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Freshman center leads Cougars to victory

Seattle Pacific's Dustin Bremerman, left, and BYU's Austin Ainge dive for a loose ball during the first half.
Seattle Pacific's Dustin Bremerman, left, and BYU's Austin Ainge dive for a loose ball during the first half.
Keith Johnson, Deseret Morning News

PROVO — It was only an exhibition game, but for BYU freshman Trent Plaisted it was a coming-out party of sorts.

The 6-foot-11 center scored 27 points and grabbed 12 rebounds in the Cougars' 86-72 victory Thursday over Division II foe Seattle Pacific before a crowd of 7,788 in the Marriott Center.

BYU needed Plaisted's points and rebounds.

The Cougars got off to a sluggish start against the Falcons, falling behind 15-3 early. BYU battled back, but still trailed at halftime, 35-33.

At one point early in the second half, the Cougars trailed 47-35.

But Plaisted, who sat out last season with an ankle injury as a medical redshirt, made his presence felt in the paint. He helped fuel a 30-8 run that lifted BYU to a 65-55 advantage. From there, the Cougars cruised to a 14-point triumph.

"I was really pleased with Trent," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "You want to have, especially when you have a young team, guys to have breakout games. He really bailed us out when we needed it. We were having a hard time hitting shots. We got a good matchup inside, and we took advantage of it."

"It always feels good to have some points," Plaisted said. "I'm ecstatic that (teammates) found me, and they did a good job of that. They put me in great situations."

Plaisted hit 11 of 19 shots from the floor, and eight of his rebounds were of the offensive variety.

"He's a different look as a post player because he's so athletic," said guard Jimmy Balderson, who scored 13 points. "He's as athletic as a guard. He's 7 feet tall, and he runs like an antelope or gazelle, whatever. He played great tonight. He's getting some good low-post moves. He put up big numbers."

Seattle Pacific had no answers for Plaisted.

"He's got mobility and he's very tough around the basket," Seattle Pacific coach Jeff Hironaka said. "He had a good matchup down low, and he exposed us well."

In the second half, the Cougars outscored the Falcons by 16 and outshot them 63 percent to 36 percent.

"We had a hard time starting the game, which is indicative of a young team playing an experienced team," Rose said. "We got in a hole. It changed the mindset of everybody. We were very impatient in the first half. We did a better job in the second half. I was proud of the way this team responded to adversity. It was a good experience for our team, and I think we'll learn from it."

"There were some defensive issues that we had," Plaisted said. "We were too impatient in the first half. We got a little jumpy and we didn't take our time."

Guard Mike Rose, who suffered a laceration on his face last week, did not play Thursday but should be ready to go for the season opener next week.

Rashaun Broadus scored nine points in 21 minutes despite playing in foul trouble; Austin Ainge recorded a team-high eight assists and scored seven points in 25 minutes.

The Falcons had three players score in double figures — Dustin Bremerman (22 points), Robbie Will (19 points) and Tony Binetti (10 points). They visit another Mountain West Conference opponent, New Mexico, on Saturday.

For the Cougars, the win marked their final exhibition contest of the season. They won their first one, last week over the University of Victoria, 81-54.

BYU opens the season Nov. 18 at home against Loyola Marymount.

CORRECTION: BYU rescheduled its game against Lamar to Wednesday, Nov. 30. A story in Thursday's edition erroneously identified a different day. The game was originally scheduled for Dec. 20. It will be played at the Delta Center.