The Cougars will wear their road blues for the second time this year when they face Boise State Wednesday at Taco Bell Arena. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
GAME #5 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (3-1, 0-0 MWC)
BOISE STATE BRONCOS (1-3, 0-0 WAC)
Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2006
Taco Bell Arena (12,380)
7 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (23-10 in second season; same overall)
BSU, Greg Graham (67-62 in fifth season; 85-67 in sixth year overall)
11th meeting, BYU leads 8-2 (BYU won last year, 80-77, in Provo on Dec. 7, 2005)
KTVB in Boise, Idaho
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (6 p.m. pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Russell Larson, game analysis)
Live audio and live stats broadcasts are available on the basketball schedule page on BYUCougars.com
BYU PLAYS AT BOISE STATE WEDNESDAY
Coming off a three-game homestand, BYU (3-1) makes its second road trip of the year to face the Boise State Broncos (1-3) Wednesday at 7 p.m. MT in Taco Bell Arena in Boise, Idaho. The game will be televised on KTVB, channel 7, in Boise, while the radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City and via the Internet at KSL.com. The Cougars have won three straight after a season-opening loss at UCLA, now the top-ranked team in the nation, while the Broncos are coming off consecutive road losses at Colorado State and Washington State after defeating Southern Utah at home.
BYU returns to Utah but stays on the road with an in-state matchup in Ogden against Weber State on Saturday. The game will be televised on KJZZ, channel 14, at 7 p.m. MT.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- Cougar head coach Dave Rose guided BYU to a 20-9 record and an NIT appearance last season in his first year at the helm after eight years as BYU's lead assistant. He was named the Mountain West Conference and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year. Rose coached his team to a second-place MWC finish -- one game behind league-champion San Diego State -- while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success that proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.
-- BYU was picked to finish second in the Mountain West Conference in the preseason MWC media poll behind reigning champion San Diego State.
-- BYU's roster this season includes a solid core of returning players, including six seniors and Trent Plaisted, the MWC Freshman of the Year last year. One of nine returning lettermen, Plaisted was named a Freshman All-American after leading BYU in both scoring (13.6) and rebounding (6.9) one year ago. 2006 All-MWC Third Team forward Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (15.8) while Plaisted is pulling down a team-best 6.3 rebounds.
LOOKING AT BOISE STATE
The Boise State Broncos are 1-3 so far this with losses at Wyoming and at Colorado State. Their lone win came Nov. 18 against Southern Utah, 77-68. The Broncos return eight letterwinners, including all five starters, from last year's 14-15 team that finished seventh in the WAC with a 6-10 record. Junior forward Matt Nelson currently leads the team in scoring with 14.0 points per game on .559 shooting from the field. The 6-foot-9 Eastern Washington transfer also paces the Broncos on the glass with 7.5 rebounds per contest. Senior guard Coby Karl is second in scoring this season at 12.5 ppg after posting a team-best 17.2 ppg last year, earning second-team All-WAC recognition. The son of Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl, Coby Karl is also dishing out a team-leading 3.75 assists per game to go along with 4.3 rpg, third for Boise State. Junior forward Reggie Larry is third on the team in scoring at 10.5 ppg on .559 shooting from the field and second in rebounding with 6.5 boards per contest while adding five blocked shots on the year. As a team, the Broncos are averaging 67.2 ppg on .438 shooting from the field, including a .253 mark from three-point range. Boise State opponents are averaging 73.5 ppg on .427 shooting from the floor. The Broncos and their opponents have an identical 35.8 rebounding average. Head coach Greg Graham is in his fifth season with Boise State and has a 67-62 record with the Broncos and an 85-67 record overall.
BSU's LAST OUTING -- Broncos Lead Much of the Way but Fall at Washington State
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Derrick Low scored 17 points and Daven Harmeling sank a pair of clutch 3-pointers late in the game to lead Washington State to a 65-63 win over Boise State on Saturday afternoon. Kyle Weaver scored 12 points for Washington State (6-0), and Harmeling added 11. Coby Karl led Boise State (1-3) with 19 points, but also had six of BSU's 21 turnovers. Reggie Larry scored 12 for BSU. Boise State nursed small leads almost all the way until Harmeling buried a 3-pointer from the top of the arc to push WSU ahead 58-57 with 3:27 left to play. A Karl 3-pointer and a Larry dunk provided the Broncos with their last two leads before Larry fouled Harmeling on a 3-pointer with a minute to go. Harmeling converted the free throw for a four-point play that gave the Cougars a 64-62 lead. Boise State outrebounded Washington State 40-27, but the Broncos had 10 more turnovers. Boise State, a team that relies heavily on 3-point shooting, hit just 3 of 19 treys to drop its season shooting percentage on 3-pointers to 25 percent.
BSU's PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 2 Kenny Wilson 6-4 178 Sr. 4.5 3.0
G 3 Eric Lane 6-1 201 Sr. 9.8 1.8
G 5 Coby Karl 6-5 216 Sr. 12.5 4.3
F 4 Seth Robinson 6-6 214 Sr. 3.3 2.0
F 22 Matt Nelson 6-9 233 Jr. 14.0 7.5
The Cougars and Broncos have met 10 times in the history of the two programs with BYU owning an 8-2 advantage overall with a 2-1 edge in Boise, a 5-1 lead in Provo and a 1-0 result on a neutral court. The Cougars have matched their longest winning streak in the series with victories in the last four contests, including wins in each of the past three seasons. The Cougars won a close contest last year in Provo, winning 80-77 on Dec. 7, 2005. Boise State's last win over BYU was on Dec. 6, 1997 in Boise by an 83-67 tally. BSU's lone victory over BYU in the Marriott Center was the prior season at the Cougar Classic. BSU earned a 65-58 victory over the Roger Reid-coached Cougars on Dec. 13, 1996, in what ended up being a program-worst1-25 season for BYU.
BYU SERIES RECORD VS. BOISE STATE
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 8-2
BYU Record in Provo: 5-1
BYU Record in Boise: 2-1
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-0
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 1-0
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 1-1 both in Tempe
Longest BYU Win Streak: 4 (1976-95, 2000-present)
Longest Boise State Win Streak: 2 (1996-97)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 16, 83-67 in 2000
Largest Boise State Margin of Victory: 16, 83-67 in1997
Most Points Scored by BYU: 90 in 2004-05
Most Points Scored by Boise State: 83 in 1997
12-01-76 Boise State 76-75 W
12-18-82 at Boise State 68-67 W
12-23-83 Boise State 66-54 W
11-25-95 Boise State 86-71 W
12-13-96 Boise State* 58-65 L
12-06-97 at Boise State 67-83 L
12-21-00 vs. Boise State 83-67 W
12-2-03 at Boise State 75-69 W
12-8-04 Boise State 90-77 W
12-7-05 Boise State 80-77 W
BYU vs. BSU STATS COMPARISONS
Season Averages Overall
Points Scored/Game 78.0 67.2
Points Allowed/Game 67.8 73.5
Rebounds/Game 36.8 35.8
Rebounds Allowed/Game 31.8 35.8
Assists/Game 16.3 11.5
Steals/Game 6.8 5.3
Blocks/Game 3.0 2.3
Turnovers 16.8 20.5
FG Percentage .498 .438
FG Percentage Defense .405 .427
3FG Percentage .416 .253
3FG/Game 8.0 5.5
3FG Percentage Defense .380 .333
FT Percentage .684 .654
LAST MEETING RECAP -- Cougars Edge Broncos in Provo
PROVO -- Freshman Trent Plaisted and junior Fernando Malaman led BYU with 19 and 17 points, respectively, as the Cougars (4-2) held off Boise State (3-3) 80-77 Wednesday night in the Marriott Center. After falling behind by eight points in the first half, the Cougars outscored the Broncos 44-33 in the second half to pick up the victory. Boise State took an early lead, starting the game on a 7-0 run. The Cougars battled back to tie the game 16-16 with 11:25 remaining in the first half. The Broncos held off the Cougars' first-half surge by relying on their three-point shot, going 6-for-10 from three-point range to take a 44-36 halftime lead. The Cougars came out strong in the second half, running the floor well and going on a 14-2 run to take their first lead of the game, 49-46, with 17:13 left to play. The Cougar run was led by senior Brock Reichner who hit back-to-back three-pointers. BYU had a 72-60 lead with 4:51 left in the game, but the Broncos fought back to tie the game at 75-75 with 2:12 remaining. After big baskets from both Plaisted and Malaman, Boise State's Tyler Tiedeman put up a three-pointer for a chance to tie the game, but the shot fell short and the Cougars pulled off the win, 80-77. Plaisted finished the night shooting 7-for-12 from the field and 5-for-8 from the free-throw line to pick up his 19 points. He also led the Cougars in rebounds with 10, recording the first double-double of his career as well as the first for the Cougars this season. Malaman's 17 points marked a career high for the forward. He shot 7-for-10 on the night, including 2-for-3 from the three-point line. He also rejected three shots on the night, which was also a career high. As a team, BYU struggled in the first half, shooting just 38.7 percent from the field, but improved in the second half with a 48.6 shooting percentage. After Boise State shot 6-for-10 from the three-point line, the Cougars picked up their perimeter defense and held the Broncos to just 1-for-7 three-point shooting in the second half. Boise State was led by forward Seth Robinson, who finished the game with 15 points, shooting 7-for-9 from the field. Guard Coby Karl also added 14 points for the Broncos, shooting 4-for-11 from the field, including 2-for-4 from the three-point line and 4-for-4 from the free-throw line.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose:
-- "This is a team that's learning -- learning how to win and learning how to play. I thought it was a great game for our team."
-- "It's a learning process with this team. For the most part, we won this game because we gutted it out."
-- "You become a better team when guys make things happen for other players and not themselves."
-- "I told the guys in the locker room that games like this are what make teams better. You can't just play them; you've got to win them."
Boise State Head Coach Greg Graham:
-- "It was a very good college basketball game -- up tempo, lots of threes, and the big guys still got a lot of points. Kids on both sides were battling hard. Except for the outcome, you can't ask for a better basketball game."
-- "BYU's got a good ball club, and they're going to get better. They're a young, talented team."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Fernando Malaman - 17 points, 7 field goals made, 10 field goals attempted, 5 rebounds (tie), 3 blocks; Brock Reichner -- 3 three-point field goals made (tie), 7 three-point field goals attempted, 5 assists; Rashaun Broadus -- 11 points (tie); Trent Plaisted -- 10 rebounds.
-- Trent Plaisted recorded the first double-double by any Cougar of the season with 19 points and 10 rebounds.
-- Plaisted also recorded his seventh dunk of the year with a high-flyer during BYU's 14-4 second-half run. The redshirt freshman has recorded at least one dunk in every game this season except against Southern Utah.
-- Five Cougars scored in double figures on the night for the first time since Dec. 28, 2004 against Southern Utah as Plaisted led all scorers with 19 points while Malaman added 17, Reichner recorded 12, Broadus posted 11 and Jimmy Balderson contributed 10.
-- BYU recorded 7 blocks on the night, setting a season high and equaling last year's season high.
-- The Cougars suffered through their worst shooting first half of the season against Boise State as they hit just 38.7 percent (12-31) of their shots from the floor in the first period of play.
-- BYU started off cold from the floor in the first half, making only one field goal -- a fade-away jumper from Trent Plaisted at the 17:17 mark -- through the first 5:54 of the game until Fernando Malaman connected from three-point range.
-- The Cougars benefited from solid defense during the scoring drought as they held Boise State scoreless for 2:41.
-- Senior Brock Reichner came out hot in the second half, hitting back-to-back three pointers to tie the game at 46-46 and then picking up a steal and dishing out an assist to Jimmy Balderson, who went up for the layup that turned into a three-point play to give BYU its first lead of the game and cap a 10-0 Cougar run. Seconds later, after Boise State head coach Greg Graham was whistled for a technical foul, Reichner converted one-of-two from the line and then drained another three-pointer to give the Cougars a 53-48 advantage.
-- BYU equaled the number of three-pointers it made in the first half less than five minutes into the second period, scoring three from downtown, all from Brock Reichner, in the first 4:14 of second-half play.
-- Boise State head coach Greg Graham was called for a technical foul at the 17:02 mark of the second half, marking the third time this season an opponent coach has been whistled for a technical foul (Billy Tubbs, Lamar, received two on Nov. 30).
-- The Cougars saw a 72-60 second-half lead quickly whittled down to just three points as BYU went scoreless from the field for 4:51.
2004-05 IN PROVO -- Cougars Buck the Broncos
PROVO -- A combo attack by shooting guards Mike Hall and Mike Rose delivered for the Cougars their first Division I win this year with a 90-77 victory over the Boise State Broncos, improving BYU's record to 2-5 for the year. Hall finished with 21 points to lead all Cougar scorers. Hall also grabbed a career-high nine rebounds and dished out five assists. Rose's stifling shooting performance closely followed with 19 points, 18 of which were from beyond the arc. "This was a big win for this team," Cleveland said. "Mike Hall played a complete game that gave us a great spark." Three other Cougars scored in double figures with Austin Ainge scoring 14 points and adding five assists while Jared Jensen scored 13 points. Keena Young added 11 points and 8 rebounds on continual hustle plays that ignited the Cougars throughout the game. Early in the first half, the Broncos came out on fire against the Cougars, shooting over 80 percent from the field to keep the score close. The Broncos would soon cool down while the Cougars heated up mid-way through the first period. Ainge, who connected on two long three-pointers followed by a Hall trey, sparked the Cougars on a 13-0 run, giving them a 35-19 lead. The Broncos refused to give up as they fought back to only trail 31-39 at the half. Boise State came out hot in the second half, led by Franco Harris who hit three consecutive shots from beyond the arc to bring Boise State to within one. Rose would match Harris' hot hand by connecting on four of his own long bombs from beyond the arc to help the Cougars pull away. The Cougars connected on 11-21 (52.4 percent) three-point attempts to give BYU over 50 percent efficiency from beyond the arc in back-to-back games. On the defensive end, Hall shut down the Broncos leading scorer, Jermaine Blackburn, who was held to nine points. "I think Mike Hall did a wonderful job defending Blackburn," Cleveland said. "Because of the way they run, it's tough for our post players to keep up which puts a lot of pressure on our guards." The Broncos were carried by McNeal Thompson who had a game-high 22 points, shooting 5-10 from the three.
LAST GAME IN BOISE -- Araujo Carries Cougars to Victory at Boise State in 2003-04
BOISE -- Rafael Araujo carried the load and Mark Bigelow delivered in the clutch as BYU downed Boise State 75-69 Tuesday to earn its first road victory of the season. The Cougars overcame a lead the Broncos held for much of the game to improve their record to 3-1 while previously unbeaten Boise State fell to 3-1 with the loss. The Broncos had no answer to Araujo. The 6-foot-11, 280-pound Cougar center was nearly unstoppable inside while equaling a career-high 31 points and pulling down a season-best 14 rebounds. Araujo made 10-of-13 attempts from the floor and earned 14 trips to the free throw line, knocking down 11 shots from the charity stripe. "Rafael was a man among boys tonight," Bigelow said. "He was getting good position and every time we got the ball to him he did something with it." When Araujo wasn't getting good position inside he was showing his finesse and athletic ability on the perimeter. The biggest player on the court took one of his game-high three steals coast-to-coast and drove through the BSU defense from 20 feet out to score another goal. Araujo's performance was his second consecutive double-double effort after 24 points and 12 rebounds against UVSC. "We did a good job of getting the ball into the post consistently," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "I really like the way Rafael kept himself composed. He also made some good passes out of the post, which allowed us to establish the inside first and then go outside." On the outside was Bigelow, who like Araujo is a preseason All-MWC pick. After a poor-shooting first half had compounded his slow start over the first three games, the Cougar captain and four-year starter scored 10 points in the final seven minutes to allow BYU to take control of a tight game. After an Araujo bucket gave BYU the lead at 57-55 -- the Cougars' first advantage since 6-5 -- Bigelow made two key plays to help BYU take a 68-60 lead with less than five minutes remaining. On the first, Bigelow got BSU's Coby Karl in the air with a pump fake and then hit a leaner while drawing the foul. After converting at the free throw line, Bigelow followed two Mike Hall free throws with a 22-foot bomb to give BYU its biggest lead of the game. He totaled 15 points on the night, moving past Marty Haws into 13th place on BYU's all-time scoring list. "Mark had a focus. He really stepped up and hit big buckets that helped us win the game," Cleveland said. "We also did a better job of guarding in the second half." Boise State controlled most of the first half. After a Bryan Defares trey gave Boise a game-high nine-point lead at 31-22, Araujo took over inside with six straight points in what proved to be a 13-4 Cougar run to even the score at 35 with 1:53 to go in the half. Two more Bronco treys by Jermaine Blackburn and Defares gave Boise State momentum to claim a 43-39 lead at the half. Boise State shot 43 percent for the game compared to the Cougars' 51 percent clip. BSU shot 44 percent on threes while BYU connected on 4-of-10 attempts. BYU put the game away with free throws, making 21-of-27 for the game. Boise State went 12-for-17 from the line. The Cougars' Kevin Woodberry came off the bench for the first time this year and contibuted eight points, along with Jared Jensen. Hall added seven points, Luiz Lemes four and Garner Meads two to round out BYU's scoring. Lemes had a team-best three assists along with four rebounds. Blackburn led four Boise State players in double figures with 20 points. Defares and Jason Ellis added 13 points each and Karl totaled 12. Defares led BSU with eight rebounds.
BYU's LAST OUTING -- PLAISTED BREAKS OUT AS Cougars Defend HomeCourt With Win Over SUU
PROVO -- The BYU men's basketball team extended its home win streak to 17 games, the seventh-longest active streak in the nation, as the Cougars defeated Southern Utah University, 80-61. Friday night's win brings BYU to 3-1 on the season. The Cougars began the game hot, scoring on their first five possessions. Sophomore Trent Plaisted had four of those buckets and ended the night with his first double-double of the season and seventh of his career at 19 points and 12 boards. BYU continued with the hot hand hitting 10 of its first 12 shots and extending its lead to 23-6. BYU's defensive pressure in the first half was the best it's been all year holding the Thunderbirds to just 23 points on 33 percent shooting. The Cougars also forced 15 turnovers and had six steals in the first half. At half the score was 41-23 in favor of BYU with the 19-point lead being the largest halftime lead the Cougars have had all season. SUU showed some life at the end of the first half hitting back-to-back three pointers, but BYU came out of the locker room to start the second half hot as senior Austin Ainge hit a deep three. Ainge had a stellar performance and was one of three Cougars in double figures with a season-high 11 points on 4-of-5 shooting while tying his season-high mark in assists with five. Senior Keena Young provided a big push in the second half scoring eight consecutive points and extending BYU's lead to 58-30 with 13:09 left in the game. Young finished the game with 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting and is the lone Cougar to score in double figures every game this year. The bench play for the Cougars was key Friday night as they prevented SUU from going on any sort of run. Junior Sam Burgess provided a lift coming off the bench, dishing out a career-high five assists.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "Our best sign tonight was Trent coming out of the blocks early. He feels good out there and is confident coming off of his ankle injury."
-- "During the first 10 minutes we were on attack. Defensively we had a good mindset and contested many of their shots."
-- "Tonight we tried several combinations of teams. Hopefully by the time we return from our next road game, we will have a pretty good idea of the roles on our team."
-- "We executed our game plan very well concerning the short turnaround."
-- "Austin (Ainge) is very relaxed. He's playing with confidence. Rashaun (Broadus) will be fine. He plays hard, and it will just take some time."
Southern Utah Head Coach Bill Evans
-- "We could not stop (Trent) Plaisted. He is big and strong. We had no answer for him."
-- "When we got down, we panicked and threw up some bad shots. We did not play like we are capable of playing. We got beat by a good team in their place. The season is still young. We will improve from here."
-- "Keena Young is a load. I think he is the most improved player on their team. He is a hard guard."
-- "BYU is a good defensive team. They are much better defensively than people give them credit for."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- BYU head coach Dave Rose used his third different starting lineup in four games as Austin Ainge, Jimmy Balderson, Lee Cummard, Keena Young and Trent Plaisted got the starting nod against Southern Utah. Cummard, Balderson and Young have started all four games this season while Ainge has now started the last two and Plaisted has started three, missing the start on Wednesday against Portland while nursing a sprained ankle.
-- Individual Career Highs: Lee Cummard - 8 rebounds; Sam Burgess - 5 assists.
-- Individual Season Highs: Austin Ainge - 11 points, 5 assists (tied); Lee Cummard -- 4 assists.
-- BYU's victory over SUU increased the Cougars' home win streak to 17 games, currently the seventh-longest active streak in the nation.
-- With a final score of 80-61, the Cougars are now 3-0 this season when scoring over 70 points in a game after going 17-4 last season when reaching the 70-point threshold.
-- BYU has outscored its opponents from the bench in every game this year, including a 22-19 margin against the Thunderbirds.
-- SUU's 23-point first half marked the fewest points in a half allowed by the Cougars this season.
-- BYU's 19-point halftime lead (41-23) is its largest halftime margin of the season. The Cougars have led at the break in every game this year.
-- Plaisted recorded his first double-double of the season and the seventh of his career with 19 points and 12 rebounds. He achieved the mark with an offensive rebound on the first BYU possession of the second half.
-- Plaisted made the most of his starting opportunity as he scored 10 points on 5-for-5 shooting in the first four minutes of the game, marking the first time this season he has scored in double figures. The 2006 Freshman All-American also tied his season-high rebounding mark with five boards prior to the 16-minute mark.
-- With 16 points against SUU, Young has now scored in double figures in every game this year, the only Cougar to do so.
-- Young has also been perfect from the free-throw line in three of four games this season, going 2-for-2 against the Thunderbirds and improving his season mark to 13-for-14 (.929).
-- True freshman Jonathan Tavernari made his Cougar debut with 4:12 left in the first half, making the first basket of his BYU career with a three-pointer with 2:43 left in the game and posting one rebound.
-- With a 3-for-4 three-point shooting night against Southern Utah, Ainge improved his season three-point shooting percentage to .692 (9-of-13). Ainge leads the team in three-pointers made.
-- The Cougars held the Thunderbirds scoreless for 4:21 early in the first half, going on a 10-0 run from the 17:25 mark to the 13:04 mark to build an 18-4 lead.
-- BYU head coach Dave Rose received his first technical foul of the season and the second of his BYU head-coaching career with 5:43 left to play in the first half. Rose also received a technical foul last season at UNLV (Jan. 11).
-- Leading 46-30 with 16:45 left in the game, BYU put together a 15-0 run over the next 6:25 thanks in part to eight points from Young.
-- Fernando Malaman recorded his first dunk of the season and third of his career with 6:21 left in the game, giving the Cougars a 72-47 lead.
COUGAR TO WATCH
After being slowed for two straight games by an ankle injury, sophomore forward/center Trent Plaisted made it quickly known he was feeling better, scoring 10 of BYU's first 12 points against Southern Utah in BYU's last outing on the way to a 19-point, 12-rebound performance in 27 minutes of action. Plaisted made 9-of-12 shots while scoring from many different locations, including a jumper from just inside the three-point arc. In addition to leading the Cougars in scoring and rebounding on the night, he added two steals and one assist toward the win. During BYU's win over Portland on Wednesday, Plaisted did not start and was limited to 14 minutes of action due to his ankle injury. He still played a big role in the Cougar win, however, scoring all six of his points on the night in nine first half minutes to help BYU pull away. With BYU holding a 14-12 lead, Plaisted scored the next four points of the game to create some separation. BYU maintained the momentum and the lead the rest of the way. He added four rebounds against the Pilots. For the week, he averaged 12.5 points and a team-best 8.0 rebounds while making 61.1 percent of his shots (11-for-18) from the floor. His double-double against Southern Utah was his first of the year and seventh of his career.
BYU's most consistent player this year has been senior forward Keena Young, who is the only Cougar to score in double figures in every game. He leads BYU in scoring at 15.8 points per game while adding 6.0 rebounds per contest. He has been BYU's top rebounder in three of the four games this year and is currently second in average just behind Trent Plaisted (6.3).
Senior Austin Ainge has started the last two games at the point. He is averaging a team-best 4.0 assists and leads BYU in three-pointers (9) while shooting .692 from three-point range and .667 from the floor.
AINGE, BALDERSON, YOUNG NAMED TEAM CAPTAINS
Coach Rose and the Cougar coaching staff have announced this year's team captains, calling upon seniors Austin Ainge, Jimmy Balderson and Keena Young to lead this year's team. "I'm proud of the way these three players have developed and of their dedication to our team," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "They are totally commitment to this program and have earned the respect and confidence of their teammates. They will provide us with good leadership as we work together as a team to achieve our goals." Ainge, a co-captain of last season's team, proved a valuable asset off the bench in 2005-06 after starting at the point guard spot and receiving All-Mountain West Conference honorable mention as a sophomore. Last season he ranked 11th in the MWC in assists while helping BYU lead the league in both scoring and assists. Balderson also provided a spark off the bench for the Cougars last season as he scored in double figures in 11 of the last 13 games and was the only player in the conference averaging more than 10 points per game off the bench with a 10.2 scoring average. Young led BYU in rebounding as a sophomore before becoming an All-MWC Third Team pick last year after starting the last 14 games of the year and ranking second on the team in rebounding (5.8 rpg) and third in scoring (10.3 ppg).
BYU players have been able to make that one extra pass to find an open teammate so far this year. The Cougars have five players averaging more than two assists per game (Ainge - 4.0, Balderson - 2.5, Cummard - 2.5, Broadus - 2.3, Burgess - 2.0) while the Cougars have collectively nearly doubled the number of assists per game compared to their opponents (16.3-8.8).
OFF THE BENCH
One of BYU's strengths is the overall depth of the team. BYU's bench has outscored Cougar opponents in each of the first four games this year by more than seven points per game on average. Last year BYU got more scoring production off the bench than its opponents in 24 of 29 games.
BYU BASKETBALL ON TELEVISION
BYU men's basketball appeared for the first time on the MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.) when it hosted Southern Utah last Friday. The Mountain West Conference's 2006-07 men's basketball television schedule features an unprecedented 99 games on national and regional television, including 65 of the 72 conference contests and all eight MWC Championship matchups. The television coverage provided by the MWC broadcast partners in 2006-07 is more than triple the national and regional telecasts MWC men's basketball has received in previous years. Seventy-five games will be shown on the MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.), with 17 to be broadcast nationally on College Sports Television (CSTV) and seven on VERSUS (formerly OLN). BYU will have 18 regular-season games televised as part of the 2006-07 MWC television schedule, including three games on CSTV, one on VERSUS and 14 on the mtn. With the exception of a road game at TCU, BYU's entire conference schedule will be televised in 2007. BYU's nonconference games featured in the MWC broadcast schedule include home dates with Southern Utah (Nov. 24, 8 p.m. MT), San Jose State (Dec. 6, 7 p.m. MT) and Utah State (Dec. 16, 4 p.m. MT). While not part of the MWC television package, BYU's regular-season opener at 2006 NCAA runner-up UCLA on Nov. 15 will be televised on Fox Sports Net Prime Ticket, while the BYU-Michigan State matchup on Dec. 9 at The Palace at Auburn Hills will be carried on ESPN2 and BYU's game at Boise State on Nov. 29 will be aired on KTVB in Boise. Additional games on the BYU schedule could also be televised but have not yet been announced.
PRESEASON MWC MEDIA POLL
School (First-place votes) Points
1. San Diego State (17) 192
2. BYU (1) 156
3. Air Force (3) 147
4. Utah 114
5. New Mexico 101
6. UNLV 99
7. Colorado State 68
8. Wyoming 51
9. TCU 27
Jacob Burtschi, Sr., F, Air Force
Trent Plaisted, So., F/C, BYU
Jason Smith, Jr., F, Colorado State
Mohamed Abukar, Sr., F, San Diego State
Brandon Heath, Sr., G, San Diego State
Top Returning Player
Brandon Heath, Sr., G, San Diego State
Stephen Weigh, G/F, Utah
IN THE SEVEN YEARS OF THE MWC ...
-- BYU has had five 20-win seasons, leading all MWC schools along with Utah. UNLV has had three, Wyoming three, New Mexico, San Diego State and Air Force two and Colorado State none.
-- BYU has had the league's top RPI three times, been second once and third on three occasions. The Cougars were third last year (67) behind Air Force (50) and San Diego State (56).
-- BYU has played the toughest schedule on average of any team in the MWC (average strength of schedule rating the past seven years is 66, Utah is next at 78). BYU has had the league's toughest schedule in two of the past three seasons.
-- BYU has the second-most overall wins in the seven years of the MWC (137, Utah leads at 155).
-- BYU is also second in conference wins (60, Utah has 69).
-- BYU has the second-most MWC regular-season titles (two) along with Wyoming (Utah leads with four).
-- BYU is one of six MWC teams to win the MWC Tournament title.
BYU AND MWC IN POSTSEASON
BYU has earned an invite to a postseason tournament in six of the seven years of the MWC, joining Utah in leading all MWC teams. BYU is second to Utah in NCAA appearances since the formation of the MWC (BYU has made three NCAA and three NIT while Utah has made five NCAA and one NIT). UNLV has received five invites (one NCAA, four NIT). New Mexico has received four (one NCAA, three NIT) while Wyoming has three (one NCAA, two NIT), San Diego State has three (two NCAA, one NIT) and Air Force has three (two NCAA and one NIT). Colorado State has been to one NCAA Tournament. TCU's first year was last season.
SEVEN 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. 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 last season.
MWC TEAMS IN THE NCAA
In the first seven 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 played in the MWC for the first time last season. New Mexico became the last of the other MWC teams to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament by winning the 2005 MWC Tournament. 2006 MWC-Champion San Diego State received the league's automatic bid last season while Air Force was selected as an at-large team (BYU was the other postseason MWC team last year, advancing to the NIT).
FOUR RECRUITS COMMIT TO BYU DURING NOVEMBER SIGNING PERIOD
PROVO -- BYU men's basketball coach Dave Rose today announced that four players -- two from the high school ranks and two from junior colleges -- have committed to attend BYU next season by signing national letters of intent during November's early signing period. Joining the Cougar program for the 2007-08 season will be 6-foot-9 forward Chris Collinsworth out of Provo (Utah) High School; 6-foot-2 combo guard Jimmer Fredette from Glens Falls (N.Y.) High School; 5-foot-10 point guard Lamont Morgan out of Saddleback Community College (Mission Viejo, Calif).; and 6-foot-7 forward Jean Carlos Otero out of Miami-Dade College (Miami, Fla.). "We are excited about the early class," Rose said. "The common denominator is that all these guys come from winning programs and they are a key to that success. Since we are losing six seniors as well as others to missions after this year, it is important for us to address those changes, especially on the perimeter. This gives us a great start as we work toward completing our recruiting in the spring."
An athletic player known for his versatility and soft shooting touch, Collinsworth earned first-team all-state honors last season after averaging 14.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game for the 4A state runner-up Provo Bulldogs. He shot 56 percent from the field to help himself earn All-Valley Co-MVP honors by the Deseret Morning News, All-Valley First Team recognition by the Provo Daily Herald and first-team Region 7 accolades from a vote of area coaches. Showing his versatility, the 6-foot-9 forward has also played the point guard position. His inside-outside game has drawn comparisons to former BYU great Kresimir Cosic. Collinsworth received recruiting attention from schools such as North Carolina, Arizona State, West Virginia, USC and Oregon State in addition to several Mountain West Conference schools. "Chris has the ability to score in the post and on the perimeter," Rose said. "He is a tireless worker who brings a skill level that will be important to our transition offense. He's from right here in our backyard, and we are excited to have him join our program."
A talented scorer, Fredette averaged 29.3 points per game as a junior while leading Glens Falls High School to a 21-2 overall record and the state title game. A first-team all-state selection and the 2006 Times Union Player of the Year, Fredette is known for his outside shooting and playmaking ability. He made a team-leading 76 three-pointers last season while shooting 83 percent from the free-throw line and scoring more than 30 points in 12 of 23 games. The athletic combo guard also averaged 25 points for the Albany City Rocks AAU team over the summer, leading the squad to a third-place finish at AAU Nationals. An all-around athlete, he earned all-state honors as a wide receiver during his junior year before electing not to play football as a senior to concentrate on basketball. Utah, Syracuse, Wake Forest, Seton Hall, Marshall, Siena, George Mason, West Virginia, Virginia Tech and Penn State also recruited Fredette. "Jimmer is a terrific shooter who also has the ability to run a team," Rose said. "He is a very unselfish player and is very committed to hard work and getting better. He's a great addition to our team."
A sophomore this year at Saddleback Community College, Morgan is an extremely quick point guard and strong team leader. He is averaging 8.7 points, 4.7 assists and 3.0 steals per game so far this season after playing in all 31 games as a freshman to help the Gauchos to a 22-9 record. Morgan has excellent defensive abilities and shot 81 percent from the free-throw line last year. As a freshman he recorded season highs of 13 points and seven rebounds while leading the team in assists 11 times. Prior to playing at Saddleback, Morgan prepped at Diamond Ranch High School in Pomona, Calif., earning first-team all-league honors. "Lamont is a winner," Rose said. "He is a team-oriented point guard who provides great leadership and is very competitive. He is extremely quick with the ball. One of the things we really like about Lamont is his ability to defend. His experience will be counted on."
JEAN CARLOS OTERO
Otero is an athletic perimeter player with excellent size and strength. Known for his ability to penetrate, he is currently averaging 15.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 62 percent from the floor in his second year at Miami-Dade College. The 6-foot-7 swingman is also an excellent perimeter defender, often drawing the assignment to guard the opponent's top scorer. As a freshman at Miami-Dade, Otero averaged 8.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game while shooting 48 percent from the floor. A native of Barranquilla, Colombia, Otero will be the 27th international player to play men's basketball at BYU. "Jean Carlos is an athletic wing player who can beat people off the dribble, penetrate and finish," Rose said. "He has good size and strength for a wing player. His perimeter defense is going to be counted on heavily."