for this game

Top-seeded BYU primed for San Diego State

Mar 13, 2009 - 7:56 PM By Kate Hedlin Stats Writer

San Diego State (22-8) vs. (25) BYU (25-6)

LAS VEGAS (Ticker) -- BYU has gotten off to some slow starts recently, but playing from behind clearly isn't rattling its players.

San Diego State is well aware of how dangerous the No. 25 Cougars can be even when trailing.

BYU looks to advance to the Mountain West tournament finals for a third straight season Friday when it takes on the Aztecs in Las Vegas.

BYU (25-6), the top seed in the tournament, advanced to the semifinals with an 80-69 win over Air Force on Thursday. Jimmer Fredette scored 21 points and Jonathan Tavernari added 19 points and 11 rebounds.

Air Force led by three at the half, but the Cougars went on a 15-6 run after the break, then held off several runs en route to their 10th win in 11 games.

"We got a lot of help from a lot of different players," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "But that's the way our team has been throughout the season. It was a good win for our team and we're excited to move on."

Rose probably wishes his team would get off to better starts. The Cougars have trailed at the half in each of their last six games, although they've gone on to win the last five, outscoring opponents by an average of 17 points after the break. In a 69-59 win at San Diego State on February 24, the Aztecs led by 13 at the half before the Cougars rallied to complete a two-game sweep of the regular-season series.

Fredette matched a career high with 28 points in that contest.

BYU made the MWC finals as the top seed each of the past two years, but lost to UNLV each time.

There won't be a rematch against the Runnin' Rebels after fourth-seeded San Diego State (22-8) ousted them 71-57. It was the fourth straight win for the Aztecs, who shot 50 percent and went 8-for-15 from 3-point range. Lorenzo Wade had 20 points and 10 rebounds, while three other San Diego State players scored 10 points apiece.

"All of us came out of with a lot more passion than we have in the previous games," said senior forward Kyle Spain, who had 10 points, seven rebounds and four assists. "Every minute of the game is important, but I believe the most important is in the second half. That's when we really need to buckle down."

The Aztecs have held their last three opponents below 60 points and allowed them to shoot only 35.3 percent. They boasted the MWC's stingiest defense during the regular season, allowing 59.8 points per game. BYU, however, has averaged 73.0 points in two wins against them this season.

"We have to control the basketball, limit our turnovers," Wade said of the key to beating BYU. "It all comes back to defense. If we can maintain our defensive intensity, I believe in the last two to four minutes of a game we're going to be right in there with anyone in the country."

The winner of this contest will face either Utah or Wyoming in Saturday's final.

  • 5
    MattDOOM777 Added 5 roots

    Southern Methodist 76, Houston 85  FinalMar 12 12:40 AM

    --- --- -----
    SMU 30 46 76
    HOUSTON 41 44 85 FINAL

    Mar 11 11:22 PM

    NCAA BB SMU 30

    Mar 11 10:22 PM