Keena Young scored in double figures for the 25th time in 29 games with 12 points at Air Force. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
The following are postgame notes and quotes following BYU's 62-58 win at No. 20 Air Force Tuesday night to secure at least a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season title.
BYU vs. No. 20 Air Force
Feb. 27, 2007
- For the 17th time this season and the 14th straight game, Austin Ainge, Jimmy Balderson, Lee Cummard, Keena Young and Trent Plaisted received the starting nod from BYU head coach Dave Rose. Cummard and Young have started in all 29 games this season while Plaisted has started 28, Balderson 26 and Ainge 21.
- Individual Season Highs: Austin Ainge -- 12 first-half points; Keena Young -- 3 assists (tied);
- With the victory, BYU has secured at least a share of the MWC regular-season title, its 27th conference title and first since 2002-03 when the Cougars tied with Utah. The Cougars can win their first outright title since 1987-88 with a win at Utah on Saturday.
- The Cougars are now 6-6 this season on the road and 5-3 in conference play, the only MWC team with a winning road record in league action.
- By virtue of the win at Air Force, BYU now owns the nation's longest home winning streak at 30 games, snapping the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. The Cougars' win also snapped a three-game Air Force winning streak against BYU in Clune Arena dating back to 2003.
- BYU is the only team to sweep Air Force this season, winning 61-52 at home and 62-58 at AFA.
- With the win at Air Force coming after a loss at San Diego State, BYU has now bounced back from six of its seven losses this year with wins, suffering back-to-back defeats only once (vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State, at Lamar). The Cougars have only lost back-to-back games twice in the Dave Rose era including losses last season vs. Utah in the MWC Tournament and at Houston in the NIT.
- The Cougars are now 3-2 in their games vs. ranked teams with 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.
- 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. BYU is 50-108 all-time against ranked opponents and 8-47 when playing a ranked team on the road.
- With eight three-pointers made against the Falcons to bring their season total to 219, BYU set a new team record for three-pointers made in a season, surpassing the old mark of 214 set in 1992. Austin Ainge tied the record with a make at the 11:21 mark of the first half, and Mike Rose set the record with 6:48 to play in the first period.
- With a .511 (24-for-47) field-goal percentage against at Air Force, BYU has now shot above 50 percent from the field in six of its last seven road games.
- BYU is now 2-3 when scoring less than 70 points and 18-0 when holding opponents under the 70-point threshold. Both Cougar wins when scoring under 70 points have come against the Falcons.
- With a 29-25 rebounding advantage against the Falcons, the Cougars are now 21-1 when winning the battle of the boards.
- The Cougars' two-point (32-30) halftime deficit marked just the third time in conference play and the seventh time overall this season BYU has trailed at the break. The Cougars are now 3-4 when behind at the half, having won three of their last four games when trailing at the break.
- Four Cougars scored in double figures at Air Force, led by Austin Ainge's 14 points. BYU is now 2-0 when led by Young and 7-2 when four players score in double figures. The Cougars are also 9-2 when Ainge scores in double digits, 19-6 when Keena Young scores in double figures (12 points), 9-3 when Jimmy Balderson reaches double figures (11 points) and 14-4 when Trent Plaisted reaches double digits (10 points).
- With 12 points against Air Force, Young has now scored in double figures in 25 of 29 games this season. BYU is 19-6 when he scores in double figures.
- The Cougars held Air Force scoreless for the final 4:41 of the game, allowing them to come back from a double-digit deficit for the fourth time this year.
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
"This was definitely a team victory. We got a lot of good play out of a lot of our players. They responded really well to a difficult situation on Saturday, but that's the personality of this group. This team has a great competitive spirit. We sure needed all of it from everybody tonight because it was a heck of a game."
"We saw a lot of big plays. The last four minutes is what you remember the most because that's what determined the game. We really defended them well and got them in a situation where they weren't as aggressive attacking the basket and made them take some shots that bounced off."
"You can't take anything away from the effort our guys put onto this game and what they did to come out with a win."
"As far as a team is concerned, this is truly a team. From top to bottom, these guys have all contributed to a piece of a conference championship. Hopefully we can continue and have a lot more chapters in this book."
"I remember the challenge used to be coming in here and trying to create energy. That's not the case anymore. You have to battle a lot of emotion. When you get in an environment like this and things get going and everyone's against you, it's tough but I was happy with the way the guys responded to the atmosphere."
"I knew from the beginning that our guys were here and that they were going to play and compete. We just had to do everything we could to keep ourselves together and composed. These guys have put a lot of work into this season, and they were embarrassed on Saturday. Tonight the resolve to bounce back is something I'm really, really proud of with this team.
"This is a very good league. Anybody can beat anybody on any given night. It's a very competitive league. There's not a loft of difference from the best team to the ninth team. It will be interesting to see how next week plays out and tournament plays out."
"I want our players to realize that this is a special time for them. Let's embrace the opportunities that we have. Right now we have things in front of us that we've worked for, and we have to stay focused on that."
"This is really a credit to our players, our coaching staff, our administration, our fans and everyone who has supported us."
"It will be a real emotional day on Saturday when we say goodbye to these seniors. We've got to get home, get some rest and get back out there and practice because we have a big, big game on Saturday."
BYU Guard Austin Ainge
"It's unbelievable. Our locker room is as excited as I've ever seen it. It feels so great. I had this one personally circled to win just because of the embarrassing losses we've had here in the past, so it feels amazing. There were so many big plays by so many guys. I just can't tell you how excited and happy we are."
"We've done really well in the second half against Air Force, so Coach told us if we just came out and won the first four minutes, we'd be able to get it done and we did."
"I felt as a senior captain, I needed to take care of the ball better than I did at San Diego State. I can't be passive; I have to attack, especially here at Air Force where they bottle up our post guys. I made a lot of mistakes tonight, but I felt better tonight because I played more aggressively."
"In a game like this, there's always tough calls and tough plays, and you just have to hope to come out on top."
"We didn't shoot the ball very well last game against them but we outrebounded them by 22. We didn't end up getting as many rebounds this time, but we shot the ball better and that was the difference."
"All of Air Force's players shoot so well that if you lose your concentration for a second, someone gets an open three. You have to stay focused for so long that it's taxing emotionally."
"We've been tough all year. We've had bad starts and fought to the end. We take the personality of Coach Rose. He's a fighter, and even if we're down 20 or up 20 he's still fighting and so are we."
"You couldn't have drawn it up any better than this. It's really important for our team to prove we can win on the road and win in tough environments. Hopefully it will help us come tournament time."
"Saturday will be a great night. We're at home against our in-state rival Utah with an outright conference title on the line. There's so many reasons to win. I don't think we'll have trouble getting up for that game; the trouble will be controlling our emotions."
"There's a lot of good teams in this conference, and a lot of the lower teams have given us really good battles. We have our work cut out for us."
"We're a team that's not going to out-talent or out-muscle anyong. We have to play well. We can lose to anybody or we can beat anybody. We have the potential, and it's all up to us."