Season Highs Boost Cougars over Aztecs

Rashaun Broadus led the Cougars to an 80-58 victory over the defending MWC champs. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

PROVO -- In one of the most physical and intense games of the year, the BYU men's basketball team began Mountain West Conference play Saturday by beating the defending MWC-champion San Diego State Aztecs in the Marriott Center, 80-58. The win extended the Cougars' winning streak to six and their home winning streak to 24, which is tied for third in the nation.

"I thought that this game might have been our best team effort defensively this year," BYU head coach Dave Rose said.

BYU's Rashaun Broadus led all scorers with a season-high 19 points. Lee Cummard had his second double-double in as many games with 16 points, tying a career high, and 11 rebounds. Trent Plaisted finished with 13 points, and Keena Young with 12 points and eight boards.

"They gave us a good old-fashioned, back-of-the-shed licking," SDSU head coach Steve Fisher said. "Some of that was BYU. They're a good team, but some of that was us."

Sloppy play on both ends of the floor characterized the first three minutes of the game with a Jimmy Balderson missed lay-up and a Brandon-Heath pass that almost reached the crowd. That sloppy play turned into physical play, and the crowd quickly caught on to the energy. A triple from Broadus gave the Cougars a 5-2 lead at the 17-minute mark and, although the score was tied three more times in the next five minutes, BYU was successful in not allowing SDSU to take the lead for the rest of the game.

The 15:40 mark saw Heath's second turnover of the game as he hit coach Rose with a bounce pass. Despite the offensive struggles, SDSU's defense kept the Aztecs in the game as they denied access to the hoop and forced the blue and white to take a number of off-balanced shots from the perimeter.

A shoot-out began with just under 13 minutes to go as BYU senior Mike Rose dropped a three from the wing that was answered by a Richie Williams deep ball of his own. Rose pulled up from the opposite wing on the next possession, and the ball went in and out, but was tipped in by Cummard. Cummard got a steal on the next possession and was fouled hard going up for the fast-break lay-up. The Cougars took a 13-9 lead after he hit both free throws.

With the score tied at 13 with 10 minutes to go in the half, Cummard added a three-point bucket to his six rebounds and gave his team a 16-13 lead. He continued his impressive first-half performance with a rebound and a steal on the next two Aztec possessions. Cummard's efforts and the crowd's increasing energy gave BYU the boost it apparently needed, sparking the Cougars on a 7-0 run to go up 20-13.

Another shot from behind the arc for Cummard spread the Aztec defense, and Broadus was able to hit Fernando Malaman for a bucket underneath to give the Cougars a 25-17 lead with five minutes left in the first half. Heath was visibly frustrated after making 2-of-4 from the field for four points and three rebounds in the first 16 minutes of the game.

The BYU lead reached nine at 28-19 with 3:05 to go when Cummard rolled off a Malaman pick on the right wing and knocked down his third three of half. That lead went to 10 on a Balderson free throw and 12 on a left-handed baby hook in the paint from Plaisted.

Plaisted ended the half with a tough lay-up, getting bumped and going under the hoop to set the halftime score at 35-23. He ended the half with seven points on 3-for-4 shooting, two rebounds and four blocks, tying a career high for blocks in a game. Cummard had 13 points on 3-for-6 shooting from long range and seven rebounds. Heath was SDSU's leading scorer in the half with seven points on 1-for-2 shooting from three-point land.

BYU came out of the break on a roll with free throws from last week's MWC Player of the Week Keena Young as well as a three-pointer and two free throws from Broadus to take the BYU lead to 42-25. That lead went to 44-25 on two more free throws from Young who got into foul trouble himself. He went to the bench after racking up his fourth foul with 17:18 left to go in the game.

Even with a 15-point lead, both teams played like it was a one-possession game. BYU forced SDSU to run the shot clock to under 10 seconds as Heath attacked the lane and went to the line for two free ones. On the next SDSU possession Heath attacked again but was not as fortunate as Malaman sent Heath's effort back seven feet on a rejection.

SDSU's fight was relentless despite the struggles, and the Aztecs kept the toughest pressure BYU has seen this season in full gear. Following the Malaman rejection, the Aztecs tallied two steals in the next two Cougar possessions and lowered the lead to 11. Cummard proved just as relentless, however, as he hit an 18-footer from the baseline followed by a block on a Heath three-pointer.

Plaisted blocked his fifth shot on a Lorrenzo Wade lay-up with just under 13 minutes remaining in the game, and Balderson followed by taking the BYU lead back to 16, 52-36, on a fast-break lay-up. SDSU looked to mount a comeback by getting a steal and lay-up on the full-court press, but Plaisted flushed those dreams with a monster, two-handed throw down on the next possession.

The Cougars tied their season-high with nine blocks on yet another Plaisted rejection, taking his career high to six. The last time the team had nine blocks was against the Liberty Flames in the BYU Holiday Classic, a tournament which the Cougars swept the weekend prior to the game against SDSU.

Broadus went to the line with 7:58 to go in the game and sunk both attempts. BYU's lead reached 18 points with those and went to 20 on a Young tip-in. The real dagger, though, was Austin Ainge's three-point bucket from the left corner that followed, taking the score to 66-43 and capping a 10-0 BYU run.

Down by 20 with just under five minutes to play in the game, SDSU kept the pressure on. The Aztecs trapped Ainge in the corner and stole the ball. A fast-break lay-up seemed inevitable, but BYU would not let up either. Cummard flew in behind Williams and blocked his shot off the backboard. Broadus then took his point total to 17 by draining a three, stealing the ball from Williams and scoring a fast break lay-up. Young got his 12th point on the next possession, and the score went to 76-51, marking the largest lead of the game.

Heath came into the game scoring 20 points or more in the last four games and more than 10 points in forty straight games. The seven-time MWC Player of the Week and all-time leading scorer for the Aztecs finished the game with 13 points and a season-high six turnovers. Mohamed Abukar and Jerome Habel each scored 12 points as well.

"We are just growing as a team," coach Rose said. "The more we win, the more confidence we get."

The Cougars' record improves to 11-4 on the year and 1-0 in the conference with the win. The Aztecs fall to 11-5 on the year and 0-2 in the conference. BYU's next game will be Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center and can be seen live on The MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.).

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Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS

San Diego State Aztecs vs BYU Cougars

01/06/07 3:30 pm at Marriott Center, Provo, UT

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VISITORS: San Diego State Aztecs 11-5, 0-2 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

31 WADE, Lorrenzo...... f 3-10 0-1 3-5 0 1 1 1 9 1 2 2 1 29

33 SPAIN, Kyle......... f 1-2 0-0 2-4 0 1 1 4 4 0 4 0 1 22

34 ABUKAR, Mohamed..... f 4-10 1-3 3-4 1 6 7 3 12 0 3 2 0 35

01 HEATH, Brandon...... g 5-13 2-5 1-2 1 4 5 2 13 3 6 0 3 30

21 THOMAS, Matt........ g 0-0 0-0 1-2 0 2 2 2 1 4 3 0 1 18

02 JOHNSON, Jer'Vaughn. 0-2 0-0 0-1 3 2 5 3 0 0 2 0 0 8

03 WILLIAMS, Richie.... 2-4 1-2 2-4 2 1 3 2 7 1 0 0 3 25

04 HABEL, Jerome....... 5-8 0-0 2-5 1 1 2 0 12 0 0 2 1 22

05 PASTOREK, Jon....... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 11

TEAM................ 1 1 2

Totals.............. 20-50 4-11 14-27 9 19 28 19 58 9 21 6 10 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 8-22 36.4% 2nd Half: 12-28 42.9% Game: 40.0% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 2-6 33.3% 2nd Half: 2-5 40.0% Game: 36.4% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 5-9 55.6% 2nd Half: 9-18 50.0% Game: 51.9% 6

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HOME TEAM: BYU Cougars 11-4, 1-0 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

03 YOUNG, Keena........ f 4-9 0-0 4-4 4 4 8 4 12 2 3 0 0 23

30 CUMMARD, Lee........ f 5-12 3-6 3-4 4 7 11 3 16 4 5 2 3 36

44 PLAISTED, Trent..... c 5-7 0-0 3-8 2 4 6 3 13 1 3 6 0 30

01 BROADUS, Rashaun.... g 6-11 3-5 4-4 1 2 3 4 19 4 2 0 2 31

23 BALDERSON, Jimmy.... g 2-7 0-2 1-2 1 1 2 2 5 2 1 0 1 23

02 ROSE, Mike.......... 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 0 0 1 3 0 2 0 0 8

10 IVANOVIC, Vuk....... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 6

13 AINGE, Austin....... 1-3 1-1 1-2 0 3 3 1 4 2 2 0 0 18

15 MALAMAN, Fernando... 2-3 0-0 2-3 0 4 4 3 6 1 3 3 1 19

20 BURGESS, Sam........ 1-2 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 2 0 0 0 0 2

24 MURDOCK, Ben........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2

45 TAVERNARI, Jonathan. 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 2

TEAM................ 3 2 5

Totals.............. 27-57 8-17 18-27 15 28 43 23 80 17 21 11 7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-34 38.2% 2nd Half: 14-23 60.9% Game: 47.4% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 5-12 41.7% 2nd Half: 3-5 60.0% Game: 47.1% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 4-9 44.4% 2nd Half: 14-18 77.8% Game: 66.7% 5

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Officials: Bill Gracey, Stanley Reynolds, Mike Giarratano

Technical fouls: San Diego State Aztecs-None. BYU Cougars-None.

Attendance: 9290

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

San Diego State Aztecs........ 23 35 - 58

BYU Cougars................... 35 45 - 80

Points in the paint-SDSU 22,BY 30. Points off turnovers-SDSU 20,BY 22.

2nd chance points-SDSU 6,BY 17. Fast break points-SDSU 8,BY 8.

Bench points-SDSU 19,BY 15. Score tied-4 times. Lead changes-1 time.

Tags: Results