After defeating New Mexico Saturday, BYU (14-5, 3-1 MWC) hosts its third straight home game when it takes on the Air Force Academy (10-8, 1-4 MWC) Monday at 8:30 p.m. MST in the Marriott Center. The game is not being televised. 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 14-5 overall and 3-1 in Mountain West Conference play after defeating New Mexico 80-64 Saturday afternoon. The Cougars opened MWC play with a home win over UNLV and a road triumph at San Diego State before having its nation-leading 44-game homecourt victory streak snapped by Utah. Air Force is 10-8 and 1-4 in the MWC after losing at Utah Saturday night, 45-35. The Falcons came into the Utah game fourth in the nation in threes per game (9.4) but went only 2-13 vs. Utah as the Utes pulled away in the final two minutes. The Falcons have suffered two-point road losses at CSU and Wyoming and defeated UNLV at home. Their other loss was at home to SDSU. The Falcons lead the nation, allowing only 53.5 points per game.
GAME #20 FAST FACTS (MWC GAME #5)
BYU (14-5, 3-1 MWC) vs. AIR FORCE ACADEMY (10-8, 1-4 MWC)
MONDAY, FEB. 3, 2003
MARRIOTT CENTER (22,700)
8:30 p.m. MST
BYU, Steve Cleveland (99-74 in sixth year; same overall)
AFA, Joe Scott (27-48 in third year; same overall)
BYU leads, 39-8; Last: BYU won 67-51 in Provo on Feb. 18, 2002
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Times: 7:30 p.m. 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. 13.6 3.7
F 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 250 So. 8.5 3.6
C 55 Rafael Araujo 6-11 265 Jr. 11.8 8.9
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Sr. 15.9 5.0 2.8 apg
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 So. 2.8 1.7 2.1 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 14 Ricky Bower 6-4 185 Jr. 7.0 1.8
G 24 Kevin Woodberry 6-0 170 Jr. 5.6 1.7 2.2 apg
F 15 John Allen 6-7 215 So. 3.2 1.4
G 12 Marc Roberts 6-3 205 So. 2.8 1.5
F 5 Jake Shoff 6-9 265 Jr. 2.6 1.9
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 Jr. 1.4 0.8
G 4 Luiz Lemes 6-3 180 Jr. 1.4 0.8
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 Jr. 1.2 0.9
AIR FORCE ACADEMY FALCONS
Air Force is 10-8 and 1-4 in the MWC after losing at Utah Saturday night, 45-35. The Falcons came into the Utah game fourth in the nation in threes per game (9.4) but went only 2-13 vs. Utah as the Utes pulled away in the final two minutes. The Falcons have suffered two-point road losses at CSU and Wyoming and defeated UNLV at home. Their other loss was at home to SDSU. Air Force is coached by Joe Scott (Princeton, 1987), who is in his third season with the Falcons. He has a 27-48 record in his tenure at Air Force. Scott came to AFA from his alma mater, Princeton, where he was an assistant coach from 1993-2000. The Falcons are currently ranked No. 1 in the country in scoring defense, allowing just 53.5 points per game. Air Force also entered the week ranked in the top 10 nationally in three-pointers per game (4th), turnovers per game (6th) and three-point percentage (7th). Air Force has now made a three-point shot in 315 consecutive games. The last time the Falcons failed to make a three-pointer was Dec. 4, 1991 in a 57-51 victory over Adams State College. Tim Keller is among the best shooters in the country, ranking 13th in the nation in three-point percentage and ranking 21st in three-pointers per game. Air Force has had its share of close games since Joe Scott took over as head coach prior to the 2000-01 campaign, especially on the road. Of the Falcons' 17 road losses against conference opponents the last two-plus seasons, 11 of them have been by eight points or less, including six by five points or less. Four of AFA's last five games against MWC teams away from Clune Arena have been decided by two points counting the MWC Tournament game against Wyoming. Utah defeated the Falcons by 10 but the margin came in the final moments as the game was close throughout. AFA's RPI ranking of 139 on Monday, Jan. 27 is the highest ever for a Falcon team. The team's highest mark in the Sagarin Ratings this season was 70th on Dec. 16. Air Force enters Monday's game with a 23-game road losing streak against Mountain West Conference opponents. The Falcons won their first-ever MWC road game, 81-77 in three overtimes at San Diego State on Jan. 20, 2000, and have not won a conference game away from home since. AFA is 0-3 on the road this season, losing at Colorado State (51-49), Wyoming (46-44) and Utah (45-35). After the loss at Utah, the Falcons shoot .489 from the floor, .408 on threes and .617 from the line while giving up .424 on field goals and .329 on threes to its opponents. AFA scores 58.3 points while allowing 54.5. The Falcons are not a strong rebounding team, being out-boarded 30.2 to 22.1 on average.
AIR FORCE'S PROBABLE STARTERS
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
G/F 10 A.J. Kuhle 6-4 185 Jr. 10.1 3.3
F 33 Joel Gerlach 6-6 195 Jr. 12.7 3.0
F/C 32 Tom Bellairs 6-7 220 Sr. 6.4 4.6
G 11 Tim Keller 6-3 180 So. 14.6 2.7
G 22 Vernard Jenkins 5-9 177 Sr. 4.5 1.2
AIR FORCE FALLS AT UTAH SATURDAY
Utah held Air Force scoreless for more than five minutes down the stretch to beat the Falcons 45-35 Saturday night. Utah (15-4, 3-1 Mountain West Conference) led through most of the defensive struggle, but Air Force (10-8, 1-3) scored six consecutive points capped by Tom Bellairs' 3-pointers for a 33-31 lead with 5:36 to play. But the Utes kept the Falcons scoreless for the next 5:29 while scoring 12 straight points to win for the 10th time in their last 11 games. Utah's Nick Jacobson scored eight of his 10 points in the game-clinching surge, going five of six at the line and adding a 3-pointer. Marc Jackson made both his 3-point attempts and converted all four of his free throws. Tim Keller had nine points and Bellairs added eight for Air Force. The Falcons couldn't overcome 41 percent free throw shooting (7-for-17) and were outrebounded 36-20. The Falcons came in leading the MWC in 3-point percentage (.417) but shot just 2 of 13 from beyond the arc. The two teams combined for 28 points in the first half.Utah tied the school record for fewest points by an opponent since the inception of the shot clock, set last year in a win at St. Mary's of California 41-35.
BYU has won five of the last six games in the series. The two teams split last year's series, both winning at home. BYU won the last meeting in Provo after AFA defeated BYU at Clune Arena in January 2002 to end a BYU four-game winning streak in the series. AFA has never won back-to-back games in the series since its first game in 1963. BYU has won six of the last nine outings since winning a series-best 15 straight over the Falcons from 1990-96. BYU has won the last 11 games in the Marriott Center since a 79-78 Falcon win in 1989 (Cleveland is 4-0 in Provo). Air Force has won three of the last four at USAFA (Cleveland is 1-3 at Air Force).
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 39-8
BYU Record in Provo: 19-3
BYU Record in Colorado Springs: 17-5
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 3-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 6-3
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 2-0 (1-0 Rd, 1-0 Ntrl)
Last Overtime Game: 1989, won at AFA, 89-88
Longest BYU Win Streak: 15 (1990-96)
Longest Air Force Win Streak: 2 (1961-63)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 35, 103-68 in 1993
Largest Air Force Margin of Victory: 19, 80-61 in 1998
Most Points Scored by BYU: 110 in 1965
Most Points Scored by Air Force: 93 in 1987
LAST GAME - COUGARS HAND FALCONS WORST CONFERENCE LOSS
PROVO -- The Cougars avenged an earlier loss to Air Force by handing the Falcons their worst conference loss of the season with a 67-51 victory in the Marriott Center. Travis Hansen guided the BYU charge with 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field (3-6 from three-point range) and a 6-of-6 performance from the line. Hansen has scored in double figures in six of the Cougars' last seven games. He also picked up five rebounds on the night. After Air Force had taken an 8-7 lead with 16:16 left in the first half, the Cougars went on a 15-3 run over the next five minutes to take an 11-point lead and the Falcons never got closer than eight from there. The Cougars led 39-26 at the half, their largest halftime lead since leading by 29 against Fort Lewis on Dec. 12. BYU jumped on the Falcons early behind an energetic defensive performance in the first half, holding Air Force to 10-of-25 shooting from the field, including 5-13 from long range. The Cougars were hot, shooting 11-17 (64.7 percent) from the field and a torrid 5-7 (71.4 percent) from downtown in the first half, tying a season-high three-point percentage for one half. The Cougar defense was even better in the second half, holding the Falcons to just 31.6 percent (6-of-19) from the field and a mere 16.7 percent (2-of-12) from three-point range. Air Force finished the game shooting just 36.4 percent from the field from the game and only 28 percent from long range. Matt Montague hit a career-high three three-pointers on 3-for-3 shooting from downtown. Montague has hit 12 threes in his last 13 games and has been shooting at a 48-percent clip (12-of-25) from three-point range over that same period. Montague also finished with seven assists and six rebounds in a team-leading 39 minutes. The third Cougar to finish in double figures was freshman center Jared Jensen, who was perfect on the night, shooting 3-for-3 from the field and a career-best 8-of-8 from the free throw line to finish with 14 points. Mark Bigelow had a season low three points on the night and Eric Nielsen had two points, tying his season low set against Idaho on Dec. 15. Nielsen picked up a team-leading nine rebounds on the night, a season high total for him. Air Force never got closer than 13 in the second half and the Cougars led by as many as 19 in the game, on the way to their biggest victory margin in conference play and their biggest win at home since beating Southern Utah by 21, 79-58, on Dec. 29. The win extended the nation's longest home win streak to 34 games. BYU shot 55.9 percent, including its second-best three-point effort of the year (.615).
WHAT COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY IN PROVO LAST YEAR ...
"Air Force took it to us good at their place so I am really pleased with tonight's performance. Air Force is a very difficult team to play and you have to be strong against them because they are so physical. We definitely played defense with significantly more energy tonight than we did at their place. We know they are going to shoot 20 to 25 threes each night but we contested a good percent of them."
LAST YEAR AT AFA - FALCONS BOMBED COUGARS WITH THREES
USAFA -- BYU was blind-sided by a hungry Air Force team in a 74-64 loss at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The Falcons began the game with a full-court press and bombarded the Cougars with 13 three-pointers on their way to their first conference win of the season. Air Force (7-10, 1-3) put BYU on its heels early with its fast and furious long-range shooting, dropping seven three-pointers on the Cougars in the first half alone. Tim Keller came off the bench to burn Brigham Young with 5-of-5 three-point shooting in the first half. BYU (12-5, 2-2) actually shot better percentages in all shooting categories in the first half, going 10-15 from the floor and 3-5 from beyond the three-point arc. But the Falcons shot nearly twice as much as the Cougars. The Falcons went 16-29 from the field, including 9-16 three-point shooting in the first half. At the start of the second half, the Cougars turned to Jared Jensen. Jensen scored seven of BYU's first nine points as BYU rallied back early in the second half. For the game, Jensen notched game highs in scoring with 20 points and seven rebounds. The freshman center's 20 points is a career high. BYU freshman guard Jimmy Balderson also made an impact, scoring 14 points and grabbing 6 rebounds off the bench for the Cougars. His 14 points is the most he has scored against a division one opponent. Balderson recorded career highs in three-pointers made and attempted with 2-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. But their efforts would not be enough to stop the scrappy Falcons -- a team that lost its last two games to Utah in overtime and to New Mexico by three points. Two true freshmen scored more than half of BYU's points with Jensen's 20 points and Balderson's 14 points.The Cougars made 19-of-23 (82.6%) shots from the stripe. BYU's shooting guards struggled. Travis Hansen fouled out with five points on 2-of-7 shooting. In his first career start, sixth man Daniel Bobik took and made only one shot.
WHAT COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AT AFA LAST YEAR ...
"Why we would come out and play with this kind of energy, I'm not sure. Not only was there a lack of defensive intensity, but there was also a lack of defensive court sense and awareness. It was like a clinic for them. Once they got their confidence, then they could make their threes even when they were contested. I thought Jimmy Balderson came off the bench and earned the right to play, and that's what he did. He gave us a huge lift. We'd already given them all their confidence in the first half. They were hungry. They found a way to win tonight and we did not. We didn't have the energy until the last eight or nine minutes."
BYU'S LAST GAME -- FOUR COUGARS REACH DOUBLE FIGURES IN WIN
PROVO -- Four Cougars scored in double figures as BYU beat the University of New Mexico Lobos 80-64 Saturday at the Marriott Center, despite 39 points form Lobo guard Ruben Douglas. BYU improves to 14-5 on the season and 3-1 in MWC play. The Lobos drop to 1-4 in conference games and 7-11 overall. "This was the best team we've played all year," said UNM head coach Ritchie McKay. "There is not an offensive weakness out there--at least not that I could see." Travis Hansen led BYU with 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Mark Bigelow and Ricky Bower each connected on four three-pointers. Bigelow finished the game with 15 points and Bower added 14. Jared Jensen chipped in 15 and carried most of the load in the paint for BYU. Jensen was also perfect 5-for-5 from the line. The two teams combined to set a new Marriott Center record of 23 three-pointers made. For the Lobos, most of those came from senior Ruben Douglas who hit seven treys and was 14-of-17 from the line to go along with seven rebounds. "We tried a lot of things on Ruben but they didn't work," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "In the second half, when we made our run, we doubled him and he missed a few. He may be the best player in our league." Guards Mark Walters and Javin Tindall chipped in nine and eight points for the Lobos. Bigelow scored BYU's final eight points of the half to give the Cougars a 39-31 lead at the break. UNM's zone defense shut down the middle, holding BYU center Rafael Araujo scoreless in the first half. Araujo finished the game with just three points. Douglas and Walters scored 29 of the Lobos 31 first-half points. Douglas had 22 at the intermission including 5 threes. New Mexico cut the deficit to six early in the second half, but, following a timeout, BYU went on a 9-0 run to gain a 15-point lead. The run was sparked by two treys from Bower. The Lobos fought back, cutting the lead to nine, 71-62, with 3:47 to play on two free throws by Douglas. Following another timeout, the Cougars went on another 9-0 run highlighted by a breakaway jam by Hansen. The dunk extended the BYU lead to 18 at 80-62, with just over one minute left. BYU out-shot New Mexico 49.1 percent to 39.6 percent and out-rebounded the Lobos 38 to 26.
UP NEXT FOR BYU
BYU takes to the road to face Wyoming Saturday at 1 p.m. in the featured MWC Game of the Week on ESPN+Plus (KJZZ-TV in Salt Lake City). The defending regular season champions are a perfect 4-0 in the conference standings entering Monday's game at SDSU. After playing the Cowboys, BYU will stay on the Front Range to face Colorado State Monday evening at 7 p.m. MST. CSU is 3-1 in MWC games entering its game at UNLV Monday. The game in Fort Collins is not being televised.
Led by senior guard Travis Hansen, junior swingman Mark Bigelow and junior center Rafael Araujo, the Cougars (14-5) earned an 11-4 non-conference record and are 3-1 in MWC play. Hansen leads the team in scoring (15.9) and assists (2.8) and is second in rebounding (5.0), Bigelow is second in scoring (13.6) and the team's top three-point shooter (43-92, .467), while Araujo has come on strong as the third-leading scorer (11.8) while leading the MWC in rebounds (8.9). Sophomore forward Jared Jensen adds 8.5 points and 3.6 rebounds and sophomore point guard Terry Nashif has started the last five 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 7.0 points and shooting 46 percent from behind the arc. Kevin Woodberry, who has started in 14 games, adds 5.6 points and 2.2 assists. The Cougars shoot .477 from the floor, .409 on threes and an MWC-best .745 from the line. BYU is among the top MWC defensive teams, allowing .409 shooting, including .304 on threes. BYU scores 74.3 ppg while allowing 65.3. BYU is 9-1 at home and 5-4 away from the Marriott Center, including a 3-1 neutral record and 2-3 road mark. Coach Steve Cleveland has a deeper bench this year than he did last seaon. He has used four starting lineups, but primarily gone with two lineups. He used the same starting five in 12 games with Kevin Woodberry manning the point, but has inserted Terry Nashif at point in the last five 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.
o Junior swingman Mark Bigelow scored 18 points vs. UNM with five boards while adding game highs of four assists and three steals. He had a team-high 21 points at San Diego State along with four rebounds and three steals. He followed with 16 points vs. Utah, adding five boards, three assists, one block and one steal.
o Senior guard Travis Hansen had 19 points vs. UNM and recorded his second double-double of the year with a game-high 21 points and 12 rebounds vs. Utah. He added four assists, a career-best three blocks and two steals in 34 minutes.
o Junior combo guard Ricky Bower has reached double-digit points in each of the last two games. He scored a season-high 14 points vs. UNM, hitting four threes. He had 10 points vs. Utah. He is averaging 7.0 ppg overall as BYU's top reserve but in conference play is scoring 8.5 ppg while shooting 50 percent on threes and from the floor.
BYU is 13-0 this year when holding opponents below 70 points but 1-5 when the opposition reaches the 70-point mark. In the five-plus season Steve Cleveland has been BYU's coach, the Cougars are 80-15 (.842) 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 17-34 (.333) in those games during the Cleveland era.
AT THIS POINT ...
At this point last year BYU was also 2-2 in the MWC standings, with two home wins and two road losses. BYU was on the road for its fifth game last year, dropping to 2-3 after five games. BYU was 4-3 at the half-way point with four home wins. BYU was also 2-2 in 2001, but went on to start 5-2 during the first half with five home wins. BYU last started 3-1 after four games during the inaugural MWC season in 2000 with two home wins and one road victory, opening with a win at UNLV. Like this year, its loss was at home to Utah. BYU finished the first half 4-3 with four games being on the road.
SHOOTING, REBOUNDING SUCCESS
BYU has out shot 15 of 19 opponents this year (except USF, OSU, Weber State, Utah) and outrebounded 13 (except Creighton,USU, USCB, SDSU, Utah). BYU is shooting .477, including .409 on threes, while limiting opponents to .409 shooting from the floor and only .304 on threes. BYU averages 35.2 boards to its opponents' 31.8. BYU has shot 45 percent or better in 14 games this year (losing only once twice at Creighton and vs. Utah), 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 out boarded Idaho State 43-19.
FROM THE LINE
BYU topped 80 percent free throw shooting for the seventh time this year vs. UNM, shooting a season-high 88.2 percent (15-17). 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 six topping 77 percent. John Allen made his first 19 straight until missing his last attempt vs. Utah (19-20), while Ricky Bower is shooting 89.6 percent (43-48). BYU is shooting a MWC-leading 74.5 percent as a team.
BIGELOW, HANSEN MOVING UP SCORING CHARTS
Mark Bigelow become the 34th Cougar and only ninth junior to reach 1,000 career points vs. SUU. He needs five points to pass Steve Schreiner (1,128) into 23rd place on BYU's scoring list and 20 points to surpass Doug Howard (1,143). Senior Travis Hansen has 903 career points despite an injury-shortened first season at BYU as a sophomore. He will become the 35th Cougar to reach 1,000 points before if he continues his team-leading scoring pace.
COUGARS, LOBOS SET MARRIOTT CENTER THREE-POINT RECORD
BYU and New Mexico combined on Feb. 1 to set a new Marriott Center record with 23 treys made in a game, topping the 22 treys of LaSalle and BYU in 1992. The Cougars made 11 triples while UNM made 12 to set the new Marriott Center mark.
BYU coach Steve Cleveland can win his 100th game at BYU with a victory over the Falcons Monday. He enters the game 99-74 in his sixth season in Provo. Cleveland was nine games into his fourth season when he achieved his 50th win to even his record at 50-50. While it took 100 games to gain his first 50 victories due to the early rebuilding efforts of the 1-25 program he took over in 1997, Cleveland could achieve his next 50 wins in just 74 games and a little over two seasons.
CLEVELAND'S CONFERENCE RECORD
BYU coach Steve Cleveland evened his conference (WAC/MWC) record at 37-37 with Saturday's win over UNM. He has the chance to go above .500 for the first time since early in his first conference season. Taking over after BYU's 1-25 season, Cleveland improved BYU's conference record in each of his first four seasons and exceeded many expectations with only one returning starter on last year's team that finished fourth with a 7-7 record. Cleveland has had a .500 conference record five times (1-1, 2-2, 29-29, 34-34, and 36-36). He has had an overall winning conference record twice (1-0, 2-1). In MWC games only, Cleveland is 24-19 (.558).