BYU (8-1) takes on the USF Dons (2-6) in a pre-Christmas game Monday at 7 p.m. PST (8 p.m. MST). The game is not being televised. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 and the Cougar Sports Network, beginning with a one-hour pregame show. KSL's Greg Wrubell will call the play-by-play action with Brian Santiago providing game analysis. Live Internet audio links are available on the basketball page of the official BYU athletics website, byucougars.com, and via BYU Radio on the Dish Network and at byuradio.org.
The Cougars enter Saturday's game with a 8-1 record -- the best start by a Cougar team since 1991-92. BYU's lone loss was a 74-64 defeat at Creighton (currently ranked No. 19 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, No. 20 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 1 in the Sagarin Ratings). BYU is coming off a victory over UC Santa Barbara, 69-56, Saturday in Provo.
The Dons are 2-6 this year but are 1-1 since getting two Division I transfers after fall semester. Picked to finish third in the West Coast Conference after predicted co-champs Pepperdine and Gonzaga, USF started the first of three straight home games Wednesday with a 73-59 win over Sonoma State (4-2).
GAMES #10 FAST FACTS
BYU (8-1, 0-0 MWC) @ SAN FRANCISCO (2-6, 0-0 WCC)
Monday, Dec. 23, 2002
War Memorial Gymnasium
San Francisco, Calif.; 7 p.m. PST (8 p.m. MST)
BYU, Steve Cleveland (93-70 in sixth year; same overall)
USF, Philip Mathews (109-101 in eighth year; same overall)
Tied 4-4; Last: BYU won 65-51 on Jan. 2, 2002 in Provo
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Times: 6 p.m. PST (7 p.m. MST)
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Brian Santiago
Live audio link available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2002-03 schedule) and via BYU Radio on Dish Network and byuradio.org.
BYU's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 3 Mark Bigelow 6-7 195 Jr. 13.4 3.8 2.1 apg
F 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 250 So. 10.3 4.2
C 55 Rafael Araujo 6-11 265 Jr. 7.2 7.3
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Sr. 16.1 5.2 2.9 apg
G 24 Kevin Woodberry 6-0 170 Jr. 5.9 1.8 1.9 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 14 Ricky Bower 6-4 185 Jr. 5.8 1.6 1.7 apg
F 15 John Allen 6-7 215 So. 3.6 1.8
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 3.0 1.9 1.3 apg
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 Jr. 1.7 0.7
F 5 Jake Shoff 6-9 265 Jr. 1.4 1.7
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 Jr. 1.3 0.6
G 4 Luiz Lemes 6-3 180 Jr. 1.1 0.8
SAN FRANCISCO DONS
The Don's return three starters and five lettermen from last year's 13-15 team. USF is predicted to finish third in the West Coast Conference behind Pepperdine and Gonzaga. They enter the game with a 2-6 record but are 1-1 since two Division I transfers -- Alvin Broussard (6-6, Jr., F) from New Mexico and James Bayless (6-7, Jr., F) from Nevada -- were cleared to play after the completion of the fall semester. Bayless is averaging 14.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg and Broussard 11.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg in their first two games, giving coach Phil Mathews added scoring and rebounding punch and a deeper rotation, which will help the Dons apply better defensive pressure. Returning starters Darrell Tucker (6-9, Sr., F), John Cox (6-5, Jr., F) and Shamell Stallworth (6-5, Sr., G) are averaging 18.4, 11.3. and 9.4 ppg, respectively. Tucker led USF with 22 points and 10 rebounds (team-best 8.9 rpg on the year) and Stallworth was 7-8 from the floor with 16 points in the Don's victory over Sonoma State Wednesday. Cox, coming off the bench, had 11 points. The Dons shot 57 percent, 50 percent from threes and 89 percent from the line. Jovan Harris (6-3, Jr., G) had 5 assists as the starting point while Jason Gaines (6-0, So., G) added 5 assists (team-best 3.5 apg) off the bench. Overall, the Dons shoot .420, .321 on threes and .721 from the line. They allow .455 on field goals, including .345 on threes. USF scores 62.6 ppg and allows 69.0 and pulls down 32.2 rebounds compared to 36.8. USF is 0-4 on the road and 2-2 at home, with two close defeats. The Dons home losses were three-point setbacks to Nevada (64-61) and Fresno State (74-71). Home wins are over Southern University (82-71) and Sonoma State (73-59). Their road losses were at Seton Hall (77-51), UC Santa Barbara (70-47), Sacramento State (62-57) and Pacific (75-59). Coach Philip Mathews is 109-101 in his eight year in San Francisco.
SAN FRANCISCO'S PROBABLE STARTERS
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 44 Alvin Broussard 6-6 215 Jr. 11.0 4.0
F 0 James Bayless 6-7 225 Jr. 14.5 6.5
F 3 Darrell Tucker 6-9 245 Sr. 18.4 8.9
G 13 Shamell Stallworth 6-5 200 Sr. 9.4 3.5
G 35 Jovan Harris 6-3 175 Jr. 6.8 2.0 2.3 apg
BYU and USF meet for the ninth time. BYU evened the series at 4-4 with its win in Provo, ending a four-game Don winning streak in the series,including an 80-70 Don win in the last outing in San Francisco on Nov. 30, 2000. BYU is 0-3 at San Francisco and 1-1 under Steve Cleveland. BYU is 1-0 vs. the West Coast Conference this year with a home win over San Diego. BYU is 27-16 (.628) all-time vs. the West Coast Conference and Cleveland is 4-2 (.667).
vs. SAN FRANCISCO
Overall Series Record: Series tied at 4-4
BYU Record in Provo: 3-0
BYU Record in San Francisco: 0-3
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-1
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 1-1
BYU Record in Overtime Games: N/A
Longest BYU Win Streak: 3 (1946-53)
Longest San Francisco Win Streak: 4 (1968-2000)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 14, 65-51 in 2001-02
Largest USF Margin of Victory: 23, 86-63 in 1979
Most Points Scored by BYU: 84 in 1974
Most Points Scored by San Francisco: 103 in 1974
12-20-46 vs. San Francisco+ 45-36 W
+ Reno Tournament
12-12-52 San Francisco 53-52 W
12-22-53 San Francisco 68-61 W
12-13-68 at San Francisco* 75-79 L
12-13-74 at San Francisco 84-103 L
3-10-79 vs. San Francisco# 63-86 L
# NCAA (Tucson)
11-30-00 at San Francisco 70-80 L
1-2-02 San Francisco 65-51 W
LAST YEAR - COUGARS WIN EIGHTH STRAIGHT IN WIN OVER USF
PROVO -- A rigid defense allowed BYU to overcome a shaky shooting night from the field as the Cougars extended their home winning streak to 28 straight games with a 65-51 victory over San Francisco in the Marriott Center Wednesday. BYU won its eighth straight game, the team's longest winning streak since running off 13 straight in the 1992-1993 season, and improved their record to 10-2 on the season, the best start for the team since the 1999-2000 campaign when the Cougars started the season 12-2. The Dons fell to 4-8 with the loss. Montague led the Cougars on both ends of the floor, tying his season high with 11 points and a career high with two three-pointers. the senior point guard tied a career high defensively with five steals and tied a season high for rebounds with seven. Montague seems to come up with big nights every time he faces the Dons. He had hit two treys in a game only three times in his career, two of those coming against San Francisco. In the past two seasons he has scored in double figures only three times, two of those coming against the Dons. Senior forward Eric Nielsen was the team's leading rebounder with eight boards and was one of four Cougars to finish the night in double figures with 12 points. Mark Bigelow once again led the Cougar scorers with 15 points. Freshman center Jared Jensen added 10 points. The Cougars trailed by as many as five points early in the game but took a 12-11 lead over San Francisco on two Travis Hansen free throws with just over 14 minutes to go in the first half. After taking the one-point lead, BYU stayed up on the scoreboard for the rest of the game. The Cougar defense helped BYU to keep the lead despite several Don runs that kept the game close. After BYU took a 44-31 lead early in the second half, San Francisco pulled to within three points with just over 12 minutes to go in the game. But the Cougars were able to withstand each run as it came, allowing the Dons only 20 points in the final 20 minutes. BYU shot only 43 percent from the floor, including a 29 percent clip from three-point range, but held the Dons to 40 percent shooting, including a 3-21 effort from behind the arc. BYU had a season high nine steals against the Dons.
WHAT COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY LAST YEAR ...
"This happened to be a night when we did not shoot well but we found a way to win the game. Both our seniors played very well. Matt Montague was outstanding. Eric Nielsen had the task of defending the Dons' best player. He did a nice job on him, especially in the second half. This is the type of possession game that we will have throughout January and February. Our young men are beginning to learn the urgency of every possession, especially against teams that make runs at you."
LAST GAME AT USF - HOT SHOOTING DONS DOWN COLD COUGARS
The Dons handed BYU its first loss of the year in 2000 in the team's first road game of the year. The Cougars shot only 39 percent, including 16 percent on threes, while USF made 51 percent, including 6-of-9 threes. Guard Ali Thomas scored 25 points, including 4-5 treys, while Darrell Tucker added 16 points and nine rebounds and Hondre Brewer 11 points and 5 rebounds. Mekeli Wesley led BYU with 20 points, followed by Terrell Lyday's 16. Both were perfect from the line, Wesley going 12-12 and Lyday 7-7, but both had trouble from the floor with Wesley shooting 4-11 and Lyday 4-17. Wesley added five rebounds, all on the offensive glass, sharing team-high honors with Nathan Cooper. Matt Montague had one of his best outings of the year for BYU, scoring in double figures for the only time of the season with 12 points, going 4-of-6 from the floor, including 2-of-3 on threes, while adding six assists. Eric Nielsen played only eight minutes before fouling out with four points. Travis Hansen played 11 minutes, going 0-6 from the floor and did not score, while Daniel Bobik played 12 minutes and totaled two points. Dan Howard gave a solid effort, playing a season-high 12 minutes before fouling out with four points and one block.
LAST GAME - BYU DOWNS UCSB
BYU looked to the leadership of senior Travis Hansen and junior Mark Bigelow in the second half to win its 40th straight game at home, beating UC Santa Barbara 69-56 Saturday night at the Marriott Center. The Cougars (8-1) struggled early and trailed the Gauchos (3-5) most of the first half. A Ricky Bower three-point bucket at the halftime buzzer was one of only few bright spots for BYU in the first 20 minutes. The trey gave the Cougars a two-point lead going into the locker room. Poor shooting and fouls plagued the first half. At one point, both teams were a combined 6-of-28 (21.1 percent) from the floor. Both squads got off to slow starts as only a total of 10 points were scored during the first 10 minutes of the game. The Cougars heated up in the second half sparking an 11-0 run that gave them the lead at 48-40 with 11:29 to play. Bigelow hit two bombs from behind the arc and Terry Nashif added an old-fashioned three-point play. UCSB made a run with just under five minutes left, cutting the lead to seven, until Hansen pulled down one of few offensive rebounds for BYU and put it back giving the Cougars a 60-51 lead which they would not give up. Hansen led all scorers with 19 points. He has not lost a game at the Marriott Center during his career as a Cougar dating back two-and-a-half seasons. Bigelow scored 11 points including three treys. Bower and Nashif gave the Cougars good minutes off the bench by attacking the Gauchos' half-court pressure and dishing out the ball. The Cougars spread the ball around and passed well for easy buckets. Out of 20 team field goals for BYU 14 came off an assist.
UCSB was in led in scoring by Branduinn Fullove with 17 points. Nick Jones added 15. BYU held the Gauchos to their worst shooting percentage of the season at 36.5 percent. The Cougars ended the contest shooting 47.6 percent from the field.
"This team is a blue-collar group. It hasn't always been pretty, but they are competing and that's what I like about this team."
-- BYU head coach Steve Cleveland.
"The turnovers in the second half really killed us. You have to give them [BYU] credit--they did a nice job of getting out on us and pressuring us."
-- UCSB head coach Bob Williams.
BYU has won three straight games overall. It lost its last road game at Creighton. BYU extended the nation's longest homecourt winning streak to 40 games with its victory over UC Santa Barbara Saturday. The Cougars have won 31 straight home games over a nonconference opponent and 17 consecutive vs. Mountain West Conference teams.
BEST START SINCE 1991-92
At 8-1, BYU has achieved its best start under Steve Cleveland, surpassing the 7-1 start of the 1999-2000 team. Cleveland is in his sixth year at BYU since taking over after the program's 1-25 season in 1996-97. This year's team has equaled the start of the 1991-92 team, which went 9-1 before suffering its second defeat. BYU will have a chance to go 9-1 when it faces the USF Dons in San Francisco Monday. The 1991-92 team got off to its 9-1 start by going 5-0 at home, 3-0 on the road and 1-1 on a neutral court. This year's team is 4-0 at home, 1-1 on the road and 3-0 on a neutral court entering its third road game and 10th game overall. BYU's best-ever start was a 17-0 run at the beginning of the 1987-88 season that garnered the Cougars a No. 2 national ranking.
SOME REASONS WHY
BYU has out shot all nine opponents this year. BYU shot 47.6 percent vs. UCSB. BYU has shot 45 percent or better in seven games this year, including the last six contests. Perhaps more impressive than the Cougar's offensive numbers is BYU's defensive success. BYU held UCSB, a team that came in after seven games shooting 50.3 percent from the floor and 45.5 percent on threes, to 36.5 percent and 26.1 percent on threes. BYU has held all eight opponents to 42 percent or lower shooting, and has held four opponents below 35 percent shooting. BYU has held seven of its nine opponents this year to 60 points or less (Kansas State scored 64, Creighton 74). BYU is 48-3 under Steve Cleveland when holding its opponents below 60 points. BYU held USD to a BYU-opponent low of 49 points. On the year, BYU's defense has yielded a combined 36.8 percent from the floor and 26.2 percent on threes while allowing only 58.7 points.
MORE DEFENSIVE NUMBERS
BYU's defense has been able to hold down the opponents' key scorers. The Cougars held UCSB forward Mark Hull to four points on 2-8 shooting and three rebounds in 34 minutes. He entered the game averaging 14.3 points and 5.3 rebounds. BYU made Utah State's leading scorer Desmond Penigar earn all 11 of his points on 3-11 shooting. He was averaging 15.2 and shooting 49 percent from the floor entering the game. The other top Aggie scorer, guard Mark Brown, entered the game with a 13.8 scoring average, having reached double figures in every game. He scored only two points against the Cougar defense, going 1-8 from the floor in a team-high 35 minutes. BYU also held San Diego's leading scorer, 6-foot-10, 290-pound center Jason Keep, who had 30 points and 16 rebounds at UCLA this year, to just seven points -- nearly 11 points below his 17.7 average entering the game.
FROM THE LINE
BYU topped 80 percent free throw shooting for the fourth time this year when it shot a season-high 85.2 percent from the line vs. UCSB Saturday, going 23-27. The Cougars have shot better than 70 percent in all but one game, a season-low 55.0 percent (11-20) vs. San Diego. Individually, seven of the eight Cougars who play double-digit minutes are shooting 72 percent or better from the line. John Allen is a perfect 5-5 on the year. Ricky Bower is shooting .913 (21-23), Terry Nashif .889 (8-9), Jared Jensen .816 (31-38), Rafael Araujo .810 (17-21), Travis Hansen .770 (47-61) and Mark Bigelow .727 (24-33). BYU is shooting 75.4 percent as a team.
In BYU's lone game last week, senior guard Travis Hansen led BYU to a win over UC Santa Barbara, last year's Big West Tournament champions, as the Cougars improved the nation's longest homecourt winning streak to 40 games. Hansen recorded game-high totals of 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists in 34 minutes. With his five assists, Hansen matched his career-best effort for the second time this season (also vs. Toledo). He also equaled a career high by making 10 free throws vs. the Gauchos. With BYU entering the final 20 minutes with a slim two-point lead, Hansen went on to score 14 points and tally four assists in the second half. After not taking a foul shot in the first half, Hansen went to the line 12 times in the second half, making 10. On the year, Hansen has led or shared scoring honors in six of nine games. He leads BYU in scoring (16.1) and assists (2.9) and is second in rebounding (5.2).
BIGELOW APPROACHING THREE-POINT MARK
Junior forward Mark Bigelow has made a team-leading 17 three-point shots this year. With 126 career triples, Bigelow will tie Terrell Lyday for second place on the all-time list with his next trey. BYU assistant coach Andy Toolson holds the school record with 141 three-pointers. Bigelow is shooting a career-best 47.2 percent on this three-point attempts this year (17-36). He has made a combined 41.6 percent (126-303) in his two-plus seasons.
With its 14 assists and 13 turnovers vs. UCSB Saturday, BYU has put together back-to-back games with more assists than turnovers for the first time this year. BYU has four games this year when it hasn't committed more turnovers, including 13/13 vs. Kansas State and 17/14 vs. Rice. After committing 21 and a season-high 23 turnovers at ASU and Creighton, BYU did a better job of holding on to the ball at home in the last three games, committing 14, 11 and 13 turnovers. The Cougars' assist/turnover ratio for the year is 0.8.
BYU coach Steve Cleveland is expected to play a larger rotation this year with a deeper bench. All 12 players who are expected to play this year have already received playing time. Cleveland has gone with the same starting lineup in every game but St. Bonaventure, where a the Bonnies pressing defense warranted a lineup change. Sophomore guard Marc Roberts and freshman guards Austin Ainge and Jermaine Odjegba are planning to use the season to redshirt. Ainge broke his thumb during practice three days before BYU's season opener. He had surgery in Phoenix. He isn't expected to practice for 2-4 weeks.
BYU STARTING LINEUPS (RECORD)
Woodberry, Hansen, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo (7-1)
Woodberry, Bower, Bigelow, Hansen, Araujo (1-0)
BYU received votes in the national polls (Nov. 25) for the first time since last season's eight-game winning streak that included a win over No. 13 Stanford. BYU received four votes (T-41st) in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and two votes (49th) in the Nov. 25 Associated Press Poll. This week BYU received one vote in the coaches poll (T-41st) but received no votes in the AP Poll.
BYU 7TH IN RPI AND SAGARIN RATINGS
BYU is rated 7th nationally in the RPI ratings produced by Collegiate Basketball News, including results through Sunday. In the Sagarin ratings, updated after Saturday's results, the Cougars are also rated 7th as the top-rated Mountain West Conferenc school. Creighton is the top-rated team in the nation. The Mountain West is rated sixth nationally as a league in the, ahead of the Conference-USA, the Pac-10 and Atlantic-10.