PROVO, Utah -- Riding a five-game winning streak, BYU (17-7, 7-4 MWC) hosts the league-leading Air Force Academy Falcons (19-4, 9-1 MWC) Monday at 8:30 p.m. (MST) in the Marriott Center. The SportsWest Productions telecast will be aired live in Utah on KPNZ-TV, Z-24 (UPN) and is 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.
BYU hosts instate rival Utah next Monday at 10 p.m. (MST) in the Marriott Center (ESPN).
GAME #25 FAST FACTS (MWC GAME #12)
BYU COUGARS (17-7, 7-4 MWC) vs. AIR FORCE FALCONS (19-4, 9-1 MWC)
MONDAY, FEB. 23, 2004
MARRIOTT CENTER (22,700)
8:37 p.m. (MST)
BYU, Steve Cleveland (125-85 in seventh year; same overall)
AFA, Joe Scott (48-60 in fourth year; same overall)
BYU leads, 42-9 First meeting this year: AFA had largest winning margin ever over BYU, 74-52
SportsWest Productions (KPNZ, Z-24, UPN in Salt Lake City; KXRM-TV in Colorado Springs)
Available nationally via ESPN Full Court
Air Time: 8:30 p.m. (MST)
Play-by-Play: Dave McCann
Game Analyst: Blaine Fowler
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time: 7:30 p.m. (MST)
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Mark Durrant
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.
The Cougars (17-7, 7-4) has won five straight games and is currently tied for second 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 10.2 rebounds to lead BYU this year. Bigelow adds 13.4 points and 3.8 rebounds while Hall contributes 12.7 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 .483 from the floor, .350 on threes, and .730 from the line while scoring 73.7 points per game. BYU allows 64.7 points while the opposition has shot .444 from the field and .336 from behind the arc. BYU has an average rebounding advantage of 6.0.
AIR FORCE ACADEMY FALCONS
Air Force returns eight lettermen and three starters from last year's 12-16 team that finished last in the Mountain West with a 3-11 record. The Falcons are on top of the league standings this year with a 9-1 record and 19-4 overall mark. AFA's lone loss came at UNLV. The Falcons are 5-0 at home and 4-1 on the raod in MWC play this year after defeating second-place Utah Saturday in Salt Lake City. Prior to its loss at UNLV, Air Force won a school-record 13 consecutive games, including its blowout win over BYU at the Academy. Overall, the Falcons 11-0 at home this year, 7-4 away and 1-0 on a neutral floor. They will play at BYU Monday then host UNLV and San Diego State before finishing the regular season at Wyoming. Three players are scoring in double figures for the Falcons. Junior guard Tim Keller scores a team-high 10.9 points while sophomore forward/center Nick Welch scores 10.8 points and pulls down a team-leading 4.3 rebounds and sophomore guard Antoine Hood adds 10.1 ppg. Senior forwards Joel Gerlach and A.J. Kuhle add 8.0 and 7.9 points, respectively. Seven Falcons have made at least 15 three-point shots this year as the Falcons make 38.6 percent as a team from behind the arc. Matt McGraw and Jacob Burtschi have made 16 and 15 treys off the bench while all five starters have made at least 24 treys, led by Keller's 41 bombs. McGraw shoots 52 percent from long range, Welch has made 45 percent of his three attempts, and Gerlach and Hood have connected on 41 percent of their three attempts. From the floor overall, Air Force shoots 48.7 percent and makes 72.8 percent from the line to score 62.5 points. The Falcons give up a national-best 48.7 points per game while holding opponents to .434 shooting from the floor, including 28.8 percent from long range. Air Force is out rebounded by an average of 5.8 boards per game. In the latest NCAA statistical rankings, the Falcons not only lead the nation in field goal percentage defense but also rank No. 4 in fewest turnovers per game, No. 12 in three-point shots made per game, No. 14 in field goal percentage, No. 16 in scoring margin and No. 17 in win-loss percentage. The disciplined, well-executing Falcons commit just 10.7 turnovers per game, while Falcon opponents have turned the ball over an average 16.5 times each game. Air Force is coached by Joe Scott (Princeton, 1987), who is in his fourth season with the Falcons. He has a 48-60 record in his tenure at Air Force. Scott came to AFA from his alma mater, Princeton, where he was an assistant coach from 1993-2000.
AIR FORCE'S LAST OUTING -- FALCONS EDGE UTES IN SALT LAKE CITY
SALT LAKE CITY -- Joel Gerlach made two free throws after being fouled on a layup attempt with 1.4 seconds remaining to lift Air Force to a 59-57 victory over Utah on Saturday, giving the Falcons their first ever season sweep of the Utes. Air Force rallied from an eight-point halftime deficit and increased its lead in the Mountain West Conference by winning in Salt Lake City for the first time in 15 years. The Falcons (19-4, 9-1) last won at Utah on Jan. 26 1989, beating the Utes 67-57. Utah (19-7, 7-4) led most of the second half, but Air Force battled back and won in the thrilling finish after Utah unsuccessfully went for the final shot. Nick Jacobson, who led the Utes with 22 points, gave Utah a 54-53 lead with a jumper from the top of the key, but Air Force came right back and regained the lead on a layup by Gerlach. Utah regained the momentum on the next possession, working the ball around to the right corner where Jacobson hit a 3-pointer with about a minute remaining to give Utah a 57-55 lead, but the Utes couldn't hang on to the lead. Nick Welch tied it on two free throws with 37.1 seconds left, then Utah stalled and tried the last shot. The strategy failed when Drisdom missed a layup and the rebound kicked out to midcourt, where Gerlach picked up the loose ball and took it in for a layup attempt. He missed, but was fouled by Drisdom with 1.4 seconds left. The officials took several minutes to decide on the call before Gerlach went to the line, where he was booed loudly but calmly hit both shots. Utah didn't get a shot off after the inbounds pass and the Falcons became the first visitor to win at the Huntsman Center this season. Gerlach finished with 15 points, Antoine Hood scored 13 and A.J. Kuhle had 12 points for Air Force, which won despite being outrebounded 29-15. Andrew Bogut had 15 points and seven rebounds, but he and Jacobson were the only Utes to score in double figures. Utah recovered from a slow start, then took a 32-24 halftime lead after Jacobson scored 12 points to lead the Utes on a 17-4 run. Air Force had gone back up 20-15 after the Utes had tied the game at 15-all when Jacobson started the Utah rally with two free throws and a 3-pointer to tie it at 20. After a block by Tim Frost, Richard Chaney gave Utah its first lead with a jumper in the lane, then Jacobson added a pair of long jumpers. Frost put Utah ahead 29-24 on a three-point play with 52.8 seconds remaining, then Jacobson hit a 3-pointer just before the buzzer.
AIR FORCE'S PROJECTED STARTERS (BASED ON LAST GAME)
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 10 A.J. Kuhle 6-5 189 Sr. 7.9 2.9
F 33 Joel Gerlach 6-6 205 Sr. 8.0 2.3
C 45 Nick Welch 6-8 215 So. 10.8 4.3
G 11 Tim Keller 6-3 185 Jr. 10.9 2.1
G 15 Antoine Hood 6-5 187 So. 10.1 3.0
This will be the 51st meeting between the two teams, with BYU leading the series 41-9. The Cougars are 20-3 in Provo, 18-6 at Air Force, and 3-0 at a neutral site. BYU has won seven of the 10 games in the series since the inception of the Mountain West Conference. The Falcons handed BYU its largest margin of defeat in an MWC game in the first meeting this year at Air Force, downing the Cougars 74-52 while shooting 72.5 percent, the team's highest percentage ever against a Division I team. In the last meeting in Provo, the Cougars beat Air Force in a similar fashion, holding the Falcons to only 33 points in winning by the third largest margin in the series history at 65-33. The 33 points is the fewest scored by the Falcons in the series. AFA scored 40 points in a loss in 1982. BYU won the contest at Clune Arena last year, 56-43. BYU has won eight of the last 12 outings since winning a series-best 15 straight over the Falcons from 1990-96. BYU has won the last 12 games in the Marriott Center since a 79-78 Falcon win in 1989 (Cleveland is 4-0 in Provo). Air Force has won four of the last six at USAFA (Cleveland is 2-4 at Air Force). AFA has not won back-to-back games in the series since the first two games in 1961 and 1963.
BYU vs. AIR FORCE SERIES BREAKDOWN
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 41-9
BYU Record in Provo: 20-3
BYU Record in Colorado Springs: 18-6
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 3-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 8-4
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 2-0 (1-0 Rd, 1-0 Ntrl)
Last Overtime Game: 1989, won at AFA, 89-88
Longest BYU Win Streak: 15 (1990-96)
Longest Air Force Win Streak: 2 (1961-63)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 35, 103-68 in 1993
Largest Air Force Margin of Victory: 22, 74-52 in 2004
Most Points Scored by BYU: 110 in 1965
Most Points Scored by Air Force: 93 in 1987
RECENT RECAPS VS. AIR FORCE
THIS YEAR AT AFA -- FALCONS NEARLY FLAWLESS IN 74-52 WIN OVER BYU
UNITED STATES AIR FORCE ACADEMY -- Air Force opened with a 12-2 run and didn't look back as the Falcons defeated BYU 74-52 Saturday to extend their victory streak to 11 games. A Clune Arena record crowd of 6,359 watched the Falcons play nearly flawless basketball. Air Force (13-2, 3-0) executed its "Princeton"-style offense to perfection in the first half, creating open three-point shots and layups. The Falcons hit 6-of-11 three-point attempts in the first half, while the Cougars struggled, hitting only 1-of-6 attempts. Air Force got on a roll early, gaining confidence that didn't leave them the whole game. The Falcons field goal percentage was their second-highest percentage ever and their best against a Division I opponent. The Falcons also played an aggressive match-up zone, which helped create six Cougar turnovers in the game's first eight minutes. During that stretch, Air Force extended its lead to 20-7. The Cougars would counter with a run of their own, cutting the lead to seven at 23-16, but Air Force put the game away with a 19-3 run to close the half with a 42-19 lead. BYU failed to score 20 points in the first half for the first time since scoring 15 points at Auburn on Nov. 23, 1998. Air Force held BYU's leading scorer, Rafael Araujo, to just four points in the first half, while Falcon center Nick Welch lit up the Cougars for 11 points in the first 20 minutes and totaled 20 points for the game, including two three-pointers. Mark Bigelow opened the second half scoring five straight points to cut the Falcon lead to 18, but BYU would get no closer and Air Force would extend its final margin of victory to 22 -- the Cougars' largest-ever dificit to the Falcons and their largest losing margin in a MWC regulars season game. Bigelow finished the game with a season-high 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting to lead BYU, followed by Araujo who finished the game with 12 points and six rebounds.
WHAT BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME AT AIR FORCE THIS YEAR ...
"They took us out of the game in the first 20 minutes. They gave us a good whooping. They shot 72 percent tonight. You can beat anyone shooting 72 percent. Welch was the difference in the game tonight. He really stretched the defense. But all five of the guys on the floor can score and shoot so it makes it really hard to defend."
LAST YEAR AT BYU -- COUGARS DOWN FALCONS 65-33 IN PROVO
PROVO, Utah (February 3,203) -- Head coach Steve Cleveland records his 100th win at BYU in a 65-33 route over the Air Force Academy Monday night. Cleveland is now 100-74 in his sixth seasons. BYU held the Falcons to just 21.6 percent shooting on the night (11-of-51) and gave up a season-low 33 points to control the Falcons and earn the win. AFA's 10 first-half points was the lowest half of scoring ever in the Marriott Center. BYU improved to 15-4 overall (4-1 MWC) behind Travis Hansen. The senior guard led BYU in scoring with 16 points while grabbing five rebounds in just 23 minutes. Cleveland emptied his bench to allow other players to get minutes. All 13 Cougars played and all but two got on the board. Rafael Araujo was one point away from another double-double. The big man ended the game with nine points and 12 boards in 18 minutes. The Cougars shot a season-high 71.4 percent from behind the arc to gain an early lead on the Falcons, who tried countering the size of the Cougars by playing their slow-paced motion offense. Air Force made just four field goals in the first half and BYU took advantage by taking a 30-10 lead into the locker room. In the second half, the cold shooting continued for the Falcons and BYU blew the game wide open. The Cougars took their largest lead of the game of 37 points on a layup by Jake Shoff with 3:55 to play. The Cougars kept the Falcons off the boards all night and out-rebounded AFA 55-21. Tim Keller and Antoine Hood scored nine points each to lead the Academy. Keller dropped five threes on BYU last year at Colorado Springs in the Air Force win. With the loss, Air Force drops to 10-9 overall and 1-5 in the conference.
WHAT BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME IN PROVO LAST YEAR ...
"I thought we did a nice job of containing their back cuts and contesting shots. There were 10 or 15 shots they missed that they will hit at their place. It will be a different game at Air Force."
GAME 24 RECAP -- HOT-SHOOTING COUGARS DOWN LOBOS
PROVO -- Rafael Araujo led four Cougars scoring in double figures with 18 points while grabbing eight rebounds as the Cougars defeated New Mexico 88-71 Saturday night in front of 18,367 screaming fans at the Marriott Center. The Lobos used an early 9-0 run to jump out to a seven-point lead before the Cougars outscored New Mexico 22-3 to give BYU the lead for good at 32-23. New Mexico would pull within two points just before the half before Luiz Lemes buried a three to put BYU up by five at the half. The Cougars shot well in the first half, hitting 53.6 percent of their shots, including 50 percent from behind the arc. BYU didn't cool off in the second half, opening the half on a 13-2 run to put the game out of reach. Senior forward Mark Bigelow helped ignite the Cougar run, scoring nine of his 16 points during the run. The Cougars finished the game shooting a red-hot 60 percent from the floor and a season-high 52.3 from three-point land. Fan-favorite Mike Rose entered the game in the second half and promptly hit three of his four attempts from three-point range for nine points. The Lobos and Cougars tied a Marriott Center record set last year by the same two teams with a combined 23 three-pointers. The Lobos went 14-of-32 (.438) while BYU finished 9-of-17 from long range. "Certainly, offensively I felt like we got the touches I wanted and we shot well," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "We had good movement." BYU also had an excellent game on the defensive end of the floor, holding the Lobos to just 41.1 percent from the floor. Mike Hall frustrated New Mexico's Danny Granger, who lit up the Cougars for 27 points in their previous meeting, holding him nearly 12 points below his average with just nine points. "I thought Mike Hall played extremely well," said Cleveland, who now has the second most victories by a BYU coach in the Marriott Center with an 82-18 record. "Guarding Granger is not easy and he responded really well. It was a solid win. It was exactly what we needed. We had a lot of guys step up and play well." Besides his excellent defense, Hall poured in 16 points and grabbed five rebounds. Lemes was BYU's fourth player to score in double figures, finishing with 12 points. Troy DeVries led the Lobos with 16 points on the strength of 5-of-9 three-point shooting. Javin Tindall contributed 12 points, including three treys. With the victory, the Cougars improve to 7-4 in conference (17-7 overall), while the Lobos fall to 4-6 in conference (13-10 overall).
-- BYU has now won five games in a row, improving to 17-7 (7-4 MWC).
-- The Cougars have won 16 straight in the Marriott center and 60 out of their last 61 at home.
-- Saturday night's attendance, 18,367, marks the highest attendance in the Marriott Center this season.
-- With the victory, Coach Steve Cleveland has surpassed Frank Arnold as the second winningest coach at the Marriott Center, notching 82 wins. He is now just 10 behind Roger Reid for the top spot (92).
-- Mark Bigelow, who scored 16 points, is now just 19 points behind Kenneth Roberts for eighth all-time on BYU's scoring list. Kenneth Roberts scored 1652 points at BYU. Bigelow now has 1633.
-- Guard Terry Nashif made his first appearance in 6 games after being out with mononucleosis. He last played at New Mexico Jan. 24.
-- BYU scored 88 points, its highest scoring output in MWC play this season.
-- BYU is 7-0 this year when scoring above 80 points.
-- The Cougars had their best three-point shooting game of the season. BYU shot 9-17 (52.9%).
-- BYU shot 60% overall, the second best field goal percentage of the season (BYU shot 62% against Utah State 12/23/03).
-- Saturday's game marked the celebration of Cosmo's 50th birthday. Forty former cosmos were in attendance.
-- More than half of New Mexico's shots were three-pointers. The Lobos attempted 32 threes out of 56 shots.
-- New Mexico's Danny Granger, who hit the game winning shot against BYU last month, was held to 9 points, 3 boards (he averages 21 and 9).
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 five-game winning streak. The Cougars averaged 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 five games -- all victories, BYU has scored 13.0 points per game in transition, while opponents have averaged 4.0 fast-break points. Last 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 four of the last five 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 LAST 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 ACHIEVED MARRIOTT CENTER MILESTONE SATURDAY -- NOW NO. 2 ON VICTORY LIST
Cougar head coach Steve Cleveland has guided BYU to the second-most Marriott Center wins. With his 82-18 record in the Cougars' home arena, he is currently second, just passing Frank Arnold who has 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 125-85 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.
As of Sunday, BYU is the second-rated MWC team behind Utah in RPI according to Collegiate Basketball News and CBSSportsline.com. BYU is 43rd (CBN) and 47th (Sportsline). The MWC is rated seventh as a league by CBN.
LOOKING TO TURN THE TABLES
With its win over New Mexico Saturday, the Cougars have begun their 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 five-game victory streak, the Cougars have gone from a tie at the bottom of the MWC standings at 2-4 to a tid for second at 7-4. 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 faces MWC-leader Air Force Monday with title hopes still a possibility. With its solid RPI rating, a strong finish to the regular season could likely put the Cougars in position to obtain another NCAA bid.
PLAYER PERFORMANCE NOTABLES
Mike Hall scored 16 points and held UNM's Danny Granger to only 9 points and 3 rebounds Saturday ... Mrk Bigelow made 6-of-8 shots for 16 points vs. the Lobos ... 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.
The Cougars have won at home this year by an average of 20.5 points. BYU's three-point win over UNLV is the only home game in the Marriott Center, where BYU is 11-0 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.
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 third rebounder and is second in steals. 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 (1,633 points) needs 19 to tie and 20 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.
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. 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 16-0 when leading with five minutes remaining and 16-1 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 (21-2 ) one of its two losses and losing by two points at No. 25 Utah State (22-2). The seven teams to beat BYU this year have a combined 113-53 (.681) record. Of those seven teams, four are in the top 2 in their league standings.
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 11-0 at home this year and has won 16 straight overall in the Marriott Center. BYU has won 60 of its last 61 games at home and is 55-1 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 14,458 after 10 home games this year. BYU had a season-high 18,367 attendance Saturday vs. New Mexico. 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.
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.
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 16-0
On the road 2-0
On a neutral floor 2-0
At home vs. Nonconference 40-0
At home vs. MWC 10-0
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 9-3
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