BYU returns the blowout, 74-48

PROVO –- The BYU Cougars obviously believe in the saying "that turnabout is fair play". Almost one month to the day that BYU was positively embarrassed in a 70-41 loss to UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center, the Cougars got sweet revenge, handing the Runnin' Rebels a 26-point setback, 74-48 on Saturday night before 22,580 at the Marriott Center.

It was the 44th consecutive home win for the Cougars (20-5, 9-1), who extended their lead in the Mountain West Conference to two full games over the Rebels (19-6, 8-3). And according to junior center Trent Plaisted, who finished with a game-high 22 points and seven rebounds, that fact was more important than gaining any measure of revenge for the earlier blowout loss in Las Vegas.

"It was a huge conference game from the standpoint that we were No. 1 and they were No. 2, and we wanted to keep it that way," Plaisted said. "The revenge factor wasn't there."

"We were focused tonight and that was the difference in the game," added forward Lee Cummard, who finished with 18 points and two steals. "We came to play. … We played so badly and didn't execute anything down there. (There) was a little bit of redemption."

This time it was UNLV that appeared out of sync offensively most of the night. The Rebels shot just 29 percent (18-of-62) from the floor and missed at least a dozen makeable shots around the hoop. UNLV also had 15 turnovers.

As for that suffocating defense the Rebels displayed the first time the two teams met in Las Vegas …

"I thought they did pretty much did what they wanted to," UNLV coach Lon Kruger said. "Offensively they ran their stuff. We didn't disrupt anything. We didn't take anything away. I thought defensively they were aggressive and did a good job there. They scored off our turnovers. We don't turn it over much on the year but we turned it over a bunch tonight."

What disappointed Kruger the most the way your team played? "We didn't take away very much defensively," Kruger said. "We've hung our hat on that all year. We didn't step in and do that very much tonight"

"It was a long night," junior swingman Rene Rougeau, who spent much of the game on the bench in foul trouble (two in the first 1:45), said. "They were definitely the aggressor all night. It was kind of hard. I kind of felt like I was playing on my heels a lot tonight. I couldn't be as aggressive as I usually am. All the credit goes to them. They played excellent at home. Hopefully we'll get another chance at them.

"We're going to bounce back from this."

UNLV actually looked like it might make a game of it early, trailing by just two points, 15-13, midway through the first half before the Cougars broke the game open with a 24-10 run.

Freshman Troy Cage, who had played just 11 minutes in Mountain West Conference action in his entire career, played 12 minutes in the first half alone filling in for Rougeau, and 21 minutes for the game. Although he did well on the boards (team-high 12 rebounds), he struggled on offense, missing several open shots badly. He scored four points (2-of-7 from the floor) and had three turnovers.

Any hopes of a UNLV comeback were dashed by a 12-0 Cougar run midway through the second half that upped BYU's lead to 29 points, 67-38.

Senior forward Corey Bailey (10 points) was the only Rebel to finish in double figures. Rougeau (3-of-11), guard Wink Adams (2-of-14, 9 points) and point guard Curtis Terry (2-of-10, 6 points) were a combined 7-of-35 from the floor (20.0 percent).

"We've got to have a little more production there for sure," Kruger said. "We just didn't finish many things."

"We probably got a little rattled," Rougeau said. "I'm not going to lie to you. Just missing a lot some easy shots. We've got to finish those."

"I feel like we got some good looks early but we just didn't get any to drop," Terry said."

Terry refused to use BYU's impressive home court winning streak, the second longest behind No. 1 Memphis' 47 straight, as a reason for the loss.

"They just outplayed us," Terry said. "I'm not looking into that part of it. They played a good game and hopefully we'll see them again in the conference tournament."

Both Kruger and Terry also refused to use Friday morning's arrest of backup point guard Marcus Lawrence as a distraction that may have hurt the team.

"Not at all," Kruger said. "The guys are concerned for Marcus but it wasn't a distraction as far as the game tonight."

"We feel for Marcus and his situation but we've got to move on," Terry said. "We had a game to play. We had to come out here and handle our business and be productive and do what we had to do. We weren't able to get the win. Marcus' situation didn't have any affect on us at all."

Rougeau was asked if he was stunned at how one-sided the outcome was.

""Not stunned, just very disappointed," Rougeau said. "We were really looking forward to this game. We were real anxious to get this game started. More than anything just disappointed, not stunned. … We just didn't play good."

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