Senior Mike Hall leads the Cougars with 13.7 points per game and will look to help BYU earn its first MWC victory of the season Saturday at Colorado State.
BYU (6-10, 0-1 MWC) returns to Mountain West Conference action Saturday when the Cougars face Colorado State at 1 p.m. MST in Fort Collins, Colo. The Cougars and Rams play in this week's featured MWC game on ESPN+ (KJZZ-TV, channel 14, in Salt Lake City). The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 (KSL.com).
UP NEXT FOR THE COUGARS
BYU continues the Front Range road swing on Monday in Laramie when the Cougars and Cowboys tipoff in a nationally televised 10 p.m. (MST) tilt on ESPN.
BYU GAME #17 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (6-10, 0-1 MWC) at COLORADO STATE RAMS (8-6, 0-1 MWC)
SATURDAY, JAN. 15, 2005
MOBEY ARENA (8,745)
FORT COLLINS, COLO. 1 p.m. MST
BYU, Steve Cleveland (135-97 in eighth season; same overall)
CSU, Dale Layer (67-67 in fifth season; 234-154 in 14th year overall)
BYU leads, 77-44 (BYU swept the season series last year)
ESPN+, KJZZ-TV, channel 14, in Salt Lake City (Rich Waltz calls play-by- play with Irv Brown adding analysis)
KSL 1160, BYU Sports Network (Greg Wrubell calls play-by-play with Brian Santiago adding commentary)
Live audio and live stats are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2004-05 schedule)
COUGAR QUICK HITS
- Saturday's game is BYU's first conference road contest of the season. The Cougars have a 3-game road winning streak in MWC play dating back to last season. BYU has swept the Front Range road trip the past two seasons after being swept at CSU and at Wyoming the prior four trips to the Front Range.
- Saturday's game at CSU will be Steve Cleveland's 233rd game as coach of the Cougars, moving him into a second-place tie for all-time games coached at BYU with Ott Romney (1927-35). Stan Watts is the all-time leader with 626 games on the BYU bench over 23 seasons (1949-72).
- Senior guard Mike Hall leads BYU in scoring at (13.7 ppg). Senior center Jared Jensen adds 9.9 ppg along with sophomore guard Mike Rose. Sophomore transfer Keena Young leads BYU in rebounding (5.7 rpg) with sophomore forward Garner Meads adding 5.6 rpg and sophomore center Derek Dawes contributing 5.1 rpg. Sophomore guard Austin Ainge leads the team with 58 assists (3.6 apg).
- BYU shoots .435 from the floor, .381 from three and .753 (12th nationally) from the line while averaging 68.9 ppg. BYU opponents have shot .419 from the field and .345 on threes while scoring 68.7 ppg.
- The 10 BYU players averaging double-digit minutes this season include six sophomores, three seniors and one freshman. Of BYU's freshmen top-20 signing class, only F/C Chris Miles is currently playing (11.8 minutes). Both David Burgess (ankles) and Trent Plaisted (knees) are currently out while top guard prospect and Arizona Player of the Year Lee Cummard has not been with the Cougars this season after opting to serve an LDS Church mission. After returning early, he will join the Cougars next season.
- BYU's schedule this season has included four Pac-10 opponents and two nationally ranked ACC teams (North Carolina and NC State). BYU's wins are over Chaminade (77-56), Boise State (90-77), Weber State (79-61), Southern Utah (77-52), Santa Clara (87-74) and Montana State-Billings (110-70).
LOOKING AT COLORADO STATE
The Rams return four starters and eight lettermen from last year's 13-16 team that tied for seventh in the MWC with a 4-10 record. This year CSU is 8-6 overall and 0-1 in league play after losing at reigning regular-season champion Air Force, 58-53. The Rams have lost two straight games, both on the road, including its 78-63 loss at Pepperdine on Jan. 3. CSU is 8-0 at home this season. Among its five nonconference road losses the Rams suffered several close defeats, including an overtime 79-76 loss at Auburn, a 69-68 setback at Purdue and an 89-83 loss at Colorado. CSU will be without the services of guard Dwight Boatner, who left the team due to personal reasons this week. Boatner is a 6-foot, 170-pound sophomore from Lake Charles, La., who had played in all 14 games, including 10 as a starter, while averaging 8.1 points per game, with 31 assists. CSU is led by senior center Matt Nelson. The 7-foot-1 All-MWC performer leads the nation with his 69 percent accuracy from the floor while scoring 15.8 points per game. He also adds a team-best 5.7 rebounds. CSU played at Air Force without its second-leading scorer and rebounder in senior forward Matt Williams, who averages 12.5 ppg and 5.0 rpg. Williams suffered a minor sprain of his left knee at Pepperdine. Freshman 7-footer Jason Smith started in Williams' place at Air Force and totaled 14 rebounds along with 6 points and 4 assists. Smith is third on the tea in scoring overall this season at 9.5 ppg while contributing 5.1 rpg. CSU averages 75.6 points while allowing 66.9. The Rams are a good shooting team, making 50 percent of their attempts from the floor overall. CSU shoots .356 from long range and .701 from the line. Ram opponents have shot .386 from the field and .264 on threes. CSU wins the battle of the boards by an average of 38.1 to 32.5.
LAST OUTING - FREE THROWS DOWN STRETCH DO IN RAMS
Air Force used a 15-1 run midway through the second half to erase a CSU three-point lead en route to a 58-53 Falcon victory in Clune Arena last Saturday afternoon. The game remained close during the entire first half with neither team gaining a lead larger than five during the period. CSU came out of the locker room and used a 6-0 run to take a three-point lead, 29-26, with 16:45 to play. The Rams remained up by three with 14:36 until the Falcons sprinted to a 15-1 run in a six-minute span to lead 45-34 with 8:42 to play. The Rams cut the lead back to five points before Air Force hit 11-of-12 free throws in the last three minutes to seal the five-point win.
Senior Matt Nelson posted 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting while grabbing six boards on the day. Sophomore Dwight Boatner was the only other Ram in double figures with 14 (11 in the first half).
Freshman Jason Smith recorded a game-high 14 rebounds and dished out a team-high four assists. CSU hit 19-of-47 (.404) on the night from the floor while the Falcons were 20-of-57 (.351). CSU committed 22 turnovers and forced only 11 by Air Force.
COLORADO STATE'S PROJECTED STARTERS
Pos. # Name Wt. Ht. Yr. PPG RPG
F 14 Jason Smith 225 7-0 Fr. 9.5 5.1
F 34 Stephen Verwers 245 6-10 So. 3.1 2.9
C 54 Matt Nelson 265 7-1 Sr. 15.8 5.7
G 10 Jon Rakiecki 205 6-3 Sr. 8.1 2.9
G 32 Michael Morris 210 6-3 Jr. 7.9 3.3
Saturday's game will be the 122nd meeting between the two schools. BYU leads the series 77-44. The Rams hold a 31-26 advantage in Fort Collins while the Cougars own a 50-10 record in Provo. Last year, BYU swept the regular-season series for the second consecutive year, beating the Rams in Fort Collins and again in Provo. CSU has a 3-1 advantage in neutral court games. BYU has won the last two games in Fort Collins, ending a six-game losing streak in Moby Arena dating back to 1994. The Cougars have won six of the last eight games overall. BYU has won five straight in Provo since CSU swept the series in 1998, winning in Provo, 55-44, on Jan. 22. The two teams did not meet in 1999. Steve Cleveland is 7-6 against Colorado State with a 5-1 record in Provo, 2-4 mark at Moby Arena and 0-1 neutral court result. The series dates back to 1938.
FRONT RANGE SWEEPS
The Cougars have enjoyed recent success on the difficult Front Range road trip, having swept Colorado State and Wyoming the past two seasons in Fort Collins and Laramie. The prior BYU sweep of the two games was in 1993. Under Steve Cleveland, BYU was swept on the Front Range the first four times it made the trip before BYU's success the last two years. The schools did not play during the final year of the WAC in 1999.
LAST YEAR IN PROVO -- COUGARS WIN BIG AGAINST CSU, 82-53
PROVO, Utah, (Jan. 17, 2004) -- Rafael Araujo scored 16 points and grabbed nine boards to lead BYU past Colorado State 82-53 Saturday evening at the Marriott Center. BYU used an 18-1 run to build a 19-point lead midway through the first half, and the Cougars didn't look back, extending their lead to 26 points at halftime, BYU's largest lead at the break this season. Coach Steve Cleveland said he was pleased his team came out and played well after the way they played in the last two games. "I didn't care if this was home or away. I wanted to play well," Cleveland said. "I thought we did that. We attacked defensively and got good shots. We played 30 minutes of good basketball, but it got sloppy in the end." The Cougars' run started when freshman Mike Rose was inserted into the game and subsequently hit a three-pointer. Rose would hit two more threes during the stretch, and Mike Hall would add another. "Mike Rose came in and hit some huge shots," Cleveland said. "That's how I plan to play him the rest of the year. He's played well in practice and earned the minutes." Those three-pointers opened up the middle for Araujo, allowing him to get the ball deep in the post and score easily over the Ram defenders. The Cougars didn't let up after halftime, outscoring CSU 18-6 while extending its lead to 31 three different times during the second half. After two poor shooting nights against North Carolina State and San Diego State where the Cougars hit only 40.4 percent of their shots, BYU hit 49.1 percent of its shots against the Rams, including 38.9 percent from three-point range. Besides Araujo, the Cougars had three other players hit double figures, including Luiz Lemes (12), Mark Bigelow (11) and Rose (10).
LAST YEAR IN FORT COLLINS -- SHOFF SPARKS COUGARS TO VICTORY OVER CSU
FORT COLLINS -- Rafael Araujo recorded his 13th double-double of the season, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, as the Cougars defeated Colorado State 79-73 Monday night at Moby arena. Araujo and Ram center Matt Nelson battled back and forth all night with Nelson scoring 24 points to lead all scorers, but the most pivotal stretch of the game came when Araujo was sitting on the bench with four fouls. Colorado State had battled back from a seven-point deficit to tie the game at 54 when backup center Jake Shoff replaced Araujo. Shoff helped ignite a 15-4 run, scoring five points in less than one minute during the run before collecting his fourth foul. Shoff finished the game with a season-high nine points and three rebounds in only 12 minutes of work. "Bench play was critical to our success," coach Steve Cleveland said. "(Kevin) Woodberry was solid. Jake Shoff had a good game, and (Jared) Jensen contributed tonight." Following the Cougar run, BYU led by 11 points and held on to win by six points, giving BYU its second straight road win. With the victory, the Cougars swept the Front Range road trip in back-to-back years for the first time since BYU did it in the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons. BYU won in back-to-back years at CSU for the first time in 10 years. The Cougars opened the game with sloppy play, falling behind by 11 points early, but the Cougars exploded for a 20-2 run to take a 28-21 lead. BYU extended its lead to nine points before the Rams closed the half on a 6-0 run to cut the Cougar lead to 35-32 at the half. Colorado State continued its run into the second half, eventually tying the score at 36, but BYU fought back with another run of its own to take a seven point lead, which the Rams would quickly erase. But BYU had one more run up its sleeve that put Colorado State away for good. BYU scored 19 fast-break points, using its defense to ignite several scoring runs. Three Cougars scored in double figures as Mike Hall totaled 14 points and Mark Bigelow added 10. Freshman Dwight Boatner contributed 11 points for CSU while Matt Williams and Michael Morris each added 10 points. BYU had a 41-30 advantage on the boards, including 14 offensive rebounds.
BYU's LAST OUTING - COUGARS SWAT YELLOWJACKETS, 110-70
PROVO -- It may have been a cold night in Provo, but inside the Marriott Center it was sizzling as the Cougars snowballed past Montana State-Billings 110-70, posting their highest point total since the 1995 season. The Cougars hosted the Division II Yellow Jackets school for the first time in school history and quickly make short work of them. BYU was especially dominant inside the paint where the Cougars outscored the MSU-Billings 50-14. "We know this weekend will be a different atmosphere and a different kind of competition," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "We need a few of these games to settle the nerves of our guys." Offensively the Cougars cruised as they tallied the most first half points in the Coach Cleveland era with 57, eclipsing the old mark of 56 set against Rice in 2002. The Cougars opened up the game on a 5-0 run led by an Austin Ainge floater. But then BYU got sloppy, turning the ball over repeatedly and allowing the Yellow Jackets to battle back with a 6-0 run to take an early 6-5 lead. But that would be the only lead MSU-Billings would see as Mike Rose sank a deep three and it was an offensive avalanche from there. A Chris Miles dunk ignited the crowd and helped extend the Cougar lead. BYU coasted into the locker room with a 27-point advantage at the half. In the second half, it was more of the same for the blue and white. Austin Ainge threw an ally-oop pass to Mike Hall with eleven minutes remaining, giving the Cougars a 35-point lead from which Montana State was never able to recover, leading to the 40-point rout. The Yellow Jackets and the Cougars combined to shoot 52 from three-point range and tie a Marriott Center record for combined three-pointers made with 23. MSU-Billings put up 36 shots from beyond the arc and hit 14 for a 38.9 percent efficiency while the Cougars posted a season-high 62.5 percent mark on 10-16 shooting from beyond the arc. The game saw a series of firsts for the Cougars as Garner Meads returned to the line up for the first time since the Utah State game on Dec. 18. Meads hauled in a team-high 11 rebounds. Fans also saw shooting guard Sam Burgess have his longest stint at the point guard position while all thirteen players who suited up, including Brock Reichner and Josh Burgess, saw action. Six players scored in double figures for the first time since 1999 as Jared Jensen scored a team-high 16 points, Hall and Rose each contributed 14 and Ainge, Keena Young and Terry Nashif each added 10 points.
FREE THROW STREAK
The Cougars set a school record by making 33 consecutive free throws until finally misfiring against San Diego State. BYU set a single-game record to start the streak by making 24 straight free throws against Santa Clara on Dec. 31. The 33 straight free throws spanned three games.
AINGE PROVING POINT
Point guard Austin Ainge is one of BYU's young players taking advantage of his opportunity for playing time this season. He has earned the starting position, making the last eight starts. He had a career-high 7 rebounds vs. Santa Clara, career-best 21 points on 6-of-9 shooting vs. Utah State and a career-most 8 assists vs. NC State and MSU-Billings. He is now earning the majority of the point guard minutes with senior Terry Nashif coming off the bench. Overall, he is fourth on the team in scoring at 9.3 ppg and leads the team in assists at 3.6 apg.
MODEL OF EFFICIENCY
Jared Jensen has made 23 straight free throws over the last seven games. The BYU record for consecutive free throws made is 32 by Mike Smith in 1989. Jared Jensen has also made 32 of his last 46 field goal attempts (.696). On the season Jensen leads the team in both categories, shooting .596 (4th in MWC) and .885 from the line (No. 1 in MWC, 15th nationally).
GOING TO THE BOARDS
Jared Jensen's seven rebounds against MSU-Billings gave him back-to-back-to-back season-high rebounding performances. He also had seven rebounds vs. SDSU and at Saint Mary's. In the first 12 games, Jensen averaged 3.2 rebounds but over the last four games he is averaging 6.5 rebounds. BYU has totaled back-to-back season-high 47 rebounds the past two games.
BYU's 59-point second half against Santa Clara is its most points in a half under head coach Steve Cleveland. BYU achieved its largest first-half production in the Cleveland era on Tuesday with 57 points in the first 20 minutes vs. Montana State-Billings. Prior to this season, the previous high for a half under Cleveland was 56 first-half points against Rice in 2002. BYU's 110 total points against MSUB on Tuesday is its highest point total since 1995.
SHOOTING PERCENTAGE/WINNING PERCENTAGE
BYU is 6-1 when out shooting its opponent and 0-8 when the opponent has the better percentage. After shooting below 40 percent in six of its first 10 games, the Cougars topped 50 percent shooting the three games (all wins) prior to shooting 41 percent at Saint Mary's. BYU then rebounded with another great shooting night against MSU-Billings, shooting 54.8 percent from the floor and a season-high 62.5 percent from three-point range. BYU shot 52 percent vs. Santa Clara and made 50 percent from the floor and 57 percent on threes (12-of-21) vs. Southern Utah. The Cougars made a season-high 60 percent from the floor and 54.5 percent on threes in its win at Weber State.
CURRENT BYU WIN/LOSS STREAKS ...
At home 1-0
On the road 0-1
On a neutral floor 0-1
At home vs. Nonconference 3-0
At home vs. MWC 0-1
On the road vs. Nonconference 0-1
On the road vs. MWC 3-0
On a neutral floor vs. Nonconference 0-1
On a neutral floor vs. MWC 0-1
at regular season tournament 1-0
at MWC Tournament 0-1
at NCAA Tournament 0-5
at NIT 0-1