PROVO, Utah -- BYU (12-7, 2-4 MWC) hosts UNLV (12-6, 3-3 MWC) Saturday at 1 p.m. (MST) in the Mountain West Conference game of the week on ESPN+Plus (KJZZ-TV in Utah). The game is available pay-per-view 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 Mark Durrant providing analysis. Live audio and live 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 hosts San Diego State Monday at 10 p.m. (MST) on ESPN to begin the second half of the MWC season.
GAME #20 FAST FACTS (MWC GAME #7)
BYU COUGARS (12-7, 2-4 MWC) vs. UNLV Rebels (12-6, 3-3 MWC)
SATURDAY, FEB. 7, 2004
MARRIOTT CENTER (22,700)
1:04 p.m. (MST)
BYU, Steve Cleveland (120-85 in seventh year; same overall)
UNLV, Charlie Spoonhour (54-28 in third year; 373-199 in 19th year overall)
UNLV leads, 8-7; Last year: The two teams split the series, both winning at home
ESPN+Plus (KJZZ-TV-14 in Salt Lake City; KFBT Gold 33/Cable 6 in Las Vegas)
Available nationally via ESPN Full Court
Air Time: 1 p.m. (MST)
Play-by-Play: Rich Waltz
Game Analyst: Irv Brown
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time: Noon (MST)
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Mark Durrant
Live audio and stats links are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2003-04 schedule); live audio also available on KSL.com and via BYU Radio on Dish Network and at byuradio.org.
The Cougars (12-7, 2-4) 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. BYU has played eight of its last 11 games on the road, going 5-6. The preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference, 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, with Jensen having missed the last three games with an injury. Key newcomers include junior transfer Mike Hall and freshmen Mike Rose and Garner Meads. Araujo is averaging 19.2 points and 10.3 rebounds to lead BYU this year. Bigelow adds 13.2 points and 4.1 rebounds while Hall contributes 11.9 points and 3.5 rebounds. First-year starter Luiz Lemes leads the team in assists (4.3). As a team, the Cougars shoot .484 from the floor, including .361 on threes, and .724 from the line while scoring 73.1 points per game. BYU allows 64.5 points while the opposition has shot .451 from the field and .345 from behind the arc. BYU has an average rebounding advantage of 6.0.
UNLV returns four letterwinners, including three starters, from last year's team that finished 21-11 overall, tied for third in the Mountain West Conference with an 8-6 leage record, and advanced to the NIT for the second consecutive year. This year UNLV is off to a 12-6 record overall and a 3-3 league mark. Heading into conference play, the Rebels had won eight of 10 games. In MWC play, the Rebels have won three of their last four games, including Monday's home victory over previously unbeaten league-leader Air Force. UNLV is 9-3 at home this year and 3-3 away, with a 2-1 home record in MWC play and a 1-2 road ledger. UNLV's league win on the road came at Wyoming. The Rebels lost at SDSU and fell in overtime at CSU. The Rebels' other league win at the Thomas & Mack was over New Mexico as UNLV swept its last two games. Utah defeated the Rebels in Las Vegas to open MWC play. The Runnin'Rebels are led in scoring and rebounding by 6-7 junior forward Odartey Blankson, who is averaging a double-double of 17.1 ppg and 10.6 rpg. He is currently tied for second nationally for the most double-double games this season with 12 -- one more than BYU's Rafael Araujo. Two other players average double figures in scoring with 6-7 junior swingman Romel Beck averaging 14.0 ppg and 6-8 senior forward J.K. Edwards adding 13.5 ppg. Edwards is second on the team in rebounding at 6.1 rpg after missing the first six games of the year to a suspension. Louis Amundson, a 6-9 sophomore forward, is third on the team in rebounding, pulling down 5.4 boards and adding 6.3 points while primarily coming off the bench. The UNLV starting back court includes point guard Jerel Blassingame, a 5-10 junior, who is perhaps the quickest player in the league and adds 9.6 points and 5.7 assists, and 6-2 senior guard Demetrius Hunter, who contributes 8.5 points and has a team-leading 31 treys on a team-best .348 three-point shooting. As a team, the Rebels are shooting .482 from the floor but only .320 from long range. They are making free throws at a .686 clip. UNLV opponents have combined to shoot .427 from the field and .317 on threes. The Rebels are scoring 75.0 points and allowing 68.8. Opponents have a slight edge over UNLV on the boards at 35.1 to UNLV's 34.4. UNLV coach Charlie Spoonhour is in his third year coaching the Rebels and has a 54-28 mark. He is 373-199 in his 19th year overall at the Division I level. He has led 13 teams to postseason tournaments, including eight NCAA Tournament appearances.
UNLV's LAST OUTING -- Rebels Hand League-Leading Falcons First MWC Defeat
LAS VEGAS -- J.K. Edwards scored a game-high 19 points to lead UNLV past Air Force 63-50 Monday night. Edwards made 9-of-11 shots against the Falcons. Edwards received help from Jerel Blassingame, who had 11 points and seven assists, and Demetrius Hunter, who added 10 points. UNLV's Odartey Blankson had eight points and 15 rebounds. The Falcons dropped their first league game and had its 13-game victory streak come to an end. Air Force (15-3, 5-1) was led by A.J. Kuhle and Nick Welch with 13 points apiece. After Air Force jumped to an 11-2 lead, the Rebels went on a 14-0 run, leading 16-11 with 8:13 until halftime.The Falcons cut the UNLV lead to 18-17, but the Rebels ended the half on a 13-2 run, holding Air Force to no field goals in the final 6:19 of the half. The Falcons were out-rebounded 19-5 in the half. UNLV out-rebounded the Falcons 41-20 for the game. Air Force never got closer than 42-36 in the second half. For the game, the Rebels were 12-of-18 from the foul line for 66.7 percent, while the Falcons were 4-of-9 for 44.4 percent. UNLV outscored the Falcons in the paint 40-22 and on second-chance points 22-6.
UNLV'S PROJECTED STARTERS (BASED ON LAST GAME)
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 0 Odartey Blankson 6-7 220 Jr. 17.1 10.6
F 5 J.K. Edwards 6-8 250 Sr. 13.5 6.1
F/G 3 Romel Beck 6-7 185 Jr. 14.0 2.3
G 1 Demetrius Hunter 6-2 205 Sr. 8.5 1.6
G 10 Jerel Blassingame 5-10 170 Jr. 9.6 1.9
This will be the 16th meeting between the two schools dating back to 1981. The series has been a close one with UNLV currently holding a one-game edge at 8-7. The two teams have split the regular season series with home wins the past three years. BYU last won in Vegas and went on to sweep the two regular season meetings in 1999-2000. The Rebels came back that year to achieved their largest margin of victory over BYU (23 points) to win the 2000 MWC tournament title at the Thomas & Mack Center. BYU is 5-2 in Provo against UNLV and 2-6 in Las Vegas against the Rebels. BYU has won five of the nine games as MWC opponents.
BYU vs. UNLV SERIES BREAKDOWN
Overall Series Record: UNLV leads, 8-7
BYU Record in Provo: 5-2
BYU Record in Las Vegas: 2-6
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 5-6
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 1-0 (1-0 in Las Vegas)
Last Overtime Game: 1981, won in 2OT in LV, 92-90
Longest BYU Win Streak: 2 (1981, 2000)
Longest UNLV Win Streak: 4 (1981-98)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 28, 91-63 in 2001
Largest UNLV Margin of Victory: 23, 79-56 in 2000
Most Points Scored by BYU: 92 in 1981
Most Points Scored by UNLV: 90 in 1981
LAST YEAR'S RECAPS VS. UNLV
AT BYU -- COUGARS OPENED MWC PLAY WITH WIN IN PROVO
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, 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. 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.
WHAT COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE FIRST MEETING IN PROVO LAST YEAR ...
"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. Whether on the road or at home, every game is going to be like this. 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."
AT UNLV -- POOR SHOOTING, TURNOVERS DOOM COUGARS
LAS VEGAS -- The UNLV Runnin' Rebels didn't show any love to BYU Valentine's night in Las Vegas, handing the Cougars their first conference road loss of the season 61-54. BYU played well defensively and out-rebounded UNLV 47-31 on the night, but its 23 turnovers were the most since the team lost at Creighton 74-64 earlier this season. BYU held UNLV to 40 percent shooting in their own gym, including 25 percent from behind the three-point arc. The Cougars' poor shooting and a season-high-equaling 23 turnovers led to their lowest scoring output of the season. BYU shot a season-low 34.5 percent as a team from the field and 25 percent from the three-point line. Marcus Banks and Dalron Johnson led UNLV with 19 points apiece. Johnson did most of his scoring before intermission, while Banks took over in the second half. Travis Hansen led BYU with 18 points. The only other Cougar in double figures was Jared Jensen with 12 points. Cleveland said the team looked tired, having played their third game in seven days. The game was tied at 27 after one half, and featured six lead changes and six ties. UNLV scored first in the second half, and never trailed the rest of the game. The Rebels pushed the lead to 16 in the second half before the Cougars cut it to seven to end the game. Junior forward Mark Bigelow was held scoreless in the first half, and finished the game with only four points, on 1-14 shooting (0-6 three pointers). Bigelow came in shooting 45 percent from the floor and 51 percent on threes in league games, and 44 percent on field goals and 48 percent on threes overall. The loss drops BYU to 6-2 in conference play and 17-6 overall.
WHAT BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME IN LAS VEGAS LAST YEAR ...
"Turnovers and missed shots are a bad combination; you can't do that on the road and expect to win. We haven't practiced very much this week, and obviously it caught up with us tonight."
GAME 19 RECAP -- UTES EARN COMEBACK WIN OVER BYU
SALT LAKE -- Utah's Nick Jacobson and Andrew Bogut each scored 21 points and the Utes held BYU to just one field goal in the final six minutes as Utah overcame a 15-point halftime deficit to earn a 64-56 victory Saturday afternoon at the Huntsman Center. "We played well in the first half," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "We were able to stop them from getting second and third shots, but we weren't able to stop them from getting second and third opportunities in the second half." The Cougars jumped out to a 15-point lead in the first half behind the shooting of Mark Bigelow and Garner Meads. Bigelow scored 14 points in the first half on 5-5 shooting, including three 3-pointers, while Meads added 10 points. BYU used runs of 10-2 and 11-4 to build its lead in the first 20 minutes with Utah never leading, but the Utes came out of the locker room in the second half fired up behind the 3-point shooting of Jacobson and the inside play of Bogut. After a Mike Hall basket to open the second half, the Utes exploded for a 15-4 run to cut the BYU lead to six at 40-34. Utah would take its first lead of the game on a Jacobson 3-point basket with 7:16 remaining. Utah would take the lead for good a few of minutes later on another 3-pointer by Jacobson, who finished the game with five triples, four in the second half. Then the Utes turned up the defensive pressure, holding BYU to just six points over the final four minutes. "In the last five minutes (of the game) they got their confidence back," Cleveland said. "And we weren't able to counter." Bigelow finished with a season-high 22 points to lead BYU, while Rafael Araujo added a team-high nine boards. Bogut pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds for Utah and also had an excellent game defensively, helping hold Araujo, who entered the game with a league-leading 19.8 scoring average, to just eight points. BYU forward Jared Jensen missed his third straight game with a back injury, and Cougar backup point guard Terry Nashif was not able to play, out with mononucleosis. With the loss, BYU falls to 2-4 in conference and 12-7 overall, while Utah improves to 4-2 in conference and 16-5 overall. The Cougars have lost three games in a row for the first time since a three-game skid in 2002. BYU has played eight of its last 11 games on the road, including the last three contests. The Cougars will play five of their final eight regular-season games in Provo.
GAME 18 RECAP -- COUGARS LOSE WILD ONE AT NEW MEXICO
ALBUQUERQUE -- In five seconds of playing time, the Cougars went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows Monday night, losing a tight contest at New Mexico, 65-63. In an incredible finish, BYU guard Kevin Woodberry tipped in a Cougar miss to tie the game with 3.8 seconds left. A technical foul was then called on the Cougars as Mark Bigelow came onto the court from the bench to celebrate the shot, sending the Lobos' Troy DeVries to the line for two free shots (later scrutiny on video tape showed a whistle was blown after the Woodberry bucket, which prompted Bigelow onto the court; however, the officials did not acknowledge the whistle and consequently Bigelow was called for the technical foul). Amazingly, DeVries missed both attempts, leaving the game tied with 3.8 seconds still on the clock. But inbounding the ball near midcourt thanks to the technical foul, UNM executed a well-placed inbounds pass over the out-stretched hands of Rafael Araujo and into the hands of New Mexico's Danny Granger, who scored the game-winning lay-up. Without any timeouts, BYU launched an unsuccessful desperation shot from the Cougar backcourt as time expired. "It was a difficult game to lose, one in which I thought we played very well and put ourselves in a position to win," said BYU coach Steve Cleveland. "I'm disappointed in losing, but I'm not disappointed in this basketball team." Cleveland has every reason to respect his team's effort. The Cougars outrebounded the Lobos 35-28 and outshot them, going 23-52 (.442) from the field. Turnovers, which have plagued the Cougars during the season, were actually even, with each team losing the ball just nine times. Against a New Mexico team that blew out Utah by 16 points just two days before, BYU kept the score tight, with 14 ties and 18 lead changes. "Almost everything that we wanted to do and that we challenged our team to do happened," said Cleveland. Rafael Araujo continued his dominance, scoring 21 points and grabbing 11 rebounds to pick up his 11th double-double of the season. Mike Hall also came up big for the Cougars, scoring 21 points, his second-largest scoring output of the season. No other Cougars scored in double figures. Kevin Woodberry came off the bench for eight points, including two big three-point shots in the first half and the game-tying shot with 3.8 seconds left. Mark Bigelow set a new season-high in rebounds as he pulled down nine boards. New Mexico's Granger, a 6-8 forward, led all scorers with 27 points. Hall and Araujo started BYU off right by scoring 15 of the Cougars' first 18 points. BYU went into the locker room at the half down just one point, 33-32, but missed two scoring opportunities at the line by failing to convert front-ends. Araujo scored 10 in the first half and Hall had nine points. With the loss, the Cougars fall to 2-3 in the Mountain West Conference and 12-6 overall. The Lobos improve to 2-2 in the MWC and 11-6 overall.
LAST WEEK (vs. New Mexico and Utah) ...
Mark Bigelow shared the team lead in points with Mike Hall and Rafael Araujo, averaging 14.5 points. He added 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists while shooting 45 percent from the floor and 44.4 percent from behind the three-point arc. He was perfect from the free throw line last week (7-7). Bigelow scored a season-high 22 points at Utah on 7-for-11 shooting. Bigelow pulled down a season-high nine rebounds at New Mexico. ... Rafael Araujo again averaged a double-double last week (14.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg). His 21-point, 11-rebound effort at New Mexico was his 11th double-double of the year. ... Kevin Woodberry saw more playing time. During his 22.5 minutes per game, he went 4-for-7 from the floor and 2-of-3 on threes. He had not played 20 minutes in any of the four prior games. ... Luiz Lemes averaged only 2 points per game while going 1-for-8 from the floor, including 0-for-4 on threes. ... Jared Jensen missed both games due to a back injury he sustained against Wyoming. Terry Nashif did not play at Utah (mononucleosis). ... BYU shot only 41 percent from the floor in its two games while scoring 59.5 points per game. The Cougars shot 32 percent from behind the arc.
FREQUENT FLYERS RETURN HOME
BYU hasn't been home much over the past six weeks. The Cougars just ended a stretch where they played eight of 11 games on the road. BYU went 5-6 in those games, including its last three straight MWC losses. The last time BYU lost three games in a row was a three-game road skid during MWC play in 2002. The Cougars will play five of their final eight regular-season games in Provo beginning with Saturday's game against UNLV.
Last Saturday at Utah, Mark Bigelow scored a season-high 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including three triples. Bigelow pullled down a season-high nine rebounds the prior outing at New Mexico. Mike Hall scored 21 points, one below his season-high, and Rafael Araujo recorded his 11th double-double (21 points, 11 rebounds) against the Lobos. Bigelow scored a 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting at Air Force. Freshman Garner Meads recorded his first double-double with career highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds vs. Wyoming. Bigelow dished out a career-best 9 assists vs. the Cowboys. 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.
Junior forward Jared Jensen has missed the last three games with a back injury he suffered against Wyoming. His status is day-to-day. This is the first time Jensen has missed a game during his career, with the Air Force game ending a string of 78 straight games played, including 58 starts. Cougar backup point guard Terry Nashif missed the Utah game with mononucleosis and is listed as week-to-week. The status of both players for Saturday's game against UNLV is undetermined. The Cougars have played the entire season without guard Ricky Bower, who was the team's sixth man last year with five starts. He has been out with a back injury.
The Cougars have won their eight games at home this season by an average of 24 points. The closest final margin was their 14-point victory over Wyoming. BYU achieved its largest halftime lead of the season vs. CSU, 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. On the losing side of the big numbers, BYU was down 23 points at the half on the way to suffering its largest margin of defeat in a Mountain West Conference regular-season game with its 22-point setback at Air Force. The league-leading Falcons had their best shooting night ever against a Division I team (and second best against any team) at 72.5 percent.
HOME AND AWAY
BYU is averaging 61.9 points in true away games while shooting .450 from the floor, .323 on threes, and .750 from the line. BYU has lost by an average of 6.4 points in away games, giving up 68.3 points while earning a 2-7 record. Including BYU's two neutral court wins, BYU averages 65.7 points and allows 68.4 points away from home while shooting .462 on field goals, including .317 on threes, and .751 on free throws. At home where the Cougars are 8-0, BYU averages 83.1 points while giving up just 59.1. The Cougars shoot .511 in the Marriott Center, including .409 on threes, and .698 from the line. One big difference on the road has been the scoring output of BYU point guard Luiz Lemes. In eight home games where he is averaging 27.5 minutes, he has scored 11.0 ppg while shooting .569 from the floor and .545 (12-22) on threes. In nine true away games he has averaged 32.7 minutes while scoring 4.0 ppg and shooting .304 from the floor and .250 (5-20) on threes. Including the two neutral court games, he is averaging 4.5 points, shooting .345 and .308 (8-26) in 33.0 minutes. Araujo averages 19.9 ppg at home and 16.7 in true away games. Players who have scored more in true away games for BYU include Mark Bigelow (14.2 away, 12.1 at home) and Jared Jensen (5.7 away, 4.0 at home).
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 120-85 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.
ARAUJO SELECTED TO WOODEN AWARD MIDSEASON TOP 30 LIST
Senior Rafael Araujo has been selected as one of the top-30 candidates for the Wooden Award Player of the Year and All-America Team by the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Committee. On March 30, the 10-player Wooden All-America Team will be announced. One member of the team will be selected April 10 to receive the Wooden Award as the nation's "Most Outstanding Collegiate Basketball Player of the Year." BYU's Danny Ainge was recognized as the nation's top player in 1981 when he received the Wooden Award.
MWC, ARAUJO RANK AMONG NATIONAL DOUBLE-DOUBLE LEADERS
Araujo has 11 double-doubles this year and 19 for his career. His 11 double-double games is the third-most double-double games nationally by a player this season, two behind national-leader Emeka Okafor of Connecticut (13). UNLV's Odartey Blankson, Minnesota's Kris Humphries, Louisiana Tech's Paul Millsap and Mississippi State's Lawrence Roberts are tied for second with 12 double-doubles. Three of the top 11 double-double leaders in the country hail from the Mountain West Conference (Blankson tied for second, Araujo tied for sixth, and Andrew Bogut of Utah tied for ninth). The Mountain West is the only conference in the country to have four or more players averaging a double-double. The MWC is also the only conference to have four or more players averaging 10 or more rebounds per game. Araujo tied an MWC record by posting five consecutive double-doubles starting with the UVSC game until his streak ended with his 23 points and 7 rebounds in 24 minutes against Weber State Saturday. He tied the Mountain West record held by former Wyoming Cowboy Uche Nsonwu-Amadi. Nsonwu-Amadi recorded five in a row from the last game of the 2001-02 season through his first four appearances in 2002-03. Araujo is the only MWC player to record five consecutive double-doubles in the same season. During his five-game double-double streak, Araujo averaged 26 points and 13.6 rebounds.
ARAUJO RATES HIGH IN NATIONAL AND MWC STATISTICS
Senior center Rafael Araujo is ninth in the nation in rebounds, 37th in field goal percentage and 42nd in scoring in the latest release of NCAA statistics (Feb. 3). Among MWC players after Monday's games, he is the top scorer and rates second in offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds and third in total rebounds, tied for sixth in blocked shots and eighth in field goal percentage.
BYU opponents have a combined 233-49 (.610) record this year, with MWC teams totaling an 86-49 (.637) mark and nonconference teams tallying a 147-100 (.595) record. The seven teams to beat BYU this year have a combined 92-40 (.697) record.
BYU has played seven games this year where the outcome was in question entering the final minute. The Cougars have gone 3-4 in those games. BYU lost the four close games by a combined nine 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 two blowout losses, a 27-point setback at North Carolina State and a 22-point defeat at Air Force. BYU is 11-0 when leading with five minutes remaining and 11-1 when holding the advantage or is tied with one minute on the second-half clock.
ON THE ROAD
BYU is 4-7 away from the Marriott Center this year with a 2-7 away record and a 2-0 neutral court mark. BYU has played eight of its last 11 games on the road. 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. BYU went 6-0 at home and 4-3 away from Provo, with a 2-0 neutral court mark and a 2-3 record in an opponent's arena. Among those games included a neutral court win over then No. 25 Oklahoma State; a win at Boise State; and a victory over host Santa Clara to win the Cable Car Classic. Last season BYU played seven home games and eight away from the Marriott Center while earning an 11-4 record before starting Mountain West Conference play. BYU finished 4-4 away from home last year during nonconference play. The Cougars went 3-1 on a neutral floor, including a 3-0 mark to win the Paradise Jam, and were 1-3 in true away games, with a win over Arizona State.
IN THE MARRIOTT CENTER
BYU is 8-0 at home this year and has won 13 straight overall in the Marriott Center. BYU has won 57 of its last 58 games at home and is 52-1 over in the past four seasons. BYU finished last season 13-1 at home in 2002-03. Lone senior Travis Hansen concluded his three seasons as a Cougar having lost only once at home. BYU earned a 44-1 record in Hansen's three years at BYU -- the best three-year home record in school history. The second-best home record over three years was a 39-2 mark from 1979-81 in Danny Ainge's final three seasons. The 44-1 record over the prior three seasons is the school's best-ever three-year home record. BYU won a school-record 44 straight home games in the Marriott Center before losing to Utah, 79-75, on Jan. 25. The streak was the longest active streak in the country over parts the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons. BYU continues its string of nonconference home wins.
COUGAR FANS SHOWING SUPPORT
BYU is ahead of last year's attendance pace with an average crowd of 13,991 after eight home games. Last year BYU averaged the 17th largest crowd in the nation overall at 14,468. The NCAA announced that BYU achieved the nation's largest average increase over the prior season in 2001-2002 (during the middle of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City). BYU's 22,702 attendance vs. CSU in its last home game last year was the largest crowd since 1992 and the 21st largest crowd in school history.
COUGARS CLAIM CABLE CAR CLASSIC TITLE, ARAUJO MVP
SANTA CLARA -- With its top three post players fouled out of the game, BYU looked to Mark Bigelow and he delivered a slashing bucket-and-one with 14.9 seconds remaining to lead the Cougars to a 68-66 win over host Santa Clara to claim the Cable Car Classic title at the Leavey Center. Senior center Rafael Araujo again loomed large, posting his eighth double-double in nine games with 18 points and 12 rebounds -- with all 18 points scored in the second half. Araujo was named the Cable Car Classic Most Valuable Player after combining for 41 points and 23 boards in the two Cougar wins. With its title this year, BYU won for the third time in four Cable Car appearances to tie the University of San Francisco for the second-most Cable Car Classic titles and the most of any non-Bay Area team. SCU leads with 13 titles and the Cougars have beaten the Broncos for each of their three titles. BYU also breaks SCU's six-game winning streak in the tournament, as the Broncos won the previous two titles.
Facing then No. 25 Oklahoma State, BYU played its first top-25 ranked team this season. The victory over the Cowboys was BYU's first over a top-25 team since an 81-76 victory over No. 13 Stanford on Dec. 22, 2001 at the Las Vegas Showdown.
RECORD AGAINST TOP TEAMS
BYU is 4-5 this year against teams that qualified for postseason last year (21-point win over Weber State at home; five-point win over No. 25 Oklahoma State on a neutral floor; 29-point win over CSU; 14-point win over Wyoming; two-point loss at Utah State; one-point loss at Cal, 27-point loss at North Carolina State, four-point loss at SDSU and eight-point setback at Utah). BYU finished last season with a 7-2 record against teams that were conference champions the prior season. BYU went 12-6 last year against teams that qualified for postseason play in 2002.
CURRENT BYU WIN/LOSS STREAKS ...
At home 13-0
On the road 0-5
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 0-4
On a neutral floor vs. Nonconference 2-0
On a neutral floor vs. MWC 0-1
BYU STARTING LINEUPS RECORD
Lemes, Hall, Bigelow, Meads, Araujo 4-3
Lemes, Hall, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo 4-2
Lemes, Woodberry, Hall, Bigelow, Araujo 3-0
Lemes, Woodberry, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo 1-1
Nashif, Lemes, Hall, Bigelow, Araujo 0-1
BYU LANDS TOP-20 RECRUITING CLASS
Four highly regarded high school recruits signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball at BYU during the November signing period. Rated one of the top-20 recruiting classes nationally and the third-best class in the West, BYU received official commitments from top prospects David Burgess (Irvine, Calif.), Lee Cummard (Mesa, Ariz.), Chris Miles (Provo, Utah) and Trent Plaisted (San Antonio, Texas).