BYU's Season Ends With NIT Loss At Houston
HOUSTON -- BYU's season came to an end in the first round of the NIT Wednesday night as the Cougars fell 77-67 to the Houston Cougars in Texas. With the loss, BYU finished the season 20-9 overall under first-year head coach Dave Rose, the 29th 20-win season in Cougar history and an 11.5-game turnaround from last year's 9-21 campaign.
"Our guys battled hard and stayed in there," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "They played hard like they've done here all year long and left everything out there. These guys should be really proud of themselves and teammates and what they were able to accomplish this year."
Redshirt freshman Trent Plaisted led the Cougars in both scoring and rebounding with 18 points and 13 boards, his sixth double-double of the year. Plaisted also recorded a career-high four blocks and four dunks, including two in the final minute of the game. Junior Keena Young added 11 points on 5-for-9 shooting while senior Brock Reichner, playing ill, scored nine points in 20 minutes.
"I wasn't feeling well all day but the adrenalin kicked in when the game started and I tried to play as hard as I could," said Reichner. "I didn't have as much energy as I usually do, but I tried to give it my all."
Plaisted opened the game with an emphatic dunk for BYU, his 30th of the year, followed by a layin on the next possession to give BYU a 4-0 lead early. Houston, ranked seventh in the nation in three-point field goals per game, missed its first six shots from long range and first seven overall, not scoring from the field until the 15:05 mark of the first half.
However, BYU could not capitalize on the Houston scoring drought, recording three early turnovers and playing to a 6-6 tie with 14:29 left to play in the half after taking a 6-0 lead early. Houston used a 12-3 run to take its first lead of the game at 12-9 until a three-pointer from Reichner evened the score again. But the bucket did not slow down Houston, which ran off six more points to take its largest lead of the game to that point at 18-12.
Rashaun Broadus, Jimmy Balderson and Young each found the net to cut the Houston lead to two points at 21-19, but UH responded with 13 straight points to take a commanding 34-19 lead. Plaisted drained two free throws to end a four-minute scoring drought followed by a layin from Young to cut the lead to 11 at 34-23. Houston scored on the other end off of a steal, but BYU's Lee Cummard responded with a huge three-pointer with 40 seconds left in the half to cut the lead to 10 points. After a Houston turnover, BYU had a chance to get the deficit into single digits but instead recorded its own miscue, leading to a 36-26 Houston halftime lead.
BYU held Houston to just 1-for-13 shooting from beyond the arc in the first half but could not control UH from anywhere else on the court as Houston made 14-of-18 from two-point range. BYU recorded 14 first-half turnovers while Houston, which leads the nation in steals, picked up 11 takeaways in the half. Both were first-half season highs for BYU.
Plaisted began the second half much as did the first, scoring on BYU's opening possession to cut the lead to 36-28. After Houston went 1-for-2 at the free-throw line, BYU went down the court looking to further cut into the lead but came away with another turnover. Houston drained a three-pointer, just its second of the night, before stealing the inbounds pass and rolling in the layup for a 43-28 lead.
A basket from Keena Young could not jumpstart the BYU offense as Houston stroked back-to-back three-pointers to take a 48-30 advantage. Trailing 52-31, BYU began to climb back into the game with a 13-5 run. BYU got its first back-to-back field goals since the 6:25 mark of the first half from Young and Reichner with 13:14 left in the game and another throwdown from Plaisted off of an ally-oop pass from Balderson.
Despite recording two misses and two turnovers on the next four possessions, BYU stayed within 13 thanks to four missed free throws by Houston. However, after four minutes without a field goal, Houston scored off of another steal to increase its lead to 59-44. BYU went cold from the field at a critical point in its comeback effort, going 3:45 minutes without a point. The Cougars made it interesting in the end with a 16-7 run to close out the game but could overcome the deficit, falling 77-67 to end the season.
"When you get into a national tournament at the end of the season, you know you're playing good teams," said Rose. "This is a team that is used to winning and it showed tonight. They're very confident and very good at how they play. They played the game at their pace."
Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS
BYU vs Houston Cougars
03/15/06 7:30 p.m. at Houston, Texas (Hofheinz Pavilion)
VISITORS: BYU 20-9
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 5-9 0-0 1-1 3 1 4 1 11 1 0 0 0 29
44 PLAISTED, Trent..... c 6-9 0-0 6-10 2 11 13 3 18 1 4 4 0 36
01 BROADUS, Rashaun.... g 3-10 1-5 1-2 1 2 3 3 8 5 6 0 0 23
04 EMERY, Jackson...... g 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 1 0 1 6
23 BALDERSON, Jimmy.... g 3-9 1-4 0-0 1 2 3 5 7 0 2 0 1 30
02 ROSE, Mike.......... 0-2 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 4
11 REICHNER, Brock..... 3-7 2-4 1-2 1 1 2 1 9 1 3 0 1 20
13 AINGE, Austin....... 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 3 3 0 3 2 7 0 0 14
15 MALAMAN, Fernando... 2-2 0-0 0-1 1 2 3 3 4 0 1 1 0 16
30 CUMMARD, Lee........ 3-6 1-2 0-0 2 3 5 2 7 5 1 2 2 22
TEAM................ 1 1
Totals.............. 26-57 6-19 9-16 11 29 40 18 67 15 25 7 5 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-28 35.7% 2nd Half: 16-29 55.2% Game: 45.6% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 4-10 40.0% 2nd Half: 2-9 22.2% Game: 31.6% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 2-4 50.0% 2nd Half: 7-12 58.3% Game: 56.3% 2
HOME TEAM: Houston Cougars 21-9
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
24 THORPE, Jahmar...... f 3-5 0-1 0-0 2 1 3 3 6 2 1 1 2 23
25 DYER, Ramon......... f 5-9 2-5 2-3 0 4 4 2 14 1 0 3 1 38
11 LATHAM, Brian....... g 2-5 0-1 4-6 1 1 2 2 8 0 2 0 1 23
20 LAFAYETTE, Oliver... g 8-17 4-12 3-5 0 3 3 1 23 2 3 0 8 38
23 SMITH, Lanny........ g 3-8 0-4 3-8 1 9 10 3 9 11 3 0 5 39
02 LAWSON, Chris....... 4-8 0-1 0-4 0 3 3 1 8 0 5 0 1 21
05 de RANDAMIE, Sergio. 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 2 0 0 1 0 0 8
14 ANDERSON, Sam....... 4-7 0-1 1-2 0 2 2 4 9 0 1 1 0 10
TEAM................ 5 2 7
Totals.............. 29-60 6-25 13-28 10 25 35 18 77 16 16 5 18 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-31 48.4% 2nd Half: 14-29 48.3% Game: 48.3% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-13 7.7% 2nd Half: 5-12 41.7% Game: 24.0% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 5-9 55.6% 2nd Half: 8-19 42.1% Game: 46.4% 7
Officials: Curtis Blair, Anthony Crozier, Kelly Self
Technical fouls: BYU-None. Houston Cougars-None.
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
BYU........................... 26 41 - 67
Houston Cougars............... 36 41 - 77
First Round of the 2006 National Invitation Tournament
Points in the paint-BY 40,HOU 42. Points off turnovers-BY 18,HOU 24.
2nd chance points-BY 16,HOU 6. Fast break points-BY 12,HOU 14.
Bench points-BY 23,HOU 17. Score tied-2 times. Lead changes-1 time.
Game 29 - BYU at Houston, NIT First Round
GAME #29 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (20-8, 12-4 MWC)
HOUSTON COUGARS (20-9, 9-5 C-USA)
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Hofheinz Pavilion (8,500)
7:30 p.m. CST/6:30 MST
BYU, Dave Rose (20-8 in first year; same overall)
UH, Tom Penders (38-23 in second year; 565-384 in 32 years overall)
Houston leads, 3-2, after winning the last meeting between the two teams 89-69 on Dec. 14, 1996
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (5:30 p.m. MST pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)
Live stats broadcast is available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
BYU FACES HOUSTON WEDNESDAY IN THE NIT FIRST ROUND
After finishing the regular season as the nation's most improved team under first-year coach Dave Rose, BYU will return to postseason tournament play after a one-year absence, receiving a No. 6 seed in the 2006 National Invitation Tournament field on Sunday. The BYU Cougars (20-8) will face the No. 3-seeded Houston Cougars (20-9), Rose's alma mater, on Wednesday in Houston at 7:30 p.m. CST in Hofheinz Pavilion. The game is not being televised. The winner of Wednesday's game will advance to a second-round contest on Monday vs. No. 2-seed Missouri State, No. 7-seed Stanford or No. 8-seed Virginia.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- Cougar head coach Dave Rose is 20-8 in his first year at the helm after eight years as BYU's lead assistant and was named the Mountain West Conference and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year.
-- After being picked to finish last in the Mountain West Conference in the league's preseason media poll, the Cougars earned a tie for second place at 12-4 with Air Force, just one game back of league-champion San Diego State.
-- BYU is 20-8 overall and 14-1 at home having won 14 straight in the Marriott Center, which is eighth in the nation. The Cougars are 5-6 away and 1-1 at a neutral site. BYU scores an MWC-leading 76.5 ppg and shoots .462 from the field, including .390 from long range and .719 from the line. Cougar opponents average 71.5 points on .451 shooting, .364 from three and .700 from the line. BYU pulls down 35.1 rebounds per game to opponents' 33.5 and dishes out 16.0 assists per game, leading the MWC.
-- Redshirt freshman forward/center Trent Plaisted leads BYU in scoring (13.4) followed by senior guard Brock Reichner (10.5). Plaisted is also the Cougars' top rebounder with 6.6 rebounds per game, which is fifth in the MWC, followed by junior forward Keena Young (5.8). Junior point guard Rashaun Broadus is fourth in the MWC in assists (3.7) followed by junior Austin Ainge (2.6), who is 11th. Broadus is second in assist/to ratio (1.43).
COUGARS IN THE NIT
BYU has made nine NIT appearances and has a 12-7 record, including two NIT titles (1951 and 1966). BYU last appeared in the 2002 NIT, defeating UC Irvine at home before losing at Memphis. BYU advanced to the quarterfinals in 2000 with home wins over Bowling Green and Southern Illinois before a loss at Notre Dame. BYU has advanced past the first round in six of nine NIT appearances and played at least three games four times. BYU boasts a 6-2 neutral court record and a 6-1 home record in the NIT but is 0-4 in road NIT games.
BYU's NIT APPEARANCES
BYU 75, St. Louis 58 (NIT)
BYU 69, Seton Hall 59 (NIT)
BYU 62, Dayton, 43 (NIT Final)
Niagara 82, BYU 76 (NIT)
St. Francis PA 81, BYU 68 (NIT)
BYU 90, Temple 78 (NIT)
BYU 97, Army 60 (NIT)
BYU 97, NYU 84 (NIT Final)
Washington 66, BYU 63 (NIT)
at BYU 67, SMU 63 (NIT)
at BYU 93, Cal-Irvine 80 (NIT)
at Ohio State 79, BYU 68 (NIT)
at BYU 74, Arizona St. 67 (NIT)
at Fresno St. 68, BYU 66 (NIT)
at BYU 81, Bowling Green 54 (NIT)
at BYU 82, Southern Illinois 57 (NIT)
at Notre Dame 64 , BYU 52 (NIT)
at BYU 78, UC Irvine 55 (NIT)
at Memphis 80, BYU 69 (NIT)
LOOKING AT HOUSTON
Houston is 20-9 on the season, finishing in fourth place in Conference USA with a 9-5 record. The Cougars are 12-2 at home, 7-7 on the road and 1-0 on a neutral court. This year's team lost to No. 5 Memphis in the semifinals of the C-USA Tournament Friday. Against common BYU-opponents, Houston lost 83-73 to UNLV in December and defeated Tulsa 73-46 in February. The Cougars lead the nation in steals per game (12.1) and are ranked seventh in three-point field goals made per game (9.2). Junior guard Oliver Lafayette leads the Cougars with 15.8 points per game and is third in rebounding at 4.1 boards per game. The second-team All-C-USA selection ranks fifth in the nation in steals with 3.2 per contest. He was joined on the C-USA Second Team by Cougar Ramon Dyer, a senior forward who leads Houston in rebounding (6.2 rpg) and blocks (27) while tying for second in scoring with 11.9 ppg. Third-team All-C-USA pick Lanny Smith, a junior guard, also scores 11.9 ppg while leading the Cougars with 5.5 assists per game, 28th in the nation. Junior forward Jamhar Thorpe shoots a team-leading .486 from the field while scoring 9.5 points per game and ranking second on the team in rebounds with 4.9 per contest. As a team, Houston shoots .407 from the floor, including .341 from behind the arc, and .650 from the free-throw line, while Cougar opponents are shooting .418 from the field, .319 from three-point range and .672 from the line. Houston outscores its opponents 72.7 - 65.1 but is outrebounded 40.6 - 34.9. Cougar head coach Tom Penders ranks 10th among active Division I head coaches in total victories with a 565-384 record in 32 seasons. He is 38-23 in his second year at Houston.
HOUSTON'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 24 Jahmar Thorpe 6-7 230 Jr. 9.5 4.9
F 25 Ramon Dyer 6-7 190 Sr. 11.9 6.2
G 11 Brian Latham 6-1 185 Sr. 7.1 3.5
G 20 Oliver Lafayette 6-2 180 Jr. 15.8 4.1
G 23 Lanny Smith 6-3 170 Jr. 11.9 2.4
HOUSTON'S LAST OUTING -- Cougars Fall to No. 5 Memphis in Semfinals
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - No. 5 Memphis beat Houston 68-54 in the C-USA Tournament semifinals Friday. Shawne Williams had 23 points and eight rebounds for the Tigers. Williams, the conference freshman of the year, went 6-for-13 from the field and made nine of 10 free throws for the top-seeded Tigers (29-3). Rodney Carney, the conference player of the year, added 17 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Oliver Lafayette led the Cougars with 20 points, including all 10 of his free throws. Lanny Smith and Ramon Dyer scored 12 for Houston (20-9), and Dyer had nine rebounds. Houston shot 26 percent, making 7-of-33 from 3-point range. The Cougars managed five assists on their 14 field goals. Williams and Dorsey helped the Tigers build a 50-42 lead in the second half. Dorsey began controlling the interior as Houston continued to struggle shooting. The Cougars hit their first 15 free throws in the game to stay close. Houston was still within four after Smith connected on a 3-pointer with 9 minutes left. Memphis then went on a 14-4 run to build the lead to 60-46 when Dorsey scored inside with 4:17 left. Carney's dunk on a break 2 minutes later gave Memphis a 64-49 lead. Memphis couldn't get anything going in the opening minutes as Houston caused six turnovers. Coupled with poor ball-handling, Memphis missed its first eight shots as Houston took an early 10-0 lead. Robert Dozier connected on an 8-foot hook almost 6 minutes into the game. That kickstarted a 14-2 run, capped by Williams' dunk off the Tigers' press to give Memphis its first lead. Antonio Anderson made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give the Tigers a 30-26 lead at halftime.
This will be the fifth meeting between the two teams with Houston owning a 3-2 series advantage. The two teams last met in the 1996 Cougar Classic at the Marriott Center with Houston recording an 89-69 victory. The series began with a 111-82 BYU victory in Provo in 1965. Houston then won the next two games in the series, including a 102-69 win in 1967 in Houston and a 98-75 victory in the 1968 Cable Car Classic. BYU recorded its second victory in the series in 1978 with an 84-77 win in the Pillsbury Holiday Classic. Overall, BYU is 1-1 at home, 0-1 at Houston and 1-1 on a neutral court.
BYU SERIES RECORD VS. HOUSTON
Overall Series Record: Houston leads 3-2
BYU Record in Provo: 1-1
BYU Record in Houston: 0-1
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-1
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 0-0
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 0-0
Longest BYU Win Streak: 1 (1965, 1978)
Longest Houston Win Streak: 2 (1967-68)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 29, 111-82 in 1965
Largest Houston Margin of Victory: 33, 102-69 in 1967
Most Points Scored by BYU: 111 in 1965
Most Points Scored by Houston: 102 in 1967
ROSE RETURNS TO ALMA MATER
BYU's NIT First Round game will mark a homecoming for BYU head coach Dave Rose as he returns to his alma mater for the first time in his head coaching career. Rose played for Houston from 1981-1983, redshirting the 1982 season. He was a shooting guard and co-captain of the famous "Phi Slamma Jamma" team that featured Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. In his senior year in 1983, Houston was ranked No. 1 nationally and finished second in the NCAA Tournament. Assistant Coach Walter Roese also attended Houston for one year in 1989-90 before finishing his college career at West Texas A&M and BYU-Hawaii.
BYU MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE NOTES
IN THE SEVEN YEARS OF THE MWC ...
- BYU has had five 20-win seasons, leading all MWC schools along with Utah. UNLV has had three, Wyoming three, New Mexico, San Diego State and Air Force two and Colorado State none.
- BYU has had the league's top RPI three times, been second twice and third once. The Cougars are second this year (55) behind Air Force (38) as of the March 7th rankings.
- BYU has played the toughest schedule on average of any team in the MWC (average strength of schedule rating the past six years is 63rd, Utah is next at 70). BYU has had the league's toughest schedule in two of the past three seasons.
- BYU has the second-most overall wins in the seven years of the MWC (137, Utah leads at 155).
- BYU is also second in conference wins (60, Utah has 69).
- BYU has the second-most MWC regular-season titles (two) along with Wyoming (Utah leads with four). BYU is one of six MWC teams to win the MWC Tournament title.
BYU IN THE MWC TOURNAMENT
The Cougars have a 7-6 Mountain West Conference Tournament record. BYU advanced to the finals in the first two years of the MWC Tournament, winning the title over UNM in 2001 after losing to host UNLV in 2000. Overall, BYU has a 19-19 record in conference tournament games, which includes a 12-13 record in WAC tournament games. BYU has won the opening game in four of the last seven postseason conference tournaments (including a 90-74 upset over MWC-newcomer TCU in the WAC Tournament in 1999).
MWC TITLE GOES THROUGH BYU
If the first six years of the Mountain West Tournament, BYU or the team that has knocked the Cougars out of the tournament has won the title. This year was the first time that trend did not continue as San Diego State won the title after BYU was knocked out by Utah in the Quarterfinals. After losing in the title game to host UNLV at the inaugural MWC Tournament in 2000, BYU won the title in 2001. The past four years the Cougars were knocked out by the eventual champion. BYU was defeated by San Diego State in the 2002 quarterfinals before back-to-back semifinal loses to 2003 champion Colorado State and 2004 champion Utah. In 2005, New Mexico went on to win the title after defeating BYU in the quarterfinals.
SEVEN MWC TOURNAMENTS, SIX DIFFERENT CHAMPIONS
San Diego State became the first team in the MWC to win the Tournament title twice with its victories in 2002 and 2006. New Mexico's win in 2005 marked the sixth Tournament winner in the first six years of the event. The only teams not to win an MWC title are Wyoming, Air Force and TCU, who made its MWC debut this season.
BYU SEEDS AT MWC TOURNAMENT
BYU has been the second seed three times (5-2 combined record in 2001, 2003 and 2004, including 2001 title). This 2006 Tournament was the first time that the Cougars have been the No. 3 seed in the Mountain West Conference Tournament (first-round loss to Utah). The Cougars have also been the fourth seed once (suffering a first-round exit with loss to eventual champion San Diego State in 2002), the sixth seed once (advanced to the finals in 2000) and the No. 7 seed once (2005 first-round loss to eventual champion New Mexico).
FRUITS OF THE SEEDS
In the first seven years of the MWC Tournament, the teams with the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds boast the best overall record as each has recorded a 10-5 mark. The No. 4 teams have gone 8-7. The No. 6 seeds have a combined 7-6 record while their first-round opponent No. 3 seeds have a 6-6 record. Fifth-seeded teams are 4-6. The No. 8 seed has a 1-0 record in play-in games and a 2-6 record overall. The No. 9 seed is 0-1 in the play-in game after the MWC's first season with nine teams. The No. 7 teams won for the first time in 2006 and now have a 2-7 record. This season marked the first time the No. 7 seed has advanced past the first round and the first time neither the No. 2 or No. 3 seed advanced to the semifinals. The tournament title has been won by the top seed twice (UNLV in 2000 and San Diego State in 2006); the second seed twice (BYU in 2001 and New Mexico in 2005); the third seed once (Utah in 2004); the fifth seed once (San Diego State in 2002); and the sixth seed once (Colorado State in 2004).
BYU TOURNAMENT TITLES
BYU won the MWC Tournament title in 2001. BYU won WAC Tournament titles in 1991 and 1992. The Cougars' Kevin Nixon hit a dramatic three-quarter-court shot at the buzzer to defeat UTEP, 73-71, in Fort Collins, Colo., for the 1992 title. BYU won its first WAC Tournament title in 1991 with an overtime win over Utah. The Cougars also won the postseason conference playoff series in the Rocky Mountain Conference in 1924 (defeated Colorado College, 2-1) and 1933 (defeated Wyoming, 2-1).
MWC TEAMS IN THE NCAA
In the first six years of the MWC, the then eight members of the conference advanced to the NCAA Tournament at least once each. New Mexico became the final MWC team to earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament by winning the 2005 MWC Tournament. 2006 MWC-Champion San Diego State received the league's automatic bid this season while Air Forcewas selected as an at-large team. The MWC has received 16 NCAA bids in its seven seasons.
BYU AND THE MWC IN POSTSEASON
BYU has earned an invite to a postseason tournament in six of the seven years of the MWC, joining Utah in leading all MWC teams. BYU is second to Utah in NCAA appearances since the formation of the MWC (BYU has made three NCAA and three NIT while Utah has made five NCAA and one NIT). UNLV has received five invites (one NCAA and four NIT). New Mexico has received four invites (one NCAA, three NIT) while Wyoming has three (one NCAA, two NIT), San Diego State has three (two NCAA, one NIT) and Air Force has three (two NCAA and one NIT). Colorado State has been to one NCAA Tournament.
BYU'S ROSE, PLAISTED, YOUNG RECIEVE MWC HONORS; REICHNER, BROADUS EARN HONORABLE MENTION
The Mountain West Conference announced its 2005-06 men's basketball awards Monday. The league's nine men's head coaches along with selected media picked the all-conference teams, as well as the coach, player, freshman and defensive awards. BYU head coach Dave Rose captured Coach of the Year honors, while Brandon Heath of San Diego State was selected as the Player of the Year. Freshman of the Year honors went to Trent Plaisted of BYU, while Wyoming's Justin Williams was named Defensive Player of the Year for the second straight year. First-year head coach Dave Rose led BYU to a 20-win season after the Cougars were picked to finish last in the preseason media poll. Rose served as associate head coach for BYU from 2001-05 before assuming head coaching duties prior to the season. Overall, Rose has been with the Cougar basketball program since 1997. Plaisted, a 6-11, forward from San Antonio, Texas, led all freshmen in rebounding (8.0 per game), while helping the Cougars to a second-place finish in the conference. He received National Freshman of the Week awards three times during league play (CBS Sportsline.com, ESPN-Dick Vitale, Rivals.com) and MWC Player of the Week honors once. Regular-season champion San Diego State led the league with three all-conference selections, including unanimous first-team honorees Brandon Heath and Marcus Slaughter. Air Force, BYU, New Mexico and Wyoming also had multiple players chosen with two apiece, while Colorado State, TCU, UNLV and Utah each had one. All institutions were represented on the three all-conference teams for the fourth straight season. Six players were repeat all-conference selections. First-team honorees Heath and Slaughter of San Diego State and Antoine Hood of Air Force were second-team selections last season, while Utah's Bryant Markson and Wyoming's Justin Williams were third-team selections for the second straight year. New Mexico's David Chiotti was a second-team member this after earning third-team honors in 2004-05. Heath, a 6-4, 198-pound junior from Los Angeles, Calif., led the Aztecs to their first outright conference championship since 1978. The only player to score double figures in every MWC game this season, Heath leads the league with 19.5 points per game. He also led the MWC with 54 made three-pointers in league games (3.38 per game). Heath is the only player to be named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week three times this season and was a first-team NABC all-District 13 selection along with teammate Slaughter. Williams set the all-time single-season league mark with 140 blocked shots (5.19 per game) and also holds the career MWC block record with 221. Ranked second nationally in blocks, he set the MWC single-game record with 11 blocks vs. BYU Feb. 18. He is tied for the league lead with 17 double-doubles on the season.
DAVE ROSE -- MWC COACH OF THE YEAR
-- Picked last in MWC preseason, first-year head coach Dave Rose directed BYU to a second-place tie with a a 12-4 record, one game behind preseason favorite and eventual regular-season champion San Diego State.
-- BYU's current 20-7 record is a 12.5-game improvement over last year's 9-21 team. BYU's .741 winning percentage compared to last season's .300 is the most improved in the nation this season and the Cougars' +11 win total from last year is tied for the best in the country.
-- The Cougars have won 10 of their last 11 games while avenging their three prior league losses with wins over MWC champion San Diego State, Air Force and UNLV.
-- Three freshmen, two transfers and one walk-on have accounted for 62.5 percent of team scoring and 54.8 percent of team rebounding.
-- BYU leads the MWC in scoring and assists.
-- Solid coaching in tight games has helped BYU go 11-1 in games decided by nine points or less this season after going 1-10 in games decided by a single digit last year.
-- Rose's .750 MWC winning percentage this season ranks second all-time among MWC coaches, his .741 overall winning percentage is second and his career win percentage (also .741) is second.
TRENT PLAISTED -- MWC FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR, ALL-MWC SECOND TEAM
-- As BYU's top scorer (13.2) and rebounder (8.3) in conference play, Plaisted helped last-place-predicted BYU to a second-place tie at 12-4, including 10 wins in the last 11 games.
-- Led BYU in five categories as a freshman: points per game (13.2), rebounds per game (8.0), offensive rebounds (57), defensive rebounds (88) and blocked shots (14).
-- Plaisted ranked in the top 11 among MWC players overall in five categories and in the top 18 in seven categories: 12th in scoring (13.2), fourth in total rebounds (8.0), offensive rebounds (3.06) and defensive rebounds (4.94), 11th in blocked shots (0.88), 16th in free-throw percentage (.648) and 18th in field-goal percentage (.470).
-- Ranked first among freshmen with four double-double games in league play -- the third most double-double games among all MWC players -- averaging 16.8 points and 14.5 rebounds in those games.
-- Ranked first among MWC freshmen in rebounds (8.0), offensive rebounds (3.06) and defensive rebounds (4.94), was second in scoring (13.2), blocked shots (0.88) and field-goal percentage (.474), and third in free-throw percentage (.648).
-- His 211 points was the most ever scored by a freshman center in league games in the history of the MWC, passing Andrew Bogut (182). He ranked second overall in points scored by an MWC freshman in conference action.
-- His 128 rebounds during league games ranks third all-time among MWC freshmen players.
-- Set an MWC freshman record in league play with 18 rebounds at TCU -- the most rebounds ever by a BYU freshman. His 18 rebounds are also tied for fifth all-time among all MWC players during league play and are the most by any Cougar player since Gary Trost had 18 rebounds in 1991.
-- Scored in double figures in 14 of 16 conference games, including the last 13 straight outings.
-- Achieved conference-season highs of 22 points, 18 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals and 3 blocks.
-- Did not miss a free throw in the final two minutes of a game during league play.
KEENA YOUNG -- ALL-MWC THIRD TEAM
-- During league play was BYU's second-leading scorer (12.0) and rebounder (6.3) while leading BYU with a .503 shooting percentage.
-- Ranked in the top 10 among MWC players in four categories and is in the top 20 in seven categories: fifth in offensive rebounds (2.62), seventh in rebounds per game (6.3), eighth in free-throw percentage (.774) and ninth in field-goal percentage (.503). He also ranked 11th in defensive rebounds (3.62), 17th in scoring (12.0) and tied for 19th in blocked shots (0.4).
-- Started the last 12 games in conference play. BYU went 10-2 in those games.
-- Scored in double figures in 11 MWC games, including six of the last seven, while averaging 14.5 points in those seven outings.
-- Recorded two double-doubles in conference play, bringing his career total to three.
-- Was 21-for-24 (.875) from the free-throw line with less than five minutes to play in conference games.
-- Achieved conference-season highs of 20 points, 12 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals and .750 shooting from the field.
BALDERSON GARNERS MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS -- MARCH 6
COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU guard Jimmy Balderson was named MWC Player of the Week for the week ending March 6. Coming off the bench, the junior swingman led BYU in scoring (16.5) and tied for team-high honors in rebounds (5.5), while shooting 58.8 percent (10-for-17) from the floor, 80 percent (4-of-5) from three-point range and going a perfect 9-for-9 from the free throw line. Balderson scored a game-high 21 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the floor and a 7-for-7 night at the line, while grabbing a game- and career-best eight rebounds to help BYU hold off New Mexico Saturday. He totaled 15 points and six rebounds in the second half, making two treys and hitting all seven of his free throws. Balderson hit his first two treys of the game to extend his BYU-record nine-straight three-point makes before missing his final attempt. He scored 12 points with three rebounds in BYU's win over CSU, connecting on both trey attempts.
BROADUS SHARES MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS -- FEB. 6
COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU guard Rashaun Broadus and San Diego State guard Brandon Heath were named MWC Co-Players of the Week. Broadus helped the Cougars record wins at New Mexico (77-71) and vs. Air Force (65-59). He scored a game-high 15 points (13 in the second half) and dished out a game-best six assists (zero turnovers) vs. the Lobos. He also added three rebounds as the Cougars ended UNM's 21-game home winning streak, which was the fourth longest in the country. Against Air Force, Broadus scored 13 points, grabbed three rebounds, and added two assists and two steals. He once again came up big in the second half for BYU, scoring 11 points on 4-for-6 shooting from the field, including 2-of-3 from behind the arc. On the week, Broadus averaged 14.0 points, 4.0 assists, 3.0 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game. He shot 50.0 percent from the field (10-for-20) and 41.7 percent from three-point range (5-for-12), while tallying an assist-to-turnover ration of 4.0 (eight assists, two turnovers).
PLAISTED NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK -- JAN. 30
COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU forward/center Trent Plaisted was named MWC Player of the Week for the week ending Jan. 30. A 6-11 freshman from San Antonio, Texas, Plaisted led the Cougars to wins over TCU (89-80 OT) and Colorado State (86-84), establishing career highs in eight different categories in the process. Against TCU, he recorded his second career double-double, scoring a career-high 22 points and pulling down a career-best 16 rebounds. Plaisted knocked down all eight of his shots from the stripe while also tying a personal-best in blocked shots (two). Against Colorado State, he scored 15 points and grabbed seven rebounds, setting career highs in assists and steals (three each) along the way. For the week, Plaisted averaged 18.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 1.5 blocks and 1.5 steals per game, while shooting 51.9 percent (14-for-27) from the field and 90.0 percent (9-for-10) from the free-throw stripe.
MWC TOURNAMENT RESULTS
March 7 (Tuesday)
MWC Tournament Opening Round
#8 Colorado State def. #9 TCU, 64-60
March 9 (Thursday)
MWC Tournament Quarterfinals
Game 1 - #1 SDSU def. #8 CSU, 64-52 ESPN+
Game 2 - #4 UNLV def. #5 UNM, 65-64 ESPN+
Game 3 - #7 Wyoming def. #2 AFA, 57-55 ESPN+
Game 4 - #6 Utah def. #3 BYU, 70-74 ESPN
March 10 (Friday)
MWC Tournament Semifinals
Game 1 - #1 SDSU def. #4 UNLV, 63-60 ESPN+
Game 2 - #7 Wyoming def. #6 Utah, 60-47 ESPN
March 11 (Saturday)
MWC Tournament Championship
Game 1 - #1 SDSU def. #7 Wyoming, 69-64 OT ESPN
TAKE NOTE OF THE COUGARS ...
RECORD (20-8, 12-4 -- T2nd, Mountain West Conference)
Last 10 games: 8-2
Record away from the Marriott Center this year: 6-7, winning four of the last five road games
FIRST-YEAR COACH MAKING DIFFERENCE
Picked last in MWC preseason, first-year head coach Dave Rose has directed the Cougars to 20 wins. Their current 20-8 record is a 12-game improvement from last year (last year's most improved team in Division I was 12.5 games). Rose earned a .746 winning percentage when he last served as a head coach at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, from 1990-97, as six of his seven teams earned a national ranking. His current winning percentage this season with BYU is .714.
BYU was the most improved team in the nation this year over last year through the regular season. The Cougars' .441 jump in winning percentage (.741 in 2006 from .300 in 2005) led the country as well as its overall 12.5-game improvement. BYU's +11 wins was tied with South Alabama for top honors. WIth its 20-8 overall record compared to last year's 9-21 mark, BYU's current .414 jump in winning percentage (.714 in 2006 from .300 in 2005) is second in the country as well as its overall 12-game improvement. BYU's +11 wins rank third.
PLAYING STRONG DOWN THE STRETCH
Cougars have won six of their last seven and 10 of their last 12 games while avenging their three prior league losses with wins over MWC champion San Diego State, Air Force and UNLV. BYU lost to Air Force in the league opener as the Cougars started 2-3 in league play, but finished tied for second with the Falcons at 12-4. In this stretch, BYU also won at New Mexico, snapping the Lobos' 21-game home win streak, while going 4-1 on the road. BYU achieved a six-game victory streak, which ranked eighth in the nation, before its MWC Quarterfinal loss to Utah.
NEW PLAYERS MAKING SOLID CONTRIBUTORS
Five of BYU's top seven scorers and rebounders are first-year players and a walk-on. While growing into their roles this year, three freshmen, two transfers and one walk-on have accounted for 62.2 percent of team scoring and 55.1 percent of team rebounding while playing 62.5 percent of total minutes and making 81.4 percent of starts.
BYU boasts a balanced attack with five players averaging between 9 and 14 points. BYU has had five players in double figures on nine occasions this season, including seven times during league play and in each of BYU's last four wins. Experienced starters from last year, Austin Ainge and Jimmy Balderson, are playing key roles off the bench with the infusion of new players.
BYU is the first team to score 100 points in an MWC game since 2003 (100-90 win over San Diego State). BYU leads the MWC in scoring and assists and ranks among the nation's top teams in three-point shooting (19th ), scoring offense (32nd), assists (32nd) and won-loss percentage (36th) in the latest NCAA statistical rankings. Only 32 teams in the country have less than BYU's eight losses.
BYU has exhibited clutch play, solid mental toughness and strong coaching while going 11-2 in games decided by nine points or less this season after going 1-10 in games decided by a single digit last year.
SOUNDING OFF ABOUT COACH ROSE ...
"Major props, respect and "shugs" (half handshake, half hug) to Dave Rose at Brigham Young. BYU was 9-21 last year, and Steve Cleveland left to take the Fresno State job. Rose, a long time juco head coach at Dixie State and an assistant at BYU prior to taking over, has only one senior on his roster but has run off eight of nine in the MWC. BYU was picked dead last by the media and in the coaches' polls, but will finish (if the Cougars can beat Colorado State and New Mexico, both at home) tied for second place, with 20 wins overall." -- ESPN's Doug Gottlieb, on ESPN.com
"20-7 isn't a record we usually single out here compared to some of the other teams in the country, but Dave Rose has done a great job of turning this program around in his first year as a head coach. He's got his team playing well when it really counts." -- ESPN's Doug Gottlieb, on ESPN
"(On why he ranked Rose No. 3 among first year coaches) He took over a 21-loss team and now has the Cougars 14-7 and second in the Mountain West. His leading scorer is a redshirt freshman (forward Trent Plaisted) and his No. 2 scorer (senior guard Brock Reichner) has more than quadrupled his points per game from last year (2.5 to 10.7)." -- ESPN.com's Pat Forde
"Nobody could have envisioned the Cougars would have entered the final week of the regular season with a chance to tie for the league title, but here they are, 10-4 and just a loss behind the league-winning Aztecs. Under first-year coach Rose, BYU has won eight of its past nine to keep faint at-large hopes alive." -- ESPN.com's Pat Forde
"BYU is one of the great surprise teams in the country." -- ESPN analyst Bob Valvano
"Coach Rose has done a heckuva job. I think they have really found roles for their guys and they've really bought into those things. They're pretty darn good." -- Utah Coach Ray Giacoletti
"Dave has done a great job. I like the way they are playing. They are aggressive and they are active in every way. They have some size and they shoot it well. They are maybe the biggest surprise in the league this season. I like what Dave has done. I really like their team." -- UNLV Coach Lon Kruger
"I've always thought BYU was a very good team. Coach Rose and the coaching staff are good." -- Air Force Coach Jeff Bzdelik
ROSE NAMED MWC COACH OF THE YEAR BY ESPN'S PAT FORDE AND BY COLLEGE INSIDERS.COM
In addition to the league's official honor awarded Monday, BYU's Dave Rose has received the nod as the MWC Coach of the Year by several others to date. ESPN's Pat Forde named Rose his choice for MWC Coach of the Year, as did CollegeInsiders.com. Said Forde, "Nobody could have envisioned the Cougars would have entered the final week of the regular season with a chance to tie for the league title, but here they are, 10-4 and just a loss behind the league-winning Aztecs. Under first-year coach Rose, BYU has won eight of its past nine to keep faint at-large hopes alive."
ROSE RANKED NO. 3 AMONG NATION'S FIRST-YEAR COACHES
BYU head coach Dave Rose has received national notice for the outstanding job he is doing during his first season guiding the Cougars. In a Feb. 12 column on ESPN.com, Pat Forde lists Rose among the top-three first-year coaches in the nation this season. Among the nearly 40 first-year coaches in college basketball this year, Forde names the 10 he feels are doing the best job, ranking Rose No. 3 overall. Picked to finish last in the Mountain West Conference in the preseason poll of MWC media members, BYU finished tied for second at 12-4, one game behind league-champion San Diego State.
COUGAR RECRUITS HAVE EXCELLED
With Trent Plaisted receiving the 2006 MWC Freshman of the Year award, BYU has now had nine recruits earn conference freshman/newcomer or a major award in their first season as a Cougar in the nine years BYU coach Dave Rose has been in Provo. Rose was Steve Cleveland's recruiting coordinator and lead assistant the past eight seasons before taking over the program this season. Six BYU players have been singled out as either the conference newcomer or freshman of the year.
PLAISTED EARNS THREE NATIONAL FRESHMAN HONORS
BYU redshirt freshman forward/center Trent Plaisted has received national recognition for his play. Plaisted was named the Nivea for Men Fresh Face Player of the Week by CBS.Sportsline.com, an honor handed out to top performers in this year's national freshman class, while ESPN's Dick Vitale also named Plaisted his Diaper Dandy of the Week for his play the week of Feb. 6. He also was named the Rivals.com Freshman Player of the Week for his outings against San Diego State and at TCU, which included a BYU freshman-record 18 rebounds against the Horned Frogs.
DAVE ROSE, TRENT PLAISTED GARNER USBWA DISTRICT VIII HONORS
BYU's Dave Rose was named the District VIII Coach of the Year and Cougar freshman Trent Plaisted was selected to the District VIII Team by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association. The USBWA announced men's all-district teams in nine regions from coast to coast, based on voting from its national membership. Each team consists of a coach of the year and 10 student-athletes, including the player of the year. District VIII represents the top players from teams in Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada, Idaho, Montana and Wyoming.
ROSE NAMED DISTRICT VIII COACH OF THE YEAR
As a first-year coach, Rose guided a team picked to finish last in the Mountain West Conference to a 12-4 second-place finish and a 20-7 (.741) mark overall entering this week's MWC Tournament in Denver. Rose was named the MWC Coach of the Year Monday by the league's head coaches and media members. BYU finished the regular season as the most improved team in the nation (+ 12.5 games) over last year when the Cougars went 9-21. During Rose's seven prior seasons (1990-97) as a head coach at Dixie State College in St. George, Utah, he was named Scenic West Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1993 and achieved a .746 winning percentage with six of his seven teams earning a national ranking. Rose is the first BYU coach to be District Coach of the Year since Roger Reid earned the same honor in 1992.
PLAISTED ONE OF THREE FRESHMAN NATIONALLY TO EARN ALL-DISTRICT HONORS
A 6-foot-11 forward/center, Plaisted is one of only three freshmen to receive all-district honors nationally, joining 6-foot-9 forward Tyler Hansbrough from the University of North Carolina (District III Team) and 6-foot-6 guard Brandon Rush from the University of Kansas (District VI Player of the Year). Plaisted is the first BYU player to receive USBWA All-District honors since center Rafael Araujo in 2004. Former Cougar swingman Travis Hansen was named to the team in 2003. MWC players joining Plaisted on the District VIII team include Louis Amundson of UNLV, Antoine Hood of Air Force, Jason Smith of Colorado State and Justin Williams of Wyoming. Other team members include Utah State's Nate Harris, Boise State's Coby Karl, Colorado's Richard Roby, Montana's Andrew Straight and Nevada's Nick Fazekas, who was named the District VIII Player of the Year. MWC players Brandon Heath and Marcus Slaughter of San Diego State were selected to the District IX Team.
USBWA ALL-AMERICA TEAMS
The USBWA also named its 2005-06 All-America Team Tuesday. Selected to the first team were Randy Foye, Villanova; Adam Morrison, Gonzaga; J.J. Redick, Duke; Brandon Roy, Washington; and Shelden Williams, Duke. Named to the second team were Dee Brown, Illinois; Rodney Carney, Memphis; Rudy Gay, Connecticut; Leon Powe, California; and P.J. Tucker, Texas. Brown was a first-team selection a year ago. Former BYU standouts Dick Nemelka, Danny Ainge, Devin Durrant and Mike Smith were named to the USBWA All-America Team in 1966, 1981, 1984 and 1988, respectively, with Smith earning second-team honors. The U.S. Basketball Writers Association was formed in 1956.
District VIII Team
Coach of the Year
Dave Rose, BYU
Player of the Year
Nick Fazekas, Nevada, F, 6-11, 235, Jr., Arvada, Colo.
Louis Amundson, UNLV, F, 6-9, 225, Sr., Boulder, Colo.
Nate Harris, Utah State, F, 6-7, 225, Sr., Smithfield, Utah
Antoine Hood, Air Force, G, 6-4, 200, Sr., Sugar Land, Texas
Coby Karl, Boise State, G, 6-4, 204, Jr., Mequon, Wis.
Trent Plaisted, BYU, F, 6-11, 245, Fr., San Antonio, Texas
Richard Roby, Colorado, G, 6-6, 195, So., San Bernardino, Calif.
Jason Smith, Colorado State, F, 7-0, 230, So., Kersey, Colo.
Andrew Strait, Montana, F/C, 6-8, 245, So., Yakima, Wash.
Justin Williams, Wyoming, F/C, 6-10, 225, Sr., Chicago, Ill.
BYU RECEIVES COMMENDATION FOR APR SCORE
The BYU men's basketball program received a 981 score in the latest release of the Academic Progress Report. "Our men's basketball program received a commendation, finishing in the top 10 percent of the NCAA, right up there with some Ivy League-type institutions," BYU Athletics Director Tom Holmoe said. "We are very pleased with that."
BYU's LAST OUTING -- Cougars' MWC Tournament Hopes dashed in opening round
DENVER -- BYU's Mountain West Conference Tournament title hopes came to an end in the first round Thursday night as the third-seeded Cougars lost 74-70 to sixth-seeded Utah. At 20-8 overall, BYU will now hope for a postseason invitation. Keena Young led the Cougars with 17 points while recording a career-high three steals. MWC Freshman of the Year Trent Plaisted recorded 15 points while pacing BYU with six rebounds. Jimmy Balderson chipped on 13 points. Overall, the Cougars shot 50 percent for the game, including 60 percent in the second half, and recorded 12 turnovers but were outrebounded 37-21, including 16 offensive rebounds for the Utes. Young came out hot for BYU, draining his first two shots to put BYU up 4-0 early, but a 22-9 Utah run left the Cougars trailing 22-13 with 7:11 remaining in the half. Balderson, who has been the x-factor for the Cougars, refused to let his team go down without a fight, draining a three-pointer and then grabbing a steal on the subsequent possession that he took all the way to the hoop but was fouled. Fernando Malaman entered the game for the first time after a Utah basket increased the lead to 24-17 and made his first shot attempt. But the Utes responded with another 4-0 spurt to equal their game-high lead to that point at 28-19 with three minutes remaining in the half. Utah did not score from the field again in the half but made seven of its last eight free throws to take a 35-28 lead into the locker room at the break. The Cougars came out firing in the second half, cutting Utah's lead to 40-36 thanks in part to four points from Plaisted including his 29th dunk of the year on a steal and dish from Balderson. Plaisted's two scores sparked a 9-2 BYU run to cut the Utah lead to 43-41. The Utes responded with their third three-point make of the half, but Plaisted continued his dominance inside, scoring four more points to bring the Cougars within one at 46-45 with 12:43 remaining. Plaisted scored 11 of 13 BYU points during the run, which saw the Cougars make six straight shots. Two minutes later, Jackson Emery tied the game at 47-47 for the first time since 9-9 on a fastbreak layin after poking the ball away from the Utes and taking it to the hoop. The two teams battled from there until a three-pointer from Jimmy Balderson on the fastbreak gave the Cougars their first lead since 7-5 at 56-54 with 7:19 left to play. Balderson drained two free throws to extend the Cougar lead to 58-54 while reaching double figures in scoring. A three-point play that ended with Utah's 14th free-throw make in 15 tries allowed the Utes to retake the lead at 64-63. BYU fought back with four straight points to gain a 66-64 advantage, but five Ute points gave them a 69-66 lead as the clock ticked down to under a minute to play. Young found the hoop on a short jumper but Utah's Luke Nevill responded to put the Utes up 71-68 with 12 seconds left. BYU tried to come back from the free-throw line but it was not enough as Utah took the 74-70 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought it was a hard fought battle between two good teams. It came down to the wire. They just made some big plays and won. I'm proud of my players. These guys played hard and fought hard. We just came up a couple points short."
-- "The fact that they had 16 offensive rebounds and got second chances a lot of times, especially late in the game. There were a couple times where we got the stop but couldn't get the rebound. That was a determining factor."
Utah Head Coach Ray Giacoletti
-- "I'm just proud of our team. We stayed focused for a long period of time tonight. I just couldn't be more proud of watching a team grow up. It's been growing up at the right time."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Keena Young -- 3 steals, Brock Reichner -- 1 block (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Fewest rebounds -- 21.
-- The loss snaps BYU's six-game winning streak.
-- In the Mountain West Conference Tournament, the Cougars are now 7-6 overall, 4-4 against Utah, 4-3 in the first round and 0-1 as the third seed.
-- The Cougars' suffered their first defeat of the year when leading with five minutes remaining with the loss to Utah. BYU led 63-60 at the five-minute mark.
-- BYU's 28 first-half points were its lowest since the Cougars' last meeting against Utah when they scored 24 in the first half in Salt Lake City. BYU has scored less than 30 points in a half just seven times this season, all in the first period of play.
-- After allowing Utah to score 14 second-half points in the first half, the Cougars held the Utes to just three points in that category in the second half.
-- Trent Plaisted recorded his 29th dunk of the year and his first in three games with 16:05 remaining in the game to cut Utah's lead to 40-36.
-- Jimmy Balderson reached double figures in scoring with two free throw makes in the second half after draining a three-pointer to give the Cougars their first lead since 7-5 at 56-54. Balderson has scored in double figures in 11 of the last 12 games.
-- Balderson entered the game with four fouls with less than 10 minutes to play in the second half and made an immediate impact, scoring seven straight points to give the Cougars their first lead since the 15:49 mark of the first half.
-- Brock Reichner, BYU's leading scorer on the road and second leading scorer overall, did not score against the Utes. The only other game in which Reichner did not record a point was the Cougars' first game of the season against Loyola Marymount.
-- Trent Plaisted's two straight buckets four minutes into the second half were BYU's first back-to-back makes since the first two baskets of the game.
-- The makes sparked a 13-5 BYU run during which the Cougars made six straight shots. Plaisted scored 11 of BYU's 13 points.
-- Utah went on seven runs of four points or more in the first half while BYU managed just two.
- Keena Young scored six of BYU's first nine points in the game, making his first three shots from the field.
ON A ROLL
The Cougars' loss against Utah ended their longest winning streak of the year and their longest since the 2003-04 season at six straight victories. The streak was tied for the seventh-longest active winning streak in the nation. BYU's prior victory streaks this year include one four-game streak, two three-game streaks and two two-game streaks. BYU has won 10 of its last 12 games.
COUGAR CROWDS RANK NO. 2 IN MWC ATTENDANCE
An average of 11,069 fans packed the Marriott Center this season for each BYU home game, second only to New Mexico's 13,387 average in the Mountain West Conference. A total of 20,732 fans attended BYU's last home game on Saturday during which former Cougar great Kresimir Cosic's jersey was retired. The mark is BYU's highest since March 1, 2004. The Cougars went 14-1 at home this year including wins in their last 14 straight home contests, which ranks eighth in the nation. BYU celebrated its 500th game in the Marriott Center on Feb. 22 and owns a 386-116 (.769) record there.
BOUNCE BACK COUGARS
With its 20-8 overall record, BYU has yet to suffer consecutive defeats this season, having bounced back from each loss with a victory. BYU alternated wins and losses in the first five league games before winning four straight games, two of which came on the road. The Cougars lost their next game but rebounded to win six straight before losing again. BYU will look to keep this trend intact as the Cougars attempt to bounce back from a loss to Utah in the opening round of the Mountain West Conference Tournament in their NIT game at Houston on Wednesday.
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
BYU is 12-0 this season when holding opponents under 70 points and 8-8 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold. Cougar foes are currently averaging 71.5 points per game. BYU is also 17-4 when scoring 70 or more points and 3-4 when falling below the 70-point mark. The Cougars lead the MWC in scoring, averaging 76.5 ppg, and scored 100 points in conference play for the first time since Feb. 10, 1994 in their home game against league-champion San Diego State.
Overall this year, nine players have started while Coach Dave Rose has used seven starting lineups. True freshman Jackson Emery has started the last five games, the first starts of his career. Junior Rashaun Broadus has started the last 11 games after missing the first Wyoming game (team rules violation) and the next two starts. Junior Keena Young made his 13th straight start of the season against Utah. Trent Plaisted has started each game while Brock Reichner has started every game but the first. Rashaun Broadus has started 25 games, Fernando Malaman 15 games, Lee Cummard 14 games, Jimmy Balderson nine games and Austin Ainge four games. The majority of BYU's starting lineups have featured two freshmen (Plaisted and Cummard). Five Cougars who started between seven and 23 games on last year's team (Ainge, 23 starts; Balderson, 16 starts; Young, 15 starts, Derek Dawes, 13 starts; Mike Rose, 7 starts) have for the most part been coming off the bench this season.
BYU AT THE POINT
BYU's Rashaun Broadus (3.7 apg) and Austin Ainge (2.6 apg) rank fourth and 11th, respectively, among Mountain West Conference players in assists per game this season while helping the Cougars lead the MWC in team assists at 16.0 apg. Broadus and Ainge have combined for 127 assists compared to 77 turnovers in BYU's 20 wins while totaling 45 assists and 30 turnovers in the Cougars' eight defeats. Broadus has 72 assists and 48 turnovers in the wins with 27 assists and 21 turnovers in the losses. Ainge boasts 55 assists to 29 turnovers in the victories while totaling 18 assists and 9 turnovers in defeats. With his overall 99 assists to 69 turnovers, Broadus ranks second in the league in assist/turnover ratio (1.43). As a team, BYU has made an assist on 59.1 percent of its field goals this season. In conference play, Broadus had 37 assists and 35 turnovers while Ainge had 31 assists and 26 turnovers. Ainge tied his career high with 8 assists in BYU's third game of the season against Southern Utah. Broadus recorded a career-best 9 assists against Lamar and then tied that mark while Ainge added 4 to fuel BYU to a season-high 29 assists vs. Eastern Washington.
BYU IN THE POST
Trent Plaisted (13.4) leads BYU in scoring while fellow post players Keena Young (10.3) and Fernando Malaman (7.1) are fourth and sixth, respectively. Plaisted (13.2) and Young (12.0) ranked first and second, respectively, in league games. Overall, Young (.522) is fifth among the MWC's top players in field-goal percentage while Plaisted (.517) is tied for eighth. Malaman (.519) would be seventh but is one make shy of the 84 required to be ranked. Derek Dawes is shooting .395 from the floor and .743 from the line. Young makes a strong .774 from the line. Malaman is second on the team with a 42.9 percent success rate (18-of-42) from behind the three-point arc.
BYU ON THE WING
Senior Brock Reichner has started all but the first game of the year at 2-guard and is second on the team in scoring at 10.5 ppg, including a team-high 51 threes on 48.1 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Junior Jimmy Balderson is coming off the bench after starting the first nine games at small forward and is third in scoring at 10.4 ppg with 31 treys. Freshman Lee Cummard started in place of Balderson in 14 games until the last five games and is averaging 4.9 points in 14.6 minutes while shooting 45.2 percent from the floor. Jackson Emery, a solid defender who often helps guard the opponent's top perimeter player, is shooting 41.2 percent from the floor and has made 13 triples while averaging 2.9 points in 10.1 minutes. He has started the last five games, his first collegiate starts. Junior Mike Rose plays 9.2 minutes in the rotation on the wing, averaging 3.3 points, including 18 treys, in his 21 appearances.
BYU's 76.5 points per game are coming in a variety of ways as the Cougars outscore their opponents in every statistical category on the season. BYU has scored 59 more points in the paint this season, outpacing its opponents underneath in 14 games, tying in three and being outscored in 11. The Cougars have also capitalized on opponent miscues in their 28 games to date, scoring 55 more points off of turnovers while outscoring foes in that category in 16 games, tying in one and being outscored in 11. BYU enjoys a 60-point advantage in second-chance points as BYU has outscored opponents in that category in 16 games. The Cougars' largest advantage, however, comes on the fastbreak as BYU has only been outscored on the break in six games this year with a 260-173 margin.
With a win against New Mexico to conclude the regular season, the Cougars achieved their 29th 20-win season. BYU has averaged 20 wins every 2.7 years (BYU has played 78 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). BYU coach Dave Rose is the fifth Cougar head coach to reach 20 wins in his first season at the helm. He joins G. Ott Romney (20-10 in 1928-29), Stan Watts (22-12 in 1949-50), Ladell Anderson (20-11, 1983-84) and Roger Reid (21-9 in 1989-90). Both Watts and Reid achieved six 20-win seasons in their BYU coaching careers while Romney posted five and Rose's predecessor, Steve Cleveland, achieved four.
20-win Seasons at BYU
Stan Watts had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 23 years of coaching
Roger Reid had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
G. Ott Romney had 5 seasons of 20 wins in 9 years of coaching
Steve Cleveland had 4 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Ladell Anderson had 3 season of 20 wins in 6 years of coaching
Frank Arnold had 3 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Floyd Millet had 1 season of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Dave Rose has 1 season of 20 wins in 1 year of coaching
KING OF THE GLASS
Redshirt freshman Trent Plaisted pulled down a career-high 18 rebounds at TCU, the most by a Cougar since Gary Trost recorded 18 on Dec. 19, 1991. The mark is a Mountain West Conference record among freshmen in league play and is the most ever by a BYU freshman. Only 14 Cougars have ever pulled down more rebounds in a game.
Jimmy Balderson has played a significant role in helping the Cougars win 10 of their last 12 games. Balderson has scored in double figures in all 10 wins while scoring five points and 13 points, respectively, in BYU's two losses against Utah during the streak. He is averaging 14.3 points per game over the last 12 contests and led BYU with 21 points against New Mexico in BYU's last regular-season outing. Balderson was awarded MWC Player of the Week honors for his performance in the final week of the regular season.
FROM THE FIELD
BYU had one of its best scoring nights of the year against San Diego State as the Cougars scored 100 points for the first time since Jan. 11, 2005 in overall play and the first time since Feb. 10, 1994 in conference play. The Cougars' 59 second-half points were their most points in a half since scoring 59 in the second half against Santa Clara on Dec. 31, 2004. The Cougars also shot 59.4 percent from the floor overall, their best mark in MWC play this season, and 75.9 percent (22-for-29) in the second half, their best shooting half since shooting 82.4 percent (14-for-17) in the second half against Air Force on Feb. 23, 2004.
BYU is 14-0 when leading at the half, 5-8 when trailing and 1-0 when tied. Of the 14 games in which they have led at the half, the Cougars have led by double digits six times. BYU has been more impressive in the second half this season. The Cougars have outscored their opponents in the second period of play in all but seven games this year. BYU averages 5.0 more second-half points than its opponents after a slight 0.11 edge in the first half.