BYU (13-4, 2-0 MWC) hosts rival Utah (13-4, 1-1 MWC) Saturday at 1 p.m. MST in the Marriott Center. The game is an ESPN+Plus game airing on KJZZ-TV in Salt Lake City with Rich Waltz and Irv Brown 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 audio is available on the basketball page of the official BYU athletics website, byucougars.com, and on KSL.com and via BYU Radio on the Dish Network and at byuradio.org.
BYU is 2-0 in Mountain West Conference play and is coming off a road win at San Diego State on Monday. The Cougars defeated UNLV in the Marriott Center in its conference opener and return home to host rival Utah owning the nation's longest homecourt victory streak at 44 games. The Utes, like the Cougars, have a 13-4 record overall. Utah is 1-1 in conference play after a two-point loss at San Diego State and a three-point win over UNLV in Las Vegas. BYU and Utah enter the game as the two top-rated MWC teams according to RPI. Saturday's game will be the 233rd meeting between the two programs. The series ranks 10th in the NCAA record book in terms of most games in a rivalry and is the 11th longest running rivalry dating back to 1909. The series is tied 116-116.
GAME #18 FAST FACTS (MWC GAME #3)
BYU (13-4, 2-0 MWC) vs. UTAH (13-4, 1-1 MWC)
SATURDAY, JAN. 25, 2003
MARRIOTT CENTER (22,700)
1:05 p.m. MST
BYU, Steve Cleveland (98-73 in sixth year; same overall)
Utah, Rick Majerus (296-86 in 14th year; 395-138 in 19th year overall)
Tied, 116-116; Last: BYU won 63-61 in Provo on Feb. 23, 2002
ESPN+Plus (KJZZ-TV in Salt Lake City)
Available via ESPN FULL COURT (pay-per-view)
Play-by-Play: Rich Waltz
Game Analyst: Irv Brown
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Times: Noon MST
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Mark Durrant
A live audio link and live stats link are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2002-03 schedule); live audio is available 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. 13.2 3.5
F 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 250 So. 8.2 3.8
C 55 Rafael Araujo 6-11 265 Jr. 11.9 9.1
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Sr. 15.5 4.6 2.7 apg
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 So. 3.2 1.7 2.0 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. 5.9 1.7 2.2 apg
F 15 John Allen 6-7 215 So. 3.6 1.4
G 12 Marc Roberts 6-3 205 So. 3.0 1.0
F 5 Jake Shoff 6-9 265 Jr. 2.8 2.1
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 Jr. 1.5 0.8
G 4 Luiz Lemes 6-3 180 Jr. 1.4 0.8
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 Jr. 1.3 1.0
Utah (13-4, 1-1 MWC) plays its third consecutive road game to open the Mountain West Conference season Saturday when the Utes face BYU. Utah will then play its first MWC home games against Air Force on Saturday, Feb. 1 and New Mexico on Monday, Feb. 3. The Runnin' Utes return three starters from last year's 21-9 NCAA tournament team. They split their first weekend of Mountain West Conference action this year on the road with a two-point loss at San Diego State (58-56) followed by a big win at UNLV (66-63) on Monday night. Following a 2-2 start to the season, Utah has won 11 of its last 13. The Utes had a season-best seven-game winning streak snapped with their 58-56 loss at San Diego State on Saturday. The Utes' losses this year have come against Gonzaga (71-52) and Arizona State (83-79 in OT) at the Maui Invitational, at Utah State (59-54) and at SDSU. Including Monday's victory at UNLV, the Utes have had several big wins, most notably a triumph over then No. 1 Alabama (51-49) in the Huntsman Center on Dec. 30 and a 78-55 win over Arizona State at home on Dec. 7 to avenge their earlier loss to the Sun Devils. As a team, Utah scores 67.2 points to its opponents' 58.1 ppg and out rebounds the opposition, 34.1 rpg to 30.6. Utah shoots 46.7 percent from the floor, 37.2 percent from behind the arc, and 67.3 percent from the line. Utah opponents have only managed a combined 39.7 field goal percentage against Utah's excellent defense, including 32.9 percent from long range. In eight of Utah's 13 wins, the Utes have held their opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field. The Runnin' Utes entered the week ranked ninth in the NCAA in scoring defense.The Utes have shot 48 percent in its wins to their opponents' 38 percent. After the Utes had their worst shooting day of the season against San Diego State last Saturday, hitting just 35.3 percent from the field (18-of-51), Utah shot 50 percent vs. UNLV Monday while the Rebels managed 37.5 percent. In its four losses, the Utes have been outshoot 44.5 to 42.9 percent. The Utes have outrebounded their opponents in 12 of the 13 wins. The exception was a 32-30 deficit in the win over Alabama. Overall, the Utes are giving up 14.1 turnovers per game while forcing basically the same (14.0) from their opponents. Utah averages 14.4 assists per game. Utah is 9-0 at home this season, 3-2 on the road and 1-2 on neutral courts. Three Utes are averaging double figures in scoring. Junior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 200) leads the way in scoring average (12.5 ppg), and is shooting 42.2 percent from three-point range (43-for-102) and 87.5 percent from the free throw line. Junior center Tim Frost (6-10, 236) is second in both scoring (12.4 ppg) and rebounding (4.6 rpg). Senior forward Britton Johnsen (6-10, 210) is third in scoring (12.1 ppg) and first in rebounding (6.5 rpg). Freshman point guard Tim Drisdom (6-3, 203) leads the Utes in assists (3.6 apg) and is shooting 46.9 percent (15-32) from beyond the arc. Johnsen, named to the Wooden Award Preseason All-America Team, returned to the Ute lineup against Alabama on Dec. 30 and has played in the last six games since missing two games after he tore a ligament in his right thumb against Utah State on Dec. 17. He had surgery the next day. Last year's MWC Player of the Year, Johnsen is one of 50 players in the nation considered an early candidate for John R. Wooden Award, presented annually to college basketball's player of the year. He had his best offensive output since returning from the injury last Saturday against San Diego State when he had a game-high 16 points, shooting 5-of-11 from the field, 2-of-4 from three-point range and 4-of-6 at the line. Johnsen also led the Utes with seven rebounds and three steals in 31 minutes. He had nine points and seven boards vs. UNLV Monday. The hottest Ute coming into Saturday's game is reserve guard Marc Jackson. He had a career-best six assists and a then career-high 11 points against San Diego State on Saturday in 27 minutes, shooting 2-of-3 from the field, 1-of-2 from three-point range and 6-of-7 at the line. He turned in an even better performance Monday in 25 minutes at UNLV with a new personal-best 21 points on 6-of-7 shooting, 2-of-3 on threes, and 7-of-9 from the line. Overall, he averages 5.9 points on the year, fifth on the team.
UTAH'S PROBABLE STARTERS
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 21 Trace Caton 6-4 211 Sr. 4.4 2.8
F 31 Britton Johnsen 6-10 210 Sr. 12.1 6.5
C 54 Tim Frost 6-10 236 Jr. 12.4 4.6
G 15 Nick Jacobson 6-4 200 Jr. 12.5 2.6
G 11 Tim Drisdom 6-3 203 Fr. 5.2 3.6
BYU and Utah will meet for the 233rd time Saturday. The series ranks 10th in the NCAA record book in terms of most games in a rivalry and is the 11th longest running rivalry dating back to 1909. Amazingly, the series is tied 116-116. The two teams have split with home wins the past two seasons and BYU has won three of the last five with its 58-54 win at the 2000 MWC tournament semifinals. That win ended a string of 12 straight Utah wins, its longest in the series, including five straight Utah wins in Provo. Utah has only led in the series two times. Utah swept the regular season series in 2000 to take its first lead in the overall series since it began in 1909 and again held a one-game edge last year with its win in Salt Lake City before the Cougars staged second-half comeback from 21 points down to even the series again at 116-116. Utah is the opponent BYU has played the most in its history (232 games) and is BYU's second longest running series (Utah State series began in 1905 and includes 219 games). BYU won the inaugural game, 32-9 in Provo, on Jan. 23, 1909, and won again on March 5 of that year, 40-27, in SLC on its way to winning the first eight games against the Utes. BYU has a current two-game streak in Provo and is 65-46 overall as the home team vs. Utah, with two of those wins taking place in Salt Lake City. The Utes have won eight straight at the Huntsman Center. BYU's last win at Utah was a 64-62 victory on Jan. 8, 1994. That win started a four-game BYU winning streak that preceded Utah's 12-game streak.
Overall Series Record: Tied 116-116
BYU Record as home team: 65-46 (63-46 in Provo, 2-0 in SLC)
BYU Record as visitor: 45-67
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 6-3
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 3-9
BYU Record in OT Games: 4-7* (1-1 Rd, 2-5 Hm, 1-1 Ntrl)
*1-0 in 2OT, 0-2 in 3OT - all in Provo (83-85)
Last Overtime Game: 1991, won v. Utah @ WAC, 51-49
Longest BYU Win Streak: 8 (1909-12)
Longest Utah Win Streak: 12 (1995-2000)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 31 two times (1965, 94)
Largest Utah Margin of Victory: 36, 85-49 (1997)
Most Points Scored by BYU: 115 (1966)
Most Points Scored by Utah: 106 two times (1962, 1963)
LAST GAME - BYU STAGES INCREDIBLE COMEBACK IN PROVO
PROVO -- In the last regular season home game of their careers, seniors Matt Montague and Eric Nielsen combined to create an unforgettable comeback that led to a 63-61 victory over rival Utah at the Marriott Center. With 1:18 left in the game, Montague hit a three-pointer to bring BYU within one, 61-60. The Marriott Center crowd of 15,628 erupted. Then Montague made a record-setting assist to Nielsen who finished the play by hitting an eight-foot jumper to give the Cougars their first lead of the game, 62-61, with 25 seconds remaining. The assist tied Montague with BYU legend Danny Ainge for the all-time career record for assists at 539 and added more lore to the tradition of Marriott Center magic. A crucial rebound and one made free throw by BYU upstart Dan Howard gave the Cougars a two-point edge, 63-61, and then Mark Bigelow sealed the victory with a rebound off a Utah jump shot. Bigelow finished with 11 points and two rebounds. A BYU victory looked very doubtful in the first half as the Cougars trailed 43 26 at the break. BYU had never trailed by more than 12 at half during the season and never came back from any of their three 12-point halftime deficits to win. Early scores by Utah in the second half pushed the lead to 21, 47-26, but BYU then went on a 24-5 run to make it 52-50 with 7:26 remaining. Despite being in foul trouble, Cougar Travis Hansen led the comeback as he has done so many times during the season. He finished with a game-high 17 points in addition to his seven rebounds and three assists. "When they get on a stretch and those fans get behind them, it's tough to win," said Utah center Phil Cullen." You have to be at the top of your game." Nielsen finished the game with 14 points, four rebounds and one each of blocks, steals and assists. Montague hit a three-pointer for the fifth time in six games and finished with seven points, seven assists, zero turnovers and two rebounds. While the Cougar offense was scoring, its defense was playing its best half of the season. After a dismal first half in which BYU allowed a season-worst 43 points given up in a half, the Cougars were able to tighten up their defense. BYU only allowed 18 Ute points in the second half, tying the season low for points scored by an opponent in any half.
WHAT COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY IN PROVO LAST YEAR ...
"I thought it was most appropriate that our two seniors hit the two big shots of the game. This is not the end of the season, but it's really, really nice to see really good things happen to these two young men. The first 20 minutes were probably the worst 20 minutes we have played in the last two or three years. Utah is a very well-coached team and they don't beat themselves. We knew a comeback would be very difficult. If you get enough stops and get to the free-throw line enough, it can be done. We had to have help from Travis, but we had to keep him off the floor with four fouls. But he is a hungry, aggressive young man and I think he is pretty happy now. This was a great college game."
LAST GAME IN SLC - BYU WINS STATS WAR BUT UTES PREVAIL
SALT LAKE -- BYU lost a hard-fought battle 71-66 to Utah at the Huntsman Center in a game that lived up to all the tradition and emotion of the rivalry. The BYU loss came despite leading the Utes in every shooting category and outrebounding Utah 36-29. The Cougars (12-6, 2-3) doubled their first half output, scoring 44 points in the second half compared to 22 in the first. That effort helped BYU pull within three, 67-64, after a Matt Montague layup with just under a minute remaining. Utah answered with four free throws while BYU did not score until another Montague layup as time expired, bringing the final score to 71-66. Montague finished the game with a season-high 13 points. BYU was able to cool off the Utes' deadly three-point shooting with aggressive perimeter defense that held Utah to 4-of-18 from beyond the arc. Utah (15-3, 5-0) led the nation in three-point field goal percentage but shot a dismal 22 percent for the game. Utah's leading scorer Nick Jacobson (15.3 ppg) and the nation's fourth-best three-point percentage, scored only 5 points on 2-of-9 shooting. Eric Nielsen provided BYU with the offensive spark it needed in the first half. Nielsen had eight of the Cougars' 15 points to give BYU a 15-13 edge with 10:25 remaining in the first half. But Nielsen got into foul trouble early with three fouls in the first half and ultimately fouled out at the 8:36 mark of the second half with only 21 minutes of game time. He finished the game with 10 points on 5-of 7 shooting. Utah looked to the Johnson brothers, Jeff and Britton, to fill the void left by the Ute's absent perimeter. The duo combined for 13 of Utah's 21 points before the rest of the team got into the act, going on a 13-2 run to end the first half up 34-22. The Utes extended their lead to 38-22 to open the second half before Travis Hansen stormed back with six points, two of them coming on an athletic fast-break spin move around Ute guard Travis Spivey. Hansen led all scorers with 22 points and all rebounders with 11. BYU freshman Jimmy Balderson made a three-pointer to make the score 46-35 and Hansen added two more with an emotional two-handed dunk that brought the Cougars within nine. Montague later made a layup to bring the score to 53-46. Hansen scored seven more points but BYU still trailed 59-52 with 5:25 remaining. A Balderson steal and layup cut the lead to five and two Mark Bigelow free throws made the score 60-56 with 3:52 left in the game. BYU shot 13-15 from the line to keep pace. Bobik's back door layup made the score 66-62 and then 67-64 on Montague's layup, but it would not be enough.
WHAT COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AT UTAH LAST YEAR ...
"We lost because we dug ourselves into a hole and had to fight back the whole game. In the bigger picture, I was significantly more pleased with the effort. We did a really solid job as far as taking away their perimeter game -- we defended well enough to win this game."
BYU'S LAST GAME -- BIGELOW LEADS BYU TO WIN AT SDSU MONDAY
SAN -- BYU got a big night from Mark Bigelow as the Cougars beat the San Diego State Aztecs, 80-69, at Cox Arena Monday. With the win, the Cougars improved to 13-4 overall and 2-0 in MWC play. With 15:51 in the first half, Bigelow tied BYU assistant coach Andy Toolson with his 141st career three-pointer. Minutes later at 13:59, Bigelow became BYU's all-time leader on another bomb assisted from Terry Nashif following a steal by Rafael Araujo. Bigelow put down three more triples on the night to equal his single-game career high of five and bring his career total to 145 threes. BYU hit its first seven three-pointers and was 8-of-10 in the first half to build a lead as large as 19 points. After trailing 7-5 early, the Cougars went on a 25-4 run over the next seven minutes and earned its largest lead of the game at 30-11 on a Ricky Bower trey with 9:28 to play first half. SDSU fought back, outscoring BYU 20-11 the rest of the first half, including a Deandre Moore three just before the buzzer, to cut the Cougar lead to 10 at the break. The Aztecs out-rebounded BYU and held Araujo and Jared Jensen to 15 points combined with constant double and triple teaming, but could not overcome the Cougars' hot outside shooting. "We knew that SDSU would double team the post and leave our shooters open," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. With Araujo on the bench in foul trouble, BYU looked to its perimeter shooting. The Cougars shot 10-17 from behind the arc for 58.8 percent for the game. Overall BYU shot 48.9 percent from the field. Bigelow scored over 20 points for the second straight game by equaling his season high of 21 points. For Bigelow, it's the fourth time in his career he has produced back-to-back 20-point games. Travis Hansen spent most of the game in foul trouble but played the last 10 minutes with four fouls. Hansen finished the game with 14 points and four rebounds. Guard Terry Nashif got the start again, guiding the Cougar offense and turning in a career-high 11 points on the strength of 3-for-3 three-point shooting. BYU scored 80 points for the fourth time this season -- winning all four games. The Cougars are 26-4 under Cleveland when they score over 80 points. "Anytime you score 80 points on the road that's pretty good in this league." Cleveland said. Senior guard Tony Bland led the Aztecs with 25 points. Center Mike Mackell took advantage in the paint while Araujo was on the bench scoring 18 points and grabbing six rebounds. "We got whipped by a pretty good team tonight," said SDSU head coach Steve Fisher. The Aztecs dropped to 11-5 overall and 1-1 in MWC play.
UP NEXT FOR BYU
BYU will have a week before hosting New Mexico at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1 in the featured Mountain West Conference Game of the Week on ESPN+Plus (KJZZ-TV in Utah). The Cougars will then host Air Force Monday evening, Feb. 3, at 8:30 p.m. No television is scheduled.
Led by senior guard Travis Hansen, junior swingman Mark Bigelow and junior center Rafael Araujo, the Cougars (13-4) earned an 11-4 non-conference record and are 2-0 in MWC play. Hansen leads the team in scoring (15.5) and assists (2.7) and is second in rebounding (4.6), Bigelow is second in scoring (13.2) and the team's top three-point shooter (36-76, .474), while Araujo has come on strong as the third-leading scorer (11.9) while leading the MWC in rebounds (9.1). Sophomore forward Jared Jensen adds 8.2 points and 3.8 rebounds and sophomore point guard Terry Nashif has started the last three games, setting career bests of 7 assists vs. UNLV and 11 points at San Diego State. Coach Cleveland has more talent on the bench this year. Junior guard Ricky Bower leads the reserves, averaging 6.4 points and shooting 43.2 percent from behind the arc. Kevin Woodberry, who has started in 14 games, adds 5.9 points. BYU is 8-0 at home and 5-4 away from the Marriott Center, including a 3-1 neutral record and 2-3 road mark.
BYU coach Steve Cleveland has a deeper bench this year than he did last seaon. Cleveland has used four starting lineups. He has used the same starting five in 12 games, but has adjusted the lineup of late with Terry Nashif starting at point in the last three 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 (3-0)
Woodberry, Bower, Bigelow, Hansen, Araujo (1-0)
Woodberry, Hansen, Bigelow, Shoff, Araujo (0-1)
-- Junior swingman Mark Bigelow equaled his season high of 21 points in each of the last two games, recording back-to-back 20-point games for the first time this year and fourth time of his career. He did it twice his freshman season and once last year. He tied a career-high five threes at San Diego State while becoming BYU's all-time three-point leader with 145 triples.
-- Junior center Rafael Araujo has scored in double figures in nine of the last 11 games. He has scored 17 or more points in six of the last eight games. He has eight double-figure rebounding games this year. Araujo had his fifth double-double in the last eight games with team highs of 22 points and 15 rebounds vs. UNLV. Araujo recorded his fourth double-double of the year with a game-high 17 points and 10 rebounds against Idaho State. 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. At SDSU Monday, he tied a career-best 3 assists while being double-teamed constantly, adding 8 points, 5 rebounds and 3 steals in 25 minutes.
BYU is back receiving votes after not receiving any votes the past two weeks after suffering its third loss of the year vs. Oklahoma State and fourth at Weber State. In this week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll released prior to Monday's road win at San Diego State, BYU received four votes (No. 37). BYU did not receive votes in the Associated Press Poll for the third straight week. Two BYU opponents are in the top-25 of both polls. Creighton is ranking 9th (ESPN/USA Today) and 10th (AP) while Oklahoma State is rated 13th (AP) and 17th (ESPN/USA Today).
RPI AND SAGARIN RATINGS
BYU is the top-rated team in the Sagarin Ratings released after Tuesday's games, ranking 26th followed by Utah at No. 40, UNLV at 52 and Wyoming at 65. 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.com after Tuesday's results, with a No. 13 RPI rating, followed by Utah at 30, UNLV at 35 and Wyoming at 59. BYU also entered the week as the top-rated MWC team in the RPI compiled by Collegiate Basketball News. Updated only once a week, Collegiate Basketball News considered games through Sunday with BYU 18th, UNLV 29th, Utah 38th and Wyoming 61st.
MWC AND NCAA STATISTICS
BYU is ranked 16th in the NCAA statistics in three-point shooting (.401) and is rated 29th in free throw percentage (.741). Among MWC teams, BYU is the top free throw shooting team and also leads in scoring margin (+9.4) and three-point percentage defense (.282). Individually, Rafael Araujo is the top rebounder and ranks third in field goal percentage. Mark Bigelow is the top three-point percentage shooter (.474). In MWC games, BYU is at the top of the statistics in eight categories: scoring average (82.5), scoring margin (+9.5), free throw percentage (.791), three-point percentage (.552), steals (8.5), turnover margin (+4.50), assist/turnover ratio (1.26) and three-pointers made (8.0). Individually in MWC games, Terry Nashif is the top assist-maker (5.0) and three-point percentage shooter (1.000) while Araujo is tops in steals (3.0) and Bigelow is tied for first in free throw percentage (1.000). Bigelow is also third in scoring (21.0).
COUGARS PLAY TOUGH SCHEDULE
BYU has achieved a 13-4 record playing the toughest schedule of any Mountain West Conference team and among the tougest in the nation. BYU's schedule is currently rated the 7th toughest in the nation by Collegiate Basketball News and is considered the 13th most difficult schedule by CBS.Sportsline.com's computer analysis. The Sagarin Ratings rank BYU's schedule No. 22. After BYU, the next toughest MWC schedules belong to Utah (44th by Collegiate Basketball News and 51st by CBS Sportsline.com) and UNLV (75th by Sagarin). Of the 22 teams BYU will face on its regular season schedule this year, 16 have a winning record after Tuesday's play while five have losing records and one is at .500. BYU's opponents have combined to win 64 percent of their games thus far this year. BYU's four losses have been at Creighton (16-1), at USF (6-10), vs. Oklahoma State (15-1) in Oklahoma City and at Weber State (12-5).
LOOKING AT THE 2002-03 SCHEDULE
This year's schedule features 17 games against teams who qualified for postseason play last year and included playing in the University of The Virgin Islands Paradise Jam (U.S. Virgin Islands) and Touchstone Energy All-College Classic (Oklahoma City). BYU's non-conference schedule included teams from 10 different conferences. Overall, 12 teams earned postseason bids last season, seven advancing to the NCAA tournament and five playing in the NIT. Six teams earned a conference regular season or league tournament title and 12 placed in the top three in their league standings. In all, the schedule includes a total of 29 regular season games and two exhibitions. The Cougars will play 14 regular season games in the Marriott Center, where BYU owns the nation's longest active home-court victory streak. Excluding the MWC Tournament, BYU plays 15 road games, including 11 away contests and four neutral site games. The 2003 MWC Tournament takes place March 12-15 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. The Pac-10, Big 12, Atlantic 10, Big Sky, Big West, Mid-American, Mid-Continent, Missouri Valley, West Coast and Western Athletic are represented on the non-league schedule. Nine teams -- Arizona State, Creighton, San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Utah State, Southern Utah, Weber State and Pepperdine -- were also on last year's nonconference schedule. BYU earned a 6-3 record in those games, losing at UCSB and dropping overtime games at both Utah State and Pepperdine.
BYU is 12-0 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 79-15 (.840) 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.
BYU has won its last three games after ending its only losing streak this year, two games, with its win over Idaho State. 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 won four straight away from home (3 neutral, 1 away) this year before losing their next four (3 away, 1 neutral) until winning at San Diego State Monday. The four wins away from home 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 made a three-point shot in 196 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 14 of 17 opponents this year (except USF, OSU, Weber State) and outrebounded 12 (except Creighton,USU, USCB, SDSU). BYU is shooting .477, including .402 on threes, while limiting opponents to .405 shooting from the floor and only .282 on threes. BYU averages 35.2 boards to its opponents' 31.8. BYU has shot 45 percent or better in 12 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 76 percent. John Allen is a perfect 18-18 while Ricky Bower is shooting 81.1 percent (41-46). BYU is shooting a MWC-leading 74.1 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 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 64.5 points per game.
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.