Game 12 - BYU Hosts Saint Mary's Friday

PROVO, Utah -- Coming off its Cable Car Classic title with two wins this week in Santa Clara, Calif., BYU (9-2) returns to Provo to host Saint Mary's (8-5) Friday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The game will be televised on KSL-TV, channel 5, in Salt Lake City (SportsWest Productions). The radio broadcasts can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160, beginning with a one-hour pregame show. KSL's Greg Wrubell will call the play-by-play action with Mark Durrant providing analysis. Live audio and stats are available by selecting the basketball schedule page of the official BYU athletics website, byucougars.com. Live audio is also available on KSL.com, via BYU Radio on the Dish Network and at byuradio.org.

UP NEXT

BYU travels to play the Atlantic Coast Conference's North Carolina State Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST (6 p.m. MST) in a nationally televised contest on ESPN2.

COUGAR CAPSULE

The Cougars have a 9-2 record including the Cable Car Classic title and wins over No. 25 Oklahoma State and the Pac-10's USC. They are the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference this year, returning four starters from last year's 23-9 co-championship team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Four-year starter Mark Bigelow and fellow senior Rafael Araujo were both named to the Preseason All-MWC Team. Senior guard Kevin Woodberry and junior forward Jared Jensen also were starters last season for BYU coach Steve Cleveland. Key newcomers include junior transfer Mike Hall and freshmen Mike Rose and Garner Meads. Araujo is scoring 21.0 points and 10.9 rebounds to lead BYU after 11 games. Hall adds 14.2 points and 4.1 rebounds while Bigelow is scoring 12.2 points and 3.3 rebounds. Luiz Lemes leads the team in assists (5.8). As a team, the Cougars shoot .519 from the floor, including .387 on threes, and .710 from the line while scoring 78.5 points per game. BYU allows 63.3 points while the opposition has shot .445 from the field and .349 from behind the arc. BYU has an average rebounding advantage of 8.0.

GAME #12 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (9-2, 0-0 MWC) vs. ST. MARY'S (8-5, 0-0 WCC)

FRIDAY, JAN. 2, 2004

MARRIOTT CENTER (22,700)

PROVO, UTAH

7:07 p.m. MST

Coaches:

BYU, Steve Cleveland (117-80 in seventh year; same overall)

SMC, Randy Bennett (32-40 in fourth year; same overall)

Series:

BYU leads, 6-1. Last: SMC won 70-69 on Dec. 10, 1988, at Cougar Classic in Provo

TV:

KSL-TV-5 (SportsWest Productions)

Air Time: 7 p.m. MST

Play-by-Play: Tom Kirkland

Game Analyst: Craig Hislop

Radio:

KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)

Pregame Air Time: 6 p.m. MST

Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell

Game Analyst: Mark Durrant

Web:

Live audio and stats links are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2003-04 schedule); live audio also available on KSL.com, via BYU Radio on Dish Network and at byuradio.org.

SAINT MARY'S COLLEGE GAELS

Saint Mary's returns three starters among eight lettermen from last year's 15-15 team that finished fifth in the West Coast Conference. This year the Gaels are playing well while getting off to an 8-5 start. Among the Gaels' eight victories is an impressive 62-48 win over UC Santa Barbara. SMC lost in overtime to USC (84-83) and led late at then No. 5 Arizona before finally falling, 84-78. The Gaels are 4-1 at home, 2-3 on the road and 2-1 on a neutral floor. The team's top returning scorerfrom last year, sophomore forward Daniel Kickert (12.7 ppg), is again leading the team this year with a 16.0 scoring average. Sophomore guard Paul Marigney adds 12.2 points off the bench and junior transfer guard (Hartnell JC) E.J. Rowland is contributing 12.0 points. Senior forward Frederic Adjiwanou is just under double digits at 9.4 points while pulling down a team-best 7.1 rebounds per game. Kickert adds 6.4 rebounds. As a team, the Gaels shoot .467 from the floor, .315 on threes, and .688 from the line while scoring 77.6 points per game. They have held their opponents to 64.6 points on .372 shooting from the floor, including .269 from behind the arc. On the boards, the Gaels have a 7.5 average advantage per game.

SMC LAST OUTING -- SAINT MARY'S WINS SHAMROCK TITLE, KICKERT NAMED TOURNEY MVP

MORAGA, Calif. - Sophomore forward Daniel Kickert notched his second double-double in as many nights to lead the Saint Mary's men's basketball team to an 84-62 victory over the Loyola University-Chicago Ramblers on Monday night from McKeon Pavilion. Kickert earned the first annual Shamrock Office Solutions Classic Most Valuable Player honors after averaging 18.5 points and 10 rebounds in the two games. In addition to Kickert's selection as the tournament MVP, SMC guards Tyler Herr and Jonathan Sanders were named to the all tournament team. Herr averaged 12.5 points and 4.5 rebounds in two nights while Sanders averaged 10.5 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists in two games. In the first half of the championship game, Saint Mary's jumped out to a 17-8 lead, but the Ramblers fought back and tied the score at 31-31 and both teams entered the locker rooms tied at 34-34. With the Gaels leading 39-38 three minutes into the second half, Saint Mary's used a 12-2 run to open an 11-point advantage with 13:15 left in the game. Loyola cut the lead to 41-45 with back-to-back baskets with just over 10 minutes left to play. After SMC extended its lead to 61-49 on a lay in by Rowland at the 6:07 mark, LUC fought back to get with in 63-56 with 4:32 remaining. Just when it looked the Ramblers would keep the game close, Sanders blocked a Demetrius Williams shot, then jumped over the LUC bench to grab the rebound, his pass found a breaking Rowland who then connected with Kickert for a dunk and an 11-point (67-56) Gael lead. From there SMC scored 17 of the games last 23 points to defeat Loyola by 22. Saint Mary's dominated on the boards as it out rebounded Loyola 46-34. The Gaels held the Ramblers to 38.7 percent shooting in the game and just 16.7 percent shooting from behind the three-point arc. SMC had another solid shooting night, converting 30-of-63 shots to post a 47.6 percent mark for the game.

SAINT MARY'S PROJECTED STARTERS

POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG

F 14 Daniel Kickert 6-10 250 So. 16.0 6.4

F 50 Frederic Adjiwanou 6-8 230 Sr. 9.4 7.1

G 32 Jonathan Sanders 6-7 215 Jr. 6.0 4.9

G 21 Tyler Herr 6-5 195 Sr. 7.8 2.7

G 2 E.J. Rowland 6-2 190 Jr. 12.0 4.8

SAINT MARY'S OFF THE BENCH

POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG

F 00 Chase Poole 6-8 225 Sr. 5.2 3.2

G 1 Todd Golden 6-3 170 Fr. 0.0 0.0

G 3 Jordan Boreman 6-2 190 Sr. 1.0 0.2

G 10 Daniel Waddy 6-2 180 Fr. 1.6 0.9

G 11 Paul Marigney 6-3 190 So. 12.2 4.3

C 15 Reda Rhalimi 7-0 275 So. 6.7 4.7

F 23 Brett Collins 6-5 220 Fr. 4.2 2.2

C 33 Blake Sholberg 7-0 250 R-Fr. 2.2 1.8

BYU vs. SMC SERIES BREAKDOWN

Overall Series Record: BYU leads 6-1

BYU Record in Provo: 5-1

BYU Record at Saint Mary's: 1-0

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: N/A

BYU Record Under Steve Cleveland: N/A

BYU Record in Overtime Games: N/A

Longest BYU Win Streak: 6 (1953-1983)

Longest Saint Mary's Win Streak: 1 (1988-present)

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 51, 108-57 in 1966

Largest St. Mary's Margin of Victory: 1, 70-69 in 1988

Most Points Scored by BYU: 108 in 1966

Most Points Scored by Saint Mary's: 76 in 1980

Date Opponent Score W/L

02-07-53 at St. Mary's 78-50 W

01-26-57 St. Mary's 69-65 W

12-22-58 St. Mary's 72-67 W

12-10-66 St. Mary's 108-57 W

12-13-80 St. Mary's* 95-76 W

12-10-83 St. Mary's* 106-74 W

12-10-88 St. Mary's* 69-70 L

*Cougar Classic

LAST OUTING -- COUGARS DEFEAT SANTA CLARA FOR CABLE CAR TITLE, ARAUJO TOURNEY MVP

SANTA CLARA -- With its top three post players fouled out of the game, BYU looked to Mark Bigelow and he delivered a slashing bucket-and-one with 14.9 seconds remaining to lead the Cougars to a 68-66 win over host Santa Clara to claim the Cable Car Classic title Tuesday at the Leavey Center. The win improves the Cougars to 9-2, while the Broncos fall to 8-6. Senior center Rafael Araujo again loomed large, posting his eighth double-double in nine games with 18 points and 12 rebounds -- with all 18 points scored in the second half. Araujo was named the Cable Car Classic Most Valuable Player after combining for 41 points and 23 boards in the two Cougar wins. Despite holding a distinct size advantage, it was BYU that was plagued with foul trouble throughout the night. SCU made 21-of-30 free throws, while BYU was just 9-of-11 from the charity stripe. Before the night was done, BYU pivots Araujo, Jake Shoff and Jared Jensen had all fouled out of the game. "This is a real feel-good win, considering everything we had to overcome -- especially our really poor play in the first half," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. Shoff had a dominating night on the boards grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds. The Cougars also had four players score in double figures for the second consecutive night. Bigelow, Hall and Luiz Lemes had 14, 13 and 10 points, respectively. The game started out as a relatively low-scoring affair, and SCU nudged out to an early 6-2 lead following a Travis Niesen bucket. A pair of free throws and a tip-in by Hall at the 14:50 mark tied the game. That was preceded, though, by a slew of fouls called on BYU in the first four minutes of the game. The Cougars were called for the first six fouls in the game, within the first four minutes, and a Jared Jensen foul put the Broncos in a 1-and-1 situation with 14:41 to go in the first half. BYU fought though its foul woes, however, and Hall gave the Cougars their first lead, 9-7, with a three-pointer at the 14:23 mark. The Broncos would retake the lead, but it was short-lived, as Lemes hit consecutive threes on back-to-back possessions. The second Lemes trey, which gave BYU a 15-10 lead, was set up after Araujo grabbed an offensive rebound and popped it out to Lemes. Jensen then drained a 12-foot jump shot to cap an 8-0 BYU run and extend its lead to 17-10. SCU countered with a 5-0 run, but a Hall trey and Jensen bucket again gave BYU a seven-point lead at 22-15. From there the Broncos scored 15 straight points in a 21-4 run to end the half with a 36-26 advantage. Hall led the Cougars with 10 points in the half, but Araujo was held scoreless at the half for the first time this season. A demonstrated strong second-half team this season, BYU didn't disappoint and, as expected, Araujo led the way. Araujo hit a quick basket to get on the board then drained a trey in the opening minutes of the period, which ignited a 13-0 BYU run capped by a second Araujo three, as the Cougars suddenly seized the lead, 41-39. The two teams would exchange leads as the half wore on, but Araujo powered BYU down the stretch, as the Cougars grabbed the lead. A pair of Bigelow free throws bulged the Cougar lead to a second-half high six points at 63-57. SCU, though, reeled off a 7-0 run to retake the lead 64-63 with 1:01 remaining. On the ensuing BYU possession, Lemes hit a tough jumper just inside the 3-point arc to put the Cougars back in the lead. SCU retook the lead after Kyle Bailey hit a pair of free throws, before Bigelow's heroics. After Bigelow's three-point play, Bailey's desperation three with seconds remaining missed the mark. "It was a fun game," Bigelow said. "It reminded me of an old high school game, with the crowd into it and the smaller gym. "I'm just glad to have been able to help the team win tonight." The longest-running holiday tournament in the nation, 2003 marked the 37th year of the Cable Car Classic. With its title this year, BYU won for the third time in four Cable Car appearances and tie the University of San Francisco for the second-most Cable Car Classic titles. The Cougars hold the most titles of any non-Bay Area team. SCU leads with 13 titles and the Cougars have beaten the Broncos for each of their three titles. BYU also breaks SCU's six-game winning streak in the tournament, as the Broncos won the previous two titles.

ARAUJO AMONG TOP NATIONAL STATISTICAL LEADERS

Senior center Rafael Araujo is sixth in the nation in rebounds (10.9), tied for 18th in scoring (21.0) and is 18th in field goal percentage (.664) through games played Dec. 30th.

BYU IN THE POLLS

After being listed 29th in the Associated Press Poll and 33rd in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll prior to its two-point loss at Utah State, the Cougars are now just listed in the AP Poll at 39th. BYU was last ranked in the Top 25 during the 1992-93 season when the Cougars earned a No. 21 ranking. The last time BYU finished the year ranked was the 1987-88 season.

VICTORY STREAKS

BYU has current two-game winning streak. The Cougars achieved a six-game victory streak prior to its loss at Utah State on Dec. 23. That streak is the team's longest winning streak since the 2001-02 season when the Cougars recorded a Cleveland-era-best eight-game victory streak, which included a win over No. 13 Stanford. This year's six-game streak included a win over No. 25 Oklahoma State and the Pac-10's USC. It is the third time under Cleveland that the Cougars have won six straight. The other six-game winning streak was in 2000-2001.

CURRENT BYU WIN/LOSS STREAKS ...

At home 10-0

On the road 1-0

On a neutral floor 2-0

At home vs. Nonconference 39-0

At home vs. MWC 5-0

On the road vs. Nonconference 1-0

On the road vs. MWC 2-0

On a neutral floor vs. Nonconference 2-0

On a neutral floor vs. MWC 0-1

CLEVELAND NOW FIFTH ON BYU VICTORY LIST

With BYU's seventh win this season, Cougar head coach Steve Cleveland moved into fifth on BYU's career coaching victories list. He moved past Ladell Andersen (114-71 record from 1983-89). Cleveland now has a 117-80 record in his seventh season in Provo. Legendary Cougar coach Stan Watts has the most wins in school history with 372 triumphs from 1949-72. Ott Romney (1927-35) and Roger Reid (1989-96) both achieved 152 victories and Frank Arnold (1975-83) is fourth with 137 wins. Cleveland currently has the third-most wins in the Marriott Center with a 76-18 record in the Cougars' home arena. Reid has the most Marriott Center wins with 92, followed by Arnold with 81. Andersen is fourth with 71.

CLEVELAND GETTING IT DONE (2003 MWC COACH OF THE YEAR)

BYU coach Steve Cleveland was named MWC Coach of the Year in 2003. At 23-9 last year, BYU achieved its fourth straight postseason tournament invitation and third 20-win season in the last four years. Only eight BYU teams have ever achieved more wins in a season than last year's team. The BYU record for wins is 28 (9 losses) in 1951 when the Cougars won the national title as NIT champs. The 2002-03 season was Cleveland's third 20-win season in the last four years, including a 24-9 record in 2001. The only BYU coaches to have more 20-win seasons are Stan Watts (7) and Roger Reid (6). Cleveland joins Frank Arnold and Ladell Andersen with three 20-win seasons.

ARAUJO ACHIEVED DOUBLE-DOUBLE MARKS

Araujo tied an MWC record by posting five consecutive double-doubles starting with the UVSC game until his streak ended with his 23 points and 7 rebounds in 24 minutes against Weber State Saturday. He tied the Mountain West record held by former Wyoming Cowboy Uche Nsonwu-Amadi. Nsonwu-Amadi recorded five in a row from the last game of the 2001-02 season through his first four appearances in 2002-03. Araujo is the only MWC player to record five consecutive double-doubles in the same season. During his five-game double-double streak, Araujo averaged 26 points and 13.6 rebounds. He has a current streak of three straighth double-doubles and, achieving double digits in points and rebounds now in eigh of the last nine games. He has eight double-doubles this year and 16 for his career.

ARAUJO BECAME FIRST BACK-TO-BACK MWC WEEKLY PLAYER AWARD WINNER (DEC. 7-DEC. 13)

BYU senior center Rafael Araujo captured Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week honors for the second consecutive week after leading the Cougars to victories over Western Oregon (92-56) and Southern California (85-61). Araujo is the first MWC player to win the award on back-to-back weeks since the inception of the MWC in 1999-2000. This is Araujo's third career player of the week honor. In two games last week, Araujo, a Sao Paulo, Brazil (Arizona Western) native, averaged 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds, while shooting 64 percent from the floor. He scored 15 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked two shots in just 25 minutes of action against Western Oregon. In the 14-point victory over USC, Araujo netted 28 points, 11 boards and two steals. He hit 10-of-15 field goals, including a career-best two three pointers.

ARAUJO EARNED ESPN NATIONAL PLAYER SUPPORTING CAST RECOGNITION (DEC. 7-DEC. 13)

BYU senior center Rafael Araujo was regognized as one of the nation's top performers last week as supporting cast mention to ESPN's weekly national player honor. Araujo was one of seven players singled out by ESPN for outstanding play. ESPN also acknowledged it was the second consecutive week Araujo deserved the honor, stating, "OK, we admit we messed up by not including Araujo last week in the supporting cast." Araujo was named national player of the week that week by both the Sporting News and Collegeinsider.com.

ARAUJO EARNED NATIONAL, CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS (NOV. 30-DEC. 6)

BYU senior center Rafael Araujo was named the National Player of the Week by The Sporting News and by Collegeinsider.com for the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 6 after recording two double-doubles in victories at Boise State (75-69) and against 25th-ranked Oklahoma State (76-71). He was also named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week. He averaged 31.5 points and 15.5 rebounds, while shooting 71.4 percent from the floor and 76.7 percent from the free throw line. In the win at Boise State, Araujo scored 31 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. He made 10-of-13 attempts from the field and earned 14 trips to the free throw line, knocking down 11. In the victory over Oklahoma State at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Araujo scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. He made 10-of-15 field goals and 12-of-16 free throws on the day and scored 26 of the Cougars' 40 second half points. His 17 rebounds, one shy of the entire OSU team, led the way for BYU as it dominated the boards against the Cowboys, 44-18.

ARAUJO IN 30-30 CLUB

Rafael Araujo scored back-to-back, 30 points games with his 31 points at Boise State and career-best 32 points against No. 25 Oklahoma State at the Delta Center. Araujo became the first Cougar to accomplish the feat since Terrell Lyday scored 35 points in a win at Utah State and followed that with a 30-point effort in a win at UNLV in January 2000.

BIGELOW NOW NO. 10 SCORER ALL-TIME AT BYU

Senior Mark Bigelow moved out of a tie with Jay Cheesman (1,408 points from 1974-77) in 10th place on BYU's all-time scoring list against Utah State. He surpassed current BYU assistant coach Andy Toolson (1,388 points from 1985, 88-90) against USC after overtaking Roland Minson (1,375 from 1949-51) against Western Oregon. Bigelow needs 67 points to pass former Cougar great Kresimir Cosic, who scored 1,512 points in only three season from 1971-73.

FRESHMAN ROSE SETS THREE-POINT RECORD IN HIS COLLEGE DEBUT

It didn't take long for freshman Mike Rose to put his name in the BYU record book. In his college debut, the true freshman guard out of Houston set a new BYU single-game record with eight 3-pointers while scoring a game-high 26 points to lead the Cougars to an 88-54 win over Southern Utah University. His 26 points is the most scored by a BYU freshman since Mark Bigelow totaled 33 points at Washington State in 1998. Rose's eight 3-pointers broke the BYU record of seven threes in a game, previously set by Nick Sanderson (1992) and Danny Bower (1998). Rose's performance behind the arc was just shy of tying the Marriott Center's record of nine 3-pointers in a game held by Utah State's Jay Goodman (1990). Rose also dished out six assists with only one turnover and added two rebounds and one steal in his 22 minutes off the bench. He made 61.5 percent of his 3-point attempts, going 8-of-13 from behind the arc, and finished 9-for-16 (.563) overall from the floor against Southern Utah's match-up zone. He scored 17 points in 11 first-half minutes on 6-of-8 shooting, including 5-of-7 on threes. He broke the school record with 7:01 left in the second half on a three taken several feet behind the arc. He made 5-of-10 threes and scored 14 points in 18 minutes against Western Oregon and went 4-for-4, including 3-of-3 on threes, for 11 points in nine minutes vs. USC.

BYU ACHIEVED FIRST SINCE 1987-88 -- PLAYING WELL AT HOME

BYU won three straight games (in its last three home games) by more than 20 points with victories over Western Oregon (92-56), Southern California (85-61) and Weber State (86-65). The last time BYU accomplished the feat was when the 1987-88 Cougars blew out Central Connecticut by 33 (109-76), defeated Hawaii by 31 (97-66) and downed San Diego State by 27 (92-65) during that team's school-record 17-game winning streak and assent to No. 2 in the national polls. The 1987-88 team is also the last BYU team to finish the season ranked in the top-25 polls. BYU was last ranked in the 1992-93 season (see polls note below).

IN THE MARRIOTT CENTER

BYU is 5-0 at home this year and has won 10 straight overall in the Marriott Center. BYU has won 54 of its last 55 games at home and is 49-1 over in the past four seasons. BYU finished last season 13-1 at home in 2002-03. Lone senior Travis Hansen concluded his three seasons as a Cougar having lost only once at home. BYU earned a 44-1 record in Hansen's three years at BYU -- the best three-year home record in school history. The second-best home record over three years was a 39-2 mark from 1979-81 in Danny Ainge's final three seasons. The 44-1 record over the prior three seasons is the school's best-ever three-year home record. BYU won a school-record 44 straight home games in the Marriott Center before losing to Utah, 79-75, on Jan. 25. The streak was the longest active streak in the country over parts of the last two seasons. BYU continues its string of nonconference home wins.

NONCONFERENCE VICTORY STREAK IN THE MARRIOTT CENTER

The Cougars have defeated 39 straight non-conference opponents in the Marriott Center since starting the streak with a 61-59 win over Utah State on Jan. 2, 1999. The last non-league foe to win in Provo was the California Bears, who edged BYU 71-70 on Dec. 19, 1998.

POST SCORING

Rafael Araujo and Jared Jensen are in their second season as teammates. When the two post players make major contributions BYU usually achieves victory. BYU is 4-1, 4-0 last season, when Araujo and Jensen both contribute 10 or more points in a game. Araujo led the Cougars with 16 and Jensen added 10 in BYU's 76-74 loss at Utah State Tuesday. The Cougars are 14-4, 8-1 this year, when Araujo leads the team in scoring and 12-4, 7-1 this season, when Araujo posts a double-double, which he did for the eighth time this year at Santa Clara. BYU is 10-2 (10-1 this season), when Jared Jensen scores double-digit points from his forward slot.

BYU SCHEDULE INCLUDES ACC, BIG XII AND PAC-10 OPPONENTS

Potential matchups with six nonconference opponents that made the 2003 NCAA Tournament, including teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big XII Conference and Pac-10 Conference, an appearance in the Cable Car Classic, and 15 overall contests against teams that qualified for postseason play last year highlight the 2003-04 BYU men's basketball schedule. "We look forward to what should be a very challenging schedule with more than half our games being against teams that qualified for postseason last year," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "We face some very talented teams during nonconference and every game is a battle during the Mountain West season."

COUGAR FANS SHOWING SUPPORT

BYU is ahead of last year's attendance pace with an average crowd of 13,242 after five games. Last year BYU averaged the 17th largest crowd in the nation overall at 14,468. The NCAA announced that BYU achieved the nation's largest average increase over the prior season in 2001-2002 (during the middle of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City). BYU's 22,702 attendance vs. CSU in its last home game last year was the largest crowd since 1992 and the 21st largest crowd in school history.

TOP-25 OPPONENTS

Facing then No. 25 Oklahoma State, BYU played its first top-25 ranked team this season. The victory over the Cowboys was BYU's first over a top-25 team since an 81-76 victory over No. 13 Stanford on Dec. 22, 2001 at the Las Vegas Showdown.

RECORD AGAINST TOP TEAMS

BYU is 2-2 this year against teams that qualified for postseason last year (21-point win over Weber State at home; five-point win over Oklahoma State on a neutral floor; two-point loss at Utah State; one-point loss at Cal). BYU finished last season with a 7-2 record against teams that were conference champions the prior season. BYU went 12-6 last year against teams that qualified for postseason play in 2002. BYU played 12 games last year against eight teams that earned an invitation to the 2003 NCAA Tournament. BYU had a 5-7 record in those games (UConn 0-1, Arizona State 1-0, San Diego 1-0, Utah State 1-0, Colorado State 2-1, Weber State 0-1, Creighton 0-1, Oklahoma State 0-1, Utah 0-2). Seven of BYU's nine losses in 2002-03 came against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. UNLV and San Francisco were the two teams to beat BYU that didn't advance to the NCAA tournament.

WINNING BASKETBALL TRADITION

With its all-time record of 1459-933 (.610), BYU is the ranked 40th all-time in winning percentage among all Division I basketball programs. In terms of total wins, BYU is in the top 25. The Cougars have had 81 winning seasons in their 101 years of basketball and have made 29 postseason appearances, including 20 NCAA bids, and won 26 conference championships.

BYU PICKED AS FAVORITE TO CLAIM 2004 MWC CROWN

Bigelow, Araujo selected to preseason All-MWC team

The Mountain West Conference released its men's basketball preseason media poll and all-conference team at the league's media day being held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center. The league media selected BYU to claim the Mountain West Conference men's basketball title with 144 total points and 13 of the possible 19 first-place votes. Utah was picked second with 138 points and was the only other team to garner first place votes with six. Defending MWC Tournament Champion Colorado State came in third with 107 points, followed by UNLV fourth with 97. Wyoming placed fifth with 73 points, followed by San Diego State (55), New Mexico (36), and Air Force (35). BYU has earned a share of the conference titles in 2001 and 2003, but this is the first time in more than 10 years the Cougars have been the preseason MWC favorites. The Cougars and Utes shared the conference's regular season crown last season with 11-3 records. BYU went 23-9 overall and fell to Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Utah finished the 2002-03 season 25-8, defeating Oregon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Kentucky in the second round. The Mountain West Conference has sent six of its eight teams to the postseason each of the past two seasons and is the only league in the country to have sent 75 percent of its members to the postseason two straight years. BYU seniors Mark Bigelow and Rafael Araujo were selected to the preseason first-team All-MWC team. Other athletes picked were Utahs Tim Frost and Nick Jacobson, Air Force's Tim Keller and the top MWC returnee Matt Nelson from CSU.

BYU STARTING LINEUPS RECORD

Lemes, Hall, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo 3-1

Lemes, Woodberry, Hall, Bigelow, Araujo 3-0

Lemes, Woodberry, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo 1-1

Lemes, Hall, Bigelow, Meads, Araujo 2-0

BYU LANDS TOP-20 RECRUITING CLASS

Four highly regarded high school recruits signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball at BYU during the November signing period. Rated one of the top-20 recruiting classes nationally and the third-best class in the West, BYU received official commitments from top prospects David Burgess (Irvine, Calif.), Lee Cummard (Mesa, Ariz.), Chris Miles (Provo, Utah) and Trent Plaisted (San Antonio, Texas).

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