GAME 26 - BYU Hosts Utah Wednesday at 8 p.m.
THE DESERET FIRST DUEL RIVALRY
BYU GAME #26 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (20-5, 9-1 MWC)
UTAH UTES (15-8, 6-4 MWC)
Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2008
Marriott Center (22,700)
8:05 p.m. MT
BYU, Dave Rose (65-23 in third season; same overall)
Utah, Jim Boylen (15-8 in first season; same overall)
Utah leads, 124-121, after a 55-52 BYU win in Salt Lake City earlier this season
The Mtn. (James Bates, play-by-play; Joe Cravens, game analyst)
KSL Newsradio (102.7 FM/1160 AM) and the Cougar Sports Network (7 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
-- Getting Tickets
To order tickets for Wednesday's game, CLICK HERE, go to the Marriott Center Ticket Office or call 422-BYU1 or 800-322-BYU1.
-- Student Tickets Still Available
Student tickets still remain for the BYU vs. Utah game this Wednesday at 8 p.m.. Student All-Sport Pass holders may go to the Marriott Center Ticket Office on Tuesday Feb. 19th at 9 a.m. and pick up their ticket anytime. Students without an All-Sport Pass may purchase any remaining tickets. Reserved Seat tickets will be distributed on a first-come first-serve basis.
-- Deseret First Duel
The first school to 33 points or more will win the inaugural Deseret First Duel Trophy. Follow the point schedule and register to win the Ultimate Fan Experience at DeseretFirstDuel.com.
-- Deseret First Cosmo CopyCat
The Deseret First Cosmo CopyCat will be at the Marriott Center on Wednesday and has been seen with hairy hands... The final clue that fans will need to catch the CopyCat will be shown 10 minutes before tipoff. Get to the game early, catch the CopyCat and gain the cash reward of $300 from Deseret First Credit Union.
BYU HOSTS UTAH WEDNESDAY AT 8 P.M.
BYU (20-5, 9-1 MWC) hosts in-state rival and Mountain West Conference foe Utah (15-8, 6-4 MWC) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. in the Marriott Center. Boasting a season-best eight-game winning streak, the Cougars are coming off a 74-48 win over second-place UNLV on Saturday and have run their home victory streak to 44 games, tying the school record. The Utes have won four straight and are coming off Saturday's 72-66 win over San Diego State. Wednesday's game will be televised on The Mtn. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM /1160 AM out of Salt Lake City and on the Internet at KSL.com beginning with the pregame show at 7 p.m. MT.
The Cougars will play at San Diego State on Saturday at 8 p.m. PT. The game will be televised on CSTV.
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- At 9-1 in MWC play, the Cougars are off to their best league start in Mountain West Conference history and their best conference start since 1993 (when started 14-1 in the WAC).
-- Only four BYU's teams have ever topped this year's 20-5 start. The last Cougar team with a better record through 25 games was in 1987-88 (23-2).
-- BYU has an MWC-best RPI of 29 (as of Feb. 18).
-- BYU owns the nation's second-longest active home win streak with a school-record-tying 44 straight wins in the Marriott Center (No. 1 Memphis has 47). BYU went 17-0 at home last year and is 13-0 at home this season.
-- Two-time reigning MWC Coach of the Year Dave Rose helped make BYU the second-most improved program in the nation in his first season with a 20-9 record and guided the Cougars to the outright MWC title and a top-25 ranking in his second campaign in Provo as the Cougars went 25-9 last season.
-- This year's BYU squad returns two starters among seven lettermen from last year's outright league leaders (13-3 MWC record) as well as returned missionary Chris Miles, who made six starts as a freshman in 2004-05. Headlining BYU's top returners are 2008 MWC Player of the Year candidates Trent Plaisted, a two-time All-MWC Second Team selection in his first two seasons, and Lee Cummard, a versatile junior guard who earned All-MWC Third Team honors one year ago. Sophomore forward Jonathan Tavernari and senior guards Sam Burgess and Ben Murdock are all full-time starters for the first time this season. Burgess and Murdock have contributed solid play at the guardline while Tavernari has provided a solid scoring punch. Last year Tavernari followed Plaisted's lead the prior season by being named the 2007 MWC Freshman of the Year.
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 16.1 8.7
F 45 Jonathan Tavernari 6-6 215 So. Sao Bernardo, Brazil / Bishop Gorman HS 13.2 5.6
G 30 Lee Cummard 6-7 185 Jr. Mesa, Ariz. / Mesa HS 16.1 6.3
G 20 Sam Burgess 6-3 190 Sr. Alpine, Utah / Snow College 8.6 3.1
G 24 Ben Murdock 6-2 185 Sr. Bountiful, Utah / Dixie State College 4.4 2.4
UTAH'S PROBABLE STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG Hometown
21 F Shaun Green 6-8 208 Jr. 7.6 4.4 Salt Lake City, Utah
50 C Luke Nevill 7-1 265 Jr. 14.3 6.8 Perth, Australia
11 G Lawrence Borha 6-3 205 Jr. 8.0 2.5 Staten Island, N.Y.
15 G Carlon Brown 6-4 210 Fr. 4.3 3.7 Riverside, Calif.
32 G Tyler Kepkay 6-0 185 Jr. 9.0 3.3 Vancouver, B.C.
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 23-14 with five points being decided by Wednesday's men's basketball game and another five points on the line Tuesday when the women's basketball team square off in Salt Lake City. 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 standings to 16-6 in favor of the Cougars. The men's baaketball team and men's and women's swim teams then added seven points to the BYU total while Utah scored victories in women's basketball and gymnastics to bring the current total to 23-14.
BYU VS. UTAH MEN'S BASKETBALL SERIES
BYU and Utah will meet for the 246th time Wednesday. 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 (245 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 124-121 series advantage. BYU has a 67-47 record in the Marriott Center against the Utes, while Utah holds a 72-48 advantage in Salt Lake City. BYU has a 6-5 edge on neutral floors. The Cougars have won four of the last six meetings while Utah has won six of the last 11. 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. After a 55-52 win in Salt Lake City earlier this year, the Cougars have a chance to sweep the season series in back-to-back years for the first time since the 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons. 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.
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 Wednesday's game with a 15-8 overall record and a 6-4 MWC mark. The Utes are coming off a 72-66 win against San Diego State Saturday, their fourth straight win. Utah is led by two double-digit scorers in Luke Nevill (14.3 ppg), Johnnie Bryant (14.3 ppg). A starter last year, Bryant has come off the bench in every game this year and is shooting 51.6 percent from the floor, 45.9 percent with a team-high 62 makes from long range and 95.0 percent at the line with only two misses (38-of-40). Nevill leads Utah on the boards at 6.8 rebounds per game while reserve Luka Drca tops the team with 3.3 assists per contest. As a team, Utah leads the conference in field goal percentage. The Utes are converting 48.8 percent from the field, 40.9 percent behind the arc and 74.9 percent at the line while scoring 68.9 points per game. Utah gives up just 61.6 points per game while opponents have shot a combined 41.9 percent from the floor and 33.9 percent from three-point range. Utah has held seven 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 31.7-28.5 edge on the glass over its opposition.
UTAH'S LAST OUTING -- UTES OVERCOME ROUGH START TO DEFEAT AZTECS
SALT LAKE -- Lawrence Borha scored 22 points and Utah fought back from a nearly disastrous start to beat San Diego State 72-66 for its fourth straight victory on Saturday. The Utes (15-8, 6-4 Mountain West) didn't score for the first 6:38 of the game and fell behind 11-0, but gradually fought back to beat the Aztecs (16-9, 6-5 Mountain West) for the 25th time in the last 26 meetings at the Huntsman Center. D.J. Gay scored 21 points to lead the Aztecs, who lost for the fifth time in seven games. Lorrenzo Wade added 16 and Ryan Amoroso had 11, but Kelvin Davis was scoreless in place of suspended second-leading scorer Kyle Spain. The game was close throughout the second half, and the Aztecs pulled to within 65-61 with 1:09 remaining on Gay's 3-pointer. But the Utes made 7 of 8 free throws the rest of the way, and Johnnie Bryant grabbed a crucial rebound with 18.9 seconds left that sealed the victory. Bryant finished with 17 points for the Utes, and Luke Nevill added 10 and five rebounds.
BYU SERIES RECORD VS. UTAH
Overall Series Record: Utah leads 124-121
BYU Record in Provo: 67-47 (20-17 in the Marriott Center)
BYU Record in Salt Lake: 48-72 (12-29 in the Jon M. Huntsman Center)
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 6-5
BYU Record under Dave Rose: 4-2
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)
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 three in-state victories this season with a 72-57 win over Weber State on Dec. 5, a 70-55 triumph over Southern Utah on Dec. 21 and a 55-52 win at Utah on Jan. 19, making them 3-0 so far this year.
Team Record Games
BYU 3-0 W vs. Weber State, W vs. Southern Utah, W at Utah
Utah 2-1 W at Weber State, W vs. Utah State, L vs. BYU
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
QUOTING COACH ROSE
"I'm very happy with our players and our concentration level. We're coming off a big game, Saturday and we've got another big game on Wednesday against a team that is playing really well right now."
"Utah is a solid rebounding team that is a lot more aggressive defensively and has very good balance on offense. They have good inside scoring with Luke (Nevill), and they have good perimeter scoring."
"Johnnie Bryant is one of the hottest shooters in the league, maybe even in the country. He is playing with a lot of confidence and has a lot of experience in our league. Lawrence Borha had a big game on Saturday. They've got good personnel. We've got a challenge ahead of us."
THIS YEAR AT UTAH -- COUGARS REPEAT AT THE HUNTSMAN CENTER
SALT LAKE -- The BYU men's basketball team made itself at home in the Huntsman Center Saturday, getting a 55-52 win over Utah to improve to 13-5 on the year and 2-1 in Mountain West Conference play. Including a 76-66 win last year, the Cougars have now won two straight in the Huntsman Center for the first time since the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons and three straight over Utah overall. BYU also improved its overall lead to 21-6 over the Utes in the newly created Deseret First Duel rivalry series.
Junior guard Lee Cummard once again filled the stat sheet as he posted a game-high 19 points along with a team-high nine rebounds, two steals and one assist. Senior Sam Burgess also scored in double figures with 12 points on 5-for-8 shooting from the field. Despite another tough shooting night for the Cougars, BYU's defense held the Utes to their lowest point total of the season in the win. The Cougars' road shooting woes continued early on as they made just one of their first 10 shots from the field. However, stifling BYU defense, including a block from Trent Plaisted, kept the game in hand. Burgess finally turned defense into offense with a steal and a fastbreak layin at the 13:28 mark. After another Utah turnover, Cummard drove the paint and scored, earning the and-one opportunity and draining the free throw to give BYU its first lead of the game at 9-8. Utah finally ended a 7-0 Cougar run with a jumper from Johnnie Bryant, and moments later, an 11-8 Cougar lead was 15-13 back in the Utes' favor midway through the first half. The two teams traded buckets from there until another 7-0 Cougar spurt gave BYU a 22-17 lead with 5:20 left in the half. Bryant finally ended the 5:30 Utah scoring drought with two free-throw makes at the 2:39 mark as Utah scored six of the next eight points. But BYU had the last word in the half as Cummard drained two free throws and freshman Michael Loyd, Jr. blocked a shot on the other end to send the Cougars into the locker room up 26-23. Utah came out hard and fast to begin the second half, scoring seven of the first eight points to go up 30-27 and force a Cougar timeout 68 seconds in. Burgess drained the first Cougar trey of the night to put BYU back on top with 16:09 left in the game. The lead see-sawed from there as neither team was able to lead by more than two points. Freshman Chris Collinsworth finally made it back-to-back Cougar buckets for the first time in six minutes with an offensive rebound and putback. After a Ute miss on the other end, Collinsworth made it six straight Cougar points with a long jumper to put BYU up 43-38 with 10:25 left to play. Utah came back with three straight points to cut the lead to two, but Cummard once again responded with a bucket, and Jimmer Fredette quickly converted a Ute miss into a three-point make on the other end to give BYU its largest lead of the game to that point at 48-41. However, a 9-2 run the other way had the Huntsman Center rocking and the game tied at 50-50 with 3:20 left to play. But Burgess hit a huge three-pointer from the corner to put BYU up three points with 2:27 left. Utah got within one point with a bucket from Tyler Kepkay, but couldn't convert at the free-throw line after a Cougar miss. BYU got the ball back up one point with under a minute to play but couldn't find the hoop, giving Utah once more chance with 30 seconds left. The Utes ran the clock down before taking one more shot, which sailed to the side of the basket and into the hands of Cummard. Fittingly, Cummard was fouled and iced the game with two free throws on the other end, making him a perfect 7-for-7 from the line on the night and securing the 55-52 BYU win.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "Defensively, our guys were great. Our coaches put together a really good game plan, and our guys did a really good job of executing. I'm really proud of how they battled and executed defensively."
-- "This team can really get strength and confidence from each other. Lee (Cummard) stepped up, and Sam (Burgess) hit a really big three-pointer for us. I also thought Ben Murdock was terrific tonight. He played a really physical game, and his presence defensively really got us started offensively."
-- "We challenged Lee before the game. He came up really big for us in a lot of ways. We know he can score, but he does so much more for us."
-- "I'm really proud of our bench. Jimmer (Fredette) gave us a lift, and Chris Collinsworth and Michael Loyd played well for us. Mike had a huge play at the end of the half with that block."
-- "Our team this season has really won games with their offense. But when you get into conference play, everyone's competing and playing hard and you have to be able to win games in a lot of different ways. We really showed ourselves tonight that we could do that. We weren't the best offensively, but our defense got it done."
-- "This is a tough stretch. We have to be able to win on the road, so this is a big win for us as a team and as a coaching staff."
BYU NOTES FROM THIS YEAR AT UTAH
-- Individual Career Highs: Michael Loyd, Jr. - 1 block; Jimmer Fredette - 4 rebounds.
-- BYU has now won the last three meetings against Utah, including two wins in the Huntsman Center after a 12-game losing streak in Salt Lake City dating back to 1994. Prior to the last two victories, the Cougars had not won two in a row at Utah since the 1983-84 and 1984-85 seasons. BYU head coach Dave Rose is now 4-2 all-time against the Cougars' in-state rivals, including wins in the last three games.
-- With the 55-52 win, the Cougars are now 10-1 on the year when holding opponents under the 70-point mark. Utah's 52 points was a season-low for the Utes.
-- The Cougars ended a three-game road losing streak with the victory, picking up their first Mountain West Conference road victory of the season. BYU won five of their last seven road games last season.
-- BYU is now 12-2 this season when outrebounding opponents with a 42-36 edge over Utah. BYU leads the Mountain West in rebounding margin.
-- With a 26-23 halftime lead at Utah, the Cougars have now led at halftime in 15 of 18 games this year, including 11 double-digit leads. The Cougars are now 13-2 when holding a halftime advantage. BYU has held opponents under 30 first-half points in 12 contests.
-- Cummard had a streak of 11 straight games with a three-point make come to an end against the Utes while Burgess drained two treys to mark the 14th game this season he has hit from long range. Tavernari and Cummard have recorded three-pointers in 16 of 18 games this year while Jimmer Fredette has made one from behind the arc in 12 games this season, including one against Utah.
-- Cummard was a perfect 7-for-7 from the free-throw line, improving his season total to 44-of-48 (.917) after making his last 21 straight. Cummard has been perfect from the line in nine of the 12 games in which he has taken free throws. His two makes with three seconds on the clock put the game away for BYU.
-- With 12 points in the game, Burgess scored in double figures for the seventh time this season and the first since Dec. 29 at Boise State. Burgess reached double-digit scoring four times last year.
-- Cummard scored 11 first-half points on 3-for-6 shooting from the field and a 5-for-5 mark from the free-throw line to lead the Cougars, marking the sixth time this year he has reached double-digits in the first period of play.
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 -- MARRIOTT CENTER MAGIC CONTINUES
PROVO -- In front of the largest home crowd of the season, BYU recorded another home victory as the Cougars beat UNLV 74-48 on the back of BYU's fantastic juniors -- Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard. Plaisted scored a game-high 22 points, while Cummard was not far behind with 18 points of his own. BYU improved to 20-5 on the season, which is the Cougars' third consecutive 20-win season. BYU also tied the program record with its 44th straight home win. The Cougars have not lost in the Marriott Center since Nov. 18, 2005. The Cougars also improved to 9-1 in Mountain West Conference action as they avenged their only conference loss of the season that came at the hands of the Rebels in Las Vegas. BYU's Plaisted scored the first points of the game on a lay up then made the following free throw to complete the three-point play and help his team jump out on top. The Cougars kept moving the ball well and created an early 7-2 lead with 15:52 on the clock as Lee Cummard hit a shot from beyond the arc. The Cougars helped themselves to this lead as they only allowed the Rebels to hit on one of their first seven attempts from the field. UNLV pulled to within one over the next minute to pull the score to 7-6. Over the next three and half minutes BYU went on another run of 7-4 as the Cougars went up 14-10 with 11:29 left in the first half. BYU continued to build upon its lead as Plaisted had a dunk at the 8:48 mark that ignited the crowd and helped jump start the Cougars to a 9-0 run over the next 2:02. This run included Jonathan Tavernari's first made three-pointer of the game at the 7:10 mark to give the Cougars their first double-digit lead of the game. The Cougars' defense proved to be too much as they intercepted six first-half steals, made four blocks and forced nine turnovers. BYU converted 16 points off of the UNLV offensive mishaps. Another highlight of the first half for BYU came at the 1:40 mark as Tavernari was near the low block with his back to the basket and his defender on him tight. He hit a cutting Cummard with a no-look pass for the easy lay up. The Cummard basket put BYU up 35-21. The Cougars went into the locker room on the back of Cummard, who finished the half hitting a free throw to complete a three-point play with half a second left to send BYU into the break up 39-23. The Cougars saw even first-half scoring throughout their roster as they had six players with five or more points. BYU kept the pressure up on both ends of the court early in the second half, and a key play came at the 15:25 mark as Jimmer Fredette hit a cutting Plaisted for an alley-oop dunk to put the Cougars up 45-27. Over the next 8:24 the Cougars extended their lead to 60-38. Shortly after that, BYU began to apply shutdown defense as the Cougars held the Rebels off the scoreboard from the 9:21 mark until 4:42 left in the game -- a span of 4:39. The Cougars cruised to a victory from there with a 74-48 win in a game that BYU lead from wire-to-wire. The 48 points that BYU held UNLV to ties the Rebels' season low in scoring this season. BYU also saw a big boost from Tavernari, who contributed in many ways for the Cougars as he had seven rebounds, six points, four assists and two blocks. Fredette also came in to contribute with 24 minutes for the Cougars and finished the game with nine points and four assists.
WHAT WAS SAID AFTER THE GAME ...
BYU Head Coach Dave Rose
-- "I was really pleased with our effort defensively. We did a good job challenging shots and staying with our assignments. Strong defense and rebounding were two keys to this game."
-- "The atmosphere tonight was terrific. It's as good as it gets. We had a good crowd and a good student section, and that provided a lift for us offensively."
UNLV Head Coach Lon Kruger
-- "BYU won every ball both offensively and defensively tonight. They did what they wanted to do, and we didn't take anything away from them."
-- "Their defense was very good tonight. At home they're a little more energized, and it's tough to play here."
BYU NOTES FROM LAST OUTING
-- Individual Season Highs: Trent Plaisted -- 4 dunks.
-- Team Season Highs/Lows: Attendance - 22,580.
-- With the 74-48 win, BYU improved its Marriott Center win streak to 44 games, tying the program record, which was set from Feb. 19, 2000 to Jan. 16, 2003. The Cougars have won 23 straight nonconference games and 21 games against MWC opponents dating back to an 83-71 setback against Loyola Marymount on Nov. 18, 2005. That game was also Dave Rose's head-coaching debut, meaning Rose has gone 44-1 in the Marriott Center as a head coach. BYU's current streak of 44 straight home wins is the second-longest active home court victory streak in the nation behind No. 1 Memphis. The BYU football team has won 12 straight home games with its last home loss coming on Nov. 19, 2005, the day after BYU's last home basketball defeat.
-- With the victory, BYU improved to 20-5 overall on the year, the program's 31st 20-win season, including three straight in the last three years. Cougar head coach Dave Rose is the third BYU head coach to win at least 20 games in each of his first three seasons at the helm (G. Ott Romney and Roger Reid), but is the first to do so after taking over a program with less than 13 wins the prior year (BYU was 9-21 in 2004-05).
-- At 9-1 in Mountain West Conference play, the Cougars are off to their best league start since going 14-1 in 1993 when BYU still played in the Western Athletic Conference.
-- The Cougars' eight straight wins (@ Utah, San Diego State, New Mexico, @ Air Force, @ Wyoming, TCU, @ CSU, UNLV) marks their longest win streak of the season and ties the longest win streak of the Dave Rose era (BYU also won eight straight in league play last season). BYU has won at least six straight MWC games in each of Rose's three seasons at the helm.
-- Despite entering the game eighth in the MWC with 5.8 steals per game, BYU posted 10 takeaways against UNLV. The Cougars forced the Rebels, who entered the contest leading the league with 10.7 turnovers per game, into 15 miscues.
-- The 48 points scored by UNLV ties the Rebels' season-low scoring output (48 against Louisville).
-- With a game-high lead of 29 points, the Cougars have now held a double-digit lead in 20 of 25 games this year, including a lead of 20 or more points in 13 contests. BYU has also led wire-to-wire in 12 games.
-- With a 39-23 advantage after the first 20 minutes of play, BYU recorded its 21st halftime lead of the season and 13th by double-digits. The Cougars are now 19-2 when leading at the break. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 21 games while holding opponents under 30 points in the first half of 16 contests.
-- BYU has had at least one player top the 20-point mark in each of the last six games and has had two players score at least 20 points in the same game in three of the last five contests. Plaisted scored 22 against UNLV.
-- Tavernari has contributed more than just points for the Cougars as of late. Tavernari recorded 18 assists in the first 20 games of the season (0.9 apg) but has dished out 16 assists in the last five contests (3.2 apg), including four against UNLV.
-- The Cougars held UNLV to just two points in the first 4:46 of the game as the Rebels made just one of their first seven shots while BYU jumped out to a 7-2 lead.
- After UNLV came back to cut the deficit to two points at 15-13, BYU responded with an 11-0 run. Jimmer Fredette got things started with a steal and a fastbreak layin followed by a dunk from Plaisted. Burgess, Tavernari and Cummard also scored during the spurt.
COUGAR START AMONG THE TOP IN SCHOOL HISTORY
BYU has a 20-5 record through 25 games this year. In the 105-year history of BYU men's basketball, only four teams of the 70 that played at least 25 games during a season earned a better record than this year's Cougar squad. Seven other BYU teams have equaled the current Cougars' 20-5 start. If the Cougars can win their game Wednesday against Utah, they would own a 26-game record that has been topped by only two other BYU squads and equaled by four others. (SEE CHART AT LEFT).
At 20-5 so far this season, BYU has achieved the program's 31st 20-win season, including three straight for Cougar head coach Dave Rose in his first three seasons at the helm. Last year, the Cougars finished 25-9 following a 20-9 campaign in 2005-06. BYU has averaged 20 wins every 2.6 years (BYU has played 80 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season). Rose is the third Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first three years, joining G. Ott Romney and Roger Reid. However, Rose is the first Cougar head coach to win 20 games in each of his first three years after taking over a program with less than 13 wins the prior year. BYU was 9-21 in 2004-05 before Rose turned the program into the second-most improved team in the nation in his first season.
20-Win Seasons at BYU
Stan Watts had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 23 years of coaching
Roger Reid had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
G. Ott Romney had 5 seasons of 20 wins in 9 years of coaching
Steve Cleveland had 4 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Dave Rose has 3 seasons of 20 wins in 3 years of coaching
Ladell Anderson had 3 season of 20 wins in 6 years of coaching
Frank Arnold had 3 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
Floyd Millet had 1 season of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
REGULAR-SEASON BENCHMARKS FOR NCAA INVITES
Winning 20 or more games in the regular season has proven to be a significant indicator for receiving an invitation into the NCAA Tournament. Since the first NCAA Tournament in 1939, BYU has had 20 seasons with 20 regular-season wins, including last year's team. In those 20 years, BYU has earned a postseason invite each season, including 17 NCAA bids, three NIT berths (BYU played both NIT and NCAA in 1950-51) and one NAIB (1948-49) invite. In the modern era since the NCAA Tournament became the predominant championship over the NIT, BYU has had 15 seasons when it earned 20 or more wins during regular-season games (prior to starting the conference tournament). The Cougars have received an invite to play in the NCAA Tournament in 14 of those seasons, with the lone exception being the 2005-06 team that finished the regular season 20-7 and fell to 20-8 with a loss at the MWC Tournament before receiving an NIT invitation. Including last year, BYU has reached 21 regular-season wins during 11 of those 15 seasons and has been invited to play in the NCAA Tournament in each of those 11 years.
COUGARS IN CONFERENCE
BYU basketball boasts a remarkable record of conference success during its history. After earning its 26th regular-season conference championship in 2007, the Cougars moved into a tie for ninth among all NCAA Division I programs for most regular-season league titles won (see list at left). Including conference tournaments, BYU has claimed a conference championship trophy during 27 seasons. The Cougars won the 1991 WAC Tournament after a second-place regular-season finish. Other conference tournament titles in 1992 (WAC) and 2001 (MWC) have followed up regular-season rings, as was the case with conference playoff wins in 1924 and 1933 in the Rocky Mountain Conference. BYU won six Rocky Mountain Conference titles in 20 years, earned five Skyline championships in 24 years, recorded 12 WAC crowns in 37 years and has garned MWC honors in three of the league's first eight seasons. BYU won the in-state title against rivals Utah and Utah State during 10 of the 12 years before the Cougars first joined a conference in 1918.
COACH ROSE OWNS TOP MWC MARK
With a 33-8 record in Mountain West Conference games since taking the helm of the BYU program for the 2005-06 season, Dave Rose is currently the winningest MWC coach in league play in the past three years. UNLV's Lon Kruger is 32-13 and SDSU's Steve Fisher is 29-14. In addition to this year's 9-1 MWC record, Rose coached the Cougars to a 13-3 league and 25-9 overall record last year, earning Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year honors for the second consecutive season. He was named the MWC and USBWA District VIII Coach of the Year in his first season after coaching BYU to a second-place MWC finish at 12-4 while turning a 9-21 team into a 20-9 success--which proved to be the second-best improvement among all Division I programs.
WORTHY OF MENTION
-- BYU's 20-point club this year includes Trent Plaisted, Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari. Cummard and Plaisted have each scored 20 or more points in eight games while Tavernari has done so on four occasions. Among Plaisted's top scoring nights were 21 points against No. 6 Louisville, 24 points against No. 1 North Carolina, 25 points in BYU's Mountain West Conference opener against Colorado State and a career-high tying 27 points against TCU. Cummard has topped the 20-point mark in four of the last six games and had a career-high 27 points against Lamar. Tavernari totaled a career-best 29 vs. No. 6 Louisville and 25 against CSU.
-- BYU has had 11 individual double-double performances this year with Plaisted accomplishing the feat seven times and Cummard and Tavernari each on two occasions. Cummard became the first Cougar to record a double-double this season with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Idaho State. He added his fifth career double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds against Lamar. Plaisted had 21 points and 12 rebounds against No. 6 Louisville before tallying 24 points and 17 rebounds against No. 1 North Carolina. He totaled 14 points and 15 rebounds vs. Weber State and had 18 points and a career-high-tying 18 rebounds against Pepperdine. Plaisted has posted double-doubles in three of the last five games while Tavernari has done so in two of the last three contests.
-- 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 10 times this year. He ranks 14th nationally with a 2.7 assist/turnover ratio and has helped BYU rank 14th nationally with 17.6 assists per game as of Feb. 14.
-- Freshman guard Jimmer Fredette has hit from behind the arc in 17 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.
COUGARS BY THE NUMBERS
1 Rank of BYU coach Dave Rose's 65 wins and .739 winning percentage among the 18 head coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level along with Rose in 2005-06. Rose ranks second to only Tennessee's Bruce Pearl (69-21 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06.
3 Number of top 10 teams BYU has played this season - then-No. 1 North Carolina, then-No. 6 Louisville and then-No. 9 Michigan State. The Cougars beat the Cardinals, 78-76, before falling, 73-63, to the Tarheels despite battling UNC through six second-half lead changes. BYU held a double-digit halftime lead against the Spartans before losing, 68-61.
5 Number of games in which BYU has scored at least 90 points, the most since 1995-96 when the Cougars also reached 90 points in five games. BYU has not scored at least 90 in six games on the year since 1993-94.
7 Number of statistical categories in which Lee Cummard ranks among the top 10 in the MWC including field-goal percentage (1st - .573), free-throw percentage (3rd - .853), offensive rebounds (2nd - 2.16), scoring (T3rd - 16.1), assists (6th - 3.44), total rebounds (7th - 6.3) and defensive rebounds (9th - 4.16).
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.
9-1 BYU's MWC record so far this season, equaling the Cougars' best league start since 1993 when the Cougars still played in the Western Athletic Conference and went 14-1.
10 Number of games in which Lee Cummard has been perfect from the free-throw line out of 18 games in which he taken free throws. Cummard made a career-best 21 straight free throws before missing on his first attempt against San Diego State. He also had a streak of 19 straight earlier this year prior to a miss against Southern Utah. He is shooting 85.3 percent (64-for-75) on the year.
11 Number of treys Jonathan Tavernari needs to surpass Andy Toolson's single-season school record of 74 triples. With 64 threes, Tavernari will tie Mark Bigelow for fifth (65) with his next make. Other milestones on the way to the record are Terrell Lyday's 67, Danny Bower's 68 and Nick Sanderson's 73.
16 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 21 of 25 games this season while racking up halftime leads in 21 of 25 games, including 13 by double digits.
18.5 The Cougars' average margin of victory in their 20 wins this season. BYU has won eight 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.
20 Number of games in which BYU has led by double digits. The Cougars have also led by at least 20 points in 13 contests and 30 points in four. BYU has led wire-to-wire in 12 games this year.
22 Number of games this season Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari have each made a three-pointer. Sam Burgess has made a trey in 20 of 25 outings this year while Jimmer Fredette has done so in 17 games.
25 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 25 games after not starting last year in his first season in Provo.
55 Number of points Trent Plaisted needs to surpass Alan Taylor to move to 17th on BYU's all-time career scoring list. Plaisted currently has 1,222 career points.
64.8 Percent of BYU field goals created by an assist. If the Cougars maintain their current rate of setting up a teammate's basket, they would set a new program record, topping the 64.7 percent achieved in 1992-93.
82 Number of MWC games BYU has won since the formation of the league prior to the 1999-2000 season, leading all MWC teams. The Cougars are also tied with UNLV for the most overall wins (182)..
100 Percent of games BYU has won this year when leading with five minutes remaining. The Cougars are 20-0 when ahead on the scoreboard at the 5-minute mark.
DEFENDING THE HOME COURT
With 4 straight wins in the Marriott Center, the Cougars currently own the nation's second-longest active home victory streak, three wins behind No. 1 Memphis. The Cougars are 13-0 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 21 consecutive over MWC foes. BYU's last league loss at home was its season finale in 2005 to UNLV. BYU is 416-116 (.782) all-time in the Marriott Center. Last Saturday's win over UNLV tied the program's longest home winning streak, which came from Feb 19, 2000 to Jan 16, 2003 when BYU won 44 straight in the Marriott Center.
Active Homecourt Winning Streaks (As of Feb. 18, 2008)
Wins Team This year Next home game
47 Memphis 15-0 Feb. 23 vs. Tennessee
44 BYU 13-0 Feb. 20 vs. Utah
WINNING WITH ROSE
With a 65-23 record in his third season, BYU coach Dave Rose ranks first in wins and winning percentage among the 18 head coaches who began their first season as a head coach at the Division I level along with Rose in 2005-06. Rose ranks second to only Tennessee's Bruce Pearl (69-21 record) among all coaches who started at a new school in 2005-06. (including games as of Feb. 17)
First-Year Coaches in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Dave Rose, BYU 65-23 .739
Andy Kennedy, Ole Miss* 59-31 .656
*includes one season as the interim head coach at Cincinnati
Head Coaches in Their First Year With a Program in 2005-06 By Wins
Coach, School Record Percentage
Bruce Pearl, Tennessee 69-21 .767
Dave Rose, BYU 65-23 .739
Tim Floyd, USC 60-34 .638
PLAISTED, GIDDENS SHARE MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS
TRENT PLAISTED (FEB. 18) -- Junior forward/center Trent Plaisted earned his third MWC Player of the Week award this season after recording back-to-back 20-point scoring games last week to lead BYU to a road win at Colorado State and a home victory over UNLV. The 6-foot-11 San Antonio, Texas, native averaged 21.5 points on 65.4 percent shooting from the floor and 60 percent shooting at the free-throw line while adding 6.0 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.0 assists per game. For the week, he paced the Cougars in scoring and field-goal shooting and shared team-high honors in steals. Plaisted went a perfect 9-for-9 from the field while totaling 21 points in BYU's 79-65 win at Colorado State on Wednesday. His 9-for-9 shooting night is the top field-goal performance by any Mountain West Conference player this season. He added five rebounds and one steal in his 22 minutes on the court. Plaisted scored a game-high 22 points and threw down a season-high four dunks against UNLV on Saturday in the Marriott Center. He made 8-of-17 field goals and went 6-for-8 at the free-throw line while adding seven rebounds, two assists, two steals and one blocked shot in the 74-48 victory over the Rebels. He scored 10 points, including eight consecutive, during a 14-1 BYU run in the second half that put the game out of reach. During the run, Plaisted made all four of his free throws and put down two momentum-building dunks, one coming after he stole the ball on the defensive end and beat everyone down the floor to score on the other end. He totaled 16 second-half points in all while making 6-of-10 attempts to help the Cougars avenge its lone league loss of the season. UNM's J.R. Giddens was named MWC Co-Player of the Week with Plaisted after averaging 23.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 2.5 blocks and 2.0 steals in two Lobo victories last week.
PLAISTED IN 1,000 POINT CLUB
With 22 points against Lamar, junior Trent Plaisted became the 37th member of BYU's elite 1,000 Point Club, joining such Cougar greats as Danny Ainge, Michael Smith, Devin Durrant, Fred Roberts, Kresimir Cosic and Andy Toolson to score at least 1,000 points in their Cougar careers. Plaisted now has 1,222 career points, 18th on BYU's all-time scoring list. Before Plaisted, Keena Young was the most recent addition to the club as he posted 1,068 points during his three-year BYU stint from 2005-07. Of four-year players, Plaisted is just the 10th Cougar to reach the 1,000-point milestone as a junior. The last four-year player to reach 1,000 points as a junior was Mark Bigelow with 1,312 following the 2002-03 season. Plaisted also has 634 career rebounds, making him just the 11th player overall to record at least 1,000 career points and 600 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 (.432) and third in assists (2.0) while ranking second on the team in three-point shooting (.396). He has increased his scoring total from last season by 5.0 ppg while averaging 16.4 more minutes per game. His 10 double-figure scoring games this year has more than doubled last year's mark of four double-digit scoring outings. Burgess has started all 25 games this season after starting just one game in his two prior seasons as a Cougar. He scored 15 points against New Mexico on 4-for-6 shooting from the field and a 3-for-3 mark from three-point range.
BYU boasts four players who are making 80 percent or more of their free-throw attempts this year (Jimmer Fredette, .875; Jonathan Tavernari, .871; Lee Cummard, .853; Sam Burgess, .854). Lee Cummard made a career- and team-season-high 21 straight free throws before missing his first attempt vs. SDSU. He earlier had made 19 straight before a miss against Southern Utah, meaning he had made 40 of 41 attempts (97.6 percent) over that stretch. He has been perfect at the line in 10 of 18 games he has gone to the line this year.
The Cougars' 20 victories this year have come by an average margin of 18.5 points, including a season-opening 40-point road win at Long Beach State (74-34), one of 17 double-digit wins for BYU this season and one of eight victories by over 20 points. The win over the 49ers marked BYU's largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent since defeating Morgan State by 41 points (110-69) on Dec. 28, 1995. Including BYU's five losses, the Cougars still boast a scoring margin of 12.1 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.
BYU is currently riding an eight-game win streak, the longest of the season, with victories at Utah, vs. San Diego State, vs. New Mexico, at Air Force, at Wyoming, vs. TCU, at Colorado State and against UNLV. That mark is tied for ninth nationally. A victory over Utah on Wednesday would mark the program's longest win streak under current head coach Dave Rose, surpassing the previous mark of eight straight wins set last season.
THIS YEAR'S LOSSES
BYU's five losses this year have come on neutral floors against then-No. 1 North Carolina and No. 6 (then No. 9) Michigan State and on the road at Boise State, at Wake Forest and at UNLV. BYU held double-digit leads over both Michigan State and Boise State and battled the top-rated Tar Heels through six second-half lead changes. North Carolina (24-2), Michigan State (20-5), Boise State (19-6), Wake Forest (16-8) and UNLV (19-6) have a combined 98-27 record for a .784 winning percentage as of games played Feb. 17. Wake Forest is coming off a 13-point home win over then-No. 2 Duke.
FROM THE FIELD
BYU is shooting 46.4 percent from the field this season while allowing opponents to shoot just 38.6 percent from the floor (No. 1 in the MWC). Overall, the Cougars have shot above 50 percent in 10 games this year. BYU has shot above 50 percent in the first half of eight games this season and in the second half of 12 contests, totaling 20 halves of play with a shooting percentage of 50 percent higher, including six above 60 percent. The Cougars posted a season-high 60.4 percent efficiency against Hartford bolstered by a 63.6 percent second-half shooting mark (14-for-22). Individually, Lee Cummard and Trent Plaisted rank No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, among MWC players in field-goal percentage at 57.3 and 55.1 percent and 36th and 46th, respectively, in the national rankings as of Feb. 14.
The Cougars are 19-2 this season when leading at the half with 13 of the 21 advantages coming by double digits. No. 1 North Carolina, Wake Forest, UNLV and San Diego State are the only teams this season to post a halftime lead against BYU. The Cougars are besting opponents by an average of 8.1 points in the first period of play while scoring at least 40 points in the first half of nine of 25 games this season. BYU has scored at least 30 points in the first half of 21 of 25 games while holding opponents under 30 points 16 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 11 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 14 games and equaled them in one other this year, recording a +5.1 margin in that category. BYU has posted a double-digit margin in 10 games, including a season-best +38 margin (54-16) against Jackson State. The Cougars are 14-0 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 -0.5 turnover margin with their opponents on the year, the Cougars have outscored foes in points off of turnovers in 18 games this season, posting a +4.6 scoring margin in that category. BYU scored a season-best 26 points off of turnovers against Loyola Marymount.
FAST AND FURIOUS
BYU has outscored opponents in transition in 18 games, equaled them three times and been outpaced only four times. The Cougars average 4.6 more fastbreak points than their opponents. The Cougars scored a season-best 20 fastbreak points against Jackson State while tying their season high with a +16 margin. BYU's four 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) and a win at Air Force (0-2).
FROM THE BENCH
BYU's reserves have outscored the opposition's bench only eight times this year, but they have done it in seven of the last 14 games after seven straight contests with a scoring deficit off the bench. On the whole, the BYU bench has outscored opponent reserves by 0.8 points per game this season, tallying 486 points or 19.4 points per game. BYU's leading scorer off the bench is freshman guard Jimmer Fredette, who is averaging 6.8 points per game. He had 10 points against TCU. He stepped up at Wake Forest, tying for team-high honors with 15 points off the bench.
LEADERS OF THE PACK
Including a game-high lead of 29 points against UNLV, the Cougars have posted a double-digit lead in 20 of 25 games and have led by more than 20 points in 13 games and more than 30 points in four contests. The exception to the double-digit leads came against No. 1 North Carolina when the game-high BYU lead was two points, at Wake Forest when BYU never led, at UNLV when the Cougars' large lead was three points, at Utah when the Cougar game-high lead was seven points and vs. San Diego State when BYU built a six-point advantage. The Cougars have led wire-to-wire in 12 games this season.
SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE MWC ...
-- BYU has had six 20-win seasons in the first eight seasons, leading all MWC schools. Utah has had five, UNLV four, Air Force, Wyoming and San Diego State three and New Mexico two.
-- BYU has had the league's top RPI three times, been second twice and third on three occasions. The Cougars were second last year (18) behind UNLV (10).
-- BYU has played the toughest schedule on average of any team in the MWC. Last year, BYU's schedule was rated third behind Utah and UNLV. BYU had the league's toughest schedule in two of the previous three seasons.
-- BYU is tied with UNLV for most overall wins (182).
-- BYU has the most conference wins (82).
-- 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.