Plaisted's Free Throws Lift Cougs Past Lobos

Junior Trent Plaisted hit two free throws in overtime to give the Cougars the victory over New Mexico. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

ALBUQUERQUE -- BYU center Trent Plaisted made two free throws with five seconds left in overtime to beat New Mexico 70-69 in The Pit on Tuesday night.

Plaisted, a 53.6 percent free-throw shooter, kept the Cougars atop the Mountain West Conference standings with the two clutch free throws. BYU moves to 22-6 overall and 11-2 in MWC play. New Mexico drops to 22-7 and 9-5.

"Trent was pretty pumped, and he steps up to the line and hits them," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "He told everybody in the huddle before the second free throw that he was going to make it, so that was a good sign."

The Cougars battled back from a 50-58 deficit with five minutes left in regulation to tie the game and send it into overtime. BYU freshman Chris Collinsworth made 1-of-2 free throws with 43 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 63-63 and send it into the extra period.

A back-and-forth battle ensued in overtime with neither team taking more than a three-point lead. Plaisted had three points in overtime, all of which came at the line, to give BYU the victory.

"Obviously, I'm not the best free-throw shooter in the league, but I had a lot of confidence stepping up to the line and they went in," Plaisted said.

Despite entering the game with the lowest free-throw percentage in the league, the Cougars went 7-for-8 from the stripe in overtime. BYU senior Sam Burgess was 4-for-4 from the line.

Plaisted finished the game with 23 points, six rebounds and five blocks. Burgess added 12 points and eight rebounds, tying his career high. New Mexico guard J.R. Giddens scored a game-high 30 points.

"J.R Giddens is an amazing basketball player and did a lot for their team," Plaisted said. "We are all just very, very thankful for the win."

New Mexico, the team with the highest field-goal percentage in the conference, was flat from the three-point line, shooting just 3-of-21.

BYU came out hot in the first half, shooting 3-of-4 from three-point land in the first eight minutes to go up 17-10. But a trapping man-to-man defense by New Mexico allowed the Lobos to respond to BYU's solid shooting early, forcing BYU into nine turnovers in the period.

The Lobos led 24-23 with seven minutes left in the first half, the teams' first lead since leading 2-0. The Lobos' offense went through Giddens, who had nine points in the first 12 minutes.

The crowd of more than 18,000 at The Pit came to its feet when a turnover by BYU forward Chris Collinsworth led to a Giddens dunk at the other end, giving the Lobos a 29-28 lead with 3:30 to go in the half. The Lobos would extend their lead into the locker room at halftime with a score of 33-29.

BYU's three-point shooting, and the lack of three-point shooting from the Lobos, is what kept the Cougars in the game early on. BYU shot 5-of-10 from behind the arc while New Mexico was just 1-for-10.

Lee Cummard led all Cougar scorers at the break with seven points. Plaisted added six points and three rebounds. Giddens led the Lobos' stat sheet with 14 points, going 5-of-11 from the field.

Plaisted came out in the second half to score the Cougars' first four points but would soon commit his third foul and be forced to take a seat on the bench.

A three-pointer by Sam Burgess with 12 minutes left in the game brought the Cougars to within two points, 42-44. The Lobos had enjoyed a five-point cushion for the first eight minutes of the half.

With six minutes to go in the game, the Lobos went on a 6-2 run to jump to a 58-50 lead. New Mexico freshman Jonathan Wills hit a triple, and a three-point play from Roman Marinez sparked the Lobos on the run.

A right-handed hook shot from the left-handed Plaisted and a Cummard three-pointer from the top of the key tied the game at 58. A layup by Cummard with 1:20 left gave the Cougars their first lead since the first half. Cummard would later foul out.

With the score tied at 63-63 and 20 seconds left in regulation, Jimmer Fredette stole the ball from Jamaal Smith to give the Cougars possession. But a Fredette turnover with 10 seconds left gave the Lobos the final shot of regulation, which Dairese Gary missed as time ran out.

In the overtime period neither team could manage to shake the other, going back and forth with neither team leading by more than three points.

Plaisted went to the line shooting two with the Cougars down 68-69 and hit both free throws get the 70-69 victory.

BYU returns home to the Marriott Center on Saturday at 7 p.m. against Air Force.

CLICK HERE for postgame notes and quotes.


Official Basketball Box Score

BYU vs New Mexico

2/26/08 8:05 PM at Albuquerque, NM / The Pit

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VISITORS: BYU 22-6, 11-2

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

44 PLAISTED, Trent..... f 9-15 0-0 5-9 1 5 6 3 23 0 3 5 0 35

45 TAVERNARI, Jonathan. f 2-12 1-7 0-0 0 3 3 2 5 2 2 0 0 32

20 BURGESS, Sam........ g 2-6 1-2 7-8 0 8 8 2 12 2 0 0 1 41

24 MURDOCK, Ben........ g 1-3 1-2 0-0 0 2 2 1 3 3 0 0 0 17

30 CUMMARD, Lee........ g 5-9 2-4 2-3 0 7 7 5 14 4 4 0 0 34

01 LOYD, JR., Michael.. 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 6

32 FREDETTE, Jimmer.... 2-7 1-5 2-2 1 0 1 4 7 2 3 0 1 27

41 COLLINSWORTH, Chris. 1-3 1-3 2-4 2 3 5 2 5 1 2 0 0 23

54 MILES, Chris........ 0-1 0-0 1-2 0 1 1 1 1 1 0 0 1 10

TEAM................ 5 2 7

Totals.............. 22-56 7-23 19-28 9 31 40 22 70 15 14 5 3 225

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-25 40.0% 2nd Half: 12-28 42.9% OT: 0-3 0.0% Game: 39.3% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 5-11 45.5% 2nd Half: 2-9 22.2% OT: 0-3 0.0% Game: 30.4% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 4-8 50.0% 2nd Half: 8-12 66.7% OT: 7-8 87.5% Game: 67.9% 4,2

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HOME TEAM: New Mexico 22-7, 9-5

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

30 MARTINEZ, Roman..... f 3-7 1-3 1-1 3 6 9 5 8 3 0 0 0 34

53 FARIS, Daniel....... f 4-6 0-0 0-0 3 4 7 5 8 0 0 0 2 21

02 WILLS, Jonathan..... g 1-4 1-4 0-0 0 2 2 0 3 1 0 0 0 13

05 GARY, Dairese....... g 2-8 1-2 2-2 1 1 2 2 7 2 1 0 1 27

15 GIDDENS, J.R........ g 12-26 0-2 6-13 2 5 7 4 30 3 1 3 1 44

04 HARRIS, Johnnie..... 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 5

10 SMITH, Jamaal....... 2-8 0-3 0-0 0 1 1 4 4 1 2 0 0 26

22 PEGUES, Monquel..... 1-2 0-0 0-0 2 2 4 2 2 1 2 0 0 19

24 PRENTICE, Darren.... 0-3 0-2 1-2 1 0 1 0 1 1 0 0 0 13

33 TOPPERT, Chad....... 0-6 0-5 4-4 0 3 3 1 4 0 1 0 0 23

TEAM................ 2 4 6

Totals.............. 26-71 3-21 14-22 14 28 42 24 69 12 7 3 4 225

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-32 37.5% 2nd Half: 12-32 37.5% OT: 2-7 28.6% Game: 36.6% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-10 10.0% 2nd Half: 2-10 20.0% OT: 0-1 0.0% Game: 14.3% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 8-10 80.0% 2nd Half: 4-10 40.0% OT: 2-2 100 % Game: 63.6% 6,2

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Officials: Bob Staffen, Mike Scyphers, Shawn Lehigh

Technical fouls: BYU-None. New Mexico-TEAM.

Attendance: 18018

Score by Periods 1st 2nd OT Total

BYU........................... 29 34 7 - 70

New Mexico.................... 33 30 6 - 69

Tags: Results