PROVO, Utah -- Riding a six-game winning streak, BYU (18-7, 8-4 MWC) hosts the Utah Utes (20-7, 8-4 MWC) Monday at 10 p.m. (MST) in the Marriott Center. Tickets are still available at the BYU Ticket Office or by calling 378-BYU1. The Cougars and Utes are tied for second in the Mountain West Conference standings with two games remaining. The radio broadcast of the game 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 finishes the regular season at UNLV on Saturday, March 6, at 12:30 p.m. PST (1:30 p.m. MST) on ABC-TV.
GAME #26 FAST FACTS (MWC GAME #13)
BYU COUGARS (18-7, 8-4 MWC) vs. UTAH UTES (20-7, 8-4 MWC)
MONDAY, MARCH 1, 2004
MARRIOTT CENTER (22,700)
10:00.30 p.m. (MST)
BYU, Steve Cleveland (126-85 in seventh year; same overall)
Utah, Kerry Rupp (acting coach 5-2 in first season; third season overall at Utah)
Utah leads, 119-116; First meeting this year: Utah won 64-56 in Salt Lake City
Air Time: 10 p.m. (MST)
Play-by-Play: Bob Carpenter
Game Analyst: Jimmy Dykes
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time: 9 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 (18-7, 8-4) has won six straight games and are currently tied for second in the MWC standings. BYU ranks 13th nationally in field goal percentage. 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 nationally ranked 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 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 18.4 points and 10.1 rebounds to lead BYU this year. Bigelow adds 13.7 points and 3.7 rebounds while Hall contributes 12.5 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 a MWC-best .487 from the floor, .345 on threes, and .729 from the line while scoring 73.4 points per game. BYU allows 64.5 points while the opposition has shot .445 from the field and .340 from behind the arc. BYU has an average rebounding advantage of 6.1.
The University of Utah Utes are 20-7 overall and tied with BYU for second in the Mountain West Conference standings at 8-4. Utah went 15-1 at home this year, and is 5-4 on the road and 0-2 on a neutral floor. The Utes just finished their regular season homestand with a two-point loss to league-leading Air Force followed by a 30-point blowout victory over New Mexico. The Utes are led by senior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 206). Jacobson, Utah's career three-point leader, leads the team in scoring at 16.3 points per game. Jacobson is joined by freshman forward Andrew Bogut (6-10, 233), who leads the team in rebounds per game at 10.0 and blocked shots with 38. Bogut is second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.6 points per game. Bogut is ranked eighth in the nation in field goal percentage and 15th in rebounding average. Sophomore forward Rich Chaney (6-4, 195) adds 9.6 points per game, and senior big man Tim Frost scores 8.5 points and is second on the team at 4.3 rebounds. Sophomore guard Tim Drisdom (6-2, 212) leads the team in assists at 3.5 apg. The Utes are known for their stifling half-court defense and are ranked second nationally in scoring defense behind Air Force. Utah also ranks fifth in rebounding margin, 14th in three-point percentage, and 20th in field goal percentage in the latest release of the NCAA statisticcal leaders. Kerry Rupp, in his third season with the Utes as an assistant coach, has taken over as acting head coach since Rick Majerus' departure and has a 5-2 record. Rupp coached the Utes to victory against BYU in Salt Lake City in his first official win as the Utes coach. Last season in Provo he guided Utah to a win as Majerus missed the game to attend the funeral of former Ute great Andre Miller's step-father.
UTAH's LAST OUTING -- UTES REBOUND FROM HOME LOSS BY BLOWING OUT NEW MEXICO
SALT LAKE CITY - Nick Jacobson tied his career-high with 28 points, including six treys, to lead Utah past New Mexico 73-43 Monday night. Jacobson tied his high of six 3-pointers in a game as the Utes (20-7, 8-4 Mountain West) reached 20 wins for the 12th time in the last 15 seasons. Andrew Bogut scored 20 points and had 14 rebounds and Tim Frost added 14 points as Utah shot 53 percent from the field, the Utes' best mark in their last 11 games. The Utes completed their home schedule with a 15-1 record and avoided their first back-to-back home losses since 1989 after losing to Air Force, 59-57, on Saturday. Despite playing his second straight subpar game, Danny Granger led the Lobos (13-11, 4-7) with 12 points as they dropped their 25th straight road game. Granger had a season-low nine points at BYU on Saturday and was just 4-of-11 against the Utes. Granger scored 28 points when the Lobos beat Utah 70-54 on January 24. Javin Tindall scored 10 points for New Mexico, which managed just 33 percent shooting and made just 7-of-17 from the line. Jacobson ended the first half on a 12-2 run. Utah acting head coach Kerry Rupp improved to 5-2 since Rick Majerus left the team and ended his 15-year career.
UTAH'S PROJECTED STARTERS
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 13 Richard Chaney 6-4 195 So. 9.6 4.0
F 4 Andrew Bogut 6-10 233 Fr. 12.6 10.0
C 54 Tim Frost 6-9 244 Sr. 8.5 4.3
G 11 Tim Drisdom 6-2 212 So. 6.3 3.7
G 15 Nick Jacobson 6-4 206 Sr. 16.3 1.7
BYU and Utah will meet for the 236th time Monday. The series ranks 10th in the NCAA record book in terms of most games in a rivalry and is the 11th longest running rivalry dating back to 1909. Utah is the opponent that BYU has played the most in its history (235 games) and is BYU's second longest running series (Utah State series began in 1905 and includes 220 games). BYU won the inaugural game, 32-9 in Provo, on Jan. 23, 1909, and won again on March 5 of that year, 40-27, in SLC on its way to winning the first eight games against the Utes. Utah has won the last three meetings with its come-from-behind win in Salt Lake City this year and its season sweep last year. Last year in Provo the Utes victory ended BYU's nation-best 44-game homecourt victory streak. With its sweep of the season series last year Utah earned its third advantage in the long-running series and its first multi-game lead. The two prior occasions when Utah held an advantage in the overall series the Utes maintained only a single-game lead before the Cougars again evened the series. Utah swept the regular season series in 2000 to take its first lead (114-113) in the overall series since it began in 1909 and again held a one-game edge (116-115) in 2002 with its win in Salt Lake City. In the second game that year the Cougars staged second-half comeback from 21 points down to even the series again at 116-116. Prior to Utah's breakthrough in Provo last year, the two teams had split with home wins the prior two seasons. Utah has won five of the last eight games since BYU ended a string of 12 straight Utah wins, its longest in the series, with the Cougars' 58-54 win at the 2000 MWC tournament semifinals. The Utes have won 10 straight at the Huntsman Center. BYU's last win at Utah was a 64-62 victory on Jan. 8, 1994. That win started a four-game BYU winning streak that preceded Utah's 12-game streak. BYU has 64-46 record in Provo against the Utes, while Utah holds a 46-70 advantage in Salt Lake City. BYU has a 6-3 edge on a neutral floor.
BYU vs. UTAH SERIES BREAKDOWN
Overall Series Record: Utah leads, 119-116
BYU Record in Provo: 64-46
BYU Record in Salt Lake City: 46-70
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 6-3
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 3-12
BYU Record in OT Games: 4-6* (1-1 Rd, 2-5 Hm, 1-0 Ntrl)
*1-0 in 2OT, 0-2 in 3OT - all in Provo (from 1983-85)
Last Overtime Game: 1991, won v. Utah @ WAC, 51-49
Longest BYU Win Streak: 8 (1909-12)
Longest Utah Win Streak: 12 (1995-2000)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 31 two times (1965, 94)
Largest Utah Margin of Victory: 36, 85-49 (1997)
Most Points Scored by BYU: 115 (1966)
Most Points Scored by Utah: 106 two times (1962, 1963)
THE OLD OQUIRRH BUCKET
The Old Oquirrh Bucket (named after the Oquirrh Mountains to the west of Salt Lake City) is the symbol of instate basketball supremacy in Utah. Each year the trophy is awarded to the instate college team (Utah, BYU, Southern Utah, Utah State and Weber State) which has the best won-loss record against instate competition. In 2001, BYU posted a 4-1 record against instate schools and brought home the bucket for the first time since 1994. BYU went 3-2 in 2002 as Utah State took the Bucket, thanks to its OT win over BYU. Utah won the Bucket last season. This year BYU is 2-2 with wins over Southern Utah and Weber State and losses at Utah State and Utah. The Aggies are also 2-1 with a win at Weber State and a loss at Utah. Utah has secured the bucke this year with its current 4-0 record with home wins over Southern Utah, Utah State and BYU and a road win at Weber State. Utah has won the Oquirrh Bucket 12 times, while BYU has claimed seven Buckets since the first year in 1974-75. Utah State has won the instate battles six seasons and Weber State has earned the Bucket four times, the last time being in 2000.
RECENT RECAPS IN THE SERIES
THIS YEAR AT UTAH -- UTES EARN COMEBACK WIN OVER BYU
SALT LAKE -- Utah's Nick Jacobson and Andrew Bogut each scored 21 points and the Utes held BYU to just one field goal in the final six minutes as Utah overcame a 15-point halftime deficit to earn a 64-56 victory Saturday afternoon at the Huntsman Center. The Cougars jumped out to a 15-point lead in the first half behind the shooting of Mark Bigelow and Garner Meads. Bigelow scored 14 points in the first half on 5-5 shooting, including three 3-pointers, while Meads added 10 points. BYU used runs of 10-2 and 11-4 to build its lead in the first 20 minutes with Utah never leading, but the Utes came out of the locker room in the second half fired up behind the 3-point shooting of Jacobson and the inside play of Bogut. After a Mike Hall basket to open the second half, the Utes exploded for a 15-4 run to cut the BYU lead to six at 40-34. Utah would take its first lead of the game on a Jacobson 3-point basket with 7:16 remaining. Utah would take the lead for good a few of minutes later on another 3-pointer by Jacobson, who finished the game with five triples, four in the second half. Then the Utes turned up the defensive pressure, holding BYU to just six points over the final four minutes. Bigelow finished with a season-high 22 points to lead BYU, while Rafael Araujo added a team-high nine boards. Bogut pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds for Utah and also had an excellent game defensively, helping hold Araujo, who entered the game with a league-leading 19.8 scoring average, to just eight points. BYU forward Jared Jensen missed his third straight game with a back injury, and Cougar backup point guard Terry Nashif was not able to play, out with mononucleosis. With the loss, BYU falls to 2-4 in conference and 12-7 overall, while Utah improves to 4-2 in conference and 16-5 overall. The Cougars have lost three games in a row for the first time since a three-game skid in 2002.
After playing eight of its last 11 games on the road, including the last three contests, BYU returns home to the Marriott Center Saturday to face UNLV at 1 p.m. The Cougars will play five of their final eight regular-season games in Provo.
WHAT BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME IN SALT LAKE CITY THIS YEAR ...
"We played well in the first half. We were able to stop them from getting second and third shots, but we weren't able to stop them from getting second and third opportunities in the second half. In the last five minutes (of the game) they got their confidence back and we weren't able to counter."
LAST YEAR AT BYU -- HOME VICTORY STREAK ENDS AS UTES PREVAIL
PROVO -- BYU fell to the University of Utah at home last Saturday, 79-75, snapping the nation's longest homecourt winning streak at 44 games. On hand was the Cougars' largest crowd of the year -- 21,412. BYU's last loss in the Marriott Center was a 78-74 victory by New Mexico on Feb. 17, 2000. Utah guard Mark Jackson hit four free throws in the final 18.7 seconds to seal the victory for the Utes, who played the game without head coach Rick Majerus. The Utah coach was attending the funeral of former Utah player Andre Miller's stepfather. Jackson led Utah in scoring with 17 points, including 13-for-13 from the free throw line. In a game so closely played, neither team held a lead of more than seven points. It came down to the free throw line where the Utes eventually put the game away. The Utes held on to a three-point lead courtesy of a Nick Jacobson trey in the final seconds. Jacobson led the way for Utah in the first half, scoring the team's last seven points of the half. The second half was as tightly played as the first. The two teams traded buckets most of the final period leading up to the dramatic finish and Jackson's four charity tosses. The Cougars cut the Utah lead to two, 77-75, on a jam by Araujo, but had to foul and Jackson knocked down two more for the Utes. Travis Hansen led BYU with his second double-double of the season with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Hansen made a career-high 14 free throws, missing only once,making many of those late in the game to counter Ute baskets. Rafael Araujo was one rebound away from a double-double performance of his own with 19 points and nine boards. Mark Bigelow added three more treys and scored 16 points while Ricky Bower added 10. Utah big man Tim Frost scored 16 points including two big threes, stretching BYU's defense. Jacobsen finished with 13 and Britton Johnsen totaled 12 points and 12 rebounds. Utah freshman forward Bryant Markson played only seven minutes but scored six points in the second half to help the Utes stay on top. With the win Utah improves to 14-4 overall and 2-1 in the MWC. Utah also takes a one-game lead in the overall series record against BYU at 117-116.
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 UTAH ASSISTANT COACH KERRY RUPP HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME IN PROVO LAST YEAR ...
"It felt really good to win this game. Coach Majerus did a great job putting together a game plan and the players executed it well."
MONDAY'S GAME IS SENIOR NIGHT AT THE MARRIOTT CENTER FOR SIX COUGARS
MARK BIGELOW (6-7, 200, SR., F)
A four-year starter, Bigelow has scored in doube figures in 21 games, including a season-high 22 points at Utah ... He has led BYU in scoring six times, in assists seven games and in steals on five occasions ... He made 7-of-10 shots, including 7-of-8 inside the arc, to share game-high honors at 21 points with Rafael Araujo vs. Air Force, adding a team-high 5 assists ... Scored 13 second half points to finish with 16 on 6-of-8 shooting in win over New Mexico ... He led BYU to victory at Wyoming with a team-high 21 points, including a season-high 4 treys, while adding 3 steals and 3 assists ... He made a clutch, game-tying baseline jumper with 33 seconds left to force overtime against SDSU ... He is third in the MWC in assist/turnover ratio in MWC games ... made his 100th career start at Santa Clara, scoring 14 points on 5-of10 shooting, including the game-winning three-point play ... is the No. 8 all-time scorer at BYU ... entered the year with a career high of six assists and this season twice dished out six assists in a game (CSU and Weber State) before setting a new personal best with nine assists vs. Wyoming (with only one turnover) ... had season-high 9 rebounds at UNM ... BYU's career three-point leader has a team-leading 34 triples but is shooting uncharacteristic .298 on treys (41 percent first three years) ... Inside the arc, he has been deadly, making 57.6 percent (76-132) of his two-point attempts ... He passed on a three to dribble in a few feet and hit the game-tying jumper vs. SDSU in the closing moments ... Bigelow is the school's three-point recolder holder in career triples (206) and consecutive games with a trey (22) ... Bigelow is also No. 1 in threes attempted (532), No. 8 in field goal attempts (1196), No. 8 in free throws made (398) and No. 8 in free throw attempted (494) ... His 113 consecutive games started entering Monday's game ranks fourth on BYU's all-time list ... He ranks No. 8 in total games started at 114 and is No. 10 in consecutive games played (115) and No. 16 in total games played (115) ... He earned third-team All-MWC honors in 2002-03 as BYU's second-leading scorer (13.9) and was honorable mention All-MWC in 2001-02 ... He was BYU's leading scorer (15.0) and rebounder (6.3) and WAC Pacific Division Freshman of the Year and All-WAC Second Team in 1998-99 before going on a two-year LDS Church mission to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
RAFAEL ARAUJO (6-11, 280, SR, C)
A MWC Player of the Year and All-American candidate, Araujo has led BYU in scoring in 17 games, been the leading rebounder on 21 occasions, had a team-high steals 10 times and had the most assists in two contests ... He has 13 double-doubles, which is tied for sixth nationally ... He has topped 20 points 11 times this year and 30 points twice ... He has had 22 double-digit scoring games, including a string of 16 straight double-figure scoring games until his 8 points at Utah ... He was named Cable Car Classic MVP, and has won two MWC Player of the Week awards this season ... His strong play has earned national notice, being named National Player of the Week by Sporting News and by Collegeinsider.com and earning supporting cast national player recognition from ESPN ... In the latest NCAA statistical rankings as of Feb. 24, he is 12th in the nation in rebounds ... He has the fourth-highest combined scoring and rebounding averages in the nation ... He ranks in the top-5 in five categories in the MWC stats and is top-10 in seven categories ... He is the league's No. 2 scorer and and is third in rebounding and is second in steals ... He is No. 1 in steals in MWC games ... He has shot 60 percent or better in 14 games, including topped 70 percent on six occasions, including a career-best 9-of-10 vs. Air Force last Monday when he scored 21 points ... He is the first BYU player to have back-to-back 30-point games since Terrell Lyday in January 2000 ... He came to BYU after being one of the top-10 junior college players in the country, earning second-team NJCAA All-America honors in 2001-02 at Arizona Western College, where he averaged 17.9 points and 10.7 rebounds ... He was third-team All-MWC as BYU's top rebounder (8.9) -- second among MWC players -- and third-leading scorer (12.0) last year.
LUIZ LEMES (6-3, 180, SR, G)
Starting every game this year, Lemes leads team with 4.5 assists per game ... BYU is 10-1 when Lemes gets five or more assists in a game, with the lone loss being at Utah State, where he had five assists ... BYU is 7-0 when he has six or more assists ... He has led BYU in assists 15 times this year, also having a team-high in steals six times and in blocks three times ... He is second among all MWC players in assist/turnover ratio and third in assists ... Has had nine double-digit points games and BYU is 9-0 in those games ... He became first Cougar with a double-digit assist games since BYU's all-time assist leader Matt Montague in 2002, totaling a career-best 10 assists vs. UNLV, adding nine points ... He had career-best 3 steals and scored 17 points vs. Saint Mary's, including 15 second-half points to key BYU's win ... Had career-high 20 points vs. Idaho State at the Cable Car Classic ... He had nine assists (also Oklahoma State) and no turnovers against Weber State while going 3-of-4 from the floor and adding one blocked shot and two steals ... Grabbed a career-best 8 rebounds vs. USC ... He has played two years at BYU since transferring from Eastern Oklahoma State College in Wilburton, Okla. where he earned first-team NJCAA All-Region 2 honors and led the Mountaineers to back-to-back Region 2 Tournament runner-up finishes with records of 23-8 and 25-7
KEVIN WOODBERRY (6-0, 170, SR, G)
A starter last year (26 starts at point guard), he has started five games this year at shooting guard and is primarily coming off the bench playing the shooting guard slot but has seen more action at the point during BYU's current six-game winning streak ... He has led BYU in assists three times this year, incluidng his 6 vs. UNM, and had the top steals and blocks outputs four times each ... He has made 25 treys this year ... He had a strong performance at Wyoming, holding Jay Straight to five points on 2-of-9 shooting, blocking two three-point attempts ... He has four double-digit scoring games this year ... Made a high-flying, come-from-behind block vs. UNLV to start a BYU fast break and get the crowd going ... He had 8 points on 3-of-3 shooting at UNM, including a soaring, game-tying tipin with 3.8 seconds remaining ... He was 5-of-6 from the floor vs. Weber State ... He had career-best 7 assists vs. SUU, adding season-high 14 points ... An excellent defender with good speed, he led the team with 46 steals (1.4 spg) last year while dishing out a team-high 80 assists (2.5 apg) ... He transferred from Dixie State College (St. George, Utah) where he helped the Rebels earn a 34-3 record and the 2002 NJCAA National Championship, earning second-team All-Scenic West Athletic Conference honors after leading the Rebels in assists (3.6), steals (2.0), three-point field goals (73) and free throw percentage (.815) ... He played at Portland as a freshman.
JAKE SHOFF (6-9, 265, SR, F/C)
Shoff has been limited the past two seasons due to injuries ... He has played 10 or more minutes in 14 games ... He has made eight of his last nine shots from the floor over the past four games and has been an emotional spark for the Cougars off the bench ... He was a difference maker at CSU in only 12 minute of action. He scored a season-high 9 points on 4-of-5 shoooting, grabbed 3 boards, including 2 to keep a possessions alive, and added one steal, one assist and one block . He sparked a key BYU run with the score tied 54-54. After a Mike Hall free throw made it 55-54, Shoff rebounded Hall's missed second shot and put it in to give the Cougars a three-point lead, then hustled to the other end to block a Matt Nelson shot down low, get the rebound and outlet to start a Cougar break that resulted in a Luiz Lemes layup to put BYU up by five points in a total of 27 seconds. BYU led the rest of the way to the win ... He played crucial role in a season-high 28 minutes (BYU career best) at Santa Clara, grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds and equaling a season-best four points ... He tallied a career-best four thefts against his former team Weber State ... He had a career-best two blocks vs. USC while adding five rebounds and three points in 12 minutes ... A strong rebounder and underestimated offensive player, he shot 61 percent from the floor and averaged three rebounds in his 10 minutes per game last year while adding 2.6 ppg ... He is a transfer from Weber State (Ogden, Utah) ... A strong physical player inside, he was third in the nation in average rebounds per minute played in 2000-01 at Weber State.
RICKY BOWER (6-4, 185, SR, G)
Bower was expected to play a key role for the Cougars in his senior season but has not been able to play due to a back injury ... Depending on the health of his back as he works through his injury, he may seek an additional year of eligibility from the NCAA due to his season-ending injury ... Monday's game could also be his last as part of the Cougar team ... Last year he was the Cougars' primary reserve, including five starts, despite being slowed by a back injury ... An excellent shooter, he was the team's top percentage shooter (of players with significant minutes) from three-point range (.439) and the free throw line (.875) last year ... He is a transfer from the University of Wisconsin who sat out using a redshirt year in 2001-02 because of NCAA transfer rules ... He shot 44 percent from three-point range and 81 percent from the line at Wisconsin ... He played some point but was primarily a wing ... He has an outstanding knowledge of the game and possesses good leadership skills.
GAME 25 RECAP -- COUGARS KNOCK OFF FIRST-PLACE AIR FORCE
PROVO -- BYU kept its perfect home season intact Monday night, knocking off first-place Air Force 67-61 at the Marriott Center. The Cougars' sluggish offense came to life late in the second half behind stellar performances from seniors Mark Bigelow and Rafael Araujo. Bigelow scored 21 points, including four free throws in the final 1:11 that sealed the win and moved him into eighth place on BYU's all-time scoring list. Araujo was a goliath in the paint, also notching 21 points on 9-of-10 shooting from the field. "Bigelow and Araujo played excellent games for us tonight," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "It was a great college game for both teams." The win pushes the Cougars' winning streak to six games and improves their record to 18-7 (8-4 in the MWC). The Falcons fell to 19-5 (9-2 MWC). BYU has won 17 in a row at the Marriott Center and 61 out of its last 62. "Tonight the pressure was on them," Falcons coach Joe Scott said. "They did a good job when they were down to come back." In the first half BYU sprinted to an early 6-0 lead. However, poor shooting and foul trouble for Araujo kept the Cougars' offense sputtering. BYU ended the half trailing 26-23, shooting 0-4 on threes and 5-10 on free throws. The second half started out in the same fashion until reserve guard Mike Rose hit a three-pointer six minutes in. His basket sparked a surge in the Cougar offense, with Bigelow tying the game at 41 on a baseline jumper with 11 minutes left. On the next possession, a driving lay-up by senior forward Jake Shoff gave BYU its first lead since the first half. The Cougars never trailed again. Steady shooting down the stretch iced the game for BYU. The Cougars shot a season-high 64 percent from the field, including a lights-out 82.4 percent in the second half when the Cougars made all 13 of their attempts from inside the three-point arc. BYU also sank 15-of-18 foul shots in the second half. BYU has historically dominated the match-up, taking 41 out of 50 games. However, times have changed as Air Force has emerged as a MWC powerhouse this season. The Falcons defeated the Cougars 74-52 on Jan. 24. "In the past Air Force hasn't been as good as they are this year," Cleveland said. "But, this year they are hitting on all cylinders." Nick Welch led the Falcons with 16 points, while Tim Keller scored 14 and Antoine Hood added 10.
GAME 24 RECAP -- HOT-SHOOTING COUGARS DOWN LOBOS
PROVO -- Rafael Araujo led four Cougars (17-7, 7-4) scoring in double figures with 18 points while grabbing eight rebounds as the Cougars defeated New Mexico (13-10, 4-6) 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.
ON A ROLL
BYU has won six straight games, matching its longest victory streak of the season. The last time BYU won seven in a row was during the nonconference schedule of the 2001-02 season. BYU won eight straight during that streak, including a win over No. 13 Stanford at the Las Vegas Showdown. BYU's current six-game victory streak is the longest for the Cougars during regular-season MWC play under Steve Cleveland.
HEATING UP AT HOME
BYU has posted back-to-back games of 60 percent or better shooting. The Cougars shot 60 percent against New Mexico followed by a season-high .639 night against Air Force Monday. Amazingly, the Cougars did not miss a single shot inside the three-point arc during the second half of the victory over league-leading Air Force. BYU shot 82.4 percent (14-17) from the floor in the second half, going 13-of-13 on two-point attempts. The Cougars went 1-for-4 on threes in the second half, with Mike Rose's trey being the only time on eight tries that BYU connected from long range against the Falcons. Just two nights before, BYU shot a season-high .523 on threes against New Mexico. All five BYU starters are shooting 50 percent or better over the last two games. Mark Bigelow has been on fire, going 13-18 (.722), Rafael Araujo is 16-23 (.696), Mike Hall 8-15 (.533), Luiz Lemes 4-8 (.500) and Garner Meads 3-4 (.750). Off the bench in the last two games, Mike Rose is 5-9 (.556), Jake Shoff is 3-3 (1.000), and Kevin Woodberry is 1-6 (.167) but has played well while seeing more time at the point. All other players did not attempt any shots the past two games.
MORE SHOOTING NUMBERS AT HOME
The Cougars have shot .509 while going 12-0 in the Marriott Center this year. Every player on the team but Terry Nashif (3-12, .250) shoots 45 percent or better from the floor at home. Guards Kevin Woodberry, Luiz Lemes and Mike Rose have the most significant increases in shooting percentages in the Marriott Center compared to BYU's road and neutral games. Woodberry has made 50 percent (21-42) at home compared to .343 (23-67) away from Provo. Lemes is successful on his Marriott Center attempts at a .488 (39-80) rate compared to .366 ( 26-71), while Rose shoots .482 (27-56) at home and .300 (6-20) away. BYU has won by a margin of 19.3 points at home this year.
COUGARS PUSHING FOR POINTS
BYU has pushed the ball more during its current six-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 six games -- all victories, BYU has scored 11.5 points per game in transition, while opponents have averaged 3.3 fast-break points. Prior to the slower-paced Air Force game, BYU averaged 13.0 fast-break points in the five straight wins. 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 six 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. BYU leads the MWC in steals in league play.
LOOKING TO TURN THE TABLES
With its last two wins over New Mexico and Air Force, the Cougars have won the first two games of their three-game homestand facing the three teams that beat BYU during its season-worst three-game losing skid. This time the games are in the Marriott Center and the Cougars again have the services of forward/center Jared Jensen, who was out with a back injury during BYU's three straight road losses.
FOCUS ON FINISHING
With its current six-game victory streak, the Cougars have gone from a tie at the bottom of the MWC standings at 2-4 to a tie for second at 8-4. 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. With its solid RPI rating, a strong finish to the regular season could put the Cougars in position to obtain another NCAA bid.
PLAYER PERFORMANCE NOTABLES
Rafael Araujo went 9-for-10 scoring 21 points while Mark Bigelow made 7-of-10 shots to also score 21 points in BYU's win over league-leading Air Force ... Mike Hall scored 16 points and held UNM's Danny Granger to only 9 points and 3 rebounds Saturday ... Mark 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.
ARAUJO EARNS THIRD MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONOR THIS SEASON (Feb. 16-22)
BYU senior center Rafael Araujo averaged 19.5 points and 10 rebounds last week to earn Mountain West Conference Player of the Week honors for the third time this season. He also averaged 2.0 steals and 1.5 blocks. Araujo, from Sao Paulo, Brazil, led BYU to two wins last week and helped extend the Cougars current win streak to five games. The victories came at Colorado State (79-73) and at home vs. New Mexico (88-71). Against New Mexico, Araujo had game highs of 18 points and eight rebounds in 27 minutes of action. He went 7-of-13 from the floor, and added three blocks. He recorded his 13th double-double of the year at Colorado State, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 boards to lead BYU to a rare sweep of the Front Range road trip (CSU and Wyoming). Araujo's 13 double-doubles currently rank tied for fifth in the nation. Araujo came up with a game-high four steals against the Rams to help ignite a BYU fast break that produced a 19-0 advantage over the Rams in transition. He shot 7-of-17 from the floor and 7-of-10 from the line.
HALL NAMED MWC CO-PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Feb. 9-15)
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.
BYU ACHIEVED 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 in 1971-72 and 1972-73. 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.
CLEVELAND NO. 2 ON MARRIOTT CENTER VICTORY LIST
Cougar head coach Steve Cleveland has guided BYU to the second-most Marriott Center wins. He needs 10 more Marriott Center wins to have the most ever by a BYU coach. With his 83-18 record in the Cougars' home arena, he is currently second, having passed Frank Arnold's 81 victories with his win vs. New Mexico. 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 126-85 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.
ARAUJO NAMED TO NABC DISTRICT 13 FIRST TEAM
The National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) have 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.
FIRST TEAM SECOND TEAM
Rafael Araujo, Brigham Young Michael Kuebler, Hawaii
Danny Granger, New Mexico Matt Nelson, Colorado State
Kirk Snyder, Nevada Andrew Bogut, Utah
Nick Jacobson, Utah Jason Erickson, Montana State
Aerick Sanders, San Diego 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 (tied for sixth in Division I) 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 16.8 points, while Western Kentucky's 6-foot-11 Nigel Dixon is second to Araujo in rebounds at 10.0 boards per game.
ARAUJO RATES HIGH IN NATIONAL AND MWC STATISTICS
Senior center Rafael Araujo is 12th in the nation in rebounds in the latest release of NCAA statistics (Feb. 24). He is in the top-10 in seven categories in the MWC, including five top-5 rankings. Among MWC players entering Saturday's games, he is No. 2 scorer, No. 2 in steals, No. 2 in defensive rebounds, No. 3 in total rebounds, No. 5 in offensive rebounds, No. 6 in field goal percentage, No. 9 in blocks, and No. 14 in free throw percentage. Araujo leads all MWC players in steals in league games.
ARAUJO NAMED CABLE CAR CLASSIC MVP
Araujo was named MVP of the Cable Car Classic after averaging 20.5 points and 11.5 rebounds and leading BYU to the title with wins over Idaho State and host Santa Clara. Against ISU, he made 10-of13 shots, including his only three attempt, scored a team-high 23 points, added 11 rebounds, two blocks, two steals and one assist. Against host Santa Clara, he scored 18 points, all in the second half, against constant triple-teaming while dishing out three assists and grabbed 12 rebounds. Araujo went 2-for-2 from behind the arc against the Broncos.
ARAUJO BECAME FIRST BACK-TO-BACK MWC WEEKLY PLAYER AWARD WINNER (DEC. 7-DEC. 13)
BYU senior center Rafael Araujo captured Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week honors for the second consecutive week after leading the Cougars to victories over Western Oregon (92-56) and Southern California (85-61). Araujo is the first MWC player to win the award on back-to-back weeks since the inception of the MWC in 1999-2000. It was Araujo's third career player of the week honor. In the two games, Araujo averaged 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds, while shooting 64 percent. He scored 15 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked two shots in just 25 minutes against Western Oregon. In the 14-point victory over USC, Araujo netted 28 points, 11 boards and two steals. He hit 10-of-15 field goals, including a career-best two treys.
ARAUJO EARNED ESPN NATIONAL PLAYER SUPPORTING CAST RECOGNITION (DEC. 7-DEC. 13)
BYU senior center Rafael Araujo was regognized as one of the nation's top performers last week as supporting cast mention to ESPN's weekly national player honor. Araujo was one of seven players singled out by ESPN for outstanding play. ESPN also acknowledged it was the second consecutive week Araujo deserved the honor, stating, "OK, we admit we messed up by not including Araujo last week in the supporting cast." Araujo was named national player of the week that week by both the Sporting News and Collegeinsider.com.
ARAUJO EARNED NATIONAL, MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS (NOV. 30-DEC. 6)
BYU senior center Rafael Araujo was named the National Player of the Week by The Sporting News and by Collegeinsider.com for the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 6 after recording two double-doubles in victories at Boise State (75-69) and against 25th-ranked Oklahoma State (76-71). He was also named the MWC Player of the Week. He averaged 31.5 points and 15.5 rebounds, while shooting 71.4 percent from the floor and 76.7 percent from the free throw line. In the win at Boise State, Araujo scored 31 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. He made 10-of-13 attempts from the field and earned 14 trips to the free throw line, knocking down 11. In the victory over Oklahoma State at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Araujo scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. He made 10-of-15 field goals and 12-of-16 free throws on the day and scored 26 of the Cougars' 40 second half points. His 17 rebounds, one shy of the entire OSU team, led the way for BYU as it dominated the boards against the Cowboys, 44-18.
ARAUJO IN 30-30 CLUB
Rafael Araujo scored back-to-back, 30 points games with his 31 points at Boise State and career-best 32 points against No. 25 Oklahoma State at the Delta Center. Araujo became the first Cougar to accomplish the feat since Terrell Lyday scored 35 points in a win at Utah State and followed that with a 30-point effort in a win at UNLV in January 2000.
BYU has played 11 games this year where the outcome was in question entering the final minute. The Cougars have gone 7-4 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 17-0 when leading with five minutes remaining and 17-1 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. 6 Oklahoma State (21-3 ) one of its three losses and losing by two points at No. 23 Utah State (22-2). The seven teams to beat BYU this year have a combined 117-55 (.680) record. Of those seven teams, four are in the top 2 in their league standings. In addition to Oklahoma State and Utah State, BYU opponent NC State is also ranked in the top 25, currently at No. 14 in AP and No. 19 in ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.
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 12-0 at home this year and has won 17 straight overall in the Marriott Center. BYU has won 61 of its last 62 games at home and is 56-1 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. BYU is currently 41-1 over the last three seasons.
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 14,682 after 12 home games this year. BYU had a season-high 18,367 attendance 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 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.
Facing then No. 25 Oklahoma State, BYU played its first top-25 ranked team this season. The victory over the (currently No. 6) 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 then 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 17-0
On the road 2-0
On a neutral floor 2-0
At home vs. Nonconference 40-0
At home vs. MWC 11-0
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 10-3
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