Cougar Bounces: Montevallo

The BYU Cougars concluded their exhibition season with a 92-63 over Montevallo University. The Division II school put up a valiant fight in the first half, but ran out of steam in the second. The Cougars' 29-point margin of victory was 20 points larger than that of the 11th ranked University of Alabama when the Crimson Tide faced Montevallo last week.

Halfway through the first half, Sam Burgess found Fernando Malaman for a two-handed dunk and 21-13 lead, but the Falcons fought back and went on a 14-7 run of their own to tie the game at 28.

After a media timeout, however, BYU outscored Montevallo 17-7 to finish the half and led 45-35 at the half. In the second half the Cougars never looked back as they shot 62-percent in the final frame. All Cougars, save one, got in on the scoring.

Montevallo's Greg Brown led all scorers with 26 points. BYU was led by Trent Plaisted's 20 points. He finished one rebound shy of a double-double. Freshman Jonathan Tavernari had a career high 11 points and seven rebounds.

GRADES

Point: B. Rashaun Broadus scored nine points, including two key three-pointers as the Cougars really started to pull away. Austin Ainge was held scoreless and had just two assists against three turnovers. Junior transfer Ben Murdock scored just one basket, but his playing in the first half seemed to really settle the team down. Murdock seemed to handle the mid-court pressure well. Three turnovers from this position is a good number, but their assist numbers should be better.

Wing: C+. Jimmy Balderson and Lee Cummard got the start and scored six and five points respectively. Both had five assists and did an excellent job of finding open teammates and feeding the post. Sam Burgess also had four assists, but struggled defensively, especially when guarding Brown. Cummard did a much better job guarding him. Mike Rose hit his first two shots and then was a non-factor the rest of the way. BYU needs better shooting from this group of players.

Post: B+. Plaisted dominated the smaller players like he should. His stat line could have been better if not for picking up two early fouls and sitting most of the first half. Vuk Ivanovic, fouled out in just ten minutes. He did score six points, but needed to be much more aggressive on the boards. Malaman is much stronger (although not much bigger) than last year. He is also more aggressive, especially around the hoop. He had two power dunks, in traffic. He was also very solid on defense. Tavernari's play was inspiring. He showed energy and no fear in mixing it up down low. His play helped to turn the close game into a blow out.

Coach: B. When his big guys got into early foul trouble, Coach Dave Rose went with a small lineup and four guards. He is clearly still evaluating players on the wing as all of them got at least ten minutes. He will need to settle on a rotation soon and define the team's roles.

OBSERVATIONS

- BYU did a much better job on the glass in the second half. Much of this was due to more playing time by Plaisted and Tavernari's tenacity.

- Montevallo did not score a basket in the final seven minutes.

- Mike Rose was the first player off the bench.

- The Cougars should have a very deep bench this year. Regardless of how the minutes shake out, there should be plenty of options at all positions for Coach Rose to utilize.

- Ivanovic looks like he will take some time adjusting to the Division I game. Like many first-year players, foul trouble will be a continuing issue. The quicker he learns to stay on the court, the sooner he can be a bigger contributor.

- BYU's season gets underway next Wednesday at UCLA.

- High schoolers Jimmer Fredette (Albany, NY) and Chris Collinsworth (Provo, Utah) have sent their letters of intent to BYU and will join the program next year. Junior college point guard Lamont Morgan is expected to sign shortly as well.

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