Game 24 - BYU Hosts New Mexico Saturday at 7 p.m.

PROVO, Utah -- Riding a four-game winning streak, BYU (16-7, 6-4 MWC) begins a three-game homestand Saturday when it hosts the New Mexico Lobos (13-9, 4-5 MWC) at 7 p.m. (MST) in the Marriott Center. The game is a SportsWest telecast (KSL-5 in Salt Lake City and KRQE-TV in Albuquerque), which is also available via ESPN Full Court. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160, beginning with a one-hour pregame show. Live audio and live stats are available online 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.

UP NEXT

BYU hosts league-leading Air Force Monday at 8:30 p.m. (MST) in the Marriott Center (SportsWest, KPNZ, Z-24 UPN in Salt Lake City; KXRM in Colorado Springs).

GAME #24 FAST FACTS (MWC GAME #11)

BYU COUGARS (16-7, 6-4 MWC) vs. NEW MEXICO LOBOS (13-9, 4-5 MWC)

SATURDAY, FEB. 21, 2004

MARRIOTT CENTER (22,700)

PROVO, UTAH

7:07 p.m. (MST)

Coaches:

BYU, Steve Cleveland (124-85 in seventh year; same overall)

UNM, Ritchie McKay (23-27 in second year; 106-116 in eighth year overall)

Series:

BYU leads, 65-48; First meeting this year: UNM won 65-63 in Albuquerque on Jan. 26

TV:

SportsWest Productions (KSL-5 in Salt Lake City; KRQE-TV in Albuquerque; ESPN Full Court)

Air Time: 7 p.m. (MST)

Play-by-Play: Tom Kirkland

Game Analyst: Craig Hislop

Radio:

KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)

Pregame Air Time: 6 p.m. (MST)

Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell

Game Analyst: Mark Durrant

Web:

Live stats and audio links are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2003-04 schedule); audio also available on KSL.com and via BYU Radio on the Dish Network and at byuradio.org.

COSMO CELEBRATES 50TH BIRTHDAY SATURDAY AT BYU vs. NEW MEXICO GAME

BYU's mascot, Cosmo the Cougar, will celebrate his 50th birthday Saturday at the BYU vs. New Mexico game in the Marriott Center. Cosmo has been the BYU mascot for 50 years. Some 40 former Cosmos will be at the game, where there will be a ceremony during halftime. The cougar, chosen as BYU's mascot by former coach Eugene L. Roberts during the early 1920s, has undergone a tremendous evolution since its inception to become what is now known as Cosmo the Cougar. In 1924, BYU purchased a pair of cougar cubs. One cub died in 1929 and the other was taken to the old Salt Lake Zoo. BYU procured its mascots from nearby zoos and local bounty hunters but never owned its own cougars again. BYU had a live cougar prowling the sidelines of BYU athletic events on a regular basis through the late 1940s and on special occasions in the 1960s. Cosmo the Cougar, the brainchild of pep chairman Dwayne Stevenson, made his first official appearance before BYU fans on Oct. 15, 1953. At a cost of 73 dollars for the costume, Stevenson's roommate, Daniel T. Gallego, became the first Cosmo. According to Gallego, the name Cosmo was derived from BYU's diverse student body, "a very international, cosmopolitan school." Cosmo's antics and acrobatics are a big part of the game-day experience. Cosmo has become an icon of Cougar sports to fans and foes across the country.

COUGAR CAPSULE

The Cougars (16-7, 6-4) has won four straight games and is currently third in the MWC standings. The preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference, BYU 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 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. Newcomers include junior transfer Mike Hall and freshmen Garner Meads, Mike Rose and Austin Ainge. Araujo is averaging 18.3 points and 10.3 rebounds to lead BYU this year. Bigelow adds 13.3 points and 3.7 rebounds while Hall contributes 12.6 points and 3.6 rebounds. First-year starter Luiz Lemes, a senior combo guard in his second year in Provo, leads the team in assists (4.5). As a team, the Cougars shoot .478 from the floor, .342 on threes, and .734 from the line while scoring 73.1 points per game. BYU allows 64.4 points while the opposition has shot .446 from the field and .327 from behind the arc. BYU has an average rebounding advantage of 5.9.

NEW MEXICO LOBOS

New Mexico returns six lettermen from last year's team that finished 10-18 and has added some talented newcomers. The Lobos are 13-9 this year, including a fourth-place 4-5 MWC mark. They are coming off a 51-50 loss at league-leading Air Force last Saturday. UNM is 13-3 at home and 0-6 on the road this year. In league play, the Lobos lost at Wyoming (82-77), at UNLV (89-80), at SDSU (72-68), at Air Force (51-50) and at home to the Falcons (68-42). Lobo league wins have been in The Pit over Utah (70-54), BYU (65-63), CSU (63-51) and Wyoming (87-75).New Mexico has had a full roster now for the past 16 games since transfers Troy DeVries from Portland State and Danny Granger from Bradley became eligible to play. The Lobos are led by Granger who is scoring 20.8 points and pulling down 9.0 rebounds. Four Lobos score in double figures as Granger is supported in the scoring column by David Chiotti (13.2), Javin Tindall (12.7), and DeVries (11.6). Alfred Neale adds 9.8 ppg. As a team, the Lobos shoot .466 from the floor, .386 on threes, and .730 from the line to score 71.3 points per game. The Lobos are giving up 64.0 points while their opponents have combined to shoot .430 from the field and .348 from behind the arc. UNM has a 2.4 advantage per game on the boards.

UNM's LAST OUTING -- LEAGUE-LEADING FALCONS EDGE LOBOS AT THE ACADEMY

USAFA, Col. - Antoine Hood made a free throw with 9.7 seconds left to give Air Force a 51-50 victory over New Mexico. The Lobos fall to 13-9 overall and 4-5 in the Mountain West Conference. Air Force improves to 18-3 and maintains its first-place standing in the league at 8-1. UNM has now lost 23 straight road games, including 16 consecutive MWC contests away from home. With the score tied at 50, Hood was fouled by Troy DeVries. Hood made the first, but missed the second. UNM's Danny Granger got the rebound, but his 3-point try to win the game was off the mark as time expired. Granger led the Lobos with 15 points and seven rebounds. The Lobos led 41-34 with 11:23 left in the game following a basket by David Chiotti. The Falcons chipped away and took a 45-44 lead on a pair of free throws by Nick Welch with 3:26 left. Trailing 48-46, seldom-used reserve Jeff Hart nailed a 3-pointer as the Lobos regained the lead at 49-48 with 1:19 to play. Hood made a pair of free throws with 1:04 remaining as the Falcons got the lead back at 50-49. Chiotti tied the game at 50 by making one of two fouls shots with 33 seconds left.

NEW MEXICO'S PROJECTED STARTERS (BASED ON LAST GAME)

POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG

F 21 Alfred Neale 6-5 200 Jr. 9.8 5.8

F 33 Danny Granger 6-8 220 Jr. 20.8 9.0

C 13 David Chiotti 6-9 240 So. 13.2 5.7

G 2 Troy DeVries 6-2 190 Jr. 11.6 2.9

G 11 Javin Tindall 5-11 165 Sr. 12.7 2.0

SERIES NOTES

This will be the 114th game in the series that started in the 1949-50 season. The Cougars lead the series 65-48. BYU had a four-game winning streak in the series halted with UNM's 65-63 win at The Pit this year. BYU swept the season series last year and defeated the Lobos in the opening round of the 2003 MWC Tournament. BYU has won eight of the last 10 games in the series after New Mexico had won eight of the prior nine contests. New Mexico's last win in Provo was a 78-74 win in in 2000, which was BYU's last loss in the Marriott Center prior to starting its 44-game nation-leading homecourt victory string that was ended last year by Utah. It is still the last time any team from outside the state of Utah has beaten the Cougars in the Marriott Center. BYU coach Steve Cleveland is 9-7 vs. the Lobos.

BYU vs. NEW MEXICO SERIES BREAKDOWN

Overall Series Record: BYU leads 65-48

BYU Record in Provo: 42-16

BYU Record in Albuquerque: 22-32

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 4-3

BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 9-7

BYU Record in Overtime Games: 1-3 (1-1 Rd, 0-2 Hm)

Last Overtime Game: 1994, lost in Provo, 82-84

Longest BYU Win Streak: 14 (1950-57)

Longest New Mexico Win Streak: 5 (1996-98)

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 30, 92-62 two times in

1955 and 1959

Largest New Mexico Margin of Victory: 42, 74-32 in 1997

Most Points Scored by BYU: 100 in 1979

Most Points Scored by New Mexico: 102 in 1987

MWC ADDRESSED END OF BYU-UNM GAME AT THE PIT

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."

RECENT SERIES OUTINGS

THIS YEAR AT UNM -- COUGARS LOSE WILD ONE AT THE PIT

ALBUQUERQUE -- In five seconds of playing time, the Cougars (12-6, 2-2) went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows Monday night, losing a tight contest at New Mexico (11-6, 2-2), 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, at the time 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 a well-placed Lobo inbounds pass sailed 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.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. 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 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.

WHAT BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME AT UNM THIS YEAR ...

"It was a difficult game to lose, one in which I thought we played very well and put ourselves in a position to win. I'm disappointed in losing, but I'm not disappointed in this basketball team. Almost everything that we wanted to do and that we challenged our team to do happened."

LAST YEAR AT MWC TOURNEY -- BYU DEFEATS NEW MEXICO TO OPEN MWC TOURNAMENT

LAS VEGAS -- BYU turned it on in the second half to win its first-round game at the MWC Tournament, beating New Mexico for the third time of the season, 71-56. The Cougars (23-7) trailed much of the first half but took the lead at 21-20 with 1:07 to go before the half on a three-point play by Rafael Araujo. The next trip down, Ricky Bower extended the lead to 25-20 on a three-pointer. BYU enjoyed the five-point lead at the break. The Lobos regained the lead in the second half at 30-25 with 16:56 to play, but BYU went on a 14-0 run by holding the Lobos scoreless for over the next seven minutes. BYU was able to run and get some easy buckets by beating New Mexico up the court. Mark Bigelow finished the game with 14 points but was held without a trey for the first time since the game against UNLV earlier in the season on the same court. BYU looked to its big man throughout the game as Araujo grabbed the first lead of the game for the Cougars and helped the team hold it. He led BYU with 19 points and 13 rebounds including six at the offensive end. Senior Travis Hansen struggled from the floor, shooting just 4-for-13 and totaling 11 points. Hansen fulfilled his leadership role despite the scoring below his average. He kept the team focused in timeouts and made key shots when a bucket was needed. BYU shot 47 percent for the game compared to 40 percent for the Lobos. The Cougars struggled from behind the arc shooting just 25 percent, but did make 83 percent of their free throws on 19-for-23. Guard Kevin Woodberry turned in another great effort with 10 points, four assists, three steals, two blocks, and no turnovers. Several Cougars traded the responsibility of guarding MWC MVP Ruben Douglas. Bigelow, Hansen, Luiz Lemes and Woodberry all pitched in to control Douglas, holding him to just 18 points. For UNM Mark Walters scored 11 points and David Chiotti chipped in 10.

WHAT BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE MWC TOURNAMENT GAME LAST YEAR ...

"Defensively we played solid the entire game but struggled a little in the first half. In the second half we did a much better job getting the ball inside. We have something to prove every time we play and we need to keep that in mind no matter where we play."

LAST YEAR AT BYU -- DOUGLAS SCORES 39 BUT BALANCED COUGARS GET 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. 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. 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.

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

"We tried a lot of things on Ruben but they didn't work. 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."

WHAT UNM COACH RITCHIE MCKAY HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME IN PROVO LAST YEAR ...

"This was the best team we've played all year. There is not an offensive weakness out there--at least not that I could see."

BYU NOTES

GAME 23 RECAP -- SHOFF SPARKS RUN AS COUGARS SWEEP FRONT RANGE WITH WIN AT CSU

FORT COLLINS -- Rafael Araujo recorded his 13th double-double of the season, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, as the Cougars (16-7, 6-4) defeated Colorado State (11-12, 3-7) 79-73 Monday night at Moby arena. Araujo and Ram center Matt Nelson battled back and forth all night with Nelson scoring 24 points to lead all scorers, but the most pivotal stretch of the game came when Araujo was sitting on the bench with four fouls. CSU had battled back from a seven-point deficit to tie the game at 54 when BYU's Jake Shoff replaced Araujo. Shoff helped ignite a 15-4 run, scoring five points in less than one minute before collecting his fourth foul. Shoff finished the game with a season-high nine points and three rebounds in only 12 minutes of work. "Bench play was critical to our success," coach Steve Cleveland said. "(Kevin) Woodberry was solid. Jake Shoff had a good game, and (Jared) Jensen contributed tonight." Following the Cougar run, BYU led by 11 points and held on to win by six points, giving BYU its second straight road win. With the win, the Cougars swept the Front Range road trip in back-to-back years for the first time since the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons. BYU won in back-to-back years at CSU for the first time in 10 years. The Cougars opened the game with sloppy play, falling behind by 11 points early, but the Cougars exploded for a 20-2 run to take a 28-21 lead. BYU extended its lead to nine points before the Rams closed the half on a 6-0 run to cut the Cougar lead to 35-32 at the half. CSU continued its run into the second half, eventually tying the score at 36, but BYU fought back with another run of its own to take a seven point lead, which the Rams would quickly erase. But BYU had one more run up its sleeve that put Colorado State away for good. BYU scored 19 fast-break points, using its defense to ignite several scoring runs. Three Cougars scored in double figures as Mike Hall totaled 14 points and Mark Bigelow added 10. Freshman Dwight Boatner contributed 11 points for CSU while Matt Williams and Michael Morris each added 10 points. BYU had a 41-30 advantage on the boards, including 14 offensive rebounds.

GAME 22 RECAP -- BIGELOW'S BIG GAME LIFTS COUGARS OVER COWBOYS

LARAMIE -- Mark Bigelow scored 21 points, including 16 in the first half, to lead three Cougars in double figures past the Cowboys 67-53 Saturday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium. "You win games like these typically with seniors," coach Steve Cleveland said of Bigelow's performance, "Mark along with Rafa (Araujo), Shoff, Woodberry and Lemes gave us a big lift tonight." BYU jumped out to a quick lead in the first half as Mike Hall and Bigelow each hit three-pointers to open the game for the Cougars, and Bigelow added another basket to cap an 8-0 run. The Cougars extended their lead to 10 at 25-15 with just over seven minutes left in the game following Bigelow's fourth three of the first half, but the Cowboys would reel off 10 straight points to tie the game at 25, before BYU would extend its lead to three at the half. Rafael Araujo was sitting on the bench during Wyoming's run with two fouls, allowing the Cowboys to score in the paint. Before Araujo was forced to sit because of foul trouble, he was playing excellent post defense, picking up two steals in the first half and three overall. BYU opened the second half much like they did the first half, extending its lead to 11 points with 12:10 on a basket by Luiz Lemes, capping a 6-0 run by the Cougars. The Cowboys kept hanging around, cutting the Cougars' lead to six points at 56-50 after a three-point basket by Mikel Watson. Wyoming had an opportunity to cut BYU's lead to four, but David Adams, a 77 percent free-throw shooter, missed two straight foul shots, and BYU outscored the Cowboys 11-3 to close the game and account for the final score. "In the last five minutes of the game, we were in control," Cleveland said. "Road wins are always the ones you cherish the most." After hitting just 5 of 34 three-pointers in two games last week, the Cougars recovered to hit 7 of 15 in this game, including a season-high four three-pointers by Bigelow. "I told Mark, 'If you're open, shoot the ball," Cleveland said, trying to infuse confidence in the senior forward. Hall followed up his 20-point game with another solid outing scoring 13 points and Araujo added 12 points and nine boards, just missing his 13th double-double of the season. Joe Ries led the Cowboys with 16 points and 11 rebounds. BYU ends a five-game losing streak on the road and improves to 5-4 in the conference and 15-7 overall, while the Cowboys are now 2-7 in the conference and 9-13 overall.

BYU ACHIEVES RARE SUCCESS ON THE FRONT RANGE

BYU swept the Wyoming-CSU road trip for the second straight season. The last time BYU swept the Cowboys and Rams in back-to-back years was during the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons. BYU last won at CSU in consecutive years 10 years ago during the 1992-93 and 1993-94 seasons. BYU last won consecutive trips to Wyoming in 1994-95 and 1995-96.

COUGARS PRODUCING IN TRANSITION

BYU has pushed the ball more during its current four-game winning streak. The Cougarsaveraged 3.7 fast-break points to their opponents' 2.0 transition points over the first six MWC games, posting a 2-4 record. In the last four games -- all victories, BYU has scored 14.0 points per game in transition, while opponents have averaged 3.3 fast-break points. Monday at CSU, BYU held a 19-0 advantage in that category with several offensive explosions produced in transition. BYU's defense has helped start its break, coming up with double-digit steals in each of the last four games. BYU has had three other games this season with 10 or more thefts (CSU in Provo, ISU and Weber State) and all were wins.

HALL NAMED MWC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK MONDAY

BYU's Mike Hall and Utah's Tim Drisdom were named Co-Mountain West Conference Players of the Week Monday after leading their respective teams to 2-0 records last week. Hall, a junior guard from San Bernardino, Calif., shot 68.8 percent from the floor (11-of-16) and 82 percent from the free throw line (9-of-11), while averaging 16.5 points, three rebounds and three steals in two games last week. He scored a team-high 20 points in BYU's overtime win against San Diego State (83-69) last Monday. Hall connected on 6-of-10 field goals and 8-of-9 free throws, while grabbing five rebounds and recording a career-high five steals. He made 5-of-6 shots, including 2-of-3 treys, to score 13 points as BYU earned its first conference road win of the season at Wyoming Saturday, 67-53. A first-team NJCAA All-American at Dixie State College last year, Hall is BYU's third-leading scorer and rebounder in his first season in Provo, helping the Cougars to their current 16-7 record. This is the first MWC Player of the Week honor for Hall.

CLEVELAND ACHIEVES MARRIOTT CENTER MILESTONE WITH HIS NEXT WIN IN PROVO

Cougar head coach Steve Cleveland will have guided BYU to the second-most Marriott Center wins with hisnext victory in Provo. With his 81-18 record in the Cougars' home arena, he is currently tied with Frank Arnold for second at 81 victories. 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 124-85 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.

RPI RANKINGS

As of Wednesday, BYU is the second-rated MWC team in RPI according to Collegiate Basketball News CBSSportsline.com, with No. 45 and No. 46 ratings, respectively. Utah has the MWC's top ranking at No. 43 and No. 45.

LOOKING TO TURN THE TABLES

The Cougars begin a three-game homestand facing the three teams that beat BYU during its season-worst three-game losing skid. This time the games will take place in the Marriott Center and the Cougars again have the services of forward/center Jared Jensen, who was out with a back injury in BYU's three straight road losses.

FOCUS ON FINISHING

With its current four-game victory streak, the Cougars have gone from a tie at the bottom of the MWC standings at 2-4 to a secure hold on third at 6-4. The Cougars have traditionally finished strong under Steve Cleveland to earn postseason bids. They have shared the conference title in two of the last three years. BYU plays three of its final four MWC games at home with its MWC title hopes still a possibility. A strong finish to the regular season could likely put the Cougars in position to obtain another NCAA bid.

PLAYER PERFORMANCE NOTABLES

Jake Shoff scored a season-high nine points in only 12 minutes at CSU, sparking a key BYU run with an offensive put-back off a free throw miss followed on the other end with a block to start a BYU break ... Rafael Araujo recorded his 13th double-double of the year against the Rams with 21 points and 12 boards ... Mark Bigelow made a season-high 4 treys on his way to a game-high 21 points at Wyoming ... Kevin Woodberry played a strong game, holding Jay Straight to five points on 2-0f-9 shooting, twice blocking his three-point attempts. He added a season-high 5 rebounds with 6 points on the offensive end ... Freshman Garner Meads had a career-high 19 points along with 8 boards vs. SDSU ... Mike Hall recorded a personal-best 5 steals while scoring 20 points. He extended his free-throw streak to 18 straight before a miss, going 8-for-9 on the night ... Against UNLV, Luiz Lemes recorded a career-high 10 assists ... 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 ... Meads recorded his first double-double with career highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds vs. Wyoming in Provo ... 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.

THREE-POINT EXTREMES

BYU used a hot-hand from behind the arc to jump out to an early lead and take control of the game in its road win at Wyoming. BYU hit 5 of its first six treys and shot a strong .467 for the game (7-15). A much better game in contrast to BYU's recent win over UNLV at home. In that game, BYU managed to beat the Rebels 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. 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 BYU went 0-9 against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 22, 1996 during the team's 1-25 season.

INJURY UPDATE

Other than guard Rick Bower, the team's sixth man last year with five starts, who has missed the entire season with a back injury, no Cougar player is out for Monday's game at CSU. Cougar backup point guard Terry Nashif missed three straight games with mononucleosis before returning for potential action last weekend at Wyoming and Colorado State. He was available but did not play in either game. Also back is Jared Jensen, who was out with an injury during BYU's three-game MWC road losing skid.

BIG NUMBERS

The Cougars have won at home this year by an average of 20.9 points. BYU's recent three-point win over UNLV is the only home game in the Marriott Center, where BYU is 10-0 this year, with a final margin of less than 14 points. The Cougars, however, did win in overtime over SDSU by 14 and played a close game against Wyoming before the final margin of 14 points. BYU achieved its largest halftime lead of the season vs. CSU in Provo, 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.

ARAUJO NAMED TO NABC DISTRICT 13 FIRST TEAM

The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Wednesday announced the NABC Division I All-District Teams recognizing the country's best men's collegiate basketball student-athletes. The 150 student-athletes, from 15 districts, are now eligible for the NABC Division I All-American Team to be announced at the conclusion of the 2003-2004 season. BYU center Rafael Araujo was selected to the District 13 First Team. Last year BYU's Travis Hansen earned first-team honors. Former Cougar Mekeli Wesley was a first-teamer in 2001, the same year Terrell Lyday was a second-team selection.

DISTRICT 13

FIRST TEAM

Rafael Araujo, Brigham Young

Danny Granger, New Mexico

Kirk Snyder, Nevada

Nick Jacobson, Utah

Aerick Sanders, San Diego State

SECOND TEAM

Michael Kuebler, Hawaii

Matt Nelson, Colorado State

Andrew Bogut, Utah

Jason Erickson, Montana State

Tim Keller, Air Force

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 AMONG NATION'S MOST PRODUCTIVE PLAYERS

Araujo has the fourth-highest combined scoring and rebounding averages among players nationally who are averaging a double-double this year. Kris Humphries of Minnesota, Emeka Okafor of Connecticut and Jaime Lloreda of Louisiana State are the only players averaging more combined points and rebounds than Araujo. Araujo has 13 double-double games this year and 20 for his career. 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 LEADS NATION'S BIG CENTERS IN SCORING AND REBOUNDING

Araujo has the top scoring and rebounding averages of any of the nation's centers 6-11 or taller. Colorado's 7-foot David Harrison is second in scoring at 16.4 points, while Western Kentucky's 6-foot-11 Nigel Dixon is second to Araujo in rebounds at 9.9 boards per game.

ARAUJO RATES HIGH IN NATIONAL AND MWC STATISTICS

Senior center Rafael Araujo is ninth in the nation in rebounds in the latest release of NCAA statistics (Feb. 17). Among MWC players entering Saturday's games, he is the top scorer and rebounder and rates second in defensive rebounds and offensive rebounds and steals. He is seventh in blocked shots and field goal percentage and 15th in free throw percentage. Araujo leads all MWC players in steals in league games.

BIGELOW PASSED COSIC AS THE NO. 9 ALL-TIME SCORER AT BYU

Senior Mark Bigelow (1,617 points) needs 36 points to surpass Kenneth Roberts (1,652 points) and move into eighth place on BYU's all-time scoring list. Bigelow moved past former Cougar great Kresimir Cosic into ninth place against Wyoming in Provo. Cosic scored 1,512 points in only three seasons from 1971-73. Bigelow moved out of a tie with Jay Cheesman (1,408 points) 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.

CLOSE CALLS

BYU has played 10 games this year where the outcome was in question entering the final minute. The Cougars have gone 6-4 in those games, including BYU's last two home wins. BYU's four losses in close games have come by a combined nine points. BYU's 10 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 15-0 when leading with five minutes remaining and 15-1 when holding the advantage or it is tied with one minute left in the game.

COUGAR OPPONENTS HAVING STRONG SEASONS

BYU has played two of the nation's hottest teams this year, handing No. 7 Oklahoma State (20-2 ) one of its two losses and losing by two points at No. 25 Utah State (20-2). The seven teams to beat BYU this year have a combined 109-49 (.690) record. Of those seven teams, five are in the top 3 in their league standings with four being either first or second.

ON THE ROAD

BYU is 6-7 away from the Marriott Center this year with a 4-7 away record and a 2-0 neutral court mark. BYU played a stretch this year of 8-of-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 10-0 at home this year and has won 15 straight overall in the Marriott Center. BYU has won 59 of its last 60 games at home and is 54-1 over the past four seasons. BYU finished last season 13-1 at home. 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 14,067 after 10 home games this year. 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.

OVERTIME

BYU's win over San Diego State in its last home game was the Cougars' first overtime game of the season. BYU's last OT game was an 86-80 OT loss to Colorado State in the MWC tournament last year. The Cougars had lost four straight overtime contests prior to beating SDSU. BYU's prior overtime victory came at Florida International on Dec. 23, 1999. The Cougars had last played in an overtime game at home on Nov. 28, 1998, losing to the Arizona 78-74. BYU's last home win in overtime before the SDSU victory was on Jan. 26, 1995, against UTEP. BYU has a 1-3 record in overtime against New Mexico, including an 0-2 mark in Provo. The last time the Cougars and Lobos went an extra five minutes was in 1994, when UNM downed the Cougars 84-82 in Provo.

TOP-25 OPPONENTS

Facing then No. 25 Oklahoma State, BYU played its first top-25 ranked team this season. The victory over the (currently No. 7) 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 8-5 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 and six-point wins over CSU; two 14-point wins over Wyoming; three-point win over UNLV; 14-point OT win over SDSU; 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 15-0

On the road 2-0

On a neutral floor 2-0

At home vs. Nonconference 40-0

At home vs. MWC 9-0

On the road vs. Nonconference 0-1

On the road vs. MWC 2-0

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 8-3

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

AttachmentSize
Game-24---BYU-Hosts-New-Mexico-Saturday-at-7-p.m..pdf1.07 MB