Game 5 - BYU Plays at USC Saturday

Redshirt freshman Trent Plaisted leads the Cougars in scoring at 14 points per game entering BYU's contest at USC Saturday in the Los Angeles Sports Arena. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

Coming off three straight victories, BYU (3-1, 0-0 MWC) travels to Los Angeles to face the University of Southern California at the Los Angeles Sports Arena Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PST (8:30 p.m. MST). USC (3-2, 0-0 Pac-10) has also won its last three outings under the direction of first-year Trojan coach Tim Floyd. Saturday's game will be broadcast live on KSL Newsradio, which can be heard on 102.7 FM or 1160 AM. Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant will call the game, which is also available online at KSL.com. The game is not being televised.

GAME #5 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (3-1, 0-0 MWC) at USC Trojans (3-2, 0-0 Pac-10)

Saturday, Dec. 3, 2005

Los Angeles Sports Arena (16,161)

Los Angeles, Calif.

7:30 p.m. PST (8:30 p.m. MST)

Coaches:

BYU, Dave Rose (3-1 in first year; same overall)

USC, Tim Floyd (3-2 in first season; 246-132 in 13th year overall)

Series:

USC leads 5-3, including last year's 87-82 win at USC on Dec. 4, 2004

TV: None

Radio:

KSL Newsradio, BYU Sports Network (Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)

Web:

Live audio and live stats broadcasts are available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/

UP NEXT

BYU returns to Provo to host Boise State Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.

COUGAR QUICK HITS

-- Coming off a disappointing 9-21 season after five straight postseason appearances, BYU looks to return to the ranks of conference contenders and postseason invitees under the direction of new head coach Dave Rose.

-- Rose enters his first year leading the Cougars after serving the past eight seasons as Steve Cleveland's lead assistant, including five years as associate head coach. After Cleveland announced his resignation to take the Fresno State job, BYU moved quickly to promote Rose to BYU's head position.

-- This year Coach Rose has five juniors with starting experience from last season and several talented newcomers with the ability to make an impact in their first seasons on the court.

-- Among BYU's returning players, honorable mention All-MWC guard Austin Ainge was the team's second-leading scorer and top assist man last year, and junior forward Keena Young was BYU's leading rebounder. Other returners with starting experience include junior swingman Jimmy Balderson, who represented Canada at the World University Games this summer; junior center Derek Dawes, who made 13 starts in the middle last year; and junior guard Mike Rose, who made seven starts last year and averaged 7.7 points while making a team-leading 56 treys. Lone senior Brock Reichner has earned three starts this season after mostly limited action last year.

-- Several players who did not take the court for BYU last year could be key contributors in 2005-06. Among those players are redshirt freshmen Trent Plaisted (6-11, F/C) and David Burgess (6-10, C), freshmen Lee Cummard (6-6, G) and Jackson Emery (6-3, G) and JC transfers Rashaun Broadus (6-0, G) and Fernando Malaman (6-9, F).

-- Trent Plaisted leads BYU in scoring (14.0), followed closely by Jimmy Balderson (13.5). Keena Young is the top Cougar rebounder (5.0) and Rashaun Broadus is the top assist maker (5.0), followed by Austin Ainge (4.5). The Cougars average an MWC-leading 82.5 points and shoot .527 as a team, .515 from long range and .738 from the line. Cougar opponents average 71.5 points on .432 shooting, .329 from three and .713 from the line..

LOOKING AT USC

The Trojans are 3-2 so far this season, having won their last three straight games after starting the year with two losses. USC is also 1-1 at home with an overtime loss to Cal State Northridge to begin the year and an 81-48 win over UC Riverside in the Trojans' most recent game. Sophomore guard Nick Young, an All-Pac-10 Freshman honorable mention pick, leads the way for USC, averaging 17.8 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per outing, both of which pace the Trojans. Young is shooting 59.4 percent from the floor, including an 80 percent efficiency from three-point range (4-for-5) and 90 percent from the free throw line (9-for-10). Junior Lodrick Stewart, a 6-foot-4 guard, is second on the team in scoring, averaging 11.8 ppg while shooting 50 percent from the floor. Stewart also contributes 3.6 rebounds per game, fourth on the team. An All-Pac-10 Freshman First Team selection last year, sophomore Gabe Pruitt is currently third on the team in scoring and rebounding, contributing 11.6 ppg and 3.8 rpg while playing a team-leading 33.6 minutes per game. Pruitt is also leading the team in steals with 11. Forward RouSean Cromwell, a 6-foot-10 freshman, pulls down a team-best 6.0 rebounds per game while pacing the team in blocked shots with 13. The Trojans are averaging 66.2 points per game on 45.2 percent shooting from the field, including a 24.6 percent mark from three-point range, and 62.5 percent shooting from the free-throw line. USC is holding opponents to 60.8 points per game on 40.8 percent shooting from the floor. The Trojans are also outrebounding their opponents 37.4 to 33.8. Head Coach Tim Floyd is in his first season at USC after 12 seasons of head-coaching experience at the collegiate level and stints in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets.

USC's LAST OUTING -- 21-point Trojan Scoring Spree Helps USC Cruise Past UC Riverside

Lodrick Stewart scored 23 points and Nick Young totaled 21 points to lead USC to an 81-48 victory over UC Riverside on Wednesday night at the Los Angeles Sports Arena. After a 10-10 tie, USC started to break away when Stewart scored six points in a 9-0 run. After UC Riverside scored the next four points, USC, amazingly, scored the next 21 points to create a dominating 40-14 lead and remove any doubt about the eventual outcome of the game. Young scored nine points and Stewart added eight during USC's run. USC won its third straight on the strength of 57.6 shooting from the field. UC Riverside was led by David Misko, who scored nine points. The Highlanders (0-4) shot 33.3 percent and committed 24 turnovers, 11 of which were steals made by Trojan defenders.

USC's PROBABLE STARTERS

No Name Pos Ht Wt Cl Hometown/Previous School PPG RPG

1 Nick Young G/F 6-6 195 So. Los Angeles, CA (Cleveland HS) 17.8 6.6

42 RouSean Cromwell F 6-10 215 Fr. Memphis, TN (Florida IMG Academy) 6.0 5.4

3 Lodrick Stewart G 6-4 210 Jr. Seattle, WA (Rainier Beach HS) 11.8 3.6

12 Ryan Francis G 5-11 170 Fr. Baton Rouge, LA (Glen Oaks HS) 5.6 2.8

34 Gabe Pruitt G 6-4 170 So. Los Angeles, CA (Westchester HS) 11.6 3.8

SERIES NOTES

This will be just the ninth meeting between the two teams. The series dates back to 1933, with USC holding a 5-3 advantage. This will be the fourth meeting in the last six seasons between BYU and USC. USC has won two of the three recent contests, with a neutral-court win in Laie, Hawaii, in 2000 at the Yahoo Sports Invitational and a home win at USC last season. BYU's last victory was in Provo in 2003. Overall, USC is 3-1 against the Cougars in Los Angeles with wins in 1959, 1970 and 2004. BYU's win at USC was in 1963. BYU holds a 2-0 advantage in Provo while USC was victorious in both neutral court meetings.

BYU SERIES RECORD VS. USC

Overall Series Record: So. California leads 5-3

BYU Record in Provo: 2-0

BYU Record at Southern California: 1-3

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-2

BYU Record Under Dave Rose: 0-0

BYU Record in Overtime Games: 0-0

Longest BYU Win Streak: 2 (1963-68)

Longest USC Win Streak: 2 (1933-59 and 1970-00)

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 24, 85-61 in 2003

Largest USC Margin of Victory: 36, 101-65 in 1970

Most Points Scored by BYU: 95 in 1968

Most Points Scored by So. California: 101 in 1970

Date Opponent Score W/L

12-22-33 vs. So. California 33-36 L

12-12-59 at So. California 61-79 L

12-07-63 at So. California 74-67 W

11-30-68 So. California 95-86 W

12-11-70 at So. California 65-101 L

12-23-00 vs. So. California 67-70 L

12-13-03 So. California 85-61 W

12-04-04 at So. California 87-82 L

RECENT RECAPS IN THE SERIES

LAST SEASON IN LA -- BALDERSON HEATS UP BUT COUGARS FALL AT USC

LOS -- Despite overcoming a 17-point second-half deficit and getting a career-night from sophomore Jimmy Balderson, the Cougars could not hang on against the USC Trojans, falling 87-82 Saturday night in Los Angeles. "We played good basketball in the second half," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "We didn't get the win but we definitely competed and put ourselves in a position to win. We've just got to get the victory. There's a lot of positive things that came from this. Obviously losing leaves a sick feeling in your stomach but we're definitely improving." Both teams started off slow as the first bucket of the game did not come until 3:36 into the first half and the score was tied at two almost six minutes in. The nets started heating up midway through the period, giving the Trojans a tight 17-16 lead. The rest of the half was all USC as the Trojans made 11-of-12 baskets at one point and ending the half on a 10-2 run to take a 44-30 lead heading into the locker rooms. In the second half, the Trojans got off to a quick start, extending their lead to 17 points at 53-36 with 17:10 left in the game. But the Cougars put together a spectacular resurgence, going on a 26-7 run, tying the game at 56 on a Mike Rose three-pointer and taking the lead for the first time since the opening minutes on two free throws from Balderson. From there, the teams traded baskets until back-to-back threes gave USC a six-point cushion, which the Trojans quickly pushed to 12 to cap a 16-2 spurt. The Cougars responded with a 12-2 run of their own, sparked by Balderson, to get within two at 81-79 with just 1:15 to play. Rose and Balderson were each unable to connect on three-point attempts in the closing minute. Things unraveled for BYU from there with a Cougar turnover being followed by an intentional foul against Derek Dawes, which gave the Trojans two free throws and the ball, which USC converted to go up 87-79 with just eight seconds left in the game. Mike Hall drained a three-pointer as time expired to leave BYU with the 87-82 loss. Balderson, playing in just his second game of the season after coming out of a planned redshirt year, lit up the scoreboard with a career-high 22 points, including five three-pointers, while Hall added 13 points along with Rose, who scored 13 on four three-pointers and a free-throw. Dawes and starter Garner Meads, who led the Cougars with eight rebounds, each posted 10 points. Point guard Terry Nashif dished out a career-high 10 assists off the bench. Despite the defeat, the Cougars improved, scoring a season-high 82 points, 52 of which came in the second half. BYU shot 47 percent (26-55) from the field, the second-highest shooting mark of the season, and picked up a season-best 52 percent (13-25) shooting from behind the arc. The Cougars out-boarded the Trojans 40-30 but came up short in the turnover and free-throw columns as they committed 21 giveaways to USC's 11 and shot just 65 percent from the line, missing nine free-throws, to USC's 71 percent mark. The Trojans were led by Lodrick Stewart with 22 points. With the loss, the Cougars fall to 1-5 on the season.

2003-04 IN PROVO -- ARAUJO DOMINATES AGAIN AS COUGARS DOWN USC 85-61

PROVO, Utah -- Senior Rafael Araujo led BYU to an 85-61 win over the University of Southern California of the Pac-10 Conference Saturday night at the Marriott Center. "It's tough to play here. We played against a tournament team tonight," USC head coach Henry Bibby said. "We haven't seen a player like Araujo. He draws so much attention and scores in so many ways. He can shoot the three, post up and is a good passer. There is no answer for him. He's an unbelievable player. You can't stop him one-on-one. He's too big, too smart and will take BYU a long way with Bigelow and other good players." Araujo, coming off Sporting News National Player of the Week honors, posted his fifth straight double-double of the season. The big man dominated the game and led BYU with 28 points (10-for-15) and 11 rebounds in 34 minutes of play. The NBA prospect showed his inside-outside abilities by shooting 2-for-5 from the 3-point line. "It was a solid effort and a good win," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "I was pleased with our effort and energy. We really defended them well and had very few breakdowns." After suffering from a shooting slump to begin the season, senior Mark Bigelow has broken out in the last two games. He recorded a season-high 17 points against USC on 6-for-10 shooting from the floor, including 3-for-4 from behind the 3-point arc. In the last two games, Bigelow has combined to shoot 57.8 percent from the field and 55.5 percent from behind the arc. Bigelow's season-high points moves him to No. 11 on BYU's career scoring list (1,399) to surpass current assistant coach Andy Toolson's 1,388 points (from 1985, 88-90). Fellow teammates Kevin Woodberry and Mike Rose added intensity and each contributed 11 points. Woodberry dished out four assists, went 2-of-2 from the free throw line and 3-of-4 from the floor, all from behind the 3-point arc. In nine minutes of play, Rose was a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor, including 3-for-3 from 3-point land. Senior point guard Luiz Lemes had another strong outing. Called the team's unsung leader by his coach, Lemes grabbed a career-best eight rebounds and continued to find ways to get the ball inside to Araujo, dishing out eight assists on the night. BYU finished with 21 assists against the Trojans. Lemes is averaging just over five assists per game to lead the team. The Cougar defense held the Trojans to 25 percent shooting from the 3-point line and forced 19 turnovers. The BYU defense also held USC's leading scorer Desmon Farmer, who came in averaging 17.4 points per game, to only eight points. Thanks in part to some missed USC free throws, BYU broke the game open with a 19-1 run in the first half, including a 12-0 run that lifted the Cougars from a tie score to a 34-22 advantage with 4:54 to go in the half. Woodberry's third 3-pointer in the final minute before the half brought the 15,688 Cougar fans to their feet, helping BYU maintain a 14-point lead at the break. The Cougars carried on their intensity throughout the second half to get the win over the back-to-back PAC-10 Tournament finalists. BYU's win improves the team to 6-1 on the season and 3-0 at home, while USC drops to 3-3.

BYU NOTES

BYU's LAST OUTING -- Team Effort Leads to Victory over Lamar

SALT LAKE -- Twelve players scored for BYU as the Cougars used a team effort to cruise past Lamar University, 97-74, Wednesday night at the Delta Center. The win improved BYU's record to 3-1 on the season and marks the first time the Cougars have won three consecutive games. BYU was led by Balderson, who scored 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 from the foul line. Trent Plaisted added 16 points and seven rebounds. Keena Young also scored in double figures with 10 points while picking up seven boards. Broadus led BYU with nine assists in addition to scoring seven points. Lamar was led by Daniels, who scored 23. Overall, BYU shot 56.5 percent as a team, including 50 percent on three-pointers and 90.0 percent from the foul line. The Cougars also shared the ball well, picking up 22 assists. Behind two early three-point baskets, BYU jumped out to an 11-4 lead. The Cougars didn't stop as Lee Cummard nailed another trey to extend the lead to 10 at 16-6. Rashaun Broadus played the roll of floor marshal assisting the first six BYU field goals. The Cardinals answered by putting together a 9-5 run of their own to cut the BYU lead to 21-15 with under 12 minutes to play. However, BYU fought right back, riding a 14-2 run to build a comfortable 40-21 lead with 4:21 remaining in the half. Lamar came back with another run, outscoring the Cougars 14-4 to end the half down 48-35. Led by Alan Daniels, the Cardinals started the second half on a 7-2 run to cut the lead to 50-42. BYU bounced back as Broadus erupted, leading the Cougars to score 12 unanswered points to open a 20-point lead. Broadus scored two buckets and added a steal and an assist to lead Cougars during the run. At the 12:48 mark, Lamar head coach Billy Tubbs was ejected from the game after being charged with his second technical foul. Jimmy Balderson hit the two foul shots and Fernando Malaman picked up a bucket to push the lead to 20 points. The lead only fell below 20 points one time after that as the Cougars took off.

WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose:

-- "I'm proud of our guys. We had guys make big plays and big shots early. We got a lead and we kept it throughout. For the most part I was pleased with our preparation, focus and execution. It wasn't just the starters tonight. This was a team win and I'm happy for it."

-- "I believe the strength of this team will be the team itself. We'll have stars every night to lead, but it will be a lot of these guys."

-- "Brock and Jackson had the challenge to contain Daniels, and for the most part, made him work for his shots. We executed our game plan well on him."

-- "We're getting into our offense quickly, getting open shots and hitting shots and getting points early. It leads to confidence for our team."

Lamar Assistant Coach Kermit Holmes:

-- "BYU played great. They can really shoot. I've been watching a lot of basketball and I haven't seen many teams shoot like that. If they keep shooting that way they are going to be tough to beat."

-- "They made threes in the transition. They made threes in the half court and that just opened up shots on the inside."

BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING

-- Jimmy Balderson led BYU with 21 points on the game, shooting 7-for-10 overall, 2-for-3 on three's and 5-for-5 from the line. While Balderson was impressive, the Cougars looked to the whole team for production as 12 players registered at least two points, including Jermaine Odjegba, who had the first points of his BYU career. He hit two free throws in the last minute of the game for the Cougars' last points.

-- There was an assist on the first seven shots made by BYU and 10 of the first 11. Rashaun Broadus had six assists during the stretch, including the first six makes, while Austin Ainge had two assists and Lee Cummard and Brock Reichner each recorded a dime. The Cougars had 15 assists on 19 first-half field goals.

-- BYU started 4-of-4 on three pointers as Austin Ainge, Jimmy Balderson, Brock Reichner and Lee Cummard each connected from long range. The first miss from downtown came with 9:19 left in the first half on a miss by Ainge. For the game, the Cougars hit 50.0 percent from three-point range (7-14), the third-straight game hitting 50 percent or better on threes.

-- The Cougars came out with all pistons firing against Lamar, hitting 65.5 percent (19-29) of their shots in the first half, including 57.1 percent (4-7) of their three pointers. BYU finished the game hitting 56.5 percent (35-62) from the field and 50.0 percent on threes (7-14). It marks the third consecutive game the Cougars have shot over 55 percent from the field and at least 50 percent on threes.

-- The Cougars were not only hot from the field, but also from the line, hitting 90.9 percent (20-22) of their shots from the charity stripe. It was BYU's best game from the line this season and the best since hitting 100 percent (3-3) against Saint Mary's on Jan. 12, 2005. It was also the team's best performance from the line with over 20 attempts since Dec. 31, 2004 when the Cougars hit 91.7 percent (33-36). BYU made its last 19 straight free throws, the second-best single-game streak in Cougar history (record is 24 vs. Santa Clara last season).

-- Against Lamar, several players set career highs. Three players set career highs in assists, including Rashaun Broadus (9), Brock Reichner (3) and Lee Cummard (3). Cummard tied his career high in points (9) and Trent Plaisted and Rashaun Broadus had career highs in rebounds with seven and four. Plaisted also tied a career high in blocks with two.

SCORING FOR THE COUGARS

BYU is averaging 82.5 points, led by redshirt freshman Trent Plaisted's 14.0 points per game. The 6-foot-11 forward/center has reached double figures in each game. Junior Jimmy Balderson adds 13.5 points per game as the second Cougar to average double figures. Three different Cougars have led the team in scoring in BYU's first four games (Balderson twice, 18, vs. Loyola Marymount and 21 vs. Lamar; senior Brock Reichner, 18, at Washington State; and Plaisted, 13, vs. Southern Utah).

SHOOTING ACCURACY AMONG NATION'S BEST

BYU ranks 21st nationally in field goal percentage (.527) and ranks eighth in the country from behind the arc (.515) as one of only nine teams shooting 50 percent or better from long range. In the last three games, the Cougars have shot 55 percent or better from the floor and 50 percent or better from three-point range. Individually, eight Cougars are shooting 50 percent or better from the field and five are making 50 percent or more of their three-point attempts.

POINT PLAY ASSISTING IN VICTORY

BYU's Rashaun Broadus (5.0 apg) and Austin Ainge (4.5 apg) are the top two Mountain West Conference players in assists per game average this season. BYU's point guards have played well in the Cougars' three victories. After combining for six assists and five turnovers in the season-opening loss to LMU, Broadus and Ainge showed marked improvement in the Cougars' win at Washington State, where the two combined to dish out 10 assists while committing only two turnovers, as each posted a line of a game-high 5 assists with only one turnover. In BYU's victory over Southern Utah, they combined for 13 assists with only one turnover. Ainge tied a career high with 8 assists without a turnover while adding 6 points, 4 rebounds and 2 steals off the bench. Broadus, meanwhile, had 3 assists and one turnover while scoring a season-best 11 points, including 3-for-3 three-point shooting, while adding 3 rebounds and 1 steal. Broadus dished out a career-best 9 assists vs. Lamar, including an assist on BYU's first six baskets. Ainge added two assists to help BYU record a season-high 22 assists for the second straight game.

WINNING SIDE OF THE LEDGER

With BYU's victory over Southern Utah, the Cougars earned a winning record for the first time since the 2003-04 season. Last year BYU never got on the winning side of the ledger during a 9-21 campaign. BYU is now 3-1 with its win over Lamar.

REDSHIRTING -- SAM BURGESS, VUK IVANOVIC

Junior guard Sam Burgess will redshirt the upcoming season. The 6-foot-3 guard from Alpine, Utah, is one of nine juniors on the roster this year. Junior Vuk Ivanovic will also redshirt while he sits out the season due to NCAA transfer rules. Burgess scored a game-high 21 points at Cougar Tipoff, the team's annual blue-white scrimmage. He went 7-for-12 from the floor, including 4-for-6 on threes, and was 3-of-4 from the line while adding five rebounds, one assist and one steal in 33 minutes on the floor.

DANNY AINGE TO RECEIVE PRESTIGIOUS 2006 NCAA SILVER ANNIVERSARY AWARD

Former BYU basketball great Danny Ainge has been selected as one of six recipients of the 2006 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award. The award recognizes former student-athletes who completed successful collegiate careers in various sports 25 years ago and went on to excel in their chosen professions. Silver Award winners are selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, which comprises eight athletics administrators at member institutions and nationally distinguished citizens who are former student-athletes. Joining Ainge as 2006 recipients are Valerie B. Ackerman (University of Virginia, women's basketball); Charles E. Davis (Vanderbilt University, men's basketball); Dr. Terry Schroeder (Pepperdine University, men's water polo); Michael Singletary (Baylor University, football); and Susan D. Wellington (Yale University, women's swimming and softball). The awards will be presented at the NCAA Honors Celebration on Saturday, January 7, during the annual NCAA Convention in Indianapolis. The Convention will serve as the kick-off to the NCAA's Centennial with the theme, Celebrating the Student-Athlete.Ainge becomes the third former BYU student-athlete to receive the prestigious award, joining current BYU Faculty Representative Larry Echohawk (Football, 1970), who was honored in 1995, and former Cougar All-American quarterback Gifford Nielsen (Football, 1978), who received the award in 2003. A three-sport high school athlete, Ainge was drafted in the 15th round of the 1977 Major League Baseball draft by the Toronto Blue Jays. While playing collegiate basketball at BYU, Ainge spent his first three years also playing professional baseball at Toronto. Named both the 1981 John Wooden and Eastman Award winner, Ainge averaged 24.4 points per game during his senior season. Ainge still holds several individual season and career records at BYU and is the only Cougar men's basketball player to have his jersey retired. Ainge was selected in the second round of the 1981 National Basketball Association (NBA) draft and spent 14 seasons playing for the Boston Celtics, Sacramento Kings, Portland Trailblazers and Phoenix Suns. A member of two world championship teams with the Celtics (1984, 1986), Ainge is only one of three retired NBA players to make 1,000 three-point shots. Hired as an assistant coach with the Phoenix Suns, Ainge was promoted to head coach eight games into the year. Ainge served as an NBA game and studio analyst for Turner Sports before being named Executive Director of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics in 2003. Ainge has worked with several community and charitable organizations including the Children's Miracle Network, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Stay-In-School campaign and Special Olympics. He remains actively involved with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ainge and wife Michelle, have six children, including current BYU guard Austin Ainge, and two grandchildren.

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