Cougars Roundup the Cowboys

Junior forward Jake Shoff played a key role in BYU's win over Wyoming, pulling down a season-high 10 rebounds with four points off the bench. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

LARAMIE -- BYU coach Steve Cleveland got his first win in Laramie Saturday as the Cougars (16-5, 5-1) defeated the Wyoming Cowboys (16-5, 4-2) 74-66 in a battle for first place in the Mountain West Conference.

Utah (4-1) and Colorado State (3-2) will play into the MWC equation later tonight when they tip in Fort Collins at 7 p.m.

The third largest crowd to ever assemble in Arena-Auditorium, 15,418, saw the Cougars break a five-game losing streak in Laramie dating back to 1996. Last season the Cougars lost in part due to the team's poor rebounding, but Saturday the Cougars out rebounded the Cowboys 37-21. The Cowboys have not won a game this season when they have been out rebounded.

"Last year was a competitive game and the year before we were up 16 or 17 and couldn't finish it off," said head coach Steve Cleveland. "Tonight we were up and as things started slipping away one guy after another came up big for the team."

Three of those players that came up big were juniors Mark Bigelow and Rafael Araujo and senior Travis Hansen.

Cleveland said, "I told Travis and Mark that we aren't going to win anywhere in this leagues unless they play well every night."

Hansen finished the game with 15 points including two crucial free throws in the final minute, as did Bigelow, who turned in another impressive game with a season-high 23 points that led all scores. Araujo chipped in 17 points and pulled down seven rebounds.

"(Travis) is driven and he wants to win," said Cleveland. " He is willing to give everything every night. Nobody can every question his effort for this team."

Entering the game ranked fifth nationally in three-point percentage, BYU had another nice game from behind the arc, shooting an 42.9 percent, and was a solid 45.2 percent overall from the field.

Junior Kevin Woodberry started at point guard for the Cougars and finished with five steals, the first time a Cougar has had five thefts since Matt Montague did more than a year ago against San Francisco.

At halftime the Cougars led the Cowboys by seven at 35-28, and had managed to out rebound Wyoming 21-15.

Hansen got the Cougars off to a quick start scoring the first five points of the game and giving BYU the early lead. Araujo chipped in the next five points for the Cougars, giving the team a 10-4 lead.

BYU trailed once, at 12-11, and the Cowboys came close to taking the lead again when Wyoming guard David Adams connected on a three-point shot and was fouled by Bigelow. After the foul shot the Cowboys had tied the game at 16-16.

The Cougars came roaring back and pushed their lead up to 10 at 29-19, the team's largest lead of the half with 5:23 left in the half thanks to a Bigelow three-pointer.

With 16.1 seconds left, Bigelow connected on two free throws to end the half and send the Cougars into the locker room with the lead.

In the second half the Cougars came out strong and extended their lead to 41-28, but Araujo picked up his fourth foul in the first two minutes of the second half and sat for the next nine minutes.

The Cowboys and the Cougars battled back and forth throughout the half. With Araujo out, Wyoming took the ball into the paint again and again. Jared Jensen, playing in Araujo's absence, picked up his fifth foul with 12:20 remaining with the Cougars still up by 10 at 52-42.

Jake Shoff and Bart Jepsen took over the job of defending the lane until Araujo returned to the game with just over eight minutes left to play in the game.

Wyoming's Uche Nsonwu-Amadi led a Cowboy comeback after being down 62-52 and brought the Cowboys to within five.

With just over two minutes left in the game the momentum seemed to have shifted to the Cowboys after finally getting the game to within one possession at 66-63.

But clutch foul shooting from Bigelow and Hansen as well as two steals, including a Woodberry theft, kept the Cougars on top.

"It was a great basketball game," Wyoming coach Steve McClain said. "I knew BYU had a good team coming in here. They've beat some quality teams."

BYU will stay on the Front Range to face Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colo., Monday at 7 p.m. The Cougars haven't won at Moby Arena since 1994.

Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS

Brigham Young vs Wyoming

2-8-03 1:07 pm at Arena Auditorium, Laramie, Wyoming

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VISITORS: Brigham Young 16-5 (5-1 MWC)

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

03 BIGELOW, Mark....... f 7-13 3-4 6-6 1 1 2 2 23 2 0 0 0 35

52 JENSEN, Jared....... f 3-7 0-0 4-6 2 1 3 5 10 0 0 0 1 20

55 ARAUJO, Rafael...... c 8-11 1-1 0-0 2 5 7 4 17 0 3 0 1 24

02 HANSEN, Travis...... g 6-19 1-5 2-2 1 1 2 3 15 1 4 1 1 35

24 WOODBERRY, Kevin.... g 0-2 0-1 0-0 2 4 6 1 0 3 3 0 5 27

05 SHOFF, Jake......... 2-2 0-0 0-2 3 7 10 3 4 0 1 0 0 27

10 NASHIF, Terry....... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 4 0 0 0 13

14 BOWER, Ricky........ 1-5 1-3 0-0 0 0 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 10

32 JEPSEN, Bart........ 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 2 0 0 0 0 9

TEAM................ 4 2 6

Totals.............. 28-62 6-14 12-16 15 22 37 22 74 10 11 1 8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-33 39.4% 2nd Half: 15-29 51.7% Game: 45.2% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 5-11 45.5% 2nd Half: 1-3 33.3% Game: 42.9% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 4-6 66.7% 2nd Half: 8-10 80.0% Game: 75.0% 2

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HOME TEAM: Wyoming 16-5 (4-2 MWC)

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

20 ROTTINGHAUS, David.. f 2-3 1-2 0-0 1 1 2 3 5 3 0 0 0 24

25 RIES, Joe........... f 0-5 0-0 3-4 0 2 2 0 3 0 1 0 0 15

05 NSONWU-AMADI, Uche.. c 7-8 0-0 6-6 4 8 12 2 20 1 0 1 0 37

01 RICHARDSON, Donta... g 4-13 3-7 8-8 0 1 1 3 19 2 6 0 1 39

03 STRAIGHT, Jay....... g 2-10 1-2 3-5 1 4 5 2 8 5 3 0 2 38

13 DUNN, Alex.......... 1-3 0-0 0-2 4 1 5 3 2 0 1 1 0 22

23 ADAMS, David........ 2-5 1-3 4-5 0 1 1 2 9 0 1 0 1 16

24 MCMILLIAN, Chris.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 0 3

31 CORREA, Mory........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 1 3

32 WILDENBORG, Ryan.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 1 1 3

TEAM................ 1 1

Totals.............. 18-47 6-14 24-30 10 21 31 17 66 11 13 3 6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 7-22 31.8% 2nd Half: 11-25 44.0% Game: 38.3% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-7 42.9% 2nd Half: 3-7 42.9% Game: 42.9% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 11-14 78.6% 2nd Half: 13-16 81.3% Game: 80.0% 3

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Officials: Jim Stupin, Jim Danner and Greg Burks

Technical fouls: Brigham Young-None. Wyoming-None.

Attendance: 15418

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

Brigham Young................. 35 39 - 74

Wyoming....................... 28 38 - 66

Points in the paint-BY 20,WY 14. Points off turnovers-BY 23,WY 9.

2nd chance points-BY 17,WY 10. Fast break points-BY 0,WY 0.

Bench points-BY 9,WY 11. Score tied-2 times. Lead changes-2 times.

Tags: Results