BYU head coach Dave Rose will take his team to the NCAA Tournament this season in just his second year at the helm. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
NO. 23/24 BYU FACES XAVIER IN NCAA FIRST ROUND
No. 23/24 BYU has received an at-large invitation to the 2007 NCAA Tournament and will play Xavier of the Atlantic 10 Conference in first-round action on Thursday in Lexington, Ky., at Rupp Arena. The Cougars (25-8) are the No. 8 seed, their highest since 1995, in the San Antonio Regional while the Musketeers (24-8) received a No. 9 seed. The game will be televised on CBS and can be heard live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 8:30 p.m. EST/6:30 p.m. MST on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the Internet at KSL.com. The Cougars have won 20 of their last 24 games and 12 of the last 14. Xavier had won nine straight games before a semifinal loss in the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament.
The winner of the BYU-Xavier game will advance to the NCAA Tournament second round to face the winner of No. 1 Ohio State and No. 16 Central Connecticut State on Saturday.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- BYU won its first outright league title since 1987-88 with a 13-3 MWC record this season.
-- The Cougars are ranked No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll and No. 24 in the AP Top 25 Poll this week. BYU entered the national rankings on Feb. 19 for the first time since 1993 at No. 21 in the AP Top 25 rankings and No. 22 in the Coaches Poll. Previously, BYU was last ranked on March 8, 1993 at No. 25 (AP).
-- Coming off an MWC Tournament finals appearance, BYU has won 12 of its last 14 games, including three wins over ranked teams. BYU currently owns the nation's second-longest active home winning streak (31 games).
-- MWC Player of the Year Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (17.2) and rebounding (6.5). All-MWC Second Team selection Trent Plaisted is second on the boards (6.2) and in scoring (12.8), while All-MWC honorable mention recipient Austin Ainge leads BYU with 4.45 assists per game.
-- The Cougars led the MWC in scoring (78.1), field-goal percentage (.493), three-point field-goal percentage (.413), rebounding average (37.5), rebounding margin (+6.4) and assists (16.1) in overall play. In league games, in addition to finishing first in the standings, BYU led the conference in scoring (78.9), scoring margin (+9.7), field-goal percentage (.516), three-point shooting (.457), assists (16.75) and assist/turnover ratio (1.32).
-- BYU has RPI ratings of 16, 17 and 18 in the various RPI rankings. BYU is ranked 10th in the nation in three-point shooting, 12th in field-goal percentage, 18th in rebound margin, 23rd in scoring margin and 27th in scoring.
-- The Cougars are 17-0 at home this season, 6-7 on the road and 2-1 on a neutral court.
-- BYU competed against five other NCAA Tournament invitees this season in UCLA, UNLV, Michigan State, Oral Roberts and Weber State. Cougar opponents San Diego State, Air Force and Utah State received NIT bids. BYU is 7-5 against postseason teams with a 3-4 mark against NCAA participants and a 4-1 record against NIT invitees.
SAN ANTONIO REGIONAL BRACKET IN LEXINGTON, KENTUCKY (BYU's pod)
RUPP ARENA (23,000)
THURSDAY, MARCH 15, 2007
First Round Game 1 -- 7:10 p.m. (EST)
NO. 1 OHIO ST. BUCKEYES (30-3) vs. NO. 16 CENT. CONN. ST. BLUE DEVILS (22-11)
First Round Game 2 -- 30 minutes after conclusion of game 1 -- approx. 9:40 p.m. (EST)
NO. 8 BYU COUGARS (25-8) VS. NO. 9 XAVIER MUSKETEERS (24-8)
SATURDAY, MARCH 17, 2007
Second Round -- 1:10 p.m. (EST)
GAME 1 WINNER vs. GAME 2 WINNER
BYU GAME #34 FAST FACTS
NO. 23/24 BYU COUGARS (25-8, 13-3 MWC)
XAVIER MUSKETEERS (24-8, 13-3 A-10)
Thursday, March 15, 2007
Rupp Arena (23,000)
Approx. 9:40 p.m. EST (7:40 p.m. MST)
BYU, Dave Rose (45-17 in second season; same overall)
XAVIER, Sean Miller (62-31 in third season; same overall)
BYU leads, 2-0, after two neutral-court meetings in 1964 and 1967
CBS (Gus Johnson - play-by-play, Dan Bonner - color)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (8:30 p.m. EST/6:30 p.m. MST) pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)
Live audio and live stats links are available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
COUGARS IN THE NCAA
- This is BYU's 22nd NCAA Tournament appearance. The Cougars last advanced to the NCAA Tournament as a No. 12 seed in 2004, losing 80-75 in the first round to Syracuse at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo.
The Cougars have an 11-24 record in the NCAA Tournament.
- BYU has gone to the NCAA Tournament four out of the last seven seasons (2001, 2003, 2004, 2007). BYU has earned a postseason tournament invite in seven of the last eight years (NIT in 2000, 2002, 2006).
- This is the first time BYU has played an NCAA Tournament game in Lexington, Ky.
- BYU has been a No. 12 seed in each of its last three NCAA appearances (2001, 2003, 2004). Since seedings were started, BYU has been seeded as high as a No. 3 seed in 1980. BYU was a No. 4 seed in 1988 (the last season BYU finished the year nationally ranked). Other single-digit seeds included being a No. 5 seed in 1979, a No. 6 seed in 1981 (the year it advanced to the Elite Eight), a No. 7 seed in 1993 (the last year BYU was ranked during the season prior to this year), and No. 8 seeds in 1984, 1995 and 2007.
- BYU has lost in the first round in its last four NCAA appearances. BYU's last NCAA win was in 1993 as a No. 7 seed in Chicago when the Cougars defeated SMU, 80-71. BYU lost to No. 2-seed Kansas, 90-76, in the second round that year.
- BYU is 7-14 in its opening round games in NCAA Tournament play.
- The last time BYU advanced out of the second round was in 1981 when the Cougars (as a No. 6 seed), defeated Princeton, 60-51 before upsetting No. 3-seed UCLA 78-55. BYU went on to defeat No. 2-seed Notre Dame on Danny Ainge's last-second, length-of-the-court dash, 51-50, to advance to the Regional Finals before losing to Ralph Sampson and No. 1-seed Virginia, 74-60.
LAST NCAA OUTING -- MCNAMARA CARRIES ORANGE TO COMEBACK WIN OVER COUGARS
DENVER -- After shooting lights out in the first half, and having perhaps its best offensive first half of the year, BYU was ultimately upended by an individual performance in falling 80-75 to Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Despite a dominating performance in the paint from senior center Rafael Araujo, who recorded his 16th double-double of the season with 24 points and 12 rebounds, it was Orange point guard Gerry McNamara that stole the show. He dropped a career-high 43 points on the Cougars, including 9-of-13 shooting from three-point range. McNamara's 43 points is the most scored against BYU since New Mexico's Kenny Page totaled 44 at The Pit in 1981. The first half was a three-point exhibition as BYU went 8-for-12, while McNamara was 6-of-7. "If he wasn't shooting that well we would have probably been up by 20 in the first half," said Cougar swingman Mark Bigelow. "He just stepped up and did what he needed to do for his team to win." Mark Bigelow scored 17 points in the game and became only the second BYU player, with Danny Ainge, to score 400 points in each of his four years. Only five Cougars figured on the score sheet, but BYU had four double-digit scorers. Joining Araujo and Bigelow in double figures were Mike Hall with 17 and Luiz Lemes with 12. Jake Shoff rounded out the Cougar scoring with five points. The game marked the last for seniors Araujo, Bigelow, Shoff, Lemes and Kevin Woodberry. "I know they're all disappointed," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "I know I'm proud of them. They're competitive and I will really, really miss those guys." The Cougars (21-9) started the game a confident team, as they drained hit five 3-pointers in the first four minutes to start the game. Hall, who led the Cougars with a team-high 13 points in the half, was 3-of-3 in that stretch and Bigelow drained two of his own. Araujo followed at the 15:24 mark with a three-point play to put the Cougars up 18-15. Lemes then carried BYU with a trio of treys; the last of which at the 8:48 mark stretched the Cougar lead to 29-21. With 7:01 to go Orangemen star forward Hakim Warrick picked up his third personal foul for reaching in on Araujo, and sat out till halftime. Araujo proceeded to convert two layups on consecutive possessions to cap a 14-3 BYU run and open a 11-point lead, its largest of the day at 35-24. Lemes hit Hall for a backdoor ally-oop dunk with 5:05 remaining to put BYU up by 11 again at 37-26. Despite all the BYU highlights, however, it was McNamara that shot lights out in the opening half, hitting six from downtown. His shooting and 23 points in the half, kept Syracuse (22-7) in the game and he single-handedly led the Orange on a 16-5 run to end the half and tie the game at 42-42. The story of the first half was McNamara and the softness of the vaunted Syracuse 2-3 szone. After BYU shot their way to its lead in the first half, the Orange switched to a more effective man-to-man defense for the duration of the game. It was back-and-forth to start the second half, but Syracuse took its turn in the lead, which started after Araujo picked up his fourth foul at the 14:20 mark. The Orangemen took advantage of Araujo's six-minute absence, staging a 14-6 run to take their biggest lead of the game at 69-60. Araujo reentered the game at the 8:29 mark, and led a BYU surge. The Cougars chipped away at the lead and Bigelow narrowed the Syracuse lead to two, at 71-69, with a trey at 4:23. Exactly one minute later Mike Hall slashed through the lane and missed a layup, but Araujo followed with a one-handed tomahawk jam. McNamara hit his final 3-pointer of the day, his ninth, to widen the Syracuse lead to four at the 2:12 mark, and the Cougars were unable to convert from downtown down the stretch. For the game, BYU shot 46 percent to Syracuse's 52 percent. The Orangemen also held a 69 percent to 40 percent edge from three-point land. Entering the game, the Cougars were 17-1 in games where they scored 70 or more points this season. Lemes set a BYU record for most assists in an NCAA Tournament game with his 9 passes for Cougar scores, one of which was an ally-oop to Hall for a first-half slam. Lemes' four treys tied Mike Smith (1988) for the third most treys made by a Cougar in an NCAA Tourament game.
LOOKING AT XAVIER
The No. 9-seed Xavier Musketeers are 24-8 this season after finishing 13-3 in the Atlantic 10 Conference and sharing the regular-season league title. Xavier also went 5-2 in neutral-court games this year and 3-0 against NCAA Tournament invitees with neutral-court wins over Virginia Commonwealth (70-67), Villanova (71-66) and Illinois (65-59). Senior forward Justin Doellman leads four Musketeers scoring in double figures as he averages 13.4 points per game on .498 shooting from the field. The Union, Ky., native also paces Xavier with 36 blocks on the year and is tied for the team lead with 5.5 rebounds per game. Junior guard Stanley Burrell is second on the team in scoring with 13.1 ppg while adding 2.0 rpg and 2.4 assists per contest. Junior point guard Drew Lavender dishes out 4.7 apg to go along with 11.2 ppg on .468 shooting from the field and a team-best .459 efficiency from three-point range. The Oklahoma transfer also adds 2.3 rpg and has posted 42 steals on the year. Senior forward Justin Cage rounds out Xavier's double-digit scoring effort with 10.1 ppg on .551 shooting from the field while tying for team-high honors with 5.5 rpg. As a team, the Musketeers average 76.4 ppg on .479 shooting from the field, .390 three-point shooting and .741 shooting from the free-throw line while holding opponents to 64.8 ppg on .431 shooting from the field. Xavier also holds a 33.8-30.8 rebounding advantage over its opponents. Musketeer head coach Sean Miller is 62-31 in his third season at Xavier.
XAVIER'S PROBABLE STARTERS (Based on last game)
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 15 Justin Doellman 6-9 210 Sr. 13.4 5.5
G 34 Stanley Burrell 6-3 205 Jr. 13.1 2.0
G 24 Drew Lavender 5-7 153 Jr. 11.2 2.3
F 03 Justin Cage 6-6 225 Sr. 10.1 5.5
F 33 Brandon Cole 6-8 240 Sr. 5.7 4.7
XAVIER'S LAST OUTING -- XAVIER FALLS IN ATLANTIC 10 SEMIFINALS
CINCINNATI - Junior point guard Drew Lavender led four Musketeers in double-figures with 18 points and dished-out nine assists for the second-consecutive night but it was not enough as the top-seeded Xavier University men's basketball team fell 79-71 to No. 4 Rhode Island in Atlantic 10 Tournament semifinal action at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City. With the loss, Xavier slips to 24-8 on the year while the Rams improve to 19-13. The loss breaks XU's nine-game winning streak and is the Musketeers second loss in their last 12 A-10 Tournament contests. Sophomore guard B.J. Raymond buried a 3-pointer with 8:05 remaining in regulation to put XU up three points, 61-58, but the Musketeers would go cold and managed only one field goal over the next 6:55. URI would take advantage, sprinting out to an 8-0 run over the next 2:10 and extending that run to 14-3 over the next 4:05 to take a commanding 72-64 advantage with 1:20 to go. XU was unable to mount a comeback, trading buckets with the Rams for the remainder of the contest. Lavender's 18 came on 7-of-19 shooting and his nine assists tied a career high. Senior forward Justin Doellman scored 13 points and snared five boards and classmate Justin Cage notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Junior guard Stanley Burrell chipped in with 11 points for XU. The Musketeers lost the battle of the boards by a 40-to-34 count and were out-rebounded 28-to-19 on the defensive glass. The Rams were solid on Friday, connecting on 50 percent of their field goal attempts including an unconscious 57.1 percent in the second half. Jimmy Baron led the way for URI with 17 points on 7-of-12 shooting. Xavier stormed out to a 9-2 lead after Lavender made a fast break lay-up just three-minutes into the game. Lavender keyed XU's early spurt with five points. URI would answer in a big way though and mounted a 17-2 run over the next 6:20 to take a 21-13 advantage with 8:40 remaining in the first half. Xavier would regroup and charged out to a 15-6 spurt over the next 4:10 to reclaim the lead, 28-27, at the 4:30 mark. Cage sparked the XU rally with an old-fashioned 3-point play and Doellman scored five points in a 50-second span to pull XU within one point. The two sides traded baskets for the final 4:30 and XU went into the locker room up 34-33.
This will be just the third meeting between the two teams with BYU owning a 2-0 record. Both prior contests took place on a neutral court at the All-College Tournament. The Cougars recorded a 115-103 victory on Dec. 30, 1964 and then won 87-75 on Dec. 28, 1967.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 2-0
BYU Record in Provo: N/A
BYU Record at Xavier: N/A
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 2-0
BYU Record Under Dave Rose: 0-0
BYU Record in Overtime Games: N/A
Longest BYU Win Streak: 2 (1964-present)
Longest Xavier Win Streak: N/A
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 12, twice in 1964 and 1967
Largest Xavier Margin of Victory: N/A
Most Points Scored by BYU: 115 in 1964
Most Points Scored by Xavier: 103 in 1964
QUOTING DAVE ROSE
"I don't know a whole lot about Xavier. I'm very familiar with many of the teams in the NCAA Tournament, so I thought it was interesting that we'll meet a team that I've only seen a couple times this year. I know they are a well-coached team and that they're very athletic. It's a team we're going to watch film on and see how we match up against. We're just excited for the opportunity to keep playing."
"Xavier is very similar to our team. They have balanced scoring with four guys in double figures, and they are an inside-out team. They like to go into the post and then spread the floor. They have good athletes. They like to attack the ball and run the floor."
"Drew Lavender is really their key. He is a very, very good shooter, and he's good with the ball. He can also make plays off the dribble. He really makes that team go."
POTENTIAL SECOND ROUND OPPONENTS
LOOKING AT OHIO STATE
The No. 1-seed Ohio State Buckeyes won the Big Ten Conference regular season (15-1) and tournament crowns while posting a 30-3 overall record. Ohio State's three losses have come on the road at North Carolina (No. 1 seed in the East Rutherford Region), at Florida (No. 1 seed in the St. Louis Region) and at Wisconsin (No. 2 seed in the St. Louis Region. The Buckeyes enter a first-round NCAA Tournament matchup with Central Connecticut having won 17 straight games since last tasting defeat on Jan. 9 at Wisconsin. Greg Oden leads the Buckeye attack as arguably the nation's top player. He averages a team-leading 15.5 points, 9.7 rebounds and 3.5 blocks. Ron Lewis (11.7), Daequan Cook (10.7) and Mike Conley Jr. (10.5) also contribute double-digit scoring for Ohio State. The Buckeye's score 73.6 points while allowing 60.2 and hold an edge on the boards at 35.7-32.9. They shoot .472 from the floor, .363 from behind the arc and .696 at the line. OSU opponents have shot a combined .397 from the field, .316 on threes and .682 at the line. Ohio State went 18-0 at home, 7-3 on the road and 5-0 on neutral floors entering the NCAA Tournament.
Ohio State owns a 4-3 advantage over BYU in the seven meetings between the two schools since the first contest in 1956. BYU won the lone neutral-court matchup in the last outing in 1997, winning 72-65 at the Rainbow Classic in Honolulu. BYU has a 3-1 edge at home over the Buckeyes while Ohio State is 2-0 on its home floor.
LOOKING AT CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE
No. 16-seed Central Connecticut State received an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament as the champion of the Northeast Conference. The Blue Devils enter Thursday's contest against Ohio State with a 22-11 record after posting a 16-2 league mark. Central Connecticut has won its last five games and 17 of its last 18 since starting the year 5-10. The Blue Devils are led by Tristan Blackwood at 17.3 ppg, Javier Mojica at 16.7 and Obie Nwadike at 14.8. Nwadike pulls down a team-high 10.9 rebounds while Blackwood is the top assist man at 4.2 apg. As a team, Central Connecticut scores 69.3 points while allowing 65.7 and owns an edge on the boards at 34.9-32.7. The Blue Devils shoot .436 from the floor, .381 from three and .727 at the line. CCSU opponents have shot .440 from the field, .330 from long range and .663 at the line. Central Connecticut went 13-4 at home, 9-4 in away games and 0-3 on neutral courts this season.
Central Connecticut has faced BYU on one occasion, falling 109-76 to the Cougars in the Marriott Center on Jan. 2, 1988. The victory was the ninth of BYU's program-best 17-0 start to the 1987-88 season.
BYU'S SEES SIX HONORED WITH MWC ACCOLADES
The Mountain West Conference announced its 2006-07 men's basketball awards Monday. The league's nine men's head coaches along with selected media picked the all-conference teams, as well as the coach, player, freshman and defensive awards. BYU head coach Dave Rose captured Coach of the Year honors for the second straight year, while Cougar Keena Young was selected as the Player of the Year. BYU also brought home Freshman of the Year honors as Jonathan Tavernari earned the award, while UNLV's Joel Anthony was named Defensive Player of the Year. In addition to the four major awards, three All-MWC teams were announced as Young was named to the All-MWC First Team, Trent Plaisted received second-team honors and Lee Cummard was honored with a third-team selection. Cougar Austin Ainge received honorable mention. In all, BYU, Air Force and San Diego State each had four players recognized followed by UNLV and New Mexico with three and TCU, Utah, Wyoming and Colorado State with two.
DAVE ROSE -- MWC COACH OF THE YEAR
-- Became the first Cougar head coach to earn back-to-back league Coach of the Year honors including his selection last year
-- Has guided BYU to consecutive 20-win seasons and the program's first national ranking since 1993
-- With a 13-3 MWC record, BYU earned its first outright regular-season league championship since 1987-88
-- The Cougars' current 23-7 overall record makes them just the sixth team in BYU history to record at least 23 regular-season wins
-- With a 25-7 record in Mountain West Conference games since taking the helm of the BYU program for the 2005-06 season, Rose is currently the winningest MWC coach in league play in the past two years
-- BYU set or tied eight different MWC records this season
KEENA YOUNG -- MWC PLAYER OF THE YEAR
-- Became just the seventh player in BYU history to earn conference player of the year honors, joining John Fairchild (1964-65), Danny Ainge (1980-81), Devin Durrant (1982-83), Timo Saarelainen (1984-85), Michael Smith (1987-88), Mekeli Wesley (2000-01) and Rafael Araujo (2003-04)
-- BYU's leading scorer (17.5 ppg) and rebounder (5.5 rpg) in conference play
-- MWC Co-Player of the Week (Feb. 12)
-- Ranked among the top 10 in the MWC in three statistical categories including scoring (fourth -- 17.5 ppg), field-goal percentage (seventh -- .557) and free-throw percentage (ninth -- .800)
-- Topped the 20-point scoring mark six times in league play including 29-point outings in each of BYU's two games against Wyoming, the most points scored by a Cougar since Dec. 6, 2003 (Rafael Araujo -- 32 pts)
-- Led BYU in scoring seven times and rebounding five times in league action, including posting one double-double, while shooting above .600 from the field in conference play six times.
JONATHAN TAVERNARI -- MWC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR
-- Played in all 16 of BYU's league games, averaging 13.9 minutes per game, 8.3 ppg and 3.2 rpg while shooting .552 from the field, .451 on three-pointers and .737 from the free-throw line in MWC play
-- Was the top-scoring freshman in the MWC
-- Scored in double figures in five outings, including a career-high 18 points three times
-- Shot .500 or above from the field nine times and from three-point range five times
-- Made his first six three-point shots against TCU, tying the BYU record for most consecutive three-pointers made in a single game, before missing his final attempt while adding 18 points
-- His .857 three-point percentage (6-for-7) against TCU set an MWC freshman record
TRENT PLAISTED -- ALL-MWC SECOND TEAM
-- As BYU's second-leading scorer (12.9 ppg) and rebounder (5.1 rpg) in conference play, Plaisted started all 16 conference games, scoring in double figures in 12 of them
-- MWC Co-Player of the Week honoree (Jan. 29)
-- Ranked among the top 15 in the MWC in four statistical categories in league play including field-goal percentage (sixth -- .563), blocks (tied for fifth -- 1.50), offensive rebounds (ninth -- 2.25) and scoring (14th -- 12.9 ppg)
-- Topped the 20-point scoring mark twice in league action, including a career-high 27 points at Colorado State, while leading BYU in scoring twice, rebounds four times and blocks 10 times in MWC play
-- Shot above .600 nine times in conference action, including five outings above .700
-- His six blocked shots also set an MWC sophomore record in league games
LEE CUMMARD -- ALL-MWC THIRD TEAM
-- Ranked among the top 15 in the MWC in four statistical categories including eighth in steals (1.44), tied for ninth in assists (2.88), 11th in blocks (1.25) and tied for 12th in defensive rebounds (3.56)
-- Scored in double figures five times in MWC play while averaging 8.6 ppg and leading BYU in scoring once, rebounds five times, assists four times, steals eight times and blocks eight times in league play
-- Made 11 straight shots, including five three-pointers, during a four-game stretch
-- Often called upon to guard the opponent's top perimeter player. His defensive highlights include holding the MWC's all-time leading scorer Brandon Heath of SDSU to a season-low-tying 13 points -- well below his scoring average -- while ending Heath's string of four straight 20-point games in BYU's league opener
-- In back-to-back road games, he held Wyoming's Brandon Ewing, the league's top scorer, to just eight points on 2-for-12 shooting and TCU's Brent Hackett to six points on 2-of-7 shooting while Cummard averaged 13.0 ppg on 77 percent shooting, 6.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.0 bpg and 2.0 spg for the week
-- Posted just the second double-double of his career with 16 points and 11 rebounds in BYU's conference opener against San Diego State
AUSTIN AINGE -- ALL-MWC HONORABLE MENTION
-- Took over the starting point guard role after the suspension of Rashaun Broadus following BYU's league opener, starting the last 15 games
-- Led the MWC in three-point field-goal percentage (.525) while ranking third in assist/turnover ratio (1.81) in league play, fourth in assists (4.88 apg) and 10th in three-pointers made (2.00 per game)
-- Scored in double figures eight times while averaging 9.5 ppg
-- As BYU's leading assist man in conference play (4.88 apg), he led BYU in assists 11 times in league play, dishing out at least three assists in each MWC game he started
-- Shot at least .500 from the floor in nine contests, topping the .700 mark three times
-- Shot at least .500 from three-point range 10 times, helping BYU lead the league in that category
KEENA YOUNG EARNS USBWA ALL-DISTRICT HONORS
After leading the Cougars to their first outright league title since 1988 and first national ranking since 1993, BYU's Keena Young has been named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association District VIII Team. The USBWA announced men's all-district teams in nine regions from coast to coast, based on voting from its national membership. Each team consists of a coach of the year and 10 student-athletes, including the player of the year. District VIII represents the top players from teams in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming. Young is one of seven student-athletes to represent the MWC and one of four players from a Utah university to earn all-district accolades this season. Joining Young on the District VIII Team are Nevada's Nick Fazekas, who was named the Player of the Year, along with fellow-MWC players Jacob Burtschi of Air Force, Brandon Ewing of Wyoming, Luke Nevill of Utah, Jason Smith of Colorado State and Wendell White of UNLV. The team is rounded out by Utah State's Jaycee Carroll, New Mexico State's Justin Hawkins and Weber State's David Patten. Wildcat head coach Randy Rahe received Coach of the Year honors. San Diego State's Brandon Heath was selected to the District IX Team. Young is the fourth Cougar in the last five years to earn USBWA All-District accolades. BYU center Trent Plaisted was one of just three freshmen in the nation to be selected last year while former center Rafael Araujo was honored in 2004 and former Cougar swingman Travis Hansen was named to the team in 2003. In addition to being voted the MWC's Player of the Year by the league's head coaches and selected media, Young also garnered MWC Player of the Year honors from CollegeInsider.com. The popular college sports website named a Player of the Year, Most Valuable Player and Coach of the Year from each conference including independents, selecting SDSU's Heath as MVP and UNLV's Lon Kruger as Coach of the Year in the MWC.
YOUNG NAMED TO NABC DISTRICT 13 TEAM
Senior forward Keena Young became the first BYU men's basketball player since Rafael Araujo in 2004 to be honored by the National Association of Basketball Coaches as one of the best players in the country. The NABC announced Wednesday its 2007 Division I All-District teams, naming Young to the District 13 First Team. In all, 150 student-athletes representing 15 districts were recognized as the nation's best men's collegiate basketball players as voted on by members of the NABC. Young is one of eight student-athletes to represent the MWC and one of three players from a Utah university to earn all-district accolades this season. Joining Young on the District 13 First Team are Nevada's Nick Fazekas and San Diego State's Brandon Heath, who both earned first-team honors last year, along with Colorado State's Jason Smith and Air Force's Dan Nwaelele. District 13 Second Team members include Coby Karl of Boise State, Rodney Stuckey of Eastern Washington, Jacob Burtschi of Air Force, Brandon Ewing of Wyoming and Luke Nevill of Utah. UNLV's Wendell White was named to the District 15 Second Team, while Utah State's Jaycee Carroll was honored as a second-team member of District 14. BYU players have received all-district recognition 82 times by the NABC since 1950.
THREE COUGARS SELECTED TO MWC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Three Cougars were named to the Mountain West Conference All-Tournament Team after leading BYU to the Championship game for the first time since 2001. Sophomores Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard and senior Keena Young were each honored with All-Tournament accolades. Plaisted averaged 18.7 points per game on .647 shooting from the field while adding 7.3 rebounds per contest. He posted back-to-back 20-point outings with 22 points and 27 points against TCU and Wyoming, respectively. He also added 10 rebounds while going 10-for-13 from the field against the Cowboys. Lee Cummard contributed 12.7 ppg on .583 shooting from the field and 9.0 rpg in BYU's three contests. In addition to scoring a career-high 21 points against Wyoming, Cummard recorded the third double-double of his career in the Championship game against then-No. 25 UNLV with 13 points and a career-best 13 rebounds. Keena Young set a BYU MWC Tournament record with 34 points on 13-for-18 shooting from the field against UNLV, the most points scored by a Cougar since Jan. 20, 2000. He also tallied a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds against Wyoming while posting 18.0 ppg and 9.0 rpg.
- Oral Roberts (72-62) -- Mid-Continent Conference champion
- Weber State (73-69) -- Big Sky Conference co-champion
- Utah State (75-62) -- 22-win team who defeated No. 9 Nevada twice in the last week
- San Diego State (80-58) -- defeated defending MWC champion and preseason No. 1 pick in league opener
- Air Force (61-52) -- Air Force was ranked No. 13 at the time
- UNLV (90-63) -- UNLV was tied for No. 25 at the time
- at Air Force (62-58) -- Air Force was ranked No. 20 at the time, also ended the Falcons' 30-game home win streak
- at UCLA (69-82) -- led at the half and trailed by two with just over six minutes to play vs. last year's national runner-up and this year's Pac-10 Champions/BYU was UCLA's closest nonconference home game in Pauley Pavilion, others lost by an average of 24.8 ppg/UCLA's overall margin of victory at home was 18.1 including Pac-10 play
- vs. Michigan State (61-76) -- in Detroit
- at UNLV (75-83)
- at UNLV (70-78) -- in the MWC Championship game in Las Vegas; the Rebels were ranked No. 25
- at San Diego State (74-86)
- Won outright Mountain West regular-season title with 13-3 mark
- Is 20-4 since December 13, 2006
- Has a 6-7 record in true road games, including 5-3 in MWC play, and has won five of its last six road contests capped with a win at No. 20 Air Force to end the Falcons' nation-leading 30-game home victory streak
- Has won 31 straight in the Marriott Center, which is the longest home win streak nationally
- Is 8-2 over last 10 games, including three wins over ranked teams
- Under second-year coach Dave Rose has registered second straight 20-win season and has six 20-win seasons in the last eight years
- Has six wins over teams with 20-win seasons
- Went 10-4 in non-conference play - only losses were at UCLA, Michigan State, Boise State and Lamar
- Ranks in the top 30 nationally in seven statistical categories
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- COUGARS FALL IN MWC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
LAS -- The No. 23 BYU men's basketball team played a hard-fought game against UNLV, but ran out of energy in the closing minutes to fall in the Mountain West Conference Championship game, 78-70. The Cougars fall to 25-8 while the Rebels improve to 28-6 on the season. The Cougars were led by MWC Player of the Year Keena Young, who had a career-high 34 points on 13-of-18 shooting and nine rebounds. His scoring output was the most scored by a Cougar since Mekeli Wesley posted 34 on Jan. 20, 2000. All-MWC forward Lee Cummard recorded a double-double with 13 points and a career-high 13 boards for BYU. The game began with the Cougars striking first as Austin Ainge found Young on a full-court pass for a layup at the 18:38 mark. BYU then scored on the next three possessions to take an early 8-0 lead and force the Rebels to take a timeout with 16:44 remaining in the first half. UNLV finally got on the board hitting a desperation three as the shot clock expired, but BYU quickly answered with back-to-back three-pointers by Mike Rose and Cummard to extend the lead 16-3 with 13:43 left. The Rebels started to make a run, but before it went anywhere Rose connected on another deep three at the top of the key. Cummard then came up with another one of his trademark hustle plays by rebounding his own shot and laying it in for the bucket. On the next possession Young went to work on the Rebels hitting a fade-away jumper to extend the lead 24-10. UNLV then tightened up its defense and went on a 14-4 run to cut its deficit to four and force BYU to take a timeout with 2:52 left. Right out of the timeout the Cougars wasted no time getting the ball to Young for a quick score. The Rebels answered back with a quick bucket of their own to stay close to BYU at 30-26. The Cougars then closed out the half going on a 7-0 run with Young hitting a jumper, Plaisted throwing down a two-handed dunk and Rose blasting another three to go into the intermission up 37-26. Young led BYU in the first half with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting and six boards. The second half started with Cummard getting a layup for BYU, but a couple possessions later UNLV answered with a rare four-point play to cut its deficit to five with 16:49 left. Ainge then came off a Plaisted pick and hit a three-pointer to silence the Rebel fans at the Thomas & Mack Center and extend the lead to 44-36. BYU then got six straight points from Young but after that stretch the Rebels nailed a three-pointer and made key shots to cut the Cougar lead to 50-48 at the second media timeout with 11:57 left. UNLV came out of the timeout with a three-pointer to take its first lead of the game 51-50. The one-point deficit marked the first time BYU had trailed at the MWC Tournament. For the next few minutes the two teams traded buckets back and forth with neither team running away with the lead. UNLV then took a two-point advantage at the 6:13 mark but Young answered right back tying the game at 57. The Rebels then scored four straight points forcing BYU to take a full timeout with 4:27 left. Young then traded baskets with UNLV for the next four possessions scoring eight points of his own to the Rebels' six to keep the Cougars within four. Being down 72-68 with 42 seconds left BYU was forced to foul. The Cougars were unable to create any sort of comeback down the stretch and ended up falling to the Rebels 78-70.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought it was a very hard-fought contest. I thought both teams played really well. I'm very proud of our team. I thought we battled and gave a great effort. It was a game that came down right to the end. I couldn't be more proud of a group of players because they battled to the very end."
-- "I thought our guys executed it well. We shot 50 percent from the field and got good shots. Keena Young was doing what he normally does for us. It just came down to a couple plays late."
-- "I think the concentration level was good. There may have been a little fatigue playing three nights in a row, but you battle through it. You battle through nights when you're not shooting the ball very well from the perimeter. You try to get inside. We had plenty of chances. UNLV just made more plays than we did. I think both teams played really well. It was a matter of tonight UNLV played better."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Keena Young - 34 points; Lee Cummard - 13 rebounds; Austin Ainge - 10 assists.
-- BYU MWC Tournament Records -- Keena Young's 34 points and 13 field goals made set new BYU MWC Tournament records while his eight free-throws made are tied for second. Austin Ainge's 10 assists are a new BYU MWC Tournament record, surpassing the mark of seven he set twice. Lee Cummard's 13 rebounds are tied for second.
-- The Cougars are now 3-3 in their games vs. ranked teams with the 78-70 loss at No. 25 UNLV, a 62-58 victory at No. 20 Air Force, a 90-63 win over then-No. 25 UNLV, a 61-52 win over then-No. 13 Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State.
-- BYU is now 23-5 when scoring less than 70 points and 5-8 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold.
-- With a 38-28 rebounding advantage against the Rebels, the Cougars are now 24-2 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- BYU has now shot above .500 from the field in 11 of the last 15 games, including a .500 mark against UNLV. The Cougars have also shot above .500 in seven of their last eight road games.
-- The Cougars have shot especially well from three-point range in their three games against UNLV this year, going a combined 32-for-58 (.552) from long range against the Rebels, including a school record 15 three-pointers made in Provo. Mike Rose has led the BYU charge from downtown as he has made 15-of-22 (.682) from three-point range against UNLV this season, including tying the BYU record he set in 2003 with eight three-pointers made against the Rebels in Provo.
-- BYU has led by at least 10 points in 23 of 33 games including a 14-point first-half lead against the Rebels. BYU is 21-2 in those games with both losses coming at the hands of UNLV.
-- With a 37-26 advantage at the break, the Cougars enjoyed their 25th halftime lead of the season and their 14th in double figures. Overall, BYU is 22-3 when leading at the break, 3-4 when trailing and 0-1 when tied. The Cougars have held opponents under 30 points in the first half 18 times this season, including three of the last four games.
-- Keens Young's 34 points against the Rebels and is the most points scored by a Cougar since Mekeli Wesley scored 34 on Jan. 20, 2000 and marked his ninth 20+-point scoring outing of the season and the 10th of his career. Only 17 Cougars have ever scored more in a game. Young has topped the 20-point scoring mark five times in the last 10 games.
-- Lee Cummard posted his third double-double of the season and his career with 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds against the Rebels.
-- BYU jumped out to a 10-0 lead on 5-for-9 shooting from the field while holding the Rebels scoreless for the first 5:46 of the game. UNLV started the contest 0-for-9 before making its first bucket at the 14:14 mark.
-- Just one game after scoring 10 of BYU's first 17 points, Lee Cummard once against started off hot, recording nine points and eight rebounds in the first 10:43 of the game before heading to the bench for a breather.
-- UNLV's 51-50 lead after a three-point make with 11:51 left to play in the game marked the first time BYU trailed in the MWC Tournament. The Cougars led by as many as 20 points against TCU in the quarterfinals and 25 points against Wyoming in the semifinals while never trailing in either game. BYU also had a 14-point lead (24-10) in the first half against the Rebels.
MWC TEAMS IN THE NCAA
In the first eight years of the MWC, eight of the nine conference members have advanced to the NCAA Tournament at least once. TCU is the lone team not to advance but the Horned Frogs have only been MWC members for two seasons. New Mexico became the last of the other MWC teams to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament by winning the 2005 MWC Tournament. 2007 MWC Tournament Champion UNLV received the league's automatic bid this season while BYU was selected as an at-large team.
BYU AND MWC IN POSTSEASON
BYU has earned an invite to a postseason tournament in seven of the eight years of the MWC, leading all MWC teams. BYU is second to Utah in NCAA appearances since the formation of the MWC (BYU has made four NCAA and three NIT while Utah has made five NCAA and one NIT). UNLV has received five invites (two NCAA, four NIT). New Mexico has received four (one NCAA, three NIT) along with San Diego State (two NCAA, two NIT) and Air Force (two NCAA and two NIT). Wyoming has three (one NCAA, two NIT) while Colorado State has been to one NCAA Tournament.
IN THE EIGHT YEARS OF THE MWC ...
-- BYU has had six 20-win seasons, leading all MWC schools. To date, Utah has had five, UNLV four, Air Force, Wyoming and San Diego State three and New Mexico two.
-- BYU has had the league's top RPI three times, been second twice (including current RPI ratings) and third on three occasions. The Cougars were third last year (67) behind Air Force (50) and San Diego State (56).
-- BYU has played the toughest schedule on average of any team in the MWC (BYU's average strength of schedule rating the first seven years the MWC was 66, followed by Utah at 78). This year, BYU's schedule was rated third behind Utah and UNLV. BYU had the league's toughest schedule in two of the previous three seasons.
-- BYU has the second-most overall wins (162, Utah leads at 166).
-- BYU is also second in conference wins (73, Utah has 75).
-- BYU has the second-most MWC regular-season titles (three). Utah leads with four.
-- BYU is one of six MWC teams to win the MWC Tournament title.
BYU IN THE TOURNAMENT
The Cougars now have a 9-7 Mountain West Conference Tournament record. BYU advanced to the finals in the first two years of the MWC Tournament, winning the title over UNM in 2001 after losing to host UNLV in 2000, before going five years without a finals appearance until losing to host UNLV in the 2007 Championship game. BYU has won its quarterfinal game in five of the eight MWC Tournaments. BYU has a 3-2 semifinals record and 1-2 finals record in MWC Tournament play. During the five years the MWC Tournament has been played in Las Vegas (2000-03, 2007), BYU has posted a 8-4 tournament record, with three finals appearances and one title (2001). The Cougars won their quarterfinals matchup every year but one, losing to eventual-champion San Diego State in 2002. BYU had a 1-3 tournament record during the three years the championship was conducted in Denver (2004-06). Overall, BYU has a 21-20 record in conference tournament games, which includes a 12-13 record in WAC Tournament games. BYU has played every MWC team in the MWC Tournament.
MWC TITLE GOES THROUGH BYU
In seven of the eight years of the Mountain West Tournament, BYU or the team that has knocked the Cougars out of the tournament won the title, including a championship game loss this season to host UNLV. Last year was the first time that trend did not continue as San Diego State won the title after BYU was knocked out by Utah in the quarterfinals. After losing in the title game to host UNLV at the inaugural MWC Tournament in 2000, BYU won the title in 2001. The next four years the Cougars were knocked out by the eventual champion. BYU was defeated by San Diego State in the 2002 quarterfinals before back-to-back semifinal losses to 2003-champion Colorado State and 2004-champion Utah. In 2005, New Mexico went on to win the title after defeating BYU in the quarterfinals.
EIGHT MWC TOURNAMENTS, SIX DIFFERENT CHAMPIONS
San Diego State became the first team in the MWC to win the Tournament title twice with its victories in 2002 and 2006. UNLV became the second with victories in 2000 and 2007, both over BYU. New Mexico's win in 2005 marked the sixth Tournament winner in the first six years of the event. The only teams not to win an MWC title are Wyoming, Air Force and TCU, who made its MWC debut last season.
BYU SEEDS AT MWC TOURNAMENT
BYU was the MWC Tournament's No. 1 seed this year for the first time with a 2-1 record. BYU has been the second seed three times (5-2 combined record in 2001, 2003 and 2004, including 2001 title). The 2006 Tournament was the first time that the Cougars have been the No. 3 seed in the MWC Tournament (first-round loss to Utah). The Cougars have also been the fourth seed once (suffering a first-round exit with loss to eventual-champion San Diego State in 2002), the sixth seed once (advanced to the finals in 2000) and the No. 7 seed once (2005 first-round loss to eventual-champion New Mexico).
FRUITS OF THE SEEDS
In the first eight years of the MWC Tournament, the teams with the No. 2 seed boasts the best mark at 13-5 while the No. 1 seed has gone 12-6. The No. 6 seeds have a combined 8-7 record while their first-round opponent No. 3 seeds have a 6-7 record. Fifth-seeded teams are 4-6. No. 4 teams have gone 8-8. The No. 8 seed has a 2-0 record in play-in games and a 3-7 record overall. The No. 9 seed is 0-2 in the play-in game. The No. 7 team won for the first time in 2006 and now has a 2-8 record. Last season marked the first time the No. 7 seed has advanced past the first round and the first time neither the No. 2 nor No. 3 seed advanced to the semifinals. The Tournament title has been won by the second seed three times (BYU in 2001, New Mexico in 2005 and UNLV in 2007); the top seed twice (UNLV in 2000 and San Diego State in 2006); the third seed once (Utah in 2004); the fifth seed once (San Diego State in 2002); and the sixth seed once (Colorado State in 2004).
BYU TOURNAMENT TITLES
BYU won the MWC Tournament title in 2001. BYU won WAC Tournament titles in 1991 and 1992. The Cougars' Kevin Nixon hit a dramatic three-quarter-court shot at the buzzer to defeat UTEP, 73-71, in Fort Collins, Colo., for the 1992 title. BYU won its first WAC Tournament title in 1991 with an overtime win over Utah. The Cougars also won the postseason conference playoff series in the Rocky Mountain Conference in 1924 (defeated Colorado College, 2-1) and 1933 (defeated Wyoming, 2-1).
BYU IN NATIONAL RANKINGS
BYU is ranked No. 23 in this week's ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll and No. 24 in the AP Top 25 Poll. BYU entered the national rankings on Feb. 19 for the first time since 1993 as the Cougars were ranked No. 21 in the AP Top 25 Poll and No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Poll. BYU was last ranked in the top 25 on March 8, 1993 when the Cougars were No. 25 in the AP Poll. BYU's No. 21 ranking equaled its highest ranking achieved during the 1992-93 season. BYU was ranked as high as No. 2 (UPI) and No. 4 (AP) in the 1987-88 season. BYU has been nationally ranked in the AP Poll during 15 seasons starting in 1950-51 when the Cougars won the national title as NIT Champions (unable to determine other seasons when BYU could also have been ranked in other polls due to incomplete in-season historical listings). Four BYU opponents appear in this week's polls as UCLA is ranked No. 6 in the Coaches Poll and No. 7 in the AP Poll while UNLV is ranked No. 18 (Coaches) and No. 19 (AP). Air Force is listed 40th in the Coaches Poll and Michigan State is listed 41st in the APpoll.
COUGAR RECORD AMONG THE TOP IN SCHOOL HISTORY
BYU has a 25-8 record through 33 games this year. In the 105-year history of BYU men's basketball, only the 1950-51 NIT Championship team of the 30 that played at least 33 games during a season earned a better record than this year's Cougar squad (noting that 75 teams did not total 33 games during the season, including the 20-5 NIT Championship team in 1965-66). One other BYU team has equaled the current Cougars' 25-8 record.
THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN
With a 13-3 Mountain West Conference record, BYU secured its first MWC title and its first outright league crown since 1987-88. The Cougars have won 27 conference titles. This year marks the first time since 1978-79 that the men's basketball, women's basketball and football teams have all won outright league crowns in the same season.
COACH ROSE OWNS TOP MWC MARK IN HIS TWO SEASONS
With a 25-7 record in Mountain West Conference games since taking the helm of the BYU program for the 2005-06 season, Dave Rose is currently the winningest MWC coach in league play in the past two years. UNLV's Lon Kruger is 24-10 and SDSU's Steve Fisher is 23-9 while fellow second-year coach Jeff Bzdelik follows with a 22-10 conference record in his two seasons with the Falcons. In addition to a 13-3 league and 24-7 overall record this year, Rose was named the Mountain West Conference and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year last season after coaching his team to a second-place MWC finish at 12-4 -- 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.
At 25-8 this season, BYU has achieved the program's 30th 20-win season, including two straight for Cougar head coach Dave Rose in his first two seasons at the helm. Last year, the Cougars finished 20-9. BYU has averaged 20 wins every 2.6 years (BYU has played 79 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). Rose became the fourth Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first two years, joining G. Ott Romney, Stan Watts and Roger Reid. However, Rose is the first Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first two years after taking over a program with less than 13 wins the prior year. BYU was 9-21 in 2004-05 before Rose turned the program into the second-most improved team in the nation last year.
20-Win Seasons at BYU
Stan Watts had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 23 years of coaching
Roger Reid had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
G. Ott Romney had 5 seasons of 20 wins in 9 years of coaching
Steve Cleveland had 4 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Ladell Anderson had 3 season of 20 wins in 6 years of coaching
Frank Arnold had 3 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Dave Rose has 2 seasons of 20 wins in 2 years of coaching
Floyd Millet had 1 season of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
CURRENT COUGARS RANK AMONG BEST EVER IN REGULAR-SEASON WINS
This year's BYU team is just the sixth Cougar squad to record its 23rd win prior to the end of the regular season, making it one of the best BYU teams in program history. The Cougar record for wins in the regular season is 24 achieved three times.
REGULAR-SEASON BENCHMARKS FOR NCAA INVITES
Winning 20 or more games in the regular season has proven to be a significant indicator for receiving an invitation into the NCAA Tournament. Since the first NCAA Tournament in 1939, BYU has had 20 seasons with 20 regular-season wins, including this year's team. In the prior 19 seasons when this occurred, BYU earned a postseason invite each season, including 16 NCAA bids, three NIT berths (BYU played both NIT and NCAA in 1950-51) and one NAIB (1948-49) invite. In the modern era since the NCAA Tournament became the predominant championship over the NIT, BYU has had 15 seasons when it earned 20 or more wins during regular-season games (prior to starting the conference tournament). The Cougars have received an invite to play in the NCAA Tournament in 13 of those seasons (not including this year), with the lone exception being last year's 20-7 regular-season team that fell to 20-8 with a loss at the MWC Tournament before receiving an NIT invitation. Including this year, BYU has reached 21 regular-season wins during 11 of those 15 seasons and has been invited to play in the NCAA Tournament in each of the prior 10 years.
VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
The Cougars are 3-3 in their games vs. ranked teams this year with a 78-70 loss at then-No. 25 UNLV in the MWC Tournament Championship game, a62-58 victory at No. 20 Air Force, a 90-63 win over then-No. 25 UNLV, a 61-52 win over then--No. 13 Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State. The win at No. 20 Air Force was BYU's first win over a ranked team on the road since a win at No. 12 New Mexico on Feb. 26, 1998. The Cougars' victory over then-No. 25 UNLV marked the second consecutive BYU win over a ranked team in the Marriott Center, including a win over then-No. 13 Air Force the week before. Prior to that, BYU had not defeated a ranked opponent since beating then-No. 25 Oklahoma State 76-71 on Dec. 6, 2003 in Salt Lake City. BYU hadn't beaten a ranked team in the Marriott Center since Feb. 1, 1992 with an 80-63 win over No. 19 UTEP.
BYU has won five MWC games this season by more than 20 points, including a 23-point (85-62) victory over in-state rival Utah on Saturday, a +27 (90-63) margin of victory against UNLV on Feb. 3, a 21-point (70-49) win at New Mexico on Jan. 24, a 24-point (89-65) win over TCU on Jan. 10 and a 22-point victory (80-58) over San Diego State to open MWC play. The UNLV win marked BYU's largest margin of victory in MWC play since a 29-point win (82-53) on Jan. 17, 2004 against Colorado State. BYU has won just 11 games by 20 points or more in MWC play since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season.
BYU is the only MWC team that has not had a game decided by three points or less this season. The Cougars have had some close games, however, as three games have required overtime this year. BYU is 2-1 in overtime with an 86-77 loss at Lamar on Dec. 13 and an 84-78 win against Idaho State on Nov. 18 and a 73-69 victory at Weber State on Dec. 2. This is the first season since 2001-02 that BYU has played multiple extra period games in one year (BYU was 0-3 in overtime that season). The Cougars' loss at Lamar ended a five-game overtime winning streak dating back to March 14, 2003, an 86-80 setback against Colorado State at the MWC Tournament. BYU is 50-45 (.526) all-time when playing past regulation.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 31 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's second-longest active home victory streak thanks to their win at then-No. 20 Air Force, snapping the Falcons' 30-game home win streak. BYU won 17 home games this season after going 14-1 at home last year. BYU's last home loss was in last year's season opener against Loyola Marymount. BYU has since won 15 straight over nonconference opponents and has won 16 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU is 403-116 (.776) all-time in the Marriott Center. The Cougars' longest home winning streak came from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003 when BYU won 44 straight in the Marriott Center.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (through games played March 10, 2007)
Wins Team This year Next home game
32 Memphis 20-0 Next Season
31 BYU 17-0 Next Season
ON THE ROAD
BYU has won five of its last seven games on the road including wins at No. 20 Air Force (62-58), at TCU (85-72), at New Mexico (70-49), at Utah (76-66) and at Wyoming (77-73) and losses at San Diego State (86-74) and at then-No. 25 UNLV (78-70) in the MWC Tournament Championship game. The Cougars' win in the Huntsman Center was their first since 1994, and their win at Air Force snapped the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. BYU is 6-7 on the road this year and 5-3 in conference play with a season-opening loss at then-No. 5 UCLA, a Nov. 29 setback at Boise State, an overtime win at Weber State, an overtime defeat at Lamar and league losses at UNLV and at CSU. BYU was the only Mountain West Conference team with a winning record on the road in league play this year. The Cougars are 2-1 in neutral court games this year with a loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich., and wins against TCU and Wyoming in the MWC Tournament.
BYU has won 12 of its last 14 games overall with victories over New Mexico (twice), Air Force (twice), Utah (twice), UNLV, Wyoming (twice), TCU (twice) and Colorado State and losses at SDSU and at then-No. 25 UNLV. The Cougars had won eight straight prior to the SDSU loss, marking their longest victory streak since winning nine straight during the 2003-04 season and ranking tied for 10th nationally. The Cougars also won seven straight this year over Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall, San Diego State and TCU.
TRUE BLUE FANS
BYU averaged 12,703 fans this season, including the largest crowd in MWC history with 22,812 fans against Utah and another sellout crowd of 22,700 fans against then-No. 13 Air Force, marking the first time since 1981-82 that BYU has had multiple sellouts in the same year. The Cougars were second in the MWC in attendance behind New Mexico's 12,853 average. BYU has consistently ranked among the national attendance leaders. The Cougars averaged 11,069 fans in 2005-06, outdrawing the regular-season conference champions of 27 out of 31 conferences as well as over half of the teams in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big East and Southeastern Conferences and all but Arizona in the Pacific-10 Conference. BYU also averaged more fans than 12 of the 16 NCAA Sweet Sixteen participants, including all of the Final Four teams.
Coach Rose has used four different starting lineups this year but has gone with the same starting five in the last 18 games. Sophomore Lee Cummard and senior Keena Young have started every game this season, while sophomore Trent Plaisted has missed just one start because of injury. Jimmy Balderson has made 30 starts. Rashaun Broadus started 11 of 15 games before being suspended for the season. Austin Ainge has started 25 games.
With 247 three-pointers made this season, BYU has set a new program record in that category, surpassing the mark of 214 set in 1992. The Cougars also set a school record with 15 three-pointers against UNLV on .682 (15-for-22) shooting from long range, the third time this season the Cougars have shot above .600 from downtown. BYU has shot above 40 percent from behind the arc 17 times on the season, including 11 of the last 14 games, and has made a least 10 treys in a game on seven occasions. The Cougars rank 10th nationally in three-point shooting (.413) and led the league in three-point percentage (.457) in MWC play. Cougar players finished first (Austin Ainge - .525) and second (Mike Rose - .471) in the league in three-point shooting percentage in MWC action. Rose tied the BYU individual record he set in 2003 with eight triples against UNLV.
BOUNCE BACK COUGARS
With Thursday's game coming on the heels of a loss at then-No. 25 UNLV, BYU has a chance to once again show its resiliency as the Cougars have bounced back from six of their previous seven losses this year with wins, suffering back-to-back defeats only once (vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State, at Lamar). BYU won eight straight games after losing to Colorado State on Jan. 20, its longest win streak since the 2003-04 season. After suffering its first back-to-back regular-season losses of the Dave Rose era with defeats against the Spartans and Cardinals, BYU responded with seven straight wins. Last year with its 20-9 overall record, BYU suffered consecutive defeats only once -- against Utah in the Mountain West Conference Tournament and at Houston in the NIT in 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 an MWC-leading 78.1 points and allowing 68.7 points. BYU is 20-0 when opponents score less than 70 points and 5-8 when they score 70 or more. BYU is 23-5 when it scores 70 or more points (exception at Lamar, at UNLV, at CSU and at SDSU) and 2-3 when scoring less than 70 with both wins coming against nationally ranked Air Force. The Cougars are also 12-0 this season when scoring at least 80 points. With its current scoring output, BYU is on pace to have its highest scoring average since 1996 (82.3 ppg) and highest scoring margin since 1992 (+10.6).
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU is 24-2 this season when outrebounding its opponents and 1-6 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars lead the MWC in rebounding average (37.5) and rebounding margin (+6.4). BYU posted its largest margin of the season with a +22 mark against then-No. 13 Air Force (42-20) and against TCU in the MWC Tournament (46-24). Senior Keena Young is tied for fourth at 6.5 rpg while sophomore Trent Plaisted is tied for sixth on the glass at 6.2 rpg. The Cougars recorded back-to-back season-high efforts of 52 rebounds vs. Oral Roberts and 55 against Seton Hall in the BYU Holiday Classic. BYU outrebounded the Pirates 55-34 as four Cougars had nine or more rebounds (Cummard 12, Young, Plaisted and Ainge 9).
PLAYER OF THE YEAR - KEENA YOUNG
Senior forward Keena Young has made noise this season for BYU as he proved to be the Cougars' go-to guy while earning Mountain West Conference Player of the Year honors. A consistent scoring threat and solid all-around performer for the Cougars, he finished fourth in the MWC in scoring (17.5) in league games while ranking seventh in field-goal percentage (.557) and ninth in free-throw percentage (.800). He has scored in double figures in 28 out of 33 games this year. He leads BYU in scoring overall (17.2), which ranks fourth among MWC players, and in rebounding (6.5), tied for fourth in the MWC. He is also seventh in the league in field-goal percentage (.549) and eighth in free-throw percentage (.797). The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring 14 times and rebounding 13 times. He posted a career-high 34 points at then-No. 25 UNLV in the MWC Tournament Championship game, the most points scored by a Couagr since Mekeli Wesley posted 23 on Jan. 20, 2000. Young has scored at least 20 points in nine games, including six of the last 12.
VETERAN LEADERSHIP AT THE POINT - AUSTIN AINGE
Senior Austin Ainge is averaging a team-best 4.45 assists, fifth in the MWC, while ranking third in the conference with a 1.91 assist/turnover ratio. He averaged 4.88 apg in league play (4th) while leading the conference with .525 shooting from three-point range and ranking third with a 1.81 assist/turnover ratio. Ainge scored 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, against then-No. 25 UNLV while adding four assists and four rebounds. He posted a season-high 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field, including a 5-for-7 mark from three-point range, to go along with six assists against TCU. He totaled 16 points with a career-best nine rebounds off the bench against Seton Hall. His 14 points -- all in the second half -- against Boise State fueled BYU's furious comeback attempt. He set the BYU MWC Tournament record with a career-high 10 assists at then-No. 25 UNLV.
DEFENSE, OFFENSE, DOING IT ALL - LEE CUMMARD
Sophomore Lee Cummard contributes across the box score and on the defensive end of the floor for BYU. On the year, Cummard averages 9.5 points, 5.8 rebounds, 2.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.8 blocks while shooting .554 from the floor, .438 on threes and .806 from the line. He ranks among the top 15 in the MWC in seven statistical categories overall. In conference action, he was eighth in steals (1.44), tied for ninth in assists (2.88), 11th in blocks (1.25) and tied for 12th in defensive rebounds (3.56). He has had at least one steal in 25 of 33 games, including a career-high 5 steals against UNLV, and his hit a three-pointer in 25 of 33 games, including a string of 13 straight. He guards the opponent's top perimeter player. Among his defensive highlights was excelling in the tough assignment to guard the MWC's all-time scoring leader and reigning MVP Brandon Heath of San Diego State. He held Heath to season-low-tying 13 points -- well below his MWC No. 2-ranked 20.3 scoring average entering the game -- helping end Heath's string of four straight games with 20 or more points. He held Wyoming's Brandon Ewing, the league's top scorer, to 8 points on 2-of-12 shooting and TCU's Brent Hackett to 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting, while Cummard averaged 13.0 ppg on 77 percent shooting, 6.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.0 bpk and 2.0 spg in those back-to-back road games. He also helped hold Utah State's leading shooter Jaycee Carroll, who ranked 22nd in the nation shooting .629, to just .308 shooting (4-for-13) and 7 points below his average.
SUPER SOPHOMORE - TRENT PLAISTED
Just one year removed from his Freshman All-American campaign, sophomore Trent Plaisted is once again contributing solid play for the Cougars. He is currently second on the team with 12.8 points per game on .550 shooting from the field, sixth in the MWC. He also ranks second for BYU and is tied for sixth in the league with 6.2 rebounds per game while adding 1.36 blocks per game, seventh in the conference. Plaisted has scored in double figures in 21 games, helping the Cougars go 17-4 in those contests, while scoring at least 20 points in six outings. He has also reached double-digits on the boards in three games, posting three double-doubles on the year. He has led BYU in rebounds 12 times, scoring seven times and assists twice. In league play, Plaisted was sixth in the MWC in field-goal percentage (.563), tied for fifth in blocks (1.55), ninth in offensive rebounds (2.25) and 14th in scoring (12.9).
IT'S A TEAM GAME
BYU has shown balanced play in all aspects of the game this season as nine different Cougars have led the team in scoring and eight different players have led the team in rebounding and assists. Keena Young has led BYU the most in scoring and rebounding as he has paced the Cougars 14 times in scoring and 13 on the boards. Austin Ainge is the Cougars' leading assist man with 22 games at the top of the assist category.
ROSE BECOMES EIGHTH COUGAR TO LEAD TEAM IN SCORING
Mike Rose became the eighth Cougar this year to lead the team in scoring during a game when he topped all scorers in BYU's win over then-No. 25 UNLV. Rose scored a career-high 27 points in 21 minutes off the bench to help BYU defeat the nationally ranked Rebels in the Marriott Center. He tied his own school record and equaled the season high by an MWC player this year (UNLV's Kevin Kruger) by making eight treys on 8-of-10 accuracy. His eighth triple also set a new BYU team record of 15 threes in a game.
On the year, BYU averages 36.9 points in the first half and 40.2 points in the second half (and adds another 1.0 to its overall scoring average with overtime points to total 78.1 ppg). BYU outscores its opponents by 5.9 points in the first half, 3.5 points in the second half and 9.4 points overall.
BYU scored more than 50 points in a half for the fifth time this year with its season-high 54-point first half against Wyoming in the MWC Tournament. BYU 51 points first-half points against New Mexico and Western Oregon. The Cougars also scored 51 points in the second half against Western Oregon to total a season-high 102 points for the game. BYU's top scoring second half of the year was a 52-point tally in the second half against Wyoming. Four of the five 50-plus point scoring totals have come in the Marriott Center. BYU has allowed a 50-point half just twice this year when Colorado State outscored the Cougars 53-39 in the second half in Fort Collins and UNLV posted 52 second-half points in the MWC Championship game.
40 OR MORE
BYU has scored 40 or more points in the first half eight times and reached 40 points during the second half of 19 games.
SCORING ON THE ROAD
BYU's top scoring first half on the road this year is 41 points at TCU, followed by 39 points in the first 20 minutes at nationally ranked UCLA and at Colorado Sate. BYU's top scoring second half on the road is 49 points at San Diego State followed by 46 points at Wyoming and 44 points at TCU. BYU also topped 40 points in the second half at Boise State (43), at Lamar (42) and at Utah (42). BYU's largest overall output on the road is its 85 points at TCU, followed by 78 points at Colorado State and 76 at Utah.
LEADING/TRAILING AT THE BREAK
BYU has led at the half in 25 of the team's first 33 games, including a double-digit lead 14 times. The Cougars outscore their opponents by an average of 5.9 points in the first period of play. BYU's win over Seton Hall marked the first time the Cougars have won this year after trailing at the break. The second breakthrough after trailing at the break came at Wyoming The Cougars also won at AFA after trailing at the half. BYU's 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. BYU also lost at CSU and at UNLV after leading at the break. The Cougars are 22-3 when leading at the half, 3-4 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season.
Including a season-high 58 points in the paint against New Mexico (BYU outscored the Lobos 58-22 inside), BYU has won the points-in-the-paint statistic in 19 games this year, going 18-1 in those games. Including BYU's wins over Colorado State and Idaho State when the Cougars and their opponents scored the same number of points inside, BYU is 20-1 when not getting outscored in the key. The Cougars have a 5-7 record when they are outproduced in the paint. Thanks to the inside play of Keena Young and Trent Plaisted, BYU is outscoring its opponents by 4.0 points inside on average.
CREATING SCORING OPPORTUNITIES
BYU is 19-1 when creating more points off of turnovers than its opponents. The lone loss in those games was vs. Michigan State when BYU held a 9-6 points-off-of-turnovers advantage. BYU on average is scoring 2.3 more points off of miscues than its opposition. BYU is averaging 13.5 turnovers to its opponents' 13.7.
BYU owns a 22-2 record when generating more second-chance points in a game this year. BYU is 2-5 when it doesn't and 1-1 when the two teams have equaled each other in the category. BYU averages 12.1 offensive rebounds to its opponents' combined 10.2 average and has scored 4.7 more points per game off the offensive glass. Trent Plaisted leads BYU with 2.5 offensive boards per game, followed by Keena Young (2.3).
With its uptempo philosphy, BYU has scored more fastbreak points than its opponents in 21 of 33 games and shared the same tally in five more. The Cougars are 19-2 when scoring more in transition (losses were back-to-back defeats vs. Michigan State and at Lamar) and 3-2 when tying the category. BYU is 3-4 when it has been outpaced on the break.
MOMENTUM OFF THE BENCH
Three-point shooting off the bench has often given BYU momentum this season. Several different Cougars have come off the bench and hit three or more treys in Cougar wins this year. Austin Ainge made three treys against Idaho State and Seton Hall while coming off the bench. Sam Burgess nailed three triples in a win over Portland. Jonathan Tavernari connected six times from long range against TCU and three times at Utah and against Western Oregon to help fuel BYU victories. Mike Rose tied his school record with eight bombs against then-No. 25 UNLV to allow BYU to pull away. He then added four threes at Wyoming, four against New Mexico, four against TCU and three at then-No. 25 UNLV. BYU's bench has outscored opposing reserves 763-580 this year, giving BYU 5.5 more points of production per game from its second unit. BYU's bench has outscored the opponent bench in 23 of 33 games, going 19-4 in those games.
BYU has enjoyed a double-digit lead in 23 of 33 games this year, including a 20-plus point advantage during 12 of those games. The Cougars are 21-2 in games when they have led by 10 or more points with both losses coming at UNLV after 11-point and 14-point first-half leads. BYU has trailed by double figures in 10 games, including a season-high deficit of 24 points at Boise State. The Cougars fought back and had a chance to win against the Broncos before losing by four points. BYU is 4-7 in games it has trailed by 10 or more points, coming back to gain wins over Oral Roberts, Seton Hall, Wyoming and then-No. 20 Air Force. BYU has led the entire game in seven contests (Portland, Southern Utah, Liberty, UNLV in Provo, Colorado State in Provo, TCU in the MWC Tournament and Wyoming in the MWC Tournament.)