LONG BEACH, Calif. BYU opened the 2007-08 basketball season with a bang Saturday, going on the road to thump Long Beach State, 74-34, in the season-opener for both squads.
A fast start by the Cougars and cold shooting from the 49ers precipitated the blowout. BYU began the game with leads of 10-0 and 29-4 thanks in no small part to Long Beach State shooting 11.1 percent from the field in the first half, including 0-for-11 on attempts from long distance.
"I was very pleased with how hard we came out and played (and) the intensity we came out with to start the game," Cougars coach Dave Rose said. "I thought that defensively we did a good job of setting a pretty intense pace for us. We communicated well, and we were able to get out in transition and get some stops."
Junior guard Lee Cummard led BYU with 15 points and nine rebounds.
Center Trent Plaisted battled through constant double-teaming to post 12 points for the Cougars.
Already enjoying a 15-4 advantage, BYU blew the game wide open with a 14-0 run midway through the first half. Over the course of four consecutive possessions, Jonathan Tavernari and Jimmer Fredette each made a pair of 3-pointers. Plaisted's fast-break, tomahawk slam dunk capped the run and put the Cougars ahead 29-4.
BYU led 36-12 at halftime and never saw its lead dip below 21 in the second half. The Cougars scored the game's final 14 points for the 40-point margin of victory.
Andrew Fleming led Long Beach State with 11 points and eight rebounds, but his playing time was hampered by the foul trouble he incurred guarding Plaisted.
The 49ers shot better in the second half than they did in the first but still finished the game with paltry shooting marks of 19.1 percent from the field and 9.1 percent on 3-pointers.
Next up for BYU is Idaho State, which comes to the Marriott Center in Provo on Wednesday at 7 p.m.