Men's Basketball Faces Seattle Pacific Thursday in Final Exhibition

Austin Ainge and the Cougars face Seattle Pacific Thursday in their final exhibition contest. The game tips at 7:05 p.m. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- The BYU men's basketball team plays its final exhibition game Thursday when the Cougars host Seattle Pacific University at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.

Thursday's game will be broadcast live on KSL Newsradio, which can be heard on 102.7 FM or 1160 AM. Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant will call the game, which is also available online at KSL.com.

BYU is coming off an 81-54 victory over the University of Victoria on Friday. Freshman guard Lee Cummard led the Cougars with 23 points in his Cougar exhibition debut, making 10-of-16 shots while adding five rebounds, four assists and two steals in 27 minutes.

"We did some things well and found some things we need to work on in our game against Victoria," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "We hope to keep making progress Thursday when when we face Seattle Pacific. Seattle Pacific is a much bigger and more physical team than Victoria. It's going to be a lot tougher for us against bigger, stronger guys. Our emphasis is going to be on getting on the offensive boards and getting second shots as well as being stronger on the defensive glass."

Seattle Pacific returns three starters from its 20-9 NCAA Tournament team a year ago. The Division II Falcons play BYU Thursday prior to a road contest at another Mountain West Conference school, New Mexico, on Saturday. Seattle Pacific made its preseason debut Nov. 1 by beating a collection of ex-collegians, Another Level Blue Angels, 102-79.

West Point, Utah, native Jared Moultrie is a 6-foot-2 guard at Seattle Pacific this season. The Clearfield High School graduate played at Salt Lake Community College before transferring to Seattle Pacific for his junior season.

After playing Seattle Pacific Thursday, the Cougars will prepare for their regular-season opener on Nov. 18 against Loyola Marymount in the Marriott Center.

LOOKING AT SEATTLE PACIFIC

Seattle Pacific returns three starters from its 20-9 NCAA Tournament team a year ago. The Division II Falcons play BYU Thursday prior to a road contest at another Mountain West Conference school, New Mexico, on Saturday. Coach Jeff Hironaka is back for his fourth year after marching his team to the NCAA Division II tournament faster than any coach in program history. Hironaka hopes to build off that success this season with three returning starters providing a sound foundation. Point guard Tony Binetti (Sr., 6-1, Enumclaw, Wash.) averaged 13.4 points, 4.4 assists and hit 48 percent of his three-pointers. Dustin Bremerman (Jr., 6-4, Yakima, Wash./Eisenhower) has proven to be a versatile scoring threat, averaging nearly 13 points over his first two seasons. Chad Williams (Sr., 6-8, Burlington, Wash./Burlington-Whatcom CC), the squad's No. 2 rebounder (5.7), returns to the high post. The Falcons are without their top two scorers, plus a high-scoring nonstarter, from last year's team. Redshirt Robbie Will (So., 6-10, Seattle, Wash./O'Dea-Bellevue CC) takes over for two-time all-region center Jason Chivers. Will averaged 13.1 points, 6.0 rebounds and 1.6 blocked shots as freshman at BCC in '03-04. Among the candidates for the other starting spot are Drew Matzen (Jr., 6-4, Bothell, Wash./Lynnwood) and Brian Lynch (Jr., 6-1, Missoula, Mt./Great Falls), a transfer from Montana. Last year Seattle Pacific got 15 points per game from senior Jordan Lee while Ralph Steele was a steady contributor off the bench. The Falcons are members of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

LAST GAME

Seattle Pacific made its preseason debut Nov. 1 by beating Another Level Blue Angels, a collection of ex-collegians, 102-79. Bremerman led the way with 21 points and Mike Bushmaker (Sr., 6-7, Yakima, Wash./Eisenhower) added 19 off the bench. In all, six players finished in double figures and, despite having only 12 practices, only 14 turnovers were committed. The Falcons shot just 8-28 outside the arc but their transition game helped elevate it to 47 percent overall.

COACH JEFF HIRONAKA

SPU coach Jeff Hironaka took Seattle-Pacific to the NCAA tournament in only his third year--faster than any predecessor. Entering his fourth year, his record is 50-33. A former aide at Idaho State and The Master's, Hironaka became Ken Bone's top assistant in 1991 and from there the Falcons won 236 of 253 games, claimed five conference championships and qualified for eight NCAA tournaments, including a Final Four in 2000. Hironaka is the second Japanese-American head coach of a four-year collegiate program.

SERIES INFO

This is the first meeting between BYU and Seattle Pacific. This is the Seattle Pacific's first trip to Utah since playing the University of Utah in 1990-91.

LOCAL CONNECTION

West Point, Utah, native Jared Moultrie is a 6-2 guard on the Falcons roster this season. The Clearfield High School graduate played at Salt Lake Community College before transferring to Seattle Pacific for his junior season.

BYU NEWCOMERS SHOW PROMISE IN EXHIBITION WIN

A trio of newcomers helped BYU open exhibition play Friday with an 81-54 victory over the University of Victoria at the Marriott Center in front of 8,407 fans. Freshman Lee Cummard led the way for the Cougars with 23 points in his debut, fueling a second-half surge that turned a tight first half into a blowout. With 19 of his game-high total coming in the second frame, Cummard paced BYU to outscore the Vikes by 23 points in the final 20 minutes while adding five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Trent Plaisted, a freshman who received a medical redshirt last season after playing in five games, showed his return to full health by posting 11 points and six rebounds as the starting center. Junior-college transfer Fernando Malaman made his presence felt early, scoring seven points in his first 2:20 of playing time while adding a rebound and a block. The 6-foot-7 junior from Limeria, Brazil, finished with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting and had two blocks.

COUGAR CRUISE IN SECOND HALF

BYU used a19-4 second-half run to build a 60-39 cushion and cruise to the 81-54 victory. After a 39.4 percent shooting performance in the first half, the Cougars warmed up to sink 60 percent of their shots from the floor in the second half. BYU's new-look offense started to click in the second half as the Cougars scored 16 points on the fast break. BYU held the Vikes 19 points below their season scoring average of 72.7 and won the rebounding battle 45-33.

QUOTING COACH ROSE

"In the second half our guys played with a lot more purpose. I really believe that the last 10 to 12 minutes came down to mental toughness. For the most part I was pleased with our effort."

"In the first half we were really impatient. A lot of guys were hunting out shots. Our effort was really good, but we've got some execution issues to deal with."

OTHER NOTABLES

-- Freshman Lee Cummard didn't take long to get involved in the Cougar offense, compiling two assists in the first 1:40 of the contest. Cummard earned the first assist on the first possession when he dished to Trent Plaisted for the first points of the game. On BYU's second possession Cummard scored on a tip-in off of a Plaisted miss. That was only the beginning for the freshman as he finished with 23 points as the game's leading scorer.

-- Fellow newcomer Fernando Malaman made his presence felt in the Cougar lineup, scoring seven points in 2:20 of first-half play while adding a blocked shot on defense. Malaman finished with 11 points.

-- Junior Jimmy Balderson was one of four Cougars in double figures with 10 points, including 2-of-3 from beyond the arc.

-- Junior Keena Young led the Cougars with three steals.

-- Four players led BYU with six rebounds each. Junior guards Austin Ainge and Jimmy Balderson shared honor with the redshirt freshmen post players Trent Plaisted and David Burgess. Burgess led BYU with 11 rebounds at Cougar Tipoff.

-- Senior Brock Reichner dished out a team-best five assists while adding eight points.

INJURY ISSUES

Two players were held out of Friday night's action against the Victoria. Mike Rose did not play due to a laceration to his lip he suffered on Wednesday, Nov. 2. Rashaun Broadus did not play due to an ankle sprain sustained on Oct. 28 during practice. Both players are expected to be ready to play by BYU's regular-season opener on Nov. 18 and will be evaluated this week to see if they will play Thursday vs. Seattle Pacific.

SAM BURGESS TO REDSHIRT

Junior guard Sam Burgess will redshirt the upcoming season. The 6-foot-3 guard from Alpine, Utah, is one of nine juniors on the roster this year. 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. 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.

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