanced to the finals in the first two years of the MWC Tournament, winning the title over UNM in 2001 after losing to host UNLV in 2000. BYU then went five years without a finals appearance until losing to host UNLV in the 2007 Championship game. BYU has won its quarterfinal game in five of the eight MWC Tournaments. BYU has a 3-2 semifinals record and 1-2 finals record in MWC Tournament play. During the five years the MWC Tournament has been played in Las Vegas (2000-03, 2007), BYU has posted an 8-4 tournament record, with three finals appearances and one title (2001). BYU had a 1-3 tournament record during the three years the championship was conducted in Denver (2004-06). Overall, BYU has a 21-20 record in conference tournament games, which includes a 12-13 record in WAC Tournament games. BYU has played every MWC team in the MWC?Tournament.

MWC TITLE GOES THROUGH BYU

In seven of the eight years of the Mountain West Tournament, BYU or the team that has knocked the Cougars out of the tournament won the title, including a championship game loss last season to host UNLV. 2006 was the first time that trend did not continue as San Diego State won the title after BYU was knocked out by Utah in the quarterfinals. After losing in the title game to host UNLV at the inaugural MWC?Tournament in 2000, BYU?won the title in 2001. The next four years the Cougars were knocked out by the eventual champion. BYU was defeated by San Diego State in the 2002 quarterfinals before back-to-back semifinal losses to 2003-champion Colorado State and 2004-champion Utah. In 2005, New Mexico went on to win the title after defeating BYU?in the quarterfinals.

EIGHT MWC TOURNAMENTS, SIX DIFFERENT CHAMPIONS

San Diego State became the first team in the MWC to win the Tournament title twice with its victories in 2002 and 2006. UNLV became the second with victories in 2000 and 2007, both over BYU. New Mexico's win in 2005 marked the sixth Tournament winner in the first six years of the event. The only teams not to win an MWC title are Wyoming, Air Force and TCU, who made its MWC debut in 2005.

BYU SEEDS AT MWC TOURNAMENT

BYU has been the No. 1 seed at the MWC Tournament in each of the past two seasons after winning back-to-back outright MWC titles. The Cougars are 2-1 as the top seed (finals appearance in 2007). BYU has been the second seed three times (5-2 combined record in 2001, 2003 and 2004, including 2001 title). The 2006 Tournament was the first time that the Cougars have been the No. 3 seed in the MWC Tournament (first-round loss to Utah). The Cougars have also been the fourth seed once (suffering a first-round exit with loss to eventual-champion San Diego State in 2002), the sixth seed once (advanced to the finals in 2000) and the No. 7 seed once (2005 first-round loss to eventual-champion New Mexico).

FRUITS OF THE SEEDS

In the first eight years of the MWC Tournament, the teams with the No. 2 seed boasts the best mark at 13-5 while the No. 1 seed has gone 12-6. The No. 6 seeds have a combined 8-7 record while their first-round opponent No. 3 seeds have a 6-7 record. No. 4 teams have gone 8-8. Fifth-seeded teams are 4-6. The No. 7 team won for the first time in 2006 and now has a 2-8 record. The No. 8 seed has a 2-0 record in first round games and a 3-7 record overall. The No. 9 seed is 0-2 in the first round game. 2006 marked the first time the No. 7 seed has advanced past the quarterfinals and the first time neither the No. 2 nor No. 3 seed advanced to the semifinals. The Tournament title has been won by the second seed three times (BYU in 2001, New Mexico in 2005 and UNLV in 2007); the top seed twice (UNLV in 2000 and San Diego State in 2006); the third seed once (Utah in 2004); the fifth seed once (San Diego State in 2002); and the sixth seed once (Colorado State in 2004).

BYU?TOURNAMENT TITLES

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

AT THE THOMAS & MACK CENTER ...

UNLV and BYU are the only teams with winning MWC Tournament records at the Thomas & Mack Center. UNLV has reached the championship game every year it has been eligible at the Thomas and Mack. Below are the win totals and records for the nine MWC teams in the five previous tournaments held at the Thomas and Mack Center (note: UNLV was ineligible for tournament play in 2001, and TCU has only played one tournament in Las Vegas):

UNLV: 10 wins (10-2)

BYU: 8 (8-4)

CSU: 4 (4-4)

Wyoming: 4 (4-5)

Utah: 3 (3-5)

SDSU: 3 (3-4)

UNM: 2 (2-5)

TCU: 1 (1-1)

AFA: 0 (0-5)

MWC TEAMS IN THE NCAA

In the previous eight years of the MWC, eight of the nine conference members have advanced to the NCAA Tournament at least once. TCU is the lone team not to advance, but the Horned Frogs have only been MWC members for three seasons. New Mexico became the last of the other MWC teams to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament by winning the 2005 MWC Tournament. 2007 MWC Tournament Champion UNLV received the league's automatic bid last season while BYU was selected as an at-large team.

BYU AND MWC IN POSTSEASON

BYU has earned an invite to a postseason tournament in seven of the previous eight years of the MWC, leading all MWC?teams. BYU is second to Utah in NCAA appearances since the formation of the MWC (BYU has made four NCAA and three NIT while Utah has made five NCAA and one NIT). UNLV has received five invites (two NCAA, four NIT). New Mexico has received four (one NCAA, three NIT) along with San Diego State (two NCAA, two NIT) and Air Force (two NCAA and two NIT). Wyoming has three (one NCAA, two NIT) while Colorado State has been to one NCAA Tournament.

BYU'S SEES THREE HONORED WITH MWC ACCOLADES

The Mountain West Conference announced its 2007-08 men's basketball awards Monday. The league's nine men's head coaches along with selected media picked the all-conference teams, as well as the coach, player, freshman and defensive awards. BYU's Lee Cummard was selected as the Co-Player of the Year along with New Mexico senior J.R. Giddens, marking the fourth time in MWC history that the top player award has gone to a Cougar. Overall, Cummard is the ninth BYU player to earn conference Player of the Year honors (John Fairchild, 1965, WAC; Danny Ainge, 1981, WAC; Devin Durrant, 1983, WAC; Timo Saarelainen, 1985, WAC; Michael Smith, 1988, WAC; Mekeli Wesley, 2001, MWC; Rafael Araujo, 2004, MWC; Keena Young, 2007, MWC). In addition to the major awards, three All-MWC teams were announced as Cummard and Trent Plaisted were named to the All-MWC First Team and Jonathan Tavernari was honored with a third-team selection. The last time BYU had two first-team all-conference honorees was in the 2000-01 season when Mekeli Wesley and Terrell Lyday were so honored.

LEE CUMMARD -- MWC CO-PLAYER OF THE YEAR, ALL-MWC FIRST TEAM

-- He is the only player in the league to rank in the top 10 in nine of the 12 MWC statistical categories.

-- Team captain started every game while leading BYU to the outright MWC title with an MWC-record 14-2 mark.

-- He is BYU's top rebounder (7.1), percentage shooter (.548 FG, .483 3FG) and shot-blocker (1.1), and ranks second on the team in scoring (15.5), assists (3.38) and steals (0.8).

-- Among all MWC players, he ranked No. 2 in field-goal percentage (.548), No. 2 in defensive rebounds (5.06), No. 3 in total rebounds (7.1), No. 3 in free-throw percentage (.814), No. 6 in blocked shots (1.06), tied No. 7 in assists (3.38), No. 8 in scoring (15.5), tied No. 8 in offensive rebounds (2.00) and tied No. 10 in three-pointers made (1.75). He shot .483 on threes (28-of-58) but did not qualify in the MWC top-10 based on the minimum of 2.5 makes per game.

-- He received one MWC Player of the Week award in league play and two overall this season.

-- He scored in double figures in 15 of 16 conference games.

-- He scored 20 or more points in five games.

-- He grabbed eight or more rebounds in seven league games.

-- He made a trey in 14 of 16 games, including 10 games with two or more triples.

-- He led BYU in scoring six times, rebounding six times, assists six times, steals six times and blocked shots eight times.

-- He achieved conference-season highs of 25 points, 11 rebounds, 7 assists, 3 blocks and 2 steals.

TRENT PLAISTED --ALL-MWC FIRST TEAM

-- He finished ranked in the top 10 in six categories in the MWC statistics.

-- Team captain started every game while leading BYU to the outright MWC title with an MWC-record 14-2 mark.

-- He was BYU's leading scorer (15.8) in conference play while ranking second in rebounds (6.7), field-goal percentage (.525) and blocked shots (1.00) and fourth in steals (0.6).

-- Among all MWC players, he finished ranked No. 4 in field-goal percentage (.525), tied No. 6 in scoring (15.8), No. 6 in rebounding (6.7), tied No. 6 in defensive rebounds (4.63), No. 7 in offensive rebounds (2.06) and tied No. 7 blocked shots (1.00).

-- 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 was the third-most totaled in an MWC game this season.

-- His five blocked shots at New Mexico equaled the most by any MWC player during league play.

-- He received one MWC Player of the Week award in league play and three overall this season.

-- He scored in double figures in 10 conference games and scored 20 or more points in seven games, including six of the last nine outings.

-- He grabbed double-digit rebounds in five games while recording a team-leading four double-double games.

-- He led BYU in scoring seven times, rebounding five times, steals four times and blocked shots five times.

-- He achieved conference-season highs of 27 points, 13 rebounds, 5 blocks, 3 assists and 2 steals. His 27 points against TCU tied a career high.

-- 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.

JONATHAN TAVERNARI -- ALL-MWC THIRD TEAM

-- Tavernari finished ranked in the top 10 in three categories in the MWC statistics--No. 3 in three-pointers made (2.44), No. 5 in steals (1.56) and tied No. 9 in defensive rebounds (4.13)--and is No. 11 in scoring (13.1) and No. 17 in rebounding (4.9).

-- He started in 15 of 16 games while helping BYU win the outright MWC title with a MWC-record 14-2 record.

-- He led BYU in three-pointers made (2.44), steals (1.56) and free-throw percentage (.917) while ranking third in scoring (13.1) and blocks (0.4) and fourth in rebounds (4.9) and assists (2.1).

-- He shared the best three-point shooting night among MWC players with 5-for-6 (.833) accuracy from long range vs. New Mexico and equaled the second-best effort in steals with 5 against Wyoming.

-- Providing instant offense, he made multiple treys in 12 games with four or more treys in five games and five triples in two outings. He made a three in 14 of 16 games.

-- He scored in double figures in 12 conference games.

-- He scored 20 or more points in four games.

-- He grabbed double-digit rebounds in two games while recording two double-double performances. He had five games with 6 or more rebounds.

-- He led BYU in scoring four times, rebounding three times, steals eight times, assists once and blocked shots three times.

-- He achieved conference-season highs of 25 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals and 2 blocked shots.

-- He set career highs with 10 rebounds at Wyoming and at Colorado State, 5 assists vs. TCU and 5 steals vs. Wyoming.

CUMMARD, PLAISTED NAMED NABC ALL-DISTRICT

KANSAS CITY -- BYU juniors Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted were honored Tuesday by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as both were named to the NABC All-District 13 First Team. The dual honors marks the first time since 1988 that two Cougars were selected to the First Team in the same season.

In all, 150 student-athletes representing 15 districts were recognized as the nation's best men's collegiate basketball players as voted on by members of the NABC.

"Both Lee and Trent are very deserving of this honor," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "They've worked really hard and greatly improved their respective games. They are a big part of the success of our team."

Cummard and Plaisted currently share team-high scoring honors as each posts 15.9 points per game. Cummard is second for the Cougars in rebounds (6.5) and assists (3.4) while leading the Mountain West Conference shooting 57.2 percent from the field. He has scored in double figures in 26 of 29 games while topping 20 or more points on nine occasions and posting three double-doubles on the year. The MWC Player of the Year candidate has tallied season highs of 27 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists.

Plaisted paces the Cougars with 8.0 rebounds per contest while racking up nine double-figure rebounding games. He is third in the MWC shooting 53.9 percent from the field and has scored in double figures in 23 games, including 10 outings with 20 or more points. The Cougars' go-to player in the post has tallied season highs of 27 points, 18 rebounds and five blocks.

Cummard and Plaisted are two of seven student-athletes to represent the MWC and two of four players from a Utah university to earn all-district accolades this season.

Joining the pair on the District 13 First Team are New Mexico's J.R. Giddens, Nevada's Marcelus Kemp and Boise State's Reggie Larry. District 13 Second Team members include Lorrenzo Wade of San Diego State, Stefon Jackson of UTEP, Kevin Bell of Fresno State, Brandon Ewing of Wyoming and Luke Nevill of Utah, both of whom also earned second-team honors last season. UNLV's Wink Adams was named to the District 15 Second Team, while Utah State's Jaycee Carroll was honored as a second-team member of District 14.

Student-athletes selected to the all-district teams are now eligible for the NABC Division I All-America teams to be announced at the conclusion of the 2007-08 NCAA regular season.

Located in Kansas City, Mo., the NABC was founded in 1927 by Phog Allen, the legendary basketball coach at the University of Kansas. Allen, a student of James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, organized coaches into this collective group to serve as Guardians of the Game. The NABC currently claims nearly 5,000 members consisting primarily of university and college men's basketball coaches.

BYU players have received all-district recognition 84 times by the NABC since 1950. Keena Young was the most recent addition to the list as he earned first-team honors last season. Prior to this year, BYU had not had two first-team selections since Michael Smith and Jeff Chatman were so honored in 1988.

BYU'S LAST OUTING -- COUGARS SET RECORDS IN SEASON FINALE

FORT WORTH -- The No. 24 BYU men's basketball team survived a second-half scare at TCU Saturday night to close out the regular season with a 61-54 victory. With the win, the Cougars finish the regular season 25-6 overall and 14-2 in the Mountain West Conference, setting a BYU record for regular-season wins and a league record for MWC victories. Jonathan Tavernari led the Cougars with 17 points against TCU while MWC Player of the Year candidate Lee Cummard was right behind with 16 points and Sam Burgess added 13 points. Cummard paced BYU on the boards with eight rebounds. Ben Murdock dished out five assists. TCU scored first on its home floor, marking the first time in three games BYU has trailed. Tavernari quickly got the Cougars on the board with a layin on the other end. The two teams continued to trade buckets, including three's from BYU's Burgess and TCU's Ryan Wall, to a 7-5 Horned Frog advantage. Poor shooting plagued the Cougars early on as they made just two of their first eight shots, but an impressive showing on the offensive glass kept BYU close as Cummard and Trent Plaisted scored back-to-back buckets to knot the score at 9-9. The Cougars then stretched their run to 10-0 with back-to-back treys from Burgess and Cummard to extend the lead to 15-9 with 11:28 remaining. Two TCU free throws at the 9:52 mark ended a five-minute Horned Frog scoring drought and cut the lead to four points at 15-11. However, both teams continued to struggle from the field as TCU missed 12 straight shots and BYU failed to convert on five straight attempts. Burgess finally got the Cougars going with his third three of the night to establish a then-game-high lead of eight points at 21-13. Kevin Langford made TCU's first field goal since the 15-minute mark with a banked jumper with 6:53 left in the first half. Tavernari responded with his 77th three-pointer of the season, adding to his single-season Cougar record, to establish a 24-15 Cougar lead. The two teams hit their stride as the half came to a close, trading buckets until Cummard made it a double-digit lead for BYU with a tip-in to put the Cougars in front 29-19. TCU came out with a 7-0 run by senior Brent Hackett to open the second half, quickly whittling a 10-point lead down to three points just 1:30 into the period and forcing a Cougar timeout. BYU could not get a score out of the break, and the Horned Frogs added two more free throws to the total to get to within one point. Turnovers and missed shots kept the Cougars off the scoreboard until Tavernari finally scored at the 15:15 mark for BYU's first points of the second half. TCU responded with a dunk at the other end to maintain the one-point margin at 34-33, but Tavernari and Plaisted scored back-to-back buckets, including a dunk from BYU's big man, to push the lead to 38-33. After a three-pointer on the other end from Wall, true freshman Michael Loyd, Jr., showed the intensity Rose's Cougar squads are known for with a steal and a fastbreak bucket. But Wall wasn't done from behind the arc, cutting the lead back to one point at 40-39 with another trey and then forcing a turnover. TCU then completed the comeback with a layin to take a 41-40 lead, the Horned Frogs' first since 9-5. The game remained tight over the next several minutes as neither squad was able to gain more than a two-point edge. TCU pounded the offensive glass and did most of its damage in the second-chance point category, getting a three-pointer to go up 46-44 with 9:22 left. However, the BYU defense then buckled down, holding the Horned Frogs without a point for 4:05 and sparking the Cougar offense on a 13-1 run. Cummard came up with a huge three-pointer during the spurt as BYU closed the game out to take the 61-54 win.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

-- "Winning games is difficult. Tonight we got a real effort from TCU. It was their Senior Night, and they were playing for a winning record. They came out with a lot of energy in that second half and really took advantage of us. We're lucky we had a little cushion to get through it."

-- "We really did a good job tonight of getting in and out of the double-team in the post. Defensively, especially the last 10 or 12 minutes, it was five players playing together, guarding together and competing together. The way we executed defensively was as good as we have in quite a while."

-- "I think we made some really big offensive plays. A couple of them came from our defense. We were able to push the ball and get an opportunity to break. Lee (Cummard) made a really big three that gave us a little cushion. Those are plays that win games."

-- "It's a special team. These players will be able to come back to BYU games and see that championship banner hanging there and remember this season forever. It's fun to coach special groups. Tonight, we were able to figure out a way to win. I'm really happy for our players and our coaching staff."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- Individual Career Highs: Michael Loyd, Jr. -- 4 rebounds (tied), 3 assists (tied), 2 steals (tied)

-- BYU Team Records: 25 regular-season wins

-- MWC Team Records: 14 MWC wins, 8 overall road wins (ties), 6 MWC road wins (ties), 618 MWC rebounds.

-- With a 25-6 overall record, this year's Cougars have set a new BYU record for regular-season victories. The BYU record for overall wins in a season is 28 set by the 1950-51 team that finished the year 28-9.

-- Only one team in BYU history has earned a better record through 31 games than this year's Cougars. The 1987-88 team was 26-5 through 31 contests before finishing the season 26-6. Two other Cougar squads were 25-6 through 31 games.

-- BYU's 14 Mountain West Conference victories sets a new league record for MWC wins in a season. Teams played a 14-game league schedule in the first six years of the conference before increasing to 16 games for the last three seasons.

-- BYU finishes the regular season with an 8-4 record in true road games, including a 6-2 mark in league play after winning six of its last seven road contests. Both marks tie MWC records for overall road wins and road wins in league play. The 8-4 overall road record is the best for BYU since an 8-3 road record in 1992-93.

-- The Cougars enter next week's MWC Tournament as the No. 1 seed for just the second time in league history. BYU was also the top seed last year, going 2-1 while losing to host UNLV in the Championship game. The Cougars will open this year's tourney Thursday at 12 p.m. PT against the winner of Wednesday's first round game between Wyoming and Colorado State. BYU won the 2001 MWC Tournament.

-- With a three-pointer just minutes into the game, Burgess reached 50 treys on the season, improving his total to 52 by the end of the game. Including 78 from Tavernari and 52 from Cummard, this season marks the first time in program history that a Cougar basketball team has had three players with at least 50 threes in the same season.

-- With a 32-22 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, BYU recorded its 25th halftime lead of the season, including 15 by double-digits. The Cougars are now 23-2 when leading at the break. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 25 games while holding opponents under 30 points in the first half of 21 contests, including six of the last seven games.

COUGAR SEASON AMONG THE TOP IN SCHOOL HISTORY

BYU has a 25-6 record through 31 games this year. In the 105-year history of BYU men's basketball, only one team of the 36 that played at least 30 games during a season earned a better record than this year's Cougar squad (noting that 69 teams did not total 31 games during the season, including the 20-5 NIT Championship team in 1965-66). Two other BYU teams have equaled the current Cougars' 25-6 start.

20-WIN SEASONS

At 25-6 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

With their win against Wyoming last Wednesday, the Cougars secured their 27th regular-season league title. The outright Mountain West Conference crown is the second straight for BYU, making the Cougars the only team in league history to win two outright conference crowns, let alone back-to-back titles. Prior to their current run, the last time the Cougars won back-to-back outright league titles was in the 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons. With four total MWC titles (two outright and two shared), BYU has tied Utah (one outright, three shared) for the most MWC crowns. BYU basketball boasts a remarkable record of conference success during its history. After earning its 27th regular-season conference championship in 2008, the Cougars are tied for ninth among all NCAA Division I programs for most regular-season league titles won. Including conference tournaments, BYU has claimed a conference championship trophy during 28 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 four of the league's first nine 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 39-9 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 36-14 and SDSU's Steve Fisher is 32-16. In addition to this year's 14-2 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.

COUGARS SET RECORD FOR REGULAR-SEASON WINS

This year's BYU?team set the program record for regular-season wins, becoming the first Cougar squad ever to achieve 25 victories prior to the start of postseason play. Three BYU teams reached the 24-win mark while last year's Cougars racked up 23 wins in the regular season.

BYU AND THE NATIONAL RANKINGS

The BYU men's basketball team has re-entered the top-25 rankings in the last three weeks, earning a No. 23 ranking in this week's ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll and a No. 24 ranking 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

1950-51 11

1952-53 19

1955-56 5

1964-65 9

1965-66 6

1966-67 7

1970-71 20

1971-72 6

1972-73 12

1979-80 12

1980-81 15

1981-82 15

1987-88 3

1992-93 21

2006-07 21

2007-08 20

BYU AS A RANKED TEAM

BYU owns a 140-57 record as a ranked team. The Cougars are 81-12 at home, 38-28 on the road and 21-17 at neutral sites when nationally ranked. BYU's victory at Portland on Dec. 1 marked the Cougars' first road win as a ranked team since an 84-63 victory at UTEP on March 4, 1993 when BYU was ranked No. 21. BYU is 13-5 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 70 wins and .745 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 (74-22 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06.

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

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

7 Number of overall season statistical categories in which Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the MWC including field-goal percentage (1st), scoring (5th), free-throw percentage (2nd), offensive rebounds (7th), total rebounds (5th), assists (6th) and defensive rebounds (5th).

12 Number of games in which Lee Cummard has been perfect from the free-throw line out of 24 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.

16.8 The Cougars' average margin of victory in their 25 wins this season. BYU has won eight games by more than 20 points, including two by more than 30. The Cougars' 40-point win at Long Beach State to begin the year was BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995.

18 Number of points Trent Plaisted needs to surpass Marty Haws to move to 14th on BYU's all-time career scoring list. Plaisted currently has 1,320 career points.

21 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 25 of 31 games this season while racking up halftime leads in 25 of 31 games, including 15 by double digits.

23 Number of games in which BYU has led by double digits. The Cougars have also led by at least 20 points in 15 contests and 30 points in five. BYU has led wire-to-wire in 14 games this year.

28 Number of games this season Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer. Sam Burgess has made a trey in 25 of 31 outings this year while Jimmer Fredette has done so in 21 games.

31 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 31 games after not starting last year in his first season in Provo.

50 This year marks the first time in program history a BYU team has had three players hit at least 50 three-pointers. Jonathan Tavernari (78), Lee Cummard (52) and Sam Burgess (52) have all surpassed that mark this year.

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

78 Number of treys Jonathan Tavernari has hit this season, a new BYU single-season record. Tavernari's 78 treys have also set the sophomore MWC record.

87 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 (187).

96.0 Percent of games BYU has won this year when leading with five minutes remaining. The Cougars are 24-1 when ahead on the scoreboard at the 5-minute mark. BYU held a one-point lead at SDSU when the clock ticked 5:00 to go before Lorrenzo Wade hit a jumper 3 seconds later to give the Aztecs the advangage. SDSU held on for the win.

DEFENDING THE HOME COURT

BYU has won a school-record 47 straight games in the Marriott Center. The Cougars set the record with their 67-59 win over Utah in the Marriott Center on Feb. 20, their 45th straight home win. The streak also ranks first nationally. The Cougars are 16-0 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 24 consecutive over MWC foes. BYU's last league loss at home was its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU?is 419-116 (.783) all-time in the Marriott Center, and Cougar head coach Dave Rose is 47-1. Prior to the current streak, BYU's longest homecourt victory streak was 44 games from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003.

ON THE ROAD

The Cougars are 8-4 in true road games this year with a 6-2 record in Mountain West Conference play, tying league records in both categories. With a 1-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is 9-6 this season away from home. The Cougars have won six of their last seven contests away from the Marriott Center. BYU won five of its last seven games on the road last season including a win at then-No. 20 Air Force (62-58), snapping the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. BYU was 6-7 on the road last year and 5-3 in conference play, becoming the only MWC team with a winning record on the road in league play last year.

BOUNCEBACK COUGARS

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

MAGIC NUMBER: 70

BYU is 21-1 when scoring at least 70 points this year and 21-2 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 5.1 boards per contest, leading the league in rebounding margin and rebound average (39.8). The Cougars posted a season-high +19 rebounding margin (38-19) against Hartford as four Cougars pulled down at least five rebounds. BYU began the season with a 55-40 rebounding advantage at Long Beach State, matching last year's season high of 55 boards against Seton Hall. Five Cougars posted at least six rebounds in BYU's win over Lamar, marking the first time since Jan. 8, 2005 that feat has been done.

BALANCED SCORING

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

FOUR FRESHMEN

Four Cougar freshman are making an impact this year as Chris Collinsworth, Jimmer Fredette, Michael Loyd, Jr. and Nick Martineau have all made a difference for BYU. Collinsworth is fourth for BYU with 4.9 rebounds per game while ranking tied for 13th among MWC players in conference play at 5.3 rpg. He has started six games. Fredette is fifth on the team in scoring with 6.7 ppg and third in steals with 26. Loyd is averaging 9.0 minutes per game and has posted 37 assists on the year. Martineau has 14 assists to 8 turnovers in his 19 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 ranked in the top 10 in nine of the 12 MWC statistical categories. New Mexico's J.R. Giddens ranked in the top 10 in eight categories and Utah's Luke Nevill ranked among the top 10 in seven categories. BYU's Trent Plaisted is joined by two other players--Lorrenzo Wade (SDSU) and Brandon Ewing (Wyo)--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, Wade and Ewing.

Player School Top-10 MWC Rankings

Lee Cummard BYU 9

J.R. Giddens New Mexico 8

Luke Nevill Utah 7

Trent Plaisted BYU 6

Lorrenzo Wade San Diego State 6

Brandon Ewing Wyoming 6

FROM DOWNTOWN

After setting a program record with 256 three-pointers last season, the Cougars are on pace to break that record this year having already made 254 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 29 of 31 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 28 of 31 games this season while Sam Burgess has done so in 25 contests and Jimmer Fredette in 21. Tavernari broke the Cougars' single-season three-point record of 74 with 78 treys so far this season. The mark is also a Mountain West Conference sophomore record. Including 78 from Tavernari and 52 from Burgess and Cummard, this season marks the first time in program history that a Cougar basketball team has had three players with at least 50 threes in the same season.

FOR STARTERS

Seniors Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess along with juniors Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted have started all 31 games this year while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari has made 25 starts and freshman Chris Collinsworth has started six contests.

WINNING WITH ROSE

With a 70-24 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 (74-22 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06. (including games as of March 8)

First-Year Coaches in 2005-06 By Wins

Coach, School Record Percentage

Dave Rose, BYU 70-24 .745

Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss* 63-33 .656

*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 747-22 .771

Dave Rose, BYU 70-24 .745

Tim Floyd, USC 65-35 .650

BYU PLAYER OF THE WEEK

JONATHAN TAVERNARI (MARCH 9) -- Junior forward Jonathan Tavernari averaged a team-best 17.5 points and 3.5 steals last week and set BYU and MWC records for three-pointers while helping the Cougars win the 2008 Mountain West Conference regular-season title. The Sao Bernardo, Brazil, native added 4.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists without committing a turnover in BYU's wins over Wyoming and TCU. He made six treys on a team-leading 46.2 percent (6-of-13) three-point shooting to become BYU's single-season three-point record-holder (78) and set a new standard for triples by MWC sophomores. Helping BYU secure the MWC regular-season title outright with a win over Wyoming on Wednesday, Tavernari scored 18 points and had a career-high five steals along with five rebounds and two assists. He made his first four shots from the field and first three treys to help BYU get off to a strong start against the Cowboys. His first triple of the game set the new MWC mark for sophomores (previously set by Utah's Nick Jacobsen in 2001-02) and his third three at the 12:07 mark in the first half set the all-time BYU single-season record. He finished the game with four treys and 76 for the season. Tavernari added his 77th and 78th threes of the year while scoring a game-high 17 points in BYU's road win at TCU on Saturday. He added four rebounds, two assists, two steals and one blocked shot to help the Cougars achieve an MWC record with its 14th conference win and tie MWC for conference road wins (6) and overall road wins (8).

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 1,320 career points, 15th 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 666 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 (8.8), fourth in field-goal shooting among players with at least 60 attempts (.437) and third in assists (2.0) while ranking second on the team in three-point shooting (.419). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 5.2 ppg while averaging 17.1 more minutes per game. His 14 double-figure scoring games this year has more than doubled last year's mark of four double-digit scoring outings. Burgess has started all 31 games this season after starting just one game in his two prior seasons as a Cougar. He is averaging 11.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in the last five contests.

.800 CLUB

BYU boasts four players who are making 80 percent or more of their free-throw attempts this year (Jimmer Fredette, .875; Jonathan Tavernari, .867; Lee Cummard, .847; Sam Burgess, .831). 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 13 of 24 games he has gone to the line this year.

WINNING BIG

The Cougars' 25 victories this year have come by an average margin of 16.8 points, including a season-opening 40-point road win at Long Beach State (74-34), one of 19 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.

VICTORY STREAK

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 (29-2), Michigan State (24-7), Boise State (22-8), Wake Forest (17-12), UNLV (23-7) and San Diego State (19-11) have a combined 134-47 record for a .740 winning percentage as of games played March 8. 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 45.6 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 38.3 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 13 contests, totaling 22 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 56.7 and 54.0 percent and 33rd and 54th, respectively, in the national rankings as of March 6.

HALFTIME REPORT

The Cougars are 23-2 this season when leading at the half with 15 of the 25 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 7.5 points in the first period of play while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of nine of 31 games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 25 of 31 games while holding opponents under 30 points 21 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 13 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 16 games and equaled them in one other this year, recording a +3.0 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 16-0 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 -0.4 turnover margin with their opponents on the year, the Cougars have outscored foes in points off of turnovers in 20 games this season, posting a +3.5 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 22 games, equaled them three times and been outpaced only six times. The Cougars average 4.5 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 11 times this year, but they have done it in nine of the last 20 games after seven straight contests with a scoring deficit off the bench. On the whole, the BYU bench is tallying 566 points or 18.3 points per game. BYU's leading scorer off the bench is freshman guard Jimmer Fredette, who is averaging 6.7 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 11 points against TCU, the Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 23 of 30 games and have led by more than 20 points in 15 games and more than 30 points in five contests. The Cougars have led wire-to-wire in 14 games this season.

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