Cummard Near Perfect in Rout of Pepperdine

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PROVO, Utah (Dec. 15, 2007) -- No. 25 BYU (9-2) won its 37th straight home game with a convincing 86-67 win over Pepperdine (5-7) Saturday night in the Marriott Center.

Junior guard Lee Cummard led all scorers with 21 points on 10-of-12 shooting, while junior center Trent Plaisted posted his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and a season-high 18 rebounds. Plaisted's 18 boards also matched his career high.

Jason Walberg paced Pepperdine with 17 points, while Malcolm Thomas chipped in 14 points and seven rebounds. BYU shot 57 percent for the game to the Waves' 31 percent. The Cougars recorded 24 assists on their 37 field goals. BYU also won the battle of the boards, 46-37.

"The heart and soul of our team has a lot of experience in finding the best shot possible," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "When they pass up a good shot for a better shot, it becomes contagious. That helped us out a lot tonight."

The Cougars applied a balanced attack early on as Sam Burgess followed up a lay-in with a head fake and kiss off the glass to give him a quick four points. Plaisted scored on a strong post move going left, while Cummard nailed a trey from the top of the key giving BYU a 9-2 lead.

Minutes later, Plaisted flushed a layup and a dunk in succession to give the Cougars a double-digit lead little more than five minutes into the game. Carrying a 20-8 edge with 11 minutes remaining in the first half, BYU got a little sloppy. Thanks in large part to the Cougars' 12 turnovers in the game's first 12 minutes the Waves used an 11-2 run to get back in the game.

Leading by only three points at 22-19, BYU went back to work in the paint. After another Plaisted slam, freshman Chris Collinsworth put down a layup to extend the Cougars' cushion to seven at 26-19.

Freshman guard Michael Loyd, Jr. knocked one down from beyond the arc and then swished a 15-footer along the left baseline. Pepperdine responded with back-to-back three-pointers to cut BYU's lead to 31-28 with five minutes to go in the half.

Seconds later it was Loyd, Jr. again bringing a little show time basketball to the Marriott Center. The Las Vegas native stole the ball and drove the length of the court before throwing up a perfectly timed alley-oop to Cummard. A Ben Murdock three and a Plaisted jump-hook in the paint brought the Cougars' lead back to 10 at 38-28.

With just under two minutes remaining, Cummard went coast-to-coast for a two-handed slam that gave BYU its largest lead of the half at 40-29. Pepperdine scored four unanswered points in the low post to make it a 40-33 game at the break.

The Cougars shot a smoldering 62 percent from the field in the opening half, while holding the Waves to just 34 percent. However, BYU's 19 first-half turnovers -- and Pepperdine's 13 points off of those turnovers -- allowed the Waves to hang around.

A full-court press from Pepperdine to begin the second half forced two consecutive Cougar turnovers, but Cummard finished a fastbreak with yet another dunk and then scored with his back to the basket to keep the Waves at bay.

His team up by three, Cummard banked in a five-footer off an up-and-under move to increase the lead to 46-41 and spark an 11-2 run. Cummard had four points and a block during the decisive run, which gave BYU a 55-43 advantage.

Pepperdine would get no closer than eight points the rest of the way, while the Cougar lead ballooned to as many as 22. During the rout, sophomore forward Jonathan Tavernari sank back-to-back long balls from the right-side corner.

No. 25 BYU stays at home to face Southern Utah next Friday. The game, which tips off at 6:30 p.m. (MT), can be seen on The Mtn.

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