PROVO, Utah -- BYU (13-7, 3-4 MWC) begins the second half of the Mountain West Conference season Monday when it hosts San Diego State (12-10, 3-4 MWC) at 10 p.m. (MST) in the featured MWC matchup on ESPN. The Aztecs and Cougars are two of five teams tied for third in the league standings after the first half of the conference season. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160, beginning with a one-hour pregame show. 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 plays at Wyoming Saturday at 1 p.m. (MST) in an ESPN+Plus telecast (KJZZ-14 in Salt Lake City).
GAME #21 FAST FACTS (MWC GAME #8)
BYU COUGARS (13-7, 3-4 MWC) vs. SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS (12-10, 3-4 MWC)
MONDAY, FEB. 9, 2004
MARRIOTT CENTER (22,700)
10 p.m. (MST)
BYU, Steve Cleveland (121-85 in seventh year; same overall)
SDSU, Steve Fisher (68-73 in fifth year; 252-155 in 13th year overall)
BYU leads, 37-16; First meeting this year: Aztecs won 65-61 in San Diego on Jan. 12
Air Time: 10 p.m. (MST)
Play-by-Play: Bob Carpenter
Game Analyst: Jimmy Dykes
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 (13-7, 3-4) 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. Prior to Saturday's win over UNLV, BYU had played eight of its last 11 games on the road, going 5-6. The preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference, BYU is currently tied for third with five teams. 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 starters last season but are primarily come off the bench this year. Key newcomers include junior transfer Mike Hall and freshmen Mike Rose and Garner Meads. Araujo is averaging 19.1 points and 10.5 rebounds to lead BYU this year. Bigelow adds 13.2 points and 4.1 rebounds while Hall contributes 12.1 points and 3.5 rebounds. First-year starter Luiz Lemes leads the team in assists (4.6). As a team, the Cougars shoot .477 from the floor, .348 on threes, and .732 from the line while scoring 72.6 points per game. BYU allows 64.3 points while the opposition has shot .447 from the field and .349 from behind the arc. BYU has an average rebounding advantage of 5.9.
SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS
The San Diego State Aztecs (12-10 overall; 3-4 Mountain West Conference) enter the Marriott Center Monday night in hopes of sweeping the season series against BYU after defeating the Cougars in San Diego four weeks ago. San Diego State returns eight lettermen and one starter from last year's 16-14 team that advanced to the second round of the NIT. The Aztecs are led by lone senior forward/center Aerick Sanders (6-9, 203). Sanders leads the team in rebounds, averaging 10.3 per game and is second in scoring, averaging 15.6 points per game, the only Aztec player averaging a double-double. Sanders is ranked 8th nationally in rebounds per game, 20th nationally in field goal percentage (.594) and has been the MWC Player of the Week three times this season. Junior guard Wesley Stokes (6-0, 168) leads the team and the Mountain West Conference in assists per game with 6.33 and steals per game with 1.86. His assist average is ranked 13th nationally. Stokes is also third on the team in scoring average, contributing 12.8 points per game. Freshman guard Brandon Heath (6-3, 172) leads the team in scoring with 16.7 points per game and is currently third on SDSU's freshman scoring list. SDSU leads the Mountain West in steals per game (8.67) and offensive rebounds, averaging 14.24 per game. San Diego State coach Steve Fisher has turned the Aztecs around since taking the helm in 1999-2000, coaching his team into the postseason the past two seasons. The Aztecs are 2-6 on the road this season, including 0-3 in MWC play with losses at Wyoming, Colorado State, and Utah. After opening MWC play with home wins over BYU and UNLV, the Aztecs have lost four of their last five, picking up a home win over New Mexico. SDSU averages 73.4 points while shooting .430, including .326 on threes and .695 from the line. The Aztecs allow 71.0 ppg and .446 shooting, including a .366 percentage from behind the arc.
SDSU's LAST OUTING -- AZTECS DROP CLOSE CONTEST AT UTAH SATURDAY
SALT LAKE -- Richard Chaney had 13 of his 17 points in the second half Saturday, and Nick Jacobson added 16 as Utah came from behind to beat San Diego State 65-61. Andrew Bogut had nine points and 11 rebounds for Utah (17-5, 5-2 MWC), which nearly gave up a 61-52 lead in the last 2:27. The Utes missed three free throws, committed a turnover and fouled Wesley Stokes on a 3-point attempt in the final minute, but never let the Aztecs get closer than three points and escaped with their 14th consecutive home victory. Acting coach Kerry Rupp won his second straight game since Utah head coach Rick Majerus left the team late last month because of health problems. Chris Walton scored a career-high 15 points and Brandon Heath had 14 for the Aztecs (12-10 overall, 3-4 MWC), who have lost four of their last five. Chaney, who made all three of his 3-point attempts, scored Utah's first eight points of the second half to keep his team close until Bogut and Jacobson took over. San Diego State led by as many as eight early in the second half and had a 42-35 advantage on a Marcus Slaughter dunk, but Bogut brought the Utes back with plays on both ends of the court. The freshman from Australia scored six straight points and then drew an offensive foul and stole the ball as the Utes' 10-0 run gave them their first lead of the game. Jacobson picked up where Bogut left off, scoring 10 straight Utah points to spark another Utah surge and extend the lead to 56-47. The Aztecs were scoreless for 4:32 while Jacobson went on his run. In the first half, Walton made all five shots, including a pair of 3-pointers, to help the Aztecs take a 30-27 halftime lead.
SAN DIEGO STATE'S PROJECTED STARTERS (BASED ON LAST GAME)
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 3 Chris Walton 6-10 230 Jr. 8.7 5.1
F 42 Marcus Slaughter 6-9 208 Fr. 7.3 5.9
F/C 34 Aerick Sanders 6-9 203 Sr. 15.6 10.3
G 1 Brandon Heath 6-3 172 Fr. 16.7 3.1
G 2 Wesley Stokes 6-0 168 Jr. 12.8 2.6
BYU leads the overall series 37-16. The Aztecs won the first meeting in San Diego on Jan. 12, edging BYU 65-61 to open the MWC season. BYU swept the season series last year, winning the first meeting in San Diego, 80-69, to end an Aztec two-game winning streak in the series. The Aztecs defeated BYU in the 2002 MWC tournament after winning in San Diego to end a BYU eight-game winning streak in the series. 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 22-2 advantage in Provo and is 15-13 in San Diego, including a 5-2 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 10-3 against San Diego State.
BYU vs. SDSU SERIES BREAKDOWN
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 37-16
BYU Record in Provo: 22-2
BYU Record in San Diego: 15-13
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-1
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 10-3
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
RECENT RESULTS VS. IN THE SERIES
FIRST MEETING IN SAN DIEGO -- COUGARS FALL IN FINAL MOMENTS AT SDSU
SAN -- BYU dropped its conference opener for the first time in Mountain West Conference history Monday at San Diego State, falling 65-61 in a hard-fought contest with the Aztecs. In a game marking the beginning of what looks to be a formidable conference schedule, the Cougars fell short despite a strong effort from freshman Garner Meads and yet another double-double from senior Rafael Araujo. Four Cougars scored in double figures in the loss. Mike Hall, who had not scored in double figures the past two games, led the Cougars with 15 points, including two big three-pointers. Mark Bigelow added 14, Araujo contributed 12, and Meads scored a career-high 10 points. Unfortunately, the scoring output was not enough to top the Aztecs, who were led by lone senior Aerick Sanders with 18 points. The Cougars' big man and two-time MWC Player of the Week, Rafael Araujo, who came into the game averaging over 20 points per game, was shut down in the first half, going into the locker room with two fouls and not a single point. Araujo came out solid in the second half, scoring 12 points and pulling down 13 boards to record his 10th double-double of the season. Turnovers plagued the Cougars. The Aztecs scored 27 points off of BYU'S 17 turnovers while the Cougars were only able to manage eight points off of seven Aztec turnovers. The 17-7 turnover ratio is identical to the turnover ratio in last week's loss to NC State. With the game hanging in the balance in the last 90 seconds, BYU turned the ball over on three consecutive possessions. As expected, the game was hard-fought and tight the entire 40 minutes, featuring nine lead changes and seven ties. Both teams showcased their ability to generate scoring runs with BYU producing a 10-0 run midway through the first half and a 13-3 run midway through the second half. However, the Aztecs stole the show, going on a 6-0 run to end the first half and cut the Cougars' eight-point lead to only two, 33-31; and then running off six unanswered points in the last 90 seconds of the game to put the Cougars away. Both head coaches celebrated milestones in Monday night's game. BYU Head Coach Steve Cleveland coached his 200th game as a Cougar and San Diego State Head Coach Steve Fisher notched his 250th career victory. The loss drops the Cougars to 10-4 on the season and 0-1 in MWC play, while the Aztecs improve to 10-6 and 1-0.
WHAT BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME IN SAN DIEGO THIS YEAR ...
"We did so many good things to get ourselves back in the game, but turnovers made the difference. "
LAST YEAR IN PROVO -- HANSEN HELPED COUGARS EDGE AZTECS IN PROVO
PROVO -- Senior Travis Hansen led BYU with 19 points and eight rebounds and deflected San Diego State's last second shot to give the Cougars a 66-64 Mountain West Conference win over the Aztecs Monday night in the Marriott Center. With the win, the Cougars improve to 18-6 overall and 7-2 in conference play, while the Aztecs fall 12-10 overall and 3-6 in the MWC. "We were very fortunate in the last few minutes. We had difficulty getting the ball where it needed to be," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "If it had not been for Travis's three-pointer, I don't know where we would have been." After BYU had a 14-point second-half lead dwindle to one, Hansen ended a five-minute offensive dry spell for the Cougars by hitting his second three of the game to put the Cougars up four,66-64, with 1:33 to go. Although Hansen lost the ball on BYU's possession, he came back to get a finger on San Diego State's put-back attempt at the buzzer to help BYU escape with the victory. "In the first five minutes of the game we had difficulty getting started," Cleveland said. "But the 25 minutes that followed, I thought we played well. We had good execution, and we defended well." The Cougars scored the first points in the game on a Hansen field goal, but the Aztecs went on a 15-3 run in the next six minutes to take a 15-5 lead with 13:39 to go, led by Deandre Moore with five points. Moore finished the first half with 13 points on his way to a 16-point outing. Jared Jensen started the BYU comeback with two points with 13:27 remaining in the first half, and two minutes later, Bigelow came in with a three-pointer to bring the score within three at 16-19 and start the offensive momentum. Trailing 28-23, Jensen and Hansen combined for six consecutive points to give the Cougars the lead at 29-28. BYU had its largest lead of the half at 35-28 with 2:20 left, but the got to within one at 37-36 with less than four seconds in the half before Hansen connected on a three at the buzzer to give the Cougars a 40-36 lead going into halftime. After intermission BYU went on a 20-10 run, capped by an Araujo dunk, that gave the Cougars their largest lead of the game at 60-46 with 9:33 remaining. But the Aztecs were not ready to go fold, answered back with an 8-0 run of their own until Kevin Woodberry hit a trey at the 6:44 mark. San Diego State held BYU scoreless for the next five minutes, racking up eight more points to pull within one at 63-62 before Hansen's three. "Jensen was solid in the post, and Shoff gave us some good play inside, too," Cleveland said. "Late in the game you just have to be able to execute, and I believe that contributed to us losing the 12-point lead." The Aztecs last second shot went wide left, and a follow-up attempt also missed thanks to Hansen's deflection, as the Cougars escaped with the victory. BYU equaled its season low with 10 turnovers vs. SDSU (also vs. SUU).
GAME 20 RECAP -- HALL'S HEROICS HELP COUGARS EDGE UNLV
PROVO -- Mike Hall's block of Demetrius Hunter and two free throws with 2.7 seconds left helped the Cougars seal a 64-61 victory over UNLV Saturday afternoon at the Marriott Center. "I thought it (the block) was a great individual effort," Coach Steve Cleveland said. "Someone has to make plays at the end to win a close game. I thought it was the most meaningful play of the game." Cleveland said he was pleased with his team's performance, even though the game wasn't very pretty. He said he felt his team showed a lot of toughness and resolve in winning the close contest. Both teams started the game off cold with BYU making only three field goals in the first 10 minutes, falling behind 10-7, before reeling off a 16-4 run to take a nine-point lead with just over five minutes to play in the first half. During the run, Hall and Rafael Araujo scored six points each while Mark Bigelow added four. The Cougars would extend their lead to 11 points in the opening half before the Rebels cut it back down to nine at the break. UNLV came out of the locker room determined, cutting the BYU's lead to just one at 40-39, before the Cougars ran off nine straight points to extend their advantage to 10 points. But the Rebels were not going to go away. UNLV kept the game close and eventually took the lead at 61-60 on two Odartey Blankson free throws with 41 seconds to go. BYU would reclaim the lead for good at 62-61 on two Bigelow free throws, setting the stage for Hall's heroics to put the game away. BYU shot 87.5 percent from the line, including a perfect 10-for-10 for Hall and 4-of-4 from Luiz Lemes. "A win like this means a lot more than coming in and winning by 15," said Cleveland said, whose Cougars had won their prior eight home games this year by an average of 24 points, with the closest margin being 14. "Hopefully something like this will give us the confidence we need to get back playing well." Araujo led the Cougars in scoring, finishing the game with 18 points and 13 rebounds to record his 12th double-double of the season, and Lemes added a career-high 10 assists. Araujo is now tied for fourth nationally in double-double games, while Lemes becomes the first Cougar to record double-digit assists since BYU all-time assist leader Matt Montague dished out 12 vs. UC Irvine in 2002. On the strength of his free throw shooting, Hall added 16 points while Bigelow chipped in 13. UNLV was led by Blankson's 15-point, 12-rebound performance. J.K. Edwards also added a double-double for the Rebels with 12 points and 10 rebounds, while UNLV point guard Jarel Blassingame scored 12 points and dished out a team-leading five assists. With the victory BYU improves to 3-4 in conference and 13-7 overall, ending a three-game losing skid. UNLV falls to 12-7 and 3-4.
POSTGAME NOTES ...
-- Luiz Lemes led BYU with 10 assists setting a personal career high. The last time a BYU player had double-digit assists was in 2002 when Cougar all-time assist leader Matt Montague had 12 vs. UC Irvine.
-- Rafael Araujo posted his 12th double-double of the season, moved up from seventh to tie for fourth on the National Double-double leaders list. UNLV's Blankson also had his 13th double-double of the season to move from third to tied for second with Paul Millsap from Louisiana Tech (as of Saturday night).
-- Mike Hall (10-10) and Luiz Lemes (4-4) both shot 100 percent from the line against UNLV. Hall's last two free throws helped seal the win after his defensive stop (blocked shot) at the other end. Hall became the first Cougar to shoot 100 percent from the line on a minimum of eight attempts since Travis Hansen went 12-12 at New Mexico in 2002.
-- BYU had its second-highest steals total of the season with 11 vs. UNLV, just one behind the 12 steals BYU had against Weber State in December.
-- The win over UNLV was the first home game this season that was decided by less than 14 points. It was also the eighth BYU game this year decided in the final minute. BYU is now 4-4 in those games.
-- BYU managed to win Saturday despite its worst shooting night of the season from behind the arc. Luiz Lemes opened BYU's scoring with a trey but that would end up being the only triple made by the Cougars Saturday. BYU went 1-15 (6.7 percent) -- the Cougars lowest percentage in the Marriott Center by a Steve Cleveland team and the lowest shooting percentage overall since going 1-16 (6.2 percent) at Colorado State on Jan. 20, 2001 in a loss. The last time BYU did not make a trey in a game was the year before Cleveland's arrival when the Cougars went 0-9 against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 22, 1996 during the team's 1-25 season.
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.
FREQUENT FLYERS RETURN HOME
BYU hasn't been home much over the past six weeks. With its game Saturday against UNLV, the Cougars ended a stretch where they played eight of 11 games on the road. BYU went 5-6 in those games, including its first three-game losing skid since MWC play of 2002. With their win over the Rebels Saturday, the Cougars have played the first of five home games over their final eight regular-season contests. The Cougars have traditionally finished strong under Steve Cleveland to earn postseason bids and have shared the conference title in two of the last three years.
CLEVELAND APPROACHES MARRIOTT CENTER MILESTONE
Cougar head coach Steve Cleveland currently has the third-most wins in the Marriott Center with an 80-18 record in the Cougars' home arena. He will tie Frank Arnold for second at 81 with his next home win. Roger Reid has the most Marriott Center wins with 92. Ladell Andersen is fourth with 71. With BYU's seventh win this season, 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 121-85 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.
Luiz Lemes recorded a career-high 10 assists vs. UNLV, while Rafael Araujo posted his 12th double-double. 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 also scored 21 points, one below his season-high, and Araujo recorded a 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 played eight minutes vs. UNLV after missing the prior three games with a back injury he suffered against Wyoming. Jensen missed a game for the first time during his career at Air Force, ending a string of 78 straight games played, including 58 starts. Cougar backup point guard Terry Nashif has missed the past two games with mononucleosis and is listed as week-to-week. He will not play Monday vs. SDSU. The Cougars have played the entire season without guard Ricky Bower, who was the team's sixth man last year with five starts, due to a back injury.
The Cougars have won at home this year by an average of 21.7 points. Saturday's three-point win over UNLV was the only close game in the Marriott Center where BYU is 9-0 this year. The closest final margin in the prior eight contests was a 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 9-0, BYU averages 81.0 points while giving up just 59.3. The Cougars shoot .494 in the Marriott Center, including .379 on threes, and .715 from the line. One big difference on the road has been the scoring output of BYU point guard Luiz Lemes. In nine home games where he is averaging 28.3 minutes, he has scored 10.8 ppg while shooting .508 from the floor and .481 (13-27) 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 19.7 ppg at home and 16.7 in true away games. Among players who have scored more in true away games for BYU include Mark Bigelow (14.2 away, 12.2 at home) and Jared Jensen (5.7 away, 3.8 at home).
CLEVELAND WAS 2003 MWC COACH OF THE YEAR
BYU coach Steve Cleveland was named MWC Coach of the Year in 2003. At 23-9 last year, BYU achieved its fourth straight postseason tournament invitation and third 20-win season in the last four years.
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.
ARAUJO RANKS AMONG NATIONAL DOUBLE-DOUBLE LEADERS
Araujo posted his 12th double-double this year on Saturday and has 19 for his career. His 12 double-double games is tied for fourth (as of Saturday night) nationally. 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. 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 Saturday's games, he is the top scorer and rates second in total rebounds, offensive rebounds and defensive rebounds, is sixth in blocked shots and eighth in field goal percentage.
BIGELOW PASSED COSIC AS THE NO. 9 ALL-TIME SCORER AT BYU
Senior Mark Bigelow (1,576 points) moved past former Cougar great Kresimir Cosic into ninth place on BYU's all-time scoring list against Wyoming. Cosic scored 1,512 points in only three seasons from 1971-73. Bigelow moved out of a tie with Jay Cheesman (1,408 points from 1974-77) in 10th place against Utah State on Dec. 23. He surpassed current BYU assistant coach Andy Toolson (1,388 points from 1985, 88-90) against USC on Dec. 13 after overtaking Roland Minson (1,375 from 1949-51) against Western Oregon on Dec. 10.
MWC ADDRESSES END OF BYU-UNM GAME
COLORADO SPRINGS -- Following a thorough analysis of all available information, including a review of multiple sources of visual and audio evidence, the Mountain West Conference has determined that an inadvertent whistle did occur near the conclusion of the BYU vs. New Mexico men's basketball contest played on Monday, January 26 in Albuquerque. The inadvertent whistle apparently prompted BYU student-athlete Mark Bigelow to enter the playing floor from the bench area and interfere with an opposing player -- thus resulting in a technical foul against the Cougars. Had the inadvertent whistle been immediately recognized, play would have been halted and Mr. Bigelow's action would not have prompted a technical foul. In response to these circumstances, the Conference has released an official from his next two MWC officiating assignments this season. In addition, the official will not be eligible for assignment to the MWC Basketball Championships. The MWC has also communicated directly with all appropriate individuals from the two participating institutions. "The Mountain West Conference expects the highest level of performance and conduct from each of its constituents. These standards cannot be compromised," said MWC commissioner Craig Thompson. "While this is an unfortunate situation, the game officials must be held to the same degree of accountability as the student-athletes, coaches and administrators."
BYU has played eight games this year where the outcome was in question entering the final minute. The Cougars have gone 4-4 in those games, including its 64-61 win Saturday against UNLV when Mike Hall made a key block to seal the victory. 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 12-0 when leading with five minutes remaining and 12-1 when holding the advantage or is tied with one minute in the game.
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 9-0 at home this year and has won 14 straight overall in the Marriott Center. BYU has won 58 of its last 59 games at home and is 53-1 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.
NONCONFERENCE VICTORY STREAK IN THE MARRIOTT CENTER
The Cougars have defeated 40 straight non-conference 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.
COUGAR FANS SHOWING SUPPORT
BYU is averaging 14,330 after nine home games this year, slightly ahead of last year's pace. 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.
BYU h as played two of the nation's hottest teams this year, handing 17-2 Oklahoma State one of its two losses and losing by two points at 19-1 Utah State. The seven teams to beat BYU this year have a combined 92-40 (.697) record.
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 5-5 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; three-point win over UNLV; 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 14-0
On the road 0-5
On a neutral floor 2-0
At home vs. Nonconference 40-0
At home vs. MWC 8-0
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 5-3
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