PROVO, Utah -- BYU (12-4, 2-1) travels to play the Air Force Academy Falcons (12-2, 2-0) Saturday at 4 p.m. (MST) in Clune Arena. The game is a SportsWest Productions telecast on KSL-TV, channel 5, in Salt Lake City. The game can also be viewed live over the Church Satellite System or pay-per-view nationally via ESPN Full Court. The radio broadcast 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 Brian Santiago 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.
BYU plays at New Mexico Monday at 10 p.m. (MST) in the featured Mountain West game on ESPN Big Monday.
GAME #17 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (12-4, 2-1 MWC) @ AIR FORCE FALCONS (12-2, 2-0 MWC)
SATURDAY, JAN. 24, 2004
CLUNE ARENA (5,939)
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, COLO.
4:07 p.m. (MST)
BYU, Steve Cleveland (120-82 in seventh year; same overall)
AFA, Joe Scott (41-58 in fourth year; same overall)
BYU leads, 42-8 Last year: BYU swept the season series
SportsWest Productions (KSL-5 in Salt Lake City; KXTU in Colorado Springs)
National Availability -- ESPN Full Court and Church Satellite System
Air Time: 4 p.m. (MST)
Play-by-Play: Tom Kirkland
Game Analyst: Craig Hislop
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time: 3 p.m. (MST)
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Brian Santiago
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.
The Cougars (12-4) finished nonconference play with a 10-3 record including the Cable Car Classic title and wins over No. 25 Oklahoma State and the Pac-10's USC. The preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference, BYU is 2-1 in MWC play. BYU returns 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 were also starters last season but are primarily come off the bench this year. Key newcomers include junior transfer Mike Hall and freshmen Mike Rose and Garner Meads. Araujo is averaging 20.2 points and 10.6 rebounds to lead BYU this year. Bigelow adds 12.7 points and 3.8 rebounds while Hall contributes 12.2 points and 3.8 rebounds. First-year starter Luiz Lemes leads the team in assists (4.6). As a team, the Cougars shoot .495 from the floor, including .372 on threes, and .720 from the line while scoring 76.1 points per game. BYU allows 63.9 points while the opposition has shot .438 from the field and .328 from behind the arc. BYU has an average rebounding advantage of 6.9.
AIR FORCE ACADEMY FALCONS
Air Force returns eight lettermen and three starters from last year's 12-16 team that finished last in the Mountain West with a 3-11 record. The Falcons have already equaled their win total from last year with a 12-2 start. AFA is 2-0 in conference play, with both MWC wins coming on the road. The Falcons opened league action with win at CSU before earning the program's first-ever win over New Mexico in The Pit. The Falcons are coming off a nonconference home win over Texas A&M Corpus Christi (61-37) Wednesday. Air Force has won a school-record 10 consecutive games. The Falcons 6-0 at home this year, 5-2 away and 1-0 on a neutral floor. Junior guard Tim Keller and sophomore guard Antoine Hood lead the Falcons in scoring this year with 10.7 and 10.6 averages, respectively. Sophomore forward/center Nick Welch is coming off MWC Player of the Week honors and adds 8.9 points and a team-leading 4.0 rebounds. Senior forwards Joel Gerlach and A.J. Kuhle add 8.4 and 6.6 points, respectively. Seven Falcons have made double-digit three-point shots this year as the Falcons make 38 percent as a team from behind the arc. Matt McGraw and Jacob Burtschi have made 13 and 11 treys off the bench while all five starters have made at least 14 triples, led by Keller's 27 bombs. McGraw shoots 54 percent from long range, while Welch has made 52 percent of his three attempts, Gerlach has made 47 percent and Hood has connected 44 percent of the time. From the floor overall, Air Force shoots 48.6 percent and makes 71.4 percent from the line to score 62.0 points. The Falcons give up a national-best 46.6 points per game while holding opponents to .419 shooting from the floor, including 25 percent from long range. Air Force is out rebounded by an average of 5.1 boards per game. In the latest NCAA statistical rankings, the Falcons rank 11th nationally in three-pointers made per game (8.8) and are rated 15th in field goal percentage (.491) and 17th in scoring margin (14.7). A disciplined, well-executing team, Air Force is the fifth-best team in the country at taking care of the ball, committing only 11.4 turnovers per game on average. Falcon opponents have turned the ball over an average 17.9 times each game. Air Force's hasn't lost since dropping back-to-back road games at Belmont (46-38) and at Auburn (68-49). The Auburn loss was on Dec. 7. Among the Academy victories was a nonconference victory over fellow BYU opponent California. The Falcons downed the Bears in Berkeley, 49-44, to win the Bears' tournament. Air Force is coached by Joe Scott (Princeton, 1987), who is in his fourth season with the Falcons. He has a 41-58 record in his tenure at Air Force. Scott came to AFA from his alma mater, Princeton, where he was an assistant coach from 1993-2000.
AIR FORCE'S LAST OUTING -- Falcons Hold Islanders 35 points Below Their Scoring Average
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. - On the strength of its top-rated defense, Air Force defeated Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 61-37, Wednesday. The Falcon's Antoine Hood scored 13 points and Matt McCraw came off the bench to score 11 as Air Force (12-2) extended its win streak to 10 games, a streak that started with a 56-53 win Dec. 9 over the Islanders (9-8) at Corpus Christi. Air Force jumped to a 21-8 lead with 6:48 left in the half, but the Islanders switched to a zone defense and went on an 11-2 run to close to within 23-22 with less than a minute left in the half. Two free throws by MWC Player of the Week Nick Welch, who had a career-high four steals, and a 3-pointer by McCraw helped put Air Force up 28-22 at the break. In the first half, the Islanders held the Falcons to 36 percent shooting from the field (9-of-25). Air Force started the second half with an 11-0 run and got up 39-22 before Thomas Bailey scored a 3-pointer with 15:45 remaining for the Islanders. The Falcons were perfect on their first four 3-pointers of the second half and led 45-29 with 12 minutes to play. Texas A&M-Corpus Christi scored 35 points below its season average as Air Force forced 20 Islander turnovers while committing only eight miscues. Corey Lamkin led Texas A&M Corpus Christi with 11 points and 18 rebounds.
AIR FORCE'S PROJECTED STARTERS (BASED ON LAST GAME)
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 10 A.J. Kuhle 6-5 189 Sr. 6.6 2.9
F 33 Joel Gerlach 6-6 205 Sr. 8.4 2.1
C 45 Nick Welch 6-8 215 So. 8.9 4.0
G 11 Tim Keller 6-3 185 Jr. 10.7 1.9
G 15 Antoine Hood 6-5 187 So. 10.6 2.9
This will be the 50th meeting between the two teams, with BYU leading the series 41-8. The Cougars are 18-5 at Air Force, 20-3 in Provo and 3-0 at a neutral site. BYU has won seven of the last eight games in the series. The Cougars held the Falcons to only 33 points in winning by the third largest margin in the series history at 65-33 in Provo during the first meeting last year. The 33 points is the fewest scored by the Falcons in the series. AFA scored 40 points in a loss in 1982. BYU won the contest at Clune Arena last year, 56-43. The Cougars lost the prior game at Clune, falling 74-64 on Jan. 21, 2002. That Air Force victory ended a BYU four-game winning streak in the series. BYU has won eight of the last 11 outings since winning a series-best 15 straight over the Falcons from 1990-96. BYU has won the last 12 games in the Marriott Center since a 79-78 Falcon win in 1989 (Cleveland is 4-0 in Provo). Air Force has won three of the last five at USAFA (Cleveland is 2-3 at Air Force). AFA has never won back-to-back games in the series since the first two games in 1961 and 1963.
BYU vs. AIR FORCE SERIES BREAKDOWN
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 41-8
BYU Record in Provo: 20-3
BYU Record in Colorado Springs: 18-5
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 3-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 8-3
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 2-0 (1-0 Rd, 1-0 Ntrl)
Last Overtime Game: 1989, won at AFA, 89-88
Longest BYU Win Streak: 15 (1990-96)
Longest Air Force Win Streak: 2 (1961-63)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 35, 103-68 in 1993
Largest Air Force Margin of Victory: 19, 80-61 in 1998
Most Points Scored by BYU: 110 in 1965
Most Points Scored by Air Force: 93 in 1987
AT BYU -- COUGARS DOWN FALCONS 65-33 IN PROVO
PROVO, Utah (February 3,203) -- Head coach Steve Cleveland records his 100th win at BYU in a 65-33 route over the Air Force Academy Monday night. Cleveland is now 100-74 in his sixth seasons. BYU held the Falcons to just 21.6 percent shooting on the night (11-of-51) and gave up a season-low 33 points to control the Falcons and earn the win. AFA's 10 first-half points was the lowest half of scoring ever in the Marriott Center. BYU improved to 15-4 overall (4-1 MWC) behind Travis Hansen. The senior guard led BYU in scoring with 16 points while grabbing five rebounds in just 23 minutes. Cleveland emptied his bench to allow other players to get minutes. All 13 Cougars played and all but two got on the board. Rafael Araujo was one point away from another double-double. The big man ended the game with nine points and 12 boards in 18 minutes. The Cougars shot a season-high 71.4 percent from behind the arc to gain an early lead on the Falcons, who tried countering the size of the Cougars by playing their slow-paced motion offense. Air Force made just four field goals in the first half and BYU took advantage by taking a 30-10 lead into the locker room. In the second half, the cold shooting continued for the Falcons and BYU blew the game wide open. The Cougars took their largest lead of the game of 37 points on a layup by Jake Shoff with 3:55 to play. The Cougars kept the Falcons off the boards all night and out-rebounded AFA 55-21. Tim Keller and Antoine Hood scored nine points each to lead the Academy. Keller dropped five threes on BYU last year at Colorado Springs in the Air Force win. With the loss, Air Force drops to 10-9 overall and 1-5 in the conference.
WHAT BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME IN PROVO LAST YEAR ...
"I thought we did a nice job of containing their back cuts and contesting shots. There were 10 or 15 shots they missed that they will hit at their place. It will be a different game at Air Force."
AT AFA -- ARAUJO DOMINANT IN WIN OVER FALCONS
COLORADO SPRINGS -- Air Force didn't have an answer for Rafael Araujo as he scored a career-high 31 points, on a blistering 81 percent shooting, in leading BYU to a decisive 56-43 win at Clune Arena Saturday. The win improves the Cougars to 19-7 overall and 8-3 in the Mountain West Conference, while the loss drops the Falcons to 11-14, 2-10. BYU shot an economical 56 percent from the field on 34 attempts and also shot 73 percent from the line. While BYU's overall team effort was apparent, it was Araujo's night to shine. Playing in front of Brazilian National Team coaches, Araujo shot 13-for-16 in utilizing his repertoire of shots including scoop and fade-away shots with a heavy dose of hook shots to keep the Cougars ahead of he Falcons for most of game. A force from the onset, the Cougars constantly fed Araujo in the post and he kept answering, as the Falcons had no match for his size and skill. Araujo was also active on the defensive end as he recorded four steals in the first half and set a career high with five steals in the game. On the day he also ended with nine rebounds, while picking up only one personal foul.A hot shooting team to start, BYU extended its early lead to nine after a 3-pointer out of the left corner by Mark Bigelow at the 11:47 mark, to make the game 18-9. Air Force couldn't sustain any offensive consistency and labored in attempting to cut into the Cougar lead for most of the first half. The Falcons managed to get to within four at 26-22 as Antoine Hood made a runner cutting across the lane seconds before the half. The Falcons, who dropped to 8-3 at home this season, struggled with their perimeter play and didn't make their first field of the second half until the 15:35 mark. Air Force also missed nine straight 3-point attempts in a 23:08 span bridging the first and second half until Joel Gerlach drained a trey at the 7:44 mark of the second half to narrow the BYU lead to 43-34. Travis Hansen provided a critical basket in making his only field goal of the game, with a fading floater in the lane, at the 6:10 mark to push the BYU lead back into double digits (45-34) and stem a Falcon rally. The Cougars went back to Araujo down the stretch as his continued relentlessness went seemingly unchecked. At the 4:08 mark he received a pass in the left post and spun away from a double team to his right, making a scoop shot along the baseline while being fouled. Araujo made the free throw to give the Cougars a commanding 48-36 lead. The Falcons would cut into the lead and pare it down to seven on several occasions, but Araujo sealed the game as he made a layup to beat the shot clock at the 1:27 mark. Bigelow was the only other Cougar with double-digit points as he had 12 on 4-for-6 shooting. As a team the Cougars also outrebounded the Falcons 29-19. Air Force is ranked No. 20 nationally in 3-point shooting percentage, but in the two games against the Cougars in 2003, the Falcons were 9-for-53 (14.5 percent) from behind the arc. The Falcons shot 55 percent (8-for-15) in the first half, but the Cougars stepped up defensively in the second half, holding Air Force to 28 percent shooting. For the game the Falcons shot 39 percent on 14-for-36 shooting. Gerlach led Air Force with 10 points, including two 3-pointers. With the combination of Wyoming's loss to San Diego and Utah's loss to New Mexico Saturday, BYU is in sole possession of second place in the MWC, one game behind the first-place Utes.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- MEADS, BIGELOW SET CAREER MARKS IN WIN OVER WYOMING
PROVO -- Monday night's game at the Marriott Center saw both freshman Garner Meads and senior Mark Bigelow set career marks as the BYU men's basketball team (12-4, 2-1) defeated Wyoming (8-8, 1-2) 78-64. Meads became the first Cougar besides senior Rafael Araujo to record a double-double this season as he recorded his first career double-double, posting 13 points and pulling down 10 rebounds in 26 minutes, career highs in both categories for the forward. Bigelow contributed 10 points on the night, which were good enough to move him past Kresimir Cosic for No. 9 on the all-time BYU scoring list. He also set a career high in assists with nine dishes on the night. "Offensively they did exactly what I wanted them to do," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "Hopefully we will continue that kind of offense throughout the season." In all, four of the five Cougar starters scored in double figures led by senior Rafael Araujo who was active in every part of the game with 24 points, nine rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocked shots. Senior guard Luiz Lemes contributed 17 points on 6-10 shooting and was 2-4 from behind the three-point line. Midway through the second half Cougar junior Jared Jensen went down with an injury as he fell to the floor trying to get a rebound and Araujo fell on top of him. Early reports indicate a sprained back and it is uncertain how long he will be out. In the first half, Wyoming jumped out to the early lead in the game after a three-point shot by Jay Straight that put the Cowboys up 2-5. The lead didn't last long as the Cougars used an 18-2 run to take a commanding lead in the first period. After the run the Cougars struggled to hold the lead as the Cowboys battled their way back into the ball game and closed the gap with another three-pointer this time by David Adams that tied the game up at 29-29 with 2:30 left in the half. The Cougars responded by outscoring the Cowboys 8-2 in the final minutes of the half, capping it off with a block by Araujo that sent the ball out to Bigelow. Bigelow raced down the court and found Michael Hall for an alley-oop dunk that brought the Marriott Center to its feet with 16 second left in the half. Meads came out strong for the Cougars in the second half, scoring the team's first six points of the half to put BYU up 43-34. With 11:53 left in the game, Bigelow hit a three pointer to put the Cougars up 50-43 and lifted him past Cosic on the career-scoring list. Wyoming made several attempts to get back in the game and take the lead, but the Cougars continued to pull away from the Cowboys, largely behind the team's free throw shooting, as BYU preserved its perfect 8-0 record at home this season and won the game 78-64. Araujo set a career-high in free throw attempts and free throws made as he went 12-17 from the line. Cleveland knows the margin of victory could have been greater had the team shot better than 66 percent on 27-57 shooting from the stripe. "We did miss some free throws," said Cleveland, "But other than that we played well."
Junior forward/center Jared Jensen was injured (back) Monday against Wyoming. He has not practiced this week and will not make this week's trip to Air Force and New Mexico. He will be evaluated again next week. Saturday's game will be the first Jensen has missed during his career. He has played in 78 straight games. The fewest minutes he has played in a game is 5 minutes (this year vs. Oklahoma State and last year at Air Force).
The Cougars have won their eight games at home this season by an average of 24 points. The closest final margin was Monday's 14-point victory over Wyoming. BYU achieved its largest halftime lead of the season vs. CSU last Saturday, taking a 26-point advantage to the break. The Cougars also equaled their largest first-half scoring output of the season with 49 points. The most points BYU has scored in a half this year is 51 points in the second half against Idaho State at the Cable Car Classic. The Cougars' 29-point victory over CSU, however, is not the largest margin of victory for the Cougars in Mountain West play. Last year BYU defeated Air Force in Provo by 32 points, 65-33. BYU's largest margin of victory this season overall was a 36-point win over Western Oregon.
RECENT CAREER EFFORTS
Against Wyoming Monday, freshman Garner Meads recorded his first double-double with career highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds. Mark Bigelow dished out a career-best 9 assists. Last Saturday against CSU, Jared Jensen tied his career-high 10 rebounds, Terry Nashif set a new personal best of 6 rebounds, and Austin Ainge got his first extended playing time, logging 10 minutes and scoring a career-best 6 points while dishing out a high of 2 assists.
DETERMINED TO IMPROVE
Rafael Araujo was determined over the summer to improve his shooting, spending an hour each morning from 6-7 a.m. casting off shots at the Smith Fieldhouse. His improvement is evident in his shooting percentages this season. Last year he shot a solid .558 from the floor but this year he is making 60 percent of his attempts. He made three treys on .273 shooting last year from behind the arc while this year has already connected seven times on .389 shooting from long range. At the line, Araujo has already surpassed the number of free throws he made all of last season, when he went 70-for-109 (.642). He has upped his success rate at the charity stripe this year by nine percentage points, having made 82-of-112 attempts (.732).
CLEVELAND NOW FIFTH ON BYU VICTORY LIST; THIRD IN MARRIOTT CENTER WINS
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 120-82 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 79-18 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 RATES HIGH IN NATIONAL AND MWC STATISTICS
Senior center Rafael Araujo is sixth in the nation in rebounds (10.6), 20th in field goal percentage (.600) and 27th in scoring (20.2) in the latest release of NCAA statistics (Jan. 19). Among MWC players he is the top scorer and rebounder and leads in defensive rebounds. He is second in offensive rebounds and fifth in field goal percentage, sixth in blocked shots, tied for ninth in steals and 13th in free throw percentage.
BIGELOW PASSES COSIC AS THE NO. 9 ALL-TIME SCORER AT BYU
Senior Mark Bigelow (1,505 points) moved past former Cougar great Kresimir Cosic into ninth place on BYU's all-time scoring list Monday against Wyoming. Cosic scored 1,512 points in only three season from 1971-73.
ROSE MAKES MOST OF MINUTES
After mostly late action in seven straight games prior to not playing at all at San Diego State, true freshman Mike Rose got off the bench early last Saturday and sparked BYU's decisive first-half run. He logged 11 minutes in the first half, scoring 10 points, and got the crowd in a frenzy hitting 3-of-4 long-range bombs. He played a season-high 23 minutes for the night. It was his second game of more than 20 minutes (other was 22 minutes in season opener when he scored 26 points and hit a BYU record 8 threes) and his fifth with double-digit minutes. He is second among all MWC players in three-point percentage at .525 and has 21 treys, just one behind senior Mark Bigelow. Rose has been instant offense. He has made his 21 threes while taking only 40 trey attempts and logging 9.4 minutes per game compared to Bigelow's 76 attempts in 30.1 minutes per game. Rose played just four minutes vs. Wyoming Monday without taking a shot.
BYU has played six games this year where the outcome was in question entering the final two minutes. The Cougars have gone 3-3 in those games. BYU lost those three games by a combined seven points. BYU's nine other wins have been by a margin of 14 or more points, with six being by more than 20 points, including two 30-plus point blowouts. BYU has suffered one blowout loss, a 27-point setback at North Carolina State. BYU is 11-0 when leading with five minutes remaining and 10-1 when holding the advantage with one minute on the second-half clock. BYU's 12.2 average winning margin ranks 31st nationally.
ON THE ROAD
BYU is 4-4 away from the Marriott Center this year with a 2-4 away record and a 2-0 neutral court mark. For the second straight season, the Cougars played more nonconference games away from Provo than they did in the friendly confines of the Marriott Center. This year, BYU played six games at home and seven out-of-town contests while going 10-3 in nonconference.
CURRENT BYU WIN/LOSS STREAKS ...
At home 13-0
On the road 0-2
On a neutral floor 2-0
At home vs. Nonconference 40-0
At home vs. MWC 7-0
On the road vs. Nonconference 0-1
On the road vs. MWC 0-1
On a neutral floor vs. Nonconference 2-0
On a neutral floor vs. MWC 0-1
BYU STARTING LINEUPS RECORD
Lemes, Hall, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo 4-2
Lemes, Hall, Bigelow, Meads, Araujo 4-1
Lemes, Woodberry, Hall, Bigelow, Araujo 3-0
Lemes, Woodberry, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo 1-1