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- The Mtn.
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500 E University Parkway Provo UT 84604
Hot Shooting Lifts Cougars over Lobos
PROVO -- Shooting over 50 percent from the field and over 80 percent from three-point range, the BYU men's basketball team beat the New Mexico Lobos 83-66 on Saturday in the Marriott Center. BYU improved its Mountain West Conference record to 4-1 (15-5 overall), while New Mexico fell to 3-3 in conference play (16-5 overall).
"We did a really good job of taking good shots and sharing the ball," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "Our players hit their shots and executed our defensive game plan early, which was good. Our concentration and execution was excellent today."
Four of BYU's starters reached double figures in the game -- Lee Cummard, Jonathan Tavernari, Trent Plaisted and Sam Burgess. This happened for the eight time this season for the Cougars. Cummard finished with a game-high 20 points, and Tavernari was not far behind with 19.
Tavernari and Cummard split the spotlight as each scored double figures in one of the two halves against the Lobos. Tavernari had a season high in first-half points with 16, while Cummard tied his season high in second-half points with 13.
On BYU's first possession of the game, Tavernari hit a short baseline jumper which proved to be the first of a very productive half for the sophomore forward. Tavernari continued his success as he went on to hit his first five shots from the field.
Things were going the Cougars' way from early on as they started the game on a 10-5 run in the first 4:17 of the game. This early run was capped off with Burgess completing a three-point play after he connected on a reverse lay-up and was fouled.
At the 12:46 mark, New Mexico called a 30-second timeout in hopes of slowing the game down after Tavernari hit a three-pointer, which extended the Cougar lead to 20-9. With just under 10 minutes into the game, BYU was a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond the arc.
BYU not only excelled on the offensive end early in the game, but the Cougars also held the Lobos to just 24 percent shooting up to the 7:57 point of the first half, allowing BYU to extend its lead to 27-13.
The Cougars found themselves on the positive end of a 16-13 run over a length of 8:41 as BYU was up 36-22 with 4:05 left in the half. Another impressive BYU first-half performance came from Plaisted, who was one shy of recording double-digit rebounds in the first stanza.
At the break, BYU went into the locker room up by 20, 44-24. This was on 51 percent shooting from the field and 72 percent from the three-point line.
The Cougars' hot shooting continued in the second half as they were up 59-34 with 14:44 left in the game -- a run of 15-10 for BYU. This came off of sharp shooting from Cummard, who scored eight quick second-half points to improve his total to 15 points on the game to that point.
Plaisted had a dunk with 11:30 left in the game that ignited the season-high crowd of 19,932 as the Cougars went ahead 69-38. Then shortly after that BYU widened its lead to the largest of the game at 34 points as Plaisted hit two free throws to make the score 79-45.
BYU cruised from there to the game's final score of 83-66. The Cougars tied their season high with 13 three-pointers made. The previous season-high three-point percentage was 59 percent, and the 81 percent game total for the Cougars was the sixth-highest in BYU history.
A couple other notable performances for BYU came from Plaisted and Jimmer Fredette. Plaisted recorded his sixth double-double of the season against the Lobos as he had 13 rebounds to go along with his 13 points, while Fredette finished with a career-high six assists.
The BYU men's basketball team will next be in action on Wednesday at 7 p.m. as the Cougars travel to take on the Air Force Academy (11-7, 3-2 MWC).
CLICK HERE for postgame notes and quotes.
Official Basketball Box Score
New Mexico vs BYU Cougars
01/26/08 4:05 p.m. at Marriott Center, Provo, Utah
VISITORS: New Mexico 16-5, 3-3 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 MARTINEZ, Roman..... f 1-4 1-2 2-4 0 2 2 2 5 1 0 0 1 20
53 FARIS, Daniel....... f 5-8 0-0 2-2 3 5 8 4 12 0 2 0 0 22
05 GARY, Dairese....... g 6-13 1-1 4-4 2 3 5 1 17 1 0 0 3 31
15 GIDDENS, J.R........ g 2-8 0-1 0-1 0 6 6 0 4 2 0 1 0 25
33 TOPPERT, Chad....... g 2-5 2-4 0-0 0 2 2 3 6 1 1 1 1 24
02 WILLS, Jonathan..... 1-7 1-4 0-0 0 1 1 0 3 0 0 0 1 15
04 HARRIS, Johnnie..... 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 4 2 0 1 0 0 15
10 SMITH, Jamaal....... 1-4 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 5 2 0 0 0 0 12
22 PEGUES, Monquel..... 2-5 0-0 1-2 0 2 2 1 5 0 0 0 0 13
24 PRENTICE, Darren.... 1-9 1-5 7-8 2 0 2 1 10 2 2 0 3 23
TEAM................ 3 1 4
Totals.............. 22-64 6-18 16-21 11 23 34 21 66 7 6 2 9 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 9-33 27.3% 2nd Half: 13-31 41.9% Game: 34.4% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-5 20.0% 2nd Half: 5-13 38.5% Game: 33.3% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 5-6 83.3% 2nd Half: 11-15 73.3% Game: 76.2% 4
HOME TEAM: BYU Cougars 15-5, 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
30 CUMMARD, Lee........ f 6-9 3-4 5-7 3 2 5 1 20 5 2 0 0 31
45 TAVERNARI, Jonathan. f 7-9 5-6 0-0 1 3 4 3 19 1 1 0 1 23
44 PLAISTED, Trent..... c 4-11 0-0 5-9 1 12 13 2 13 3 1 1 1 28
20 BURGESS, Sam........ g 4-6 3-3 4-4 0 2 2 2 15 1 0 1 0 22
24 MURDOCK, Ben........ g 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 5 1 0 0 21
01 LOYD, JR., Michael.. 0-2 0-0 1-2 1 1 2 4 1 2 1 0 0 14
05 ROSE, Archie........ 0-1 0-0 0-2 0 3 3 0 0 1 1 1 0 8
14 MARTINEAU, Nick..... 0-0 0-0 0-2 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 5
32 FREDETTE, Jimmer.... 2-5 2-3 0-0 0 1 1 1 6 6 2 1 0 19
41 COLLINSWORTH, Chris. 2-5 0-0 0-0 2 2 4 0 4 0 0 0 0 17
54 MILES, Chris........ 2-4 0-0 1-3 2 1 3 4 5 1 4 0 0 12
TEAM................ 3 3
Totals.............. 27-53 13-16 16-29 10 32 42 19 83 25 13 4 3 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-29 51.7% 2nd Half: 12-24 50.0% Game: 50.9% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 8-11 72.7% 2nd Half: 5-5 100 % Game: 81.3% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 6-11 54.5% 2nd Half: 10-18 55.6% Game: 55.2% 6
Officials: Dick Cartmell, Stanley Reynolds, Larry Spaulding
Technical fouls: New Mexico-None. BYU Cougars-None.
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
New Mexico.................... 24 42 - 66
BYU Cougars................... 44 39 - 83
Season High for attendance.
Points in the paint-NM 26,BY 20. Points off turnovers-NM 15,BY 6.
2nd chance points-NM 15,BY 8. Fast break points-NM 0,BY 2.
Bench points-NM 22,BY 16. Score tied-1 time. Lead changed-0 times.
Last FG-NM 2nd-00:21, BY 2nd-04:01.
Largest lead-NM None, BY by 34 2nd-08:00.
GAME 20 - BYU Hosts New Mexico Saturday Afternoon
BYU GAME #20 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (14-5, 3-1 MWC)
NEW MEXICO LOBOS (16-4, 3-2 MWC)
Saturday, Jan. 26, 2008
Marriott Center (22,700)
4:05 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (59-23 in third season; same overall)
UNM, Steve Alford (16-4 in first season; 324-187 in 17th year overall)
BYU leads, 71-50, after the Cougars swept the season series last year
The Mtn. (Rich Cellini, play-by-play; Blaine Fowler, game analyst)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (3 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
Saturday's game against New Mexico is family day. Tickets are only $1, $5 or $10 each. Tickets are available at the Marriott Center Ticket Office by calling 422-BYU1 (or 800-322-BYU1) or online at BYUTickets.com.
BYU HOSTS NEW MEXICO SATURDAY AFTERNOON
BYU (14-5, 3-1 MWC) hosts the New Mexico Lobos (16-4, 3-2 MWC) Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. in the Marriott Center. Both teams are coming off home wins. The Cougars handed San Diego State its lone loss in five league games with a 59-56 victory on Wednesday while the Lobos defeated Utah 77-67 in overtime on Tuesday. BYU currently owns the nation's second-longest active home winning streak at 41 games. 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 travel to take on Air Force next Wednesday in a 7 p.m. tip. The game will not be televised.
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 41 straight wins in the Marriott Center, one victory behind No. 1 Memphis. The Cougars went 17-0 at home last year and are 10-0 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 NEW MEXICO
The New Mexico Lobos are 16-4 so far this season with a 3-2 mark in Mountain West Conference action. UNM began the year with seven straight wins before back-to-back setbacks and then won seven more games before going 2-2 in the last four contests. Three of the Lobos' last four victories have come in either overtime or double overtime. Senior guard J.R. Giddens leads the team in both scoring at 13.6 points per game and rebounds with 8.7 boards per contest. Giddens, who transferred from Kansas prior to last season, also adds 3.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game while shooting 48.8 percent from the field and posting a team-high 21 blocks on the year. Junior guard Chad Toppert is the only other Lobo scoring in double figures with 11.2 ppg on 49.0 percent shooting from the field, including 48.2 percent from three-point range, while adding 3.7 rpg. Junior forward Daniel Faris, who has started all 20 games this season along with Giddens, is second on the team with 4.4 boards per contest while contributing 9.5 ppg after a 15-point performance in New Mexico's last game, an overtime win over Utah. Freshman guard Dariese Gary paces the Lobos with 3.4 assists per game and 1.4 steals per contest. As a team, New Mexico averages 75.3 ppg on 47.1 percent shooting from the floor, including 42.5 percent shooting from three-point range. Lobo opponents are posting 62.5 ppg on 40.4 percent shooting from the floor. New Mexico outrebounds its opponents, 36.1-32.0 on the year.
NEW MEXICO'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 30 Roman Martinez 6-6 185 So. 7.1 3.7 El Paso, Texas
F 53 Daniel Faris 6-9 235 Jr. 9.5 4.4 Albuquerque, N.M.
G 05 Dairese Gary 6-1 205 Fr. 7.5 2.1 Elkhart, Ind.
G 15 J.R. Giddens 6-5 205 Sr. 13.6 8.7 Oklahoma City, Okla.
G 33 Chad Toppert 6-7 215 Jr. 11.2 3.7 Albuquerque, N.M.
NEW MEXICO'S LAST OUTING -- NEW MEXICO OUTLASTS UTAH IN OVERTIME
ALBUQUERQUE -- Daniel Faris scored 15 points and J.R. Giddens and Chad Toppert both had 14 to lead New Mexico to a 77-67 overtime victory against Utah on Tuesday night. Jamaal Smith had five points and Giddens and Dairese Gary both added four in the overtime for the Lobos (16-4, 3-2 Mountain West Conference), who beat the Utes (10-7, 1-3) for the sixth straight time at The Pit. Giddens and Smith both missed shots in the final 15 seconds of regulation and Tyler Kepkay missed one for Utah. The Lobos had nine free throws as they outscored Utah 13-3 in the overtime. Johnnie Bryant had 25 points for the Utes. New Mexico held Utah center Luke Nevill, who came into the game averaging a team-high 13.6 points, without a shot in taking a 31-21 halftime lead. The New Mexico bench was called for a technical foul with 12:04 left. It erased a 3-pointer by Roman Martinez and helped spark an 18-1 run that put Utah up 53-45. The Lobos responded with a 13-3 run, regaining the lead on two free throws by Martinez with 3:15 left.
This will be the 122nd game in the series that started in the 1949-50 season. The Cougars?lead the series 71-50 after winning 70-49 at The Pit and 96-83 in Provo last season. BYU has won the last four games vs. the Lobos and seven straight over UNM?in the Marriott Center. New Mexico's last win in Provo was a 78-74 victory in 2000, which was BYU's last loss in the Marriott Center prior to starting its school-record 44-game nation-leading homecourt victory string that was ended in 2003 by Utah. The Cougars are 16-26 in The Pit. In 2006, BYU won 77-71 at The Pit to end the Lobos' 21-game home win streak and 76-68 in the Marriott Center. BYU had a four-game winning streak in the series halted with a season series split in 2004. The Cougars swept the season series in 2003 and defeated the Lobos in the opening round of the 2003 MWC?Tournament. BYU has won 14 of the last 18 games in the series after New Mexico had won eight of the prior nine contests.
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"New Mexico is a good team. They're very balanced. They can score inside and outside and share the ball well. Defensively, they're really playing well as a team. The most important thing for them right now is that they're playing with a lot of confidence. When you've won 16 games at this point in the season, you know you're playing well."
"J.R. Giddens has really matured as a player. He's always been a good inside scorer and playmaker, but he fits into the team better this season. He's getting more rebounds and getting shots for his teammates."
LAST YEAR AT BYU -- YOUNG LEADS FIVE COUGARS IN DOUBLE FIGURES AGAINST LOBOS
PROVO -- The BYU Cougars improved on their home court winning streak by beating the New Mexico Lobos, 96-83, on Wednesday in front of a Marriott Center crowd of 11,112. The Cougars are currently tied for the nation's longest home winning streak. This was also BYU's seventh straight victory beginning with a victory at New Mexico on Jan. 24th. The Cougars improved to 20-6 overall and 10-2 in Mountain West Conference play. Five Cougars scored in double figures, led by Keena Young with 23 points, Austin Ainge with 15 points, Trent Plaisted with 14 points, Jimmy Balderson with 13 points and Mike Rose with 12 points. Young, the MWC Co-Player of the Week, started strong, scoring six of BYU's first eight points. Plaisted recorded his first block of the game with the score tied at 10-10. He went on to go one-for-two from the charity strip, with just under 15 minutes to play. With 13:48 left in the first half Balderson and Ainge hit back-to-back three-pointers giving the Cougars a 17-10 lead before New Mexico's Kellen Walter got one of his own. Ainge recorded his first block of the season with BYU leading 25-19. With just under 10 minutes to play in the first half, Young scored his 10th point of the game, marking the 22nd time he has scored in double figures this season.Rose made his first points of the game from behind the arc with 6:18 to play in the half. After a trip to the free-throw line for the Lobos and a three-pointer from Jamaal Smith, BYU still led 34-28. Rose hit his second three of the night with 4:53 to play in the first half. Less than a minute later, his third three-pointer went down. A jumper by Young with 1:28 to play in the first half brought the score to 47-36. Going into the half the Cougars led 51-41. BYU began the second half with a three-pointer by Ainge, his third of the game. A one-handed dunk by J.R. Giddens brought the Lobos to within nine with 18:03 to play in the second half. With just over 15 minutes to play in the second half, New Mexico's Walter scored his team's ninth three-pointer of the game. The Lobos went on an 8-0 run before Plaisted capitalized on a three-point play and a dunk on the ensuing drive, giving the Cougars a 10-point lead. A pass from Lee Cummard resulted in a fast break lay-up by Sam Burgess with 10:14 to play in the game. Young went 1-for-2 from the free-throw line to put the Cougars up by 13. Cummard made his first bucket from behind the arc with 8:30 left in the second half, soon followed by his first blocked shot of the game. Young secured the rebound off of Plaisted's missed free throw to give the Cougars two points with under five minutes to play in the game. BYU's 20-point lead, the largest of the game, came with 4:20 on the clock. A saved turnover by Jonathan Tavernari resulted in a lay-up by Burgess. Giddens led New Mexico with 19 points, and Chad Toppert led the team with six rebounds. The Lobos had a .538 three-point shooting percentage, and each player who received playing time scored.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "We did a good job attacking the ball, adjusting to the defenses they threw at us and sharing the ball. That was the key to the win tonight."
-- "It's a good team win against a tough team. They all seem like big accomplishments to us."
-- "I thought we got good balance tonight, especially scoring with five guys in double figures."
New Mexico Head Coach Ritchie McKay
-- "I wasn't pleased with the way we defended. I wanted to see if we could wear them out and destroy their rhythm. It didn't work."
-- "You will be hard pressed to find another team like this. That team doesn't have many weaknesses if any. I have a lot of respect for their program. I like their chances (at the MWC Tournament)."
-- "I have a lot of respect for Keena (Young). He is a good player."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT BYU
-- Individual Career Highs: Austin Ainge -- 1 block (tied); Keena Young -- 11 field goals made (tied).
-- Individual Season Highs: Mike Rose -- 3 assists (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Most points against Div. I - 96; Most first-half points -- 51 (tied -- also vs. Western Oregon); Most points in the paint -- 58; Fewest turnovers -- 7 (tied).
-- The 23 combined three-pointers made (9 by BYU, 14 by UNM) are second most in the Marriott Center.
-- BYU's win over New Mexico extended its home winning streak to 29 games, which is currently tied for the longest active home victory streak in the nation. The Cougars are 15-0 at home this season and 401-116 (.776) all-time in the Marriott Center.
-- With the win, BYU improved to 20-6 overall, the 30th 20-win season in program history. BYU head coach Dave Rose became the fourth Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first two years (BYU finished 20-9 last season in Rose's first season at the helm, also recording the 20th win at home against New Mexico). However, Rose is the first Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first two years after taking over a program with less than 13 wins the prior year. BYU was 9-21 in 2004-05 before Rose turned the program into the second-most improved team in the nation last year.
-- BYU has now won its last seven straight games, tying its longest winning streak of the season.
-- The Cougars have shot above 50 percent in seven of their last eight games overall, including a .559 (38-for-68) mark against the Lobos.
-- BYU is now 19-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 5-6 when allowing opponents to reach the 70-point threshold. The Cougars have scored at least 80 points 10 times this season, going 10-0 in those games.
-- With a 41-27 rebounding advantage against the Lobos, the Cougars are now 19-0 when winning the battle of the boards, including a double-digit advantage eight times.
-- Three-pointers have been key to the Cougars' success off the bench as Mike Rose has hit at least three from long range in five games this season including four against the Lobos. Austin Ainge has come off the bench and drained three shots from downtown twice, Jonathan Tavernari has done it three times and Sam Burgess has done it twice.
-- With a 51-41 advantage at the break, the Cougars enjoyed their 20th halftime lead of the season and their 10th in double figures. BYU's 51-point first half tied its highest first-half scoring output of the year (also vs. Western Oregon). Overall, the Cougars are 18-2 when leading at the break.
-- Five Cougars scored in double figures against New Mexico, led by Keena Young's 23 points. BYU is 9-2 when led by Young and 3-0 when five players score in double figures. The Cougars are also 17-5 when Young scores in double figures, 7-1 when Austin Ainge scores in double digits (15 points), 8-3 when Jimmy Balderson reaches double digits (13 points), 13-3 when Trent Plaisted scores in double figures (14 points) and 4-2 when Mike Rose reaches double digits (12 points).
-- With 23 points against New Mexico, Young has now scored in double figures in 22 of 26 games this season including eight outings -- and four of the last five -- with at least 20 points. BYU is 17-5 when he scores in double figures. His 12 points before halftime marked the sixth time this year he has reached double digits before the break, including the last three straight games.
LAST YEAR AT NEW MEXICO -- COUGARS WIN BIG AT NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE -- The Cougars put an end to their road woes Wednesday night with a resounding 70-49 win over the New Mexico Lobos at The Pit. The victory is BYU's first Mountain West Conference road win of the season and improves the Cougars to 14-6 overall and 4-2 in league play. The Lobos, who entered the game averaging 87 points per game at home, fall to 12-9 overall and 1-5 in conference action. BYU was led by true freshman Jonathan Tavernari, who tied his career high with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting from the field to go along with four rebounds and three steals. Trent Plaisted and Jimmy Balderson also scored in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively. Lee Cummard paced the Cougars on the boards with five rebounds, and Austin Ainge tied his career high with eight assists. As a team, the Cougars shot 52 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range, marking the seventh straight game BYU has topped the 40 percent mark from long range. New Mexico shot just 38 percent from the floor and 25 percent from behind the arc. The Cougars also outrebounded the Lobos, 30-29, improving to 13-0 when winning the battle of the boards. New Mexico's Tony Dandridge scored the Lobos' first eight points of the game and finished with a game-high 21, but BYU's guard play kept the game tight as Cummard, Balderson and Ainge answered each UNM score. After trading scores to a 10-9 Lobo lead, UNM got a steal and a score to take its largest lead of the game to that point at 12-9. Ainge finally ended a 4:25 Cougar drought as he jumped a three-pointer in transition to knot the score with 11:30 left to play. Vuk Ivanovic gave BYU the lead with an 18-footer to make it 14-12 but the advantage was short-lived as the Lobos answered on their next possession and the two teams traded buckets from there. With the Cougars trailing 19-18, Ivanovic added to the BYU highlight reel as he sent a behind-the-back pass to an open Tavernari who put up the easy layin underneath. The see-saw battle continued as the first half neared completion with both teams draining shots at will. Trailing 26-25, the Lobos drained a three-pointer to push the lead for either team past one point for the first time in almost six minutes, but Tavernari answered on the other end with a long-range make of his own to make the score 29-28 with 3:11 left to play in the half. The bucket proved big as the Cougars used it to spark an 11-0 run in the final three minutes of the half, taking a 37-28 lead into the locker room. After an opening bucket from the Lobos, BYU scored the next six points, including a three from Balderson to take a 43-30 lead. However, the Lobos answered with a 7-0 scoring run to cut the lead to just six points at 43-37 with 13:27 left to play. Tavernari, who provided a huge spark off the bench for BYU in the first half, did so again as he scored back-to-back buckets to end a 3:45 Cougar drought and push the lead back to double digits at 47-37. A New Mexico score had the Lobos thinking comeback but BYU was not about to let it happen as the Cougars went on an 8-0 run to take a 55-39 lead. Two minutes later, Mike Rose put the nail in the coffin with a three-point make to give the Cougars a 60-42 lead. New Mexico got no closer as BYU cruised to the 70-49 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "This was very much a team win from the starters to the guys who came off the bench. We did a lot of things really well. We got a nice run at the end of the first half to give us some confidence. They gave us a nice run back but we kept it going."
-- "Austin (Ainge) was terrific tonight. He got involved scoring early and had eight assists with just one turnover. He was really able to run our offense. We knew that being able to get the ball into the post and play of the post men was going to be key, and he did that for us."
-- "Tonight we had to guard the three-point line because that's their success. Our guys did a good job of staying out on them and making it tough for them. I thought we contested shots well."
-- "Give a lot of credit to all the players that came in and really helped us. Jonathan (Tavernari) was terrific. The matchup was really well for him tonight defensively at the small forward spot. He came in for defensive purposes to get a bigger body in there and ended up hitting some shots."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT NEW MEXICO
-- Individual Career Highs: Jonathan Tavernari -- 18 points (tied). Austin Ainge - 8 assists (tied).
-- Team Season Highs: Fewest points allowed against a Div. I opponent - 49
-- BYU's win at New Mexico ended a four-game Cougar losing streak away from the Marriott Center. The Cougars have won two straight at UNM and have had success at The Pit in the past as BYU has ended three Lobo home win streaks during the all-time series. The Cougars have more wins at The Pit than any other UNM opponent.
-- With a 21-point (70-49) win over the Lobos, the Cougars have now won three of their six Mountain West Conference games by at least 20 points, including a 24-point win over TCU (89-65) and a 22-point victory over San Diego State (80-58). BYU has won just nine games by 20 points or more in MWC play since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season.
-- The Cougars are now 14-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 2-6 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold. The Cougars have scored at least 70 points in 12 straight games. New Mexico entered the game scoring 87 points per game at home but recorded a season-low 49 points against BYU.
-- With a .500 (9-for-18) three-point shooting mark at UNM, BYU has now shot above .400 from behind the arc in seven straight games and 11 on the season. The Cougars have shot above .500 in seven games.
-- With a 30-29 rebounding advantage against the Lobos, the Cougars are now 13-0 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- With the win at UNM coming after a loss at Colorado State, BYU has now bounced back from five of its six losses this season with wins. The Cougars have suffered back-to-back losses only twice in the last two years - once this season (vs. Michigan State, at Lamar) and once last season (vs. Utah at MWC Tournament and at Houston in the NIT).
-- Leading 37-28 at UNM, BYU went into the locker room with a halftime lead for the 15th time this season. The Cougars have held opponents under 30 points in the first half 11 times this season and are now 13-2 when leading at the break. BYU is also 13-0 when leading at the five-minute mark and 13-0 when leading at the one-minute mark.
-- The Cougars have put together incredible first-half shooting performances in their three MWC road games, including a .520 mark from the field and a .600 mark from three-point range against the Lobos. Including its games at UNLV and at Colorado State, BYU is shooting .551 from the floor and .727 from three-point range in the first half of play in league road contests. The Cougars have led at the break in two of those games and been tied in one.
-- After getting just six points off the bench against Colorado State in their last game, the Cougars posted a 31-9 advantage off the bench over the Lobos. BYU has outscored its opponents from the bench in 14 games this season and been outscored in just six.
- After going 5-for-8 from three-point range against Colorado State in BYU's last game, Jimmy Balderson drained two more three-pointers against the Lobos to bring his two-game total to seven. Prior to the last two contests, Balderson had scored 12 three-pointers in BYU's first 18 games.
- Jonathan Tavernari came off the bench for 10 first-half points on 4-for-4 shooting from the field including two threes. The true freshman ended the game tying his career high with 18 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go along with four rebounds and three steals.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- 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. 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. With less than 40 seconds left in the game and BYU up 57-56, the six-foot-six Cummard posted up the five-foot-ten 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. 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.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "San Diego State is a good team. We knew that coming in. They are a talented, athletic, young team."
-- "It was a competitive game. Both teams were battling the whole time. I'm proud of our players for figuring out how to win this game."
-- "Trent (Plaisted) was a huge factor in tonight's win. He played long and hard against a very athletic team. Jimmer (Fredette) stepped up really well for us."
-- "Where we go from here is a big step. In conference play, everything's more important. I know we're capable of playing better offense."
-- "We got ourselves in tough situations without shooting well tonight, but I think the last couple of games have been good signs of our competitive spirit and mental toughness. Now we look forward to improving our offense. I have great confidence in our players. I know we will achieve great things this season."
San Diego State Coach Steve Fisher
-- "It was two teams that fought and fought for 40 minutes."
-- "We had a lot of opportunities and just couldn't quite make it. A lot of credit goes to the home crowd and to this BYU team."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Ben Murdock -- 5 rebounds (tied).
-- With the win, BYU improved its Marriott Center win streak to 41 games, the second-longest active home court victory streak in the nation behind No. 1 Memphis at 42 wins.
-- After beginning the year 0-4 when scoring less than 70 points, BYU has now won its last two games when coming short of the 70-point threshold, including a 59-56 win over SDSU and a 55-52 victory at Utah.
-- The three-point margin of victory for BYU (59-56) is the closest game the Cougars have had in the Marriott Center since a 75-72 victory over UNLV on Feb. 11, 2006.
-- The Cougars defeated the league-leading Aztecs despite recording their lowest shooting percentage (34.4) in the Marriott Center since shooting 30 percent in a 59-58 loss to Wyoming on Feb. 12, 2005.
-- With a 28-27 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, San Diego State became just the fourth team this season to post a halftime lead against the Cougars. Prior to the SDSU game, the Cougars had not trailed at the break at home since an eight-point (43-35) deficit against Seton Hall on Dec. 30, 2006, a game the Cougars won, 77-68. BYU is now 1-3 this season when trailing at halftime.
-- After making just three three-pointers in each of the last two games, BYU hit three treys in the first 11 minutes of the first half against San Diego State, getting makes from Cummard, Murdock and Jimmer Fredette. Three of BYU's first five buckets in the game came from long range.
-- Cummard has recorded a three-pointer in 17 of 19 games this year while Tavernari has done so in 16 games, Burgess has hit from behind the arc in 14 games and Jimmer Fredette has made a trey in 13 games this season.
-- BYU is now 7-1 this season when at least four players score in double figures (Plaisted -- 17, Cummard -- 12, Fredette -- 11, Tavernari -- 10)
-- Plaisted got back into the double-figure scoring column against the league-leading Aztecs with 17 points. After beginning the year scoring in double figures in the first 14 games, he had reached double-digits just once in the last four games prior to breaking out against SDSU. Plaisted scored the first six points of the second half to turn a 27-28 halftime deficit into a 33-28 Cougar lead. Now at 1,121 career points, Plaisted moved from 31st to 28th on BYU's all-time scoring list with his 17-point outing.
-- Plaisted added 11 rebounds in the game for his fifth double-double of the season and 14th of his career.
-- Cummard's free-throw miss at the 13:53 mark in the second half ended a streak of 21 straight free-throw makes for the junior. Cummard is still shooting 88.7 percent (47-of-53) from the line on the year after a 3-for-5 performance against the Aztecs.
-- True freshman Jimmer Fredette provided a huge spark off the bench for BYU as he scored 11 points on 4-for-8 shooting from the field (3-for-6 from three-point range), the sixth time this season he has scored in double figures, including three of the last seven games.
- San Diego State's nine-point lead at 22-13 with 8:32 left in the first half is the largest lead a Cougar opponent has had in the Marriott Center since Wyoming held a 10-point advantage on Jan. 16, 2007 before falling 89-81.
COUGARS BY THE NUMBERS
1 Rank of BYU coach Dave Rose's 59 wins and .720 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 (62-21 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06.
3 Number of top 10 teams BYU has played this season - then 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 rank second in the Mountain West Conference in scoring at 75.1 ppg (New Mexico leads at 75.3).
6 Number of statistical categories in which Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the MWC including field-goal percentage (1st - .553), scoring (4th - 15.4), offensive rebounds (4th - 2.16), total rebounds (T5th - 6.3), assists (8th - 3.26) and defensive rebounds (T8th - 4.16). Cummard would also rank second in free-throw percentage at .887 but is one make short of the 47.5 required by the league to be ranked.
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 13 games in which he taken free throws. Cummard made a career-best 21 straight free throws before missing on his first attempt against San Diego State Wednesday. He also had a streak of 19 straight earlier this year prior to a miss against Southern Utah. He is shooting 88.7 percent (47-for-53) on the year.
8 Number of points Trent Plaisted needs to surpass Steve Schreiner to move to 27th on BYU's all-time career scoring list. He needs 17 points to pass Travis Hansen. Plaisted currently has 1,121 career points.
8 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.
8.0 Rebounding average of true freshman Chris Collinsworth in league play, which ranks sixth in the conference. Collinsworth had nine rebounds in BYU's league opener against Colorado State, a career-high 11 boards at UNLV, eight rebounds at Utah and four vs. San Diego State on Wednesday.
13 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 19 games this season while racking up halftime leads in 15 of 19 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.
17 Number of games this season Lee Cummard has made a three-pointer. Jonathan Tavernari has connected from long range in 16 games while Sam Burgess has made a trey in 14 of 19 outings this year.
19 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 19 games after not starting last year in his first season in Provo.
19.6 The Cougars' average margin of victory in their 14 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.
100 Percent of games BYU has won this year when leading with five minutes remaining. The Cougars are 14-0 when ahead on the scoreboard at the 5-minute mark.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 41 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's second-longest active home victory streak, just one win behind No. 1 Memphis. The Cougars are 10-0 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 18 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU?is 413-116 (.781) 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. 23, 2008)
Wins Team This year Next home game
42 Memphis 10-0 Jan. 26 vs. Gonzaga
41 BYU 10-0 Jan. 26 vs. New Mexico
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 11-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 75.1 points and allowing 64.1 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.
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU has won the battle of the boards in 14 games this year, going 12-2 in those contests. The Cougars tied an opponent on the boards for the first time this year on Wednesday when both the Cougars and Aztecs pulled down 41 rebounds. BYU is besting opponents by an average of 6.4 boards per contest, leading the league in rebounding margin and rebound average (41.1). 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.
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 5.2 rebounds per game while ranking sixth among MWC players in conference play at 8.0 rpg. He has started six games. Fredette is fifth on the team in scoring with 6.9 ppg and third in steals with 20. Loyd is averaging 8.8 minutes per game and has posted 21 assists on the year. Martineau has 14 assists to 7 turnovers in his 14 games played.
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 151 treys so far. BYU has posted double-digit triples in a game six times this year, including 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 17 of 19 games this season. The Cougars tied the program record with 33 three-point attempts against Loyola Marymount. Individually, Lee Cummard has made a three-pointer in 17 of 19 games this season while Jonathan Tavernari has connected in 16 games and Sam Burgess has done so in 14 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 19 games this year while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari has made 13 starts and freshman Chris Collinsworth has started six contests.
WINNING WITH ROSE
With a 59-23 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 (62-21 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06. (as of Jan. 23)
First-Year Coaches in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Dave Rose, BYU 59-23 .720
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 62-21 .747
Dave Rose, BYU 59-23 .720
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 1,121 career points, 28th on BYU's all-time scoring list. Before Plaisted, 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 586 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 (8.6), third in field-goal shooting among players with at least 30 attempts (.427) and third in assists (2.1) while ranking second on the team in three-point shooting (.390). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 5.0 ppg while averaging 16.4 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 19 games this season after starting just one game in his two prior seasons as a Cougar. Despite a tought shooting night vs. San Diego State Wednesday (0-for-8), he made two pressure free throws with just three seconds remaining to help seal the victory.
BYU boasts six players who are making 80 percent or more of their free-throw attempts this year (Nick Martineau, 1.000; Jimmer Fredette, .889; Lee Cummard, .887; Jonathan Tavernari, .840; Ben Murdock, .833; Sam Burgess, .818). Lee Cummard made a career- and team-season-high 21 straight free throws before missing his first attempt vs. SDSU Wednesday. He has been perfect at the line in nine of 13 games he has gone to the line this year. He earlier had made 19 straight before a miss against Southern Utah, meaning he had made 40 of 41 attempts (97.6 percent) over that stretch. BYU's all-time list of best single-season free-throw percentages among starters is topped by Michael Smith--92.5 percent (160-for-173) in 1989.
The Cougars' 14 victories this year have come by an average margin of 19.6 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 11.0 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 then-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 (19-1), Michigan State (16-2), Boise State (13-5), Wake Forest (12-6) and UNLV (14-4) have a combined 74-18 record for a .804 winning percentage as of Jan. 23.
FROM THE FIELD
BYU is shooting 45.3 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 38.8 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 No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 55.3 and 54.4 percent and 41st and 57th, respectively, in the national rankings as of Jan. 20.
The Cougars are 13-2 this season when leading at the half with 11 of the 15 advantages coming by double digits. No. 1 North Carolina, Wake Forest, UNLV and San Diego State are the only teams this season to post a halftime lead against BYU. BYU's win over SDSU Wednesday was the Cougars' first triumph after trailing at the break. 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. The Cougars are besting opponents by an average of 7.8 points in the first period of play while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of seven of 19 games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 16 of 19 games while holding opponents under 30 points 13 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 games and equaled them in one other this year, recording a +6.4 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 -0.4 turnover margin with their opponents on the year, the Cougars have outscored foes in points off of turnovers in 15 games this season, posting a +5.8 scoring margin in that category. BYU scored a season-best 26 points off of turnovers against Loyola Marymount.
FAST AND FURIOUS
BYU has outscored opponents in transition in 14 games, equaled them twice and been outpaced only three times. The Cougars average 5.5 more fastbreak points than their opponents. 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 seven times this year but they have done it in five of the last eight games after seven straight contests with a scoring deficit off the bench. On the whole, the BYU bench has outscored opponent reserves by 1.6 points per game this season, tallying 405 points or 21.3 points per game. BYU's leading scorer off the bench is freshman guard Jimmer Fredette, who is averaging 6.9 points per game. He had 11 points Wednesday against San Diego State. He stepped up at Wake Forest, tying for team-high honors with 15 points off the bench.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
Including a game-high lead of 27 points against Colorado State in BYU's league opener, the Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 14 of 19 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, at Utah when the Cougar game-high lead was seven points and vs. San Diego State when BYU built a six-point advantage. 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 seven individual double-double performances this year with Plaisted accomplishing the feat five 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. Plaisted had 17 points and 11 boards to lead BYU to a win over San Diego State Wednesday.
- 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 27th nationally with a 2.66 assist/turnover ratio and has helped BYU rank 28th nationally with 16.9 assists per game as of Jan. 20.
- Freshman guard Jimmer Fredette has hit from behind the arc in 13 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 has led at the half in 15 of 19 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 is tied for the most overall wins at 176 (along with Utah).
-- BYU is tied for the most conference wins at 76 (along with Utah).
-- 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.