GAME 18 - BYU Plays at Utah Saturday
BYU GAME #18 FAST FACTS
"DESERET FIRST DUEL RIVALRY"
BYU COUGARS (12-5, 1-1 MWC)
UTAH UTES (10-5, 1-1 MWC)
Saturday, Jan. 19, 2008
Huntsman Center (15,000)
Salt Lake City, Utah
2 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (57-23 in third season; same overall)
Utah, Jim Boylen (10-5 in first season; same overall)
Utah leads, 124-120, after BYU swept the season series last year
VERSUS (Tim Neverett, play-by-play; Tim McCormick, game analysis)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (1 p.m. MT pregame show -- Greg Wrubell, play-by-play; Mark Durrant, game analyst)
Live audio and live stats links are available on the basketball schedule page at www.byucougars.com
BYU PLAYS AT RIVAL UTAH SATURDAY
BYU (12-5, 1-1 MWC) will travel up the road to face in-state and Mountain West Conference rival Utah (10-5, 1-1 MWC) on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Salt Lake City. The game will be the first men's basketball contest in the newly created Deseret First Duel rivalry series, which the Cougars currently lead 16-6 with five points on the line Saturday. Both the Utes and Cougars have begun league play 1-1 with home wins and road losses. Saturday's game will be nationally televised on VERSUS 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 1 p.m. MT.
The Cougars will return to the Marriott Center next week, facing San Diego State on Wednesday in the first of two home games. The game will begin at 6 p.m. and be televised on The Mtn.
THE DESERET FIRST DUEL RIVALRY SERIES
The 2007-08 season marks the first year of the newly created Deseret First Duel persented by Deseret First Credit Union.
The term Deseret refers to the original name of the territory of Utah (State of Deseret) and is an appropriate name for an athletic rivalry that dates back to the 1890s. The term Duel refers to a contest between two parties to decide a point of honor. Blending the two terms is the ideal name for a formalized series.
"Deseret First is active in communities throughout Utah, so partnering with BYU and Utah and this rivalry seemed like a natural way to continue supporting events Utahns value," remarked Deseret First Credit Union President/CEO Kris J. Mecham.
The rivalry series includes competition in the 12 sports the two universities compete head-to-head during regular-season play.
The Deseret First Duel uses a system that awards points to the winner of each head-to-head competition. A team trophy is awarded to the individual winner of each sport -- football, basketball, softball, etc. Points won by the individual sports count toward each school's overall total. At the conclusion of each school year, a granite traveling trophy will be awarded to the overall rivalry series champion.
The Utah vs. BYU rivalry is one of the oldest and strongest in the country. In November 2005, the Wall Street Journal rated the rivalry the fourth best in college athletics. Thanks to a partnership with Deseret First Credit Union, the rivalry now has an official name and a traveling trophy to signify yearly supremacy. The Deseret First Duel sponsorship between the two universities and Deseret First Credit Union is for five years.
"We have discussed the concept of a rivalry series for a long time," said BYU Director of Athletics Tom Holmoe. "The rivalry between the two schools has a long and storied tradition. Dr. Hill and I have been looking for ways to promote the positive things about this celebrated rivalry. Our hope is the Deseret First Duel will add excitement to our competitions."
"We've been talking about formalizing a rivalry series for several years now, and it's really exciting to see it become a reality. The Utah-BYU rivalry is widely recognized as one of the nation's best in terms of competitiveness and fan interest," said University of Utah Director of Athletics Dr. Chris Hill. "The rivalry series will serve as another avenue for fans of both schools to show their involvement and enthusiasm. I see the competition as a great way to grow the intensity of the rivalry in a positive fashion."
Both universities have a Deseret First Duel web link on their respective athletic websites (byucougars.com and utahutes.com). The website provides scores, point totals, upcoming rivalry games and special online offers, including the ability to enter to win the Ultimate Fan Experience.
Deseret First Credit Union, founded in 1955, operates 11 branches from Logan to St. George, has more than 50,000 members and over $417 million in assets. Deseret First is a full-service credit union offering deposit and loan accounts, insurance, investments, SBA loans and more.
BYU currently leads the series 16-6 with five points being decided by Saturday's men's basketball game at 2 p.m. and another five points on the line Saturday at 7 p.m. when the women's basketball teams square off in the Marriott Center. The first event of the Deseret First Duel took place on Oct. 12 at Utah when the Cougar women's volleyball team struck first with a five-game win, earning three points. The volleyball team swept the season series with a win on Nov. 9 in Provo to earn another three points, while the BYU women's soccer team lost to the Utes on Oct. 13, garnering Utah's first and only points of the series thus far. A 17-7 BYU victory on the gridiron on Nov. 24 brought the current standings to 16-6 in favor of the Cougars.
BYU VS. UTAH MEN'S BASKETBALL SERIES
BYU and Utah will meet for the 245th time Saturday. The series ranks 10th in the NCAA record book in terms of most games in a rivalry and is the 11th longest running rivalry dating back to 1909. Utah is the opponent that BYU has played the most in its history (244 games) and is BYU's second-longest running series (Utah State series began in 1905 and includes 222 games). BYU won the inaugural game, 32-9, in Provo, on Jan. 23, 1909, and won again on March 5 of that year, 40-27, in SLC on its way to winning the first eight games against the Utes. In the 99 years of the BYU-Utah series, this season will mark only the seventh year the Cougars have trailed Utah in the overall series after the Utes took their first series lead in 2000. Utah currenty holds a 124-120 series advantage. BYU has a 67-47 record in the Marriott Center against the Utes, while Utah holds a 72-47 advantage in Salt Lake City. BYU has a 6-5 edge on neutral floors. The Cougars have won three of the last five meetings while Utah has won six of the last 10. BYU swept the season series last year for the first time since 1994 with a 76-66 win in Salt Lake City, BYU's first victory in the Huntsman Center since 1994, and an 85-62 win in Provo, securing the outright Mountain West Conference title. BYU ended a string of 12 straight Utah wins, its longest in the series, with a 58-54 victory at the 2000 MWC Tournament semifinals. The Utes' 2003 victory in Provo ended BYU's nation-best 44-game homecourt victory streak.
BYU SERIES RECORD VS. UTAH
Overall Series Record: Utah leads 124-120
BYU Record in Provo: 67-47 (20-17 in the Marriott Center)
BYU Record in Salt Lake: 47-72 (11-29 in the Jon M. Huntsman Center)
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 6-5
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 3-2
BYU Record in OT Games: 4-7* (1-1 Rd, 2-5 Hm, 1-1 Ntrl)
*1-0 in 2OT, 0-2 in 3OT - all in Provo (83-85)
Last Overtime Game: 1991, won v. Utah @ WAC, 51-49
Longest BYU Win Streak: 8 (1909-12)
Longest Utah Win Streak: 12 (1995-2000)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 31 two times (1965, 94)
Largest Utah Margin of Victory: 36, 85-49 (1997)
Most Points Scored by BYU: 115 (1966)
Most Points Scored by Utah: 106 two times (1962, 1963)
BYU PROBABLE STARTERS
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. HOMETOWN / LAST TEAM PPG RPG
F/C 44 Trent Plaisted 6-11 245 Jr. San Antonio, Texas / Clark HS 15.9 9.1
F 45 Jonathan Tavernari 6-6 215 So. Sao Bernardo, Brazil / Bishop Gorman HS 13.6 5.6
G 30 Lee Cummard 6-7 185 Jr. Mesa, Ariz. / Mesa HS 15.4 6.2
G 20 Sam Burgess 6-3 190 Sr. Alpine, Utah / Snow College 8.6 3.2
G 24 Ben Murdock 6-2 185 Sr. Bountiful, Utah / Dixie State College 4.8 2.2
UTAH'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
21 F Shaun Green 6-8 208 Jr. 8.0 4.0 Salt Lake City, Utah
50 C Luke Nevill 7-1 265 Jr. 13.8 7.2 Perth, Australia
11 G Lawrence Borha 6-3 205 Jr. 7.6 2.5 Staten Island, N.Y.
15 G Carlon Brown 6-4 210 Fr. 4.1 3.5 Riverside, Calif.
32 G Tyler Kepkay 6-0 185 Jr. 10.1 3.3 Vancouver, B.C.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- BYU (12-5, 1-1) was 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 with 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 UTAH
Utah returns four starters and nine lettermen from last year's 11-19 team that finished seventh in the Mountain West Conference with a 6-10 record. Under the direction of first-year coach Jim Boylen, the Utes enter Saturday's game with a 10-5 overall record and a 1-1 MWC mark. The Utes are coming off a 64-56 overtime loss at San Diego State Wednesday after opening league play with a 58-36 home win over Air Force. Utah boasts three double-digit scorers in Luke Nevill (13.8 ppg), Johnnie Bryant (12.9 ppg) and JC transfer Tyler Kepkay (10.1 ppg). A starter last year, Bryant has come off the bench in every game this year and his shooting 55.4 percent from the floor, 44.3 percent with a team-high 35 makes from long range and 93.3 percent at the line with only one miss (14-of-15). Nevill leads Utah on the boards at 7.2 rebounds per game while reserve Luka Drca tops the team with 3.0 assists per contest. As a team, Utah leads the conference and ranks No. 6 nationally in field goal percentage. The Utes are converting 50.3 percent from the field, 41.2 percent behind the arc and 74.6 percent at the line while scoring 69.3 points per game. Utah gives up just 60.5 points per game while opponents have shot a combined 42.9 percent from the floor and 36.1 percent from three-point range. Utah has held five different opponents to 54 points or less this season. The Runnin' Utes did not hold a single 2006-07 opponent to less than 55 points. Utah holds a 39.9--27.0 edge on the glass over its opposition.
UTAH'S LAST OUTING -- UTAH FALLS TO AZTECS IN OT
SAN -- Lorrenzo Wade scored 20 points and Kyle Spain added 19 to lead San Diego State to a 64-56 overtime victory against Utah on Wednesday night. Spain scored six points in overtime and Billy White added four points for the Aztecs, who blew a nine-point lead with six minutes left in regulation. Utah's Shaun Green forced overtime on a lay-up with 40 seconds left that tied the game at 52. San Diego State (13-4 overall, 3-0 Mountain West) won its first three conference games for the first time since 1985 when it played in the Western Athletic Conference. After the teams traded baskets to start overtime, White scored off his own miss to put San Diego State ahead to stay at 56-54 with 2:49 left. The Aztecs made all eight free throws in the final 1:41 as they held Utah to just two baskets in extra five minutes. After San Diego State took a 50-41 lead with six minutes left, the Aztecs made just 2-of-5 free throws and did not hit a shot from the floor in the rest of regulation. Luke Nevill and Johnnie Bryant scored 12 points apiece for Utah (10-5, 1-1 MWC), which lost to San Diego State for just the fourth time in 26 games between the schools. San Diego State stormed back from a 30-20 halftime deficit by scoring 14 unanswered points to start the second half. The Aztecs hit their first five shots, including a pair of 3-pointers by Spain, for a 34-30 lead just more than five minutes into the half.
With the old Oquirrh bucket and the state bragging rights that go along with it once again on the line this season, the Cougars are hoping to defend the in-state title they won last year with a 5-0 record. The Cougars have already scored two in-state victories this season with a 72-57 win over Weber State on Dec. 5 and a 70-55 triumph over Southern Utah on Dec. 21, making them 2-0 so far this year. In addition to Saturday's game, BYU will face the University of Utah once more on Feb. 20 to round out in-state play.
Team Record Games
BYU 2-0 W vs. Weber State, W vs. Southern Utah
Utah 2-0 W at Weber State, W vs. Utah State
Utah State 2-2 L at Utah, L at Weber State, W vs. SUU, W vs. Utah Valley
Utah Valley 1-1 W at SUU, L at Utah State
Weber State 1-2 W vs. Utah State, L vs. Utah, L at BYU
Southern Utah 0-3 L at Utah State, L vs. Utah Valley, L at BYU
LAST YEAR VS. UTAH
LAST YEAR AT UTAH -- BYU ENDS UTAH RUN IN THE HUNTSMAN CENTER
SALT LAKE -- The Cougars made history Wednesday night, snapping a 12-year drought in the Huntsman Center with a crucial 76-66 win at Utah. The victory improves BYU to 16-6 overall and 6-2 in the Mountain West Conference, which is tied for first place with No. 16 Air Force and No. 25 UNLV through the first half of league action. Keena Young led the Cougars with 21 points while Jonathan Tavernari posted 17 and Jimmy Balderson added 11. Balderson, Austin Ainge and Vuk Ivanovic each pulled down five rebounds to pace the Cougars, and Ainge tied his career high with eight assists while helping BYU record a season-low seven turnovers. Utah's Luke Nevill scored the first five points for his team to establish an early 5-2 Ute lead, but Plaisted quickly made his presence known with a spectacular one-handed dunk to spark a 7-0 Cougar run. However, Utah responded with four straights points to knot the score at 9-9 at the first break. The two teams battled back and forth from there with neither able to gain more than a two-point advantage. Utah kept the pressure on BYU as the Utes scored on every trip and forced the Cougars to answer. BYU was up to the task despite losing Plaisted at the 13:40 mark to his second foul as Ivanovic and Tavernari both scored off the bench, including a three-pointer from Tavernari to put the Cougars up 18-17 with 10:59 remaining in the half. Tavernari heated up from downtown after that, draining another shot from beyond the arc to extend the BYU lead to 21-17 at the 9:40 mark. After the Utes responded with a Nevill dunk, Tavernari demonstrated his versatility with a layin, marking eight straight BYU points for the true freshman. Two straight buckets from Young gave the Cougars their largest lead of the game thus far at 28-21 with 5:30 left in the first period of play, bringing his game total to 11 points and marking the 19th time in 22 games he has scored in double figures. The Utes got back to within three points at 30-27, but BYU scored the final four points of the half to take a 34-27 lead into the locker room, marking the 17th time this season the Cougars have held the lead at the break. Balderson got the Cougars started in the second half with a make from long range on BYU's first possession. After a defensive stop, Lee Cummard continued the three-point barrage with another make from downtown to put the Cougars ahead 40-27 just 46 seconds into the second half. The Utes got on the board with a make from Nevill and a three-pointer of their own to cut the lead to 40-32, but Young quickly ended the Utah scoring run with a putback following two offensive rebounds. Another battle ensued from there as the rims opened wide for both teams and the scoring became fast and furious. After trading scores to a 51-42 BYU lead, Balderson sparked an 11-2 Cougar run, thanks in part to seven points from Tavernari, to take a 62-44 lead with just over 10 minutes remaining. Trailing 66-47, the Utes began a comeback bid with a 12-2 run to cut the lead to nine points at 68-59 with 3:25 left to play. However, Young scored huge back-to-back buckets for the Cougars to re-establish a double-digit lead at 72-59 with 1:56 remaining. Utah's Chris Grant drained a three-pointer at the 1:36 mark, but it was too little too late as BYU posted the 76-66 win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought this was a great college basketball game. I thought it was a great crowd. It was a great atmosph"Obviously, this win is really, really big for our program. These guys have played well all year on the road against some tough teams. Now we're getting the confidence we need to win on the road. We ended the first half of league play in a good spot."
-- "Our three post players, Vuk Ivanovic, Trent Plaisted and Gavin MacGregor, did a great job. When you're trying to stop Luke Nevill down low, you have to anticipate foul trouble. The three of them did a good job of giving us solid minutes when we needed it."
-- "Gavin (MacGregor) worked a lot more with the first team this week in practice than he ever has before. He got a lot of reps and did a good job of putting it together in the game tonight."
-- "Austin (Ainge) did a good job of running our offense and getting the ball where we needed it. He's been playing with more and more confidence."
-- "It was a very physical game, and I thought our guys responded well to that. We knew that rebounding was going to be a big key, and we did a good job."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT UTAH
-- Individual Career Highs: Gavin MacGregor - 4 points, 2 rebounds, 10 minutes; Austin Ainge - 8 assists (tied).
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Fewest turnovers - 7
-- BYU's 76-66 win over the Utes in the Huntsman Center marked the first time the Cougars have defeated Utah in Salt Lake City since a 64-62 win on Jan. 8, 1994, a 12-year drought.
-- With a 6-2 Mountain West Conference record through the first half of league play, the Cougars are in a first-place tie with No. 16 Air Force and No. 25 UNLV in the league standings. Three teams are tied for fourth place at 4-4 and three teams, including the Utes, are tied for seventh place at 2-6.
-- The Cougars' win over the Utes also secured the Oquirrh Bucket for BYU as the in-state basketball team with the best record against in-state teams (4-0). BYU had not won the Bucket since 2001.
-- BYU is now 15-3 when scoring at least 70 points and 14-0 when holding opponents below the 70-point threshold.
-- With a 33-26 rebounding advantage against the Utes, the Cougars are now 15-0 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- Leading 34-27 at Utah, BYU went into the locker room with a halftime lead for the 17th time this season, The Cougars have held opponents under 30 points in the first half 13 times this year. The Cougars are now 15-2 when leading at the break. BYU is also 15-0 when leading at the five-minute mark and 15-0 when leading at the one-minute mark.
-- The Cougars' .462 (12-for-26) first-half shooting percentage at Utah marked the first MWC road game in which BYU did not shoot at least 50 percent in the first half. Including their marks at Utah, the Cougars are now shooting .529 from the floor and .548 from three-point range in the first half of league road games.
-- With 21 points against the Utes, Keena Young has now scored in double figures in 19 of 22 games. Young scored 13 of his points in the first half, his highest first-half scoring total of the season.
-- Jonathan Tavernari again provided a huge spark for BYU off the bench as he scored in double figures for the fifth time this season and the fourth time in seven games with 17 points. He entered the game at the 12:01 mark of the first half and drained two of his first three attempts from three-point range to turn a 17-15 Utah lead into a 21-17 Cougar advantage. Tavernari added a layin moments later to score eight straight points for BYU.
-- Jimmy Balderson added 11 points to mark his 10th double-figure scoring outing of the season.
-- Trent Plaisted recorded his 26th dunk of the season and the 58th of his career just 1:11 into the game with a spectacular one-handed throwdown.off of an assist by Jimmy Balderson.
-- Gavin MacGregor made an appearance with 1:35 left in the first half, his first playing time since Jan. 10 when he played 2 minutes against TCU. The sophomore walk-on scored a career-high four points and two rebounds in a career-best 10 minutes.
LAST YEAR AT BYU -- BYU WIN OVER UTAH EARNS MWC TITLE
PROVO -- Playing before a sellout crowd of 22,812, the BYU Cougars secured their position as the Mountain West Conference Champions on Saturday evening with an 85-62 victory against in-state rival, University of Utah. With this win, the Cougars improved to 23-7 overall and 13-3 in conference play, winning their first outright MWC regular-season title. Six seniors were honored before the last home game of their careers, including Austin Ainge, Jimmy Balderson, Derek Dawes, Fernando Malaman, Mike Rose and Keena Young. BYU was led in scoring by Young and Sam Burgess with 15 points each. Also scoring in double figures was Trent Plaisted with 13 points and Ainge with 11 points. Young also led the team with nine rebounds. Utah got out to an early 6-1 lead before Young earned his first two points on the Cougars' possession following a Luke Nevill traveling call. A blocked shot by Plaisted was soon followed by a three-point play by Young with 16:28 to play in the first half, evening the score at 6-6. With 14:03 to play in the first half, the Cougars took their first lead of the game after a dunk by Plaisted. Lee Cummard increased BYU's lead to 13-9 by hitting his first three-pointer of the night. Utah's Johnnie Bryant hit a three-pointer, giving his team a one-point lead, before Balderson made one of his own with 10:15 left in the first half. A pass from Ainge to Burgess gave the Cougars a 21-20 lead. Burgess' make from behind the arc with just under seven minutes to play in the first half was soon followed by the same from Ainge. Young's make off the glass gave the Cougars a 29-21 lead. A three-pointer by Balderson with a minute to play in the half brought the score to 34-24. The fans were then brought to their feet when Ainge's fast break lay-up resulted in a three-point play. BYU held a 37-26 advantage to close the first half, which consisted of five lead changes. To open the second half of play, Plaisted went to 2-for-2 from the line after Nevill was called for his fourth foul. Plaisted recorded his second dunk of the night with 17:30 in the second half. After a missed jumper, Young pulled down his own rebound to bring the score to 44-29. Mike Rose scored his first points of the game on a three-pointer with 15:30 to go in the second half. Jonathan Tavernari increased the Cougar lead to 14 points when he made a lay-up on a pass from Young. Ainge followed with a three-pointer on the next possession. Balderson hit a three-pointer of his own with 13:30 in the second half. After a Balderson miss, Tavernari scored the rebound and laid it in, bringing the score to 57-35. Mike Rose capitalized on a three-point play with 10:46 to play in the second half. The Cougars' 15-0 run ended on a Utah free throw by Daniel Deane. With 8:40 to go in the second half Mike Rose found his second basket from behind the arc, bringing the score to 69-40, BYU's largest lead of the game. On Utah's next possession, Burgess recorded his first block of the season. A lay-in by Tavernari brought the Cougar lead to 73-49. A pair of free throws by Utah's Ricky Johns with just under five minutes to play in the game was followed by a score from Plaisted. A successful trip to the free-throw line put the Cougars up two more points, bringing the lead to 81-57. Utah's Johns hit a late three-pointer with under two minutes to play. After a second trip to the free-throw line for Burgess, BYU was up 85-60 with 41 seconds to play in the game.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "Obviously it was a well played game. I thought our team was really together tonight. There was balanced scoring, but I really thought we were able to handle the emotions of the night and stay together."
-- "One thing I do know is they deserve it. They've worked pretty hard. We got help from our bench. We got help from our starters. It was a team victory, and it's been that way all year."
Utah Head Coach Ray Giacoletti
-- "This has been a great rivalry. BYU is very deserving. Their group of seniors have come together and, with a few additions, they have all the pieces."
-- "We just need to go and regroup for the Mountain West Conference Tournament."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST YEAR AT BYU
-- Individual Career Highs: Sam Burgess -- 15 points, 4 rebounds (tied); Austin Ainge -- 1 block (tied); Keena Young -- 4 assists (tied).
-- BYU's win over Utah extended its home winning streak to 31 games, which is currently the longest active home victory streak in the nation. The Cougars went 17-0 at home this season and are 403-116 (.776) all-time in the Marriott Center.
-- With the victory, BYU has secured its first outright MWC regular-season title and its first outright league crown since 1987-88. The Cougars have won 27 conference titles. This year marks the first time since 1978-79 that the men's basketball, women's basketball and football teams have all won outright league crowns in the same season.
-- BYU's season-high crowd of 22,812 vs. Utah marked the Cougars' second sellout this season (22,700 vs. then-No. 13 Air Force). Prior to this year, BYU had not sold out two games in a season since 1981-82 (vs. UNLV, vs. Utah). The attendance mark was also the 21st largest in Marriott Center history and the seventh largest for a BYU vs. Utah game. It was the largest crowd in MWC history.
-- With a record of 23-7 in the regular season, BYU became just the sixth team in program history to reach 23 wins prior to postseason play. No Cougar team had reached the 23-win mark in the regular season since 1992-93.
-- The Cougars set a Mountain West Conference record in their final league game, finishing conference play with 1,263 total points to surpass SDSU's mark of 1,246 points set last season. BYU entered the game needing 69 points to set the record and finished with 85. The record was actually set on a three-point make from Mike Rose with 8:38 left in the game.
-- The Cougars have also won the Old Oquirrh Bucket and the in-state basketball bragging rights that go along with it for the first time since 2000-01 with a 5-0 record this season against in-state teams. BYU, which actually secured the Bucket with a win at Utah earlier this season, has claimed the Bucket eight times since 1975.
-- With the 85-62 (+23) win over Utah, BYU won five 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. BYU has won just 11 games by 20 points or more in MWC play since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season. The Cougars had not beaten Utah by at least 20 points since March 10, 1994, a 96-65 win in the WAC Tournament. The last time BYU recorded a margin of victory that large over the Utes in Provo was Jan. 15, 1982 with a 74-51 win.
-- BYU is now 21-4 when scoring over 70 points and 19-0 when holding opponents under the 70-point threshold. The Cougars are also 11-0 this year when scoring at least 80 points.
-- With a 36-24 rebounding advantage against the Utes, the Cougars are now 22-1 when winning the battle of the boards.
-- With a 37-26 advantage at the break, BYU enjoyed its 22nd halftime lead of the season and their 11th in double figures. Overall, BYU is 20-2 when leading at the break, 3-4 when trailing and 0-1 when tied.
-- With 15 points against Utah, Young has now scored in double figures in 26 of 30 games this season, helping BYU go 20-6 in those games. Young scored 11 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the field in the first half.
-- After Plaisted began the game with a free-throw make, Young scored seven straight points for BYU to spark a 13-3 run that gave the Cougars a 13-9 lead.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- REBELS ROLL AT THOMAS & MACK
LAS -- On a night that the Cougars were held to their lowest point total of the season, BYU dropped its first Mountain West Conference game of the year at UNLV, 70-41. The Cougars (12-5, 1-1 MWC) fell for the fourth straight time against the Rebels (13-4, 2-1 MWC) at the Thomas & Mack Center. The Cougars came into their first MWC road game averaging 79.5 points per game, but they left with connecting on just 33 percent of their shots for only 41 points. BYU also shot a season low from the free-throw line, connecting on 8-of-20 (.400) attempts. BYU was led by junior guard Lee Cummard as he finished as the only Cougar in double-digit scoring with 11. Chris Miles and Chris Collinsworth came off the bench to give a boost to the Cougars. Miles finished second in scoring with a season-high nine points, and Collinsworth pulled down a career- and game-high 11 rebounds. UNLV got out to a hot start as the Rebels started the game with a 9-3 run over the first 4:20 of the contest. The Rebels eventually built the lead to 11 points at the 12:17 mark with a 16-5 advantage. UNLV senior Curtis Terry got going early for the Rebels as he hit on his first three attempts from beyond the arc. The Rebels continued to connect from beyond the arc, connecting on 7-of-12 three-pointers in the first half. Terry went on to lead the Rebels in first-half scoring as he finished with 14 before the break. UNLV went into the locker room up 39-21, holding BYU to its lowest first-half total of the season. The Cougars' previous low in scoring was 31 against No. 1 North Carolina. BYU's first-half difficulties came in part due to 12 turnovers in the first 20 minutes. The second half proved to be much of the same for the Cougars as their offensive woes continued. BYU never got within 13 points of the Rebels and was only able to notch 20 more points in the game. Another offensive category that BYU struggled in was its three-point shooting. Coming into the game against the Rebels, the Cougars were averaging 37 percent from beyond the arc but were only able to hit on 3-of-21 (.143) attempts. Both teams went through long second-half scoring droughts. BYU stiffened its defense as the Cougars held UNLV without a field goal for more than six minutes. However, the Cougars were unable to capitalize on the Rebels' lack of scoring as BYU did not connect on a shot of its own from the field from the 12:15 mark to the 4:30 point of the second half. UNLV was led by Terry, who finished the game with 21 points. Rene Rougeau also chipped in 15 points for the Rebels along with seven rebounds. Matt Shaw paced the Rebels on the boards with eight.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I thought we came in with a good game plan, but we just got outplayed. We got outplayed on the offensive end of the floor, and we got outplayed on the defensive end of the floor. We didn't have any consistent offensive play in the post, and we didn't hit shots. UNLV dominated this game."
-- "Obviously it's hard to win when you can't consistently score. I thought our zone worked and we got some stops, but we weren't able to capitalize because we couldn't score."
-- "Turnovers really can hurt you, but the type of turnovers we had tonight really can kill you. You just can't defend them (when you turn the ball over in that way)."
-- "We have a lot of players that it's their first time out there in a conference game on the road. It's a different game and a different environment. We just got outplayed."
-- "I thought between Chris Miles and Chris Collinsworth we got some good minutes off the bench in the post. We just need to get more consistency."
-- "The one thing about your team as you go through a season is you find out about the character of a team as you go through these kinds of experiences. We knew this would be a tough stretch on our schedule. I really believe that we have very competitive guys, and we will bounce back from this. We just need to get it behind us and get on with (the next game). We've got another big challenge ahead of ourselves on Saturday."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Jonathan Tavernari returned to the starting lineup for his 11th start of the year, joining Ben Murdock, Sam Burgess, Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted in the starting five. The latter four have started every game this season.
-- Individual Career Highs: Chris Collinsworth -- 11 rebounds.
-- Individual Season Highs: Chris Miles -- 9 points.
-- BYU's only leads in the game came at 3-0 and 3-2. BYU's 41 points is the fewest scored by a Cougar team since losing 70-39 at Air Force on Feb. 21, 2005. The 29-point margin of defeat is the largest for the Cougars since a 27-point deficit at San Diego State on Jan. 21, 2006 (88-61).
-- BYU suffered season lows in all shooting categories, making just 33.3 percent from the floor, 14.3 percent from behind the arc and 40 percent at the free-throw line. BYU's three treys is the fewest made in a game since converting twice vs. Colorado State last season (Feb. 21, 2007).
-- UNLV's 39-21 halftime lead marks only the third time BYU has trailed at the break this year. The Cougars failed to score 30 points in the first half for the first time this year. BYU's 21 first-half points and 20 points in the second half are the team's lowest outputs of the season.
-- Lee Cummard was the lone Cougar to score in double figures with 11 points, marking the first time this year only one Cougar reached double digits.
-- Cummard was one of three Cougars to make a three-pointer, extending his streak of consecutive games with a trey to 11. Jimmer Fredette and Tavernari also made a three against the Rebels. Tavernari and Cummard have converted from behind the arc in 16 of 17 games this season.
-- Cummard was a perfect 2-for-2 from the free-throw line, improving his season total to 37-of-41 (.902) after making his last 14 straight. Cummard has been perfect from the line in eight of the 11 games in which he has taken free throws.
-- True freshman Collinsworth posted a game- and career-high 11 rebounds, just the second time this season he has posted double-digit boards. Collinsworth is averaging 6.4 rebounds per game in the last five contests.
-- Miles posted a season-high 9 points on 4-for-7 shooting from the field in 17 minutes, starting the second half. Miles is averaging 7.6 minutes per game on the year and 16.7 mpg in the last three contests.
-- Tavernari added to his team-high steal total with two picks at UNLV, recording 22 on the season. Tavernari has had at least two steals in eight of 17 games this year.
COUGARS BY THE NUMBERS
1 Rank of Dave Rose's 57 wins among the 18 head coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level in 2005-06.
2 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 1,098 career points.
3 Number of top 10 teams BYU has played this season - No. 1 North Carolina, then-No. 6 Louisville and then-No. 9 Michigan State. The Cougars beat the Cardinals, 78-76, before falling, 73-63, to the Tarheels despite battling UNC through six second-half lead changes. BYU held a double-digit halftime lead against the Spartans before losing, 68-61.
5 Number of games in which BYU has scored at least 90 points, the most since 1995-96 when the Cougars also reached 90 points in five games. BYU has not scored at least 90 in six games on the year since 1993-94. The Cougars currently lead the Mountain West Conference in scoring at 77.2 points per game.
5 Number of statistical categories in which Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the MWC including field-goal percentage (2nd - .576), scoring (5th - 15.4), assists (6th - 3.47), offensive rebounds (6th - 2.12) and total rebounds (8th - 6.2).
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 an 11-game streak with at least one made three-pointer.
8 Number of games in which Lee Cummard has been perfect from the free-throw line out of 11 games in which he taken free throws. Cummard has made his last 14 straight free throws and had made 19 straight prior to a miss against Southern Utah. He is shooting 90.2 percent (37-for-41) on the year.
9 Number of statistical categories in which a BYU player ranks among the top three in the MWC out of the 12 categories tracked by the league.
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 16 of 17 games this season while racking up halftime leads in 14 of 17 games, including 11 by double digits.
14 Number of games in which BYU has led by double digits. The Cougars have also led by at least 20 points in 10 contests and 30 points in three. BYU has led wire-to-wire in seven games this year.
16 Number of games this season Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer. Sam Burgess has made a trey in 13 of 17 games this year.
17 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 17 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 last 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.
57 Number of wins Dave Rose has recorded in his 2+ seasons as a head coach, going 57-23 for a 71.3 winning percentage and winning back-to-back Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors in his first two years.
WINNING WITH ROSE
Of the 18 coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level in 2005-06, Dave Rose has earned the most wins with a 57-23 (.713) record and is second in winning percentage by .014 as of Jan. 15. Andy Kennedy, who was hired as the head coach at Ole Miss in 2006 after a year as the interim head coach at Cincinnati, has gone 56-21 (.727) during that span. See the list below.
Coach, School Record Percentage
Dave Rose, BYU 57-23 .713
Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss* 56-21 .727
Jeff Neubauer, Eastern Kentucky 42-37 .532
Bob Jeter, Wis.-Milwaukee 40-39 .506
Doug Wojcik, Tulsa 39-33 .542
Dave Dickerson, Tulane 39-36 .520
Lewis Jackson, Alabama St. 39-45 .464
Tommy Dempsey, Rider 35-40 .467
Orlando Early, La.-Monroe 34-43 .442
Dane Fife, IPFW 28-46 .378
Charles Ramsey, Eastern Michigan 25-49 .338
Brian Nash, St. Francis (N.Y.) 24-51 .320
Cliff Warren, Jacksonville 23-48 .324
Rob Flaska, Centenary 21-54 .280
Gil Jackson, Howard 20-56 .263
George Nessman, San Jose St. 19-58 .247
Reggie Theus, New Mexico St. Left for NBA
David Spencer, UC Riverside Resigned for health reasons
*record includes one season as interim head coach at Cincinnati
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 2-3 in true road games this year coming off a 70-41 loss at UNLV on Tuesday. With a 1-2 record on neutral courts, BYU is 3-5 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 has another chance to prove its resiliency this Saturday after losing at UNLV on Tuesday as the Cougars have rebounded from all four of their previous losses with wins. BYU bounced back from a setback against No. 1 North Carolina with a victory at Portland, a loss vs. then-No. 9 Michigan State with a win over Lamar, a loss at Boise State with a triumph against Loyola Marymount and a defeat at Wake Forest with a victory over Colorado State. The Cougars won those games by an average margin of 23.5 points. BYU head coach Dave Rose has only lost back-to-back regular-season games once in his Cougar career (vs. then-No. 25 Michigan State and at Lamar in 2006-07).
MAGIC NUMBER: 70
BYU is 12-1 when scoring at least 70 points this year and 9-1 when holding opponents under the 70-point mark while averaging 77.2 points and allowing 65.3 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.
CLEANING THE GLASS
BYU has won the battle of the boards in 13 of 17 games this year. BYU is besting opponents by an average of 6.8 boards per contest. 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 nine times. Team-high rebounding honors have been shared by four players and team-best assist accolades by six.
Four Cougar freshman are making an impact this year as Chris Collinsworth, Jimmer Fredette, Michael Loyd, Jr. and Nick Martineau have 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 16.3 minutes per game apiece while Loyd is posting 9.0 and Martineau has seen an average of 6.9 minutes of action per contest. Fredette is fifth on the team in scoring with 6.6 ppg and second in steals with 20. Collinsworth is fourth for BYU with 5.1 rebounds per game after posting a career-high 11 boards at UNLV and has started six games. Martineau is tied for fifth in the Mountain West Conference in assist/turnover ratio at 2.00.
After setting a program record with 256 three-pointers last season, the Cougars are on pace to break that record this year having already made 143 treys so far. BYU has posted double-digit triples in a game six times this year and in three of the last four games with 10 against Colorado State, 10 at Wake Forest, 12 against Loyola Marymount, 11 against Lamar, 12 at Long Beach State and 13 vs. Hartford, marking just the sixth time in program history that the Cougars have posted at least 13 threes in a game, including a record 15 against UNLV last season. The Cougars have made at least five three-pointers in every game this season except at UNLV when they made three. The Cougars tied the program record with 33 three-point attempts against Loyola Marymount. Individually, both Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have made a three-pointer in 16 of 17 games this season while Sam Burgess has done so in 13 of 17 contests. Cummard is currently riding an 11-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 45 treys so far this season.
BYU IN THE RANKINGS
The BYU men's basketball team fell out of the top-25 polls released on Dec. 31 after a 73-70 road loss at Boise State 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.
Seniors Ben Murdock and Sam Burgess along with juniors Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted have started all 17 games this year while sophomore Jonathan Tavernari has made 11 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 1,098 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 571 career rebounds, making him just the 21st player overall and fifth junior among four-year players to record at least 1,000 career points and 500 career rebounds.
BURGESS COMIN' UP BIG
Senior co-captain Sam Burgess is making the most of his final BYU campaign as he is fourth on the team in scoring (8.6), third in field-goal shooting among players with at least 30 attempts (.444) and third in assists (2.1) while leading the team in three-point shooting (.418). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 5.0 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 17 games this season after starting just one game in his two prior seasons as a Cougar.
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 five losses, the Cougars still boast a scoring margin of 11.9 points this year. BYU won 17 games by double-digits last year, including seven by 20 or more points, and was the only team in the Mountain West Conference to not have a regular-season game decided by less than four points. With an average scoring margin of +9.1 last season, the Cougars posted their largest margin of victory since 1993 over the course of the year.
THIS YEAR'S LOSSES
BYU's five losses this year have come on neutral floors against No. 1 North Carolina and No. 6 (then No. 9) Michigan State and on the road at Boise State, at Wake Forest and at UNLV. BYU held double-digit leads over both Michigan State and Boise State and battled the top-rated Tar Heels through six second-half lead changes. North Carolina (18-0), Michigan State (15-2), Boise State (12-4), Wake Forest (11-5) and UNLV (13-4) have a combined 69-15 record for a .821 winning percentage as of Jan. 15.
HITTING THE MARK
BYU is shooting 46.7 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 38.9 percent from the floor (No. 1 in the MWC). Overall, the Cougars have shot above 50 percent in six games this year. BYU has shot above 50 percent in the first half of six games this season and in the second half of eight contests, totaling 14 halves of play 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 two and three among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 57.6 and 57.2 percent, respectively, and 30th and 40th, respectively, in the national rankings as of Jan. 13.
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, Wake Forest and UNLV are the only teams this season to post a halftime lead against BYU. The Cougars are besting opponents by an average of 8.9 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 16 of 17 games 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 17 games this year, recording a +7.5 margin in that category. BYU has posted a double-digit margin in eight games, including a season-best +38 margin (54-16) against Jackson State. The Cougars are 11-0 when besting opponents in the paint while all five of BYU's losses on the season have come when the Cougars have been outscored in the paint.
MAKING THE MOST OF THE MISCUE
Despite recording a -0.6 turnover margin with their opponents on the year, the Cougars have outscored foes in points off of turnovers in 13 games this season, posting a +5.8 scoring margin in that category. BYU scored a season-best 26 points off of turnovers against Loyola Marymount.
FAST AND FURIOUS
BYU has dominated on the fast break this season, outscoring opponents in that category in 13 of 17 games by an average margin 5.9 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 six 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 1.3 points per game this season, tallying 378 points or 22.2 points per game to opponents' 356 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 17 games and have led by more than 20 points in 10 games and more than 30 points in three contests. The exception to the double-digit leads came against No. 1 North Carolina when the game-high BYU lead was two points, at Wake Forest when BYU never led and at UNLV when the Cougars' large lead was three points. The Cougars have led wire-to-wire in seven games this season.
WORTHY OF MENTION
-- BYU's 20-point club this year includes Trent Plaisted, Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari. Plaisted has scored 20 points or more in five games while Cummard has done it four times and Tavernari has done so twice. Among Plaisted's top scoring nights were 21 points against No. 6 Louisville, 24 points against No. 1 North Carolina and a season-high 25 points in BYU's Mountain West Conference opener against Colorado State. Cummard had a career-high 27 points against Lamar and 26 at Boise State while Tavernari totaled a career-best 29 vs. No. 6 Louisville and 25 against CSU.
-- BYU has had six individual double-double performances this year with Plaisted accomplishing the feat four times and Cummard on two occasions. Cummard became the first Cougar to record a double-double this season with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Idaho State. He added his fifth career double-double with 27 -- 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 20th nationally with a 2.72 assist/turnover ratio and has helped BYU rank 10th nationally with 18.4 assists per game.
-- Freshman guard Jimmer Fredette has hit from behind the arc in 12 games this season. Fredette is one of four true freshman playing for the Cougars this year, joining forward Chris Collinsworth and guards Michael Loyd and Nick Martineau. Collinsworth has started six games.
-- BYU leads all MWC teams in scoring (77.2), field-goal percentage defense (.389), rebounds (41.0), rebounding margin (+6.8), assists (17.59), and defensive rebounds (28.88).
-- BYU has led at the half in 14 of 17 games this year, including 11 double-digit leads.
SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE MWC ...
-- BYU has had six 20-win seasons in the first eight seasons, leading all MWC schools. Utah has had five, UNLV four, Air Force, Wyoming and San Diego State three and New Mexico two.
-- BYU has had the league's top RPI three times, been second twice and third on three occasions. The Cougars were second last year (18) behind UNLV (10).
-- BYU has played the toughest schedule on average of any team in the MWC. Last year, BYU's schedule was rated third behind Utah and UNLV. BYU had the league's toughest schedule in two of the previous three seasons.
-- BYU has the second-most overall wins (174, Utah leads at 176).
-- BYU is second in conference wins (74, Utah has 76).
-- BYU has the second-most MWC regular-season titles (three). Utah leads with four.
-- BYU is one of six MWC teams to win the MWC Tournament title.
Senior Vuk Ivanovic will be out indefinitely due to a foot injury suffered last week in practice. An MRI exam conducted Monday revealed a fracture in his left foot. The 6-foot-10 senior forward/center from Pancevo, Serbia, played in BYU's first 15 games this season before sitting out Saturday's win over Colorado State due to the injury. He has averaged 3.3 points and 2.4 rebounds off the bench for the Cougars this year while recording season highs of 10 points and nine rebounds. Junior center Gavin Macgregor has been out all season with a foot injury.