Trent Plaisted ranks fourth in the MWC in scoring and 10th in free-throw percentage. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
BYU GAME #5 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (4-0)
NO. 6 LOUISVILLE CARDINALS (3-0)
Friday, Nov. 23, 2007
Orleans Arena (7,500)
Las Vegas, Nev.
6 p.m. PT (7 p.m. MT)
BYU, Dave Rose (49-18 in third season; same overall)
UL, Rick Pitino (145-58 in sixth season; 497-182 in 21st season overall)
Louisville leads, 2-1, after BYU won 75-60 in the last meeting on Dec. 25, 1994
BYUTV/KBYU (Chris Twitty, play-by-play; Andy Toolson, game analysis)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar?Sports Network (5 p.m. PT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)
Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
BYU CONCLUDES FINDLAY TOYOTA LAS VEGAS INVITATIONAL THIS WEEKEND
BYU (4-0) will play its third- and fourth-round games of the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational this weekend in Las Vegas. The Cougars begin the weekend playing No. 6 Louisville (3-0) on Friday at 6 p.m. PT (7 p.m. MT) before taking on either No. 1 North Carolina or Old Dominion on Saturday (4:30/7:30 p.m. PT). Friday's game will be televised nationally live on BYUTV and broadcast live in Utah on KBYU, channel 11. The radio broadcast can be heard beginning with the pregame show at 5 p.m. PT on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the Internet at KSL.com.
Pending the outcome of Friday's game against Louisville and the nightcap between UNC and ODU, BYU will play Saturday at either 4:30 p.m. or 7:30 p.m. PT. If BYU plays at 4:30, the contest will be shown on BYUTV while the 7:30 tip is slated for broadcast on ESPN2.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- Two-time reigning MWC Coach of the Year Dave Rose helped make BYU the second-most improved program in the nation in his first season with a 20-9 record and guided the Cougars to the outright MWC title and a top-25 ranking in his second campaign in Provo as the Cougars went 25-9 last season.
-- BYU has been picked in the preseason poll to finish first in the MWC race this year by the league's media.
-- BYU currently owns the nation's second-longest active home win streak with 34 straight wins in the Marriott Center. The Cougars went 17-0 at home last year and are 3-0 at home this year.
-- This year's BYU squad returns two starters among seven lettermen from last year's outright league leaders (13-3 MWC record) as well as returned missionary Chris Miles, who made six starts as a freshman in 2004-05. Headlining BYU's top returners in 2007-08 are MWC Player of the Year candidate Trent Plaisted, a two-time All-MWC Second Team selection in his first two seasons; versatile junior guard Lee Cummard, who earned All-MWC Third Team honors one year ago; and sophomore sharpshooter Jonathan Tavernari, who followed Plaisted's lead the prior season by being named the MWC Freshman of the Year in his first campaign as a Cougar.
LOOKING AT LOUISVILLE
Louisville is 3-0 this season and ranked sixth in both major polls (AP and ESPN/USA Today). Coach Rick Pitino returns 11 lettermen and four starters from last year's 24-10 team that placed second in the Big East and finished ranked 16th with a second-round appearance in the NCAA Tournament. Louisville opened the season at home with wins over common BYU opponents Hartford (104-69) and Jackson State (84-53) in the first and second rounds of the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational. The Cardinals lost returning starter David Padgett (Sr., 6-11, F/C) to injury (broken kneecap) during their win over Jackson State on Sunday. He could be out the entire season. Louisville played without him Wednesday at UNLV in the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, earning a 68-48 road win over the Rebels. Louisville is led in scoring and rebounding by 6-foot-8 sophomore forward Earl Clark, who is averaging 15.3 ppg and 12.7 rpg after three games. He has recorded double-double performances in each of the three contests this year. In all, four players score in double figures with guard Andre McGee (Jr., 5-10) averaging 13.7, guard Jerry Smith (So., 6-1) contributing 11.7 and guard Edgar Sosa (So. 6-1) adding 10.3 ppg. Last year Sosa started in 32 of 34 games but he has come off the bench in all three games this year. Forward Terrence Williams (Jr., 6-6) dishes out a team-leading 8.0 assists per game and is second on the team with 8.7 rebounds per game while adding 9.0 points per contest. Center Derrick Caracter (So, 6-9) adds 9.7 points and 7.0 rebounds and stepped into a starting role at UNLV in Padgett's absence. As a team, Louisville is averaging 85.3 points while allowing 56.7 ppg and his winning the battle of the boards, 46.3-35.0. The Cardinals are shooting .486 from the floor, .440 from behind the arc and .742 at the free-throw line. They have held their opponents to .316 accuracy from the floor, including a .247 clip from three-point range.
LOUISVILLE'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 1 Terrence Williams 6-6 215 Jr. 9.0 8.7 Seattle, Wash.
F 5 Earl Clark 6-8 220 So. 15.3 12.7 Plainfield, N.J.
C 32 Derrick Caracter 6-9 275 So. 9.7 7.0 Fanwood, N.J.
G 33 Andre McGee 5-10 180 Jr. 13.7 2.0 Moreno Valley, Calif.
G 34 Jerry Smith 6-1 200 So. 11.7 3.7 Wauwatosa, Wis.
LOUISVILLE'S LAST OUTING -- No. 6 Louisville Dominates UNLV
LAS -- Louisville passed its first test without injured post players Juan Palacios and David Padgett. Earl Clark had 16 points and 12 rebounds and Jerry Smith added 14 points to lead No. 6 Louisville past UNLV 68-48 on Wednesday night. Louisville (3-0) led by double digits in the first half, but UNLV made four straight 3-pointers to take a 35-33 lead with 14:36 left. Following a time out, Louisville scored the next nine points, including 3-pointers from Terrence Williams and Edgar Sosa, and never trailed again. The outburst was capped by a transition dunk from Clark as the Cardinals went on a decisive 16-2 run. Palacios, a senior and the lone contributing holdover from the Cardinals' 2005 Final Four team, is expected back from a torn ligament in his right knee by mid-December. Padgett, also out with an injured knee, could be lost for the season. In the interim, the Cardinals will rely on forward Derrick Caracter, who scored eight points and grabbed five rebounds before fouling out late, and a host of others to carry the load. Sosa added 10 points. Louisville, in town early for the Las Vegas Invitational on Friday and Saturday, will play formidable BYU in the semifinals and could meet No. 1 North Carolina in the finals. UNLV (3-1), which had won its previous 19 games at home, got a team-high 11 points from Matt Shaw, the lone Rebel in double figures. Wink Adams and Joe Darger added nine points each for the Rebels, who missed 17 of their first 21 shots.
SERIES NOTES VS. LOUISVILE
BYU and Louisville have met three times with the Cardinals owning a 2-1 series lead. BYU won the last meeting, 75-60 on Dec. 25, 1994 at the Great Alaska Shootout. Louisville won the first two outings in the series,, including a 95-67 victory on Dec. 27, 1960 as the nation's fifth-ranked team.
Overall Series Record: Louisville leads 2-1
BYU Record in Provo: N/A
BYU Record in Louisville: 0-1
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-1
BYU Record Under Dave Rose: 0-0
BYU Record in Overtime Games: N/A
Longest BYU Win Streak: 1 (1994)
Longest Louisville Win Streak: 2 (1960-88)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 15, 75-60 in 1994
Largest Louisville Margin of Victory: 28, 95-67 in 1960
Most Points Scored by BYU: 76 in 1988
Most Points Scored by Louisville: 97 in 1988
12-27-60 at No. 5 Louisville 67-95 L
3-19-88 vs. Louisville# 76-97 L
12-25-94 vs. Louisville* 75-60 W
*Great Alaska Shootout
NORTH CAROLINA'S LAST OUTING -- UNC Overpowers South Carolina State
CHAPEL HILL -- North Carolina has shown what it can do here against an overmatched opponent. The top-ranked Tar Heels will soon learn how they'll respond when they leave their home state. Tyler Hansbrough scored 26 points and Wayne Ellington added 19 to help North Carolina beat South Carolina State 110-64 Tuesday night, giving the Tar Heels another easy win before starting an extended road swing that will keep them away for nearly a month. Danny Green had 15 points for the Tar Heels (3-0), who earned their second straight blowout win in the Las Vegas Invitational. North Carolina's players clearly feel good about their start, which began with a tough 72-68 win against Davidson in Charlotte followed by a 107-72 home win over Iona to open the invitational Sunday night. North Carolina's perimeter pressure forced the Bulldogs (0-4) into 32 turnovers, leading to 35 points and plenty of transition scoring chances. That offset what Williams described as an uneven performance by the team's halfcourt offense against S.C. State's zone. North Carolina shot 54 percent for the game, hit 29 of 39 free throws and led by as many as 49 points. Everett Spencer scored 12 points to lead S.C. State, which managed an early 8-4 lead before being overwhelmed by North Carolina's size and athleticism. The Bulldogs shot 40 percent and committed 31 fouls. Hansbrough turned in a typically dominating performance, going 7-for-12 from the floor and 12-for-14 on free throws with eight rebounds in just 20 minutes. Ellington finished one shy of matching career high for scoring, shooting 6-for-11 while hitting three 3-pointers. Alex Stepheson added 11 points and nine rebounds, and Ty Lawson had nine points and eight assists.
SERIES NOTES VS. NORTH CAROLINA
BYU and North Carolina have met four times with the Tarheels owning a 4-0 series advantage, including a 3-0 mark on neutral floors. While the series dates back to 1976, the two teams met most recently in the 2004 Maui Invitational. UNC has been ranked in all four games and has posted a double-digit victory in all four contests.
OLD DOMINION'S LAST OUTING -- Gerald Lee Leads Old Dominion Over Iona
NORFOLK -- -Sophomore forward Gerald Lee scored a career high 19 points and hauled in seven boards to lead the Monarchs of Old Dominion (3-1) to a 74-63 victory over Iona (0-4) Tuesday night at the Ted Constant Convocation Center. This was game two of the Findlay-Toyota Las Vegas Classic. The Gaels lead by six, 8-2 with 15:54 left in the first half. Gerald Lee gave the Monarchs its first lead at 10-9 with 14:25 remaining, and freshman forward Ben Finney gave ODU its lead for good at 20-19 on a free throw with 8:52 left. The Monarchs took their biggest lead of the half at 36-26 with 1:42 left after a Gerald Lee three-point play. In the second half, ODU enjoyed its biggest lead at 13 points at 48-35 with 14:15 left. Iona rallied and cut the ODU lead to six at 48-42 with 10:17 left on a trey by Milan Prodanovic, and again with 53 seconds left on a layup by Dexter Gray to make it 67-61. ODU outscored the Gaels 7-2 on free throws by Abdi Lidonde (4), Jonathan Adams(1), and Brian Henderson(2). Brandon Johnson got his second double-double of his career with 11 points and ten assists, along with four steals. Brian Henderson added 11 points and Jonathan Adams scored eight Points with six boards. Sophomore Marsharee got his first start of the season and contributed eight points. Iona was led by Devon Clarke with 17 points, and Dexter Gray with 16 points and seven rebounds. Iona shot .491 (26-53) from the floor, while ODU was. 403 (25-62). The Monarchs committed only 11 turnovers and forced Iona into 19. Through four games, Lee leads ODU with 11.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, While Brandon Johnson is at 9.3 points, 6.5 assists per game along 3.1 steals.
SERIES NOTES VS. OLD DOMINION
BYU and Old Dominion have met just one time in program history, an 80-77 Cougar win on Dec. 30, 1975 at the Old Dominion Classic.
BYU'S LAST OUTING - CUMMARD, FREDETTE LEAD BYU OVER HARTFORD
PROVO -- The BYU men's basketball team secured its second victory of the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational on Tuesday with its 97-73 win over Hartford. With the victory, BYU improves to 4-0 on the season and maintains the nation's second-longest home winning streak with 34 wins. The Cougars' current record marks the program's best start since the 2002-03 season. Jimmer Fredette scored a career-high 19 points and was one of five Cougars scoring in double figures. The freshman went 4-for-5 from the behind the three-point line and 6-for-7 from the field. Lee Cummard scored a game-high 20 points while Jonathan Tavernari and Trent Plaisted finished the game with 16 points and Sam Burgess posted 13. The Cougars outrebounded the Hawks 37-19, led by Tavernari who pulled down a game-high 8 rebounds. BYU's 2-for-7 start set up an early Hartford lead, but Ben Murdock's first three-pointer of the game put the Cougars back on top for good with just under 16 minutes to play in the first half. Fredette and Burgess helped put BYU up by 10 points as both scored on running lay-ins. Fredette's two consecutive three-pointers quickly put the Cougars up 27-11 with 9:25 remaining in the first half. Cummard scored a three of his own during the Cougars' next possession. BYU continued its fast-paced offense and created multiple scoring opportunities, including a jumper by Cummard with 5:30 to play in the first half. Burgess' third make from behind the arc came at the end of the half, sending the Cougars into the break up 46-22. BYU turnovers to begin the second half sparked an 11-4 Hartford run. Shots refused to fall as the Cougars' only points came from the free-throw line. BYU's first field goal of the half came on a dunk by Cummard with 14:06 to play in the game. The Cougars continued to struggle offensively as the Hawks battled back, attempting to close the deficit. Hartford would come to within 12 points before back-to-back three-pointers by Cummard and Tavernari brought the score to 64-46. Plaisted's fourth dunk of the year came with just over eight minutes to play. Fredette hit his third three-pointer of the night, which was immediately answered by the Hawks. Hartford's second player of the night fouled out with 5:13 remaining in the game. A final three by Fredette put the Cougars up 93-67 with just under two minutes to play in the game. An assist from Michael Loyd, Jr. to Archie Rose and a last-second lay-up by Chris Miles clinched the victory for the Cougars.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I am pleased with the way we came out tonight and played. We did an excellent job executing the zone. We were able to hit some shots early on, which gave us some space offensively."
-- "Hartford is a tough team to guard. They have five permanent players that can hit three-pointers consecutively."
-- "The second half we got a little flat. Hartford mixed things up, and that got us a little out of sync. Once we were able to settle down we were able to perform a lot better, especially toward the end."
Hartford Head Coach Dan Leibovitz
-- "BYU is a very good team. They have a lot of weapons. They shoot the ball well. They are big. It is very hard to stop them. They have a veteran team, which is tough to compete against."
-- "Our second-half press was somewhat effective, but as we got within 12 points they started to make the shots they needed to win the game."
-- "Both teams (BYU and Louisville) shot the ball very well. Both teams are well coached. Both teams push the ball very effectively. It will be a good game."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- BYU head coach Dave Rose has used the same starting lineup in BYU's first four games, calling on Ben Murdock, Sam Burgess, Lee Cummard, Jonathan Tavernari and Trent Plaisted to begin the game.
-- Individual Career Highs: Jimmer Fredette - 19 points; Sam Burgess - 5 rebounds (tied); Trent Plaisted - 5 assists (tied), 8 free-throws made (tied).
-- Individual Season Highs: Lee Cummard - 20 points.
-- The 97-73 Cougar victory extended BYU's home win streak to 34 games dating back to Nov. 18, 2005. The streak is the second-longest active home win streak in the nation, one game behind No. 3 Memphis at 35.
-- At 4-0 this season, BYU is off to its best start since beginning the 2002-03 season 5-0.
-- With a 24-point win against Hartford, BYU has posted a +31.0 average margin of victory in its first four games this season.
-- BYU is now 4-0 when scoring at least 70 points this season while averaging 90.3 points per game and allowing just 59.3 ppg. BYU has scored at least 90 points in each of the last three contests.
-- BYU has shot above 50 percent from the field in each of the last three games, including a season-high 60.4 percent (29-for-48) mark against Hartford.
-- The Cougars have outrebounded their opponents in all four games this season, including a +19 margin (38-19) against Hartford.
-- Five Cougars scored in double figures against Hartford, marking the third time in as many games and already equaling last year's mark of three games in which at least five players posted double digits.
-- Cummard and Plaisted have scored in double figures in every game this season, including a season-high 20 for Cummard against Hartford and 16 for Plaisted.
-- True freshman Jimmer Fredette posted a career-high 19 points against Hartford. He made 6-of-7 from the field including 4-of-5 from three-point range while going 3-for-3 from the free-throw line.
-- With a 24-point advantage at the break against Hartford (46-22), BYU has led by double digits at the half in all four of its games this season, going 4-0. BYU also led by 24 at Long Beach State while posting a 19-point advantage at the break against Idaho State and a 12-point lead against Jackson State, outscoring opponents by an average of 19.8 points in the first half this season. The Cougars have held opponents under 30 first-half points in all four games this year. BYU held a double-digit lead at halftime in 14 games last year, going 13-1 in those games while going 22-4 in games BYU led at the half by any margin.
-- With a 46-point first half and a 51-point second half against Hartford, BYU has now posted at least 40 points in every half of play in the last three games. The Cougars have also shot above 50 percent in each of the last six halves, including 57.7 percent (15-for-26) in the first half and 63.6 percent (14-for-22) in the second half against the Hawks.
- After trailing 7-5 early in the game, BYU went on a 22-4 run with scores from Murdock, Plaisted, Burgess, Jimmer Fredette, Tavernari and Cummard while making nine of 10 shots after a 2-for-7 start.
- The Cougars struggled offensively to begin the second half, missing their first four shots from the field while going 7-for-10 from the free-throw line. Cummard ended the scoring drought with a fast-break dunk at the 14:08 mark, his first of the year and 15th of his career.
- Plaisted added his fourth dunk of the year and 75th of his career with 8:30 left to play.
BYU PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
TRENT PLAISTED (NOV. 19) -- Junior Trent Plaisted led BYU to two wins last week as the team's top scorer and rebounder. He averaged 19.0 points and 7.5 rebounds while adding 1.5 assists in home wins over Idaho State and Jackson State. Plaisted made 65 percent of his shots on 13-of-20 shooting from the floor and converted 85.7 percent of his free-throw attempts, going 12-for-14 at the line. Plaisted put up a game-high 21 points against Jackson State Friday night on 8-for-11 shooting from the floor and 5-of-6 accuracy at the free-throw line. He provided the firepower for BYU to overtake Jackson State's early lead in the game. The Cougars trailed from the opening tip by as many as eight points until Plaisted gave the Cougars their first lead at 28-26 just after subbing back in at the 7:46 mark. His bucket was the beginning of an 11-2 Cougar run that gave BYU the momentum it would need to run away with the victory. During the key run, Plaisted scored eight of the 11 points and assisted the only other Cougar bucket, a three by Jonathan Tavernari. Plaisted added seven rebounds, two assists, one block and one steal in his 19 minutes on the floor against the Tigers. Against Idaho State on Wednesday, Plaisted totaled 17 points and eight rebounds with one assist while going 5-for-9 from the floor and 7-of-8 at the line. Plaisted's 21 points against Jackson State marked the 10th time in his career he has topped 20 points in a game.
LEE CUMMARD (NOV. 12) -- Junior guard Lee Cummard led BYU to a runaway 74-34 win over reigning Big West Champion Long Beach State at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. Cummard helped BYU take quick control of the game by hitting his first three shots and assisting another Cougar bucket during the team's first seven possessions. BYU scored the first 10 points of the game and never looked back. Cummard scored four of the Cougars' first five points and six of their first 12. He finished with a game-high 15 points and nearly achieved a double-double by adding nine boards to share team-high honors with sophomore Jonathan Tavernari. He also contributed two assists and a steal while shooting 6-of-12 from the floor and 2-for-3 at the free-throw line.
WORTHY OF MENTION
- Plaisted's 21 points against Jackson State marked the 10th time in his career he has topped 20 points in a game. Cummard recorded his third career 20-point game and first of the season with 20 points against Hartford.
- Cummard and Plaisted have scored in double figures in all four games for BYU this season.
- Cummard became the first Cougar to record a double-double this season with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Idaho State, the fourth double-double of his career.
- Senior point guard Ben Murdock has 21 assists and only three turnovers in his first four starting assignments at the Division I level, ranking second among MWC players in assist/turnover ratio (7.00) and assists per game (5.3). Last week he dished out 13 assists in two games with only one turnover, including a career-high eight assists Friday night against Jackson State.
- BYU is averaging 90.2 points per game and allowing just 59.2 ppg. BYU leads all MWC teams in scoring, scoring margin (+31.0), free-throw percentage (.762), assists (21.8), defensive rebounds (32.0) and field goal percentage defense (.343).
- BYU has led by double digits at the half in all four of its games this season, outscoring opponents by 19.8 points in the first period of play. The Cougars held a double-digit lead at halftime in 14 games last year, going 13-1 in those games while going 22-4 in games BYU led at the half by any margin.
Forward Noah Hartsock and guard/forward Charles Abouo (pronounced a-BOO-oh) have signed National Letters of Intent while guard Jackson Emery has signed a scholarship agreement to return to the Cougars. Hartsock, who previously signed with BYU out of high school, and Emery, who played for the Cougars as a freshman in 2005-06, are both currently serving as missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
"I feel really good about this group of players," Rose said. "Jackson was an important part of our success as a freshman and got a lot of good experience that he will build upon when he returns. Noah and Charles are both talented student-athletes who will add a lot to our program."
A native of Bartlesville, Okla., the 6-foot-8 Hartsock had the third-best scoring average in the state with 27.6 points per game as a senior at Bartlesville High School in 2005-06 while earning 6A Coaches Player of the Year and Tulsa World Player of the Year honors. Oklahoma's Jim Thorpe Award winner and a McDonald's High School All-America nominee, Hartsock added 8.0 rebounds and 3.7 blocks per contest as a senior.
An extremely athletic wing from Logan, Utah, Abouo is averaging double figures, including a team-high 17 points in his last outing, for Brewster Academy (Wolfeboro, N.H.) this year after helping Logan High School win Region 11 titles in each of his three varsity seasons. The 6-foot-4 swingman was named the 3A MVP by the Deseret Morning News last spring after averaging 21.1 points, 10.2 rebounds and 3.2 steals per game as a senior at Logan High School.
Described as explosive and athletic, Abouo was a two-time first-team all-state selection at LHS who also earned All-Valley Player of the Year honors as a junior in 2005-06 when he averaged 15.6 ppg, 7.7 rpg and 1.1 bpg.
Known for his competitiveness and clutch play, Emery is a quick player and solid defender with outstanding leaping ability. The Alpine, Utah, native provided a consistent spark for BYU and was a top perimeter defender as a true freshman in 2005-06, playing in 28 of 29 games with six starts. He averaged 2.8 points and 1.5 rebounds while scoring in double figures twice and leading BYU in rebounds and assists once each.
A good shooter from long range, Emery also has the athleticism and creativity to convert inside when going to the basket. The 6-foot-3 guard out of Lone Peak High School was named the top player in Class 4A in 2005 and received the 2005 Mr. Basketball Award (Deseret Morning News), given to the athlete considered to be the top high school player in Utah.
MEN'S BASKETBALL HONORED FOR HIGH ACADEMIC ACHIEVEMENT
The NCAA honored the BYU men's basketball team with a public recognition award for the Cougars' Academic Progress Rate scores. BYU posted multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent of all men's basketball teams in the country. "The athletes have really worked hard at striving to be good students," said E.J. Caffaro, Student Athlete Academic Center director and men's basketball academic coach. "We've worked hard to put together a strong academic program. Their high score is a result of their hard work and the success of that program." Out of the 336 Division I men's basketball programs in the country, BYU is one of 35 to be honored by the NCAA and the only basketball team from Mountain West Conference to receive the recognition. The Cougars are also one of only 10 teams to earn high academic achievement and also qualify for the past year's NCAA Tournament. Other NCAA Tournament teams who also received public recognition awards were Belmont (NCAA No. 15 seed), Holy Cross (No. 13 seed), Davidson (No. 13 seed), Illinois (No. 12 seed), North Carolina (No. 1 seed), Notre Dame (No. 6 seed), Pennsylvania (No. 14 seed), Villanova (No. 9 seed) and Xavier (No. 9 seed).
BURGESS, CUMMARD, PLAISTED NAMED TEAM CAPTAINS
BYU men's basketball head coach Dave Rose has announced that senior Sam Burgess and juniors Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard have been selected to serve as captains on this year's team."Each of our captains have qualities we really want in all of our players," Rose said. "Sam is a hard worker and tough competitor who leads by example. Trent and Lee have proven their leadership ability both on and off the court over the past two years." Both Cummard and Plaisted are two year starters who received all-conference accolades last season after helping the Cougars win their first outright league title since 1988 and achieve their first national ranking since 1993. A two-time All-MWC Second Team selection and Freshman All-American, Plaisted was second on the team last year in both scoring (12.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg). The junior forward/center from San Antonio scored in double figures 21 times while posting three double-doubles on the year in 33 starts. Cummard was named to the All-MWC Third Team last season after starting every game for the Cougars. He averaged 9.4 points, third on the team, on a team-best .553 shooting mark from the field. The junior guard from Mesa, Ariz., also led the team in steals and minutes, was second in assists and blocks and was third in rebounds with 5.6 per contest. He ranked among the top 15 in the conference in seven statistical categories. After redshirting the 2005-06 season, Burgess provided a spark off the bench for the Cougars last year, playing in 31 of 34 games and averaging 3.6 points and 1.5 rebounds in 10.2 minutes of action. The senior guard from Alpine, Utah, came on especially strong during BYU's run to the conference championship, playing double-digit minutes in eight of the Cougars' last 12 outings. The best-conditioned perimeter player on the team the past two seasons, Burgess averaged 15.0 points and 5.2 assists per game while shooting .615 from the floor during BYU's successful tour of France over the summer.
IVANOVIC TABBED FOR SERBIAN NATIONAL TEAM
BYU senior Vuk Ivanovic was selected to play on the Serbian National Team for the European Championship. The 6-foot-10 forward/center was one of 32 players on the Serbian roster, including NBA veterans Marko Jaric (Minnesota Timberwolves), Darko Milicic (Memphis Grizzlies) and Sasha Pavlovic (Cleveland Cavaliers).
"Vuk answered my call while he was in the lab and couldn't believe that I was calling him to play for the national team," said newly appointed Serbian coach Zoran Slavnic in an interview reported by PA SportsTicker. "We need that kind of patriot, those who love their country, who are ready to play for it and who are great players." Serbia played in Group A of the EuroBasket, which began on Sept. 3, along with defending-champion Greece and Russia. Due to his commitment to the National Team, Ivanovic did not participate in BYU's foreign tour to France Aug. 15-25.
Three players plan to redshirt during the 2007-08 season. They are junior guard Lamont Morgan, Jr., freshman center James Anderson and freshman guard Matt Pinegar.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 34 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's second-longest active home victory streak. The Cougars won their home opener this season, 90-69 over Idaho State and defeated Jackson State, 100-61, and Hartford, 97-73. BYU won 17 home games last season after going 14-1 at home in 2005-06. BYU's last home loss was in the 2005-06 season opener against Loyola Marymount. BYU?has since won 18 straight over nonconference opponents and 16 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU?is 405-116 (.777) all-time in the Marriott Center. The Cougars' longest home winning streak came from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003 when BYU won 44 straight in the Marriott Center.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (As of Nov. 21, 2007)
Wins Team This year Next home game
35 Memphis 3-0 Nov. 27 vs. Austin Peay
34 BYU 3-0 Dec. 5 vs. Weber State
ON THE ROAD
The Cougars picked up their first road win of the year in their season opener at Long Beach State, continuing their success 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 Mountain West Conference team with a winning record on the road in league play last year. The Cougars were also 2-2 in neutral court games last season.
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
BYU is now 4-0 when scoring at least 70 points this season and 3-0 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 90.2 points per game and allowing just 59.2 ppg. The Cougars have scored at least 90 points in each of their last three games, reaching 100 against Jackson State. Last year the Cougars scored an MWC-leading 78.1 points and allowed 69.0 points. BYU?was 20-0 when opponents scored less than 70 points and 23-6 when it scored 70 or more points. The Cougars were also 12-0 last season when scoring at least 80 points. With its scoring output, BYU?recorded its highest scoring average since 1996 (82.3 ppg) and highest scoring margin since 1993 (also +9.1).
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU has won the battle of the boards in each game this year, besting opponents by an average of 12.8 boards per contest as the Cougars are averaging 43.8 rebounds to their opponents' 31.0. The Cougars posted a season-high +19 rebounding margin (38-19) against Hartford as four Cougars pulled down at least five rebounds. BYU began the season with a 55-40 rebounding advantage at Long Beach State, matching last year's season high of 55 boards against Seton Hall. BYU was 24-2 last season when outrebounding its opponents and 1-7 when losing the battle of the boards.
Five players have scored in double figures in each of the last three games, already matching last year's total of three games in which at least five players reached double digits. Three Cougars have led the team in scoring this year through the first four games as Lee Cummard has paced BYU twice and Trent Plaisted and Sam Burgess have each come out on top once. Team-high rebounding and assist honors have also been shared by three players through four games so far this season.
VS. RANKED TEAMS
BYU is 49-109 all-time against teams ranked in the Associated Press Poll, including an 0-3 mark against teams ranked No. 6 and an 0-3 record against teams ranked No. 1. 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 State. BYU's last neutral-court victory over a ranked foe came on Dec. 6, 2003 when the Cougars defeated No. 25 Oklahoma State 76-71 in Salt Lake City. The Cougars also beat No. 13 Stanford 81-76 on Dec. 22, 2001 in the Las Vegas Showdown at the Thomas & Mack Center.
With a 4-0 record to begin the 2007-08 season, the Cougars are off to their best start since 2002-03 when BYU won its first five games before falling on Dec. 7 at Creighton. The Cougars have won in dominant fashion this season, besting opponents by an average of 31.0 points per game while scoring 90.2 ppg and allowing only 59.2 points per contest.
After setting a program record with 256 three-pointers last season, the Cougars have recorded 38 makes from long range so far this season. BYU has posted double-digit three-pointers in a game twice this year with 12 against Long Beach State and 13 against Hartford, marking just the sixth time in program history that the Cougars have posted at least 13 threes in a game including a record 15 against UNLV last season. BYU is shooting 46.3 percent from beyond the arc this year and has shot at least 40 percent in three of four games, including a season high 59.1 percent efficiency against the Hawks (13-for-22). BYU shot above 40 percent from behind the arc 18 times on the year, including 12 of the last 15 games, and made at least 10 treys in a game on seven occasions.
Four Cougar freshman are making an impact this year as Chris Collinsworth, Jimmer Fredette, Michael Loyd, Jr. and Nick Martineau have made their respective BYU debuts with results that bode well for the future. All four saw their first action in the Cougars' season opener at Long Beach State as Fredette and Collinsworth led the newcomers in scoring with nine points each. Fredette tallied 10 points vs. Idaho State, and Loyd scored 15 points against Jackson State while Collinsworth pulled down 10 boards against the Tigers. Fredette then made noise against Hartford on Tuesday with 19 points. He shot 6-for-7 from the field, including making 4-of-5 from three-point range, while posting a perfect 3-for-3 mark from the free-throw line and tying his career high with four steals in 19 minutes. On the year, Fredette is tied for fifth in the league in three-point percentage (.563) and tied for sixth in three-pointers made per game (2.25).
Cougar head coach Dave Rose has used the same starting lineup in each of BYU's first four games, electing to use two seniors in Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess, returning All-Mountain West Conference selections Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard, both juniors, and 2007 MWC Freshman of the Year Jonathan Tavernari to begin the game. Cummard started all 34 games last season, and Plaisted made 33 starts. Burgess made one start as a sophomore in 2004-05 while Murdock and Tavernari each earned their first career starts against Long Beach State. Rose used the same starting rotation in both of the Cougars' two exhibition games.
The Cougars have won their first three games by an average margin of 31.0 points, including a 24-point triumph over Hartford (97-73), a 39-point win over Jackson Sate (100-61), a 21-point victory over Idaho State (90-69) and a 40-point win at Long Beach State (74-34). The win over the 49ers marked BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995. BYU won 17 games by double-digits last year, including seven by 20 or more points, and was the only team in the Mountain West Conference to not have a regular-season game decided by less than four points. With an average scoring margin of +9.1 last season, the Cougars posted their largest margin of victory since 1993 over the course of the year.
BYU is shooting 52.6 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 34.3 percent from the floor. The Cougars posted a season-high 60.4 percent efficiency Tuesday against Hartford bolstered by a 63.6 percent second-half shooting mark (14-for-22). Overall, BYU has shot above 50 percent in each of the last six halves of play. The Cougars' hot shooting also extends beyond the arc as BYU has made 46.3 percent of its shots from long range.
Two players on this year's Cougar squad will be returning home this weekend when BYU plays in the Las Vegas Invitational as sophomore Jonathan Tavernari and freshman Michael Loyd, Jr. both played high school basketball in the city. Before earning MWC Freshman of the Year honors last season, Tavernari prepped at Bishop Gorman High School in 2005-06, leading the state of Nevada in scoring as a senior at 23.1 points per game. Loyd ranked in the top 10 in steals, top 20 in scoring and top 25 in assists among all players in Nevada last year at Palo Verde High School.
The Cougars are now 4-0 this season when leading at the half with all four advantages coming by double digits. BYU is besting opponents by an average of 19.8 points in the first period of play. The Cougars have put together strong defensive starts in their first four games, holding all four opponents under 30 points before the break. The BYU defense kept Long Beach State and Idaho State under 30 points, under 30 percent shooting from the field and under 10 field goals made in the first 20 minutes. The Cougars' 36-12 lead at the break in Long Beach marked their largest halftime advantage since being up by 28 points (51-23) against Western Oregon on Dec. 22, 2006. The 12 points given up by BYU in the first 20 minutes of the game at LBSU marked the fewest points allowed in a half by the Cougars since allowing a record-low 10 points against Air Force in 2003. BYU?led at the half in 26 of the team's 34 games last year, including a double-digit lead 14 times. The Cougars outscored their opponents by an average of 5.9 points in the first period of play. The Cougars were 22-4 when leading at the half, 3-4 when trailing and 0-1 when tied last season.
COUGARS VOLUNTEER FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER CHRISTMAS FOUNDATION
For the ninth year, the BYU men's basketball team will join the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation in an effort to raise money for families who have children with cancer and participate in the Foundation's annual Christmas party for those families. The Foundation will be collecting monetary donations and any unwrapped toys through the first three weeks of December. Toys can be dropped off at the nearest Far West Bank location, at Harmon's Down Town Auto Center located in Provo or at the men's basketball office located next to the Ticket Office at the Marriott Center. Monetary contributions will also be accepted at the men's basketball office. One hundred percent of all donations to the Foundation will go directly towards the Christmas party for more than 90 families who have children with cancer living primarily in Utah County. A large portion of the money donated will purchase hundreds of toys that will enable these parents to have gifts under the Christmas tree for their children. In addition to all of these toys, there is food, free entertainment, such as games and ornament decorating, and local celebrities including Santa, Cosmo and the BYU men's basketball team. This is the eighth year BYU coaches, players and their families have volunteered for the Christmas party. BYU head coach Dave Rose will serve as Honorary Chairman for the third year. "This has always been a cause I feel strongly about," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "It has been such a positive experience for the coaches, players and families and is a tremendous opportunity for community members to be involved in brightening the holiday season for these children." Cheryl Rose, vice chairman of the Foundation and wife of coach Rose, discussed the challenges these families face financially and how the Foundation hopes to help these families now and in the future. "For many of these families, it is financially impossible to always have food on the table, a roof over their heads or even have Christmas," Cheryl Rose said. "We want to create a Christmas experience that they will never forget and hopefully in the future help families meet those basic needs that they can't on their own." Rose says that asking for donations has usually been difficult for her, but with such a meaningful cause it has been easy. It has enriched her life, which is something she hopes others will enjoy by contributing to these families. "It's a privilege for me to associate with these families," she said. "They are such an example to me. Even with all that they've been through, they have such a strength and passion for life. It's almost selfish on my part to be involved because I get so much out of it." This year's Christmas party will be held Dec. 19. Parents will be invited to choose the gifts their children will receive on Dec. 18. The gifts will then be distributed at the party. "The support we get from the community makes this event possible," Cheryl Rose said. "We couldn't serve these children without the donations of time, money and gifts we receive."