GAME 17 - BYU Plays at UNLV Tuesday
BYU GAME #17 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (12-4, 1-0 MWC)
UNLV REBELS (12-4, 1-1 MWC)
Tuesday, Jan. 15, 2008
Thomas & Mack Center (18,500)
Laas Vegas, Nev.
8:05 p.m. PT (9:05 MT)
BYU, Dave Rose (57-22 in third season; same overall)
UNLV, Lon Kruger (76-38 in fourth season; 394-271 in 22 years overall)
Series tied, 12-12, after UNLV won two of three meetings last year, including the MWC Tourney finals
The Mtn. (Tim Neverett, play-by-play; Blaine Fowler, game analysis)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar?Sports Network 7 p.m. PT (8 p.m. MT) pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Andy Toolson, game analyst)
Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com
BYU PLAYS AT UNLV TUESDAY
BYU will play its first Mountain West Conference road game of the season Tuesday as the Cougars (12-4, 1-0 MWC) travel to fave UNLV (12-4, 1-1 MWC) at 8 p.m. PT (9 p.m. MT). BYU began league play Saturday with a 92-73 win over Colorado State while UNLV is 1-1 so far in conference action with a 65-62 win at Colorado State on Jan. 5 and a 65-53 loss at Air Force Saturday. Tuesday'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 7 p.m. PT (8 p.m. MT).
BYU will travel up the road to face in-state and MWC rival Utah on Saturday at 2 p.m. The Cougars currently lead the newly created Deseret First Duel rivalry series, 16-6, with five points on the line in Saturday's matchup.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- BYU has been picked in the preseason poll to finish first in the MWC race this year by the league's media.
-- 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.
-- BYU currently owns the nation's second-longest active home win streak 40 straight wins in the Marriott Center, one victory behind Memphis. The Cougars went 17-0 at home last year and are 9-0 at home this year.
-- 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.
-- 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.
LOOKING AT UNLV
UNLV returns eight lettermen and one starter from last year's 30-7 NCAA Sweet 16 team that finished second at 12-4 to BYU in the Mountain West Conference before winning the MWC Tournament with a victory over the Cougars in the title game at the Thomas & Mack Center. This year the Rebels are 12-4 overall and 1-1 in conference play. UNLV had a season-best five-game victory streak come to an end Saturday with a 65-53 loss at Air Force. The Rebels opened MWC play in Colorado the previous Saturday with a 65-62 win at Colorado State. UNLV's last home game was an 81-64 victory over Minnesota on Dec. 30 to win the Duel in the Desert title, which followed home wins over Kennesaw State (78-55) and Nicholls State (64-42). The Rebels are 8-2 at home this season, 3-2 on the road and 1-0 on a neutral floor. The Rebels' two home defeats have both been against nationally ranked teams with losses to Louisville (68-48) on Nov. 21 and Arizona (52-49) on Dec. 19. Wink Adams is the Rebels' top scorer at 14.6 points per game, followed by Joe Darger at 12.0 ppg and Curtis Terry at 11.3 ppg. Darger paces UNLV on the glass with 5.4 rebounds per game while Curtis dishes out a team-leading 4.2 assist per outing. The Rebels average 71.3 points while giving up 61.8 points per game but are being beaten on the boards by 1.3 rebounds per game (38.2 to 36.9). UNLV makes 41.2 percent from the floor, an MWC-low 31.8 percent on threes and a strong (2nd in MWC) 74.8 percent at the line. Adams is the top free-throw shooter in the MWC at 92.3 percent (60-for-65). UNLV has held its opponents to .398 shooting from the field, including an MWC-best .285 from three-point range. The Rebels rank second in the league in turnover margin, gaining 4.69 more possessions on average than they surrender. UNLV leads the MWC in assist/turnover ratio at 1.30. UNLV coach Lon Kruger is in his fourth season in Las Vegas, earning a 76-38 record. He is 394-271 in his 22nd season overall as a head coach.
UNLV'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
F 15 Corey Bailey 6-5 215 Sr. 6.9 3.6 Tampa, Fla.
F 45 Joe Darger 6-7 225 Jr. 12.0 5.4 Riverton, Utah
G/F 31 Curtis Terry 6-5 205 Sr. 11.3 2.8 University Place, Wash.
G 24 Rene Rougeau 6-6 205 Jr. 6.8 4.9 Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.
G 1 Wink Adams 6-0 200 Jr. 14.6 4.1 Houston, Texas
UNLV'S LAST OUTING -- REBEL WIN STREAK SNAPPED AT FIVE
AIR FORCE ACADEMY -- Tim Anderson scored 21 of his 27 points in the second half of the Air Force Falcons' 65-53 win over the UNLV Runnin' Rebels on Saturday at Clune Arena. Anderson sank all six of his shots in the second half, including two 3-pointers, as the Falcons outshot UNLV 62 percent to 36 percent. Keith Maren added nine points and six assists for the Falcons (9-6, 1-1 Mountain West), who handed their coach, Jeff Reynolds, his first conference victory. The Rebels (12-4, 1-1) got 12 points from Curtis Terry and 11 from Wink Adams. Terry was 4-for-13 from the floor and Adams 3-for-14, including 1-for-9 from beyond the arc. Terry was 3-for-9 from long-range.
This will be the 25th meeting in the series between the two schools that dates back to 1981. The series is tied at 12-12 after UNLV took two of three meetings last year, including a 78-70 homecourt win in the Championship game of the MWC Tournament. BYU won 90-63 in Provo after a UNLV win in Las Vegas. The two teams split the season sereis in 2005-06 with each squad winning on its home floor. BYU swept the season series in 2004 and split the series in 2005, with each team winning on the road. The series has been tied nine times over the last five years. The Cougars won the first two meetings in the series in 1981 before the Rebels ran off four straight victories. Prior to 2004, the last time the Cougars swept the regular season series was in 1999-2000. The Rebels came back that year to achieve their largest margin of victory over BYU (23 points) in the title game of the 2000 MWC Tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center. BYU is 8-3 in Provo against UNLV and 4-9 in Las Vegas against the Rebels. BYU has won 10 of the 18 games as MWC opponents. In addition to last year's MWC Tournament matchup. the two teams also met in the 2000 Championship game with BYU losing 76-59 on the Rebels' home floor at the Thomas & Mack Center.
BYU SERIES RECORD VS. UNLV
Overall Series Record: Series tied at 12-12
BYU Record in Provo: 8-3 (8-3 in the Marriott Center)
BYU Record in Las Vegas: 4-9 (3-9 in the TMC)
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-0
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 2-3
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 2-0
Last Overtime Game: 2005, won in Las Vegas, 82-72
Longest BYU Win Streak: 3 (2004-2005)
Longest UNLV Win Streak: 4 (1981-98)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 28, 91-63 in 2001
Largest UNLV Margin of Victory: 23, 79-56 in 2000
Most Points Scored by BYU: 92 in 1981
Most Points Scored by UNLV: 90 in 1981
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"It's important to be able to get out there and compete and get yourself your first road conference win. It's a big challenge every season. We're trying to get a win against a very good UNLV team that has been very successful in the Thomas & Mack Center over the years."
"I really believe that when you get a team that has lost on the road and then comes home, it's even more of a challenge. Every one in the league knows how important it is to win league games at home."
"We know all about Wink (Adams) because he's played really well against us for the past couple years. He's a good outside shooter, and he can put the ball on the floor and create shots for his teammates."
LAST YEAR IN MWC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME -- COUGARS FALL TO UNLV IN TITLE GAME
LAS -- The No. 23 BYU men's basketball team played a hard-fought game against UNLV, but ran out of energy in the closing minutes to fall in the Mountain West Conference Championship game, 78-70. The Cougars fall to 25-8 while the Rebels improve to 28-6 on the season. The Cougars were
led by MWC Player of the Year Keena Young, who had a career-high 34 points on 13-of-18 shooting and nine rebounds. His scoring output was the most scored by a Cougar since Mekeli Wesley posted 34 on Jan. 20, 2000. All-MWC forward Lee Cummard recorded a double-double with 13 points and a career-high 13 boards for BYU. The game began with the Cougars striking first as Austin Ainge found Young on a full-court pass for a layup at the 18:38 mark. BYU then scored on the next three possessions to take an early 8-0 lead and force the Rebels to take a timeout with 16:44 remaining in the first half. UNLV finally got on the board hitting a desperation three as the shot clock expired, but BYU quickly answered with back-to-back three-pointers by Mike Rose and Cummard to extend the lead 16-3 with 13:43 left. The Rebels started to make a run, but before it went anywhere Rose connected on another deep three at the top of the key. Cummard then came up with another one of his trademark hustle plays by rebounding his own shot and laying it in for the bucket. On the next possession Young went to work on the Rebels hitting a fade-away jumper to extend the lead 24- 10. UNLV then tightened up its defense and went on a 14-4 run to cut its deficit to four and force BYU to take a timeout with 2:52 left. Right out of the timeout the Cougars wasted no time getting the ball to Young for a quick score. The Rebels answered back with a quick bucket of their own to stay close to BYU at 30-26. The Cougars then closed out the half going on a 7-0 run with Young hitting a jumper, Plaisted throwing down a two-handed dunk and Rose blasting another three to go into the intermission up 37-26. Young led BYU in the first half with 12 points on 6-of-9 shooting and six boards. The second half started with Cummard getting a layup for BYU, but a couple possessions later UNLV answered with a rare four-point play to cut its deficit to five with 16:49 left. Ainge then came off a Plaisted pick and hit a three-pointer to silence the Rebel fans at the Thomas & Mack Center and extend the lead to 44-36. BYU then got six straight points from Young but after that stretch the Rebels nailed a three-pointer and made key shots to cut the Cougar lead to 50-48 at the second media timeout with 11:57 left. UNLV came out of the timeout with a three-pointer to take its first lead of the game 51-50. The one-point deficit marked the first time BYU had trailed at the MWC Tournament. For the next few minutes the two teams traded buckets back and forth with neither team running away with the lead. UNLV then took a two-point advantage at the 6:13 mark but Young answered right back tying the game at 57. The Rebels then scored four straight points forcing BYU to take a full timeout with 4:27 left. Young then traded baskets with UNLV for the next four possessions scoring eight points of his own to the Rebels' six to keep the Cougars within four. Being down 72-68 with 42 seconds left BYU was forced to foul. The Cougars were unable to create any sort of comeback down the stretch and ended up falling to the Rebels 78-70.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought it was a very hard-fought contest. I thought both teams played really well. I'm very proud of our team. I thought we battled and gave a great effort. It was a game that came down right to the end. I couldn't
be more proud of a group of players because they battled to the very end."
-- "I thought our guys executed it well. We shot 50 percent from the field and got good shots. Keena Young was doing what he normally does for us. It just came down to a couple plays late."
-- "I think the concentration level was good. There may have been a little fatigue playing three nights in a row, but you battle through it. You battle through nights when you're not shooting the ball very well from the perimeter. You try to get inside. We had plenty of chances. UNLV just made more plays than we did. I think both teams played really well. It was a matter of tonight UNLV played better."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT BYU
-- Individual Career Highs: Keena Young - 34 points; Lee Cummard - 13 rebounds; Austin Ainge - 10 assists.
-- BYU MWC Tournament Records -- Keena Young's 34 points and 13 field goals made set new BYU MWC Tournament records while his eight free-throws made are tied for second. Austin Ainge's 10 assists are a new BYU MWC Tournament record, surpassing the mark of seven he set twice. Lee Cummard's 13 rebounds are tied for second.
--- The Cougars are now 3-3 in their games vs. ranked teams with the 78-70 loss at No. 25 UNLV, a 62-58 victory at No. 20 Air Force, a 90-63 win over then-No. 25 UNLV, a 61-52 win over then-No. 13 Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State.
-- BYU is now 23-5 when scoring at least 70 points and 5-8 when allowing opponents to surpass the 70-point threshold.
-- With a 38-28 rebounding advantage at UNLV, BYU is now 24-2 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- BYU has now shot above .500 from the field in 11 of the last 15 games, including a .500 mark against UNLV. The Cougars have also shot above .500 in seven of their last eight road games.
-- The Cougars have shot especially well from three-point range in their three games against UNLV this year, going a combined 32-for-58 (.552) from long range against the Rebels, including a school record 15 threepointers made in Provo. Mike Rose has led the BYU charge from downtown as he has made 15-of-22 (.682)
from three-point range against UNLV this season, including tying the BYU record he set in 2003 with eight three-pointers made against the Rebels in Provo.
-- BYU has led by at least 10 points in 23 of 33 games including a 14-point first-half lead against the Rebels.
BYU is 21-2 in those games with both losses coming at the hands of UNLV.
-- With a 37-26 advantage at the break, the Cougars enjoyed their 25th halftime lead of the season and their 14th in double figures. Overall, BYU is 22-3 when leading at the break, 3-4 when trailing and 0-1 when tied. The Cougars have held opponents under 30 points in the first half 18 times this season, including three of the last four games.
-- Keens Young's 34 points against the Rebels and is the most points scored by a Cougar since Mekeli Wesley scored 34 on Jan. 20, 2000 and marked his ninth 20+-point scoring outing of the season and the 10th of his career. Only 17 Cougars have ever scored more in a game. Young has topped the 20-point scoring mark five times in the last 10 games.
-- Lee Cummard posted his third double-double of the season and his career with 13 points and a career-high 13 rebounds against the Rebels.
-- BYU jumped out to a 10-0 lead on 5-for-9 shooting from the field while holding the Rebels scoreless for the first 5:46 of the game. UNLV started the contest 0-for-9 before making its first bucket at the 14:14 mark.
-- Just one game after scoring 10 of BYU's first 17 points, Lee Cummard once against started off hot, recording nine points and eight rebounds in the first 10:43 of the game before heading to the bench for a breather.
-- UNLV's 51-50 lead after a three-point make with 11:51 left to play in the game marked the first time BYU trailed in the MWC Tournament. The Cougars led by as many as 20 points against TCU in the quarterfinals and 25 points against Wyoming in the semifinals while never trailing in either game. BYU also had a 14-point lead (24-10) in the first half against the Rebels.
-- Ainge followed that bomb with back-to-back layins, one on the reverse and the second on a fastbreak opportunity, to score seven straight points for the Cougars and turn a 10-10 tie into a 17-12 BYU lead while sparking a 14-5 Cougar run.
LAST YEAR IN LAS VEGAS (REGULAR SEASON) -- COUGARS' WIN STREAK ENDS AT UNLV
LAS -- The BYU men's basketball team saw its seven-game winning streak come to an end Saturday night as the Cougars fell, 83-75, at UNLV. Sophomore Lee Cummard was the high scorer for the Cougars as he posted a career-high 18 points while tying his personal-best with a team-high five assists. Senior Keena Young scored 16 points in the game, all after halftime, while sophomore Trent Plaisted added 13 points and senior Mike Rose posted 12. Plaisted paced BYU on the boards with nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Wink Adams led UNLV with a career-high 27 points. UNLV struck first with a layin at the 18:37 mark, but Plaisted matched the Rebel bucket with one of his own to get BYU on the board. Plaisted and Cummard set the tone early for the Cougars as the pair scored BYU's first 11 points to give the Cougars an early 11-8 lead despite two quick fouls on leading scorer Young. After UNLV cut the lead to one at 11-10, Fernando Malaman ended a 3:23 BYU drought with a jumper from the free-throw line to maintain the Cougar advantage. UNLV got back to within one on the next possession, but Mike Rose extended the Cougar lead to 16-12 with his 18th three-point make of the year. Cummard and Plaisted then scored on back-to-back BYU trips to cap a 7-0 Cougar run and give BYU a 20-12 lead at the 9:14 mark. Cummard kept the Cougar momentum going with his second three-pointer of the night at the 7:37 mark to give BYU its largest lead of the game to that point at 25-14. The Rebels responded with a three ball of their own and then picked off Austin Ainge to get another score and cut the lead to 25-19. Ainge made up for the turnover with a three-point make on the other end, but Malaman picked up his second foul on the next UNLV possession, resulting in two Rebel free throws. With both Malaman and Young on the bench with two fouls apiece, Coach Rose called on true freshman Jonathan Tavernari, who drained his first two three-point attempts to give BYU a 34-25 advantage. However, 11 straight UNLV points gave the Rebels their first lead since 6-4 with a 36-34 advantage with 41 seconds to play in the half. A layin from Plaisted to end a 3:37 BYU scoring drought sent the Cougars into the locker room with their first halftime tie of the year at 36-36. Jimmy Balderson put BYU back in front with a pair of free throws just 26 seconds into the second half. UNLV could not convert three early Cougar turnovers, going 0-for-6 to start the half, allowing BYU to extend its lead to 41-36 on a three-pointer from Cummard. However, after struggling to find the basket to begin the half, UNLV put together a 14-4 run to take a 50-45 lead. Young, the only Cougar to score during the spurt, added his second dunk of the year to get BYU within three at 50-47, but the Rebels weren't done scoring as they increased their lead to 54-47 thanks in part to strong rebounding on the offensive glass. The UNLV scoring continued as the Rebels matched BYU's large lead of the game with a 59-48 advantage at the 9:22 mark. Young continued his second-half scoring run with a three-point play but was answered on the other end with a three-pointer to maintain the 11-point Rebel lead. After UNLV pushed its advantage to 13 points at 66-53, Rose drained his second three-pointer of the night, but the Rebels' hot shooting continued as they made their eighth shot in 10 attempts to take a 74-58 lead with 2:56 left to play. Rose drained back-to-back three-pointers between the two- and three-minute marks to get BYU to within 10 points at 74-64, and then Ben Murdock drained a three after two UNLV free throws to cut the deficit to single digits at 76-67. The Cougars kept pushing as the clock wound down, getting to within seven points at 80-73 on a three-pointer from Cummard, but time was not on BYU's side as the Cougars could not complete the comeback.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "They played better than we did over the course of 40 minutes. We had a lot of chances, but we couldn't get it done."
-- "We got stuck for quite a while where we didn't score. We got the shots we wanted but they weren't going in and then we started shooting quick shots. Keena (Young) got us going a little bit but by then we were down 12 or 13 points and had to dig out of a hole."
-- "Tonight we didn't have a good enough offensive game combined with a good enough defensive game to get this done."
-- "Lee Cummard continues to play well. He continues to be consistent for us. We used him to break the pressure for us a lot tonight. I think that he just continues to get better."
-- "It's a tough league. It's a long process. We jumped out to a nice start, but tonight we had a setback. But we've got a long way to go."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR IN LAS VEGAS
-- Individual Career Highs: Lee Cummard -- 18 points, 7 field goals made, 4 three-point field goals made, 5 assists (tied); Fernando Malaman -- 2 assists (tied); Vuk Ivanovic -- 2 assists (tied).
-- The loss at UNLV snapped a seven-game Cougar winning streak, their longest since the 2003-04 season.
-- The Cougars are now 12-2 when scoring at least 70 points with losses at Lamar and at UNLV and 1-5 when allowing opponents to score at least 70 points. Prior to the 83-75 loss, BYU had held opponents under the 70-point mark in seven straight games. The Cougars have scored at least 70 points in nine straight games.
-- With a .571 (12-for-21) three-point shooting mark against UNLV, BYU has now shot above .400 from behind the arc in four straight games and eight on the season. The Cougars have shot at least .500 from three-point range in five games.
-- BYU's .750 (9-for-12) free-throw efficiency marked its highest percentage since shooting .867 (13-for-15) against San Jose State on Dec. 6.
-- After outrebounding their opponents in six straight games, including a double-digit margin in the last five, the Cougars have been bested on the glass in the last two games, including a 39-31 deficit at UNLV. BYU entered the game leading the Mountain West Conference in both rebounding average and rebounding margin. The Cougars are now 11-0 this season when outrebounding their opponents and 1-5 when losing the battle of the boards.
-- BYU went into the locker room at the half tied for the first time this season at 36-36. The Cougars have led at the half in 12 games and trailed in four.
-- Keena Young bounced back from a six-point performance against TCU in which he was hampered by foul trouble to score 16 points against the Rebels, marking the 15th time in 17 games he has scored in double figures. All of Young's points came in the second half.
-- With a three-point make at the 10:38 mark, Mike Rose has now made a three-pointer in nine straight games, just one game short of his career record. Rose has come on strong for BYU as of late, scoring 68 points in the last nine games (7.6 ppg), including 12 against UNLV, after scoring just 11 points in the first eight games (1.4 ppg).
-- Plaisted and Cummard combined for BYU's first 11 points as Plaisted scored six and Cummard scored five points in the first 4:48 of the game.
-- Plaisted recorded his 15th dunk of the season and the 48th of his career just 4:48 into the game. BYU's big man has slammed one home in 11 of 17 games this year. Young also recorded a dunk in the game, his second of the season and fifth of his career.
LAST YEAR IN PROVO -- THREE-POINTERS PUSH BYU PAST NO. 25 UNLV
PROVO -- The Cougars broke No. 25 UNLV's five-game winning streak on Saturday in the Marriott Center, deciding to return the favor after having their own seven-game winning streak snapped earlier this season while at the Thomas & Mack Center. A crowd of 15,899 was present to witness the final score of 90-63. Mike Rose led all scorers for BYU with 27 points, breaking his career high, followed by Austin Ainge with 17 points and Trent Plaisted with 12. Rose also tied the BYU individual record that he set for most three-pointers made in a game with eight. Lee Cummard had a perfect game, shooting 3-for-3 from the field. The team set a new school record for three-pointers made in a game with 15. The win marked BYU's second victory against a ranked team this season. The team previously beat No. 13 Air Force on Jan. 27 in the Marriott Center. Also, with the victory BYU extended its home winning streak to 28 games, tied for the second-longest in the nation. The Cougars have now won 12 of the last 14 games and are 17-6 overall and 7-2 in the Mountain West Conference. BYU jumped out to an early 9-3 lead, capped by Jimmy Balderson's first recorded dunk of the season. Both teams continued to trade baskets, quickly driving up the score. With 10:21 to play in the half, Mike Rose hit back-to-back three-pointers to extend BYU's lead to eight at 24-16. With 7:40 left in the half, Rose remained perfect behind the arc by making his fourth three-pointer, bringing the Cougar lead to 35-23. Vuk Ivanovic earned his first points of the game with just under seven minutes to play, followed by a jumper by Keena Young. Rose's fifth three came a few minutes later, bringing the score to 44-28. Sam Burgess scored his first points of the game with 2:50 to go in the half, recording the Cougars' ninth three-pointer of the half. A steal by Jonathan Tavernari resulted in two points for Austin Ainge. At the half, BYU was 9-of-15 from behind the arc and .588 from the field. Austin Ainge scored the first five points to open the second half of play, bringing the score to 54-34. With just under 16 minutes on the clock, he made his third three of the game. A significant blocked shot by Trent Plaisted turned the possession over to BYU with 14:52 remaining. After three made free throws by Rose, the Rebel's Wink Adams hit a jumper, bringing the score to 66-43. BYU answered with a one-handed dunk by Plaisted. Rose's first three-pointer of the half came with just under eight minutes to play. On the next possession Adams of UNLV came back with one of his own. A one-for-three trip to the free throw line by the Rebels' Curtis Terry was followed by Plaisted's third dunk of the night with 4:25 left to play. Tavernari's three with 2:08 on the clock tied BYU's record for the most baskets made from behind the three-point line. With just over 30 seconds to play, Rose made his eighth three-pointer of the night. UNLV was led by Adams with 14 points and Gaston Essengue with 6 rebounds.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "The guys really responded well from an emotional win earlier in the week."
-- "I like it when guys come off the bench and make shots. It's really good for our energy and chemistry. There was good play off the bench tonight and great play from Mike Rose."
-- "We really wanted to work on the inside tonight but had a lot of opportunities from outside the perimeter."
-- "Tonight, you get someone who goes 8-for-10 from the perimeter, and that's a special night. Mike Rose had a great night."
UNLV Head Coach Lon Kruger
-- "It was a total domination by BYU. They got us on our heels early, and they just kept getting better."
-- "They got on top of us early, and we didn't respond in a way that we could change the momentum back."
-- "We have to learn from this, make progress and get better. We didn't win many battles today."
-- "Basically, they got to all the loose balls, got the long rebounds and made all the energy plays."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR IN PROVO
-- Individual Career Highs: Mike Rose -- 27 points, 8 three-pointers made (tied); Ben Murdock - 4 assists; Lee Cummard - 5 steals.
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Most points scored in a half against Div. I -- 49 (first); .682 three-point shooing percentage.
-- Records -- BYU set a new school record for three-pointers made in a game with 15 against UNLV. Mike Rose tied the BYU individual record for three-pointers made in a game with eight against UNLV (set by Rose in 2003).
-- BYU's win over No. 25 UNLV extended its home winning streak to 28 games, which is tied for the second-longest active home victory streak in the nation. The Cougars are 14-0 at home this season and 400-116 (.775) all-time in the Marriott Center.
-- The Cougars' victory over No. 25 UNLV marked the second consecutive BYU win over a ranked team in the Marriott Center, including last Saturday's win over No. 13 Air Force. 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 a 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 then-No. 13 Air Force, an 82-69 loss at then-No. 5 UCLA and a 76-61 neutral court loss against then-No. 25 Michigan State.
-- With a +27 (90-63) margin of victory against UNLV, BYU has won four of its nine MWC games this season by more than 20 points, including 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 is now 16-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 15-0 when holding opponents below the 70-point threshold.
-- With a 38-30 rebounding advantage against the Rebels, the Cougars are now 16-0 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- Leading 49-34 against UNLV, BYU went into the locker room with a halftime lead for the 18th time this season, including its eighth double-digit lead, The Cougars have scored over 40 points in the first half five times this season. The Cougars are now 16-2 when leading at the break. BYU is also 16-0 when leading at the five-minute mark and 16-0 when leading at the one-minute mark.
-- The Cougars' .682 (15-for-22) three-point shooting marked the 12th time this season BYU has shot above .400 from three-point range and the ninth time this year the Cougars have topped .500. BYU ranked 15th in the country in three-point shooting percentage entering the UNLV game.
-- Austin Ainge scored in double figures for the seventh time this season with 17 points on 6-for-7 shooting from the field and 3-for-4 shooting from three-point range.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- PLAISTED AND TAVERNARI LEAD BYU TO MWC VICTORY
PROVO -- The BYU men's basketball team began defending its Mountain West Conference title Saturday, defeating Colorado State, 92-73, to extend the nation's second-longest active home win streak to 40 games. The Cougars' win improves their record to 12-4 overall and 1-0 in the Mountain West Conference. Trent Plaisted scored a season-high 25 points to propel the Cougars to victory. Jonathan Tavernari also tallied 25 points, leading the Cougars from outside with five threes. The Cougars have made at least six threes in 15 of 16 games played this year. With 140 makes from long range already and at least 16 games remaining, BYU is on track to break the single-season three-point record set last year with 256. The Cougars capitalized early with a 6-0 lead, keeping CSU scoreless during the first three minutes of the game. Tavernari led the Cougars in the first half, coming off the bench and claiming 12 points. Plaisted followed Tavernari with 11 points, beginning the game 5-for-5 from the floor despite running into early foul trouble. The Cougars scored the last seven points of the first half and came out strong in the second half, scoring 12 unanswered points. The 19-point run marks their longest run of the season. The run was highlighted with a dunk from Plaisted and a pair of threes from Sam Burgess and Ben Murdock. The Rams fought to close in on BYU's commanding lead but were unable to capitalize on enough scoring opportunities, only shortening the Cougar lead to 82-66. Despite the pressure and 24 points from the Ram's Marcus Walker, BYU continued to dominate to the 92-73 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "It was a long couple of days since Tuesday night, but our players came out ready to play and we were able to come back strong."
-- "We did a great job tonight sharing the ball, moving the ball around and getting in position to make good shots."
-- "This win was a good way to start league play. We have a long way to go, but it is definitely a good start."
-- "We seem to find an energy level when we make shots. We need to find that energy level all the time on the court."
Colorado State Head Coach Tim Miles
-- "BYU is a fun place to play. Everybody loves coming to Provo."
-- "I think BYU knows how to take open shots. They know how to move the ball around well. Trent's (Plaisted) a heck of a player. He had a great game."
-- "We didn't execute as well as we could have. It's the little things we have to do. We need to play smarter and better."
-- "(Marcus Walker) can get it cranked up. He had a great run where he helped us get in the game. He's a young guy who was a prolific high school scorer."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Career Highs: Jimmer Fredette -- 4 assists (tied).
-- Individual Season Highs: Trent Plaisted -- 25 points; Chris Miles -- 6 rebounds.
-- Team Season Highs: Attendance -- 13,135.
-- With the win, BYU improved its Marriott Center win streak to 40 games, the second-longest active home court victory streak in the nation behind No. 2 Memphis at 41 wins.
-- With the 19-point win, BYU is now outscoring its opponents by 14.5 points on the year. That margin jumps to 22.4 points in the Cougars' 12 wins.
-- With the 92-73 win, BYU is now 12-1 when scoring at least 70 points in a game. The Cougars are also 7-0 when scoring at least 80 points and 5-0 when topping 90.
-- Including 10 three-point makes against the Rams, BYU has made double-digit treys in six games this year. The Cougars have made at least six threes in every game this season except against SUU when they made five. With 140 makes from long range already this year and at least 16 games left to play, BYU is on pace to break the single-season three-point record the Cougars set last year with 256.
-- Including a game-high lead of 27 points against the Rams, the Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 14 of 16 games and have led by more than 20 points in 10 games and more than 30 points in three contests.
-- Cummard has now drained at last one three-pointer in the last 10 games and 15 of 16 contests on the year. Tavernari has also hit a trey in 15 of 16 games while Sam Burgess has hit from long range in 13 contests.
-- Jonathan Tavernari topped the 20-point mark for just the second time in his career with 25 points on 9-for-17 shooting from the floor, including a 5-for-9 mark from three-point range. Tavernari scored 29 points in BYU's win over No. 6 Louisville. With a season-high 25 points, Plaisted surpassed the 20-point mark for the fifth time this year and 14th time in his career.
-- With 25 points from Tavernari and 25 from Plaisted, BYU has now had two 20-point scorers in a game three times this year (Louisville -- Plaisted (21), Tavernari (29); Lamar -- Cummard (27), Plaisted (22).
-- With a 38-27 halftime lead against Colorado State, the Cougars have now led at halftime in 14 of 16 games this year, including 11 double-digit leads. The Cougars are now 11-2 when holding a halftime advantage. BYU has scored at least 30 first-half points in every game this season and has held opponents under 30 points in 11 contests.
-- Despite picking up two early fouls, Plaisted began the game 5-for-5 from the floor to score 10 points in the first 12 minutes while helping BYU build a 25-10 lead.
-- After scoring the last seven points of the first half, BYU began the second half with a 12-0 run, scoring 19 unanswered points spanning halftime, their longest run of the year.
COUGARS BY THE NUMBERS
3 Number of top 10 teams BYU has played this season - No. 1 North Carolina, then-No. 6 Louisville and then-No. 9 Michigan State. The Cougars beat the Cardinals, 78-76, before falling, 73-63, to the Tarheels despite battling UNC through six second-half lead changes. BYU held a double-digit halftime lead against the Spartans before losing, 68-61.
5 Number of games in which BYU has scored at least 90 points, the most since 1995-96 when the Cougars also reached 90 points in five games. BYU has not scored at least 90 in six games on the year since 1993-94. The Cougars currently lead the Mountain West Conference in scoring at 79.5 points per game.
7 Number of games in which Lee Cummard has been perfect from the free-throw line out of 10 games in which he taken free throws. Cummard has made his last 12 straight free throws and had made 19 straight prior to a miss against Southern Utah.
7 Number of points Trent Plaisted needs to surpass Mark Handy to move to 31st on BYU's all-time career scoring list. Plaisted currently has 1,093 career points.
7 Number of statistical categories in which Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the MWC including field-goal percentage (1st - .583), free-throw percentage (2nd - .897), scoring (4th - 15.7), offensive rebounds (4th - 2.13), total rebounds (7th - 6.3), assists (5th - 3.69) and blocked shots (T9th, 0.88).
T7th Rank in BYU program history of Jonathan Tavernari's 12-game streak with a made three-pointer to start the season. Lee Cummard is currently riding a 10-game streak with at least one made three-pointer.
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.
11 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 every games this season while racking up halftime leads in 14 of 16 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.
15 Number of games this season Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer. Sam Burgess has made a trey in 13 of 16 games this year.
16 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 16 games after not starting last year in his first season in Provo.
22.4 The Cougars' average margin of victory in their 12 wins this season. BYU has won seven games by more than 20 points, including two by more than 30. The Cougars' 40-point win at Long Beach State to begin the year was BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995.
25 Points scored by Trent Plaisted and Jonathan Tavernari against Colorado State Saturday, marking the first time BYU has had two players score 25 or more points in a game since March 1, 2001 when Terrell Lyday totaled 26 and Mekeli Wesley 25 at New Mexico.
54-10 Combined record of the four teams BYU has lost to this season - North Carolina (17-0), Michigan State (14-2), Boise State (12-4) and Wake Forest (11-4) (as of Jan. 13).
57 Number of wins Dave Rose has recorded in his 2+ seasons as a head coach, going 57-22 for a 72.2 winning percentage and winning back-to-back Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors in his first two years.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 40 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's second-longest active home victory streak, just one win behind No. 2 Memphis. The Cougars are 9-0 at home this year and won 17 home games last season after going 14-1 at home in 2005-06. BYU's last home loss was in the 2005-06 season opener against Loyola Marymount. BYU?has since won 23 straight over nonconference opponents and 17 consecutive over MWC foes since losing its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU?is 412-116 (.780) all-time in the Marriott Center. The Cougars' longest home winning streak came from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003 when BYU won 44 straight in the Marriott Center.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (As of Jan. 13, 2008)
Wins Team This year Next home game
41 Memphis 9-0 Jan. 19 vs. Southern Miss
40 BYU 9-0 Jan. 23 vs. San Diego State
ON THE ROAD
The Cougars are 2-2 in true road games this year coming off a 79-62 loss at Wake Forest on Tuesday. With a 1-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is 3-4 this season away from home. 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 Mountain West Conference team with a winning record on the road in league play last year.
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 and is receiving votes in both polls this week. 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.
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
BYU is 12-1 when scoring at least 70 points this year and 9-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 79.5 points and allowing 65.0 ppg. The Cougars have scored 90 or more points in five games this season, reaching 100 against Jackson State, and are 7-0 when scoring over 80 points on the year. Overall, BYU leads the Mountain West Conference in scoring and scoring margin (14.5).
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU has won the battle of the boards in 13 of 16 games this year with the only deficits coming against No. 6 Louisville (39-37), No. 9 Michigan State (37-29) and Boise State (36-34). BYU is besting opponents by an average of 7.4 boards per contest, which ranks 26th nationally. 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, already 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 eight times. Team-high rebounding honors have been shared by four players and team-best assist accolades by six.
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 140 treys so far. BYU has posted double-digit triples in a game six times this year and in each of the last three games with 10 against Colorado State, 10 at Wake Forest, 12 against Loyola Marymount, 11 against Lamar, 12 at Long Beach State and 13 vs. Hartford, marking just the sixth time in program history that the Cougars have posted at least 13 threes in a game, including a record 15 against UNLV last season. The Cougars have made at least six three-pointers in every game this season except vs. SUU when they made five. The Cougars tied the program record with 33 three-point attempts against Loyola Marymount. Individually, both Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have made a three-pointer in 15 of 16 games this season while Sam Burgess has done so in 13 of 16 contests. Cummard is currently riding a 10-game streak with a make from long range 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 44 treys so far this season.
Four Cougar freshman are making an impact this year as Chris Collinsworth, Jimmer Fredette, Michael Loyd, Jr. and Nick Martineau have made their respective BYU debuts with results that bode well for the future. All four saw their first action in the Cougars' season opener at Long Beach State and have continued to make a difference for BYU. Fredette and Collinsworth are both averaging over 16 minutes per game at 16.7 and 16.2 mpg, respectively, while Loyd is posting 9.1 and Martineau has seen an average of 7.0 minutes of action per contest. Fredette is fifth on the team in scoring with 6.8 ppg while tying for team-high honors with 20 steals. Collinsworth is fourth for BYU with 4.8 rebounds per game and has started six games. Martineau is fifth in the Mountain West Conference in assist/turnover ratio at 2.33.
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 (9.1), third in field-goal shooting among players with at least 30 attempts (.466) and third in assists (2.2) while leading the team in three-point shooting (.452). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 5.5 ppg while averaging 15.9 more minutes per game. His six double-figure scoring games this year has already surpassed last year's mark of four double-digit scoring outings. Burgess has started all 16 games this season after starting just one game in his two prior seasons as a Cougar.
Seniors Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess along with juniors Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted have started all 16 games this year while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari has made 10 starts and freshman Chris Collinsworth has started six contests.
BYU PLAYER OF THE WEEK
TRENT PLAISTED (JAN. 14) -- Junior forward/center Trent Plaisted averaged 16.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists in BYU's two games last week while shooting 56 percent (14-for-25) from the field. Plaisted's rebounding total paced the Cougars for the week while his scoring average was second on the team just behind Jonathan Tavernari's 17 ppg. The 6-foot-11 San Antonio, Texas, native scored a season-high 25 points on 11-of-15 shooting Saturday in BYU's win over Colorado State to share game-high scoring honors with Tavernari. Plaisted added five rebounds and two assists in his 21 minutes on the floor against the Rams. Despite picking up two early fouls, Plaisted began the game 5-for-5 from the floor to score 10 points in the first 12 minutes while helping BYU build a 25-10 lead. In the second half, he scored 14 points in 12 minutes, including four consecutive buckets for the Cougars to record eight points in less than two minutes. Plaisted grabbed a game-best 10 rebounds in 23 minutes at Wake Forest Tuesday while adding eight points and one assist. His 10 boards against the Demon Deacons marks the fifth game this year he has pulled down double-digit rebounds and his 25 points against Colorado State is the fifth contest this season in which he has topped 20 points.
PLAISTED REACHES 1,000-POINT MILESTONE
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 1,093 career points, 31st on BYU's all-time scoring list. Keena Young was the most recent addition to the club as he posted 1,068 points during his three-year BYU stint from 2005-07. Of four-year players, Plaisted is just the 10th Cougar to reach the 1,000-point milestone as a junior. The last four-year player to reach 1,000 points as a junior was Mark Bigelow with 1,312 following the 2002-03 season. Plaisted also has 565 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.
WORTHY OF MENTION
- BYU's 20-point club this year includes Trent Plaisted, Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari. Plaisted has scored 20 points or more in five games while Cummard has done it four times and Tavernari has done so twice. Among Plaisted's top scoring nights were 21 points against No. 6 Louisville, 24 points against No. 1 North Carolina and a season-high 25 points in BYU's Mountain West Conference opener against Colorado State. Cummard had a career-high 27 points against Lamar and 26 at Boise State while Tavernari totaled a career-best 29 vs. No. 6 Louisville and 25 against CSU.
- BYU has had six individual double-double performances this year with Plaisted accomplishing the feat four times and Cummard on two occasions. Cummard became the first Cougar to record a double-double this season with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Idaho State. He added his fifth career double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds against Lamar. Plaisted had 21 points and 12 rebounds against No. 6 Louisville before tallying 24 points and 17 rebounds against No. 1 North Carolina. He totaled 14 points and 15 rebounds vs. Weber State and had 18 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds against Pepperdine.
- Senior point guard Ben Murdock dished out a personal-best 10 assists with only two turnovers at Portland as the lone Cougar to reach double-digit assists in a game this year. He has dished out five or more assists in a game six times this year. He currently ranks 31st nationally with a 2.58 assist/turnover ratio.
- Freshman guard Jimmer Fredette has come up big in BYU's last two road games, making three three-pointers and scoring 11 points during his 21 minutes at Boise State and tying for team-high honors with 15 points at Wake Forest while also hitting three treys. He has hit from behind the arc in 11 games this season. Fredette is one of four true freshman playing for the Cougars this year, joining forward Chris Collinsworth and guards Michael Loyd and Nick Martineau. Collinsworth has started six games.
- BYU leads all MWC teams in scoring (79.5), scoring margin (+14.5), field-goal percentage defense (.388), rebounds (41.4), rebounding margin (+7.4), assists (18.38), three-pointers made (8.75) and defensive rebounds (28.88).
- BYU has led at the half in 14 of 16 games this year, including 11 double-digit leads. The Cougars' two deficit scame when they trailed 38-31 against No. 1 North Carolina and 49-32 at Wake Forest. The Cougars are outscoring opponents by 10.3 points in the first period of play.
The Cougars' 12 victories this year have come by an average margin of 22.4 points, including a season-opening 40-point road win at Long Beach State (74-34). 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 four losses, the Cougars still boast a scoring margin of 14.5 points this year, which ranks 32nd nationally. 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 over the course of the year.
THIS YEAR'S LOSSES
BYU's four losses this year have come on neutral floors against No. 1 North Carolina and No. 6 (then No. 9) Michigan State and on the road at Boise State and at Wake Forest. All tough defeats, 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 (17-0), Michigan State (14-2), Boise State (12-4) and Wake Forest (11-4) have a combined 54-10 record this year for a .844 winning percentage as of Jan. 13.
HITTING THE MARK
BYU is shooting 47.3 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 out of 32 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 one and three among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 58.3 and 57.1 percent, respectively, and 30th and 53rd, respectively, in the national rankings as of Jan. 10.
The Cougars are 12-2 this season when leading at the half with 11 of the 14 advantages coming by double digits. BYU suffered its first loss of the year after holding a halftime lead with a 68-61 defeat against No. 9 Michigan State after a 35-25 lead at the break. The Cougars led by 11 points at the half at Boise State but fell by three points to the Broncos. No. 1 North Carolina and Wake Forest are the only teams this season to post a halftime lead against BYU as the Tarheels posted a 38-31 advantage at the break and the Demon Deacons led 49-32. The Cougars are besting opponents by an average of 10.3 points in the first period of play while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of seven of 16 games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of every game this season while holding opponents under 30 points 11 times. The Cougars' 36-12 lead at the break at Long Beach State marked their largest halftime advantage since being up by 28 points (51-23) against Western Oregon on Dec. 22, 2006. The 12 points given up by BYU in the first 20 minutes of the game at LBSU marked the fewest points allowed in a half by the Cougars since allowing a record-low 10 points against Air Force in 2003. BYU has topped 40 points in the second half of eight games this year while surpassing the 50-point mark in the second half four times.
PAINTING THE TOWN
The Cougars have outscored their opponents in the paint in 11 of 16 games this year, recording a +8.3 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 four 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 an even turnover maargin with their opponents on the year, the Cougars have outscored foes in points off of turnovers in 13 games this season, posting a +7.3 scoring margin in that category. BYU scored a season-best 26 points off of turnovers against Loyola Marymount.
FAST AND FURIOUS
BYU has dominated on the fast break this season, outscoring opponents in that category in 13 of 16 games by an average margin 6.3 points per contest. The Cougars scored a season-best 20 fast-break points against Jackson State while tying their season high with a +16 margin. BYU's three deficits in that category came in losses against No. 1 North Carolina (0-4), against No. 9 Michigan State (0-4) and at Wake Forest (0-8).
FROM THE BENCH
BYU's reserves have outscored the opposition's bench only six times this year but they have done it in four of the last five games after seven straight games in a scoring defecit off the bench. In BYU's first nine games with Jonathan Tavernari starting, BYU's bench was outscored by an average of 1.6 points. BYU's reserves have averaged 5.5 more points than the opposition in the six games Tavernari has come off the bench. Jimmer Fredette stepped up at Wake Forest after Tavernari returned to the starting lineup, tying for team-high honors with 15 points off the bench. Overall, the BYU bench has outscored opponent reserves by 1.8 points per game this season, tallying 364 points or 22.8 points per game to opponents' 336 points.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
Including a game-high lead of 27 points against Colorado State in BYU's last home game, the Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 14 of 16 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 and at Wake Forest when BYU never led. The Cougars have led wire-to-wire in seven games this season.