Mike Hall is averaging 17.5 points and shooting 50 percent from the floor over the past two games. Hall and the Cougars take on Air Force Monday at 7 p.m. in Clune Arena. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
BYU (9-17, 3-8 MWC) will play the second of three straight road games when the Cougars meet the Air Force Falcons (15-10, 6-4) Monday at 7 p.m. in Clune Arena at the U.S. Air Force Academy. The game is a SportsWest telecast aired on UPN Z-24 in Salt Lake City and KXTU/KXRM in Colorado Springs as well as being available via ESPN FULL COURT. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 (KSL.com).
UP NEXT FOR THE COUGARS
The Cougars return to Utah to face the regular season champion Utah Utes Saturday in Salt Lake City at 1 p.m. The game at the Huntsman Center is an ESPN+Plus telecast (KJZZ-TV in Salt Lake City).
BYU GAME #27 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (9-17 3-8 MWC) at AIR FORCE FALCONS (15-10, 6-4 MWC)
MONDAY, FEB. 21, 2005
CLUNE ARENA (5,939)
USAFA, COLO. 7:07 p.m. MST
BYU, Steve Cleveland (138-104 in eighth season; same overall)
AFA, Chris Mooney (15-10 in first season; same overall)
BYU leads, 42-10 (AFA edged BYU in Provo in the first meeting, 52-49)
SportsWest (UPN Z-24 in Utah, KXTU/KXRM in Colorado Springs and available nationally via ESPN FULL COURT with Tom Kirkland calling play-by-play and Blaine Fowler adding analysis)
KSL 1160, BYU Sports Network (Greg Wrubell calls play-by-play with Brian Santiago adding commentary)
Live audio and live stats are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (see upcoming schedule)
COUGAR QUICK HITS
- BYU (9-17, 3-8 MWC) is 6-7 at home, 2-7 away and 1-3 on a neutral floor. BYU's non-league schedule this season included four Pac-10 opponents and two ACC teams. The Cougars have faced three top-25 teams this season (North Carolina, North Carolina State, Utah).
- Nine of BYU's losses have been single-digit setbacks, including six by five points or less and five defeats of three-points or less. Eight of BYU nine wins had been double-digit victories, including its overtime win at UNLV. BYU defeated Colorado State by a single point in its last win after a one-point loss to Wyoming.
- With the win against Colorado State, BYU coach Steve Cleveland passed Frank Arnold (1975-83) into fourth place on BYU's all-time victory list with 138 wins. He needs 14 more wins to equal Ott Romney (1927-35) and Roger Reid (1989-96) who both achieved 152 victories.
- BYU coach Steve Cleveland has utilized 16 different starting lineups this season while dealing with injuries and inconsistent play from an inexperienced roster. Before using his 16th lineup at UNM due to Keena Young's injury, he had used the same lineup the prior six games -- the first time this year the same five players have started even three consecutive games.
- The 10 BYU players averaging double-digit minutes this season include six sophomores, three seniors and one freshman. Only three players -- seniors Mike Hall and Jared Jensen and sophomore Garner Meads -- averaged more than 10 minutes during a prior season as a Cougar. Of BYU's freshmen top-20 signing class, only F/C Chris Miles is currently playing as David Burgess (ankles) and Trent Plaisted (knees) are out while top guard prospect and Arizona Player of the Year Lee Cummard has not been with the team this year after opting to serve an LDS Church mission. After returning early, he will join BYU next season.
- Senior guard Mike Hall leads BYU in scoring at 14.0 ppg. Sophomore point guard Austin Ainge contributes 9.5 ppg. Ainge leads BYU with 4.1 assists (3rd in MWC; 4.8 apg in league games is 2nd in MWC). Sophomore transfer Keena Young pulls down a team-best 5.6 rebounds but is out of action with a broken hand. Sophomore center Derek Dawes adding 4.9 rpg. Jared Jensen is No. 3 in the MWC in FG (.585) and FT (.836) percentage.
LOOKING AT AIR FORCE
At 15-10 overall and 6-4 in league play, the Air Force Falcons are currently tied for second place in the MWC with New Mexico. The Falcons have been nearly perfect home, owning a 10-1 record this season. Their lone loss came Saturday when Utah clinched the regular season title by ending AFA's 24-game home win streak. Air Force has not had the same success away from Clune Arena as the Falcons are 3-8 away from home. The Falcons are led by two sensational juniors, including last year's MWC Co-Player of the Year and first-team All-MWC selection Nick Welch. As the first league Player of the Year in the AFA program's history, Welch is averaging 12.1 points while sharing high scoring honors with last year's honorable mention All-MWC selection Antoine Hood. Welch is also second on the team in rebounds with 3.4 per game and second on the team in assists, averaging 2.7 per game, just being teammate Tim Keller's 2.9 apg average. Hood adds 3.1 rpg, third on the team. Sophomore forward Jacob Burtschi leads the Air Force rebounding effort with 4.3 per outing. As a team, the Falcons' 53.6 points allowed per game ranks first in the nation. The Falcons also have the second-lowest turnovers per game in the nation at 9.4. The Falcons are shooting 44.3 percent from the field, 36.4 percent from the arc and 72.8 percent from the charity stripe. Air Force is coached by Chris Mooney, who is in his first season as a Division I head coach. Mooney has been with the Falcon program for four years, including the last two as the associate head coach.
AFA's LAST OUTING - UTES WIN 18TH STRAIGHT, END FALCON HOME VICTORY STREAK AT 24 GAMES
AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Andrew Bogut scored 20 of his 23 points in the second half Saturday to lead No. 14 Utah to its 18th straight victory, 65-56 over Air Force. In what may have been the most impressive win of the streak, which began Dec. 17, the Utes (23-3, 11-0 Mountain West) snapped Air Force's 24-game home winning streak and clinched the conference title. They also stayed well on track for their 26th NCAA tournament appearance. Air Force (15-10, 6-4), ranked 104 in the latest RPI ratings, lost a chance at a quality victory it dearly needed to make the NCAA tournament for the second straight year. The Falcons, who came in with a half-game lead over Wyoming for second place, now fight for seeding for the conference tournament, which they very well may have to win to head back to the NCAAs. Jacob Burtschi had 15 points for the Falcons, but they all came in the first half, before Bogut started taking over on both ends of the floor. The 7-foot Australia native came one rebound short of padding his nation-leading total of 17 double-doubles. He scored eight points during a 10-0 run that gave Utah a 36-32 lead and set the tone to open the second half. He altered shots on defense and generally frustrated Air Force, which by slowing things down, played right into the big man's hands. Trailing 53-45 with about 2 minutes left, Bogut altered Nick Welch's shot, then blocked Dan Nwaelele's attempt after the rebound - a typical sequence for the Utes, who allowed only three field goals over the first 15 minutes of the second half. Bryant Markson scored 15 points and Marc Jackson had 12 for Utah, which has the second-longest winning streak in the nation, behind only top-ranked Illinois (27 straight). Welch also had 15 points for the Falcons, whose last home loss came March 3, 2003, to Utah.
AIR FORCE'S PROJECTED STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 21 Jacob Burtschi 6-6 205 So. 7.8 4.3
F 34 Dan Nwaelele 6-5 210 So. 8.5 2.5
C 45 Nick Welch 6-8 215 Jr. 12.1 3.4
G 11 Tim Keller 6-3 185 Sr. 7.3 2.2
G 15 Antoine Hood 6-5 190 Jr. 12.1 3.1
This will be the 53rd meeting between the two teams, with BYU leading the series 42-10. The Cougars are 21-4 in Provo, 18-6 at Air Force, and 3-0 at a neutral site. BYU has won eight of the 12 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 last year's game at Air Force, downing the Cougars 74-52 while shooting 72.5 percent, the team's highest percentage ever against a Division I team. The Cougars got revenge in the second meeting as BYU handed the Falcons a 67-61 defeat in Provo. BYU has won nine of the last 14 outings since winning a series-best 15 straight over the Falcons from 1990-96. Before the Falcons' three-point win earlier this season, BYU had won the last 13 games in the Marriott Center since a 79-78 Falcon win in 1989 (Cleveland is 6-1 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 but has a chance to do so Monday.
BYU SERIES RECORD VS. AIR FORCE
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 42-10
BYU Record in Provo: 21-4
BYU Record in Colorado Springs: 18-5
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 3-1
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 9-5
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 2-0
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: 19, 80-61 in 1998
Most Points Scored by BYU: 110 in 1965
Most Points Scored by Air Force: 93 in 1987
FIRST MEETING THIS SEASON -- AIR FORCE STRIKES DOWN COUGARS
PROVO -- BYU fell to the Air Force Falcons, 52-49, Saturday afternoon. Keena Young played big for the Cougars, posting his first double-double of the season, tying his career-high with 14 points and grabbing a new career-high 11 rebounds. The Falcons jumped on the Cougars early in the first half, scoring the first 10 points of the game. Slowly the Cougars crawled their way back into the game, connecting on an 11-0 run of their own to take their first lead of the half 21-20. During that time, BYU held the Falcons scoreless for eight and half minutes. In the last few minutes of the half, late turnovers by BYU allowed the Falcons to regain a quick lead until Young, who led the Cougars in scoring at the half, scored on a tip-in with one second remaining to tie the game 29-29 at halftime. In the second half, both teams battled back and forth as neither team could pull away with a comfortable lead. The Cougars' largest lead of the half came at the 10 minute mark, with BYU on top by four, 43-39. Late in the second half, Jimmy Balderson delivered a two-point basket to bring the Cougars within one, 49-50. The next play down the floor, the Falcons missed a shot within the key and BYU's Young grabbed the rebound but the ball was stripped, leading to a Cougar foul. With 11 seconds left in the game, Air Force's Matt McCraw hit two clutch free throws to take a three point advantage. A desperation 3-pointer by Austin Ainge was not enough to secure the win. The Cougars' second-leading scorer was senior Mike Hall, who finished the game with 13 points. Sophomore Ainge contributed an overall effort with five points, six assists and six rebounds. BYU finished the game shooting 47.6 percent from the field, 40 percent from the arc and an uncharacteristic 37.5 percent shooting from the charity stripe. "There's no time to feel sorry for ourselves," Cleveland said. "And there's no time to get distracted. We have to come back and find a way to beat New Mexico."
WHAT COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME IN PROVO THIS YEAR ...
"I couldn't be prouder of our effort, But I'm disappointed that we lost. There's no time to feel sorry for ourselves, And there's no time to get distracted. We have to come back and find a way to win games."
LAST YEAR AT AIR FORCE -- FALCONS NEARLY FLAWLESS IN 74-52 IN 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 deficit 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
"They took us out of the game in the first 20 minutes. They gave us a good whopping. 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."
BYU's LAST OUTING - LOBOS SHOOT BY COUGARS
ALBUQUERQUE -- It was a tough night for the Cougars in New Mexico as sharp shooting and phenomenal play by Danny Granger gave the Lobos a 91-72 victory in the Pit to avoid a Cougar season sweep. Granger led the Lobos with 20 points, three rebounds and five assists, as New Mexico connected on 31-of-50 shots to shoot 62 percent from the field. "New Mexico played and shot the ball very well tonight," said BYU coach Steve Cleveland. "We couldn't have beaten them no matter how well we shot." Despite the loss, the Cougars shot an outstanding 55 percent from the field, with center Jared Jensen scoring on nine of his 10 shots to finish the game with 20 points and five rebounds. It was all Lobos in the first half with Danny Granger leading the way. The first basket came from a deep three-pointer by Granger to begin a 7-0 run as New Mexico never trailed. Jensen carried the Cougars as long as he could, scoring 10 points on 4-4 shooting, but foul trouble took Jensen out of the game. Without Cougar forwards Garner Meads and Keena Young, who were both out due to injury, BYU had no answer for Granger. The senior forward finished the half with 12 points, including a 2-point basket at the buzzer. New Mexico went into halftime with a 54-35 advantage and the largest lead of the half at 19 points. The Cougars finished the half shooting 48 percent from the field, while the Lobos shot an astonishing 76 percent from the floor. The hot shooting continued for the Lobos in the second half, never allowing the Cougars to crawl their way back into the game. Cougar guard Brock Reichner got his first start of a half this season and delivered for the Cougars during his 17 minutes of play, hitting a deep three-pointer to give BYU its first points of the second half. Jensen continued to battle in the post, adding another 10 points. With the loss against the Lobos, the Cougars have now dropped their eighth league game and are currently in seventh place, one game ahead of the Colorado State Rams, with a 3-8 record.
BYU's loss to New Mexico (hot-shooting Lobos won by 19) was the first time in league play that BYU has not been tied or had the lead in the second half. Last year with BYU's NCAA team, BYU suffered through a similar game when Air Force had a special shooting night to earn a big win. The Falcons handed BYU its largest margin of defeat in an MWC game in last year's game at Air Force, downing the Cougars 74-52 while shooting 72.5 percent, AFA's highest percentage ever against a Division I team.
NOTES FROM MONDAY'S GAME AT UNM
- Jared Jensen went 9-of-10 from the floor to score 20 points in 21 minutes of play, despite missing practice this week with the flu and not feeling 100 percent on Saturday. His nine field goals made is a new career high. BYU lost for only the second time in the seven games this year when Jensen has taken at least eight shot attempts.
- Mike Hall scored 19 points to reach double figures in a team-leading 21 games this season. Hall hit 6-of-12 shots and added a team-leading three steals.
- BYU outrebounded the Lobos 25-22. BYU is now 5-7 this year when winning the battle of the glass.
- BYU shot 55.1 percent from the floor against UNM Saturday -- the highest percentage made by the Cougars in Mountain West play this season and its second-best shooting night of the season. BYU shot a season-high 60.4 percent at Weber State on Dec. 23.
- BYU lost for the first time this year when topping 50 percent shooting. The Cougars are now 4-1 when making at least half of their field goal attempts.
- New Mexico's 62 percent shooting from the floor and 68.4 percent from three-point range were both the highest percentages made against the Cougars this season, topping, respectively, Utah (.619) and Washington State (.526).
- BYU falls to 0-16 this season when being outshot by its opponent. BYU is 9-1 when it has managed the upper hand in shooting numbers.
- New Mexico's 91 points is the most scored against the Cougars this season. UNM scored 51 points in the first half to take a 19-point lead. The Lobos and Cougars played even in the second half with both teams scoring 40 points. The last time BYU allowed more than 50 points in a half was Dec. 23, 2003 at Utah State when the Aggies scored 51 points.
- With Jimmy Balderson still suffering with an ankle injury, seldom-used junior guard Brock Reichner started the second half and logged 17 quality minutes against the Lobos, scoring four points while adding one rebound, one assist and one steal. Balderson played 13 minutes on the night, scoring 1 point with 2 rebounds.
- Due to injuries, BYU played Saturday's game with eight scholarship players among its 11 players currently available. The Cougars currently do not have a power forward available with Keena Young (hand) and Garner Meads (leg) both out of action. Six-foot-11 freshman forward/center Chris Miles started at power forward and made a solid contribution, going 2-for-2 from the floor, scoring 5 points and tying a career-best 3 assists, while having to defend UNM's 6-foot-8 versatile star Danny Granger.
- With the loss, BYU now leads the series against New Mexico 67-49.
INJURED YOUNG WILL BE MISSED VS. FALCONS
The Cougars will need to find a way to replace the production of recently injured forward Keena Young against the Falcons. Young scored 14 points and grabbed 11 rebounds while making 7-of-9 attempts from the floor in 32 minutes vs. Air Force in Provo during the first meeting. His size and versatility as a defender vs. the Falcon lineup will also be missed. After the Air Force game in Provo, when he came off the bench, Young went on to start the next six games for the Cougars, helping them to a 3-3 record, before breaking his shooting hand Wednesday during practice.
MEADS STILL OUT
Forward Garner Meads is another player who will not be available for the Cougars Monday. He is not on the trip (leg injury) and has missed the last four games and nine games overall.
COUGARS FARING BETTER WHEN FACING SHORT TURNAROUNDS
BYU bused from Albuquerque to Colorado Springs to face Air Force Monday. The Cougars will have a 90-minute practice Monday to prepare for the game. The Cougars are 3-2 this year when only having one day between games and are 1-1 when they have had to play the next day after a game. When BYU has had two or more days between games the Cougar record is 5-14. Saturday has not been kind to the Cougars this season. The Cougars are 1-9 playing on Saturday this year and 8-8 the rest of the week ( 2-4 on Monday, 2-3 on Tuesday and 2-1 on Wednesday, 1-0 on Thursday, 1-0 on Friday).
BYU is 9-1 when the Cougars have the better shooting percentage. BYU is 4-1 when topping 50 percent, suffering its first loss at New Mexico when making more than half its shots despite shooting 55 percent, its highest percentage during MWC play. The Lobos made 62 percent from the floor and 68.4 percent on threes, both highs by a BYU opponent this year. BYU is 0-4 when its opposition makes 50 percent or better and is 0-16 this season when being outshot.
COUGARS AMONG STATISTICAL LEADERS
Jared Jensen is third among MWC players in field goal (.585) and free throw (.836) percentage. Austin Ainge is No. 3 in assists (4.1) and No. 2 in league games only (4.8). Mike Hall ranks No. 4 in steals (1.6) and No. 3 in thefts in MWC games (2.0) while also ranking No. 6 in scoring (14.5) in league games. Jimmy Balderson ranks fifth in three-point percentage overall (.438) and in MWC games (.463) while Mike Rose is No. 6 in overall games in three point percentage (.405) and is No. 2 in most threes made overall (53).
DAWES NAMED MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK (Jan. 31)
Sophomore center Derek Dawes earned MWC Player of the Week honors on Jan. 31 for his career night against New Mexico, marking the first award of his career. The 6-foot-11 Dawes set career bests of 14 points, 6-of-7 (.857) shooting, and 4 blocks while tying career marks of 10 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 steal in the victory. He was also perfect from the free-throw line (2-2) in 32 minutes of action. After his only missed shot of the game, Dawes used his hustle to regain the Cougar possession by stealing a Lobo pass. Dawes' energy and effort in the post led the Cougars to a 68-53 win over the Lobos, their first MWC win of the season. The 14-point, 10-rebound double-double was the first of his career.
CLEVELAND NOW NO. 4 IN ALL-TIME WINS, NO. 2 ON MARRIOTT CENTER VICTORIES, NO. 1 IN MWC WINS
With a 138-104 overall record in his eighth season in Provo, BYU coach Steve Cleveland is fourth on BYU's career coaching victories list and is 15 wins from moving into second. Cleveland passed Frank Arnold (1975-83) with his victory over Colorado State in Provo on Feb. 14. 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. Cleveland has guided BYU to the second-most Marriott Center wins and needs three more to have the most ever by a BYU coach. With his 90-25 record in the Cougars' home arena, he is currently second behind Roger Reid, who has 92 Marriott Center wins. Cleveland has 48 MWC wins, one more than Wyoming's Steve McClain.
STREET & SMITH'S NAMES BYU THE No.36 BASKETBALL PROGRAM ALL-TIME
The BYU men's basketball program has been named one of the nation's all-time greatest basketball programs. Street & Smith's has produced a publication (released Jan. 25) recognizing the "100 Greatest College Basketball Programs of All Time," ranking BYU No. 36 on its list. Kentucky is named the No. 1 basketball program, with UCLA, North Carolina, Kansas and Duke completing the top five. Indiana, Louisville, Arkansas, UConn and Cincinnati round out the top 10. Street & Smith's graded each program's basketball history on the basis of NCAA Tournament success, NIT success, national championships, conference regular-season and tournament titles, all-time win-loss percentage, graduation rate, NCAA infractions, NBA first-round draft picks and mascot ferocity. Five Mountain West Conference teams made the list with Utah ranked 11th, UNLV 28th, BYU 36th, Wyoming 42nd and New Mexico 98th. Other in-state schools recognized include Weber State at No. 51 and Utah State at No. 82. Since BYU's first season in 1903, Cougar fans have cheered BYU to 82 winning seasons, 26 conference titles, 21 NCAA invites and 2 NIT titles, while Cougar players have earned 40 All-America and 96 all-conference citations, 43 NBA Draft selections and one National Player of the Year award. BYU entered the season No. 19 all-time in total victories and No. 36 in winning percentage.
CURRENT BYU WIN/LOSS STREAKS ...
At home 1-0
On the road 0-2
On a neutral floor 0-1
At home vs. Nonconference 3-0
At home vs. MWC 1-0
On the road vs. Nonconference 0-2
On the road vs. MWC 0-2
On a neutral floor vs. Nonconference 0-1
On a neutral floor vs. MWC 0-1
at regular season tournament 1-0
at MWC Tournament 0-1
at NCAA Tournament 0-5
at NIT 0-1