BYU notebook: Cougar players still sick over loss

Published: Tuesday, Dec. 11 2007 12:20 a.m. MST

PROVO — There's good and bad news in the aftermath of BYU's loss to Michigan State on Saturday at the EnergySolutions Arena.

The bad? The Cougars (7-2) dropped in the rankings but still hang in the polls at No. 25.

The good? Junior center Trent Plaisted earned MWC conference player of the week honors for his 19-point, eight-rebound effort against the Spartans and 14 points and 15 boards in a win over Weber State.

But if you polled BYU's players, they are sick about blowing a 14-point lead on the No. 9 Spartans and see it as an opportunity lost. The Cougars now prepare to host Lamar University on Wednesday night in the Marriott Center.

"You try not to dwell on it too long, but it was a tough one. I know my body's still getting over it," said Plaisted after Monday's practice. "We have a tough game coming up against Lamar and I remember last year when we lost to Michigan State, we had a stretch where we weren't quite over it and let it linger just a little bit too long and we lost to Lamar. We can't let that happen again to us."

On the week, Plaisted averaged 16.5 points, 11.5 rebounds, three blocked shots and two assists.

"We've still left a lot undone and we can improve a ton in coming weeks," said Plaisted.

Lee Cummard, who sat key stretches of the loss to Michigan State with foul trouble, said he still isn't over it.

"I don't think I'll be over it until I step back on the floor against Lamar," said Cummard. "It was frustrating. It was frustrating that we lost. It was frustrating I got in foul trouble. It was frustrating that we didn't do the things we're used to doing, and it's frustrating we didn't win."

Cummard said the Cougars played hard but did not execute the game plan tossed them by the coaches.

"And that's frustrating," he said.

Head coach Dave Rose said his team learned plenty in the loss to Michigan State, but everything learned, in his opinion, is only to be applied to the next game against Lamar.

Rose said he may have come to the point of trying something different with the rotation in backing up his star center Plaisted.

"Up to now, we've primarily used matchups to determine who his replacement is going to be and how the minutes are divided up," Rose said. "We may try something different and see how that works."

When Plaisted has been off the floor, the Cougars have used a series of rotations, including the use of senior Vuk Ivanovic and sophomore Chris Miles.

At times, freshman Chris Collinsworth has played the post position for a few minutes. Injured junior Gavin MacGregor (foot) has not been available yet this season and will undergo X-rays today to determine how he will practice in days to come.

COUGAR NOTES: Wednesday's game with Lamar will be seen live on The mtn. network, with former Weber State head coach Joe Cravens and Rich Cellini as the commentators ... Cummard is shooting .584 from the floor and averages 2.7 assists per game ... Sam Burgess (10.3 ppg) is shooting .514 from beyond the arc and 85 percent from the line ... Point guard Ben Murdock, who is averaging 4.2 points a game, has 45 assists and just 12 turnovers through nine games and leads the MWC in assists per game ... The officiating crew that did the Michigan State-BYU game was from the Big Ten, a reverse of the MWC crew that did last year's game in the Palace of Auburn Hills near Detroit ... Asked if Saturday's game might open up BYU recruiting in Flint, Mich., Rose laughed. "I don't know if Tom (Izzo) will play us again."


E-mail: dharmon@desnews.com

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