Jonathan Tavernari leads the Mountain West Conference with 3.4 three-pointers made per game. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
BYU GAME #8 FAST FACTS
No. 20 BYU COUGARS (6-1)
WEBER STATE (2-4)
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007
Marriott Center (22,700)
7:35 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (51-19 in third season; same overall)
WSU, Randy Rahe (22-16 in second season; same overall)
BYU leads, 22-10, including a 73-69 overtime win last year in Ogden.
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar?Sports Network (6:30 p.m. MT 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
BYU HOSTS IN-STATE FOE WEBER STATE WEDNESDAY AT 7:30 P.M.
No. 20 BYU (6-1) returns home after three straight games away from the Marriott Center to host in-state foe Weber State on Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. The Cougars are 3-0 at home this year and own the nation's second-longest active homecourt victory streak with 34 straight wins in the Marriott Center. Weber State earned a Big Sky title and NCAA berth last year with a 20-12 record in Randy Rahe's first season at the helm. Coming off a loss at Illinois Saturday, the Wildcasts are 2-4 this year, including a win over Utah State. Wednesday's game will not be televised. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City and on the Internet at KSL.com. Wednesday's game follows the women's basketball contest between BYU and New Mexico State at 4:30 p.m. in the Marriott Center.
BYU faces No. 9 Michigan State Saturday at 2 p.m. in EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- The Cougars' entrance into the national rankings last week marked the program's earliest appearance in the national polls since the 1980-81 season. With a ranking as high as No. 21 last year, BYU has now been ranked in back-to-back season for the first time since 1980-81 and 1981-82.
-- 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 WEBER STATE
The Weber State Wildcats are 24 overall this season with a 78-71 win over Utah State and a 72-52 loss to Utah against in-state opponents. Senior forward Arturas Valeika is the only Wildcat averaging double-digit points with 12.7 points per game on a team-best .587 shooting mark from the floor. The 6-foot-9 Lithuanian also posts 10.0 rebounds per game and has led the team on the boards in five of six games, including a season-high 15 rebounds against the Aggies in the season opener. Senior guard Dezmon Harris and junior guard Juan Pablo Silveira each average 7.7 ppg. Harris leads the team with 16 assists on the year while Silveira is right behind with 11. Sophomore forward Steve Panos is second on the team with 3.7 rpg to go along with 6.8 points per contest. As a team, the Wildcats are averaging 62.8 points per game on 46.9 percent shooting from the field, including a 38.6 percent mark from three-point range. Weber State opponents post 69.5 ppg on 49.2 percent shooting from the field and a 38.6 percent efficiency from three-point range. Wildcat head coach Randy Rahe is 22-16 in his second season at the helm.
WEBER STATE'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 11 Arturas Valeika 6-9 225 Sr. 12.7 10.0 Vilnius, Lithuania
F 45 Juan Pablo Silveira 6-4 205 Jr. 7.7 1.0 Salto, Uruguay
C 40 Steve Panos 6-8 230 So. 6.8 3.7 Salt Lake City, Utah
G 10 Dezmon Harris 6-1 175 Sr. 7.7 1.5 Fort Worth, Texas
G 23 Brody Van Brocklin 6-2 180 Sr. 5.0 1.3 Fruit Heights, Utah
WEBER STATE'S LAST?OUTING -- ILLINI RACE PAST WILDCATS
CHAMPAIGN -- Guard Trent Meacham scored a career-high 26 points and Chester Frazier and Mike Tisdale each had eight as Illinois overpowered Weber State 78-61 Saturday at Assembly Hall. The Illini, who were coming off a 69-61 loss to Maryland in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge on Wednesday, controlled the pace and tempo of the game from start to finish. Illinois (5-2) used an early 7-0 run, highlighted by two Meacham 3-pointers, to take a 14-5 lead with 14:14 to play in the first half. Ahead 28-17 with 8:19 to play in the first, Illinois went on another run, this time putting together a string of nine unanswered points over the next three minutes. The Illini held the Wildcats to just two points over the final 4 minutes and 30 seconds, leading 47-22 going into halftime. Meacham, who entered the game averaging 8.3 points per game, came off the bench to score 20 first-half points, hitting 4-of-8 3-point attempts. His career day topped a 24-point performance against Florida A&M on Nov. 19, 2006, when he hit a school record-tying eight 3-pointers. Juan Pablo Silveira led the Wildcats (2-4) with 10 points and Dezmon Harris added nine points. The Wildcats struggled to take care of the ball committing 21 turnovers, and 12 in the first half. Weber State converted on just 6-of-22 shots from the field in the first half. Meanwhile, Illinois shot 61.3 percent from the field during the first 20 minutes, hitting 19-of-31 shots and 7-of-12 3-point attempts.
SERIES NOTES VS. WEBER STATE
With the exceptions of the 1979 and 1980 seasons, the Cougars and Wildcats have met at least once every year for a total of 32 times dating back to 1973. BYU owns a 22-10 advantage in those matchups, including a 6-10 record in Ogden and a perfect 16-0 mark against Weber State in Provo. After a 73-69 overtime win last season, the Cougars have a four-game victory streak in the series since Weber State last beat the Cougars on Jan. 8, 2003 at the Dee Events Center, 75-69.
With the old Oquirrh bucket and the state bragging rights that go along with it once again on the line this season, the Cougars are hoping to defend the in-state title they won last year with a 5-0 record. The Cougar-Wildcat match-up will be BYU's first game against an in-state opponent this year. In addition to BYU's matchup with Weber State Wednesday, the Cougars face Southern Utah on Friday Dec. 21, in Provo and then face the University of Utah twice, on Jan. 19 and Feb. 20, during Mountain West Conference play.
BYU's LAST OUTING VS. WEBER STATE -- BYU WINS WILD ONE IN OVERTIME AT WEBER STATE
OGDEN -- The BYU men's basketball team pulled off a wild one Saturday night at the Dee Events Center as the Cougars knocked off Weber State, 73-69, in overtime thanks in part to a career night from Keena Young. Young recorded a career high with 27 points to go along with a season-best 11 rebounds, marking his second double-double of the year. Lee Cummard also scored in double figures with 12 points while Rashaun Broadus got into double-digits for the first time this year with 10. Young also tied for the team lead in assists as he and Austin Ainge each recorded three dishes. Young got BYU on the board with a layin at the 17:45 mark and then kept the Cougars in the game with four more points leading to a 6-6 tie with 15:40 left to play. After BYU found itself trailing 13-10, Broadus tied it up with the Cougars' first three-pointer of the night. The two teams traded buckets from there leading to a 19-17 Wildcat lead. Finally, after the eighth tie of the contest at 19-19, Trent Plaisted put BYU out in front with a pair of free throws. Cummard then made good on a steal at midcourt to stretch the lead to 23-19. The Wildcats kept pushing and got within one at 26-25 until a putback dunk from Plaisted followed by a layin from Jimmy Balderson gave BYU its largest lead of the game to that point at 30-25. WSU added a bucket before the buzzer but went into the locker room trailing 30-27. The Wildcats began the second half much as they did the first with a bucket to get things going, but Lee Cummard answered with a three on the other end to preserve the BYU lead at 33-29. After another tie at 34-34, it was Young who got the Cougars back on top with back-to-back scores, his first buckets since the opening minutes of the game. The Wildcats answered with a three-pointer to get within one at 37-38, but Young followed with another layin for the Cougars. The cycle was repeated once more to preserve a 42-40 Cougar lead. However, the Wildcats converted a three-point play on the ensuing possession to take their first lead since the 19-17 mark at 43-42 with 14:52 left to play. WSU's hot hand from downtown continued as the Wildcats drained three more three-pointers sandwiched around two BYU buckets to take a 52-47 lead. Balderson got BYU involved in the three-point frenzy with a bucket to tie the game for the 12th time at 52-52 with 10:33 left to play, and then Broadus took Balderson's lead and gave the Cougars a 55-52 advantage with a long-range make of his own. But the lead was short-lived as the Wildcats' seventh three-pointer of the half tied the game once again at 57-57 with 7:46 remaining. Young once again gave BYU a 61-58 lead at the 3:52 mark. But a pair of Wildcat free throws and a jumper off of an offensive rebound produced yet another lead change to put WSU up 62-61 with 2:19 left. The two teams traded turnovers as the clock wound down until Young tied it up at 62-62 with a free-throw make at the 1:22 mark. Young drew a foul on the next Cougar possession and drained both attempts from the charity stripe to give BYU a 64-62 lead with 41 seconds left to play. The Cougars then geared up for a defensive stop on the other end but instead got whistled for a foul, allowing the Wildcats to sink a pair of free throws, producing the game's 15th tie at 64-64. With 13 seconds left on the clock, Broadus brought the ball down the court but couldn't get it inside, instead having to settle for a long bomb that didn't go down as time expired, sending the game into overtime. Cummard got BYU started off right in the extra period with a three-point play, but WSU knotted the score at 67-67 two minutes later. But Young wasn't done as he pulled off a three-point play of his own with 1:50 left in overtime to regain a 70-67 BYU advantage. A turnaround jumper by the Wildcats with just under a minute to play got WSU within one. The Cougars took the ball down the court and tried in vain for 34 seconds to get off a shot but couldn't until Broadus lobbed one up from underneath the basket as the shot clock was winding down, getting a goal-tending call and the 72-69 BYU lead. Plaisted iced it with a free throw, giving the Cougars the 73-69 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "The game of basketball is a process of learning how to win close games. The more that happens, the more confidence these guys get. These are the kind of wins we can build on."
-- "There are a lot of things we need to work on, but we can learn a lot from this game. This was a big win for us in terms of the way it happened. We got down, had to come back and had to overcome adversity. And we showed ourselves that we can do it."
-- "Keena (Young) is getting better and better in the low post. I liked that our guys kept going to him. There are lots of ways we can get the ball in to him. As he got better tonight, our guys just kept feeding him."
-- "Weber State is a good team. Randy Rahe has done a great job in a short period of time. We knew it would be a battle."
Weber State Head Coach Randy Rahe
-- "I thought overall our execution was as good as it's been in our half-court offense. When we execute we get good looks."
-- "I'm really, really proud of our guys. They play hard, that's what they do. They play with a lot of energy, and they play with enthusiasm and they enjoy the game."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career High: Keena Young - 27 pts (most by a Cougar since Dec. 13, 2003 -- Rafael Araujo - 28)
-- Young recorded his second double-double of the season and fifth of his career with 27 points and 11 rebounds on the night. He has now scored in double figures in every game this season, the only Cougar to do so.
-- With 10 points, including a bucket to help seal the win with 21 seconds left to play in overtime, Rashaun Broadus reached double-figure scoring for the first time this year.
-- BYU's win at Weber State marks its first road win of the year. The Cougars had previously lost at UCLA and at Boise State.
-- With the win, the Cougars have bounced back from both of their two losses this year with victories, winning three straight after losing at UCLA and rebounding from a loss at Boise State Wednesday with the win at Weber State.
-- The game marked the second time this season the Cougars have had to play an extra period, including an 84-78 win over Idaho State on Nov. 18. Prior to this year, BYU had not played more than one overtime game in a season since the 2001-02 campaign.
-- The Cougars have now won their last five overtime games with their last loss coming on March 14, 2003 against Colorado State at the MWC Tournament (80-86).
-- BYU's 30-27 halftime lead marked the fourth time this season the Cougars have held their opponents under 30 points in the first half and the fifth time BYU has scored 30 or more points in the first period of play. The Cougars are outscoring opponents by an average of 4.8 points in the first half.
-- Young scored the first six points of the game for the Cougars and then scored nine straight for BYU over a period of 2:24 in the second half.
- True freshman Jonathan Tavernari made an immediate impact upon entering the game midway through the first half as he recorded the first two steals of his BYU career and made good on the first one with a fastbreak bucket.
- Plaisted posted his third dunk of the season with 1:12 left in the first half, bringing his career total to 36.
BYU'S LAST OUTING - CUMMARD LEADS BYU TO WIN AT PORTLAND
PORTLAND -- After a week off, the No. 21 BYU men's basketball team defeated the Portland Pilots 78-54 Saturday night, improving to 6-1 on the season. The Cougars are now 6-0 when scoring at least 70 points this season and 4-0 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark. Lee Cummard's game-high 18 points led four Cougars scoring in double figures. Trent Plaisted finished the game with 16 points, Jonathan Tavernari with 13 points and Jimmer Fredette with 11 points. Senior point guard Ben Murdock continued his trend of good ball-handling, recording 10 assists. Plaisted also pulled down a game-high eight rebounds. As a team, the Cougars outrebounded Portland, 41-27, and held the Pilots to .362 shooting from the field. BYU got out to an early 8-3 lead to begin the game with consecutive three-pointers by Tavernari and Cummard. The team cooled down midway through the half, going scoreless for three minutes until a lay-up by Vuk Ivanovic put the Cougars up 15-9. Tavernari scored a baseline jumper on an assist from Ivanovic with 10:04 remaining in the first half. Ivanovic continued to make his presence known, creating a Portland turnover and scoring on a put-back missed shot by Nick Martineau. Chris Miles drew cheers from the large crowd of BYU supporters when he entered the game later in the first half. In August, Miles returned home from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints where he served in the Portland area. A Pilot turnover resulted in fast-break points for Murdock to end the first half. With a 14-point advantage at the break, BYU has led at the half in six of its seven games this season, going 6-0. BYU has held a double-digit lead at halftime in five of its seven games so far this season, going 5-0 in those games. The Cougars came out to a fast start to begin the second half. BYU would go on a 17-2 run, recording its largest lead of the game at 29 points with 15:56 remaining in the game. The run was fueled by back-to-back three-pointers from Tavernari and Sam Burgess. Portland quickly cut into BYU's lead on three three-pointers by the Pilots' Jared Stohl. A 19-5 run put Portland back in the game until quick offensive play by the Cougars created more scoring opportunities, including an open trey by Cummard. Fredette scored his first points of the game as he drove to the basket with 10:43 on the clock. Fredette's fast-break lay-up a few plays later put the Cougars back up 66-44. Miles then blocked a Pilot shot, and Fredette pulled down the rebound and scored a three-pointer on the other end. From there, BYU cruised to the 78-54 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I'm really proud of our players. We had really great practices this week as far as effort is concerned, but we didn't execute nearly as well as we usually do. Tonight we came out and executed well."
-- "We had a full house of BYU fans. They came out and supported us. They were really loud, which was a good feeling for our team."
-- "In the second half, especially the first 10 minutes, we were really good, not only in terms of focus and energy, but our execution."
-- "Jimmer [Fredette] really gave us a lift in the second half. He's getting a lot better defensively. He needs to come in and give us a lift like he did tonight. He'll be a key player in our team's success this year."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- BYU head coach Dave Rose has used the same starting lineup in BYU's first seven games, calling on Ben Murdock, Sam Burgess, Lee Cummard, Jonathan Tavernari and Trent Plaisted to begin the game.
-- Individual Career Highs: Ben Murdock -- 10 assists; Lee Cummard -- 7 field goals made (tied), 6 assists.
-- With the win, BYU is now 132-55 all-time as a ranked team, including a 4-3 mark under head coach Dave Rose.
-- At 6-1 so far this year, BYU is off to its best start through seven games since 2002-03, when the Cougars also posted a 6-1 record after seven contests.
-- Five of BYU's six wins this season have come by more than 20 points as the Cougars are outscoring opponents by an average of 20.0 points per game.
-- With the 78-54 win, BYU is now 6-0 when scoring at least 70 points and 4-0 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark.
-- The Cougars are also now 5-1 when outrebounding opponents after a 41-27 advantage against the Pilots.
-- BYU's 65.2 percent second-half shooting percentage marked its highest shooting percentage in half this year.
-- The Cougars have now led at halftime in six of seven games this year, going 6-0 in those contests and outscoring opponents by an average of 12.9 points in the first half. BYU's 35-21 lead at Portland marked the Cougars' fifth double-digit halftime lead this season.
-- BYU has held all seven of its opponents this year under 40 points in the first half. The 21 points scored by Portland in the first half is the second-fewest given up by the Cougars in the first half this year (12 at LBSU).
-- Plaisted has scored in double figures in every game this season.
-- BYU came out of the locker room with a 17-2 run to begin the second half to take a game-high 29 points. The Cougars have led their opponents by at least 20 points in five games this year.
BYU ENTERS NATIONAL RANKINGS
The BYU men's basketball team entered the national rankings last Monday, earning the program's earliest appearance in the national polls since the 1980-81 season. BYU was ranked No. 21 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll. In this week's poll, BYU is ranked 20th and 22nd, respectively.
The Cougars are coming off a second-place finish at the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational where they defeated No. 6 Louisville Friday before suffering their first loss of the year in a closely contested championship battle against No. 1 North Carolina Saturday. BYU has a 5-1 record on the year.
"(The ranking) is something we can build on," said BYU coach Dave Rose, the two-time Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year who has guided the Cougars to back-to-back 20-win seasons in his first two years. "We have a lot of work to do and need to keep improving as a team to get ready for the Mountain West Conference season."
In his third year guiding the program, Rose has seen his team earn the respect of the national voters for the second consecutive season. Last year, BYU entered the polls on Feb. 19 to receive the program's first national ranking since 1993. BYU finished last year ranked No. 24 in the final AP Poll, something a Cougar team had not accomplished since 1988.
BYU has now been ranked in back-to-back season for the first time since 1980-81 and 1981-82. This week's entry into the national rankings marks the earliest the Cougars have been included in the polls since receiving a No. 18 ranking in the 1980-81 AP preseason poll. It also marks the first time BYU's football and men's basketball teams have been nationally ranked the same week in the AP poll since Dec. 28, 1992.
The Cougar basketball program has now been ranked in the AP Poll during 16 seasons since its first national ranking in 1950-51 (see list below).
SEASONS BYU HAS BEEN RANKED IN THE AP POLL
SEASON HIGHEST RANKING
WORTHY OF MENTION
- Plaisted has scored at least 20 points in three of the last five games, including 21 points against No. 6 Louisville and a season-high 24 points against No. 1 North Carolina, marking the 12th time in his career he has topped 20 points. Cummard recorded his third career 20-point game and first of the season with 20 points against Hartford.
- Plaisted has scored in double figures in all seven 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. Plaisted added his first of the year and 10th of his career with 21 points and 12 rebounds against No. 6 Louisville before posting 24 points and 17 rebounds against No. 1 North Carolina.
- Senior point guard Ben Murdock has 37 assists and only nine turnovers in his first seven starting assignments at the Division I level, leading the Mountain West Conference in assists per game (5.3) and ranking sixth in assist/turnover ratio (4.1). He dished out a then-career-high eight assists against Jackson State. He had five assists and just one turnover against No. 6 Louisville, the fourth time this year he has dished out at least five assists. Against Portland, he dished out a personal-best 10 assists with only two turnovers.
- BYU is averaging 82.9 points per game and allowing 62.9 ppg. BYU leads all MWC teams in scoring, scoring margin (+20.0), free-throw percentage (.733), rebounding margin (+9.6) and defensive rebounds (30.4).
- BYU has led at the half in six of seven games this season, including five double-digit leads. The Cougars' only deficit came when they trailed 38-31 against No. 1 North Carolina. The Cougars are outscoring opponents by 12.9 points in the first period of play.
BYU PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
LEE CUMMARD (DEC. 3) -- Junior Lee Cummard led No. 21 BYU to a 78-54 road win at Portland Saturday with a game-high 18 points and a career-high six assists. The 6-foot-7 guard shot 77.8 percent from the floor and 75 percent from behind the arc against the Pilots, making 7-of-9 field goals and 3-of-4 treys. His seven field goals made equaled a career-best total. He scored nine of BYU's first 18 points of the game to help the Cougars build an early lead at 18-11. He finished the first half with a game-high 12 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 2-for-3 on threes. While dishing out a career-high six assists on the night, he didn't commit a turnover and added four rebounds and one blocked shot in his 30 minutes of action.
TRENT PLAISTED (NOV. 26) -- BYU junior Trent Plaisted was named the Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week for the third time in his career. Plaisted led BYU to a 2-1 record last week and a second-place finish at the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational. The Cougars defeated Hartford (97-73) and upset No. 6 Louisville (78-76) before falling to No. 1 North Carolina (63-73). Against Hartford, Plaisted scored 16 points, grabbed seven rebounds and equaled his career-high of five assists. He made 4-of-7 shots from the floor and hit 8-of-11 free throws. In the Cougars' upset victory over the sixth-ranked Cardinals, Plaisted scored 21 points (10-for-16 shooting) and pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds with one assist and one block as BYU achieved its first win over a top-6 ranked team since 1965. He scored 12 points during a 16-7 second-half Cougar run that gave them a lead they would not surrender. During the run, he also had four rebounds and one block. Against No. 1 North Carolina, Plaisted recorded season-highs of 24 points and 17 rebounds while adding two assists and one blocked shot. He shot 10-of-20 and went 4-for-6 from the charity stripe. With the Cougars trailing by seven at the half, Plaisted scored eight of BYU's first 10 points of the second stanza and assisted on a bucket to give the Cougars the lead over the Tar Heels. Overall, Plaisted scored 18 second-half points in 18 minutes on the floor. On the week, Plaisted averaged 20.3 points, 12.0 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, while shooting 55.8 percent from the field (24-for-43).
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.
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.
VS. RANKED TEAMS
BYU's victory over No. 6 Louisville marked the highest-ranked team the Cougars have defeated since beating No. 2 St. Joseph's, 103-83, on Dec. 21, 1965. BYU is now 50-110 all-time against teams ranked in the Associated Press Poll and 1-1 this season including a 73-63 loss to No. 1 North Carolina in the championship game of the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational. Prior to that game, the Cougars had not faced the nation's top-ranked team since Dec. 23, 1992, an 89-66 loss to No. 1 Duke at the Maui Invitational. The Cougars were 3-3 in their games vs. ranked teams last year with a 78-70 loss at then-No. 25 and evential Sweet-16 participant UNLV in the MWC Tournament Championship game, a 62-58 victory at then-No. 20 Air Force, a 90-63 win over then-No. 25 UNLV, a 61-52 win over then-No. 13 Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan St.
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 are 3-0 at home this year and won 17 home games last season after going 14-1 at home in 2005-06. BYU's last home loss was in the 2005-06 season opener against Loyola Marymount. BYU?has since won 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 Dec. 3, 2007)
Wins Team This year Next home game
36 Memphis 4-0 Dec. 22 vs. Georgetown
34 BYU 3-0 Dec. 5 vs. Weber State
ON THE ROAD
The Cougars are 2-0 in true road games this year. With a 1-1 record on neutral courts, BYU is now 3-1 this season away from home. 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 6-0 when scoring at least 70 points this season and 4-0 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 82.9 points per game and allowing just 62.9 ppg. The Cougars have scored 90 or more points in three of their seven games this season, 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. 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 six of seven games this year with the only deficit coming against No. 6 Louisville (39-37). The Cougars posted a +4 (43-39) rebounding margin against No. 1 North Carolina. BYU is besting opponents by an average of 9.6 boards per contest, leading the MWC. 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 has had five players score in double figures in a game three times this season, already matching last year's total of three games in which at least five players reached double digits. Four different Cougars have led the team in scoring this year through the first seven games with Lee Cummard pacing BYU three times, Trent Plaisted twice and Sam Burgess and Jonathan Tavernari once each. Team-high rebounding has been shared by four players through seven games while three different Cougars have led the team in assists.
The Cougars won their first five games to begin the 2007-08 season before falling against No. 1 North Carolina on Saturday, equaling their best start since 2002-03 when BYU won its first five games before falling on Dec. 7 at Creighton. The Cougars' 6-1 start this year is still their best start through seven games since 2002-03 when BYU was also 6-1 through seven contests. The Cougars have won in dominant fashion this season, besting opponents by an average of 20.0 points per game while scoring 82.9 ppg and allowing only 62.9 points per contest.
After setting a program record with 256 three-pointers last season, the Cougars have recorded 61 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 40.9 percent from beyond the arc this year and has shot at least 40 percent in 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 with 19 points on 6-for-7 shooting 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 10th in the MWC in steals (1.43) along with teammate Lee Cummard.
Cougar head coach Dave Rose has used the same starting lineup in each of BYU's first seven 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.
Michigan State Student Ticket Pick-up
All Student All-Sport Pass holders must pick up a reserved seat ticket to the No. 20 BYU vs. No. 9 Michigan State (MSU) game at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City (Utah Jazz Home Arena). Ticket distribution will begin at 6 p.m. the day of the BYU Men's Basketball game vs. Weber State game on Wednesday, Dec. 5. As students come in, tickets will be distributed as their All-Sport pass gets scanned. The ticket distribution will be at the northwest entrance to the Marriott Center.
Back by popular demand, Jean's Golden Girls will astound the audience with their youthful energy and dance moves. The Cougarettes will also perform the routine that won them their seventh-straight National Championship.
The Cougars' six victories this year have come by an average margin of 25.0 points, including a 14-point victory at Portland (78-54), a two-point win over No. 6 Louisville, 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. Including a 10-point loss to No. 1 North Carolina, the Cougars are still besting opponents by 20.0 points per game this year. 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 49.5 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 37.6 percent from the floor. The Cougars posted a season-high 60.4 percent efficiency against Hartford bolstered by a 63.6 percent second-half shooting mark (14-for-22). BYU had shot above 50 percent in each of the last six halves of play prior to shooting just 39.4 percent in the first half against No. 6 Louisville. BYU rebounded, however, to shoot 50 percent in the second half of its win over the Cardinals. The Cougars shot a season-high 65.2 percent in the second half at Portland on Saturday, making their first seven shots of the period.
The Cougars are 6-0 this season when leading at the half with five of the six advantages coming by double digits. No. 1 North Carolina was the first team this season to post a halftime lead against BYU with a 38-31 advantage at the break. The Cougars are besting opponents by an average of 12.9 points in the first period of play after while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of four of seven games this season. BYU has topped the 50-point mark in the second half twice this year. The Cougars put together strong defensive starts in their first four games, holding all four opponents under 30 points at the break before No. 6 Louisville scored 37 in the first half to trail 41-37 at halftime. 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.
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."