BYU Holds Off Cowboys 96-84, Advance to MWC Championship Game

BYU Holds Off Cowboys 96-84, Advance to MWC Championship Game



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LAS VEGAS (AP) -- The BYU Cougars can only imagine how good Trent Plaisted would be if he could just knock down more free throws.

Plaisted tied his career-high with 27 points in the 23rd-ranked Cougars' 96-84 win over Wyoming in the Mountain West semifinals Friday night that sent BYU to the conference championship for the first time since 2001.

The sophomore center shoots 50 percent from the line, but only hit seven of 16, and the Cougars missed 16 foul shots overall, making for a tense final few minutes after building a 25-point first-half lead.

BYU Holds Off Cowboys 96-84, Advance to MWC Championship Game
Photo: (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

The Cowboys kept chipping away at their 19-point halftime deficit until Eric Platt's 3-pointer off the glass pulled Wyoming to 87-80 with 1:05 left.

Suddenly, the Cougars (25-7) were sweating out all those errant foul shots, the only flaw in an otherwise well-oiled team that is primed for some success in the NCAA tournament.

Lee Cummard, a defensive specialist who scored 21 points, more than double his average, sank two free throws, and Mike Rose sank one of two for a 90-80 lead.

Wyoming (17-15) got 23 points each from Jones and Brandon Ewing, the only sophomore in the school's history to top 1,000 points. Platt scored 13.

Conference player of the year Keena Young added 12 points and 10 boards for BYU, which also got 16 points from Austin Ainge.

The Cougars were just 29-of-45 from the stripe, and the Cowboys were 15-of-28.

No. 23 BYU 96, WYOMING 84

WYOMING (17-15)
Taylor 3-5 2-3 9, Brown 4-9 0-0 8, Jones 6-16 10-15 23, Spencer 1-3 0-0 2, Ewing 10-22 2-3 23, Okoye 1-1 0-0 2, Dermody 0-0 0-2 0, Platt 4-8 1-3 13, Nelson 2-3 0-2 4, Songondo 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-67 15-28 84.

BYU (25-7)
Young 3-13 6-8 12, Plaisted 10-13 7-16 27, Ainge 4-6 5-6 16, Balderson 2-5 0-1 6, Cummard 6-8 7-8 21, Rose 2-4 3-4 9, Burgess 0-0 0-0 0, Murdock 0-1 0-0 0, Tavernari 2-6 1-2 5. Totals 29-56 29-45 96.

Halftime--Brigham Young 54-35.
3-Point Goals--Wyoming 7-19 (Platt 4-8, Taylor 1-1, Jones 1-3, Ewing 1-6, Spencer 0-1), BYU 9-14 (Ainge 3-3, Balderson 2-2, Rose 2-4, Cummard 2-4, Tavernari 0-1).
Fouled Out--Taylor.
Rebounds--Wyoming 38 (Taylor 11), BYU 42 (Plaisted, Young 10).
Assists--Wyoming 13 (Jones 5), BYU 14 (Balderson, Cummard 3).
Total Fouls--Wyoming 29, BYU 19.
A--NA.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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