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Slow half turns into Y. runaway

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Rashaun Broadus (left) of BYU falls to the court along with Portland's Kevin Field Wednesday at the Marriott Center.

Rashaun Broadus (left) of BYU falls to the court along with Portland’s Kevin Field Wednesday at the Marriott Center.

Michael Brandy, Deseret Morning News

PROVO — Three games into the 2006-07 BYU basketball season, and this we know: Trent Plaisted and Rashaun Broadus aren't starting - for now. Sam Burgess is coming off the bench with new-found confidence and a dynamite 3-pointer, the Cougars are cutting down the turnovers but not the fouls, and the team needs to rely less on perimeter play and get it inside to the post players.

Oh, and the Cougars can break out of a so-so first half and ramp up the effort - and the results - like they did in Wednesday night's 79-50 rout of Portland before a Marriott Center crowd 8,202.

And BYU coach Dave Rose thinks there's more where that came from.

"We left a lot of points out there - a lot at the free-throw line and a lot of shots we'd normally make," said Rose of the Cougars' 17-of-28 FT shooting and their first-half tendency to be intimated by the Pilots' inside size and to rush their shots.

BYU turned a meager 31-24 halftime lead into a rout by starting the second half with a 14-4 run, keyed by three consecutive 3-pointers by reserve guard Sam Burgess.

Burgess, who admittedly was uncomfortable and lacked confidence as a player two seasons ago before redshirting last year, finished with a career-high 13 points.

"That's what I'm supposed to do - come in and hit a few big shots and provide some defense," Burgess said.

Lee Cummard, who led all scorers with 14 points, added: "He basically put the dagger in."

Keena Young contributed 13 points and shared team-high honors of nine rebounds with first-time starter Vuk Ivanovic, starting in place of Plaisted, still gimpy with a sprained ankle.

Rose wasn't sure if Plaisted - who played sparingly at UCLA in a midweek loss but more so because of foul woes - would be ready to go. The sophomore played 14 minutes, scoring six points and grabbing four boards while satisfying Rose, who also started Austin Ainge in place of Broadus at the point, hoping the latter would ease up, relax and not press as much as of late.

The team as a whole seems more relaxed with the ball, committing just nine against the Pilots, compared to 17 against UCLA and 23 in the opener vs. Idaho State. And the Cougars rebounded from a first-half shooting of just 34 percent - typical of Portland opponents a half-dozen games into the Pilots' season - to shoot 54 percent in the second half, while holding the visitors to just 25 percent for the game and forcing 19 turnovers and allowing only four assists.

In other words, call it a game of Pilot errors.

The Cougars started strong, holding Portland scoreless for the first five minutes and without a field goal for seven. But the Cougars couldn't capitalize, leading by 10 only once before the 31-24 score at intermission.

In the second half, the Cougars bombed away from the outside - a little too much so for Rose, who admits the long-range shooting is a plus but wants his team to focus on its inside post presence. "There are times when our team relies too much on its perimeter shooting," he said.

He was also concerned with the Cougars' fouls against Portland, being whistled for 22 for the second straight game.

Portland (2-4) did not have any double-digit scorers, being led by eight-point outings by forwards Sherrard Watson and Jaime Jones.

NOTES: BYU guard Jimmy Balderson added a balanced statistical outing of six points, seven rebounds, five assists and five steals ... BYU outblocked Portland 6-0.


E-mail: taylor@desnews.com