Cougars Bounces

Saturday's basketball contest between BYU and Wyoming saw two programs headed in opposite directions. The Cougars are in the hunt for a top seed in the MWC conference, whereas the Cowboys are trying to salvage a once promising season.

Justin Williams held a block party Saturday afternoon in Laramie. The senior Cowboy tied a school record with 11 blocked shots. He alone dropped BYU's shooting percentage 17-points. In the end, however, it was not enough as the Cougars won 74-68 and escaped with their third conference road victory.

Williams, with a near triple double (8 points, 13 rebounds, 11 blocks), could not lead his team to victory as Wyoming lost for the sixth time in their last seven games. By contrast, BYU has won six of its last seven games and with the win moved into a potential tie for second place in the MWC.

This was a game of runs and desire. The Cougars went on several five, six and seven-point runs throughout the game to take control early, but every time it seemed BYU was ready to break the game open Wyoming responded. Whether it was a block by Williams or a big bucket by freshman Brandon Ewing (who led all scorers with 25), Wyoming kept the game close.

In the second half, BYU stretched the lead to 53-43, but the Cowboys immediately countered with a 15-1 run. With a four-point lead at 58-54, the momentum seemed to be in the Cowboy corner, with the crowd getting behind their team. BYU was able to cap the run, however, and following an offensive put-back by Rashaun Broadus over Williams, the Cougars took the lead for good.

GRADES

Point: C+. Austin Ainge's mind clearly was not in Laramie. His five turnovers showed that his mind might have justifiably been more on his newborn son than the Cowboys. Broadus had a very quiet nine points. He only had two assists and again appeared to struggle on defense. The Cougar points did handle what pressure Wyoming threw at them, and Broadus' put-back at the end was a huge play.

Wing: B+. With Brock Reichner a non-factor and Lee Cummard getting benched after picking up a technical foul in the first half, the Cougars needed a lift from the bench at this position. They got one from Jackson Emery. Emery had not scored in six games, but he came off the bench to pour in 13 key points. Jimmy Balderson also continued his solid play with 11 points and seven rebounds, although he did foul out late in the contest.

Post: A-. Keena Young came up huge again. Not only did he hit two free throws to make it a two-possession game with less than 20 seconds to go, but he also scored 15 points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Trent Plaisted came close to a double-double of his own (12 points, eight rebounds) and played solid defense all night. Fernando Malaman had his best game in more than a month. He scored just four points, but grabbed five important rebounds and was very effective in post double teams.

Coach: B+. Coach Rose kept his team focused all game long. He also showed the willingness to discipline in-game as Cummard did not return to the game after slamming the ball into the standard following a charging call. Coach Rose's substitutions were excellent. Emery was given a chance in the first half and Rose stuck with the true freshman when he responded. Rose also put Plaisted back in the game late in the first half, despite having two fouls. Plaisted did not pick up another foul the rest of the game.

OBSERVATIONS:

- BYU had 20 offensive rebounds. They have 61 in the last four games.

- For the second time this season, the Cougars out-rebounded the Cowboys, who lead the conference in rebounding. BYU had 11 more caroms today.

- Williams had 18 blocks in his two games against BYU.

- Plaisted has scored at least 12 points in each of the last seven games. He continues to improve and will become one of the all-time great post players at BYU. Against Wyoming he displayed a right-handed jump hook shot—not bad for the south-paw.

- Derek Dawes has just 14 minutes in the last seven games.

- BYU had a season low six assists, but made up for it by tying a season high in offensive rebounds.

- Five Cougars scored at least nine points (Broadus, Balderson, Emery, Plaisted and Young). BYU is very tough to beat when they have that kind of distribution in scoring.

- BYU improved to 16-7 overall and 8-4 in the MWC. The Cougars will remain tied for third place following Saturday's games.

- First-place San Diego State comes to the Marriott Center on Wednesday. The game is set to tip at 7 p.m. MDT. The game will be broadcast on SportsWest.


BYU Cougars
STARTERSMIN FGM-A FTM-A 3PTM-A OFF REB AST PF TO STL BLK PTS
K. Young, F 306-133-30-05120220015
T. Plaisted, F 314-144-70-0480201012
R. Broadus, G 264-91-20-312231109
B. Reichner, G 302-61-21-113101016
L. Cummard, G 92-20-00-002042104
BENCHMIN FGM-A FTM-A 3PTM-A OFF REB AST PF TO STL BLK PTS
J. Emery, G 174-62-23-4110400113
A. Ainge, G 140-10-00-000215200
F. Malaman, F 182-70-00-135131004
J. Balderson, G 253-93-42-4240531011
TOTALS FGM-A FTM-A 3PTM-A OFF REB AST PF TO STL BLK PTS
27-6714-206-131737624156274
40.3%70.0% 46.2% 


Wyoming Cowboys
STARTERSMIN FGM-A FTM-A 3PTM-A OFF REB AST PF TO STL BLK PTS
J. Williams, F-C 324-60-00-05130330118
S. Leven, G-F 252-103-50-501021207
D. Wabbington, F-C 364-111-40-116131129
B. Jones, G 344-73-50-0255451011
B. Ewing, G 348-157-102-7025432025
BENCHMIN FGM-A FTM-A 3PTM-A OFF REB AST PF TO STL BLK PTS
K. Lewis, G-F 81-20-00-100001002
R. Forman, G-F 20-00-00-000000000
J. Ebert, G 150-10-00-000110000
C. Anderson, F 133-30-20-003121006
B. Songondo, F-C 10-00-00-000000000
TOTALS FGM-A FTM-A 3PTM-A OFF REB AST PF TO STL BLK PTS
26-5514-262-1483013191561368
47.3%53.8% 14.3% 

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