Season's beatings.

That's how the BYU basketball team concluded its preseason schedule, with a 106-74 shelling of NAIA foe Western Washington University. The victory wrapped up an 18-day homestand and a perfect 6-0 record during the stretch.In Tuesday night's contest before an announced paid attendance of 21,322 (the Marriott Center crowd was about two-thirds that total), the Cougars used the visiting Vikings like a wire brush - to remove the rust after an extended holiday layoff.

Russell Larson scored 23 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead five Cougars in double-figure scoring in a game that BYU coach Roger Reid called "exactly what I wanted."

He explained: "I look around the country and see who the teams in the top 25 are playing, and I say, `Why can't we do something like that?' "

So BYU did something like that and ended up with the expected results: a lopsided victory, a chance for everyone to play and a tuneup for next week's start of Western Athletic Conference play.

While Western Washington came to Provo averaging 50-plus percent shooting from the field and 96.8 points a game, the Cougars held the Vikings to more than 20 points under their scoring average and helped force them to shoot 38.2 in field-goal percentage for the game.

"Coming into this game, we had no delusions of grandeur in what we were going to accomplish," said WWU coach Brad Jackson, bemoaning poor shooting from the field and free-throw line (53 percent) as well as deficiencies in transition and inside strength. "When you're at our level and play a solid Division I team like this, those things are going to show up in a hurry."

In a hurry - like seven minutes into the first half. BYU turned a four-point lead into a 28-13 lead with a 13-2 spurt, led by Mark Durrant's 9 points that ranged from spinning lane moves to even a 3-pointer. The 15-point margin remained good at halftime, with the Cougars up 47-32 at intermission.

Through the first seven minutes of the second half, Brigham Young extended its margins to 24, 26 and eventually 28 points before the Vikings managed their own 16-4 surge. Viking guard Dwayne Kirkley scored 11 of his 12 total points during an impressive three-minute period to draw WWU to within 74-58 with just under 10 minutes to play.

But that's all Kirkley - who had been averaging 22.7 points in previous contests - could do in the face of a brotherly defense by Randy and Robbie Reid. The Cougars eventually returned their advantage to 20-plus points en route to the blowout.

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Besides Larson's 23 points, Durrant and Randy Reid added 15 points each, Jay Thompson contributed a season-high 14 points and Shane Knight tossed in another 10. The Cougars shot 57 percent for the game, with Durrant hitting all five FG attempts, Thompson 6 of 7 and Larson 7 of 11.

Harold Doyal topped WWU with 14 points, while Joel Duchense matched Kirkley's 12-point effort.

The Cougars take their 7-2 overall record - "that's better than I expected us to be," said Roger Reid - into WAC play next week with a tough trio of road games at New Mexico, Texas-El Paso and Utah.

COUGAR NOTES: Larson appreciated the post-holiday contest. "You're a little rusty - you're trying to burn off the pumpkin pie and the Christmas candy." . . . BYU senior guard Shawn Lindquist tallied a career-high six points . . . The Cougars' three-game WAC road trip is unique this season - no other conference team faces three consecutive away games. "Somebody's got to explain that to me," said Roger Reid.

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