Cougar Bounces

BYU won another tight game on the road tonight, and this time they did it at one of the toughest places to play in the Mountain West. The Cougars are picking up momentum heading into the second half of conference play.

After struggling to win any games on the road, the BYU Cougars have now won their last two road conference games. They seem to have found the right recipe for victory: add a big bucket by Brock Reichner and Rashaun Broadus, mix in a solid effort from Trent Plaisted, spice it up with a Jimmy Balderson bench effort and pour over key defensive plays by Keena Young and Fernando Malaman.

It was Young's effort early that kept BYU in the game. He scored eight of the Cougars first 18 points and grabbed rebounds all night. Young was key in keeping BYU close in the first half. The Cougars were down by five at the half then outscored the Lobos by 11 in the second half.

Another key to the road victory was just one turnover after halftime. The Cougars tied a season low with seven. For the third straight game, BYU was in a close game late and they made the plays that they needed to secure the victory.

BYU has now tied their season long win streak at three. They go for a fourth straight against Air Force in the Marriott Center. Tip-off is at 1 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN+.


Point: B+. Broadus was huge for the Cougars in this game. He scored 15 points, had six assists and zero turnovers. All three of his three pointers seemed to come at important points in the game. His reverse lay-up and two free-throw makes with under a minute to play helped seal the victory. Austin Ainge was not much of a factor, but did grab three rebounds.

Wing: B+. Reichner had 11 points (his sixth straight double-figure game) and played great defense on Mark Walters, who was the league's second leading scorer. Balderson came off the bench to add 14 and Lee Cummard pitched in five.

Post: B. Plaisted had 13 and five. Young finished with 12 and nine and Malaman seven and four. Plaisted did struggle to guard Joel Cox who had 14, but he probably will not have to guard too many 6-foot-8 players who can hit four three-pointers. Trent fouled out for the third consecutive game, but Young and Malaman picked up their games to play great defense at the end.

Coach: B+. Coach Rose is not afraid to get after officials or players. He appeared to be quite livid with his guys during one time out. Fortunately, the Cougars respond to him. Rose's game plan was excellent and several of the Cougars baskets came off designed plays coming out of time outs. He has really tightened up the rotation as only seven players played more than 15 minutes.


- Walters who was averaging 18.1 points, fouled out after scoring just eight.

- I felt the officiating was very good, fair and consistent. 18 fouls on BYU, 17 on UNM. Two times there was shot clock confusion and both times the officials stopped the game, went to the replay and got the call right. I also noticed them working together to get out-of-bounds calls correct too. It was actually one of the better called games this year in conference play, in my opinion.

- In my preseason preview, I stated that if Reichner was playing major minutes for this team, it would not be a good sign. I would like to retract that statement. He is the heart and soul of the Cougars. His senior leadership has been simply amazing.

- BYU had five players in double figures (Reichner, Plaisted, Young, Balderson and Broadus).

- In conference play BYU is shooting 129-161 (80.1%) from the charity stripe.

- After getting 28 steals versus TCU and CSU, BYU had just three against the Lobos.

- Since halftime against TCU, BYU has made 28 of 50 attempts (56%).

- Plaisted is becoming a very consistent player for BYU. His improvement is visible. I stand by my statement that he will be one of the best post players ever at BYU.

- BYU has broken the three longest home winning streaks in New Mexico history. The Lobos had won their previous 21 home game before tonight.

- After being picked last in the conference, BYU is in fourth place halfway through the conference season. They are 5-3.

- The Cougars only have three more road games (Utah, Wyoming, and TCU).

- Upper-concourse tickets for the Air Force game are on sale for $1.

- Shame on all the local TV stations for not broadcasting the last three Cougar games to the majority of local Cougar fans. They have been the most exciting games BYU has played this year and if you only had Comcast Cable, you could see just one of the games.

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