BYU Head Coach Dave Rose and his Cougar squad secured the program's 27th regular-season conference championship with a win over Utah on Saturday night. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
The following are postgame notes and quotes following BYU's 85-62 win over Utah on Saturday in the Marriott Center.
BYU vs. Utah
March 3, 2007
- For the 18th time this season and the 15th 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 30 games this season while Plaisted has started 29, Balderson 27 and Ainge 22.
- Individual Career Highs: Sam Burgess -- 15 points, 4 rebounds (tied); Austin Ainge -- 1 block (tied); Keena Young -- 4 assists (tied).
- Team Season Highs/Lows: Highest attendance -- 22,812
- Six Cougar seniors were honored prior to the start of their final home game as Austin Ainge, Jimmy Balderson, Mike Rose, Fernando Malaman, Derek Dawes and Keena Young each received senior blankets.
- BYU's win over Utah extended its home winning streak to 31 games, which is currently the longest active home victory streak in the nation. The Cougars went 17-0 at home this season and are 403-116 (.776) all-time in the Marriott Center.
- With the victory, BYU has secured its first outright MWC regular-season 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.
- BYU's crowd of 22,812 vs. Utah marked the Cougars' second sellout this season (22,700 vs. then-No. 13 Air Force). Prior to this year, BYU had not sold out two games in a season since 1981-82 (vs. UNLV, vs. Utah). The attendance mark was also the 21st largest in Marriott Center history and the seventh largest for a BYU vs. Utah game. It was the largest crowd in MWC history.
- With a record of 23-7 in the regular season, BYU became just the sixth team in program history to reach 23 wins prior to postseason play. No Cougar team had reached the 23-win mark in the regular season since 1992-93.
- The Cougars set a Mountain West Conference record in their final league game, finishing conference play with 1,263 total points to surpass SDSU's mark of 1,246 points set last season. BYU entered the game needing 69 points to set the record and finished with 85. The record was actually set on a three-point make from Mike Rose with 8:38 left in the game.
- The Cougars have also won the Old Oquirrh Bucket and the in-state basketball bragging rights that go along with it for the first time since 2000-01 with a 5-0 record this season against in-state teams. BYU, which actually secured the Bucket with a win at Utah earlier this season, has claimed the Bucket eight times since 1975.
- With the 85-62 (+23) win over Utah, BYU won five MWC games this season by more than 20 points, including 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. 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. The Cougars had not beaten Utah by at least 20 points since March 10, 1994, a 96-65 win in the WAC Tournament. The last time BYU recorded a margin of victory that large over the Utes in Provo was Jan. 15, 1982 with a 74-51 win.
- BYU is now 21-4 when scoring over 70 points and 19-0 when holding opponents under the 70-point threshold. The Cougars are also 11-0 this year when scoring at least 80 points.
- With a 36-24 rebounding advantage against the Utes, the Cougars are now 22-1 when winning the battle of the boards.
- With a 37-26 advantage at the break, the Cougars enjoyed their 22nd halftime lead of the season and their 11th in double figures. Overall, BYU is 20-2 when leading at the break, 3-4 when trailing and 0-1 when tied.
- With 15 points against Utah, Young has now scored in double figures in 26 of 30 games this season, helping BYU go 20-6 in those games. Young scored 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the field in the first half.
- After Plaisted began the game with a free-throw make, Young scored seven straight points for BYU to spark a 13-3 run that gave the Cougars a 13-9 lead.
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
"This is a wonderful class of seniors whose hard work and dedication have led us to a regular-season conference championship this year. I want to thank them for their friendship, and I want them to know that they will always be a part of this Cougar basketball program."
"One thing I do know is they deserve it. They've worked pretty hard. We got help from our bench. We got help from our starters. It was a team victory, and it's been that way all year."
"When you win a conference championship, these guys will remember that for the rest of their lives. This is what we expected [when the season began]."
"There's still a lot of basketball to be played. We'll be happy for a couple of days and then go back to work."
"Obviously it was a well played game. I thought our team was really together tonight. There was balanced scoring, but I really thought we were able to handle the emotions of the night and stay together."
"We did a really good job of controlling the tempo of the game."
"This team's been through a lot of adversity, and I think the adversity brought this group together and made them a lot tougher. That's why I'm proud of these guys."
Utah Head Coach Ray Giacoletti
"We just need to go and regroup for the Mountain West Conference Tournament."
"This has been a great rivalry. BYU is very deserving. Their group of seniors have come together and, with a few additions, they have all the pieces."
"There is nothing to lose. We just need to give it a good effort."
"Mental attitude is what it will take to win the MWC Tournament. State of mind will determine the winner."