Cougar Bounces

At halftime of BYU's 76-68 victory over New Mexico, the late Kresimir Cosic's jersey was retired. As Number 11 was hung from the rafters, Coach Dave Rose was in the locker room trying to get his team to overcome a one-point deficit.

BYU Athletic Director Tom Holmoe was joined by BYU President Cecil O. Samuelson and President Thomas S. Monson at half-court with Cosic's surviving family – wife, Ljerka, daughters Ana and Eva, and son Kresimir. He presented a diamond #11 pendant to Ljerka and limited edition Cosic jersey to his son.

Then before the jersey was hung from the rafters Ana spoke on behalf of her family and spoke of how much Provo and BYU meant to her father. President Monson who worked with Kresimir to bring The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to Yugoslavia also remembered that while Cosic was a great player he was an even better human. Total Blue Sports will have a tribute to Cosic in an upcoming magazine.

Back to the game, the Lobos shot 67-percent in the first half from the field but their 30-percent shooting from the free throw line allowed BYU to stay close. At one point, the Cougars trailed by ten, but finished the half strong.

In the second half, as New Mexico cooled off (40-percent) BYU continued their solid play and slowly took control of the game. The Cougars finally got their offense on track as they scored 43 points in the final frame.

They were led by Jimmy Balderson's 21 points and eight rebounds. It was his third 20-point game of the year. BYU has won ten of their last eleven. The lone loss during that stretch was also the only game in which Balderson did not reach double figures.

With the win, BYU finished tied for second place in the Mountain West Conference with Air Force. However, due to tiebreakers, they will be the third seed in next week's conference tournament.

GRADES:

Point: B. One assist and four turnovers is not the type of production you like to see from the point position. Nevertheless, Austin Ainge and Rashaun Broadus did have four steals. Broadus scored 12 points and played well against the taller Mark Walters. His six free throws were key to the Cougs victory, though.

Wing: B+. Jimmy Balderson came off the bench to lead in scoring and rebounds. Lee Cummard also hit a big three in the first half to help BYU get back in the game. Brock Reichner had an off shooting night, but did score 12. Jackson Emery was solid on defense in the first half, but did not play in the second.

Post: B. Trent Plaisted, Keena Young and Fernando Malaman were 9-23 from the floor, but they did have 14 rebounds. It was the second straight poor shooting night from the post. They must shoot better if BYU is to make a run in the MWC tournament. But they did make plays when they needed to. Plaisted had three-point play late and Young had a tip-in with under one-minute to go to seal the win.

Coach: A. Beautiful half-time adjustments. He was able to change the tempo of the game and got his team out and running. When seven of eight fouls were called on his team during one stretch, he was able to focus his team. Again, when the games are tight, he keeps his players' minds in the game and ready to make plays to win.

OBSERVATIONS

- After the game, senior Brock Reichner was hoisted on his teammates' shoulders in front of the student section.

- Keena Young and Rashaun Broadus then jumped under the usher tape and came into the crowd for hugs and high fives by the students. It has been great to see the team appreciate the fans that do come out to support them.

- The 20,732 in attendance were the most at a home game in several years. It was also the loudest I have ever heard the Marriott Center. New Mexico was called for a five-second violation late in the game; I believe that was a direct result of the crowd cheering. I can only imagine what it was like when the Cougs routinely got 20,000-plus fans.

- MWC officials need to read up on what constitutes a flagrant foul. If a Lobo diving at Balderson's feet and tripping him does not constitute one, I would like to know what does.

- BYU should change the fans' primary color from blue to white. The two games they have done promotions for the student section have resulted in a great looking crowd. And both times the color involved was white. They handed out white towels a few games ago and tonight they had white Cosic t-shirts for the students. White is a bright color that shows up well on television.

- BYU will play Utah in the MWC Tournament. The game will tip at 9:59 p.m. MST on Thursday. The game will be broadcast on ESPN.

- BYU finished the regular season with a 20-7 record. They were 12-4 in conference play. The 12 conference wins were a team record for MWC wins.


BYU Cougars
STARTERSMIN FGM-A FTM-A 3PTM-A OFF REB AST PF TO STL BLK PTS
K. Young, F 335-123-50-0351111013
T. Plaisted, F 273-84-50-0141421110
R. Broadus, G 323-76-60-2010123012
J. Emery, G 101-21-21-213000004
B. Reichner, G 305-120-01-5144110011
BENCHMIN FGM-A FTM-A 3PTM-A OFF REB AST PF TO STL BLK PTS
A. Ainge, G 90-00-00-000112100
F. Malaman, F 201-30-00-005141112
J. Balderson, G 296-87-72-3382201021
L. Cummard, G 101-20-01-122012003
TOTALS FGM-A FTM-A 3PTM-A OFF REB AST PF TO STL BLK PTS
25-5421-255-1311321015118276
46.3%84.0% 38.5% 


New Mexico Lobos
STARTERSMIN FGM-A FTM-A 3PTM-A OFF REB AST PF TO STL BLK PTS
D. Chiotti, F 303-130-50-117422116
B. Harden, G 202-30-01-102131105
J. Box, F 214-60-00-203110008
M. Walters, G 355-82-21-3114571013
J. Hart, G 355-90-05-9011301015
BENCHMIN FGM-A FTM-A 3PTM-A OFF REB AST PF TO STL BLK PTS
K. Walter, F 113-40-03-402020009
K. Collins, G 190-20-00-013303110
D. Prentice, G 10-00-00-000000000
T. Danridge, G-F 232-43-40-012131007
C. Toppert, G 11-10-01-100000003
D. Faris, F 41-10-10-000030202
TOTALS FGM-A FTM-A 3PTM-A OFF REB AST PF TO STL BLK PTS
26-515-1211-214211522147268
51.0%41.7% 52.4% 

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