Rashaun Broadus has scored in double figures for the Cougars in back-to-back games heading into Saturday's contest vs. No. 25 Michigan State. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
GAME #8 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (5-2, 0-0 MWC)
MICHIGAN ST. SPARTANS (8-2, 0-0 BIG TEN)
Saturday, Dec. 9, 2006
The Palace of Auburn Hills (22,076)
Auburn Hills, Mich.
3:05 p.m. ET
BYU, Dave Rose (25-11 in second season; same overall)
MSU, Tom Izzo (263-111 in 12th season; same overall)
8th meeting, BYU leads 4-3 (BYU won the last meeting, 96-88 on Dec. 29, 1986 at the Cable Car Classic)
ESPN2 (Brent Musburger - play-by-play, Steve Lavin - game analysis)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (2 p.m. ET pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)
Live audio is available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
BYU PLAYS NO. 25 MICHIGAN STATE SATURDAY IN DICK'S SPORTING GOODS SPARTAN CLASH
The Cougars (5-2) will travel to Michigan this weekend to take on the 25th-ranked Michigan State Spartans (8-2) in the Dick's Sporting Goods Spartan Clash played at The Palace of Auburn Hills. The 3 p.m. ET game will be televised nationally on ESPN2 with Brent Musburger and Steve Lavin making the call. Additionally, the radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the internet at ksl.com. The Spartan clash will feature the Michigan State women taking on Hartford at noon before the men take the court. The Cougars have won five of their last six games while the Spartans have won four of five. MSU will be the second ranked team BYU has faced this season. The Cougars suffered a season-opening loss (82-69) at then-No. 5 UCLA.
BYU will once again play away from home as the Cougars travel to Beaumont, Texas, to take on Lamar University on Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT. The game will not be televised.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- Cougar head coach Dave Rose guided BYU to a 20-9 record and an NIT appearance last season in his first year at the helm after eight years as BYU's lead assistant. He was named the Mountain West Conference and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year. Rose coached his team to a second-place MWC finish -- one game behind league-champion San Diego State -- while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success that proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.
-- BYU was picked to finish second in the Mountain West Conference in the preseason MWC media poll behind reigning champion San Diego State.
-- BYU's roster this season includes a solid core of returning players, including six seniors and Trent Plaisted, the MWC Freshman of the Year last year. One of nine returning lettermen, Plaisted was named a Freshman All-American after leading BYU in both scoring (13.6) and rebounding (6.9) one year ago. 2006 All-MWC Third Team forward Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (17.1) and rebounding (6.6). Senior Austin Ainge leads BYU with 3.4 assists per game.
LOOKING AT MICHIGAN STATE
The Spartans are 8-2 this season, with seven of their eight victories coming at home, and ranked No. 25 in this week's ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Poll. MSU returns six lettermen, including one starter, from last year's team that finished the year 22-12 overall and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Junior guard Drew Neitzel, the team's lone returning starter, leads the Spartans this year with 16.9 points per game while dishing out 4.5 assists per game, second on the team. Neitzel is one of only two Spartans who have started all 10 games this season. Freshman Raymar Morgan is second on the team in scoring at 11.7 ppg and rebounding at 5.6 boards per game, one of four players averaging at least five rebounds per contest. The 6-foot-7 forward leads the team shooting .487 from the field. Sophomore guard Maurice Joseph is third on the team in scoring with 8.5 ppg, while sophomore center Goran Suton is close behind at 8.3 ppg. The 6-foot-10 Suton leads the Spartans in rebounds, averaging 6.0 rpg. Sophomore guard Travis Walton, who has started all 10 games, dishes out a team-best 5.3 assists per contest while scoring 7.3 ppg. As a team, the Spartans are averaging 68.4 ppg on .455 shooting from the field while holding opponents to 51.9 ppg on .346 shooting. MSU ranks among the top 20 teams in the nation in scoring defense (ninth), rebound margin (10th), field-goal percentage defense (12th), blocked shots per game (19th) and three-point field-goal percentage (20th). Spartan head coach Tom Izzo is in his 12th year at MSU with a 263-111 overall record.
MSU's PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. HOMETOWN PPG RPG APG
G 05 Travis Walton 6-2 195 So. Lima, Ohio 7.3 2.7 5.3
G 11 Drew Neitzel 6-0 180 Jr. Grand Rapids, Mich. 16.9 3.5 4.5
G 23 Maurice Joseph 6-4 190 So. Montreal, Quebec 8.5 2.4 0.9
C 00 Idong Ibok 6-11 255 So. Lagos, Nigeria 1.2 3.5 1.7'
C 14 Goran Suton 6-10 245 So. Lansing, Mich. 8.3 6.0 1.9
'blocked shots per game
MSU's LAST OUTING -- Spartan Offense Spreads the Wealth in 80-43 Win
EAST LANSING -- Tom Izzo stepped to the microphone and for the fifth time this season said a Michigan State opponent was much better than it had played. That also might say something about the Spartans (8-2), who used a balanced attack and stunning defense to beat Indiana-Purdue-Fort Wayne 80-43 on Wednesday night. Drew Neitzel, Maurice Joseph and Marquise Gray were up for the challenge. Each scored 13 points for the Spartans, who played without No. 2 scorer and rebounder Raymar Morgan. With Morgan sidelined for two to four weeks by a stress reaction in his right shin, Izzo said other players had to improve, especially on defense. The result was 14.3-percent shooting from the field in the second half for IPFW (3-6). Starting guards Jakari Johnson and Chris Perkins were held to a combined two points with 1-for-12 accuracy. At least eight Spartans had to feel good about their performances. And that didn't include Izzo, who found a lot of good but more than enough bad to keep conducting practice. Michigan State's offense was almost as good. The Spartans shot 50.9 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from long range. Neitzel and Joseph each had four 3-point baskets. Gray was 6-for-9 from the field and had eight rebounds off the bench. Goran Suton had 10 points and nine rebounds for Michigan State. Travis Walton added nine points and seven assists, and Isaiah Dahlman had nine points and six rebounds. Tyler Best scored 12 points and Jaraun Burrows 10 for the Mastodons, who shot 26.5 percent for the game. Michigan State shot 55.6 percent in a 39-24 first half. The Spartans tightened up their defense after the break and pulled away with 41-19 dominance in the last 20 minutes. "I don't want to compare them to last year's team, but they're just significantly tougher than I thought they would be. As a team they are just so much tougher." Michigan State had edges of 45-25 in rebounds and 22-11 in assists to improve to 7-0 at home this year.
The Spartans and Cougars have met seven times in the history of the series dating back to 1930 with BYU holding a 4-3 advantage. The Cougars are 3-0 in Provo, 0-3 at Michigan State and 1-0 on a neutral court. After losing the first two games in the series, BYU won three straight from 1959-1980 before splitting the last two games. BYU's neutral court win came in the last meeting between the two teams as the Cougars picked up a 96-88 victory at the Cable Car Classic on Dec. 29, 1986.
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"Michigan State lost some really good players from last year's team to the NBA, but they have a lot of experience back. Their point guard runs the team really well. It's a great opportunity for our team to go back there and play. Our guys are excited."
BYU VS. THE BIG 10
Michigan State is the only Big Ten team on the Cougars' regular-season schedule. BYU has a 14-22 all-time record against Big Ten schools with the most meetings coming against the Spartans (seven). The Cougars have not played a Big Ten team since Dec. 29, 1997 -- a 72-65 win over Ohio State in Honolulu. BYU also played Penn State on Dec. 2 of that season.
BYU's LAST OUTING -- PLAISTED LEADS BYU TO EXTEND HOME WINNING STREAK
PROVO -- Extending their home winning streak to 18 games, the BYU Cougars defeated the San Jose State Spartans Wednesday night at the Marriott Center, 81-69. BYU is now tied for the fifth-longest streak in the nation. Once again senior Keena Young scored in double figures, making him the only Cougar to do so in all seven games this season. Also scoring in double figures were Trent Plaisted, Rashaun Broadus, Jimmy Balderson and Lee Cummard. Plaisted led the Cougars with a season-high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds. A change in the starting five consisted of both Broadus and Austin Ainge going in at the start, leaving Balderson to come off the bench. This was the fourth different starting lineup used by coach Dave Rose this season. With an early San Jose State turnover, the Cougars began the game with an 11-2 run. However, when Young and Plaisted found themselves in foul trouble early in the first half with two fouls each, the Spartans came back to take the lead with their own 15-3 run. Sam Burgess provided a much-needed lift as he sunk a three-pointer, pulling the Cougars within one with 10:10 left in the half. A jumper from Balderson put BYU in front again, and, minutes later, a breakaway layup by Broadus increased BYU's lead, 32-25. Going into halftime the Cougars led 36-28, earning a .485 field-goal percentage, compared to SJSU's .354.Coming out of the half the Spartans scored six points within the first minute, but their run was stopped short by a Broadus three-pointer. SJSU continued to put up a fight making it difficult for BYU to increase its lead. With just under 15 minutes left in the half, a dunk by Young revitalized both the team and the crowd. A missed layup by Balderson on the following play resulted in a dunk by Cummard. Both dunks were a first for Young and Cummard this season. Plaisted recorded his fourth dunk of the season with over eleven minutes to play, bringing the score to 60-46, the largest lead of the game. Two minutes later he earned his second dunk of the night. With less than three minutes to play and up by 11 points, Plaisted rescued a potential turnover, giving Young the chance to score. As time wound down with 27 seconds left on the clock, Plaisted recorded his third dunk of the night, bringing his season total to six. BYU ended the night 13-for-15 from the free throw line. The Cougars scored 29 points off of turnovers compared to SJSU's 18. Menelik Barbary led the Spartans with 14 points and eight rebounds. Jamon Hill recorded four assists.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought we had a good overall effort tonight -- consistent for 40 minutes. They had some big obstacles with their athleticism and length that we had to overcome. They are a big, strong team but we handled them. I'm proud of our guys."
-- "Trent is physically getting better and better each practice [after returning from his ankle injury]. He's becoming a lot more active. Tonight was a good test for him, playing against a couple big guys. He had a good line tonight -- points and rebounds.
-- "When we got into crunch time, we handled the pressure, hit big shots and took care of the ball. We played well down the stretch."
-- "Lee [Cummard] played a great game for us. He made a lot of things happen through pure hustle. He's going to be a great player for this program."
San Jose State Head Coach George Nessman
-- "I was really impressed with BYU tonight. We've played a lot of good teams on the road this year and BYU was one of them. They are a good team with a lot of good veterans."
-- "Keena Young and Trent Plaisted were too much for us tonight. Trent battled and battled against us. He has an outstanding jump hook, he's physical and he gets to the rim and finishes."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- BYU head coach Dave Rose used his fourth different starting lineup in the first seven games of the season as Austin Ainge and Rashaun Broadus started together for the first time this year. Keena Young, Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted rounded out the starting five.
-- Individual Career Highs: Lee Cummard - 5 assists (tied), 4 steals.
-- Individual Season Highs: Trent Plaisted -- 20 points; Rashaun Broadus -- 10 points (tied).
-- The Cougars' win over San Jose State improved BYU's home victory streak to 18 games, which is tied for the fifth-longest in the nation.
-- BYU's 81-69 margin of victory marked the fifth time this year the Cougars have reached the 70-point threshold. BYU is 5-0 this season when scoring at least 70 points and 4-0 when holding opponents under 70 points.
-- The Cougars' point total also marked this third time this season BYU has scored 80 or more points in a game.
-- The Cougars' .867 free-throw percentage marked their second-highest percentage of the year. Young (2-for-2), Broadus (2-for-2) and Balderson (5-for-5) were all perfect from the line.
-- Five Cougars scored in double figures in the win for the first time since March 4, 2006. Plaisted led all scorers with 20 while Young added 16, Balderson and Cummard each posted 11 and Broadus added 10 points.
-- Cummard and Broadus have now scored in double figures in back-to-back games.
-- Trent Plaisted reached the 20-point threshold for the first time this season and the fourth time in his career against San Jose State.
-- Young has been the most consistent scorer this season for BYU as he has scored in double figures in each of the Cougars' seven games, posting 16 points against San Jose State.
-- BYU's 36-28 halftime lead marked the sixth time this season the Cougars have led at the half, outscoring their opponents by an average of 5.3 points in the first period of play. With the win, BYU is now 5-1 when leading at the break.
-- The Cougars began the game with an 11-2 run, including four points each from Young and Plaisted.
-- SJSU responded with a 15-3 run to take a 17-14 lead with 10:44 left to play. Balderson was the only Cougar to score during the run, converting a three-point play to end a 4:10 BYU scoring drought.
-- With BYU trailing 20-19, Balderson again gave the Cougars a lift off the bench as he hit a jumper to give BYU a lead it would never relinquish.
-- BYU recorded back-to-back dunks in the second half as Cummard and Young recorded their first dunks of the season. Plaisted added three slams in the period, bringing his season total to six and BYU's season total to nine.
With wins against Idaho State, Portland and Southern Utah, BYU put together a three-game win streak this season, which ended with a loss at Boise State. The Cougars have a chance to equal that streak with a win vs. Michigan State, having won their last two games. BYU had several winning streaks last season, including its longest since the 2003-04 season at six straight victories. That streak was tied for the seventh-longest active winning streak in the nation. The Cougars' prior victory streaks last year included one four-game streak, two three-game streaks and two two-game streaks. BYU won 10 of its last 13 games last year.
WINNING ON THE ROAD
BYU's win at Weber State marked the Cougars' first road win of the year. BYU is now 1-2 on the road this year with a loss at current No. 1 UCLA and a Nov. 29 setback at Boise State. The victory over the Wildcats snapped a three-game road losing streak dating back to last year's season-ending defeat at Houston in the NIT and a five-game nonconference road losing streak since defeating Washington State last year in Spokane Arena on Nov. 22, 2005. BYU finished last year 6-8 away from home, including a 4-4 mark during MWC play.
BOUNCE BACK COUGARS
The Cougars have bounced back from each of their two losses this season with wins, including back-to-back victories after their loss at Boise State on Nov. 29. BYU recovered from its season-opening loss at then No. 5 UCLA (now ranked No. 1 in the polls) with three straight wins. Last year with its 20-9 overall record, BYU suffered consecutive defeats only once -- the last two games of the year, having bounced back from each prior loss with a victory.
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
This year the Cougars are scoring 76.3 points and allowing 68.7 points after seven games. BYU is 4-0 when opponents score less than 70 points this year and 1-2 when they score 70 or more. BYU is 5-0 when it scores 70 or more points and 0-2 when scoring less than 70. Last year BYU was 12-0 when holding opponents under 70 points and 8-9 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold. Cougar foes averaged 71.7 points per game last year. BYU was also 17-4 when scoring 70 or more points and 3-5 when falling below the 70-point mark. The Cougars led the MWC in scoring last year, averaging 76.2 ppg, and scored 100 points in conference play for the first time since Feb. 10, 1994 in their home game against league-champion San Diego State.
CLEANING OFF THE GLASS
BYU is 5-0 this season when outrebounding its opponents and 0-2 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars are ranked third in the MWC in both rebounding average (36.6) and rebounding margin (+4.3). Senior Keena Young leads BYU and ranks fifth in the league with 6.6 rpg, while sophomore Trent Plaisted is not far behind at 6.1 rpg, ninth in the conference.
JUST A LITTLE LONGER
The Cougars have already played two overtime games this season, winning 84-78 against Idaho State on Nov. 18 and 73-69 at Weber State on Dec. 2, marking the first time since the 2001-02 season that BYU has played multiple extra period games in one year. The Cougars have won five straight overtime games dating back to March 14, 2003, an 86-80 setback against Colorado State at the MWC Tournament. BYU is 50-44 (.532) all-time when playing past regulation.
VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
Michigan State is the second ranked opponent BYU has faced this season. The Cougars suffered a season-opening (82-69) loss at then-No. 5 UCLA. BYU's last win over a ranked team came at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City on Dec. 6, 2003 with a 76-71 victory vs. 25th-ranked Oklahoma State, who advanced to the Final Four that season.
BYU men's basketball coach Dave Rose announced Nov. 23 that 6-foot-6 freshman forward Jonathan Tavernari would not redshirt this season. Tavernari saw his first action on Nov. 24 when the Cougars hosted Southern Utah in the Marriott Center. A native of Sao Bernardo, Brazil, Tavernari did not play in BYU's first three regular-season games as a potential redshirt while a review of his two years of high school in the United States was being conducted by the NCAA. Freshmen swingmen Jordan Cameron and Brock Zylstra are expected to redshirt this season.
AINGE, BALDERSON, YOUNG SERVE AS TEAM CAPTAINS
Coach Rose and the Cougar coaching staff have announced this year's team captains, calling upon seniors Austin Ainge, Jimmy Balderson and Keena Young to lead this year's team. "I'm proud of the way these three players have developed and of their dedication to our team," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "They are totally commitment to this program and have earned the respect and confidence of their teammates. They will provide us with good leadership as we work together as a team to achieve our goals." Ainge, a co-captain of last season's team, proved a valuable asset off the bench in 2005-06 after starting at the point guard spot and receiving All-Mountain West Conference honorable mention as a sophomore. Last season he ranked 11th in the MWC in assists while helping BYU lead the league in both scoring and assists. Balderson also provided a spark off the bench for the Cougars last season as he scored in double figures in 11 of the last 13 games and was the only player in the conference averaging more than 10 points per game off the bench with a 10.2 scoring average. Young led BYU in rebounding as a sophomore before becoming an All-MWC Third Team pick last year after starting the last 14 games of the year and ranking second on the team in rebounding (5.8 rpg) and third in scoring (10.3 ppg).
BYU's most consistent player this year has been senior forward Keena Young, who is the only Cougar to score in double figures in every game and was the catalyst for BYU in two road games last week, leading the Cougars in points, rebounds and assists. He leads BYU and ranks seventh in the Mountain West Conference in scoring at 17.1 points per game while adding a team-best 6.6 rebounds per game, ranked fifth in the league. The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring twice and rebounding four times, including a 27-point, 11-rebound performance at Weber State for his second double-double of the season. His 27 points marked the most by a Cougar since Dec. 13, 2003 (Rafael Araujo - 28).
Senior Austin Ainge has started the last five games at the point. He is averaging a team-best 3.43 assists, which ranks fifth in the MWC, and leads BYU in three-pointers (12) while shooting .545 from three-point range, eighth in the league, and .467 from the floor. He scored 14 points -- all in the second half -- to fuel BYU's furious comeback attempt at Boise State.
OUT OF THE GATE
Despite picking up two quick fouls against San Jose State, Trent Plaisted broke out for a season-high 20 points, just two points off his career high. He stayed out of foul trouble at Weber State, playing a season-best 35 minutes. He was slowed with two quick fouls at Boise State. Playing in foul trouble nearly the entire night, he finished with eight points and four rebounds against the Broncos. He has made a difference for the Cougars when he gets off to a quick start. After being slowed for two straight games by an ankle injury, Plaisted made it quickly known he was feeling better against Southern Utah, scoring 10 of BYU's first 12 points against the Thunderbirds on the way to a 19-point, 12-rebound performance in 27 minutes of action. Plaisted made 9-of-12 shots while scoring from many different locations, including a jumper from just inside the three-point arc. In addition to leading the Cougars in scoring and rebounding on the night, he added two steals and one assist toward the win. His double-double against Southern Utah was his first of the year and seventh of his career. "Trent (Plaisted) is really working hard," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "He suffered a setback with that sprained ankle, but his effort is improving. Trent's got a lot of different things on his mind; he wants to play the best he can, and he wants to do what he can to help our team win. As long as he keeps playing hard, things will work out well for him."
BYU has used four different starting lineups so far this year. Austin Ainge and Rashaun Broadus started together for the first time against San Jose State after sharing the starting assignment earlier in the year. Vuk Ivanovic made his first career start in place of injury-slowed Trent Plaisted in the post vs. Portland. Starting the first two games were senior Rashaun Broadus, sophomore Lee Cummard, senior Jimmy Balderson, senior Keena Young and sophomore Trent Plaisted. While all five started games last year, the UCLA game marked the first regular-season contest in which all five started together.
BYU BASKETBALL ON TELEVISION
BYU's game on Saturday vs. Michigan State will be televised nationally on ESPN2. The Mountain West Conference's 2006-07 men's basketball television schedule features an unprecedented 99 games on national and regional television, including 65 of the 72 conference contests and all eight MWC Championship matchups. The television coverage provided by the MWC broadcast partners in 2006-07 is more than triple the national and regional telecasts MWC men's basketball has received in previous years. Seventy-five games will be shown on the MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.), with 17 to be broadcast nationally on College Sports Television (CSTV) and seven on VERSUS (formerly OLN). BYU will have 18 regular-season games televised as part of the 2006-07 MWC television schedule, including three games on CSTV, one on VERSUS and 14 on the mtn. With the exception of a road game at TCU, BYU's entire conference schedule will be televised in 2007. BYU's nonconference games featured in the MWC broadcast schedule include home dates with Southern Utah (Nov. 24, 8 p.m. MT), San Jose State (Dec. 6, 7 p.m. MT) and Utah State (Dec. 16, 4 p.m. MT). While not part of the MWC television package, BYU's regular-season opener at 2006 NCAA runner-up UCLA on Nov. 15 will be televised on Fox Sports Net Prime Ticket, while the BYU-Michigan State matchup on Dec. 9 at The Palace at Auburn Hills will be carried on ESPN2, BYU's game at Boise State on Nov. 29 will be aired on KTVB in Boise and the matchup with Weber State will be carried in Utah on KJZZ-TV.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 18 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are currently tied for the fifth-longest active home victory streak in the nation. BYU has won its first four home games this season after going 14-1 at home last year including wins in their last 14 straight home contests.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (As of Thursday Dec. 7, 2006)
Wins Team This year Next home game
44 Gonzaga 4-0 Saturday vs. No. 8 Washington
27 Connecticut 8-0 Dec. 17 vs. St. Mary's
21 Air Force 4-0 Saturday vs. Colorado College
19 Akron 1-0 Saturday vs. Winston Salem
18 BYU 4-0 Dec. 16 vs. Utah State
18 George Washington 3-0 Tuesday vs. UMBC
17 Memphis 4-0 Saturday vs. Ole Miss
15 Texas 4-0 Dec. 16 vs. Texas State
BYU has led at the half in six of the team's first seven games. The Cougars' 82-69 loss at UCLA after leading 39-36 at the half marked the first time since the 2004-05 season that BYU has lost when leading at the half. The Cougars are now 5-1 when leading at the half and 0-1 when trailing this season and have had a double-digit lead at the break twice. BYU was 14-0 when leading at the half, 5-9 when trailing and 1-0 when tied last year. Of the 14 games in which they led at the half, the Cougars led by double digits six times. BYU has been more impressive in the first half this season, outscoring opponents by an average of 5.3 points in the first period of play while holding just a slight 0.9 edge in the second half.
COUGARS HELP CHILDREN WITH CANCER
For the eighth 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 second 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. 20. Parents will be invited to choose the gifts their children will receive on Dec. 19. The gifts will then be distributed at the party. For more information about donating to the Children With Cancer Christmas Foundation, contact Cheryl Rose at (801) 375-5768. Those interested can also visit the Foundation's website at www.christmas-foundation.org. "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."
BREAKING THE LANGUAGE BARRIER
The presence of returned missionaries and international players on BYU's roster leads to a variety of languages that can be heard on the Cougar bench. Six players speak a language in addition to English, including Austin Ainge (Spanish), Fernando Malaman (Portuguese), Jimmy Balderson (Marshallese), Jonathan Tavernari (Portuguese), Vuk Ivanovic (Serbian) and Gavin MacGregor (Dutch). Two BYU assistant coaches also speak other languages as Walter Roese speaks Spanish and Portuguese, and John Wardenburg speaks Dutch.