GAME 26 - BYU Hosts New Mexico Wednesday
BYU GAME #26 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (19-6, 9-2 MWC)
NEW MEXICO LOBOS (14-11, 3-7 MWC)
Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2007
Marriott Center (22,700)
7:06 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (39-15 in second season; same overall)
UNM, Ritchie McKay (81-63 in fifth season; 164-152 in 11 years overall)
BYU leads, 70-50, after winning the first meeting this year in Albuquerque 70-49 on Jan. 24
MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.) (Rich Cellini - play-by-play, Joe Cravens - color)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (6 p.m. pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analysis)
Live audio and live stats links are available at www.byucougars.com/basketball_m/
BYU HOSTS NEW MEXICO WEDNESDAY
BYU (19-6, 9-2 MWC) will host the New Mexico Lobos (14-11, 3-7 MWC) Wednesday at 7 p.m. MT in the Marriott Center. The game will be televised on the MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn.) and can be heard live on the radio beginning with the pregame show at 6 p.m. on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM out of Salt Lake City or via the Internet at KSL.com. The first-place Cougars have won six straight and are coming off an 85-72 win at TCU Saturday while winning 14 of their last 16 games. BYU is also currently tied for the nation's longest active home winning streak at 28 games. New Mexico had won two straight games prior to a 60-51 loss against nationally ranked Air Force on Saturday.
BYU has a week off until hosting Colorado State on Feb. 21 at 8 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The game will be televised on the MountainWest Sports Network (the mtn).
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- 2006 All-MWC Third Team forward Keena Young leads BYU this year in scoring (16.9) and is second on the team in rebounding (6.2). 2006 Freshman All-American Trent Plaisted leads the Cougars on the boards (6.5) and is second in scoring (12.4), while senior Austin Ainge leads BYU with 4.1 assists per game.
-- In addition to owning first place in the standings, the Cougars currently lead the MWC in scoring (77.6), rebounding average (37.7), rebounding margin (+5.6) and assists (16.2) in overall play. In league action, BYU paces the conference in scoring (79.1), scoring margin (+10.7), field-goal percentage (.517), three-point shooting (.490), assists (17.0) and assist/turnover ratio (1.36).
-- BYU has shot above 40 percent from behind the arc 13 times on the season, including a streak of seven straight games.
-- BYU has won its last six games, including road wins at TCU, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming and home victories over then-No. 13 Air Force and then-No. 25 UNLV. With 28 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are currently tied with Air Force for the nation's longest active home winning streak.
LOOKING AT NEW MEXICO
New Mexico is 14-11 overall this season with a 3-7 mark in MWC play and a 1-7 record on the road. The Lobos began the season 9-2 but have since gone 5-9, including a 70-49 loss to BYU earlier this season in Albuquerque. Junior guard J.R. Giddens, a transfer from Kansas, leads the team and ranks eighth in the MWC in scoring at 15.9 points per game despite being hampered by injury. Giddens also adds 6.1 rebounds per contest, second on the team and tied for eighth in the league, and 2.3 assists. Junior guard/forward Tony Danridge is second on the team in scoring at 13.2 pgg on .537 shooting from the field and is the only Lobo who has started in all 25 games this season. Senior forward Aaron Johnson paces the Lobos on the boards with 7.9 rpg, second in the MWC, and from the floor on .550 shooting from the field while contributing 6.1 ppg. Junior guard Darren Prentice is UNM's leading assist man with 3.04 apg to go along with 7.6 points and 1.9 rebounds per contest. Sophomore guard Chad Toppert averages 9.4 ppg on .478 shooting from the field, including a team-best .475 mark from three-point range. As a team, the Lobos are averaging 75.4 ppg on .461 shooting from the field, including a .372 mark from behind the arc, while holding opponents to 71.8 ppg on .456 shooting. UNM opponents hold a slight 34.4-34.3 rebounding edge over the Lobos. New Mexico head coach Ritchie McKay is 81-63 in his fifth season with the Lobos and 164-152 in his 11th year overall.
NEW MEXICO'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 15 J.R. Giddens 6-5 205 Sr. 15.9 6.1
G 24 Darren Prentice 6-1 170 Jr. 7.6 1.9
G 33 Chad Toppert 6-6 195 So. 9.4 2.2
F 00 Aaron Johnson 6-8 235 Sr. 6.1 7.9
F 32 Tony Danridge 6-5 215 Jr. 13.2 2.8
NEW MEXICO'S LAST OUTING -- NEW MEXICO FALLS TO NO. 15 AIR FORCE, 60-51
ALBUQUERQUE -- Jacob Burtschi and Nick Welch combined for a rare four-point trip late in the game and No. 15 Air Force shook off a horrendous start to beat New Mexico 60-51 Saturday. The Falcons (21-4, 8-3 Mountain West Conference) missed nine of their first 10 shots, but consistently hit key shots in the second half to hand the Lobos (14-11, 3-7) their third conference loss in The Pit this season. Dan Nwaelele and Tim Anderson each scored 17 points for Air Force, but it was Burtschi and Welch who sealed the win with four points in a span of 2 seconds. With Air Force ahead 48-45 after New Mexico's Roman Martinez scored on a short jumper, Burtschi banked in a shot and was fouled by Chad Toppert. Burtschi missed the free throw, but Welch slipped in to tip in the miss for a 52-45 Falcons lead with 2:38 left. Anderson added two free throws with 40.8 seconds remaining, and free throws by Burtschi and Nwaelele pushed the lead to 58-48 with 15 seconds to go. Air Force again struggled to score in the first half. The Falcons have not scored more than 23 points in the opening half in their last four games and had lost two of their last three after winning 17 of their first 18. The Falcons had one field goal - a 3-pointer by Anderson - in the game's first 8 minutes and went scoreless over the final 4:06 of the first half. Still, they trailed just 23-19 at halftime and would have been closer if they had gotten a call on an obvious hard foul by New Mexico's J.R. Giddens just before the end of the half. Anderson stole an inbound pass and went up for a 3-pointer. He was hit hard by Giddens with at least a second remaining, but the referees failed to call it. New Mexico took a 19-9 lead with 6:31 left in the first half on a basket by Darren Prentice. Air Force then scored 10 straight points. Nwaelele hit a layup, Burtschi hit back-to-back 3s from the same spot at the top of the key and Anderson finished the run by slicing into the lane for a tough 5-footer that got a favorable roll. Giddens, with 10 points, was the only New Mexico player in double figures.
This will be the 121st game in the series that started in the 1949-50 season. The Cougars lead the series 70-50 after winning 70-49 at The Pit earlier this season. The Cougars have won six straight over UNM in the Marriott Center. New Mexico's last win in Provo was a 78-74 win 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. Last year, 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 13 of the last 17 games in the series after New Mexico had won eight of the prior nine contests.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 70-50
BYU Record in Provo: 40-15 (25-12 in the Marriott Center)
BYU Record in Albuquerque: 26-31 (18-26 in The Pit)
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 4-4
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 3-0
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 1-3 (1-1 Rd, 0-2 Hm)
Last Overtime Game: 1994, lost in Provo, 82-84
Longest BYU Win Streak: 14 (1950-57)
Longest New Mexico Win Streak: 5 (1996-98)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 30, 92-62 two times in 1955 and 1959
Largest New Mexico Margin of Victory: 42, 74-32 and 90-48 in 1997
Most Points Scored by BYU: 100 in 1979
Most Points Scored by New Mexico: 102 in 1987
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"New Mexico is a team that's much improved. They're playing a lot better than the last time we saw them. They're a real perimeter-oriented team with really good shooters. J.R. Giddens wasn't as involved when we last played them as he is right now. We'll have a big challenge in that team. Hopefully we'll get a good crowd and get the energy going."
"New Mexico likes to spread the floor, and they're very good shooters. That's our challenge. We just played a really tough inside game against TCU, but this game will be a lot different. We'll have to guard the perimeter, deal with dribble penetration and watch the offensive rebounds."
"They're very, very talented. They've beaten some really good teams this year in Kansas State and Wichita State. They're a team that on any given night can really put it together."
THIS 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 THIS 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.
LAST YEAR AT BYU -- COUGARS END REGULAR SEASON WITH VICTORY
PROVO -- On a night set apart to honor arguably BYU's best foreign-born player, Kresimir Cosic, it was Canadian Jimmy Balderson who came up big, leading the Cougars to a 76-68 win over New Mexico in front of a season-high crowd of 20,732. Balderson led the Cougars (20-7, 12-4 MWC) with 21 points on 6-for-8 shooting from the field, 7-for-7 shooting from the foul line and a career-high eight rebounds. Brock Reichner scored 11 for BYU and led the Cougars with four assists in his senior night game. BYU--picked to finish last in the preseason media poll--secured a second-place tie with Air Force with the victory. The win is the sixth straight for the Cougars and their 14th in a row at home. BYU has also won 10 of its last 11 games to finish the regular season. The first ten minutes of the game included a flurry of three pointers. Jeff Hart nailed three shots from behind the arc in less than three minutes. The Lobos (17-12, 8-8 MWC) hit 64 percent of their shots in the early part of the game to build a 21-11 lead with 10:37 remaining in the first half. The Cougars followed with an 11-5 run capped by a Lee Cummard three ball to cut the lead to 26-22 with 7:16 left. Defense tightened as the first half wound down, and the two teams played physical back-and-forth basketball with New Mexico maintaining a 34-33 halftime lead. The physical play continued into the second half with BYU taking its first lead at the 16:13 mark when Balderson nailed a three. But the Cougars' first lead of the game was short-lived as Hart nailed a three on the Lobos next possession. BYU bounced right back, going on an 8-0 run to give the Cougars a 49-42 lead. New Mexico countered with a 5-0 run of its own to keep the game a one-possession contest. Balderson's three-point play gave BYU a one-point lead but was answered by a Kellen Walter three-pointer as the Lobos held to a 62-60 lead with 3:47 left in the game. But the Marriott Center magic prevailed down the stretch as the Cougars went on a 14-0 run over the last four minutes of the game. Balderson and Rashaun Broadus showed that ice runs through their veins in pressure situations as they combined for eight consecutive foul shots. BYU's stifling defense held New Mexico scoreless from the 4:29 mark until Chad Toppert hit a desperation three with 22 seconds remaining.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I give a lot of credit to our guys. They took their best shot, hung in there and kept their composure."
-- "Jimmy (Balderson) was terrific. He hit some big shots."
-- "This is the way games are supposed to be played in March."
-- "This was a very different feeling to our players with everything surrounding our team and the university right now. When it was time to win though, our guys stepped up and were ready."
-- "Our effort was good all night. We settled into our game much better the second half though."
New Mexico Head Coach Ritchie McKay
-- "We needed more offensive consistency tonight, and we did not perform as well as we would have liked.
-- "I haven't analyzed BYU very much, but they seem to be right where we were last year."
-- "They're a tough team and I wouldn't want to play them [in the tournament]."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT BYU
-- True freshman Jackson Emery has started the last four games, his first collegiate starts. He has been joined in the starting five by Rashaun Broadus, Brock Reichner, Keena Young and Trent Plaisted.
-- Individual Career Highs: Jimmy Balderson -- 8 rebounds.
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Crowd -- 20,732; Highest Opponent Field Goal Percentage In a Half - .667 (tied).
-- BYU retired the No. 11 jersey of Kresimir Cosic at halftime of the New Mexico game. Cosic is just the second Cougar basketball player to have his jersey retired, joining Danny Ainge. Neither Cosic's No. 11 or Ainge's No. 22 are available for players to wear in the future.
-- BYU's lone senior Brock Reichner was honored prior to the start of the Cougars' final home game of the season. Reichner is second on the team in scoring this year and has been an integral part of BYU's success this season.
-- With the win the Cougars finished the season in a second-place tie in the Mountain West Conference, joining Air Force at 12-4 in league play. BYU was picked to finish last in the preseason media poll.
-- The Cougars will be a No. 3 seed heading into next week's MWC Tournament. BYU tied with Air Force for second in the league and split the season series with the Falcons but lost the tiebreak by virtue of splitting the season series with No. 4 seed UNLV while the Falcons swept the Rebels. The Cougars will play Utah at 10 p.m. on Thursday in the first round.
-- BYU achieved its 29th 20-win season with the victory over New Mexico, finishing the regular season at 20-7.
-- The Cougars are now 12-0 when holding opponents under 70 points and 19-0 when leading with one minute remaining in the game.
-- BYU's victory in its final home game of the regular season improved the Cougars' homecourt winning streak to 14 games. BYU entered the game ninth in the nation in consecutive home wins.
-- The Cougars have now won their last six games, the first time they have won six straight since the 2003-04 season when they did it twice. The winning streak is among the top 10 in the nation. BYU has also won 10 of its last 11 games.
-- The Cougars had at least five players score in double figures for the eighth time this season.
-- Balderson was the first Cougar to reach double figures on the night with a three-pointer at the 14:05 mark to give BYU a 46-42 lead and give him 12 points. Balderson has scored in double figures in 10 of BYU's last 11 games, all Cougar wins. He also made nine straight three-point attempts over the last five games, including his first two against New Mexico, before missing one in the second half against the Lobos.
-- The Cougars took their first lead of the game 41-39 at the 16:13 mark of the second half on a three-pointer from Jimmy Balderson.
BYU's LAST OUTING -- BYU CONTINUES WIN STREAK WITH VICTORY AT TCU
FORT WORTH -- The Cougars maintained their hold on the top spot in the Mountain West Conference Saturday night with an 85-72 win over the TCU Horned Frogs in Fort Worth, Texas. The win, BYU's sixth straight overall and fourth consecutive on the road, improves the Cougars to 19-6 on the season and 9-2 in MWC play. BYU was led by Keena Young with 25 points, the third time in the last four games he has topped the 20-point mark. Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted also scored in double figures with 16 and 11 points, respectively, while Cummard paced the Cougars on the boards with seven rebounds. Cummard's 7-for-9 shooting performance helped BYU shoot a season-high .615 (32-for-52) from the field. TCU scored the first bucket of the game with a three-pointer on the next possession, but Plaisted took control with back-to-back makes to spark a 9-0 Cougar run, including a jumper from Austin Ainge and a long-range bucket from Cummard. After falling behind 11-3, the Horned Frogs put together a 10-0 run to take a 13-11 lead. Cummard stopped the bleeding for the Cougars with a one-handed tip and then tied the game again off an assist from Ben Murdock after a TCU score. BYU got some bad news when Plaisted was forced to check out at the 13:03 mark with two fouls, but Young made up the difference in the post with three straight makes to put the Cougars up 21-15. TCU's Alvardo Parker ended the 6-0 Young run, but Mike Rose drained a three-pointer off a long pass from Jimmy Balderson to extend the BYU advantage to 24-17 with 9:51 left in the half. A three-point play from TCU followed by a layin on the next Horned Frog possession cut the lead to two at 24-22, but BYU's bench came up big with a drive and score from Jonathan Tavernari and a Vuk Ivanovic layin. Back-to-back makes from Cummard pushed the BYU advantage to 32-22. TCU's Brent Hackett ended the 8-0 Cougar run with a jumper at the 4:13 mark but was answered by Young, who reached double digits at 10 points with the layin. The Cougar dominance continued as they built a 41-29 halftime lead while holding the Horned Frogs to just three buckets in the last 8:32 of the period. Plaisted returned to the game in the second half to record a three-point play on the first Cougar possession, but a 5-0 TCU spurt cut the lead back to 10 points at 44-34. Cummard continued his hot shooting with his sixth make in seven tries. However, Plaisted's luck ran out just seconds later as he picked up his fourth foul at the 16:38 mark and was forced to once again ride the pine. The two teams traded scores to a 49-38 Cougar lead until Murdock took a pass from Cummard and drained an open three-pointer and then answered a TCU score with a layin to put BYU up 54-40. Despite shooting percentages hovering around or above 50 percent for both teams, neither could find the basket from the floor over the next two minutes as TCU settled for two points from the free-throw line and BYU recorded three. Tavernari finally ended the drought with a three-point make at the 12:43 mark to give the Cougars a 59-42 lead. BYU continued to maintain a double-digit advantage over the next several minutes thanks in part to its bench play and despite continual pressure from TCU, who refused to go without a fight. The Horned Frogs kept the Cougars shy of a blowout with clutch free-throw shooting, making six of seven over a two-minute period despite being held without a bucket from the field to keep the BYU lead at 12 points, 65-53. After withstanding the TCU spurt, the Cougars put together a 10-4 run of their own to take a 75-57 lead and all but put the game away with just over four minutes remaining. A flurry of three-pointers from the Horned Frogs proved too little too late as BYU recorded the 85-72 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I'm really proud of our guys. This is a tough team to play against, especially here in this building. They get so many runs going. All the games that have been played in here have been close."
-- "We recognized the defense they were in and spread the ball and took good shots. We shot well and played at a good pace. Anytime you shoot 60 percent, especially on the road, is a great night."
-- "Right now, offensively, Keena (Young) is really, really consistent for us. I really think as good as Keena is, the fact that he's got Trent in that other post with guys that have to stay on him is really opening a lot of opportunities for Keena. Other teammates are doing a good job of giving him the ball where he can really operate and do a lot of good things."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Lee Cummard - 7 field goals made (tied), 3 blocks (tied).
-- Team Season Highs: .615 shooting (32-of-52).
-- With the 85-72 win at TCU, the Cougars improved to 9-2 in the Mountain West Conference, maintaining their first-place standing. BYU is alone atop the conference leader board in the second half of league play for the first time ever in the MWC.
-- BYU has now won its last six straight games, coming just one win off their longest winning streak of the season.
-- After losing five of their first six true road games this season, BYU has now won its last four games away from the Marriott Center, compiling a 5-5 road record. The Cougars are 4-2 on the road in conference play, the only team in the MWC with three road wins. With two games away from the Marriott Center left on the schedule (at SDSU, at Air Force), BYU has a chance to post a winning road record for the first time since 2002-03 when the Cougars went 6-5 overall on the road. Last season, BYU was 6-8 overall and 4-4 away from the Marriott Center.
-- The Cougars have shot above 50 percent in their last five road games and in six of their last seven games overall, including a season-high .615 (32-for-52) mark against the Horned Frogs. BYU has also shot above 40 percent from three-point range in 10 of its last 12 games, with a .455 (5-for-11) mark at TCU
-- BYU is now 18-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 4-6 when allowing opponents to reach the 70-point threshold. The Cougars have scored at least 80 points nine times this season, going 9-0 in those games.
-- With a 30-25 rebounding advantage against the Horned Frogs, the Cougars are now 18-0 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- With a 41-29 advantage at the break, the Cougars enjoyed their 19th halftime lead of the season and their ninth in double figures, including a 48-25 first-half lead in the first meeting between the two teams. BYU has held opponents under 30 first-half points 14 times this year while topping the 40-point mark six times. Overall, the Cougars are 17-2 when leading at the break, 2-3 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season.
-- BYU's .567 (17-for-30) first-half shooting mark marked the fifth of six MWC road games in which the Cougars have shot at least 50 percent in the first period of play.
-- Three Cougars scored in double figures at TCU, led by Keena Young's 23 points. BYU is 8-2 when led by Young and 9-3 when three players score in double figures. The Cougars are also 16-5 when Young scores in double figures, 12-3 when Trent Plaisted scores in double digits (11 points) and 9-2 when Lee Cummard reaches double digits (16 points).
-- With 23 points at Wyoming, Young has now scored in double figures in 21 of 25 games this season including seven outings -- and three of the last four -- with at least 20 points. Young is averaging 21.0 points per game over the last four games.
-- Cummard has now shot 19-for-22 (.864) in his last five games, including a 7-for-9 (.778) mark at TCU. Cummard made 11 straight shots during his recent hot shooting streak and is shooting .570 on the year.
KEENA YOUNG NAMED MWC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK (FEB 12)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU senior Keena Young and UNLV senior Joel Anthony were named the Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Co-Players of the Week. This is the second weekly award of the season and career for Young, while Anthony garners his first ever weekly accolade. Young, a 6-6 forward from Beaumont, Texas, led the Cougars to conference road wins at Wyoming (77-73) and TCU (85-72), helping BYU take sole possession of first place in the MWC standings. At Wyoming, Young tied his career-high with 29 points on 10-of-14 shooting from the field, leading all scorers. He scored 19 of his 29 points in the second half, as BYU earned its first road win of the season when trailing at halftime. He also grabbed six rebounds in 32 minutes of action. He followed with a game-high 25 points (8-for-13 from the field) to go along with six boards against the Horned Frogs. He also collected a steal, while shooting 9-of-11 (81.8 percent) from the charity stripe. For the week, Young averaged 27.0 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while shooting 66.7 percent from the floor (18-for-27).
TRENT PLAISTED NAMED MWC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK (JAN 29)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU sophomore Trent Plaisted and UNLV sophomore Wink Adams were named the MWC Co-Players of the Week. This is the second career weekly award for Plaisted, while Adams collects his first-ever weekly honor. Plaisted, a native of San Antonio, Texas, led BYU to a 2-0 conference record, including a road win at New Mexico (70-49) and an upset victory over No. 16 Air Force (61-52). At New Mexico, he scored 11 points on 5-for-6 shooting from the field, while also grabbing four rebounds, dishing out three assists and blocking one shot. Against the 16th-ranked Falcons, Plaisted scored a game-high 22 points (9-for-12 from the field) with seven rebounds (six offensive). With 34 seconds remaining in the game and the Cougars up by three points, he knocked down two free throws to put the game away. On the week, Plaisted averaged 16.5 points on 77.8 percent shooting from the field (14-for-18), 5.5 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game.
YOUNG NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK (JAN 2)
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- BYU senior Keena Young was named the MWC Player of the Week, marking his first career weekly honor. A 6-6 forward from Beaumont, Texas, Young was named tournament MVP at the BYU Holiday Classic as he led the Cougars to the title with victories over Liberty (73-59), Oral Roberts (72-62) and Seton Hall (77-68). He scored 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting against Liberty to open the Classic and followed with a career-high 16 rebounds to go along with 21 points scored versus Oral Roberts. Against the Golden Eagles, Young sank nine of his 13 shots from the floor, while his 16 rebounds is a team season-best. In the tournament finale against Seton Hall, he scored 18 of his season-high 26 points in the second half, helping BYU overcome an eight-point halftime deficit to claim the tournament crown. Young also added nine rebounds, a season-best tying three assists, while shooting 11-for-18 from the field and hitting all four of his free throw attempts. For the week, Young averaged 21.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 60.5 percent (26-for-43) from the field and 75.0 percent (12-for-16) from the charity stripe.
YOUNG NAMED BYU HOLIDAY CLASSIC MVP
After leading the Cougars to an undefeated 3-0 record in the BYU Holiday Classic, senior co-captain Keena Young was named the Holiday Classic Most Valuable Player. Young led the Cougars to the title with victories over Liberty (73-59), Oral Roberts (72-62) and Seton Hall (77-68). He scored 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting against Liberty to open the Classic and followed with a career-high and team season-best 16 rebounds to go along with 21 points versus Oral Roberts. In the tournament finale against Seton Hall, he scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half, helping BYU overcome an eight-point halftime deficit to claim the tournament crown. For the tournament, Young averaged 21.3 points and 9.7 rebounds per game, while shooting 60.5 percent (26-for-43) from the field and 75.0 percent (12-for-16) from the charity stripe.
CUMMARD NAMED TO BYU HOLIDAY CLASSIC ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Lee Cummard was named to the BYU Holiday Classic All-Tournament Team after recording his first career double-double with career highs of 16 points and 12 rebounds in 34 minutes vs. Seton Hall. He was also 6-of-9 from the floor, 2-for-2 on threes and 2-for-2 from the line. He came one rebound away from the first double-double of his career against Oral Roberts with 13 points and a then career-high 9 rebounds to go along with 5 assists. Cummard also dished out 5 assists against Liberty to open the Classic while adding 6 rebounds, 5 points and 1 steal. He averaged 11.3 points, 9.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists for the tournament while shooting .542 from the floor, .444 on threes and a perfect 4-for-4 from the line.
IN THE RANKINGS
BYU is listed 28th in this week's AP Top 25 Poll and 30th in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll. Four BYU opponents also appear in the Coaches Poll as UCLA is ranked No. 7, Air Force is ranked No. 14, UNLV is listed 31st and San Diego State is listed 41st. UCLA and Air Force are also ranked in the AP Poll, coming in at Nos. 5 and 17, respectively, while UNLV is listed 32nd.
THE TOP OF THE MOUNTAIN
With a 9-2 Mountain West Conference record, the Cougars are alone in first place in the second half of MWC play for the first time since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season. Before this year, BYU was last tied for first in 2003 when the Cougars ended the season with a win to tie for first place with Utah at 11-3. BYU also tied for first in 2001. The Cougars were 7-4 in conference action last season through 11 games while winning their final six MWC contests to finish in a tie for second place at 12-4.
BYU has won four of its 11 MWC games this season by more than 20 points, including a +27 (90-63) margin of victory against UNLV on Feb. 3, a 21-point (70-49) win at New Mexico on Jan. 24, a 24-point (89-65) win over TCU on Jan. 10 and a 22-point victory (80-58) over San Diego State to open MWC play. The UNLV win marked BYU's largest margin of victory in MWC play since a 29-point win (82-53) on Jan. 17, 2004 against Colorado State. BYU has won just 10 games by 20 points or more in MWC play since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season.
BYU set a school record with 15 three-pointers against UNLV on .682 (15-for-22) shooting from long range, the third time this season the Cougars have shot above .600 from downtown and the sixth time BYU has made a least 10 treys in a game. BYU has shot above 40 percent from behind the arc 13 times on the season, including a streak of seven straight games. The Cougars lead the league in three-point percentage (.490) in MWC play. Cougar players rank first (Austin Ainge - .548) and third (Mike Rose - .481) in the league in three-point shooting percentage in MWC action. Rose tied the BYU individual record he set in 2003 with eight triples against UNLV.
BYU has now won six straight games, just one win short of its longest victory streak of the year. With seven straight wins against Utah State, Western Oregon, Liberty, Oral Roberts, Seton Hall, San Diego State and TCU, the Cougars put together their longest winning streak of the Dave Rose era and their longest since winning nine straight games during the 2003-04 season. Before coming to an end with a loss at UNLV on Jan. 13, the streak was tied for the 12th-longest active victory streak in the nation.
ON THE ROAD
BYU has now won four straight games on the road including wins at TCU (85-72), at New Mexico (70-49), at Utah (76-66) and at Wyoming (77-73). The Cougars' win in the Huntsman Center was their first since 1994. BYU is 5-5 on the road this year and 4-2 in conference play with a season-opening loss at then-No. 5 UCLA, a Nov. 29 setback at Boise State, an overtime win at Weber State, an overtime defeat at Lamar and league losses at UNLV and at CSU. With two road contests left, the Cougars have a chance to record a winning record away from the Marriott Center for the first time since going 6-5 on the road in 2002-03. The Cougars lost their only neutral court game so far this season with a loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State at The Palace of Auburn Hills in Auburn Hills, Mich. BYU finished last year 6-8 away from home, including a 4-4 mark during MWC play.
BOUNCE BACK COUGARS
The Cougars have bounced back with wins after five of their six losses this season, including their current streak of six wins after losing at Colorado State. After suffering its first back-to-back regular-season losses of the Dave Rose era with defeats vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar, BYU responded with seven straight wins. Last year with its 20-9 overall record, BYU suffered consecutive defeats only once -- against Utah in the Mountain West Conference Tournament and at Houston in the NIT in the last two games of the year, having bounced back from each prior loss with a victory.
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
This year the Cougars are scoring an MWC-leading 77.6 points and allowing 67.4 points. BYU is 16-0 when opponents score less than 70 points and 3-6 when they score 70 or more. BYU is 18-3 when it scores 70 or more points (exception at Lamar, at UNLV and at CSU) and 1-3 when scoring less than 70. The Cougars are also 9-0 this season when scoring at least 80 points. BYU had scored at least 70 points in 12 straight games prior to a 61-52 win against then-No. 13 Air Force.
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU is 18-0 this season when outrebounding its opponents and 1-6 when losing the battle of the boards. The Cougars lead the MWC in rebounding average (37.7) and rebounding margin (+5.6). BYU posted its largest margin of the season with a +22 (42-20) mark against then-No. 13 Air Force. Sophomore Trent Plaisted is fifth on the glass at 6.5 rpg while senior Keena Young is seventh at 6.2 rpg. The Cougars recorded back-to-back season-high efforts of 52 rebounds vs. Oral Roberts and 55 against Seton Hall in the BYU Holiday Classic. BYU outrebounded the Pirates 55-34 as four Cougars had nine or more rebounds (Cummard 12, Young, Plaisted and Ainge 9). Cummard and Ainge set new career highs.
BYU is the only MWC team that has not had a game decided by three points or less this season. The Cougars have had some close games, however, as three games have required overtime this year. BYU is 2-1 in overtime with an 86-77 loss at Lamar on Dec. 13 and an 84-78 win against Idaho State on Nov. 18 and a 73-69 victory at Weber State on Dec. 2. This is the first season since 2001-02 that BYU has played multiple extra period games in one year (BYU was 0-3 in overtime that season). The Cougars' loss at Lamar ended a five-game overtime winning streak dating back to March 14, 2003, an 86-80 setback against Colorado State at the MWC Tournament. BYU is 50-45 (.526) all-time when playing past regulation.
CONSISTENT COUGAR - KEENA YOUNG
One of BYU's most consistent players this year has been senior forward Keena Young, who has scored in double figures in 21 out of 25 games, helping BYU go 16-5 in those games. He leads BYU in scoring (16.9), which is tied for fourth in the league, and is second in rebounding (6.2), seventh in the MWC. He is also ninth in the league in field-goal percentage (.548) and eighth in free-throw percentage (.811). In conference action, he is third in the MWC in scoring (17.3), ninth in field-goal percentage (.529) and ninth in free-throw percentage (.807). The senior co-captain has led BYU in scoring 10 times and rebounding eight times, including his career-high 16-rebound performance vs. Oral Roberts for his fourth double-double of the season (21 points). He posted a career-high 29 points in each of his games against Wyoming this season (most since Dec. 6, 2003; Araujo - 32). He has scored at least 20 points in seven games, including three of the last four, averaging 21.0 ppg in those games.
VETERAN LEADERSHIP - AUSTIN AINGE
Senior Austin Ainge is averaging a team-best 4.1 assists, fifth in the MWC, while ranking third in the conference with a 2.02 assist/turnover ratio. He is averaging 4.8 apg in league play while leading the conference with .548 shooting from three-point range and a 2.21 assist/turnover ratio. Ainge scored 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field, including 3-for-4 from three-point range, against then-No. 25 UNLV while adding four assists and four rebounds. He posted a season-high 20 points on 7-for-9 shooting from the field, including a 5-for-7 mark from three-point range, to go along with six assists against TCU. He totaled 16 points with a career-best nine rebounds off the bench against Seton Hall. His 14 points -- all in the second half -- against Boise State fueled BYU's furious comeback attempt. He has tied his career high with eight assists twice in the last five games (at UNM, at Utah).
DOING IT ALL - LEE CUMMARD
Sophomore Lee Cummard contributes across the box score and on the defensive end of the floor for BYU. On the year, Cummard averages 9.4 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.9 blocks while shooting .570 from the floor, .523 on threes and .784 from the line. He ranks among the top 15 in the MWC in eight statistical categories overall while pacing the league in assist/turnover ratio (2.14). In conference action, he paces the MWC in shooting (.636) and is fourth in assist/turnover ratio, (1.67), sixth in steals (1.82), eighth in assists (3.18) and eighth in blocks (1.36). He has had at least one steal in 21 of 25 games, including a career-high 5 steals against UNLV, and his hit a three-pointer in 21 of 25 games, including a string of 13 straight. He guards the opponent's top perimeter player. Among his defensive highlights was excelling in the tough assignment to guard the MWC's all-time scoring leader and reigning MVP Brandon Heath of San Diego State. He held Heath to season-low-tying 13 points -- well below his MWC No. 2-ranked 20.3 scoring average entering the game -- helping end Heath's string of four straight games with 20 or more points. He also helped hold Utah State's leading shooter Jaycee Carroll, who ranked 22nd in the nation shooting .629, to just .308 shooting (4-for-13) and 7 points below his average. Last week, he held Wyoming's Brandon Ewing, the league's top scorer, to 8 points on 2-of-12 shooting and TCU's Brent Hackett to 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting while averaging 13.0 ppg on 77 percent shooting, 6.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.0 bpk and 2.0 spg
SUPER SOPHOMORE - TRENT PLAISTED
Just one year removed from his Freshman All-American campaign, sophomore Trent Plaisted is once again contributing solid play for the Cougars. He is currently second on the team with 12.4 points per game on .557 shooting from the field, eighth in the MWC. He also paces BYU and ranks fifth in the league with 6.5 rebounds per game while adding 1.32 blocks per game, eighth in the conference. Plaisted has scored in double figures in 15 games, helping the Cougars go 12-3 in those contests, while scoring at least 20 points in four outings. He has also reached double-digits on the boards in two games. posting two double-doubles on the year. He has led BYU in rebounds 10 times, scoring six times and assists twice. In league play, Plaisted is tied for ninth in the MWC in rebounds (5.6), fifth in field-goal percentage (.616), tied for sixth in blocks (1.55) and 14th in scoring (13.7).
Coach Rose has used four different starting lineups this year. Sophomore Lee Cummard and senior Keena Young have started every game this season, while sophomore Trent Plaisted has missed just one start because of injury. Jimmy Balderson has made 22 starts. Rashaun Broadus started 11 of 15 games before being suspended for the season. Austin Ainge has started 17 games.
TRUE BLUE FANS
BYU is averaging 10,897 fans this season, including the 23rd largest crowd in the history of the Marriott Center with 22,700 fans against then-No. 13 Air Force. BYU has consistently ranked among the national attendance leaders. The Cougars averaged 11,069 fans in 2005-06, outdrawing the regular-season conference champions of 27 out of 31 conferences as well as over half of the teams in the Atlantic Coast, Big 12, Big East and Southeastern Conferences and all but Arizona in the Pacific-10 Conference. BYU also averaged more fans than 12 of the 16 NCAA Sweet Sixteen participants, including all of the Final Four teams.
IT'S A TEAM GAME
BYU has shown balanced play in all aspects of the game this season as eight different Cougars have led the team in each of the three main statistical categories -- points, rebounds and assists -- in its 25 games. Keena Young has led BYU the most in scoring as he has paced the Cougars in 10 games. Trent Plaisted has captained the BYU rebounding effort, leading the team on the boards in 10 games. Austin Ainge is the Cougars' leading assist man with 15 games at the top of the assist category.
ROSE BECOMES EIGHTH COUGAR TO LEAD TEAM IN SCORING
Mike Rose became the eighth Cougar this year to lead the team in scoring during a game when he topped all scorers in BYU's win over then-No. 25 UNLV. A 6-foot-3 senior guard from Houston, Texas, Rose scored a career-high 27 points in 21 minutes off the bench to help BYU defeat the nationally ranked Rebels in the Marriott Center. He tied his own school record and equaled the season high by an MWC player this year (UNLV's Kevin Kruger) by making eight treys on 8-of-10 accuracy from behind the arc. His eighth triple also set a new BYU team record of 15 threes in a game.
VS. RANKED OPPONENTS
The Cougars' victory over then-No. 25 UNLV marked the second consecutive BYU win over a ranked team in the Marriott Center, including a win over then-No. 13 Air Force the week before. Prior to that, BYU had not defeated a ranked opponent since beating then-No. 25 Oklahoma State 76-71 on Dec. 6, 2003 in Salt Lake City. BYU hadn't beaten a ranked team in the Marriott Center since Feb. 1, 1992 with an 80-63 win over No. 19 UTEP. With the matchup against the No. 25 Rebels, BYU has now faced four ranked teams this season, the only Mountain West Conference team to do so. The Cougars are 2-2 in those games with a 90-63 win over UNLV, a 61-52 win over Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 28 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars are currently tied for the nation's longest active home victory streak. Gonzaga had owned the longest active streak at 50 games prior to an 84-73 home loss to Santa Clara Monday night. BYU has won its first 14 home games this season after going 14-1 at home last year with wins in its last 14 straight home contests. BYU is 400-116 (.775) all-time in the Marriott Center.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (through games played Feb. 12, 2007)
Wins Team This year Next home game
28 BYU 14-0 Feb. 14 vs. New Mexico
28 Air Force 11-0 Feb. 14 vs. Utah
27 Memphis 15-0 Feb. 22 vs. Rice
BYU has led at the half in 19 of the team's first 25 games, including a double-digit lead nine times. The Cougars outscore their opponents by an average of 5.7 points in the first period of play. BYU's win over Seton Hall marked the first time the Cougars have won this year after trailing at the break. BYU's 82-69 loss at UCLA after leading 39-36 at the half marked the first time since the 2004-05 season that BYU has lost when leading at the half. BYU also lost at CSU after leading 39-37 at the break. The Cougars are 17-2 when leading at the half, 2-3 when trailing and 0-1 when tied this season.
COACH ROSE RACKING UP THE WINS
With a 21-6 record in Mountain West Conference games since taking the helm of the BYU program for the 2005-06 season, Dave Rose is currently the winningest MWC coach in league play in the past two years. Air Force head coach Jeff Bzdelik is one game behind Rose with a 20-7 conference record in his two seasons with the Falcons. In addition to a 9-2 league and 19-6 overall record this year, Rose was named the Mountain West Conference and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year last season after coaching his team to a second-place MWC finish at 12-4 -- one game behind league-champion San Diego State -- while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success that proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.
At 19-6 so far this season, BYU is just one win away from achieving the program's 30th 20-win season, including two straight for Cougar head coach Dave Rose in his first two seasons at the helm. Last year, the Cougars recorded their 20th win against New Mexico in their final regular-season game, finishing 20-9. BYU could also achieve its 20th win this season against New Mexico. BYU has averaged 20 wins every 2.7 years (BYU has played 78 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). BYU coach Dave Rose was the fifth Cougar head coach to reach 20 wins in his first season at the helm. He joins G. Ott Romney (20-10 in 1928-29), Stan Watts (22-12 in 1949-50), Ladell Anderson (20-11 in 1983-84) and Roger Reid (21-9 in 1989-90). Both Watts and Reid achieved six 20-win seasons in their BYU coaching careers while Romney posted five and Rose's predecessor, Steve Cleveland, achieved four.
20-Win Seasons at BYU
Stan Watts had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 23 years of coaching
Roger Reid had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
G. Ott Romney had 5 seasons of 20 wins in 9 years of coaching
Steve Cleveland had 4 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Ladell Anderson had 3 season of 20 wins in 6 years of coaching
Frank Arnold had 3 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Floyd Millet had 1 season of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Dave Rose has 1 season of 20 wins in 1 year of coaching
MOMENTUM OFF THE BENCH
Three-point shooting off the bench has often given BYU momentum toward its victories this season. The shooting spark has come from different Cougars on different nights. Austin Ainge made three treys against Idaho State and against Seton Hall while coming off the bench to help BYU earn wins. Sam Burgess nailed three triples in a win over Portland. Jonathan Tavernari connected six times from long range against TCU and three times at Utah and against Western Oregon to help fuel BYU wins. Mike Rose tied his school record with eight bombs against then-No. 25 UNLV last Saturday to allow BYU to pull away in a battle of league leaders. He then added four threes at Wyoming last Tuesday night for 12 more points off the bench and two threes at TCU. BYU's bench has outscored opposing reserves 607-426 this year, giving BYU 7.2 more points of production per game from its second unit. BYU's bench has outscored the opponent bench in 19 of 25 games, going 16-3 in those games.