Cougar Bounces

BYU nearly pulled a "Horned Frog" on the road against Colorado State. Whereas the TCU Horned Frogs gave up an eight-point lead in the final minute, BYU was able to hang on to the remnants of their own 12-point second half lead against the Rams.

Some hot shooting by Colorado State and missed free throws by the Cougars made things interesting in the second half. When the score was 85-84 and the Rams had the ball, BYU forward Fernando Malaman grabbed a key rebound and was immediately fouled with just seconds remaining. After making one of two free throws, ‘Nando blocked the Rams final attempt and sealed the victory.

The game started much like the Cougars previous conference road games with lots of turnovers and plenty of points by the opponent. BYU was down 17-6 and had seven turnovers when Austin Ainge entered the game. He led the Cougars to 30 points over the next seven minutes, and BYU led 43-41 at the half.

The Cougs took control of the game in the second half and led 70-58 when CSU started their run. The game was tied at 75 and following a BYU bucket, the Rams hit a three to take the lead. Brock Reichner, who scored 23, hit a three to answer and put BYU up for good.

Although BYU missed seven of their last eight free throws, the Rams were unable to capitalize. BYU improved to 4-3 in conference. While the loss dropped CSU to 1-6 and a last place tie with TCU.

GRADES

Point: B. This grade was saved by the efforts of Ainge in the first half. Rashaun Broadus was unable to handle the CSU press. Ainge came in and led BYU back in the game. Without him, BYU is run out of the gym for a fourth consecutive road game. Broadus did come back with a much more solid second half and hit a key three of an Ainge pass late in the game. This position must get better at handling the press.

Wing: A. What can you say about this position. Jimmy Balderson came of the bench very early and responded with a career high in points. Reichiner's line: 23 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists and 4 steals. Jackson Emery even came off the bench and his lone statistical contribution was a block on a three-point attempt when the Cougs were clinging to the lead.

Post: B. Trent Plaisted had another solid effort with 15 points and 7 rebounds. He also had a monster one-handed dunk off an alley-oop from Ainge. Malaman had the key stops at the end, but he and Keena Young combined for only five rebounds in 47 minutes. Derek Dawes picked up two fouls in each of the minutes he played and Plaisted fouled out for the second consecutive game.

Coach: A. Down 11 early on the road, this game had blow-out written all over it. Coach Dave Rose made the necessary substitutions (Balderson for Cummard and Ainge for Broadus) and his players responded. When his team was trying to give away the game, he rallied the troops and reminded them of the lessons they learned from TCU's collapse. For two games in a row, Rose has not let his players quit, but instead motivated them to victories.

OBSERVATIONS

- BYU made 19 of their first 22 free throws, but finished the game at 20-28. In a two-point victory, the Cougars are lucky those misses did not comeback to bite them.

- BYU had four players in double-figures (Balderson, Malaman, Plaisted and Reichner).

- Plaisted is the team's leading scorer and rebounder during conference play.

- After out-rebounding every conference opponent except UNLV (who they tied) the Cougs had ten fewer rebounds than the Rams.

- Although the Rams shot 58-percent, BYU forced 24 turnovers and had 17 steals. BYU has 28 steals in their last two games.

- After averaging eight shots a game in the pre-season, Plaisted is now averaging 13 shots in his last four. He is averaging 16.5 points in that span.

- Malaman's block was his first since the Air Force game.

- BYU's last two games were arguably their most exciting of the season – neither was televised.

- BYU's next game will be televised. The Cougars are at New Mexico. Tip-off is 7 p.m. on SportsWest.

- BYU is now tied with Wyoming for fourth place in the conference with a 4-3 record. The Cougars are one game behind 5-2 UNLV and one game ahead of 3-4 New Mexico.


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