FORT COLLINS, Colo. He was 100 percent accurate as a shooter. But Trent Plaisted had to check the official scratch paper to make certain.
Plaisted was perfect from the field, scoring almost a point a minute, and the Cougars threw a net over Marcus Walker, the Mountain West's leading scorer, in BYU's 79-65 win over Colorado State Wednesday night in Moby Gym.
Plaisted, limited to 22 minutes because of foul trouble, made all nine of his shots from the field, almost all over Ram 7-foot center Stuart Creason, and finished with 21 points. Lee Cummard added 22 to lead the Cougars to their fourth-straight road win.
The Cougar win, their seventh-straight, lifted BYU to 19-5 overall and 8-1 in league play heading into Saturday's showdown with UNLV in the Marriott Center. CSU dropped its 10th straight league game and fell to 6-10, 0-10.
"I felt good out there," Plaisted said. "It was one of those times you think every time you shoot it's got a chance to go in."
The junior appeared to have the same form he displayed against North Carolina and Louisville back in December, plunking in his one-hander from both sides and from long range with full extension over Creason, a shot blocker.
Afterwards, in the locker room, Plaisted couldn't remember missing a shot but wasn't sure. "I told somebody to give me a stat sheet, just to make sure."
It read 9-for-9.
Creason, however, went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line and led all scorers with 24 points. "Anybody who can miss four weeks and play 30 minutes and play like he did, has my respect," Plaisted said.
The win over the Rams marked the first time this season all BYU starters scored in double figures. Plaisted's 9-for-9 shooting was the best since Sam Burgess went 5-for-5 against Utah in BYU's final home game in 2007.
The Cougars raced to a 17-4 lead out of the chute, which was part of Rose's game plan to take the fight to the Rams, who nearly beat UNLV and SDSU here.
CSU, however, ripped off a 15-3 run to cut BYU's 14-point lead to 26-21 and made another push just before halftime to trail by just 34-31.
"I was proud of our guys and how competitive they are because they came out the second half and really played hard to get ahead," Rose said. Jonathan Tavernari, scoreless in the first half, hit a pair of treys, Burgess added another and Plaisted made three of his shot attempts in the opening minutes after the break to lift the Cougars to a 49-37 lead with 15:38 to play.
Cummard scored on a put-back of a Burgess miss with a two-handed volleyball tip and the Cougars never looked back. Tavernari finished with 10 points and 10 boards and Burgess added 10 points.
A big part of BYU's success was the offensive and defensive effort of senior point guard Ben Murdock, who was key in limiting the MWC's top scorer to 2-for-18 shooting and seven points.
Walker, who was averaging 22 points per game, went 3-for-12 against New Mexico for 11 points, his previous low in the past nine games. He scored at least 23 points in each of those nine games.
"It really was a team effort," said Murdock of Walker's 11.1 percent shooting night. "You can't defend a player like that unless you get help and know that somebody is backing you up when he drives."
Murdock scored a career-high 13 points. It marked the first time this season he's scored in double figures.
"I thought Ben and Sam did a great job on Walker, who is an outstanding player," Rose said. "He stopped his penetration and didn't allow him to get many open shots. He also may have had an off night but I thought Ben did an outstanding job on both ends of the court."
Murdock said BYU coaches had a good game plan for Walker. "We know how to guard him."The Cougars host UNLV on Saturday. "It's a redemption game for us since they're the last team to beat us and we did not show our true selves that night," Cummard said.
Colorado St. 65