No. 23 BYU downs Horned Frogs, moves on in Mountain West tourney
Las Vegas, NV (Sports Network) – Trent Plaisted scored 22 points and grabbed
nine rebounds, as 23rd-ranked BYU downed the TCU Horned Frogs, 77-64, in the
quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament at the Thomas & Mack
The Cougars (24-7), who claimed their first outright conference championship
since 1987-88, will be back in action on Friday to face the winner of the
Wyoming-Air Force encounter in the semifinals.
BYU, which played in the first two title games of this tournament, claimed
only the one against New Mexico in 2001, and has a record of 8-6 in the event.
Mike Rose scored 16 points for the top-seeded Cougars, who closed out the
regular season with back-to-back victories against both Air Force and Utah,
snapping the homecourt win streak of the Falcons at Clune Arena and pushing
their own run to a national-best 31 straight at the Marriott Center with a
85-62 thrashing of the Utes on Saturday.
Jimmy Balderson had 10 points, and Conference player of the year Keena Young
posted eight points and eight boards against TCU.
Kevin Langford scored 23 points for the eighth-seeded Horned Frogs (13-17),
who were in Vegas on Tuesday, defeating New Mexico by a score of 62-54 for
their first-ever MWC Tournament victory, in just their second season in the
league after coming over from Conference USA.
Femi Ibikunle scored 13 points, and Ryan Wall had 11 for the Horned Frogs.
Coming off a 24-point performance in the first round, Brent Hackett was
limited to just two points and one rebound against the Cougars.
With BYU holding a four-point lead, 26-22, with 4:20 remaining in the first
half, the Cougars closed the stanza on a 10-4 run capped by a pair of Hackett
free throws with one tick on the clock. The spurt gave Brigham Young a
double-digit lead, 36-26, at halftime.
The Cougars’ lead dwindled to eight on Wall’s trey with 11:09 left in the
second half, but BYU responded on a 10-0 burst finished by a Plaisted jumper
with 8:30 to go.
The Cougars’ 18-point lead, 59-41, was too cumbersome for the Frogs to
overcome down the stretch.
The Cougars outrebounded the Horned Frogs, 46-24, to tie their season-high
margin of 22…With respect to the all-time series between these two schools
on the hardwood, the Cougars lead by a count of 9-3 thanks also to an 89-65
blowout win at home in Provo during the regular season and an 85-72 triumph on
the road in Fort Worth.