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LYON, France (Aug. 21, 2007) -- Facing its toughest competition to date, the BYU men's basketball team pulled away late against Saint Etienne, a Pro B level squad, to earn a 92-73 victory Tuesday night in Lyon, France. With the win, BYU improves to 3-0 on the trip while averaging 90.3 points per game.
Sophomore Jonathan Tavernari pumped in six three-pointers on his way to a game-high 28 points while junior Trent Plaisted recorded his third straight double-double outing with 26 points and a team-best 10 rebounds. Junior Lee Cummard dished out a team-leading 10 assists and nearly recorded a triple-double with nine points and nine rebounds.
A key to the game for the Cougars was their ability to handle Saint Etienne's full-court pressure. Committing only 12 turnovers while dishing out 29 assists, BYU stayed composed and was able to push the ball ahead for good scoring opportunities in transition.
The game stayed close most of the way as the Cougars battled a big and physical opponent. BYU held a slim 24-22 lead after the first quarter before expanding the margin to 12 at the break (44-32) thanks to 18 first-half points from Plaisted.
BYU was able to maintain its advantage throughout the third quarter, which ended with the Cougars leading 65-53. Early in the final period Saint Etienne made a run but BYU fought off the challenge and took control of the game thanks to three consecutive triples from Tavernari, Sam Burgess and Ben Murdock. Tavernari hit five of his six three-pointers (6-of-9) in the second half, while Murdock finished a nice outing at the point with eight points, four rebounds and five assists and Burgess scored 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting and added eight assists.
Former Long Beach State point guard Kevin Houston led Saint Etienne with 17 points while former Dayton Flyer Yuanta Holland contributed 14 points.
Despite being far from home, BYU did have a group of fans cheering them on Tuesday as local members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints came and showed their support for the Cougars.
After back-to-back games in Lyon, BYU will be off Wednesday before playing again on Thursday in Cannes, France, a Golfe-Jean, another National 2 level team. The Cougars finish the trip Friday against National 2 AS Monaco in Monaco, France.
Player Name FG 3PT FT Rebounds Assists TO Points Jonathan Tavenari 11/19 6/9 0/1 7 4 1 28 Trent Plaisted 9/15 0/0 8/10 10 2 4 26 Sam Burgess 5/7 1/2 1/3 1 8 0 12 Lee Cummard 3/7 1/3 2/2 9 10 2 9 Ben Murdock 3/8 2/4 0/0 4 5 3 8 Gavin McGregor 3/5 0/0 1/1 3 0 0 7 Chris Miles 1/2 0/0 0/0 4 0 1 2 Chase Ulicny 0/1 0/0 0/0 1 0 1 0