BYU dominates New Mexico

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    By Robert Weiler

    A win.

    It?s not something the BYU men?s basketball team has experienced much of the season, and something that may not even happen much more the rest of the season.

    Yet the thought of laying an egg in the conference season was erased from the Cougars? minds Monday night with a 68-53 win against a crippled New Mexico squad.

    With the starting lineup change and consequential play of sophomores Derek Dawes, Mike Rose and Keena Young, much of BYU head coach Steve Cleveland?s mind is less focused on losing and more concerned with the future of his young team.

    ?We made a decision to go in the direction of the future here,? he said. ?We needed to make a commitment to the team to try and win games but also we?re preparing next year?s team as well.?

    Dawes, who started his fifth game this season, immediately got himself involved in the game, making his first two shots deep in the paint and bothering the Lobos inside defensively. Dawes finished the game with a career-high 14 points and 5 blocks, and tied a career-high 10 rebounds.

    ?Every other team who?s winning in our league has an inside presence, and we need that,? Mike Hall said. ?Derek did a good job on offense and defense. I?m glad he played the way he did tonight, and I hope he can keep playing like that. I?ve never seen him excited in the locker room, but he was yelling after the game.?

    Young caught fire in the first half to pace BYU, which never trailed in the game after the first three minutes. Riding the momentum from an outstanding performance last Saturday, Young had 11 points in 18 minutes before halftime and finished the game with 14 points, tying his career-high.

    Coming off the bench, Rose took over the scoring load in the second half. Struggling to find his long-range shot in the last four games, he hit five 3?s, including one to stop the bleeding when New Mexico tried to make a game of it with a 12-0 run that cut the lead to four. Each of his next three 3?s pushed BYU?s lead back to double-digits.

    ?We just said there?s no way this is going to happen again,? he said. ?It?s a sigh of relief.?

    Playing without senior forward Danny Granger, who has missed the last three games after knee surgery, the Lobos road woes continue. New Mexico has lost its last 22 conference road games. Junior David Chiotti also had to leave Monday?s game early with a hip pointer.

    The sighs cannot last for long though as the 7-13 Cougars face rival and MWC leader Utah on ESPN?s Big Monday game next week.

    COUGAR TRACKS: BYU?s starting lineup was its 15 different combination in 20 games, only the second game Jared Jensen has not started this season and the first time in his career Jensen has not played due to a coaching decision. … Two Cougars are the only two players to not start a game this year ? BYU had not won a game this season without scoring at least 70 points until Monday night ? Austin Ainge tied a career-high with eight assists.

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