Senior Keena Young will have a chance to play in his hometown on Wednesday when the Cougars travel to Beaumont, Texas, to play at Lamar. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
GAME #9 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (5-3, 0-0 MWC)
LAMAR CARDINALS (3-6, 0-0 SOUTHLAND)
Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2006
Montagne Center (10,080)
7:05 p.m. CT (6:05 p.m. MT)
BYU, Dave Rose (25-12 in second season; same overall)
LU, Steve Roccaforte (3-6 in first season; same overall)
2nd meeting, BYU leads 1-0 (BYU won the first meeting, 97-74, on Nov. 30, 2005 at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (6 p.m. CT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Russell Larson, game analysis)
Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
BYU PLAYS AT LAMAR WEDNESDAY
BYU (5-3) will once again play away from home as the Cougars travel to Beaumont, Texas, to take on Lamar University Wednesday at 7 p.m. CT. The game will not be televised but can be heard live on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the internet at ksl.com. BYU is coming off a 76-61 loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State (now No. 23) on Saturday but has bounced back from its two previous defeats this season with a win. Lamar is off to a 3-6 start under new head coach Steve Roccaforte, having lost its last three games, two of which were without the Cardinals' leading scorer who has now returned to the lineup.
The Cougars, who are currently tied for the nation's fifth-longest home winning streak at 18 games, will return home to take on in-state rival Utah State on Saturday at 4 p.m. The game will be televised on the mtn.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- Cougar head coach Dave Rose guided BYU to a 20-9 record and an NIT appearance last season in his first year at the helm after eight years as BYU's lead assistant. He was named the Mountain West Conference and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year. Rose coached his team to a second-place MWC finish -- one game behind league-champion San Diego State -- while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success that proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.
-- BYU was picked to finish second in the Mountain West Conference in the preseason MWC media poll behind reigning champion San Diego State.
-- BYU's roster this season includes a solid core of returning players, including six seniors and Trent Plaisted, the MWC Freshman of the Year last year. One of nine returning lettermen, Plaisted was named a Freshman All-American after leading BYU in both scoring (13.6) and rebounding (6.9) one year ago. 2006 All-MWC Third Team forward Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (15.5) while Plaisted once again paces the Cougars on the boards (6.3). Senior Austin Ainge leads BYU with 3.6 assists per game.
LOOKING AT LAMAR
Lamar is off to a 3-6 start under new head coach Steve Roccaforte (Lamar, 1989), who served as an assistant to Billy Tubbs (Lamar's athletics director who retired from coaching after last season) in Lamar the last three seasons after assistant stints in Memphis, Wyoming, Tulane and Centenary. The Cardinals are 2-1 at home with wins over Texas Southern (72-64) and St. Gregory's (92-72) sandwiching a close loss to New Orleans (64-62). Lamar is 0-4 in away games and 1-1 on a neutral floor, including its win over Louisiana Tech (71-68) at the Shelby Metcalf Classic in College Station, Texas. The Cardinals have lost their last three outings, the first two with their top scorer missing from the lineup, dropping road games at Tulsa (78-64), at upcoming BYU opponent Oral Roberts (88-63) and at Rice (83-71). Returning to Lamar this season from last year's 17-14 team that finished tied for fourth in the Southland Conference at 9-7 are five lettermen and starting guards Matthew Barrow (6-4, Jr.) and Brandon Chappell (6-0, Sr.). This year Chappell is coming off the bench, contributing 7.9 points in 27 minutes per game. Barrow adds 7.8 points, starting in all nine games, while also logging 27 minutes per outing. Lamar's top four scorers this year are all newcomers from the junior college ranks. James Davis, a 7-foot-1, 335-pound junior center, leads the team in scoring at 17.3 ppg while adding 8.1 rpg. He started the first six games and logged 32 minutes in his lone action off the bench in Lamar's last game at Rice after returning from a two-game suspension for violating team rules. Darren Hopkins (6-2, Jr., G) adds 12.6 points while Lamar Sanders (6-6, Jr., F) and Currye Todd (6-4, Jr., G/F) follow at 11.9 and 8.6 ppg, respectively. Todd is the top scorer off the bench, having started just one game this season. Darren Hopkins leads the team with 12 steals while Sanders leads the team and the Southland Conference in rebounding at 9.2 rpg. Sanders is shooting 57.7 percent from the field and leads the team with 32 assists (3.6 apg). Lamar is averaging 69.3 ppg and is shooting 39.8 percent from the field, 34.8 percent from 3-point range and 63.7 percent from the free throw line. The Cardinals are allowing 77 points per game and 39.4 rebounds. Lamar opponents have combined to shoot 45.9 percent from the floor, including .421 from three-point range.
LAMAR'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos No Name Ht Wt Cl Hometown/Previous School PPG RPG
F 12 Durand Murray 6-7 200 So. Lithonia, Ga./Redan HS 1.3 1.6
F 33 Lamar Sanders 6-6 230 Jr. Hickory Flat, Miss./NW Miss. CC 11.9 9.2
C 42 James Davis 7-1 335 Jr. Minneapolis, Minn./Schoolcraft CC 17.3 8.1
G 23 Matthew Barrow 6-4 185 Jr. Baton Rouge, La./Southern Lab HS 7.8 2.3
G 21 Darren Hopkins 6-2 175 Jr. Baltimore, Md./Panola JC 12.6 3.0
LAMAR'S LAST OUTING -- Lamar Drops Hard-Fought Game at Rice, 83-71
HOUSTON -- Junior James Davis recorded a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds, but it was not enough at Lamar University dropped a hard-fought game at Rice University, 83-71, last Wednesday night at Autry Court. Lamar, who lost its third straight game, dropped to 3-6 overall. Rice evened its record at 4-4. Trailing 33-30 at halftime, Currye Todd opened the second half by nailing a pair of three-pointers to give the Cardinals a 36-33 lead. However, Rice answered with a Greg Killings dunk and a three-pointer by Chris Hagan to reclaim the lead at 38-36. With the score tied at 42-42, Morris Almond and Lorenzo Williams hit consecutive three-pointers to give the Owls the lead for good at 48-42 with 12:41 remaining in the game. Davis, who missed the two games in Tulsa for violating team rules, returned to the lineup in a big way for Lamar. He was 5-of-16 from the field and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line in recording his second double-double of the season. He also added a team-high and season-high seven assists. Lamar Sanders added 18 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field and grabbed six rebounds. Brandon Chappell added 15 points off the bench on 5-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. Lamar shot 41.7 percent (25-of-60) from the field, 37.5 percent (9-of-24) from three-point range and 75 percent (12-of-16) from the free throw line. The Cardinals forced 20 turnovers, but were outrebounded 39 to 30. Almond led all scorers with 36 points on 11-of-17 shooting from the field, including 7-of-9 from 3-point range, and 7-of-9 from the free-throw line. He entered the game ranked second in the NCAA in scoring at 29.3 ppg. Killings added 11 points and Hagan chipped in 10 with six assists and three steals. Rice shot 45.3 percent (24-of-53) from the field, 60 percent (12-of-20) from 3-point range and 79.3 percent (23-of-29) from the free throw line.
Wednesday's game in Beaumont will be just the second matchup between BYU and Lamar. Last year BYU defeated Lamar, 97-74, in the Delta Center (recently renamed EnergySolutions Arena) in Salt Lake City in the first-ever meeting. Last year's game was originally scheduled to be played at BYU in the Marriott Center in Provo on Dec. 20 but was rescheduled due to academic scheduling conflicts created for Lamar by the effects of Hurricane Rita. Since the Marriott Center was unavailable when the two teams were able to find a common date to reschedule the game, arrangements were made to play the game on the homecourt of the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake City.
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"This is a difficult stretch of travel, but Wednesday will be a good opportunity for our team to play a totally different type of team. Lamar likes to push the ball, and they're extremely athletic. It's a good opportunity for Keena (Young) to play in his hometown. We'll challenge our guys, and they'll be ready."
BYU VS. THE SOUTHLAND CONFERENCE
BYU is 6-0 all-time against the current membership of the Southland Conference dating back to the first outing against McNeese State in 1977. The Cougars have faced five of the league's 12 members, with McNeese State being the only team BYU has played twice. Wednesday's game against Lamar also marks the second meeting between the Cougars and Cardinals.
FIRST MEETING RECAP -- Team Effort Leads to BYU Win in Salt Lake City Last Season
SALT LAKE -- Twelve players scored for BYU as the Cougars used a team effort to cruise past Lamar University, 97-74, at the Delta Center. The win improved BYU's record to 3-1 on the season and marks the first time the Cougars have won three consecutive games. Behind two early three-point baskets, BYU jumped out to an 11-4 lead. The Cougars didn't stop as Lee Cummard nailed another trey to extend the lead to 10 at 16-6. Rashaun Broadus played the roll of floor marshal assisting the first six BYU field goals. The Cardinals answered by putting together a 9-5 run of their own to cut the BYU lead to 21-15 with less than 12 minutes to play. However, BYU fought right back, riding a 14-2 run to build a comfortable 40-21 lead with 4:21 remaining in the half. Lamar came back with another run, outscoring the Cougars 14-4 to end the half down 48-35. BYU's 48 points in the first half is more than the Cougars scored in their last trip to the Delta Center. BYU lost to Washington State 49-46 last season in Salt Lake. Rose said the return trip to the Delta Center was a great experience. Eight Cougars scored in the first half. Overall, BYU shot 66 percent from the field, 57 percent behind the three-point arc and 75 percent from the charity stripe. Led by Alan Daniels, the Cardinals started the second half on a 7-2 run to cut the lead to 50-42. BYU bounced back as Broadus erupted, leading the Cougars to score 12 unanswered points to open a 20-point lead. Broadus scored two buckets and added a steal and an assist to lead Cougars during the run. At the 12:48 mark, Lamar head coach Billy Tubbs was ejected from the game after being charged with his second technical foul. It was the first time Tubbs has been ejected in three years with the Cardinals. Jimmy Balderson hit the two foul shots and Fernando Malaman picked up a bucket to push the lead to 20 points. The lead only fell below 20 points one time after that as the Cougars took off. BYU was led by Balderson, who scored 21 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field and a perfect 5-for-5 from the foul line. Trent Plaisted added 16 points and seven rebounds. Keena Young also scored in double figures with 10 points while picking up seven boards. Broadus led BYU with nine assists in addition to scoring seven points. Lamar was led by Daniels, who scored 23. Overall, BYU shot 56.5 percent as a team, including 50 percent on three-pointers and 90.0 percent from the foul line. The Cougars also shared the ball well, picking up 22 assists.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I'm proud of our guys. We had guys make big plays and big shots early. We got a lead and we kept it throughout."
-- "For the most part I was pleased with our preparation, focus and execution. It wasn't just the starters tonight. This was a team win and I'm happy for it."
-- "I'm happy for our players. Team confidence is an important part now because success makes better players and a better team."
-- "We're getting into our offense quickly, getting open shots and hitting shots and getting points early. It leads to confidence for our team."
-- "I believe the strength of this team will be the team itself. We'll have stars every night to lead, but it will be a lot of these guys."
Lamar Assistant Coach Kermit Holmes
-- "BYU played great. They can really shoot. I've been watching a lot of basketball and I haven't seen many teams shoot like that. If they keep shooting that way they are going to be tough to beat."
-- "They made threes in the transition. They made threes in the half court and that just opened up shots on the inside."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Rashaun Broadus wasted no time setting a new career high in assists as he recorded an assist on the first six baskets made by the Cougars, the last coming with 14:25 remaining in the first half. His previous high was five, which he set in a 76-68 win over Washington State on Nov. 22, 2005. He finished the first half with eight assists and had nine for the game.
-- There was an assist on the first seven shots made by BYU and 10 of the first 11. Rashaun Broadus had six assists during the stretch while Austin Ainge had two assists and Lee Cummard and Brock Reichner each recorded a dime. The Cougars had 15 assists on 19 first-half field goals.
-- BYU started 4-of-4 on three pointers as Austin Ainge, Jimmy Balderson, Brock Reichner and Lee Cummard each connected from long range. The first miss from downtown came with 9:19 left in the first half on a miss by Ainge. For the game, the Cougars hit 50.0 percent from three-point range (7-14), the third-straight game hitting 50 percent or better on threes.
-- The Cougars came out with all pistons firing against Lamar, hitting 65.5 percent (19-29) of their shots in the first half, including 57.1 percent (4-7) of their three-pointers. BYU finished the game hitting 56.5 percent (35-62) from the field and 50.0 percent on threes (7-14). It marks the third consecutive game the Cougars have shot over 55 percent from the field and at least 50 percent on threes.
-- The Cougars were not only hot from the field, but also from the line, hitting 90.9 percent (20-22) of their shots from the charity stripe. It was BYU's best game from the line this season and the best since hitting 100 percent (3-3) against Saint Mary's on Jan. 12, 2005. It was also the team's best performance from the line with over 20 attempts since Dec. 31, 2004 when the Cougars hit 91.7 percent (33-36).
-- The game against Lamar marked the eighth game the Cougars have played in the Delta Center. With the 97-74 win over the Cardinals, BYU is 5-3 overall in the Delta Center, including 2-1 in regular season games and 3-2 in WAC tournament games.
-- Wednesday's game against Lamar was originally scheduled to be played in Provo on December 20. It was rescheduled due to academic scheduling conflicts created for Lamar by the effects of Hurricane Rita.
-- Lamar head coach Billy Tubbs was given ejected with 12:48 left in the game after receiving his second technical. His first technical came with 5:11 left in the first half. It marks the first time Tubbs has been ejected since returning to coach Lamar for the 2003-04 season. The last opposing head coach that was given a technical foul against BYU was Henry Bibby of USC on December 13, 2003 in Provo.
-- The Cougars' 23-point, 97-74 win over Lamar was the second biggest win of the season for the Cougars, who defeated Southern Utah by 25, 86-61. BYU's biggest lead of the game was 27, which came twice at 88-61 and 90-63.
-- Wednesday's win over Lamar mark the Cougars' third-consecutive win, including victories over Washington State and Southern Utah. It marks the team's first three-game win streak since December of last year when BYU had wins over Weber State, Southern Utah and Santa Clara in December. That streak ended Dec. 31.
-- After scoring 86 points against Southern Utah last Saturday, the most scored by BYU since posting 110 against Montana State-Billings Jan. 11, 2005, the Cougars put up 97 in Wednesday's win over Lamar.
-- Jimmy Balderson led BYU with 21 points on the game, shooting 7-for-10 overall, 2-for-3 on three's and 5-for-5 from the line. While Balderson was impressive, the Cougars looked to the whole team for production as 12 players registered at least two points, including Jermaine Odjegba, who had the first points of his BYU career. He hit two free throws in the last minute of the game for the Cougars' last points.
-- Against Lamar, several players set career highs. Three players set career highs in assists, including Rashaun Broadus (9), Brock Reichner (3) and Lee Cummard (3). Cummard tied his career high in points (9) and Trent Plaisted and Rashaun Broadus had career highs in rebounds with seven and four. Plaisted also tied a career high in blocks with two.
BYU's LAST OUTING -- Cougars Fall vs. No. 25 Michigan State
AUBURN HILLS -- Despite a career performance from Trent Plaisted, BYU did not have enough to knock off No. 25 Michigan State Saturday at The Palace of Auburn Hills, falling 76-61 to the Spartans. The loss drops the Cougars to 5-3 on the year, while MSU improves to 9-2. Plaisted led all scorers with a career-high 23 points, marking back-to-back games in which he has scored at least 20. Plaisted, who went 8-for-12 from the field after making his first eight shots, also paced the Cougars with seven rebounds. Lee Cummard was the only other Cougar to score in double figures with 10 points as he reached double digits for the third straight game. Austin Ainge dished out a team-high five assists, tying his season high. Both teams came out fighting, trading baskets early. With BYU leading 6-4, Cummard ignited a BYU fastbreak with a steal that forced MSU's Goran Suton to foul Rashaun Broadus going up for the shot. The momentum swung back to the Spartans, however, as MSU followed up two Cougar misses at the line with an 8-0 run to take a 12-6 advantage at the 13:09 mark. Jimmy Balderson came off the bench and ended the 4:27 Cougar scoring drought with a three-point make. MSU responded with its second dunk of the game on the other end to push the lead to 14-9. Plaisted put in a turnaround jumper to get the Cougars within three at 14-11 but picked up his second foul on the ensuing Spartan possession and was forced to join Young on the bench as BYU's top two scorers found themselves in foul trouble early. MSU capitalized on the opportunity to take a 25-16 lead. After returning to the game, Plaisted then came alive for the Cougars, making 4-of-6 free throws during three consecutive trips to the line and draining two shots to cut the MSU lead to two points at 28-26. The Spartans answered with a 6-1 spurt of their own to once again push the lead up to seven points at 34-27 with under a minute to play in the half. Jonathan Tavernari refused to let MSU pull away, draining a three-pointer to cut the lead to four, but the Spartans converted as the clock wound down to take a 36-30 advantage into the locker room at the break. BYU began the second half by hitting its first five shots from the floor as four different Cougars scored in the first 2:40, including buckets from Plaisted, Ainge, Broadus and Cummard. But the Spartans answered every Cougar make with a make of their own, including two threes, to increase the lead to 48-40 with 16:11 to play. MSU then increased the margin to 52-40 with 14:26 mark, prompting Rose to take a timeout. Ainge ended the BYU scoring drought with a three-pointer, but four more Spartan points increased their lead to 56-43 thanks to an 11-3 run. Plaisted made back-to-back trips to the line, making 3-of-4, and then scored a short jumper in the lane after an MSU three-pointer to surpass his previous career high in scoring with 23 points. BYU continued to trail by double-digits until a jumper from Cummard got the Spartan lead under 10 points at 61-52 with 8:35 left to play. However, another MSU dunk pushed the lead back to 11 points and the Cougars would get no closer over the final six minutes. Cummard jumped a three at the 5:51 mark to get into double figures for the third straight game with 10 points, but his night came to an end on the other end as he picked up his fifth foul with more than five minutes remaining. A fifth Spartan dunk increased the lead to 71-55 as the Cougars continued to struggle shooting. BYU made just four shots in the final 8:34 of the game as the Spartans ran away with the 76-61 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "We had a lot of chances in this game. There were big possessions where if we could've gotten a stop, made a basket or made a free throw, it would've changed the complexion of game. Sometimes we were playing as the aggressors, but for the most part they had us back on our heels."
-- "Michigan State is a really good ball control, half-court team. They don't make a lot of mistakes. We executed really well to take them out of their game, but they found other guys and got the big plays."
-- "Trent (Plaisted) played really, really well. He gave us a solid 40 minutes. It was a big plus for us and for him, especially playing against physical post guys who know how to guard."
-- "There were a lot of good things that happened with our team. I hope that from this situation here, our guys will have a little more confidence about their ability to play at this level with this type of team. Winning games is the bottom line, but it's a long season and we got better tonight. Playing this game will help this team get better if we use it the right way."
Michigan State Head Coach Tom Izzo
-- "I think our guys are pretty drained having played 11 games in 30 days and I think it's taken a little bit of a toll. I didn't feel we were nearly as sharp in any aspect of the game and BYU deserves some credit for that."
-- "The way I look at it in the end is if we can shoot that poorly from the free-throw line, our guards not play as well as I thought they have cerebrally, and overcoming Joseph's injury against a quality team," Izzo said, "I think we should feel pretty good about it. Finding a way to win is the mark of a good team when key players don't play as well. So I think we took a step in the right direction in that respect."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- BYU head coach Dave Rose once again started point guards Rashaun Broadus and Austin Ainge together, rounding out the starting lineup with Lee Cummard, Keena Young and Trent Plaisted. Cummard and Young have started every game this season.
-- Individual Career Highs: Trent Plaisted - 23 points, 37 minutes; Jonathan Tavernari -- 5 points.
-- With the loss vs. No. 25 Michigan State, two of the three Cougar losses this season have come against ranked team, including an 82-69 setback at then-No. 5 UCLA who is now ranked No. 1 in the nation. BYU has not defeated a ranked team since a 76-71 win on Dec. 6, 2003 against Oklahoma State in the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.
-- BYU's 76-61 loss against the Spartans marked the first time in six games that an MSU opponent has scored 60 points.
-- The Cougars' 36-30 halftime deficit marked just the second time this season BYU has trailed at the break. BYU also trailed at Boise State. The Cougars lost both games.
-- Trent Plaisted's career-high 23 points marks the second time this season and the fifth time in his career that he has surpassed the 20-point mark. Plaisted did not miss a shot until the 10:28 mark in the second half, making his first eight shots from the floor. His 14 first-half points marked his highest scoring output in a half this season. It was also the second time this year he has scored in double digits before the break, including 12 first-half points against Southern Utah.
-- With 10 points against MSU, Lee Cummard has now scored in double figures in three straight games and four times overall this season. Cummard reached double-digit points in two games last year.
-- BYU shot a season-low 41.8 percent from the field and still became only the second team among the 11 Spartan opponents this year to reach 40 percent shooting against Michigan State. Maryland (.548) is the other. MSU has held four opponents below 30 percent shooting this year.
- Michigan State had a plus-7 rebound margin against BYU, 41-34. The Spartans have out-rebounded 10 of their first 11 opponents. BYU is 5-0 this year when winning the battle of the boards and 0-3 when being outrebounded.
- With its victory over BYU, Michigan State improved its record to 3-1 in Spartan Clash history, including three-straight wins. The Spartans are now 7-2 all-time in games played at The Palace of Auburn Hills.
- MSU's Drew Neitzel posted his fifth 20-point effort of the season, netting 22 points on 7-of-17 shooting from the floor including 3-of-9 from 3-point range. Neitzel played a near-perfect floor game, matching his season high with seven assists while playing 38 minutes without committing a turnover.
With wins against Idaho State, Portland and Southern Utah, the Cougars put together a three-game win streak this season, which ended with a loss at Boise State. 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 Cougars lost their only neutral court so far this season with a loss against Michigan State on Saturday at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. 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 74.4 points and allowing 69.6 points after eight games. BYU is 4-0 when opponents score less than 70 points this year and 1-3 when they score 70 or more. BYU is 5-0 when it scores 70 or more points and 0-3 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 0-3 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars are ranked third in the MWC in rebounding average (36.2). Sophomore Trent Plaisted leads BYU and is tied for eighth in the conference with 6.3 rpg, while senior Keena Young is not far behind at 6.1 rpg, 10th in the league.
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
BYU has faced two ranked opponents this season. The Cougars lost 76-61 to then-No. 25 Michigan State on Saturday at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. BYU suffered a season-opening (82-69) loss at then-No. 5 UCLA on Nov. 15. 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 has scored in double figures in seven out of eight games. He leads BYU and ranks ninth in the Mountain West Conference in scoring at 15.5 points per game while adding 6.1 rebounds per game, second on the team and 10th 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 six games at the point. He is averaging a team-best 3.63 assists, which ranks fifth in the MWC, and leads BYU in three-pointers (13) while shooting .542 from three-point range, sixth in the league, and .486 from the floor. He scored 14 points -- all in the second half -- to fuel BYU's furious comeback attempt at Boise State.
DOING IT ALL
Lee Cummard has scored in double figures in the last three games while playing great overall basketball. In BYU's two games last week Cummard averaged 10.5 points, 4.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists, 3.5 steals and 1.5 blocks. He was 9-for-12 (.750) from the floor, including 2-of-3 (.667) from behind the arc, and made his only free-throw attempt.
COMING ON STRONG
Trent Plaisted averaged 21.5 points and 7.5 rebounds to lead BYU in its two games last week while shooting 64 percent from the floor. A sophomore, Plaisted recorded consecutive games of 20 or more points for the first time. He has now scored 20 or more points in five games overall during his career. Plaisted had game highs of 20 points and eight rebounds on 8-of-13 shooting to lead BYU to a win over San Jose State on Wednesday. Plaisted followed that performance with a career-high 23 points against No. 25 Michigan State in The Palace at Auburn Hills. Plaisted did not miss a shot until the 10:28 mark in the second half, making his first eight shots from the floor. His 14 first-half points marked his highest scoring output in a half this season. He added a team-best seven rebounds against the Spartans. "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 next televised game will be Saturday against Utah State at 4 p.m. on the mtn. 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 was televised on Fox Sports Net Prime Ticket, while the BYU-Michigan State matchup on Dec. 9 at The Palace at Auburn Hills was carried on ESPN2. BYU's game at Boise State on Nov. 29 was 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 Monday Dec. 11, 2006)
Wins Team This year Next home game
45 Gonzaga 5-0 Jan. 6 vs. Loyola Marymount
27 Connecticut 8-0 Sunday vs. St. Mary's
22 Air Force 5-0 Wednesday vs. Norfolk State
20 Akron 2-0 Dec. 19 vs. St. Francis
18 BYU 4-0 Saturday vs. Utah State
18 George Washington 3-0 Tuesday vs. UMBC
18 Memphis 5-0 Thursday vs. Austin Peay
16 UAB 3-0 Dec. 23 vs. Winston-Salem
BYU has led at the half in six of the team's first eight 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 0-2 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 3.9 points in the first period of play while being outscored by 0.4 points 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 Portuguese, and John Wardenburg speaks Dutch.