BYU (12-4, 1-0 MWC) takes its first Mountain West Conference road trip to face San Diego State (11-4, 2-0 MWC) Monday at 7 p.m. PST (8 p.m. MST) at Cox Arena in San Diego. The game is being televised by SportsWest Productions on KSL-TV in Salt Lake City and on Cox 4 in San Diego with Dave McCann and Craig Hislop describing the action. 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 Mark Durrant 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.
BYU and San Diego State both completed successful non-conference schedules and are unbeaten in MWC play. BYU is coming off a home win over UNLV while the Aztecs are 2-0 in league play after winning at Air Force and at home Saturday vs. Utah. SDSU has won three straight and nine of its last 10 games after starting the year 2-3, including a tough-fought home loss to nationally ranked Arizona. BYU has won its last two games. The Cougars are 4-3 over the last seven games after starting the year 8-1. BYU has lost its last two outings vs. SDSU, losing in San Diego 77-73 and then at the MWC Tournament, 62-51.
GAME #17 FAST FACTS (MWC GAME #2)
BYU (12-4, 1-0 MWC) @ SAN DIEGO STATE (11-4, 2-0 MWC)
SATURDAY, JAN. 20, 2003
COX ARENA AT AZTEC BOWL (12,414)
7 p.m. PST (8 p.m. MST)
BYU, Steve Cleveland (97-73 in sixth year; same overall)
SDSU, Steve Fisher (51-53 in fourth year; 235-135 in 12th year overall)
BYU leads, 35-15; Last: SDSU won 62-51 at the MWC Tournament on Mar. 7, 2002
SportsWest Productions (KSL-TV in Salt Lake City; Cox 4 in San Diego)
Satellite: Telstar 5 TRANSPONDER K19
Tipoff Time: 7:06 p.m. PST (8:06 MST)
Play-by-Play: Dave McCann
Game Analyst: Craig Hislop
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 links are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2002-03 schedule) and on KSL.com and byuradio.org or via BYU Radio on Dish Network.
BYU's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 3 Mark Bigelow 6-7 195 Jr. 12.7 3.5
F 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 250 So. 8.3 3.8
C 55 Rafael Araujo 6-11 265 Jr. 12.1 9.3
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Sr. 15.6 4.6 2.8 apg
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 2.7 1.6 1.9 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 14 Ricky Bower 6-4 185 Jr. 6.4 1.8
G 24 Kevin Woodberry 6-0 170 Jr. 5.8 1.8 2.3 apg
G 12 Marc Roberts 6-3 205 So. 4.5 1.5
F 15 John Allen 6-7 215 So. 3.6 1.4
F 5 Jake Shoff 6-9 265 Jr. 2.7 2.2
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 Jr. 1.6 0.9
G 4 Luiz Lemes 6-3 180 Jr. 1.5 0.8
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 Jr. 1.3 1.0
SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS
San Diego State adds some talented newcomers to three returning starters and six lettermen from last year's 21-12 team that advanced to the NCAA tournament after winning the Mountain West Conference Tournament title. The Aztecs are off to their best start since 1996-97 at 11-4, including a 2-0 mark in the MWC. Dating back to last year, they have won eight of their last nine conference games and 10-of-11 overall against MWC opponents (counting the 2002 MWC Tournament). SDSU has won its last game against every Mountain West opponent. The Aztecs have improved to 2-0 in league play for the first time since the 1995-96 season (first time in seven seasons). It also marks the first 2-0 start, with at least one road victory, since the 1984-85 season. Winners of 11 of the last 13 games, the Aztecs have won a Division I era school-record 11 straight games against unranked teams after defeating Utah 58-56 Saturday afternoon. The Aztecs' last loss to an unranked team came on Nov. 27 when SDSU fell at Portland 91-86 (San Diego State played that game without Evan Burns, Travis Hanour and Chris Manker). SDSU's win over Utah broke a 14-game losing streak to the Utes dating back to the 1993-94 season. The Aztecs have been strong on the boards, out rebounding 12 of 14 opponents this year. They pulled down 38 boards to Utah's 30 on Saturday, including a 12-7 advantage on the offensive glass. Senior Deandre Moore registered a career-high nine rebounds to go along with his eight points vs. the Utes. Sophomore Travis Hanour also set a career high for rebounds with seven. By matching Tony Bland with a team-high 13 points, senior Mike Mackell has reached double-digit scoring in all 15 games this season. He averages 15.6 ppg, while Bland contributes 14.9. Burns adds 8.4 and Moore 8.3. Junior Aerick Sanders has led MWC players in rebounding much of the season, and currently ranks second behind BYU's Rafael Araujo with a team-leading 8.3 rebounds. The Aztecs are averaging 36.8 rebounds to their opponents' 33.5 and score 72.7 points while allowing 60.5. SDSU shoots .451 from the floor, .353 on threes and .679 from the line, while its opponents have combined to shoot .413, including .316 on three-point attempts. SDSU is 7-3 at home this year and 4-1 on the road. Aztec fans have taken to the team's strong play. Through 10 home games, SDSU is on a record pace for average season attendance. The Aztecs are playing before an average home crowd of 7,266, which at the current pace would easily surpass the record average of 6,165 fans that viewed Cox Arena games last season. Should this trend continue, Aztec teams under Steve Fisher would own three of the top five season attendance marks in SDSU history.
SDSU COMING OFF HOME WIN OVER UTAH SATURDAY
Mike Mackell and Tony Bland each scored 13 points to lead San Diego State, as the Aztecs topped Utah 58-56 on Saturday to end a 14-game losing streak to the Utes in the Mountain West Conference. Down 56-54, Utah had a chance to tie the game coming out of a timeout with 19.6 seconds left. But Nick Jacobson missed a 15-foot jumper, and the Aztecs' Aerick Sanders was fouled on the rebound with 5.4 seconds left. Sanders made two free throws in the double-bonus situation to seal San Diego State's first victory over the Utes since Jan. 22, 1994, when the Aztecs prevailed 76-73 at home. The Aztecs (11-4, 2-0) capitalized on the poorest shooting game of the season by Utah (12-4, 0-1) in ending the Utes' seven-game winning streak. Utah went 35.3 percent from the field (18 of 51). Tony Bland finished with 13 points as the Aztecs improve to 2-0 in conference play. Jacobson, who entered the game with a team-high average of 12.9 points per game went only 4-of-16 from the field, missing all eight tries from three-point range. He finished with 11 points. Britton Johnsen had 16 points and a team-high seven rebounds for the Utes, while Tim Frost added 15 points. Deandre Moore led the Aztecs with nine rebounds and three assists, while also recording eight points. After holding a 29-28 halftime lead, the Aztecs fell behind 37-31 in the first 3:55 of the second half. But they used a 9-0 run, including five points by reserve Evan Burns, to move back ahead 44-39 with 9:59 to go. The Utes came back for a 50-50 tie with 3:04 left but could never regain the lead.
SDSU'S PROBABLE STARTERS
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG OTHER
F 34 Aerick Sanders 6-8 204 Jr. 6.3 8.3 1.0 bpg
C 30 Mike Mackell 6-9 250 Sr. 15.6 4.9 .577 FG%
G 5 Travis Hanour 6-7 198 So. 4.8 4.1 1.4 apg
G 4 Tony Bland 6-5 201 Sr. 14.9 3.9 3.8 apg
G 1 Deandre Moore 5-10 191 Sr. 8.3 3.7 4.6 apg
BYU leads the overall series 35-15. The Aztecs defeated BYU in last year's MWC tournament and have won the last two games in the series, ending a BYU eight-game winning streak in the series with its win in San Diego in the last meeting at Cox Arena on Feb. 11, 2002. It was SDSU's first win since defeating the Cougars in Provo, 89-86 in overtime, on Dec. 31, 1996, during BYU's 1-25 season. BYU holds a 14-12 advantage in San Diego, including a 4-1 mark in Cox Arena. BYU defeated the Aztecs 73-59 in the first game ever played in Cox Arena on Nov. 14, 1997. It was BYU coach Steve Cleveland's first game as the Cougars' coach. He is 8-2 against San Diego State.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 35-15
BYU Record in Provo: 21-2
BYU Record in San Diego: 14-12
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-1
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 8-2
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 2-2 (1-1 Rd, 1-1 Hm)
Last Overtime Game: 1996-97, lost in Provo, 86-89
Longest BYU Win Streak: 11 (1990-95)
Longest SDSU Win Streak: 3 (1941-77)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 40, 106-66 in 1982
Largest SDSU Margin of Victory: 19, 89-70 in 1985
Most Points Scored by BYU: 123 in 1980
Most Points Scored by SDSU: 104 in 1977
LAST YEAR AT COX - BYU SHOOTS WELL BUT AZTECS HOLD ON
SAN -- BYU fell to San Diego State, 77-73, at Cox Arena in San Diego Monday night. The loss is the first in Steve Cleveland's career against the Aztecs. BYU (14-8, 4-5) has yet to win a conference road game this season. The Cougars lost despite shooting 51 percent, including 50 percent from beyond the arc (6-12). In a game eerily similar to last Saturday night's loss at UNLV, BYU got down early and just didn't have enough to overcome the deficit. The Cougars found an unexpected spark from Dan Howard, who notched career highs in points (8), rebounds (7) and minutes and tied career highs in field goal attempts and field goal percentage. "It felt good to get out there and play with someone besides my teammates," added Howard, who has spent much of the season playing on the practice squad for the Cougars. Howard ignited a comeback with his rebound and put-back followed by BYU freshman Jimmy Balderson's lay-in that tied the game for the Cougars 47-47 with 13:37 remaining. SDSU then went on a 5-0 run before Balderson scored again to make the score 52-49 with 12 minutes remaining. A BYU free throw and a three-pointer by Daniel Bobik brought BYU within one, 54-53, as BYU hit 9 of their first 11 shots to start the second half. The Aztecs then went on a 7-2 run capped by a Deandre Moore three-pointer, making the score 61-55. Moore finished the game shooting 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. Despite Nielsen and Bobik layups, BYU still trailed 63-59 before SDSU went on another run to extend its lead, 68-59, on an Al Faux three-pointer. Howard put in two more points, making it 68-62, and ended the scoring for both teams for the next three minutes. SDSU made four foul shots while the Cougars hit two field goals to bring the score to 73-66 with 20 seconds left in the contest. Both teams began the game with solid shooting, connecting on a combined 17-of-22 to start the game. The Cougars hit seven of their first 10 shots while the Aztecs made 10-of-12 from the field. For the rest of the first half, however, the Cougars were only able to connect on four of their 16 attempts and ended the half shooting 11-for-26 (42 percent). BYU went five minutes without a field goal and fell behind 38-27, their biggest deficit of the game. Montague made two three-pointers to tie his career best for three-pointers made in a game. He led the Cougars in scoring in the first half with eight points. Meanwhile, Aztec Holcomb led his team and all scorers with 11 first half points on his way to a double-double (15 pts, 10 rebs). Nielsen paced BYU with 14 points, Montague added 12 and Bigelow 10.
WHAT COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY LAST YEAR ...
"We never got over the top. The effort was certainly more sustained, but we were just never able to get over the hump. I think Dan (Howard) was the critical component for us to get back into the game. He actually had energy, he gave us a lift and brought us into the game."
LAST GAME - AZTECS DOWN COUGARS AT THE MWC TOURNEY
LAS -- The BYU men's basketball team lost 62-51 to San Diego State in the first round of the 2002 EAS Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Championship. The first-round loss is the first for the Cougars in the history of the MWC tourney and its first since 1998. BYU made its way to the MWC championship game the two previous years of the tournament. BYU never led in the game but pulled within four points with a minute remaining, 55-51, after a 10-4 run before the Aztecs went on a 7-1 run of their own to finish the game. "We just came out flat and just struggled shooting tonight," said BYU senior guard Matt Montague. "You can't dig yourself in a hole the way we did tonight." Montague had four assists for the game. BYU's worst shooting percentage of the year came at an unfortunate time as they hit only 18-of-59 shots from the field (31 percent) and 3-for-17 from three-point range (18 percent), both season lows. The Cougars had six assists to 16 turnovers, a season-low for assists and their worst assist-to-turnover ratio of the season. Mark Bigelow led BYU's scoring efforts with 15 points, followed by Eric Nielsen who added 11 points along with 11 rebounds, his first double-double of the season and the first Cougar double-double in the history of MWC tourney. Travis Hansen had 10 points and seven rebounds for the Cougars, helping BYU out rebound SDSU 45-34. BYU's 45 rebounds were the second highest total of the year and the most against a Division I opponent during the season. SDSU used the first six minutes of the game to jump out to a 13-2 lead. Over the next six-minute stretch, BYU went on a 12-4 run to pull within three, 17-14, with 7:30 remaining in the first half. The Aztecs then scored seven unanswered points before BYU answered with four of its own to end the scoring for the first half with SDSU in the lead, 24-18. BYU's 18 first-half points were the fewest by a Cougar team in any half this season. The Cougars were led by Hansen's six first half points, while the team as a whole only made 7-of-28 from the field (25 percent). Their previous season low was 35.5 percent at UNLV on Feb. 9.
WHAT COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY LAST YEAR ...
"Sometimes when you start missing shots, you just lose your confidence. Defensively, we guarded them well and rebounded well, but we turned the ball over and didn't shoot well."
BYU'S LAST GAME -- COUGARS OPEN MWC WITH WIN OVER UNLV
PROVO -- The BYU basketball team took a 15-7 lead seven minutes into the game, and the intensity didn't let up until the final buzzer. BYU extended its home-winning streak to 44 as the Cougars beat UNLV 85-77 Thursday. With their first Mountain West Conference game of the season, the Cougars are 1-0 in conference play and 12-4 overall. UNLV came into the game with the best overall record in the conference, but they dropped to 11-3 overall and 0-1 in the conference. BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said, "What pleased me most about tonight's game was that we took care of the basketball. We were unselfish with the ball, and we had as good an execution offensively as we have had all year." Three BYU players scored 20 points or more for the first time under Coach Cleveland. Rafael Araujo led the charge with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Junior Mark Bigelow scored 21 and senior Travis Hansen marked up 20. In the first half, Bigelow knocked down four three pointers on five attempts. Bigelow's 140 career three pointers have brought him only one three-pointer away from tying BYU's individual career three-point record. Araujo lit up the crowd with several commanding dunks. On one UNLV possession, Araujo stole the ball under the Rebel's basket and then finished the play with a backboard-shaking slam. At the half, the Cougars led by 10 and maintained a solid lead throughout the second half until a pair of Marcus Banks' free throws brought UNLV within five, with three minutes remaining in the game. "Whether on the road or at home, every game is going to be like this," Cleveland said. "I was happy with the improvement that I saw on the team, and that is the most positive thing about it all. To win the basketball game makes it all even better." UNLV senior Dalron Johnson led all scorers with 25 points, including three treys. BYU's defense held Banks, who is second in scoring in the conference (19.0), to four points in the first half and only 5-for-14 field goals on the game. In his first game in the Marriott Center last year, Banks was held to 1-for-8 on field goals.
UP NEXT FOR BYU
BYU returns to Provo to host instate rival Utah Saturday at 1 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The contest is the featured Mountain West Conference Game of the Week on ESPN+Plus (KJZZ-TV in Utah). Plenty of tickets are still available at the BYU Ticket Office or by calling 801-378-BYU1.
Led by senior guard Travis Hansen, junior swingman Mark Bigelow and junior center Rafael Araujo, the Cougars (12-4) earned an 11-4 non-conference record and are 1-0 in MWC play. Hansen leads the team in scoring (15.6) and assists (2.8) and is second in rebounding (4.6), Bigelow is second in scoring (12.7) and the team's top three-point shooter (31-67), while Araujo has come on strong as the third-leading scorer (12.1) while leading the MWC in rebounds (9.3). Sophomore forward Jared Jensen adds 8.3 points and 3.8 rebounds while making 61.1 percent from the floor. With more talent on the bench, Coach Steve Cleveland has used a deeper rotation this year. Junior guard Ricky Bower leads the way off the bench, averaging 6.4 points and shooting 44.6 percent from behind the arc. BYU is 8-0 at home and 4-4 away from the Marriott Center, including a 3-1 neutral record and 1-3 road mark.
BYU coach Steve Cleveland is using a larger rotation this year with a deeper bench. Ten of the 13 players are averaging at least nine minutes. Cleveland has used four starting lineups. He has used the same starting five in 12 of 16 games, but has adjusted the lineup of late with Terry Nashif starting at point in the last two games. Sophomore guard Marc Roberts came out of a possible redshirt season after 13 games, playing at Weber State. Freshmen guards Austin Ainge and Jermaine Odjegba will redshirt.
BYU STARTING LINEUP (RECORD)
Woodberry, Hansen, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo 9-3
Nashif, Hansen, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo 2-0
Woodberry, Bower, Bigelow, Hansen, Araujo 1-0
Woodberry, Hansen, Bigelow, Shoff, Araujo 0-1
An NJCAA All-American transfer out of Arizona Western, Junior center Rafael Araujo has scored in double figures in nine of the last 10 games, including seven straight. He has scored 17 or more points in six of the last seven games. He has eight double-figure rebounding games this year. In the last seven games, he is averaging 18.4 points, 11.9 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game. Araujo had his fifth double-double in the last seven games with team highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds vs. UNLV. He led BYU in scoring (18.0), rebounds (9.5) and steals (3.0) last week when he shot 53.8 percent (14-26) from the floor and 66.7 percent (8-12) from the line. He added two assists (1.0 apg). Araujo recorded his fourth double-double of the year with a game-high 17 points and 10 rebounds against Idaho State Saturday. While helping BYU build a 34-23 halftime advantage, Araujo twice intercepted Bengal passes and dribbled the full length of the court for hammer dunks. The athletic, 6-foot-11 center finished the game with four steals and one assist while going 8-for-12 from the floor (.667) and 1-of-2 from the line in 30 minutes. He was one rebound shy of another double-double at Weber State when he scored a team-leading 19 points and pulled down a game-high nine rebounds. He added two steals, one block and one assist in 29 minutes. He went 6-of-14 (.429) from the floor and made a career-high seven free throws, going 7-of-10 (.700) from the line. On the year, Araujo leads all MWC players in rebounds with an 9.3 average. He is third on BYU's team in scoring at 12.1 points per game.
BIGELOW POISED TO SET THREE POINT RECORD
Junior Mark Bigelow reached two milestones vs. Southern Utah. The 6-foot-7 swingman went 4-6 from behind the arc to move past Terrell Lyday into second place on BYU's career three-point list. After his four treys vs. UNLV, he now has 140 career treys and will tie BYU assistant coach Andy Toolson with his next triple. Toolson holds the top mark at 141. Bigelow leads BYU with 31 threes this year and has made a combined 41.9 percent (140-334) in his two-plus seasons. Against SUU, Bigelow also became the 34th Cougar and only ninth junior to score 1,000 points during his career. Bigelow moved into 31st place with his 21 points vs. UNLV, surpassing Scott Runia, who shared the backcourt for three years with BYU's career scoring leader Danny Ainge (2,467). Bigelow needs five points to move past Randy Reid adn 15 to surpass Mel Hutchins.
BYU hs won its last two games after ending its only losing streak this year, two games, with its win over Idaho State. BYU had two three-game losing streaks last year. BYU owns the nation's longest homecourt winning streak at 44 games. The Cougars have won 34 straight home games over a non-conference opponent and 18 consecutive vs. Mountain West Conference teams. The Cougars won five straight games overall to open this season, the longest overall streak since winning eight straight games last year in preseason. The Cougars have lost their last four games away from the Marriott Center, including their last three contests on an opponent's home court. BYU's loss at Creighton ended a string of four consecutive BYU wins away from the Marriott Center. It was the team's best streak away from home since BYU's 2001 NCAA team won five consecutive games (2 away, 3 at the MWC tournament) in March 2001. BYU has lost seven straight conference road games, all last year. BYU has made a three-point shot in 195 consecutive games since going 0-9 in a 75-67 loss to CS Fullerton on Nov. 22, 1996.
SHOOTING, REBOUNDING SUCCESS
BYU has out shot 13 of 16 opponents this year (except USF, OSU, Weber State) and outrebounded 12 (except Creighton,USU, USCB). BYU is shooting .476, including .390 on threes, while limiting opponents to .401 shooting from the floor and only .272 on threes. BYU averages 35.8 boards to its opponents' 31.6. BYU has shot 45 percent or better in 11 games this year (losing only once at Creighton), including a string of six straight until shooting a season-low 36.5 percent at USF. BYU rebounded to shoot 58 percent (SUU) and 54.2 percent (Pepperdine) in its next two games. BYU shot 58.3 percent vs. Idaho State, the fifth time this year, and fourth time at home, that BYU has shot better than 50 percent. BYU has shot 54 percent or better in three of its last four home games. BYU out boarded Idaho State 43-19.
FROM THE LINE
BYU topped 80 percent (27-33) free throw shooting for the sixth time this year vs. UNLV. BYU shot a season-high 85.2 percent from the line vs. UCSB, going 23-27. The Cougars have shot better than 70 percent in all but four games, a season-low 55.0 percent (11-20) vs. San Diego, 65.4 percent vs. Pepperdine, 65.7 percent at USF and 66.7 percent vs. Idaho State. Individually, eight Cougars are shooting 70 percent or better from the line, with seven topping 77 percent. John Allen is a perfect 18-18 while Ricky Bower is shooting 88.1 percent (37-42). BYU is shooting 73.9 percent as a team.
BYU has held 10 opponents to 42 percent or lower shooting, and has held five opponents below 35 percent shooting. BYU held Pepperine, coming in shooting 47.1 percent, to its second-lowest percentage of the year at 34.5 percent. 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 nine of its 15 opponents this year to 60 points or less. BYU is 49-3 under Steve Cleveland when holding opponents below 60 points. BYU held USD to a BYU-opponent low of 49 points. On the year, BYU's defense yields a combined 64.2 points per game.
BYU is 11-0 this year when holding opponents below 70 points but 1-4 when the opposition reaches the 70-point mark. In the five-plus season Steve Cleveland has been BYU's coach, the Cougars are 78-15 (.839) when holding opponents below 70 points. BYU's winning percentage drops off substantially when BYU opponents have scored between 70-79 points. BYU's record is 17-33 (.340) in those games during the Cleveland era.
NATION'S LONGEST HOME WINNING STREAK
BYU has a 44-game homecourt winning streak. The streak, which is a school record topping the 24 straight won between March 1994 and January 1996, is the longest current streak in the nation. BYU went 16-0 at home last season and was 15-0 the prior year. BYU has had a perfect home record seven times since the Marriott Center opened for the 1971-72 season. The past two years, however, marks the first time it has happened in back-to-back seasons. Last year's team tied the BYU single-season record with 16 home wins and was only the fourth Cougar squad to win more than 14 home games in a season. The 1987-88 Ladell Andersen squad went 16-2 in the Marriott Center. BYU's last home loss was on Feb. 17, 2000 when New Mexico edged the Cougars 78-74. BYU has won 18 straight at home over MWC teams since starting the victory streak with an 83-80 win over UNLV on Feb. 19, 2000. BYU has defeated 34 straight nonconference 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.
BYU ON THE ROAD
BYU is 1-3 on the road this year, having lost its last three road games. Counting neutral court games, BYU is 4-4 away from the Marriott Center. With its three wins at the Paradise Jam -- BYU achieved its first win streak away from home since the end of the 2001 season. With BYU's victory at ASU, the Cougars ended the 11-game road losing streak it had last year and stopped seven straight losses on a Pac-10 opponent's home floor dating back to its win over ASU in 1989. Despite many close games, three in overtime, last year BYU won only twice away from home with a neutral court 81-76 upset over No. 13 Stanford at the Las Vegas Showdown and a season-opening win at San Diego, 70-59. BYU has lost its last seven straight MWC road games, all last season.
MORE ROAD ANALYSIS
Wyoming was the only Mountain West team to play as many road games during the preseason as BYU. Both teams played eight games away from home. The Cowboys were also the only MWC team to win more games away from home, going 5-3 while the Cougars went 4-4. Air Force played seven road games, going 3-4; Utah played six, going 3-3; SDSU, UNLV and CSU all played half as many road games as BYU, earning 3-1, 3-1 and 0-4 records, respectively. New Mexico played the fewest road games, going winless in three games away from The Pit. BYU was playing well to begin the year, achieving an 8-1 start while winning its first four games away from home and four of its first five. In those five road games, BYU shot 46 percent or better from the floor three times, including 51 percent at ASU, and topped 40 percent three-point shooting in three games, twice topping 50 percent. On defense, BYU held each of its first five road opponents to 42 percent shooting or lower and 37 percent three-point shooting or lower, including three teams who shot below 30 percent behind the arc. The numbers show why BYU has not fared as well in its last three road games, all losses. BYU shot 36.5 percent (.176 on threes) at USF; 43.2 percent vs. Oklahoma State (.389 on threes); and 38.2 percent (.278 on threes) at Weber State; and allowed the Dons to shoot 50.9 percent, the Cowboys 51.0 percent and the Wildcats 46.9 percent.
BYU has won its Mountain West Conference opener all four years, defeating UNLV this year and San Diego State at home the prior two seasons. BYU upset UNLV in Las Vegas in 2000. BYU is 5-1 in conference openers under Steve Cleveland, with a 2-1 road record and 3-0 home mark.
BYU has not received any votes the past two weeks after suffering its third loss of the year vs. Oklahoma State and fourth at Weber State. Two BYU opponents are in the top-25, with Creighton ranking 13th in the Associated Press Poll and 14th in ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, while Oklahoma State is rated 24th in both polls. UNLV is tied for 39th in the coaches poll.
RPI AND SAGARIN RATINGS
BYU is the top-rated team in the Sagarin Ratings released after Friday's games, ranking 29th followed by Utah at No. 39, UNLV at 48 and Wyoming at 60. SDSU is sixth at 106. As a conference, the Mountain West has been rated as high as 6th but is now ranked 7th, with the Pac-10 in the No. 6 ranking. BYU is the top-rated MWC team in the RPI computed by CBS Sportsline after Friday's results, with a 17 RPI rating, followed by Utah at 29, UNLV at 34 adn Wyoming at 66. BYU entered the week second-rated MWC team in the RPI compiled by Collegiate Basketball News. Updated only once a week, Collegiate Basketball News rates UNLV as the top-rated MWC team at 24, followed by the Cougars at 28, Utah at 29 and Wyoming at 56.
MWC TEAMS HAD STRONG NON-CONFERENCE SEASON
During non-league play the Mountain West Conference has proven that the predictions are true of this being the best, top-to-bottom, the league has been in its four years. Frank Burlison, the respected national college basketball writer for Foxsports.com, was quoted by Steve Guiremand in the Las Vegas Sun, stating, "To me it's pretty clear-cut that (the Mountain West Conference) is the best conference in the West this year. It's better than the Pac-10." Six of eight MWC teams had 10 or more wins and seven have at least nine wins. The league's worst record was New Mexico's 5-8 mark but the Lobos have one of the top players in the league in Ruben Douglas and showed at Tennessee in a closely contested defeat that they are not going to be push-overs. Five teams had 11 or more wins, including 12-3 Wyoming, who won nine straight before losing at No. 14 Kansas. Playing a greater percentage of non-conference road games than the Big East, SEC, Pac-10, Big Ten, Big 12 and ACC, MWC teams achieved a 14-18 road record (44 percent) - the highest road winning percentage at that point in the league's history. The non-league road record ranked third nationally behind only the Big 12 (16-8) and ACC (6-6).
BYU VS. ITS CONFERENCE PEERS
BYU was picked to finish fourth this year in the Mountain West Conference by the league's media members. BYU has a won 58 percent (419-299) of its games all-time vs. MWC opponents. As an overall athletic program, BYU has dominated the Mountain West in its first three seasons, winning 63 percent of all MWC titles.
COACH CLEVELAND's RADIO SHOW
BYU coach Steve Cleveland joins Sports Final host Bill Riley live each Wednesday from 7-8 p.m. on KSL Newsradio 1160 to talk Cougar basketball. The Steve Cleveland Show gives Cougar fans an opportunity to hear the coach discuss recent games and upcoming opponents. Bill Riley can be heard on Sports Final week nights from 7-9 p.m.
COACH CLEVELAND's TV SHOW
BYU coach Steve Cleveland joins SportsBeat Sunday anchor Tom Kirkland each Sunday evening at 11:15 p.m. for the Steve Cleveland Show live on KSL-TV, channel 5. Coach Cleveland reviews the past week's games while looking ahead to the next outing. The 15-minute program also includes a feature on a BYU player. Assistant coach Andy Toolson will appear with Kirkland this coming Sunday with Cleveland in San Diego for Monday's game against the Aztecs.