Jimmy Balderson, Fernando Malaman and the Cougars travel to face Utah State Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
GAME #9 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (6-2, 0-0 MWC)
UTAH STATE AGGIES (5-3, 0-1 WAC)
Thursday, Dec. 22, 2005
Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270)
7:05 p.m. MST
BYU, Dave Rose (6-2 in first year; same overall)
USU, Stew Morrill (172-57 in eighth season; 390-195 in 20th year overall)
BYU leads, 133-89 after USU swept the two games between the two rivals last year
KJZZ-TV, channel 14 (7 p.m. MST air time -- Steve Brown, play-by-play; Thurl Bailey, game analysis)
KSL X-Stream Audio Channel on KSL.com Live and delayed after the Las Vegas Bowl on KSL Newsradio 102,7 FM/1160 AM and BYU Sports Network (6:30 p.m. pregame show --Rod Zundel, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)
Live audio and live stats broadcasts are available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
BYU PLAYS AT UTAH STATE THURSDAY
BYU (6-2, 0-0 MWC) looks to extend its three-game winning streak when the Cougars face in-state foe Utah State (5-3, 0-1 WAC) Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan. Thursday's game will be televised on KJZZ-TV, channel 14, in Utah, with Steve Brown and Thurl Bailey calling the action. The KSL Newsradio broadcast, with Rod Zundel and Mark Durrant calling the game, will be carried live on the Internet starting with the pregame show at 6:30 p.m. via the X-Stream Audio Channel on KSL.com. The entire game will then be rebroadcast on 102.7 FM and 1160 AM, as well as on the primary stream at KSL.com, after the conclusion of KSL's broadcast of the 2005 Las Vegas Bowl Thursday between BYU and the Cal Bears.
THe Cougars take a few days off for Christmas before hosting Eastern Washington on Tuesday, Dec. 27th, in the Marriott Center in a 7:05 tip. BYU and game sponsor, the Daily Herald, are offering a family night discount for the BYU Eastern Washington game. A family of 5 can attend for $15, with a $3 charge for each additional person.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- Coming off a disappointing 9-21 season after five straight postseason appearances, BYU looks to return to the ranks of conference contenders and postseason invitees under the direction of new head coach Dave Rose, who served the past eight seasons as Steve Cleveland's lead assistant.
-- Among BYU's returning players, honorable mention All-MWC guard Austin Ainge was the team's second-leading scorer and top assist man last year, and junior forward Keena Young was BYU's leading rebounder. Other returners with starting experience include junior swingman Jimmy Balderson, who represented Canada at the World University Games this summer; junior center Derek Dawes, who made 13 starts in the middle last year; and junior guard Mike Rose, who made seven starts last year and averaged 7.7 points while making a team-leading 56 treys. Lone senior Brock Reichner has started the last seven games this season after mostly limited action last year.
-- Trent Plaisted leads BYU in scoring (14.8), followed by Jimmy Balderson (10.3). Plaisted is also the top Cougar rebounder (5.4), followed by Keena Young (4.6). Rashaun Broadus is the MWC's top assist maker (4.6), followed by Austin Ainge (3.5). The Cougars average an MWC-most 77.9 points and shoot .486 as a team, .390 from long range and .678 from the line. Cougar opponents average 67.1 points on .410 shooting, .321 from three and .729 from the line. BYU pulls down 35.6 rebounds per game, 2.1 more rebounds per contest than its opponents.
LOOKING AT UTAH STATE
Utah State returns four starters among five lettermen from last year's 24-8 NCAA Tournament team. Coming off a 65-64 home win against Oral Roberts on Tuesday, USU is 5-3 on the season and 0-1 in the Western Athletic Conference. The WAC loss came on Saturday at Hawai'i (69-59). The Aggies are led this year by sophomore guard Jaycee Carroll who is averaging 19.0 points and shooting 50.5 percent from the field and 45.1 percent from three-point range. Senior forward Nate Harris is averaging 13.9 points and 7.4 rebounds, while shooting 53.2 percent from the field and 73 percent from the free throw line, and senior center Cass Matheus is averaging 10.8 points and 5.9 rebounds, while shooting 66 percent from the field and 66.7 percent from the free throw line. As a team, USU is averaging 71.4 points and shooting 50.8 percent from the field and 38.9 percent from three-point range. Defensively, USU is allowing 64.1 points, while its opponents are shooting 42.4 percent from the field and 36.6 percent from three-point range.
USU's LAST OUTING
Utah State's David Pak hit two free throws with 4.4 seconds remaining to give the Aggies a 65-64 victory over Oral Roberts Tuesday night. Pak scored a season-high 16 points in the game, including 11 of USU's first 15 points. For just the second time this season, USU had four players score in double figures as Carroll scored a team-best 17 points, followed by Pak's 16 and 13 and 10 points respectively from Nate Harris and Cass Matheus. Matheus also recorded a career-high 11 rebounds in the game, but the Aggies were out-rebounded 43-30 by the Golden Eagles. ORU shot just 37.9 percent from the field, but grabbed 21 offensive rebounds to score on a number of second chance opportunities.
UTAH STATE'S PROBABLE STARTERS
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 4 Nate Harris 6-7 225 Sr. 13.9 7.4
F 24 Durrall Peterson 6-3 200 Jr. 8.3 2.8
C 3 Cass Matheus 6-10 235 Sr. 10.8 5.9
G 2 David Pak 6-2 200 Sr. 5.0 1.6
G 20 Jaycee Carroll 6-2 175 So. 19.0 2.8
OFF THE BENCH
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
G 5 Humphrey Jackson 5-9 160 Fr. 0.0 0.0
C 11 Arvydas Vaitiekus 6-11 220 Jr. 0.0 0.0
F 21 Chris Session 6-6 215 Jr. 3.1 2.6
G 23 Chris Huber 6-1 190 Sr. 2.1 1.4
F 25 Nick Hammer 6-6 205 So. 2.5 2.0
F 30 Chaz Spicer 6-7 215 Jr. 7.4 2.6
C 44 Nate Bendall 6-8 225 Fr. 1.6 1.6
Utah State is BYU's oldest rival. The rivalry is among the nation's longest ongoing series. BYU and USU will be meeting for the 223rd time on Thursday. The first game played between the two schools was back on Feb. 23, 1906, with BYU winning 21-14. BYU leads the all-time series 133-89, while the Aggies hold the edge in Logan, 57-51. BYU is 82-32 in Provo against USU but the Aggies ended 14 straight Cougar wins over USU in the Marriott Center last year when the Aggies and Cougars meet twice for the first time since the 1992-93 season. The Aggies won 84-62 to earn their first Marriott Center win since Utah State's 88-76 victory in Provo on Dec. 10, 1985. Utah State has won the last three meetings in Logan, including its 71-57 triumph last year. On Dec. 23, 2003, Utah State took a 26-point halftime lead in Logan but BYU erased the deficit in the second half prior to losing 76-74 on a last-second shot by Spencer Nelson. BYU last won in Logan on Jan. 8, 2000, riding transfer Terrell Lyday's 35 points to an 82-73 victory. Utah State has won the last three games overall in the series while the two teams have split the last 10 outings.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 133-88
BYU Record in Provo: 82-32
BYU Record in Logan: 51-57
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-0
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 0-0
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 2-4* (0-2 Rd, 2-2 Hm)
*BYU is 1-0 in 2OT games, winning in Provo in 1978
Last Overtime Game: 2001, lost at Utah State, 81-90
Longest BYU Win Streak: 15 two times (1906-13, 1986-93)
Longest Utah State Win Streak: 9 (1981-85)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 34, 115-81 in 1966
Largest USU Margin of Victory: 36, 55-19 in 1923
Most Points Scored by BYU: 121 in 1987
Most Points Scored by Utah State: 112 in 1987
The old Oquirrh bucket is the symbol of in-state basketball supremacy in Utah. The trophy is awarded every year to the in-state team with best won-loss record against in-state competition. Utah State won the bucket last year after a perfect 4-0 record against in-state opponents, while BYU last won the bucket in 2001. BYU is 2-0 so far this season against in-state teams with home wins over Southern Utah and Weber State, making the Cougars one of three in-state teams that are currently undefeated against their Utah counterparts (University of Utah, 3-0; Utah Valley State 1-0). Utah State is 1-1 this year with a one-point loss at Utah and a nine-point win at Weber State. After facing Utah State on Thursday in Logan, BYU will play the University of Utah twice, on Jan. 7 and Feb. 8, during Mountain West Conference play.
BYU assistant coach Dave Rice is in his first season on the Cougar coaching staff after serving as an assistant coach under Stew Morrill at Utah State last season.
LAST YEAR IN LOGAN -- Ainge Shines but Cougars Lose at Utah State
LOGAN -- Despite a strong first-half performance and a career-night from guard Austin Ainge, BYU could not keep up with Utah State as the Cougars fell 71-57 to the Aggies Wednesday night in front of 9,620 screaming fans in Logan. "Coming into a difficult place, we played pretty well for 20 minutes," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "We competed and made baskets, which we've had a hard time making lately. We had trouble against the zone and our post guys needed to get the ball more, but that's something we can work on and get better at. We're committed to making it happen." The Cougars fell behind early, 14-7, and looked to be headed in the direction of last season's 26-point half-time deficit. But senior Mike Hall came alive at the 12-minute mark, scoring seven of BYU's next 10 points to bring the Cougars to within one point, when an Ainge three-pointer gave BYU its first lead of the game at 20-18. Ainge would surpass his career-high point total just 13 minutes into the game. Both teams battled down the court for the remainder of the half, keeping the game tight. With the Aggies holding a slim 36-32 lead with just over a minute to play, Keena Young prevented a sure Utah State basket with a hard foul, sending Spencer Nelson to the line. Nelson missed both free throws and the Cougars were able to convert twice more down the floor and get a stop to tie the game at 36 heading into the locker room. After shooting 50 percent in the first half, including 6-9 from beyond the arc, the Cougars were suddenly cold from all over the court as they went 2-of-14 on three-pointers and shot just 3-of-6 from the line in the second half, ending up with a 32 percent shooting mark in the second period. A seven-minute BYU drought allowed the Aggies to run up a six-point lead at 51-45, which they would eventually push to thirteen points by virtue of a 17-3 run. BYU also quickly found itself in foul trouble as Jared Jensen and Keena Young were each saddled with four while Garner Meads picked up his third foul to put Utah State in the bonus with 11 minutes still to play. The Cougars scored only 21 points in the second half, including just 12 in the final 16 minutes of play. Hall and Ainge combined for 26 points in the first half, but could not find the basket in the final 20 minutes, coming up with just eight combined points in the second half as Hall scored 19 total points and Ainge recorded a career-high 15. Jensen posted eight points for the Cougars and Jimmy Balderson, coming out of his redshirt year and seeing his first action of the season, scored six. "I've been playing well and feeling good lately," said Ainge. "I've just tried to play hard in practice and wait for my chance." BYU finished the game shooting 42 percent, their second-highest total of the season, to the Aggies' 46 percent. The Cougars had made 26-of-29 free throws in their last two games, but managed just 5-of-8 shooting from the line on the evening while Utah State went 18-for-23, including 15-of-18 in the second half. The loss marks the third straight defeat the Cougars have suffered in Logan. BYU falls to 1-4 on the season.
LAST YEAR IN PROVO -- UTAH STATE COMPLETES SEASON SWEEP OVER BYU
PROVO -- Spencer Nelson and the Aggies ended a 13-game losing streak in the Marriott Center, defeating the Cougars 84-62 in their second meeting this season. The Cougars were led by Austin Ainge who scored a career-best 21 points, while three Aggie players scored in double figures, led by Nelson who scored a game-high 26 points to sweep the Cougars. "Utah State dominated every position offensively and defensively," coach Steve Cleveland said. "We got beat in every area of the game." In the first half, the Cougars struggled with the Aggies' low-post offensive presence. Early in the half, Utah State forward Nate Harris, who finished the game with 16 points, scored three easy lay-ups to lift the Aggies to a comfortable lead. The Cougars fought back with a crowd-pleasing block by Gardner Meads, followed by an Ainge three-pointer to close in on the Aggies, trailing 26-30. The Utah State would answer back to the Cougars' run with Nelson connecting on a three-point play and then scoring on a three-point banker from the top of the arc the next time down the court. The Aggies continued their run with an all-around effort to finish the half leading 41-27. Utah State jumped on the Cougars in the second half, widening the lead to as high as 23 points. Posting double-figures in his eighth consecutive game, Nelson continued to deliver for the Aggies, scoring 12 of his 26 points in the second half and adding a game-high 11 rebounds. The Cougars would rally back mid-way through the second half to cut the lead to a 14-point deficit, yet sharp shooting by Jaycee Carroll from beyond the arc proved to be key to finish off the Cougars. Carroll finished with 21 points. "We were obviously really excited about playing really well down here," Utah State Coach Stew Morrill said. "We made a few shots and that always helps." The Cougars were out-shot by the Aggies, with BYU shooting only 39 percent to Utah State's 50 percent. Mike Rose was the Cougars' second-leading scorer with 14 points, followed by Kenna Young who finished with 8 points and a team-high 7 rebounds.
BYU's LAST OUTING -- Defensive Effort Leads to Win Over Weber State
PROVO -- Defense was the name of the game in BYU's 80-54 win over Weber State as the Cougars limited the Wildcats to 28.8 percent shooting and Fernando Malaman had a career-high six of BYU's season-high 11 blocks, the most by a BYU player since Shawn Bradley. BYU improved to 16-0 against the Wildcats in the Marriott Center and is now 6-2 on the season while Weber State fell to 3-6. The defense was especially effective in the first half, limiting the Wildcats to 25.8 percent shooting and 22 points, the least point scored by a BYU opponent in a half this season. Malaman tied his previous career high with four blocks in the half and Jackson Emery added one of his own, blocking Coric Riggs from behind on a layup attempt. Lee Cummard and Derek Dawes had two blocks each for the game, marking a career high for Cummard. The Cougars were efficient on the offensive end, hitting 44.3 percent (27-61) of their shots and recording 17 assists compared to 11 turnovers. Trent Plaisted paced BYU with 15 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Brock Reichner was almost perfect from the floor, hitting 5-of-6 shots for 13 points. Keena Young was BYU's other player in double figures, tying a season high with 12 points. Derek Dawes led the team with a season-high seven rebounds and Malaman added six boards, a career high. Austin Ainge led BYU with four assists. Riggs scored a game-high 19 points on 8-of-15 shooting, and David Patten had 12 points and a team-best seven rebounds. BYU jumped out to an early lead as Brock Reichner hit a baseline fadeaway jumper for the first bucket of the game. After a three by Brian Cox of Weber State, the Cougars scored seven straight points, capped by a trey by Rashaun Broadus. Weber State quickly got back into the game, as Riggs scored the next five points to cut BYU's lead to one at 9-8. Reichner ended the run with a three but Weber went on an 8-2 run to take its first lead of the game at 16-14 with just over 11 minutes remaining in the first half. BYU hit just 1-of-8 shots during the Wildcat run. A Dawes free throw gave the Cougars the lead, which they held for the rest of the half. BYU extended the lead to nine at 29-20 by making 5-of-6 shots, including three consecutive fast-break layups, one by Reichner and two by Plaisted. Plaisted's were both assisted by Ainge. Reichner and Plaisted each scored nine points in the first period to lead BYU. The Cougars outscored the Wildcats 7-2 the rest of the half to lead 36-22. The last bucket came on an off-balance three by Mike Rose at the buzzer that hit the front of the rim and bounced in. Weber turned the tables to start the second half, scoring the first five points and holding the Cougars scoreless for three minutes, cutting the lead to seven at 36-29. Rose got BYU back on track, hitting three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt. Broadus followed Rose's effort with a three, pushing the lead back to 13 at 42-29. BYU maintained a double-digit lead before going on an 8-2 run when leading 52-38, extending the advantage to 20 at 60-40. Cummard and Malaman both hit threes during the run. Coach Rose started the same five players for the seventh straight game. BYU is 6-1 in those games.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "We came out with a pretty good mindset and actually executed well offensively. Austin came out and did a pretty good job pushing the ball."
-- "I was really worried in the second half when Weber State scored the first seven points of the half. Weber State does a good job of switching their defense around on you. But our guys got better as the game went on."
-- "It was a great team win. Overall, I was pretty pleased. I told the guys tonight that we would be a really good team if no one cares who gets the credit. "
Weber State Head Coach Joe Cravens:
-- "I'm not sure I can get us much better shots than what we got. We got it in the paint, in the paint, in the paint. It's the same song, different verse. I don't think I've ever had a team shoot 28 percent. I could probably kick it in and bounce it off my head at a higher percentage.Maybe I'll go ask Santa for some field goal percentage or something."
-- "I thought holding them to 44 percent would put us in pretty good shape, but shooting 28 percent doesn't do you much good. I think it's a tough place to play. Right now our own backyard is a tough place to play."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- After using 18 different starting lineups last season, the Cougars have used the same starting five in each of the last seven games (Broadus, Reichner, Balderson, Malaman, Plaisted), going 6-1 in those games.
-- Individual Career Highs: Fernando Malaman - 6 blocks, 6 rebounds; Lee Cummard -- 9 points (tied).
-- Individual Season Highs: Keena Young - 12 points (tied), 2 assists; Austin Ainge -- 4 rebounds (tied); Derek Dawes -- 7 rebounds.
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Least Points Allowed in a Half -- 22; Largest Halftime Lead -- 14; Largest Margin of Victory -- 26; Blocks -- 11; Free Throws Attempted -- 28 (tied); Free Throws Made -- 20.
-- With a career-high 6 blocks on the night, Malaman has now recorded 13 blocks in the last three games. His six blocks against the Wildcats are the most by a BYU player in a single game since Shawn Bradley in the 1991-92 season. As a team, the Cougars have recorded 23 blocks in the last three games.
-- Malaman made his only three-point attempt of the night with just under nine minutes to play in the game, improving his season percentage to .760 (10-13).
-- Trent Plaisted has scored in double figures in every game this season except one, contributing a team-leading 15 points against Weber State. Plaisted has led BYU in scoring four times this year.
-- With the win, BYU improves to 21-10 all-time against Weber State, including a 16-0 record in Provo.
-- BYU's 26-point margin of victory (80-54) is its largest over the Wildcats since Dec. 11, 1987 when the Cougars recorded a 33-point victory (104-71).
-- Keena Young provided a spark for BYU off the bench in the first half as he scored seven straight Cougar points from the 4:51 mark to the 2:12 mark.
-- Weber State began the second half with a 7-0 run as the Cougars did not score until Mike Rose made three free throws at the 16:49 mark. Five of BYU's first eight points in the second half came from the line.
IT STARTS AT THE POINT
BYU's Rashaun Broadus (4.6 apg) and Austin Ainge (3.5 apg) rank first and fourth, respectively, among Mountain West Conference players in assists per game average this season while helping the Cougars lead the MWC in team assists at 17.4 apg. The assists-to-turnovers ratio of BYU's two points guards has been significantly better in BYU's wins. Broadus and Ainge have combined for 52 assists compared to 17 turnovers in BYU's six wins while totaling 13 assists and 10 turnovers together in the Cougars' two defeats. Broadus has 29 assists and 13 turnovers in the wins with 8 assists and 6 turnovers in the losses. Ainge boasts 23 assists to only 4 turnovers in the victories while totaling 5 assists and 4 turnovers in defeats. With his overall 28 assists to 8 turnovers, Ainge currently leads all MWC players in assist-to-turnover ratio (3.50), while Broadus ranks second (1.95). In BYU's season-opening loss to Loyola Marymount the two guards combined for six assists and five turnovers, and in the loss at USC they totaled seven assists and five turnovers. Broadus and Ainge showed marked improvement in the Cougars' win at Washington State, where the two combined to dish out 10 assists while committing only two turnovers, as each posted a line of a game-high 5 assists with only one turnover. In BYU's victory over Southern Utah, they combined for 13 assists with only one turnover, as Ainge tied a career high with 8 assists without a turnover and Broadus had 3 assists and one turnover while scoring a season-best 11 points. Against Lamar, Broadus dished out a career-best 9 assists, including an assist on BYU's first six baskets, while Ainge added two assists to help BYU record a season-high 22 assists for the second straight game. Broadus recorded a team-high 6 assists against Boise State and the two points combined for 7 assists (4 Ainge, 3 Broadus) and only 1 turnover (Broadus) vs. Northern Kentucky and 7 assists (4 ainge, 3 Broadus) and only 2 turnovers vs. Weber State. As a team, BYU has made an assist on 62.6 percent of the team's field goals this season.
EFFICIENCY FROM THE POST
BYU's post players are all scoring at an efficient pace this year. Fernando Malaman has made 61.4 percent (27-of-44) of his shots, Derek Dawes is shooting .611 (11-of-18), Trent Plaisted has converted 60.9 percent (42-of-69) of his attempts and Keena Young is shooting .526 (20-of-38). Malaman's numbers are perhaps the most impressive to date, considering the 6-foot-9 Brazilian transfer is scoring from all over the floor, including a team-leading 76.9 percent success rate (10-of-13) from behind the three-point arc. Forty-four percent of BYU's scoring production come from these players at the four and five positions.
FRESHMEN CONTRIBUTE TO WING PLAY
BYU's two freshman wings are contributing off the bench when replacing starters Brock Reichner (Sr., 8.4 ppg in 20 minutes) and Jimmy Balderson (Jr., 10.3 ppg in 22.8 minutes). Lee Cummard is averaging 5.3 points in 13 minutes while shooting 50 percent from both the floor and on threes. He has made 6-of-12 treys, including a triple in six of eight games. He has 10 assists with 5 turnovers. Jackson Emery has also provided valuable production in his minutes this season. He is shooting 50 percent from the floor and is a perfect 4-for-4 from the line while averaging 4.3 points in 11.9 minutes. He has also been a solid defender for the Cougars, often helping guard the opponent's top perimeter player. Junior Mike Rose is also part of the rotation on the wing, averaging 4.3 points in 10.1 minutes. Forty-two percent of the teams scoring production comes from BYU's wing players.
The Cougars have used the same starting five in each of the last seven games (Rashaun Broadus, Brock Reichner, Jimmy Balderson, Fernando Malaman, Trent Plaisted), going 6-1 in those games. Balderson is the only one of the five who was a starter (16 starts) for the Cougars last season. Four players with starting experience last year are coming off the bench this season (Austin Ainge, 23 starts; Keena Young, 15 starts; Derek Dawes, 13 starts; and Mike Rose, 7 starts)
PUTTING ONE WIN IN FRONT OF THE OTHER
BYU currently has a three-game winning streak, its second three-win streak of the season. Last year, BYU was able to record only one victory streak, winning three in a row, during a challenging 9-21 season. When the Cougars play at Utah State Thursday, BYU looks for its first four-game victory string since a nine-game streak during MWC play in 2004.
BYU AMONG MWC LEADERS
BYU leads the MWC in scoring (77.9) and assists (17.38) and is second in scoring margin (+10.8), field goal percentage (.486), three-point field goal percentage (.390) and defensive rebounds (26.50). The Cougars rank third in field goal percentage defense (.410), blocked shots (4.50) and assist/turnover ratio (1.17). Individually, point guards Rashaun Broadus (4.62) and Austin Ainge (3.50) rank first and third, respectively, in assists and are the top two MWC playmakers in assist/turnover ratio, with Ainge leading all MWC players (3.50 assist/turnover ratio), followed next by Broadus (1.95).
SCORING FOR THE COUGARS
BYU is averaging an MWC-leading 77.9 points, led by redshirt freshman Trent Plaisted's 14.8 points per game. The 6-foot-11 forward/center reached double figures in seven of eight games. He scored 8 points on 4-of-5 shooting vs Northern Kentucky and only failed to reach double digits on the merits of an 0-for-4 night at the line. Junior Jimmy Balderson adds 10.3 points per game as the second Cougar to average double figures. Four different Cougars have led the team in scoring in BYU's first seven games (Plaisted four times, 20 at USC, 13 vs. Southern Utah, 19 vs. Boise State and 15 vs Weber State; Balderson twice, 18 vs. Loyola Marymount and 21 vs. Lamar; senior Brock Reichner, 18 at Wash. State; and junior Keena Young, 12 vs. Northern Kentucky).
BYU is second in the MWC behind the arc (.390). BYU has made 50 percent of its three-point shots in three games this year but has not shot better than 33.3 percent on threes in each of the last four games. Individually, three Cougars are making 45 percent or more of their long-range attempts and eight players have connected from long range. Senior Brock Reichner has made a team-best 11 triples this yea, followed by Fernando Malaman with 10 and Rashaun Broadus with nine. Ironically, BYU's lowest three-point percentage comes from last year's team leader in that category. Junior Jimmy Balderson, who made 42 percent of his treys last year, is currently 5-for-25 on threes (.200) after going 1-for-13 in the last four games.
MAKING YOUR GOALS
For the most part, BYU has been highly successful this year in making field goals. Six Cougars are shooting 50 percent or better from the field this year, including three who are making 60 percent or better on their field goal attempts. BYU has shot 55 percent or better as a team in four of its eight games this season. Last year BYU shot 55 percent or better only twice, while making half its shots in six of 30 games. Last year the first time the Cougars made 50 percent from the floor in a game was at Weber State when the Cougars made a season-high 60.4 percent in their 11th game of the year. BYU also topped 55 percent (.551) at New Mexico in a loss in late February.
REDSHIRTS: SAM BURGESS, VUK IVANOVIC
Junior guard Sam Burgess is redshirting this season. The 6-foot-3 guard from Alpine, Utah, is one of nine juniors on the roster this year. Fellow junior Vuk Ivanovic will also redshirt while he sits out the season due to NCAA transfer rules. Burgess scored a game-high 21 points at Cougar Tipoff, the team's annual blue-white scrimmage before a decision was reached about redshirting. During the Tipoff, he went 7-for-12 from the floor, including 4-for-6 on threes, and was 3-of-4 from the line while adding five rebounds, one assist and one steal in 33 minutes on the floor.
"As a coach there are guys you love to coach and Sam is that kind of player," BYU coach Dave Rose explained. "He has a competitive spirit, is a good athlete and plays to win. He also has the mental toughness to use this year the best. He will work hard and improve and still help our team this season (in practice). He is plenty good enough to play this year but with so many players in this (junior) class, we needed to address that situation. As a staff, we feel this will help our team in the long run and also be good for Sam. We want to invest in Sam and commit to him another year. He's going to be a player who will really help us, especially in that third year."
PARTY BRINGS CHEER TO CANCER FAMILIES
For the seventh year, the BYU men's basketball team joined with the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation to make the holidays a little more festive for over 60 local families who have children afflicted with cancer. The basketball team worked with the Foundation to host a Christmas party for these families on Wednesday, Dec. 14, during which the children enjoyed a wide variety of games, food provided by Blaine Jex and the Pizza Factory and Fred Parker and the Courtyard Marriott, and local celebrities including Santa, Cosmo and the BYU men's basketball team. Wednesday's party was the culmination of a week's worth of festivities as the Cougars and the Foundation also joined forces to provide the families with hundreds of toys thanks to donations from Cougar fans, community members and Wal-Mart. BYU coaches and Foundation members purchased some of the toys on Monday morning and then on Tuesday night permitted parents to choose the toys they wanted to take home and put under the Christmas tree for each of their children. The Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to providing assistance for children with cancer and their families, primarily through the collection and distribution of gifts to these families during the Christmas season. For the past eight years, the Foundation has collected toys and then distributed them to these special children and their families at a Christmas party. This is the seventh year BYU coaches, players and their families have volunteered for the Christmas party. Though he has been heavily involved with the Foundation as an assistant coach at BYU, this year was head coach Dave Rose's first opportunity to serve as honorary chairman. "This has always been a cause I feel strongly about," said 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."
FORMER COUGAR DANNY AINGE TO BE HONORED WITH PRESTIGIOUS 2006 NCAA SILVER ANNIVERSARY AWARD
Former BYU basketball great Danny Ainge has been selected as one of six recipients of the 2006 NCAA Silver Anniversary Award. The award recognizes former student-athletes who completed successful collegiate careers in various sports 25 years ago and went on to excel in their chosen professions. Silver Award winners are selected by the NCAA Honors Committee, which comprises eight athletics administrators at member institutions and nationally distinguished citizens who are former student-athletes. Joining Ainge as 2006 recipients are Valerie B. Ackerman (University of Virginia, women's basketball); Charles E. Davis (Vanderbilt University, men's basketball); Dr. Terry Schroeder (Pepperdine University, men's water polo); Michael Singletary (Baylor University, football); and Susan D. Wellington (Yale University, women's swimming and softball). The awards will be presented at the NCAA Honors Celebration on Saturday, January 7, during the annual NCAA Convention in Indianapolis. The Convention will serve as the kick-off to the NCAA's Centennial with the theme, Celebrating the Student-Athlete. Ainge becomes the third former BYU student-athlete to receive the prestigious award, joining current BYU Faculty Representative Larry Echohawk (Football, 1970), who was honored in 1995, and former Cougar All-American quarterback Gifford Nielsen (Football, 1978), who received the award in 2003.
Dave Rose was named to succeed Steve Cleveland as BYU Men's Basketball Head Coach on April 11, 2005. Rose, who has served the past eight seasons as Cleveland's lead assistant, was promoted to BYU's head job two days after Cleveland announced his resignation to take the head-coaching position at Fresno State. A tireless worker, gifted motivator and strong strategist, Rose served as associate head coach the past five seasons and takes over the BYU program with 22 years of coaching experience, including 10 seasons as a head coach at the junior college and high school levels.Since coming to Provo in 1997 along with Steve Cleveland, Rose has played a vital role in rebuilding BYU's program from an inherited 1-25 team into a regular NCAA Tournament participant and 20-game winner. BYU has qualified for postseason play five of the past six seasons, including three NCAA bids, while claiming two MWC titles. As associate head coach, Rose fulfilled a variety of responsibilities under coach Cleveland and his efforts earned notice, such as being named the top assistant in the Mountain West Conference by Street & Smith in the 2004-05 College Basketball Preview.