POSTGAME - BYU vs. Air Force, MWC Quarterfinals

Jonathan Tavernari posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds against Air Force. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

POSTGAME NOTES

BYU vs. Air Force

March 12, 2009

Player Notes

Jonathan Tavernari shot 4-of-7 from the field and 3-of-5 from downtown in the first half for 13 points against Air Force. All three of his treys came off Cougar offensive rebounds. He finished the game with 19 points, 11 rebounds and three assists. Tavernari now has seven double-doubles for the season and nine for his career.

Lee Cummard filled the stat sheet against Air Force, posting 16 points, eight rebounds, a season-high seven assists, two blocks and one steal to lead BYU to an 80-69 win. The Cougars advance to the 2009 Conoco MWC Championship semifinals and will play San Diego State.

Jimmer Fredette posted his eighth 20-point game of the season as he tallied 21 against Air Force in the 2009 Conoco MWC quarterfinals. He added three rebounds, two assists, one block and two steals.

Chris Miles was one of four Cougars in double-figures against Air Force with 11 points. He added three rebounds, two blocks and one steal.

Team Notes

— BYU had its best shooting performance since hitting 46.9 percent at UNLV on Feb. 21, shooting 46.7 percent against the Falcons. The Cougars had shot below .400 in the each of the last three games.

— BYU shot 78.4 percent from the free throw line, hitting 29-of-37. At one point the Cougars hit 23-straight, falling one make short of the school record for consecutive free throws made in one game. Lee Cummard hit 8-of-8 and Jimmer Fredette hit a career-best 7-of-7.

— For the 29th time in 31 games this season, BYU head coach Dave Rose started Jimmer Fredette, Jackson Emery, Lee Cummard, Jonathan Tavernari and Chris Miles. The Cougars are 23-6 with that starting lineup. Lamont Morgan, Jr., started the first game of the season in place of Jimmer Fredette and Charles Abouo started the Wyoming game in Provo in place of Jackson Emery.

— Trailing 38-41 at the break against the Falcons, the Cougars trailed at the half for the sixth-straight game. The Cougars came back to win for the fifth-straight game. On Feb. 21, BYU trailed at UNLV by two at the half but was unable to come all the way back for the win, losing 75-74. The Cougars have not lost since. BYU trailed UNLV by two at the half and lost 75-74, trailed San Diego State by 13 and won 69-59, Utah by two at home and won 63-50, at Wyoming by five and won 78-68, at home against Air Force by three and won 54-49, against Air Force in the quarterfinals and won 80-69.

— BYU is now 12-8 all-time in the MWC tournament, including 7-3 in first round games. The Cougars are also 5-2 as the No. 1 seed in the MWC tournament. BYU is 24-21 all-time in conference tournaments.

Record Watch

Lee Cummard has now played in 129 consecutive games and 129 games for his career. He now holds the all-time record for consecutive games played, previously held by Mark Durrant (128) and is tied for the record for most games played with Russell Larson and Nathan Call.

— With 16 points against Air Force on Thursday, Lee Cummard now has 528 points this season and 1,541 career points. He needs 27 points to pass Kenneth Roberts (1,567) for ninth place.

Lee Cummard posted one steal against the Falcons to bring his career total to 128. He needs four steals to pass Russell Larson (131) for fifth place.

— With 19 points against Air Force on Thursday, Jonathan Tavernari has 503 points this season and 1,143 for his career. He is now tied with Doug Howard for 23rd all-time and eight points from passing Elwood Romney.

— With four threes against the Falcons Jonathan Tavernari now has 81 threes for the season and 198 for his career. He is 16 from passing Mark Bigelow (213) for first all-time at BYU in career threes and eight from passing his own record for threes in one season.

Game Trends

— After starting the game with a 7-2 lead over Air Force, BYU fell behind 19-12. The Cougars responded with a 14-2 run that included seven points from Jimmer Fredette, four on free throws and a three-pointer to make it 26-21. Air Force responded with a 6-0 run and then it was a back and forth battle as BYU tied the scored but Matt Holland hit a three to give the Falcons a 41-38 lead at the half. There were six ties and seven lead changes in the first half.

— BYU started the second half on a Jimmer Fredette run to take the lead. Fredette hit a three to open the half, completed a three-point play and then hit another three. The Cougars continued the run with a Lee Cummard jumper and a Chris Miles layup that came as a result of a Cummard offensive rebound. The run was 13-1 to give BYU a 51-42 lead.

POSTGAME QUOTES

BYU vs. Air Force

March 12, 2009

BYU Head Coach Dave Rose

“I thought it was an extremely competitive game. When you consider the last 80 minutes of basketball that we’ve played, Air Force ahs been an extremely competitive team. I give a lot of credit to those seniors who made a lot of big plays against us.”

“I am really proud of our players for being able to find a way to win in both of those games.”

“We got a lot of help from a lot of different players, but that’s the way our team has been throughout the season. It was a good win for our team and we’re excited to move on.”

“I thought we were a little bit sporadic finishing that game off with our free throws. We left a few on the line. I think that with the way that we’ve shot free throws the last month or so, I think all our team has confidence in the ability to spread the floor and get the ball to any player – and that they can step up and go make those free throws.”

BYU Forward Lee Cummard

“The coaching staff told us at halftime that we needed to play a little bit harder, a little more effort and with more sense of urgency. I think that is the difference in the second half in rebounding.”

“The biggest thing with Air Force is how hard they play. They always fight until the end. Like coach said, they have a few seniors that will their team to play hard from start to finish. The toughest thing after that is the stuff they run. It takes a moment to get used to it – all the back doors and the false motion that they run. They get you standing up and then they make a play. You just have to get used to that and stay in a stance. They’re just senior-led. Another good team.”

BYU Forward Jonathan Tavernari

“Coach always says that if you're playing harder than the other team, you’re going to rebound more. In the first half they outplayed us. Like Lee said, we needed to play with a little more sense of urgency. If you’re playing hard, giving your best shot, you’re going to get the loose balls and rebounds. We just bought into the game plan. That’s what happened in the second half.”

“Air Force plyes really hard. We couldn’t really put them away. They played different that everybody else. They play more of a halfcourt set. We had to step up and make big plays. Jimmer did a great job. Lamont came in and hit a big three in the corner. Again, it’s just good players making good plays.”