PROVO Wyoming's Joseph Taylor is a senior and he's not going out quietly.
Taylor is the reigning Mountain West Conference player of the week after leading the Cowboys to a pair of victories last week. The 6-foot-8 forward scored a career-high 21 points, on 8-of-10 shooting from the field, and pulled down nine rebounds, had two blocks and two steals against Colorado State. Then came Saturday's 12-point, six-rebound, two-block performance against Utah.
Taylor's dunk off a lob pass with less than one second remaining in a game that was already decided drew the ire of Utah coach Jim Boylen, who expressed his frustration to Cowboy coach Heath Schroyer during the postgame handshake.
Later, when Taylor was asked about Wednesday's game at BYU, he had some words for Cougar center Trent Plaisted, who has scored at least 20 points in five of his last seven games.
"Tell Plaisted I'm coming," Taylor said.
Plaisted was told about that comment after BYU's 76-57 victory over Air Force Saturday night.
"He said that? Well, good for him," Plaisted said. "Obviously, he's a good player. He's got a lot of good things that he does. But we'll see. We have a lot to play for. Hopefully we'll come out strong and get a win."
SENIOR NIGHT: BYU will honor its three seniors, Sam Burgess, Ben Murdock and Vuk Ivanovic, prior to Wednesday's game, which tips off at 8 p.m. In honor of senior night, tickets for chair seats below concourse are $6 while seats in the upper concourse are $4.
HISTORICAL VIEW: With two more regular-season games, the Mountain West Conference Tournament and a likely NCAA Tournament berth remaining, BYU owns a 23-6 record.
That's the Cougars' best mark since a similar 23-6 record in 1992-93. BYU needs four wins to break the school record for most wins in a single season. The record is held by the 1987-88 team that went 26-6.
Besides the '88 Cougars, who won their first 17 games of the season and reached No. 2 in the national rankings at one point, only a handful of Cougar teams have won more than 23 games:
• 1979-80: 24-9
• 1980-81: 25-7
• 1991-92: 25-7
• 1992-93: 25-9
• 2006-07: 25-9
CONFIDENT BUNCH: Since losing three of five games at the end of December through the middle of January, including a 71-40 loss at UNLV, BYU has gone 11-1. Coach Dave Rose said his team's confidence has grown dramatically since enduring that mid-season slump.
"We all have a lot more confidence in each other. This team has individual players with a lot of confidence in themselves," he said.
"I believe that when we got stung pretty good at UNLV, we started to rely on each other a little bit more. Then we got a couple of big, close wins that kind brought us together."NOTES: BYU's 11 3-pointers against Air Force marked the 10th time this season the Cougars have drained double-digit 3s in a game. They have hit 238 3-pointers this season, which is only 18 shy of the program record for shots beyond the arc that was set last year 256 ... The Cougars are 19-1 when scoring at least 70 points and 19-1 when holding opponents under 70 points.
E-mail: [email protected]