Cougar Bounces: UNLV

After winning all seven games during a recent home stand, BYU headed to Las Vegas to see if those winning ways could continue. They did not. The Cougars fell 83-75 to the Runnin' Rebels in a game that BYU controlled and even dominated at times, proving that road wins in Mountain West Conference are not easy to come by.

During the first half, it almost appeared as if the win streak would extend to eight games. BYU took an 11-point lead thanks to some accurate shooting by Trent Plaisted and Lee Cummard. Both sophomores were in double figures in the opening frame. UNLV responded to the early deficit by closing the half on a 22-12 run to tie the game at the half.

Unfortunately for BYU, they could not repeat their 52-percent shooting performance of the first half. Just 38-percent of their shots found the bottom of the basket – with most of those coming late in the half. UNLV used a career high 27 points from Wink Adams to push their lead as high as 13 points. Wendell White chipped in 21 points of his own as the Rebels evened their conference record at 2-2.

The Cougars were lead by Cummard's 18 points. Keena Young scored all 16 of his points in the second half, after sitting much of the first half in foul trouble. Plaisted had just one free throw in the second half to finish with 13 points. Mike Rose made two three pointers in each half to finish with 12.

The Cougars return home this Tuesday to play Wyoming. The game will tip at 6:00 p.m. and the football team will be honored during halftime. The mountain will broadcast the game.


Point: C+. Some will argue that the team really missed Rashaun Broadus' defense in this game. Yes, Adams did have a career high, but his previous high was set last year – when Broadus was around to play defense. BYU simply did not before and does not now have a guard who is quick enough to defend Adams. After scoring 20 points last game, Austin Ainge all but disappeared save for a lone three-pointer.

Wing: B. Cummard had a career high in points and grabbed five rebounds and dished out five assists, but his four turnovers came at costly moments. Rose made a three-pointer for the ninth straight game and is playing some of his best basketball in a long time. Jimmy Balderson was a non-factor – two points and no rebounds in 20-plus minutes.

Post: C+. Plaisted had a good first half and was having his way offensively without a double team. He was taken out of the game in the second half with quality perimeter defense that denied the ball to the post. Young more than made up for his goose egg in the first half. The Cougar post players, just like the guards, had no defensive answer for UNLV's best forward and were likewise torched for 20-plus performance.

Coach: B. Take the crowd out of the game in the first half – check. Get the post and Plaisted involved early – check. Hit shots from the outside –check. Find guys to contribute if there is foul trouble – check. Play well enough to win on the road – check. Get the team to play the whole forty minutes… well five out of six is pretty good. The coaches did everything right, except for an eight-minute stretch in the second half when the game was lost.

Spiff's Observations

- It was clear that Ainge was not going to score 20 points a night the rest of the season. I would much rather see him score 12 one night and 11 the next to get to 23 in two games than go 20 and then 3.

- Ben Murdock is a serviceable point guard. He quickly brings the ball up the floor and seems to look for the post-entry pass first. He is a solid player that does most things well, but is not extraordinary in any one facet of the game.

- After destroying teams on the glass for six straight games, BYU has been out-rebounded in each of the last two.

- Through the first two weeks of conference play, two things are evident: Air Force is clearly the best team in the league with a 4-0 record and Utah is easily the worst with a 0-4 record. No other team has more than two wins.

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