Game 23 - BYU Plays at SDSU Monday

Sophomore Austin Ainge leads all Mountain West Conference players in assists in league games after the first half of the conference season. BYU begins the second half of MWC play at San Diego State Monday. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

BYU (8-14, 2-5 MWC) will face San Diego State (9-11, 3-4 MWC) Monday at 7 p.m. PST (8 p.m. MST) at Cox Arena in San Diego. The game is a SportsWest telecast aired in Utah on UPN-Z24 and is available nationally via ESPN FULL COURT. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 (KSL.com).

UP NEXT FOR THE COUGARS

The Cougars return home for two games when they match up against Wyoming and Colorado State. The Cougars and Cowboys will meet Saturday Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. while tip-off for BYU-CSU is set for Monday Feb. 14 at 8 p.m. Both games will be televised by SportsWest Productions.

BYU GAME #23 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (8-14, 2-5 MWC) at SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS (9-11, 3-4 MWC)

MONDAY, FEB. 7, 2005

COX ARENA (12,414)

SAN DIEGO 7 p.m. PST (8 p.m. MST)

Coaches:

BYU, Steve Cleveland (137-101 in eighth season; same overall)

SDSU, Steve Fisher (79-90 in sixth season; 263-172 in 14th season overall)

Series:

BYU leads, 38-17 (SDSU defeated the Cougars in the Cougars in the Marriott Center earlier this year)

TV:

SportsWest (UPN KPNZ-24 in Salt Lake City, Cox 4 in San Diego and available nationally via ESPN FULL COURT)

Radio:

KSL 1160, BYU Sports Network (Greg Wrubell calls play-by-play with Brian Santiago adding commentary)

Web:

Live audio and live stats are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (see upcoming schedule)

COUGAR QUICK HITS

- BYU (8-14, 2-5 MWC) is 5-6 at home, 2-5 away and 1-3 on a neutral floor. BYU's non-league schedule this season included four Pac-10 opponents and two ACC teams. The Cougars have faced three top-25 teams this season (North Carolina, North Carolina State, Utah).

- Seven of BYU's losses have been single-digit setbacks, including five by five points or less and four defeats of three-points or less. All eight BYU wins have been double-digit victories.

- BYU coach Steve Cleveland will pass Frank Arnold (1975-83) and move into fourth place on BYU's all-time victory list with a win at San Diego State Monday. He tied Arnold Saturday with the victory at UNLV.

- BYU coach Steve Cleveland has utilized 15 different starting lineups this season while dealing with injuries and inconsistent play from an inexperienced roster. He has used the same lineup the last three games -- the first time this year the same five players have started three consecutive games.

- The 10 BYU players averaging double-digit minutes this season include six sophomores, three seniors and one freshman. Only three players -- seniors Mike Hall and Jared Jensen and sophomore Garner Meads -- averaged more than 10 minutes during a prior season as a Cougar. Of BYU's freshmen top-20 signing class, only F/C Chris Miles is currently playing as David Burgess (ankles) and Trent Plaisted (knees) are out while top guard prospect and Arizona Player of the Year Lee Cummard has not been with the team this year after opting to serve an LDS Church mission. After returning early, he will join BYU next season.

- Senior guard Mike Hall leads BYU in scoring at 13.4 ppg. Sophomore point guard Austin Ainge contributes 9.8 ppg while sophomore guard Mike Rose adds 9.4 ppg. Ainge leads BYU with 4.1 assists (3rd in MWC; 5.4 apg in league games tops MWC). Sophomore transfer Keena Young pulls down a team-best 5.8 rebounds with sophomore center Derek Dawes adding 5.0 rpg.

- BYU shoots .428 from the floor, .362 from three and .743 (No. 1 MWC, 26th nationally) from the line while averaging 68.1 ppg. BYU opponents have shot .429 (FG) and .340 (3FG) while scoring 68.4 ppg. BYU is dead even with its opponents in rebounding over the first 22 games, each pulling down 35.3 rpg.

LOOKING AT SDSU

The Aztecs are currently 9-11 on the season, including a 3-4 mark in the MWC. SDSU has lost its last three games after starting league play 3-1, including road wins at BYU and at UNLV. The Aztecs are 6-6 at home this year, including a 1-2 home mark in conference play (win was over CSU; suffered overtime loss to Wyoming and a 20-point setback to No. 21 Utah Saturday). San Diego State returns nine letterwinners and four starters from last season's 14-16 team that finished tied for fifth in the Mountain West Conference with a 5-9 record. Sophomore guard Brandon Heath (6-4) and sophomore forward Marcus Slaughter (6-8), both All-MWC Honorable Mention recipients in 2004, lead the team in scoring with identical 17.6 points per game averages. Slaughter also leads the Aztecs in rebounding, pulling down 9.0 boards per game. Center Chris Manker (7-0) is third on the team in scoring with 7.9 points per game while senior forward Chris Walton adds 7.4. Transfer Mohamed Camara, a 6-10 center, is second on the team in rebounds, averaging 4.4 boards per game while Heath ranks third at 3.6. As a team, SDSU is shooting 42.9 percent from field goal range, including 32.7 percent from three-point range and 66.4 percent from the free-throw line, while scoring 68.1 points per game. The Aztecs allow their opponents to shoot 44.3 percent from the field while making 33.7 percent from beyond the arc and scoring 68.8 points per game. On the boards, Aztec opponents hold a 35.7 to 32.7 edge.

LAST OUTING - AZTECS CAN'T STOP NO. 21 UTAH

SAN -- Andrew Bogut had 15 points and 13 rebounds, and No. 21 Utah extended its winning streak to 14 games with a 61-41 win over San Diego State on Saturday night. Justin Hawkins added 15 points for Utah (19-3, 7-0 Mountain West), which extended its conference lead to two games over second-place Air Force. Richard Chaney scored nine of his 11 points in the second half. The Utes' winning streak is their longest since closing out the 2002 regular season with 19 consecutive victories. Utah, which became the first Mountain West team to start conference play with seven straight wins, has beaten San Diego State in 27 of 29 games. Marcus Slaughter led San Diego State (9-11, 3-4) with 18 points and eight rebounds. Brandon Heath, the Aztecs' leading scorer with an 18.2 average, was limited to six points in 3-for-8 shooting. Utah, which led by seven points at halftime, dominated the Aztecs in the second half. The Utes shot 53.8 percent in the second half after making 38.3 percent of their shots in the first 20 minutes. The Utes missed 19 of their first 24 shots, but rebounded by shooting 5-for-8 in the final 7 minutes and closed out the first half on a 15-6 run for a 28-21 lead. Marc Jackson keyed the run with 3-point baskets on consecutive possessions, giving the Utes a 24-15 lead with just over three minutes left. Utah built its lead to 34-23 four minutes into the second half on Bogut's jump hook, then went up 42-27 on a three-point play by Chaney at the 8:56 mark. Utah held the Aztecs to 34.1 percent shooting from the field and had a 36-23 rebounding edge.

SAN DIEGO STATE'S PROJECTED STARTERS

Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG

F 3 Chris Walton 6-8 234 Sr. 7.4 3.1

F 42 Marcus Slaughter 6-8 223 So. 17.6 9.0

C 50 Mohamed Camara 6-10 265 Jr. 2.7 4.4

G 01 Brandon Heath 6-3 183 So. 17.6 3.6

G 15 John Sharper 6-0 195 Jr. 6.2 1.3

SERIES NOTES

BYU owns a 38-17 advantage over the Aztecs in a series that dates back to 1941. The Cougars are 15-13 in San Diego, 23-3 in Provo and 11-4 under head coach Steve Cleveland. BYU has won 11 of the last 15 games but the two teams have split the last eight contests. In the first meeting this season, Chris Walton scored as time expired to give the Aztecs a 59-57 win, their first in Provo since 1996.The two teams split last season's games with each squad winning in its home arena. SDSU defeated the Cougars 65-61 in San Diego last January on a last-second bucket and a disputed technical foul call. One month later, the Aztecs forced overtime in Provo, but fell 83-69 as Cougar Mike Hall blocked the game-winning shot with 2.7 seconds left in regulation and then sparked BYU on a 16-0 overtime run to seal the victory.

BYU SERIES RECORD VS. SAN DIEGO STATE

Overall Series Record: BYU leads 38-17

BYU Record in Provo: 23-3

BYU Record in San Diego: 15-13

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-1

BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 11-4

BYU Record in Overtime Games: 3-2 (1-1 Rd, 2-1 Hm)

Last Overtime Game: 2004, BYU won in Provo, 83-69

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

THIS SEASON IN PROVO --COUGARS FALL TO SDSU IN HEARTBREAKER

PROVO -- BYU's men's basketball team lost to the San Diego State Aztecs 59-57 on the final shot to open Mountain West Conference play Saturday in the Marriott Center. The Cougars started the game strong with a lot of energy, jumping on the Aztecs with a 10-0 run. Behind quick scoring from senior Mike Hall and aggressive play from freshman Chris Miles, BYU took control of the game early, leading 28-19 at the half. However, with turnovers plaguing the Cougars in the second half and almost no offense in critical situations, SDSU clawed their way back to take the lead 42-40 with 10:31 remaining in the game. "We didn't have a real good offense tonight," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "It's unfortunate that we didn't score more." BYU closed the gap, but crucial mistakes resulting in turnovers by the Cougars in the waning moments allowed SDSU to capitalize. With one second left and the scored tied at 57, the Aztecs' Chris Walton hit the falling away game-winning shot. "The players are hurting and if you've never played the game, you won't understand," Cleveland said. Hall led the Cougars in scoring with 16 points, while Jared Jensen added 10. Five different Cougar players had six or more rebounds; Jensen (7), Hall (6), Mike Rose (6), Austin Ainge (6), and Garner Meads (6), contributing to a season-high total of 47. Until this game, BYU had been 5-0 when leading with five minutes remaining in the game. "What you'll remember from this game is the mistakes in the last minutes," Cleveland said. With the loss BYU falls to 5-10 on the season while the Aztecs move to 7-7. BYU next plays Montana State-Billings to finish out non-conference action January 11 at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.

WHAT COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME IN PROVO THIS YEAR ...

"What you'll remember from this game is the three mistakes in the last minute. It was certainly a struggle to score like we did in the second half. We did everything we needed to do but win the game. It hurts, it hurts the players and the coaches. We got the shots we needed but didn't knock them down. We have got to get better. That's the only approach we can take. "

LAST YEAR 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 COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME IN SAN DIEGO LAST YEAR ...

"We did so many good things to get ourselves back in the game, but turnovers made the difference."

BYU's LAST OUTING - BALDERSON SCORES BIG, ainge steps up in overtime in COUGAR VICTORY

LAS -- Jimmy Balderson ignited the Cougars Saturday, scoring a career-high 23 points to overcome a tough UNLV team in overtime, 82-72, in the Thomas & Mack Center. BYU point guard Austin Ainge led the way in overtime, adding 12 of his 19 points and dishing out five assists. "This group has had to overcome a lot this season," Cleveland said. "And to win on the road here is just what the doctor ordered." The Cougars battled hard against the Rebels, holding on to a small lead for nearly 14 minutes of the first half. The Cougars were carried by sophomore guard Balderson, who hit three three-pointers and finished the half with 11 points. Late in the half, UNLV's Odartey Blankson scored on a lay-up to give the Rebels a one-point advantage, which they extended to a 33-27 halftime lead. In the second half, the Cougars capitalized on a Mike Hall three-pointer and two more long-bombs from Balderson to regain the lead, 39-37. The Rebels would quickly regain their lead by sensational play from senior forward Blankson, who finished with a career-high 33 points and 13 rebounds. In the last two minutes of play, the Cougars went on a 6-0 run to only trail by one, 60-61 with 18.9 seconds on the clock. With less than 10 seconds to go, BYU center Derek Dawes missed a jump-hook, but Balderson came up with the rebound and was fouled on a three-point shot. Balderson made all three free throws to give BYU a 63-61 lead with 5.6 seconds left. However, UNLV's Jerel Blassingame drove to the basket and connected on a lay-up to send the game into overtime. BYU jumped on the Rebels to start the extra period, led by sophomore Ainge, who helped lift the Cougars to an eight-point lead. The Rebels never recovered from the Cougars' dominating play and 83.3 percent shooting in O.T., falling even with BYU at 2-5 in league play. Hall added 16 points for BYU, while Keena Young scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds. BYU finished the game shooting 40.7 percent.

BALDERSON STEPPING UP

Jimmy Balderson led BYU in scoring this past week, averaging 18.0 ppg while adding 4.5 rebounds per game. He shot .524 (11-for-21) from the floor, including an outstanding .615 success rate (8-of-13) from behind the three-point arc. His 23 points at UNLV set a new career high.

LINEUP STABILITY, RELATIVELY SPEAKING

BYU has used 15 different lineups this year in 22 games but the Cougars have stayed with the same starting five for the past three games -- a first this season. BYU is 2-1 in those games with wins over New Mexico and at UNLV. Between the two wins, the Cougars led at halftime before falling to No. 21 Utah. This current lineup consists of four sophomores (Austin Ainge, Jimmy Balderson, Keena Young, Derek Dawes) and one senior (Mike Hall).

STREET & SMITH'S NAMES BYU THE No.36 BASKETBALL PROGRAM ALL-TIME

The BYU men's basketball program has been named one of the nation's all-time greatest basketball programs. Street & Smith's has produced a publication (released Jan. 25) recognizing the "100 Greatest College Basketball Programs of All Time," ranking BYU No. 36 on its list. Kentucky is named the No. 1 basketball program, with UCLA, North Carolina, Kansas and Duke completing the top five. Indiana, Louisville, Arkansas, UConn and Cincinnati round out the top 10. Street & Smith's graded each program's basketball history on the basis of NCAA Tournament success, NIT success, national championships, conference regular-season and tournament titles, all-time win-loss percentage, graduation rate, NCAA infractions, NBA first-round draft picks and mascot ferocity. Five Mountain West Conference teams made the list with Utah ranked 11th, UNLV 28th, BYU 36th, Wyoming 42nd and New Mexico 98th. Other in-state schools recognized include Weber State at No. 51 and Utah State at No. 82. Since BYU's first season in 1903, Cougar fans have cheered BYU to 82 winning seasons, 26 conference titles, 21 NCAA invites and 2 NIT titles, while Cougar players have earned 40 All-America and 96 all-conference citations, 43 NBA Draft selections and one National Player of the Year award. BYU entered the season No. 19 all-time in total victories and No. 36 in winning percentage.

DAWES NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Jan. 31)

Sophomore center Derek Dawes earned MWC Player of the Week honors last Monday (Jan. 31) for his career night against New Mexico, marking the first award of his career. The 6-foot-11 Dawes set career bests of 14 points, 6-of-7 (.857) shooting, and 4 blocks while tying career marks of 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in the victory. He was also perfect from the free-throw line (2-2) in 32 minutes of action. After his only missed shot of the game, Dawes used his hustle to regain the Cougar possession by stealing a Lobo pass. Dawes' energy and effort in the post led the Cougars to a 68-53 win over the Lobos, their first MWC win of the season. The 14-point, 10-rebound double-double was the first of his career.

YOUNG MAKING A NAME FOR HIMSELF

Keena Young is No. 3 among MWC in field goal percentage in league games (.591). He has scored in double figures the last five games while making a combined 25-of-42 (.600) from the floor. He is averaging 11.6 points and 6.6 rebounds over that span. He tied a career-high 14 points against UNM and AFA. He also scored 14 points against Chaminade and Weber State this year. He recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds vs. Air Force. The transfer has made 12 starts thus far in his first season at Brigham Young. The 6-foot-6 Texan has several name connections to BYU. Aside from his last name of Young, Keena's father is named Cleveland, also the name of BYU head basketball coach Steve Cleveland, and Keena's mother is named Lavella, which is similar to BYU's legendary football coach LaVell Edwards.

AINGE PROVING POINT

Point guard Austin Ainge is one of BYU's young players taking advantage of his opportunity for playing time this season. He has earned the starting position and currently tops the MWC in assists in league games (5.4 apg) while ranking third overall (4.1 apg). He is also second on the team in scoring at 9.8 ppg and in steals (1.3 spg). He scored 19 points at UNLV, including 12 in overtime. He scored a career-high 25 points at CSU. He had a career-high 7 rebounds vs. Santa Clara and a career-most 8 assists vs. NC State, MSU-Billings and New Mexico.

CURRENT BYU WIN/LOSS STREAKS ...

At home 0-1

On the road 1-0

On a neutral floor 0-1

At home vs. Nonconference 3-0

At home vs. MWC 0-1

On the road vs. Nonconference 0-2

On the road vs. MWC 1-0

On a neutral floor vs. Nonconference 0-1

On a neutral floor vs. MWC 0-1

at regular season tournament 1-0

at MWC Tournament 0-1

at NCAA Tournament 0-5

at NIT 0-1

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