BYU ready for #6 Louisville after win over Hartford

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PROVO, Utah (Nov. 20, 2007) -- The BYU men's basketball team secured its second victory of the Findlay Toyota Las Vegas Invitational on Tuesday with its 97-73 win over Hartford. With the victory, BYU improves to 4-0 on the season and maintains the nation's second-longest home winning streak with 34 wins. The Cougars' current record marks the program's best start since the 2002-03 season.

Jimmer Fredette scored a career-high 19 points and led five Cougars scoring in double figures. The freshman went 4-for-5 from the behind the three-point line and 6-for-7 from the field. Lee Cummard and Jonathan Tavernari finished the game with 18 points apiece, Trent Plaisted with 16 points and Sam Burgess with 13.

The Cougars outrebounded the Hawks 37-19, led by Tavernari who pulled down a game-high 8 rebounds.

"I am pleased with the way we came out tonight and played," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "We did an excellent job executing the zone. We were able to hit some shots early on, which gave us some space offensively."

BYU's 2-for-7 start set up an early Hartford lead, but Ben Murdock's first three-pointer of the game put the Cougars back on top for good with just under 16 minutes to play in the first half.

Fredette and Burgess helped put BYU up by 10 points as both scored on running lay-ins. Fredette's two consecutive three-pointers quickly put the Cougars up 27-11 with 9:25 remaining in the first half. Cummard scored a three of his own during the Cougars' next possession.

BYU continued its fast-paced offense and created multiple scoring opportunities, including a jumper by Cummard with 5:30 to play in the first half. Burgess' third make from behind the arc came at the end of the half, sending the Cougars into the break up 46-22.

"BYU is a very good team," said Hartford head coach Dan Leibovitz. " They have a lot of weapons. It is very hard to stop them. They have a veteran team, which is tough to compete against."

BYU turnovers to begin the second half sparked an 11-4 Hartford run. Shots refused to fall as the Cougars' only points came from the free-throw line. BYU's first field goal of the half came on a dunk by Cummard with 14:06 to play in the game.

The Cougars continued to struggle offensively as the Hawks battled back, attempting to close the deficit. Hartford would come to within 12 points before back-to-back three-pointers by Cummard and Tavernari brought the score to 64-46.

"The second half we got a little flat," said Rose. "Hartford mixed things up, and that got us a little out of sync. Once we were able to settle down we were able to perform a lot better, especially toward the end."

Plaisted's fourth dunk of the year came with just over eight minutes to play. Fredette hit his third three-pointer of the night, which was immediately answered by the Hawks. Hartford's second player of the night fouled out with 5:13 remaining in the game.

A final three by Fredette put the Cougars up 93-67 with just under two minutes to play in the game. An assist from Michael Loyd, Jr. to Archie Rose and a last-second lay-up by Chris Miles clinched the victory for the Cougars.

Up next the Cougars will travel to Las Vegas to take on No. 6 Louisville in the third round of the Invitational on Friday. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. PT at Orleans Arena and will be televised live on BYUTV.

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