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Cougars Topple League-Leading Aztecs
PROVO -- With the second-longest active home winning streak on the line, the BYU men's basketball team did what it needed to do get a win over San Diego State at the Marriott Center on Wednesday night. The Cougars toppled the top team in the Mountain West Conference, 59-56, to run their homecourt streak to 41 straight victories.
"It was a competitive game," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "Both teams were battling the whole time. I'm proud of our players for figuring out how to win this game."
The Cougars continued their shooting struggles, hitting just 34 percent from the field and shooting just 12-of-22 from the line, but a double-double night from BYU junior Trent Plaisted and solid defense at the end of the game nudged the Cougars past the Aztecs.
Plaisted finished with 17 points and 11 rebounds. BYU junior Lee Cummard followed his lead with 12 points and six boards. Junior forward Lorenzo Wade dominated the Aztec stat sheet with 21 points, eight rebounds and a 9-of-10 night from the free-throw line.
"We had a lot of opportunities and just couldn't quite make it," San Diego State coach Steve Fisher said. "A lot of credit goes to the home crowd and to this BYU team."
With less than 40 seconds left in the game and BYU up 57-56, the 6-foot-7 Cummard posted up the 5-foot-10 Richie Williams, but Cummard missed the shot off the glass. The Aztecs went to Spain on the ensuing possession, but his first shot was off the mark. Spain got his own rebound but missed that shot as well.
The Cougars regained possession with less than seven seconds left. Sam Burgess got fouled and hit his two free throws to give the Cougars a 59-56 lead.
The Aztecs got one more crack at it with 2.9 seconds left, heaving the inbounds pass the distance of the court. Aztec center Ryan Amoroso grabbed the pass and attempted a fade-away three-pointer but missed off the back of the rim.
"It was two teams that fought and fought for 40 minutes," Fisher said.
Despite an exciting finish for BYU, the Cougars got off to a sluggish start, shooting just 31 percent from the field in the first half. BYU has shot 40 percent or below in the first half of its past six games.
Midway through the first half the Aztecs had a seven-point lead behind the solid play Wade, who scored 10 of the Aztecs' first 26 points. But as the half came to a close, Cummard nailed a fade-away jumper from the baseline to make the score 27-28. This was the first time the Cougars have been down at the half in the Marriott Center since Dec. 30, 2006 against Seton Hall.
Cummard led the way for the Cougars at the break, scoring seven points and nabbing three rebounds. Plaisted and Tavernari were tied with six points apiece.
Wade, who scored 10 points in the half, was the only player on either team with double-digit points.
Plaisted got the first points of the second half, giving the Cougars a 29-28 lead. With 16:16 to go in the second half, a steal by Ben Murdock led to a layup at the other end of the court by Plaisted, giving BYU a 33-28 advantage.
The Aztecs answered with two break-away dunks and a shot by Wade to grab the 33-35 lead.
A back-and-forth battle ensued, with both teams exchanging buckets, until a Jimmer Fredettte three-pointer gave the Cougars a 50-44 lead. But two quick baskets, one by Kyle Spain and the other by Wade, got the Aztecs to within two points.
Unfortunately for the Aztecs, that was as close as they would get. The Cougars maintained their lead, giving them their 41st-straight Marriott Center win, the second-longest active home victory streak in the nation behind Memphis.
"Where we go from here is a big step," Rose said. "In conference play, everything is more important. I have great confidence in our players. I know we will achieve great things this season."
The Cougars will face another tough test on Saturday hosting the New Mexico Lobos (16-4, 3-2 MWC). The game will begin at 4 p.m. and can be seen on The Mtn.
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Official Basketball Box Score
San Diego State vs BYU Cougars
01/23/08 6:05 p.m. at Marriott Center, Provo, Utah
VISITORS: San Diego State 14-5, 4-1 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 6-13 0-2 9-10 2 6 8 4 21 3 2 2 0 33
32 WHITE, Billy........ f 6-10 0-0 1-1 1 6 7 3 13 0 1 1 1 33
43 AMOROSO, Ryan....... f 3-9 1-3 0-0 0 4 4 4 7 0 2 0 0 23
15 SPAIN, Kyle......... g 6-13 3-7 0-0 2 3 5 1 15 0 3 1 1 30
23 GAY, D.J............ g 0-4 0-2 0-0 1 1 2 2 0 0 2 0 0 19
02 JOHNSON, Jer'Vaughn. 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 5 5 3 0 1 0 0 0 12
03 WILLIAMS, Richie.... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 1 0 1 3 0 0 16
05 PASTOREK, Jon....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
21 THOMAS, Matt........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 0 0 1 1 0 2 15
30 LAMB, Chris......... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0+
40 DAVIS, Kelvin....... 0-6 0-3 0-0 1 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 1 17
TEAM................ 2 2
Totals.............. 21-57 4-17 10-11 8 33 41 20 56 6 14 4 5 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-28 39.3% 2nd Half: 10-29 34.5% Game: 36.8% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 2-7 28.6% 2nd Half: 2-10 20.0% Game: 23.5% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 4-4 100 % 2nd Half: 6-7 85.7% Game: 90.9% 1
HOME TEAM: BYU Cougars 14-5, 3-1 MWC
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
30 CUMMARD, Lee........ f 4-10 1-3 3-5 2 4 6 4 12 2 1 0 2 28
45 TAVERNARI, Jonathan. f 4-14 0-5 2-2 0 3 3 0 10 1 1 0 1 22
44 PLAISTED, Trent..... c 7-15 0-0 3-8 4 7 11 2 17 1 3 2 1 33
20 BURGESS, Sam........ g 0-8 0-5 4-5 1 3 4 3 4 4 3 1 0 29
24 MURDOCK, Ben........ g 2-5 1-2 0-0 0 5 5 1 5 3 0 0 1 33
01 LOYD, JR., Michael.. 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 7
32 FREDETTE, Jimmer.... 4-8 3-6 0-0 0 1 1 2 11 0 1 0 0 23
41 COLLINSWORTH, Chris. 0-1 0-0 0-2 0 4 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 18
54 MILES, Chris........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 3 1 0 1 7
TEAM................ 6 6
Totals.............. 21-61 5-21 12-22 13 28 41 13 59 14 11 3 6 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-36 30.6% 2nd Half: 10-25 40.0% Game: 34.4% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-10 30.0% 2nd Half: 2-11 18.2% Game: 23.8% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 2-3 66.7% 2nd Half: 10-19 52.6% Game: 54.5% 4
Officials: Verne Harris, Scott Thornley, Mike Scyphers
Technical fouls: San Diego State-None. BYU Cougars-None.
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
San Diego State............... 28 28 - 56
BYU Cougars................... 27 32 - 59
Points in the paint-SD 26,BY 26. Points off turnovers-SD 9,BY 14.
2nd chance points-SD 4,BY 8. Fast break points-SD 6,BY 6.
Bench points-SD 0,BY 11. Score tied-8 times. Lead changed-6 times.
Last FG-SD 2nd-01:11, BY 2nd-02:06.
Largest lead-SD by 9 1st-08:39, BY by 6 2nd-06:10.
GAME 19 - BYU Hosts MWC-Leader SDSU Wednesday at 6 p.m.
BYU GAME #19 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (13-5, 2-1 MWC)
SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS (14-4, 4-0 MWC)
Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2008
Marriott Center (22,700)
6:05 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (58-23 in third season; same overall)
SDSU, Steve Fisher (141-121 in ninth season; 325-203 in 17th year overall)
BYU leads, 40-20, after the two schools each recorded home wins last year
The Mtn. (James Bates, play-by-play; Blaine Fowler, game analyst)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (5 p.m. MT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analyst)
Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com
BYU HOSTS MWC-LEADER SAN DIEGO STATE WEDNESDAY AT 6 P.M
BYU (13-5, 2-1 MWC) hosts its second Mountain West Conference home game when it faces league-leader San Diego State (14-4, 4-0 MWC) on Wednesday in an early 6 p.m. start in the Marriott Center. Coming off a win at rival Utah Saturday, the Cougars split their first two conference road games. The Aztecs boast three home wins and a road breakthrough at New Mexico in their perfect start to the league schedule. BYU and SDSU split the season series last year with home victories. Wednesday's game will be televised on The Mtn. while the radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City and on the Internet at KSL.com beginning with the pregame show at 5 p.m. MT.
The Cougars host New Mexico on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. The game will be televised on The Mtn.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- BYU was picked in the preseason poll to finish first in the MWC race this year by the league's media.
-- BYU currently owns the nation's second-longest active home win streak with 40 straight wins in the Marriott Center, two victories behind Memphis. The Cougars went 17-0 at home last year and are 9-0 at home this year.
-- Two-time reigning MWC?Coach of the Year Dave Rose helped make BYU the second-most improved program in the nation in his first season with a 20-9 record and guided the Cougars to the outright MWC title and a top-25 ranking in his second campaign in Provo as the Cougars went 25-9 last season.
-- This year's BYU squad returns two starters among seven lettermen from last year's outright league leaders (13-3 MWC record) as well as returned missionary Chris Miles, who made six starts as a freshman in 2004-05. Headlining BYU's top returners in 2007-08 are MWC Player of the Year candidate Trent Plaisted, a two-time All-MWC Second Team selection in his first two seasons; versatile junior guard Lee Cummard, who earned All-MWC Third Team honors one year ago; and sophomore sharpshooter Jonathan Tavernari, who followed Plaisted's lead the prior season by being named the MWC Freshman of the Year in his first campaign as a Cougar.
-- After five straight weeks in the top-25 polls, BYU dropped out of both polls in the Dec. 31 rankings after a 73-70 loss at Boise State. The Cougars' entrance into the national rankings on Nov. 26 marked the program's earliest appearance in the national polls since the 1980-81 season. With a ranking as high as No. 21 last year, BYU has now been ranked in back-to-back season for the first time since 1980-81 and 1981-82.
LOOKING AT SAN DIEGO STATE
The San Diego State Aztecs are 14-4 overall on the year, their best start since 1984-85, and bring a perfect 4-0 Mountain West Conference record into the Marriott Center. Winners of three straight and five of the last six games, SDSU is 4-2 on the road this season, including a 72-67 win at The Pit in New Mexico. The Aztecs return three starters among eight letterwinners from last year's team that finished 22-11 overall and tied for third in the MWC with a 10-6 record. Junior forward Lorrenzo Wade leads the team with 15.1 points per game, sixth in the league, on 47.4 percent shooting from the field while adding 4.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. The reigning MWC Player of the Week who transferred from Louisville prior to last season has scored at least 20 points in two of the last three games. Junior forward Kyle Spain is second on the team scoring 13.9 ppg and tied for second with 5.5 rpg. He has made 42.4 percent of his shots from three-point range and 77.8 percent from the free-throw line. Junior guard Kelvin Davis is coming off the bench for 10.5 ppg, third on the team, on 51.1 percent shooting from the field. Junior forward Ryan Amoroso paces the Aztecs with 6.1 rpg. Despite being without 3.7 assists and 7.5 points per game from injured guard Richie Williams, the Aztecs have gotten solid production from true freshman D.J. Gay, who has started 14 games at the point and is averaging 2.3 assists per contest. As a team, the Aztecs are averaging 70.3 points per game on 45.0 percent shooting from the field, including a 35.6 percent conversion rate from three-point range. SDSU is holding opponents to 62.9 ppg on 43.4 percent shooting from the field. The Aztecs outrebound their foes, 35-32.3.
SAN DIEGO STATE'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 31 Lorrenzo Wade 6-6 226 Jr. 15.1 4.2 Las Vegas, Nev.
F 32 Billy White 6-8 212 Fr. 8.1 5.5 Las Vegas, Nev.
C 43 Ryan Amoroso 6-8 257 Jr. 9.3 6.1 Burnsville, Minn.
G 15 Kyle Spain 6-5 209 Jr. 13.9 5.5 Newark, Calif.
G 28 D.J. Gay 6-0 156 Fr. 4.8 1.7 Sun Valley, Calif.
SAN DIEGO STATE'S LAST OUTING -- AZTECS OPEN WITH 19-0 RUN TO ROUT COWBOYS
SAN -- Ryan Amoroso scored 16 points, Kyle Spain added 15 and San Diego State scored 19 unanswered points to start the game in a 70-43 win over Wyoming on Saturday night. San Diego State completely dominated the first half, holding Wyoming to 3-for-23 shooting from the field as it led by as many as 25 points before taking a 35-13 halftime lead. Wyoming didn't score its first point until Brandon Ewing's free throw with 11:25 left in the half when it trailed 19-0. Tyson Johnson scored the Cowboys' first basket 42 seconds later, their first make after missing the first eight shots. Wyoming then went 10 minutes and missed 11 straight shots before making its next field goal to make the score to 31-10. Ewing and Brad Jones, the Cowboys' top two scorers, were each held without a field goal in the first half. Lorrenzo Wade added 11 points and a career-high 13 rebounds for San Diego State, which held a 41-26 edge in rebounding. Joseph Taylor led Wyoming with nine points, and Mikhail Linskens and Ewing had eight points each as the Cowboys finished shooting just 28.9 percent (13-of-45) from the field for the game. Amoroso keyed the 19-0 run as he scored nine consecutive points to help the Aztecs increase their 7-0 lead to 16-0 with just more than 12 minutes to go. Spain got the scoring going by hitting a jumper on San Diego State's first possession and following on the next with a 3-point shot.
BYU owns a 40-20 advantage over the Aztecs in a series that dates back to 1941 including an 80-58 win in Provo and an 86-74 loss at SDSU last season. The Cougars are 25-3 in Provo, 15-16 in San Diego and 0-1 at a neutral site. BYU's last win in San Diego was on Jan. 2, 2003 with an 80-69 win. BYU has won 13 of the last 20 games and owns a 10-7 advantage since the inception of the MWC, but the Aztecs had won three straight before BYU's win in the 2006 season finale between the two teams in the Marriott Center. SDSU's three game victory streak matched its longest ever in the series when the Aztecs won the first three outings (two in 1941 and one in 1977). During the most recent three-game streak, SDSU swept the 2005 season series -- the first season sweep over BYU since 1985. Dave Rose is 2-2 against the Aztecs.
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"San Diego State has done a really good job of wining home games, but they also have a great road win at The Pit in New Mexico. It's a long process, a game-by-game effort."
"What SDSU brings to the table is an extremely athletic team, maybe the most athletic team from top to bottom in our league. They've got good players in every position and a lot of depth. We're going to have to handle their athleticism. We need to take care of the ball, outrebound them and be physical. This game will be very physical, similar to the game we just played at Utah."
"We've played well against San Diego State at home, but they're a totally different type of team than they've had the last few years with Brandon Heath, Marcus Slaughter and those guys. They're built differently. They penetrate more, get to the basket and rely a lot on second shots."
LAST YEAR AT BYU -- SEASON HIGHS BOOST COUGARS OVER AZTECS
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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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. BYU came out of the break on a roll with free throws from 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. 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. 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. 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. The Cougars opened up their largest lead of the game at 76-51 before sprinting to the 80-58 victory. 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.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought that this game might have been our best team effort defensively this year. Defensively, we finished really well."
-- "Lee (Cummard) did a great job on defense. He was great. He showed a lot of confidence. It was a great effort."
-- "Tonight was probably Rashaun's (Broadus) best game of the season. He created a great pace. He was great on defense."
San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher
-- "We were not able to have poise when they got a couple runs going. The crowd carried them, and we reacted in a way that carried them."
-- "They gave us a good old-fashioned, back-of-the-shed licking. Some of that was BYU. They're a good team. But some of that was us."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT BYU
-- Individual Career Highs: Lee Cummard - 16 points (tied); Trent Plaisted - 6 blocks.
-- Individual Season Highs: Rashaun Broadus - 19 points.
-- Team Season Highs: 11 blocks.
-- BYU's win over San Diego State extended its home winning streak to 24 games, which is tied for the third-longest active home victory streak in the nation. The Cougars are 10-0 at home this season.
-- The Cougars are also now 5-3 in Mountain West Conference openers, including a 4-1 mark at home and a 3-2 record when opening against SDSU.
-- BYU's 22-point win (80-58) marked its largest margin of victory in MWC play since a 29-point win (82-53) on Jan. 17, 2004 against Colorado State.
-- With six straight victories over Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall and SDSU, the Cougars are enjoying their longest winning streak of the season and have tied their longest victory streak from last year.
-- BYU is now 11-1 when scoring at least 70 points and 10-0 when holding opponents under 70 points.
-- The Cougars are also 11-0 this season when outrebounding their opponents, posting a 43-28 advantage against the Aztecs on the glass.
-- BYU's 25-point lead three times in the second half marked San Diego State's largest deficit of the season, surpassing their 21-point deficit against No. 7 Arizona.
-- With a 35-23 halftime advantage, the Cougars led at the break for the 11th time this season, enjoying their fifth double-digit lead. BYU is now 10-1 when leading at the break.
-- Young's 12 points against the Aztecs marked the 14th time in BYU's 15 games he has scored in double figures.
-- Cummard posted the second double-double of his career and his second straight with 16 points and 11 rebounds against the Aztecs. Cummard had 16 points and 12 rebounds in BYU's last outing against Seton Hall.
-- Cummard also played well defensively, posting three steals and two blocks while holding the Aztecs' leading scorer Brandon Heath, who entered the game second in the MWC averaging 20.3 ppg, to just 13 points.
-- Broadus scored in double figures for the fourth time this season with a season-high 19 points.
-- After scoring just 11 points in BYU's first six games (1.8 ppg), senior Mike Rose has come on strong for the Cougars, scoring 45 points in the last seven games (6.4 ppg), including three against San Diego State.
-- Plaisted posted his 14th and BYU's 23rd dunk of the season at the 11:06 mark in the second half.
-- With the score tied 13-13 at the 10:55 mark of the first half, BYU used a 7-0 run with baskets from Cummard (three-pointer), Broadus and Young to take a 20-13 lead, which the Cougars never relinquished.
LAST YEAR AT SDSU -- BYU WIN STREAK ENDS AT SDSU
SAN -- The No. 21 BYU men's basketball team lost a little bit of its magic Saturday, losing 86-74 at San Diego State to snap an eight-game winning streak. True freshman Jonathan Tavernari led BYU with 18 points and seven rebounds, tying his career highs in both categories. He scored 17 of his points, including five three-pointers, during a six-minute span in the second half to fuel BYU's comeback attempt. Austin Ainge followed Tavernari with 17 points and a team-high three assists while Keena Young posted his 24th double-digit scoring night of the year with 15 points and Trent Plaisted made it to double figures with 10 points. The Aztecs were led by 30 points from reigning MWC MVP Brandon Heath and 27 points from Mohamed Abukar. The two teams traded buckets to a 4-4 tie until SDSU turned up the defensive pressure to force four Cougar turnovers. The Aztecs took advantage of the Cougar confusion to put together an 18-point run and jump out to a 22-4 lead with 12:54 left to play in the first half. Lee Cummard finally made BYU's first field goal in almost seven minutes with a layin with 11:51 left in the half, but the Cougars found themselves with a lot of ground to make up. The SDSU lead got even bigger after two more free-throw makes and back-to-back layins to go up 30-7. Young ended the 6-0 spurt with a make and then capitalized on an Aztec turnover with a layin from Plaisted to help BYU finally reach double-digits in the half. Burgess then kept the BYU momentum going with a putback score while being fouled, converting the free throw to cap a 9-0 Cougar run and cut a one-time 23-point deficit to 14 points at 30-16. Ainge nailed the Cougars' first three-pointer of the game at the 4:28 mark to cut the deficit to 38-25, but his bucket proved to be the Cougars' last of the half as the Aztecs took a 43-25 lead into the break. The second half started much as the first half ended as the Aztecs sandwiched a BYU make from Young with a layin and a dunk to go up by 20 points at 47-27. Young made good on a one-handed throwdown of his own and then drained two free throws to score six straight points for the Cougars. However, after the Aztecs extended the lead to 21 points at 63-42, the comeback bid was on as consecutive three-pointers fell for Tavernari. After an SDSU score, Ainge and Tavernari drained back-to-back three-pointers to cut the lead to 11 points at 65-54, capping a 12-2 run. The Aztecs scored again, but Tavernari's hot hand continued with another bomb from long range to get to within 10 at 67-57 with 6:27 left to play. Tavernari then picked the ball off and headed downcourt looking to get to within single digits but turned the ball over, resulting in a three-point play for the Aztecs. Heath then drained two free throws after a Cougar miss to push the lead back up to 15 points. But the Brazilian true freshman wasn't done as Tavernari drained another three-pointer to score 17 points in a six-minute span, including five makes from downtown. Young added to the BYU run with a layin to get back to within 10 points at 72-62, but the Cougars could not get a stop on the defensive end. After SDSU went up 81-67, BYU got five straight points, including a fifth three-pointer from Ainge, to cut the lead to single digits at 81-72 for the first time since the 16:25 mark in the first half. However, it was too little too late as the Cougars could not make up the rest of the deficit with 56 seconds left, allowing the Aztecs to record the 86-74 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought that the first four or five minutes were a big factor for us. We turned the ball over uncharacteristically. We haven't been in a situation like that for quite some time."
-- "I think that we finally got into a rhythm late in the second half and were playing more like ourselves. We were just too far behind."
-- "I think a lot of the credit has to go to SDSU. Tonight, they played really well and had a good game. They had some guys who played really well. Brandon Heath, Mohamed Abukar and Jerome Habel had big games."
San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher
-- "We were so good out of the gate at both ends of the floor. We made every shot we took, guarded like crazy and gave them nothing easy. We had a huge first half that gave ourselves a push and to their credit, they made a couple of runs at us in the second half, but we were able to hold them off. It really was a wonderful, wonderful day for the San Diego State Aztecs."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT SDSU
-- Individual Career Highs: Jonathan Tavernari -- 18 points (tied), 7 rebounds (tied), 9 three-pointers attempted; Austin Ainge -- 5 three-pointers made (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Largest halftime deficit -- 18 points; Fewest points scored in a half -- 25 (tied); Highest field-goal percentage allowed -- .577 (34-for-59); Largest run allowed --18 points.
-- BYU's loss at SDSU snapped the Cougars' eight-game winning streak, their longest of the year and the 10th longest active win streak in the nation. BYU has now lost its last four games at San Diego State dating back to 2003.
-- The loss also snapped a four-game road winning streak for BYU. The Cougars are now 5-6 this season on the road and 4-3 in conference play, the only MWC team with a winning road record in league action.
-- Despite the loss, BYU (21-7, 11-3 MWC) is still just one win away from securing at least a share of the MWC regular-season title and two victories away from winning the league crown outright for the first time since 1987-88.
-- Before shooting .448 (26-for-58) at SDSU, BYU had shot above 50 percent in its five prior road contests.
-- With a No. 21 ranking in the latest AP Top 25 Poll and a No. 22 ranking in the current ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll, the Cougars' game at SDSU marked their first road game as a ranked team since March 6, 1993 when BYU polished off UTEP, 84-63. The Cougars are now 129-53 all-time as a ranked team and 35-26 all-time as a ranked team on the road.
-- With a 30-28 rebounding advantage against the Aztecs, the Cougars fell for the first time this season when outpacing their opponent on the glass. BYU is now 20-1 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- The Cougars' 18-point (43-25) halftime deficit marked their largest halftime deficit of the year as BYU trailed at the break for just the second time in conference play and the sixth time overall this season. The Cougars' 25-point first-half scoring output tied their season low scoring output in a half.
-- Four Cougars scored in double figures against SDSU, led by Jonathan Tavernari's 18 points. BYU is now 1-1 when led by Young and 6-2 when four players score in double figures. The Cougars are also 5-1 when Tavernari scores in double figures, 18-6 Keena Young scores in double figures (16 points), 8-2 when Austin Ainge scores in double digits (17 points) and 13-4 when Trent Plaisted reaches double digits (10 points).
-- With 16 points against Colorado State, Young has now scored in double figures in 24 of 28 games this season. BYU is 18-6 when he scores in double figures.
-- Jonathan Tavernari came up big for the Cougars in the second half as they attempted to climb back into the game, scoring 17 points in a six-minute span, including five three-pointers, to cut a one-time 21-point SDSU lead into a 10-point advantage.
-- The Cougars found themselves trailing 22-4 in the early going at SDSU, their largest deficit since trailing by 24 points at Boise State on Nov. 29. The Aztecs' 18-0 run after the game was tied at 4-4 is the longest spurt BYU has allowed this year. The Cougars had not trailed by more than six points during their eight-game win streak.
-- 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'S LAST OUTING -- COUGARS REPEAT AT THE HUNTSMAN CENTER
SALT LAKE -- The BYU men's basketball team made itself at home in the Huntsman Center Saturday, getting a 55-52 win over Utah to improve to 13-5 on the year and 2-1 in Mountain West Conference play. Including a 76-66 win last year, the Cougars have now won two straight in the Huntsman Center for the first time since the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons and three straight over Utah overall. BYU also improved its overall lead to 21-6 over the Utes in the newly created Deseret First Duel rivalry series. Junior guard Lee Cummard once again filled the stat sheet as he posted a game-high 19 points along with a team-high nine rebounds, two steals and one assist. Senior Sam Burgess also scored in double figures with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting from the field. Despite another tough shooting night for the Cougars, BYU's defense held the Utes to their lowest point total of the season in the win. The Cougars' road shooting woes continued early on as they made just one of their first 10 shots from the field. However, stifling BYU defense, including a block from Trent Plaisted, kept the game in hand. Burgess finally turned defense into offense with a steal and a fastbreak layin at the 13:28 mark. After another Utah turnover, Cummard drove the paint and scored, earning the and-one opportunity and draining the free throw to give BYU its first lead of the game at 9-8. Utah finally ended a 7-0 Cougar run with a jumper from Johnnie Bryant, and moments later, an 11-8 Cougar lead was 15-13 back in the Utes' favor midway through the first half. The two teams traded buckets from there until another 7-0 Cougar spurt gave BYU a 22-17 lead with 5:20 left in the half. Bryant finally ended the 5:30 Utah scoring drought with two free-throw makes at the 2:39 mark as Utah scored six of the next eight points. But BYU had the last word in the half as Cummard drained two free throws and freshman Michael Loyd, Jr. blocked a shot on the other end to send the Cougars into the locker room up 26-23. Utah came out hard and fast to begin the second half, scoring seven of the first eight points to go up 30-27 and force a Cougar timeout 68 seconds in. Burgess drained the first Cougar trey of the night to put BYU back on top with 16:09 left in the game. The lead see-sawed from there as neither team was able to lead by more than two points. Freshman Chris Collinsworth finally made it back-to-back Cougar buckets for the first time in six minutes with an offensive rebound and putback. After a Ute miss on the other end, Collinsworth made it six straight Cougar points with a long jumper to put BYU up 43-38 with 10:25 left to play. Utah came back with three straight points to cut the lead to two, but Cummard once again responded with a bucket, and Jimmer Fredette quickly converted a Ute miss into a three-point make on the other end to give BYU its largest lead of the game to that point at 48-41. However, a 9-2 run the other way had the Huntsman Center rocking and the game tied at 50-50 with 3:20 left to play. But Burgess hit a huge three-pointer from the corner to put BYU up three points with 2:27 left. Utah got within one point with a bucket from Tyler Kepkay, but couldn't convert at the free-throw line after a Cougar miss. BYU got the ball back up one point with under a minute to play but couldn't find the hoop, giving Utah once more chance with 30 seconds left. The Utes ran the clock down before taking one more shot, which sailed to the side of the basket and into the hands of Cummard. Fittingly, Cummard was fouled and iced the game with two free throws on the other end, making him a perfect 7-for-7 from the line on the night and securing the 55-52 BYU win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "Defensively, our guys were great. Our coaches put together a really good game plan, and our guys did a really good job of executing. I'm really proud of how they battled and executed defensively."
-- "This team can really get strength and confidence from each other. Lee (Cummard) stepped up, and Sam (Burgess) hit a really big three-pointer for us. I also thought Ben Murdock was terrific tonight. He played a really physical game, and his presence defensively really got us started offensively."
-- "We challenged Lee before the game. He came up really big for us in a lot of ways. We know he can score, but he does so much more for us."
-- "I'm really proud of our bench. Jimmer (Fredette) gave us a lift, and Chris Collinsworth and Michael Loyd played well for us. Mike had a huge play at the end of the half with that block."
-- "Our team this season has really won games with their offense. But when you get into conference play, everyone's competing and playing hard and you have to be able to win games in a lot of different ways. We really showed ourselves tonight that we could do that. We weren't the best offensively, but our defense got it done."
-- "This is a tough stretch. We have to be able to win on the road, so this is a big win for us as a team and as a coaching staff."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Michael Loyd, Jr. - 1 block; Jimmer Fredette - 4 rebounds.
-- BYU has now won the last three meetings against Utah, including two wins in the Huntsman Center after a 12-game losing streak in Salt Lake City dating back to 1994. Prior to the last two victories, the Cougars had not won two in a row at Utah since the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons. BYU head coach Dave Rose is now 4-2 all-time against the Cougars' in-state rivals, including wins in the last three games.
-- With the 55-52 win, the Cougars are now 10-1 on the year when holding opponents under the 70-point mark. Utah's 52 points was a season-low for the Utes.
-- The Cougars ended a three-game road losing streak with the victory, picking up their first Mountain West Conference road victory of the season. BYU won five of their last seven road games last season.
-- BYU is now 12-2 this season when outrebounding opponents with a 42-36 edge over Utah. BYU leads the Mountain West in rebounding margin.
-- With a 26-23 halftime lead at Utah, the Cougars have now led at halftime in 15 of 18 games this year, including 11 double-digit leads. The Cougars are now 13-2 when holding a halftime advantage. BYU has held opponents under 30 first-half points in 12 contests.
-- Cummard had a streak of 11 straight games with a three-point make come to an end against the Utes while Burgess drained two treys to mark the 14th game this season he has hit from long range. Tavernari and Cummard have recorded three-pointers in 16 of 18 games this year while Jimmer Fredette has made one from behind the arc in 12 games this season, including one against Utah.
-- Cummard was a perfect 7-for-7 from the free-throw line, improving his season total to 44-of-48 (.917) after making his last 21 straight. Cummard has been perfect from the line in nine of the 12 games in which he has taken free throws. His two makes with three seconds on the clock put the game away for BYU.
-- With 12 points in the game, Burgess scored in double figures for the seventh time this season and the first since Dec. 29 at Boise State. Burgess reached double-digit scoring four times last year.
-- Cummard scored 11 first-half points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field and a 5-for-5 mark from the free-throw line to lead the Cougars, marking the sixth time this year he has reached double-digits in the first period of play.
- True freshman Collinsworth posted eight rebounds in the contest. Collinsworth is averaging 6.7 rebounds per game in the last six contests.
-- Miles posted a season-high 9 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the field in 17 minutes, starting the second half. Miles is averaging 7.6 minutes per game on the year and 16.7 mpg in the last three contests.
-- Tavernari added to his team-high steal total with two picks at UNLV, recording 22 on the season. Tavernari has had at least two steals in eight of 17 games this year.
COUGARS BY THE NUMBERS
1 Rank of BYU coach Dave Rose's 58 wins and .716 winning percentage among the 18 head coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level along with Rose in 2005-06. Rose ranks second to only Tennessee's Bruce Pearl (62-20 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06.
2 Number of points Trent Plaisted needs to surpass Terrell Lyday to move to 30th on BYU's all-time career scoring list. Plaisted currently has 1,104 career points.
3 Number of top 10 teams BYU has played this season - No. 1 North Carolina, then-No. 6 Louisville and then-No. 9 Michigan State. The Cougars beat the Cardinals, 78-76, before falling, 73-63, to the Tarheels despite battling UNC through six second-half lead changes. BYU held a double-digit halftime lead against the Spartans before losing, 68-61.
5 Number of games in which BYU has scored at least 90 points, the most since 1995-96 when the Cougars also reached 90 points in five games. BYU has not scored at least 90 in six games on the year since 1993-94. The Cougars currently lead the Mountain West Conference in scoring at 76.0 ppg.
6 Number of statistical categories in which Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the MWC including field-goal percentage (2nd - .561), scoring (3rd - 15.6), offensive rebounds (4th - 2.17), total rebounds (T7th - 6.3), assists (8th - 3.33) and defensive rebounds (T10th - 4.17). Cummard would also lead the league in free-throw percentage at .917 but is .06 makes per game short of the league minimum of 2.5.
T7th Rank in BYU program history of Jonathan Tavernari's 12-game streak with a made three-pointer to start the season. Lee Cummard's streak of 11 straight games with a three-point make, which came to an end Saturday at Utah, is tied for ninth all-time.
9 Number of games in which Lee Cummard has been perfect from the free-throw line out of 12 games in which he taken free throws. Cummard has made his last 21 straight free throws after a 7-for-7 outing at Utah and had made 19 straight prior to a miss against Southern Utah. He is shooting 91.7 percent (44-for-48) on the year.
9 Number of statistical categories in which a BYU player ranks among the top three in the MWC out of the 12 categories tracked by the league.
9.3 Rebounding average of true freshman Chris Collinsworth in league play, tying for first in the conference. Collinsworth had nine rebounds in BYU's league opener against Colorado State, a career-high 11 boards at UNLV and eight rebounds at Utah on Saturday.
12 Number of times this season BYU has held its opponents under 30 points in the first half. The Cougars have scored at least 30 first-half points in 16 of 18 games this season while racking up halftime leads in 15 of 18 games, including 11 by double digits.
14 Number of games in which BYU has led by double digits. The Cougars have also led by at least 20 points in 10 contests and 30 points in three. BYU has led wire-to-wire in seven games this year.
16 Number of games this season Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer. Sam Burgess has made a trey in 14 of 18 games this year.
18 Number of starts made this season by Sam Burgess after the senior made just one start in his two prior seasons as a Cougar. Fellow senior Ben Murdock has also started all 18 games after not starting last year in his first season in Provo.
20.9 The Cougars' average margin of victory in their 13 wins this season. BYU has won seven games by more than 20 points, including two by more than 30. The Cougars' 40-point win at Long Beach State to begin the year was BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995.
25 Points scored by Trent Plaisted and Jonathan Tavernari against Colorado State in BYU"s Mountain West Conference home opener, marking the first time BYU has had two players score 25 or more points in a game since March 1, 2001 when Terrell Lyday totaled 26 and Mekeli Wesley 25 at New Mexico.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 40 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's second-longest active home victory streak, just two wins behind No. 1 Memphis. The Cougars are 9-0 at home this year and won 17 home games last season after going 14-1 at home in 2005-06. BYU's last home loss was in the 2005-06 season opener against Loyola Marymount. BYU?has since won 23 straight over nonconference opponents and 17 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU?is 412-116 (.780) all-time in the Marriott Center. The Cougars' longest home winning streak came from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003 when BYU won 44 straight in the Marriott Center.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (As of Jan. 20, 2008)
Wins Team This year Next home game
42 Memphis 10-0 Jan. 26 vs. Gonzaga
40 BYU 9-0 Jan. 23 vs. San Diego State
ON THE ROAD
The Cougars are 3-3 in true road games this year coming off a 55-52 win at Utah on Saturday. With a 1-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is 4-5 this season away from home with a 1-1 record in Mountain West Conference play. BYU won five of its last seven games on the road last season including a win at then-No. 20 Air Force (62-58), snapping the Falcons' 30-game home winning streak. BYU was 6-7 on the road last year and 5-3 in conference play, becoming the only MWC team with a winning record on the road in league play last year.
With Saturday's 55-52 win at Utah coming on the heels of a loss at UNLV Tuesday, BYU has now bounced back from all five of its losses this season with wins. BYU recovered from a setback against No. 1 North Carolina with a victory at Portland, a loss vs. then-No. 9 Michigan State with a win over Lamar, a loss at Boise State with a triumph against Loyola Marymount and a defeat at Wake Forest with a victory over Colorado State. The Cougars have won their comeback games by an average margin of 19.4 points. BYU head coach Dave Rose has only lost back-to-back regular-season games once in his Cougar career (vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar in 2006-07).
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
BYU is 12-1 when scoring at least 70 points this year and 10-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 76.0 points and allowing 64.6 ppg. The Cougars' 55-52 win at Utah on Saturday marked the first time this season BYU has won a game when scoring less than 70 points. The Cougars have scored 90 or more points in five games this season, reaching 100 against Jackson State, and are 7-0 when scoring over 80 points on the year. Overall, BYU leads the Mountain West Conference in scoring.
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU has won the battle of the boards in 14 of 18 games this year, going 12-2 in those contests. BYU is besting opponents by an average of 6.8 boards per contest, leading the league in rebounding margin and rebound average (41.4). The Cougars posted a season-high +19 rebounding margin (38-19) against Hartford as four Cougars pulled down at least five rebounds. BYU began the season with a 55-40 rebounding advantage at Long Beach State, matching last year's season high of 55 boards against Seton Hall. Five Cougars posted at least six rebounds in BYU's win over Lamar, marking the first time since Jan. 8, 2005 that feat has been done.
BYU has had five players score in double figures in a game three times this season, matching last year's total of three games in which at least five players reached double digits. Five different Cougars have led the team in scoring this year with Lee Cummard pacing BYU a team-best 10 times. Team-high rebounding honors have been shared by four players and team-best assist accolades by six.
Four Cougar freshman are making an impact this year as Chris Collinsworth, Jimmer Fredette, Michael Loyd, Jr. and Nick Martineau have all made a difference for BYU. Collinsworth is fourth for BYU with 5.3 rebounds per game while leading the league in boards in conference play at 9.3. He has started six games. Fredette is fifth on the team in scoring with 6.7 ppg and tied for second in steals with 20. Loyd is averaging 8.9 minutes per game and has posted 21 assists on the year. Martineau is tied for fifth in the Mountain West Conference in assist/turnover ratio at 2.00.
After setting a program record with 256 three-pointers last season, the Cougars are on pace to break that record this year having already made 146 treys so far. BYU has posted double-digit triples in a game six times this year and in three of the last five games with 10 against Colorado State, 10 at Wake Forest, 12 against Loyola Marymount, 11 against Lamar, 12 at Long Beach State and 13 vs. Hartford, marking just the sixth time in program history that the Cougars have posted at least 13 threes in a game, including a record 15 against UNLV last season. The Cougars have made at least five three-pointers in 16 of 18 games this season. The Cougars tied the program record with 33 three-point attempts against Loyola Marymount. Individually, both Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have made a three-pointer in 16 of 18 games this season while Sam Burgess has done so in 14 of 18 contests. Cummard had an 11-game streak with a make from long range, which ranks ninth all-time at BYU, come to an end Saturday at Utah while Tavernari's 12-game streak to begin the year is tied for seventh all-time in BYU history. Tavernari is on pace to break the Cougars' single-season three-point record of 74 with 45 treys so far this season.
BYU IN THE RANKINGS
The BYU men's basketball team fell out of the top-25 polls released on Dec. 31 after a 73-70 road loss at Boise State. This season BYU first entered the national rankings on Nov. 26, earning the program's earliest appearance in the national polls since the 1980-81 season when the Cougars entered the rankings at No. 21 in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll and No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll. BYU has now been ranked in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1980-81 and 1981-82. Last year, BYU entered the polls on Feb. 19 to receive the program's first national ranking since 1993, finishing the season ranked No. 24 in the final AP Poll, something a Cougar team had not accomplished since 1988. The Cougar basketball program has now been ranked in the AP Poll during 16 seasons since its first national ranking in 1950-51
PLAYING THE BEST
BYU's game against No. 9 Michigan State on Dec. 8 was its third game in three weeks against a top-10 opponent, including a victory over No. 6 Louisville on Nov. 23 and a loss to No. 1 North Carolina on Nov. 24. BYU has played at least three regular-season games against top-10 opponents in a season just six times previously in program history with the last coming in 1983-84. Only twice previously have the Cougars played three top-10 teams during a three-week stretch, once in 1990-91 with a loss to No. 9 Utah on March 2, a win over No. 8 Utah on March 9 in the WAC Tournament and a loss to No. 8 Arizona on March 16 in the NCAA Tournament and once in 1980-81 with a victory over No. 9 Utah on March 7 in the WAC Tournament, a win over No. 10 UCLA on March 14 in the NCAA Tournament, a victory over No. 7 Notre Dame on March 19 in the NCAA Tourney and a loss to No. 5 Virginia on March 21 in the NCAAs.
Seniors Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess along with juniors Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted have started all 18 games this year while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari has made 12 starts and freshman Chris Collinsworth has started six contests.
WINNING WITH ROSE
With a 58-23 record in his third season, BYU coach Dave Rose ranks first in wins and winning percentage among the 18 head coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level along with Rose in 2005-06. Rose ranks second to only Tennessee's Bruce Pearl (62-20 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06. (as of Jan. 20)
First-Year Coaches in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Dave Rose, BYU 58-23 .716
Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss* 57-27 .679
*includes one season as the interim head coach at Cincinnati
Head Coaches in Their First Year With a Program in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Bruce Pearl, Tennessee 62-20 .756
Dave Rose, BYU 58-23 .716
Tim Floyd, USC 56-31 .644
BYU PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LEE CUMMARD (JAN. 21) -- Junior guard Lee Cummard helped BYU achieve a split of two tough conference road games last week with a win at Utah Saturday after a Tuesday loss at UNLV. Cummard averaged 15.0 points to lead the Cougars while adding 7.0 rebounds, second on the team. The 6-foot-7 Mesa, Arizona, native extended his string of consecutive free-throw makes to 21 with a 9-for-9 week at the line. His 21 straight conversions at the line is a new career best, topping the streak of 19 consecutive set earlier this season. Cummard scored a game-high 19 points and led BYU on the glass while sharing game-high rebounding honors with nine boards in the Cougars' 55-52 road win at Utah Saturday. He scored 11 points in 14 first-half minutes, including a 5-for-5 effort at the line, to help BYU take a three-point lead into the break. It marked the sixth time this year he has reached double-digit points in the first period of play. Finishing the game 7-for-7 at the charity stripe, Cummard's final two attempts were clutch as he converted both pitches after grabbing a key defensive rebound with BYU holding a single-point advantage with just 3 seconds remaining. He added two steals in the second half to help BYU's defense hold Utah to its lowest scoring output of the season. On Tuesday, Cummard was the only Cougar to score in double figures at UNLV, totaling 11 points while adding five rebounds.
PLAISTED IN 1,000 POINT CLUB
With 22 points against Lamar, junior Trent Plaisted became the 37th member of BYU's elite 1,000 Point Club, joining such Cougar greats as Danny Ainge, Michael Smith, Devin Durrant, Fred Roberts, Kresimir Cosic and Andy Toolson to score at least 1,000 points in their Cougar careers. Plaisted now has 1,104 career points, 31st on BYU's all-time scoring list. Keena Young was the most recent addition to the club as he posted 1,068 points during his three-year BYU stint from 2005-07. Of four-year players, Plaisted is just the 10th Cougar to reach the 1,000-point milestone as a junior. The last four-year player to reach 1,000 points as a junior was Mark Bigelow with 1,312 following the 2002-03 season. Plaisted also has 575 career rebounds, making him just the 21st player overall and fifth junior among four-year players to record at least 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.
BURGESS COMIN' UP BIG
Senior co-captain Sam Burgess is making the most of his final BYU campaign as he is fourth on the team in scoring (8.8), third in field-goal shooting among players with at least 30 attempts (.457) and third in assists (2.0) while leading the team in three-point shooting (.417). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 5.2 ppg while averaging 16.2 more minutes per game. His seven double-figure scoring games this year has already surpassed last year's mark of four double-digit scoring outings. Burgess has started all 18 games this season after starting just one game in his two prior seasons as a Cougar.
CUMMARD AT THE LINE
Lee Cummard has made 21 straight free throws after a 7-for-7 outing at the line at Utah on Saturday, marking the ninth time this season he has been perfect from the stripe out of the 12 games in which he has taken free throws. Cummard had made 19 straight before a miss against Southern Utah, meaning he has made 40 of his last 41 attempts (97.6 percent) and 44-of-48 on the season (.917). His current streak is approaching the record of 32 consecutive free-throw makes set by Michael Smith in 1989 while his season percentage currently ranks second on BYU's all-time list of best free-throw percentages among starters (Smith - 92.5 percent (160-for-173) in 1989).
The Cougars' 13 victories this year have come by an average margin of 20.9 points, including a season-opening 40-point road win at Long Beach State (74-34), one of 11 double-digit wins for BYU this season and one of seven victories by over 20 points. The win over the 49ers marked BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995. Including BYU's five losses, the Cougars still boast a scoring margin of 11.4 points this year. BYU won 17 games by double-digits last year, including seven by 20 or more points, and was the only team in the Mountain West Conference to not have a regular-season game decided by less than four points. With an average scoring margin of +9.1 last season, the Cougars posted their largest margin of victory since 1993.
THIS YEAR'S LOSSES
BYU's five losses this year have come on neutral floors against No. 1 North Carolina and No. 6 (then No. 9) Michigan State and on the road at Boise State, at Wake Forest and at UNLV. BYU held double-digit leads over both Michigan State and Boise State and battled the top-rated Tar Heels through six second-half lead changes. North Carolina (18-1), Michigan State (16-2), Boise State (13-5), Wake Forest (12-5) and UNLV (13-4) have a combined 72-17 record for a .809 winning percentage as of Jan. 20.
HITTING THE MARK
BYU is shooting 45.9 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 38.9 percent from the floor (No. 1 in the MWC). Overall, the Cougars have shot above 50 percent in six games this year. BYU has shot above 50 percent in the first half of six games this season and in the second half of eight contests, totaling 14 halves of play with a shooting percetage of 50 percent higher, including three above 60 percent. The Cougars posted a season-high 60.4 percent efficiency against Hartford bolstered by a 63.6 percent second-half shooting mark (14-for-22). Individually, Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted rank two and three among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 56.1 and 55.0 percent, respectively, and 33rd and 35th, respectively, in the national rankings as of Jan. 17.
The Cougars are 13-2 this season when leading at the half with 11 of the 15 advantages coming by double digits. BYU suffered its first loss of the year after holding a halftime lead with a 68-61 defeat against No. 9 Michigan State after a 35-25 lead at the break. The Cougars led by 11 points at the half at Boise State but fell by three points to the Broncos. No. 1 North Carolina, Wake Forest and UNLV are the only teams this season to post a halftime lead against BYU. The Cougars are besting opponents by an average of 8.3 points in the first period of play while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of seven of 18 games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 16 of 18 games this season while holding opponents under 30 points 12 times. The Cougars' 36-12 lead at the break at Long Beach State marked their largest halftime advantage since being up by 28 points (51-23) against Western Oregon on Dec. 22, 2006. The 12 points given up by BYU in the first 20 minutes of the game at LBSU marked the fewest points allowed in a half by the Cougars since allowing a record-low 10 points against Air Force in 2003. BYU has topped 40 points in the second half of eight games this year while surpassing the 50-point mark in the second half four times.
PAINTING THE TOWN
The Cougars have outscored their opponents in the paint in 11 of 18 games this year, recording a +6.8 margin in that category. BYU has posted a double-digit margin in eight games, including a season-best +38 margin (54-16) against Jackson State. The Cougars are 11-0 when besting opponents in the paint while all five of BYU's losses on the season have come when the Cougars have been outscored in the paint.
MAKING THE MOST OF THE MISCUE
Despite recording a -0.6 turnover margin with their opponents on the year, the Cougars have outscored foes in points off of turnovers in 14 games this season, posting a +5.9 scoring margin in that category. BYU scored a season-best 26 points off of turnovers against Loyola Marymount.
FAST AND FURIOUS
BYU has dominated on the fast break this season, outscoring opponents in that category in 14 of 18 games by an average margin 5.8 points per contest. The Cougars scored a season-best 20 fast-break points against Jackson State while tying their season high with a +16 margin. BYU's three deficits in that category came in losses against No. 1 North Carolina (0-4), against No. 9 Michigan State (0-4) and at Wake Forest (0-8).
FROM THE BENCH
BYU's reserves have outscored the opposition's bench only six times this year but they have done it in four of the last seven games after seven straight games in a scoring defecit off the bench. In BYU's 12 games with Jonathan Tavernari starting, BYU's bench has been outscored by an average of 0.8 points. BYU's reserves have averaged 1.8 more points than the opposition in the six games Tavernari has come off the bench. Jimmer Fredette stepped up at Wake Forest after Tavernari returned to the starting lineup, tying for team-high honors with 15 points off the bench. Overall, the BYU bench has outscored opponent reserves by 1.1 points per game this season, tallying 394 points or 21.9 points per game to opponents' 375 points.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
Including a game-high lead of 27 points against Colorado State in BYU's last home game, the Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 14 of 18 games and have led by more than 20 points in 10 games and more than 30 points in three contests. The exception to the double-digit leads came against No. 1 North Carolina when the game-high BYU lead was two points, at Wake Forest when BYU never led, at UNLV when the Cougars' large lead was three points and at Utah when the Cougar game-high lead was seven points. The Cougars have led wire-to-wire in seven games this season.
WORTHY OF MENTION
- BYU's 20-point club this year includes Trent Plaisted, Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari. Plaisted has scored 20 points or more in five games while Cummard has done it four times and Tavernari has done so twice. Among Plaisted's top scoring nights were 21 points against No. 6 Louisville, 24 points against No. 1 North Carolina and a season-high 25 points in BYU's Mountain West Conference opener against Colorado State. Cummard had a career-high 27 points against Lamar and 26 at Boise State while Tavernari totaled a career-best 29 vs. No. 6 Louisville and 25 against CSU.
- BYU has had six individual double-double performances this year with Plaisted accomplishing the feat four times and Cummard on two occasions. Cummard became the first Cougar to record a double-double this season with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Idaho State. He added his fifth career double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds against Lamar. Plaisted had 21 points and 12 rebounds against No. 6 Louisville before tallying 24 points and 17 rebounds against No. 1 North Carolina. He totaled 14 points and 15 rebounds vs. Weber State and had 18 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds against Pepperdine.
- Senior point guard Ben Murdock dished out a personal-best 10 assists with only two turnovers at Portland as the lone Cougar to reach double-digit assists in a game this year. He has dished out five or more assists in a game six times this year. He ranks 28th nationally with a 2.50 assist/turnover ratio and has helped BYU rank 21st nationally with 17.6 assists per game as of Jan. 17.
- Freshman guard Jimmer Fredette has hit from behind the arc in 12 games this season. Fredette is one of four true freshman playing for the Cougars this year, joining forward Chris Collinsworth and guards Michael Loyd and Nick Martineau. Collinsworth has started six games.
- BYU leads all MWC teams in scoring (76.0), field-goal percentage defense (.389), rebounds (41.1), rebounding margin (+6.8), assists (17.06), and defensive rebounds (28.94).
- BYU has led at the half in 15 of 18 games this year, including 11 double-digit leads.
SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE MWC ...
-- BYU has had six 20-win seasons in the first eight seasons, leading all MWC schools. Utah has had five, UNLV four, Air Force, Wyoming and San Diego State three and New Mexico two.
-- BYU has had the league's top RPI three times, been second twice and third on three occasions. The Cougars were second last year (18) behind UNLV (10).
-- BYU has played the toughest schedule on average of any team in the MWC. Last year, BYU's schedule was rated third behind Utah and UNLV. BYU had the league's toughest schedule in two of the previous three seasons.
-- BYU has the second-most overall wins (175, Utah leads at 176).
-- BYU is second in conference wins (75, Utah has 76).
-- BYU has the second-most MWC regular-season titles (three). Utah leads with four.
-- BYU is one of six MWC teams to win the MWC Tournament title.