BYU tips its 2004 NCAA Tournament against defending national champion Syracuse Thursday at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
BYU (21-8) received an at-large invitation to the NCAA Tournament Sunday and will play defending national champion Syracuse (21-7) of the Big East Conference Thursday in Denver at the Pepsi Center. BYU-Syracuse will be the second game (approximately 1:15 p.m. tip) of the first session, which starts at 10:40 a.m. The Cougars are the 12th seed in the Phoenix Region while Syracuse is the No. 5 seed. The game will be televised on CBS. The radio broadcast of the game can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160, beginning with a one-hour pregame show. Live audio is available online by selecting the basketball schedule page of the official BYU athletics website, byucougars.com.
The BYU vs. Syracuse winner will face the victor of No. 4-seed Maryland (19-11) and No. 13-seed UTEP (24-7) on Saturday in Denver.
PHOENIX REGIONAL BRACKET IN DENVER, COLORADO
Pepsi Center (19,099)
THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2004
First Round Game 1 -- 10:40 a.m. (MST)
No. 4 MARYLAND TERRAPINS (19-11, MWC) vs. No. 13 UTEP MINERS (24-7, WAC)
First Round Game 2 -- 30 minutes after conclusion of game 1 -- apprx. 1:15 p.m. (MST)
No. 12 BYU COUGARS (21-7, MWC) vs. No. 5 SYRACUSE ORANGEMEN (21-7, BIG EAST)
SATURDAY, MARCH 20, 2004
Second Round -- TBA
GAME 1 WINNER vs. GAME 2 WINNER
GAME #30 FAST FACTS (NCAA TOURNAMENT FIRST ROUND)
BYU COUGARS (21-8, 10-4 MWC) vs. SYRACUSE ORANGEMEN (21-7, 11-5 BIG EAST)
THURSDAY, MARCH 18, 2004
PEPSI CENTER (19,099)
APPRX. 1:15 p.m. (MST)
BYU, Steve Cleveland (129-86 in seventh year; same overall)
SU, Jim Boeheim (674-233 in 27th season; same overall)
Syracuse leads 4-0; last meeting was in 1968
Play-by-Play: Jim Nantz
Game Analyst: Billy Packer
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time: Noon (MST)
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Brian Santiago
Live audio links are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2003-04 schedule) and on KSL.com.
The Cougars (21-8) have won nine of their last 10 games and finished second in the MWC regular season at 10-4 before falling to Utah in the MWC Tournament semifinals (54-51) last week at the Pepsi Center. BYU finished nonconference play with a 10-3 record, including the Cable Car Classic title and a win over Big XII champion Oklahoma State. BYU has the MWC's top RPI (31) and strength of schedule ratings. BYU returns four starters from last year's 23-9 co-championship team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Swingman Travis Hansen (drafted and playing with the Atlanta Hawks) and sixth man Ricky Bower (out all season with an injury) are two top players not with this year's team. Among returning players, senior center Rafael Araujo is theMountain West's Co-Player of the Year and an All-MWC First Team pick, while four-year starter Mark Bigelow earned second-team honors. NJCAA All-American transfer Mike Hall garnered third-team recognition and was named MWC Defensive Player of the Year. Senior guard Kevin Woodberry (5.2 ppg, 2.1 apg) and junior forward Jared Jensen (3.9 ppg, 2.2 rpg) were starters last season and have been key contributors this year but primarily coming off the bench. Newcomers Hall and freshmen Garner Meads have earned starting assignments. Araujo is averaging 18.2 points and 10.0 rebounds to lead BYU this year. Bigelow adds 13.3 points and 3.8 rebounds while Hall contributes 12.7 points and 3.5 rebounds. First-year starter Luiz Lemes, a senior combo guard in his second year in Provo, leads the team in assists (4.4). Meads adds 4.4 points and 2.8 rebounds. Senior Jake Shoff (2.8 ppg, 2.6 rpg) has played well off the bench, especially of late since overcoming some injuries. As a team, the Cougars shoot .487 from the floor, .348 on threes, and .725 from the line while scoring 73.3 points per game. BYU allows 65.0 points while the opposition has shot .448 (FG) and .340 (3FG). BYU has an average rebounding advantage of 5.4.
The Syracuse University men's basketball team begins defense of its 2003 NCAA Championship with a first-round matchup against BYU in Denver, Colo., on Thursday, March 18. Syracuse (21-7) earned a fifth seed while BYU (21-8) is seeded 12th. The Orangemen enter the tournament having won five of their last six outings, including victories over nationally-ranked Pittsburgh (49-46 in overtime) and Connecticut (67-56). Syracuse, seeded fourth in last week's BIG EAST Tournament after tying for third in the regular season, was bounced in its opener with Boston College, 57-54. Syracuse also saw NCAA Tournament action in Denver in 1996 when the city hosted the West Region Semifinal and final. Syracuse defeated Georgia, 83-81 in overtime, and Kansas, 60-57, to advance to the Final Four. SU has a 46-28 record in NCAA Tournament play, a record that covers 28 appearances dating back to 1957. Coach Jim Boeheim, who has taken 23 of his 28 teams into the NCAAs, owns a 38-21 record in NCAA postseason games. He ranks seventh on the all-time NCAA Division I Tournament win ledger. Syracuse has three starters back from last year's championship club - junior forward Hakim Warrick (19.6 ppg., 8.8 rpg.), junior center Craig Forth (5.8 ppg., 5.4 rpg.), and sophomore guard Gerry McNamara (16.2 ppg., 2.6 rpg.). Junior guard Josh Pace (9.9 ppg., 5.5 rpg.), a valuable reserve last season, is another regular in the starting lineup. Freshman forward Demetris Nichols (3.8 ppg., 2.1 rpg.) has started SU's last 12 games. Gone from the title team is Carmelo Anthony, last year's Final Four MVP, and captain Kueth Duany. Anthony is currently a member of the Denver Nuggets. Duany is playing professional basketball in Isreal.
SYRACUSE'S LAST OUTING
NEW YORK, N.Y. - Sophomore guard Gerry McNamara is Syracuse University's single-season three-point field goals record holder with 89 this year. He hit four in fourth-seeded SU's 57-54 loss to fifth-seeded Boston College in the quarterfinals of the 2004 BIG EAST Tournament at Madison Square Garden. McNamara led the #19/23 Orangemen (21-7 overall) with 15 points in the game. McNamara broke Preston Shumpert's three-point field goal record of 88, which Shumpert set in 2001-02, with a three-pointer that gave SU a 10-point lead, 41-31, with 14:48 remaining in the game. The Eagles (23-8) responded with a 6-0 run in the next 2:15 to cut the SU lead to four, 41-37. After a jump shot by SU's Hakim Warrick, Eagles center Craig Smith scored nine straight points for BC, which outscored the Orangemen 14-10 in the next nine minutes to tie the game at 51 with 2:51 left to play. Boston College's Jared Dudley hit two free throws to give the Eagles their first lead of the game, 55-54, with 37.5 seconds left to play. Then Smith scored two of his game-high 22 points on two free throws with six seconds left to give the Eagles their three-point margin of victory. McNamara's three-point field goal attempt to tie the game bounced off the back of the rim at the buzzer. McNamara is currently tied for fourth on SU's career three-point field goals record list with 175 (DeShaun Williams, 175, 1999-02). Shumpert holds the record with 249. Warrick finished the game with 12 points, while junior Josh Pace scored 12 points and led SU with seven rebounds. SU blocked 10 of the Eagles' shots, increasing its season total to 192 (6.86 per game), which ranks second nationally. Senior center Jeremy McNeil and Warrick each had three rejections. McNeil ranks fifth on SU's career blocked shots record list with 253 in 132 games. Prior to the BIG EAST quarterfinal game, SU was 7-0 when its opponent scored less than 60 points. SU head coach Jim Boeheim ranks 19th on the all-time Division I coaching list for victories with 674, which is one shy of Denny Crum, who is in 18th place with 675 wins.
SYRACUSE'S PROJECTED STARTERS (BASED ON LAST GAME)
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 4 Demetris Nichols 6-8 205 Fr. 3.8 2.1
F 1 Hakim Warrick 6-8 209 Jr. 19.6 8.8
C 51 Craig Forth 7-0 259 Jr. 5.8 5.6
G 5 Josh Pace 6-5 195 Jr. 9.9 5.5
G 3 Gerry McNamara 6-2 179 So. 16.2 2.6
BYU and Syracuse have met four times. The Orangemen have won all four meetings but the two teams have not played since a 1968 matchup in Provo, Utah. The first two games were played in 1947 and then the Cougars and Orangemen faced each other again in 1951. This is the second neutral court game between the two teams, with Syracuse topping BYU, 53-43, at the 1947 Los Angeles Invitational. This is the first postseason meeting between the two teams.
BYU VS. SYRACUSE SERIES BREAKDOWN
Overall Series Record: Syracuse leads 4-0
BYU Record in Provo: 0-1
BYU Record in Syracuse: 0-2
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-1
BYU Record Under Steve Cleveland: first meeting
BYU Record in Overtime Games: N/A
Longest BYU Win Streak: N/A
Longest Syracuse Win Streak: 4 (1947-present)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: N/A
Largest Syracuse Margin of Victory: 22, 74-52 in 1947
Most Points Scored by BYU: 73 in 1968
Most Points Scored by Syracuse: 77 in 1968
12-05-47 at Syracuse 52-74 L
12-27-47 vs. Syracuse+ 45-53 L
12-10-51 at Syracuse 58-63 L
12-23-68 Syracuse 73-77 L
+Los Angeles Invitational Tournament
THE VERDICT -- AND BYU -- IS IN
BYU gained an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament after making a solid case for entry into the annual championship field. The Cougars have achieved 21 wins even though they have played more games (16) away (8-8 record) from home than they did in the Marriott Center where BYU was a perfect 13-0. The Cougars finished the season strong, winning nine straight games until being upset by Utah in the MWC Tournament semifinals. BYU has an RPI of 31 and strenghth of schedule rated No. 35. BYU has quality wins, including a neutral court victory over current No. 3 Oklahoma State, the Big XII champs.
COUGAR NCAA NOTABLES
-- This will be BYU's 21st NCAA Tournament appearance. The Cougars have an 11-23 record in their prior 20 NCAA Appearances. They last advanced to the NCAA Tournament last season, losing 58-53 in the first round to Connecticut in Spokane, Wash.
-- BYU coach Steve Cleveland has guided the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament three out of the last four seasons, including back-to-back appearances the last two years. In his seventh year at BYU, Cleveland has guided the Cougars to postseason in each of the past five seasons. He has returned the Cougar program to an annual tournament participant since taking over a program that was 1-25 the season before his arrival.
-- This is the first time BYU has played an NCAA Tournament game in Denver.
-- BYU has been a No. 12 seed in each of its last three NCAA appearances (2001, 2003, 2004).
-- BYU has lost in the first round in its last three NCAA appearances. BYU's last NCAA win was in 1993 as a No. 7 seed in Chicago when the Cougars defeated SMU, 80-71. BYU lost to No. 2-seed Kansas, 90-76, in the second round that year.
-- BYU is 7-13 in its opening round games in NCAA Tournament play.
-- The last time BYU advanced out of the second round was in 1981 when the Cougars (as a No. 6 seed), defeated Princeton, 60-51 before upsetting No. 3-seed UCLA 78-55. BYU went on to defeat No. 2-seed Notre Dame on Danny Ainge's last-second, length-of-the-court dash, 51-50, to advance to the Regional Finals before losing to Ralph Sampson and No. 1-seed Virginia, 74-60.
POTENTIAL SECOND ROUND MATCHUPS
The BYU vs. Syracuse winner will face the victor between No. 4-seed Maryland (19-11) and No. 13-seed UTEP (24-7).
Maryland (19-11) finished the regular season of the Atlantic Coast Conference as the No. 6 seed before winning its first tournament title in 20 years by beating No. 5 Duke 95-87 in overtime Sunday - ending the top-seeded Blue Devils' run at five straight championships. It was the first ACC tournament title for the Terrapins since 1984, when Len Bias and coach Lefty Driesell beat Duke. Tournament MVP John Gilchrist led Maryland to victory. The sophomore guard put together a terrific three-game stretch to help the Terps beat the Nos. 3, 2 and 1 seeds. Gilchrist made the game-winning free throw in a quarterfinal win over No. 15 Wake Forest, he scored a career-high 30 points in a semifinal win over North Carolina State and capped it with 26 points against Duke on 10-of-20 shooting.
SERIES VS. MARYLAND
BYU and Maryland have never played. Maryland is the only ACC team the Cougars have not faced.
UTEP earned its first invitation to the NCAA Tournament in 14 years. The Miners (24-7), regular-season co-champions of the Western Athletic Conference, are making their 15th NCAA Tournament appearance, and first since 1992. The Miners won the 1966 national title. To this day UTEP is the only school in the state of Texas to win a national championship in men's basketball. The Miners' NCAA Tournament record is 14-13. Nevada defeated the Miners 66-60 on Saturday to win the WAC Tournament title.Omar Thomas (15.5 ppg) leads four Miners who average double figures for coach Billy Gillispie.
SERIES VS. UTEP
BYU, a former Western Athletic Conference member, has played UTEP 64 times, leading the series 39-25 over the Miners. The two teams last met in 1999, splitting the season series with home wins. BYU has a 1-0 record against the Miners on a neutral floor. In that game, the Cougars' Kevin Nixon hit a dramatic three-quarter-court shot at the buzzer to defeat UTEP, 73-71, in Fort Collins, Colo., to win the 1992 WAC Tournament title.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads, 39-25
BYU Record in Provo: 23-10
BYU Record in El Paso: 15-14
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-0
BYU Record Under Steve Cleveland: 2-2
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 5-4
Last Overtime Game: BYU won 3OT in El Paso, 76-75 in 1998
Longest BYU Win Streak: 7 (1977-80)
Longest UTEP Win Streak: 3 9three times in 1976-77, 1988-89 and 1997-98)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 27, 75-48 in 1971
Largest UTEP Margin of Victory: 26, twice in 1975 and 1997
Most Points Scored by BYU: 95 in 1995
Most Points Scored by UTEP: 97 in 1985
2004 MOUNTAIN WEST CONFERENCE MEN'S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
After its first four years in Las Vegas, this year's Mountain West Conference Basketball Championship was played at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colo. Utah won the 2004 tournament, edging UNLV to claim the MWC's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. It was the Utes first MWC Tournament title and their first finals appearance. In the five years of the MWC, a different team has won the tournament each year. Past MWC Tournament champions include UNLV (2000), BYU (2001), San Diego State (2002), Colorado State (2003) and Utah (2004).
BYU's MWC RECAPS
GAME 29 RECAP -- HEARTBREAKER ENDS COUGARS VICTORY STREAK
DENVER -- The Mountain West Conference Tournament ended for the No. 2-seeded BYU men's basketball team on Friday, with a heartbreaking 54-51 loss to the No. 3-seeded University of Utah at the Pepsi Center in Denver. The loss snapped the Cougars' nine-game winning streak that had pushed their overall record to 21-8 and 10-4 in the MWC. It also means the Cougars will not receive the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament and must await a decision from the NCAA Selection Committee. "It's hard to know what the committee is thinking, I know that our credentials are solid in every area," said head coach Steve Cleveland. "If you compare our criteria with other teams in the West, we are right at the top. This team has done everything it can do to get a berth." Some of what the Cougars have done is go 9-1 in their last 10 games -- one of the biggest criteria for the committee. The team improved its RPI ranking to a conference best No. 27 and went from last place in conference to finishing second in the regular season. "In my 27 years of coaching I have never seen a team as focused as this one, to come from last to second and win nine games in a row," said Cleveland. On the night, BYU shot 46.7 percent on 21-of-45 shooting with senior Rafael Araujo scoring a team-high 13 points and pulling down eight rebounds. Both junior Mike Hall and senior Luiz Lemes contributed nine points for BYU to round out the top three Cougars scorers. The Cougars put up 20 points in the first half. It was their second-lowest point total in a half on the season after a 19-point performance at the Air Force Academy back on Jan. 24. "It wasn't our best offensive game but we found our offense in the second half," said Cleveland. "We found the flow (in the second half) and put ourselves in a position to win but it came down to the end and we lost," said Cleveland. "We could never find our rhythm," said senior guard Mark Bigelow, "We weren't aggressive and nobody could hit a shot. If you score 20 points in the first half you are going to be in trouble in any game." Cleveland added, "We've won games in the last few seconds but tonight it didn't happen. We've had the ball bounce our way many times in the last six week -- just not tonight." The first half turned into a defensive battle with both teams struggling from the field. BYU went a combined 8-for-23 for 20 points while Utah was 9-of-26 for 26 points over the first 20 minutes. Utah struck first in the half, connecting on back-to-back threes before Hall knocked down a trey of his own at the 17:17 mark. The Cougars' Woodberry tied up the ball game at 12 apiece with a three point shot of his own but the tie didn't last long as the Utes went on a 7-2 run over the next six minutes to pull ahead 19-14 with 4:21 to go before the break. With 2:32 left in the half, Araujo was fouled by the Utes' Andrew Bogut but a questionable elbow to Bogut's head landed Araujo his first foul of the game in the form of a technical. Utah's Nick Jacobson made good on one of his two technical free throws to make it a 20-16 game. In the final minute of the half it was senior Jake Shoff that brought BYU to within six at 26-20 going into the break by connecting on two free throws and a tip-in with two seconds to go. Coming out of the break, the Utes pushed their lead to 10 at 39-29, their largest lead of the game. But BYU didn't lay down and the Cougars came roaring back with a 10-2 run, capped by a break-away layup by Hall at the 6:27 mark to tie up the game at 43 all. The Cougars kept a hold of the Utes through the remainder of regulation, allowing the Utes to get up by no more than four points the rest of the way. With time winding down and BYU trailing 52-48, Araujo stepped up and knocked down a three-pointer from the left side with 39 seconds to play, bringing the Cougars to within one at 52-51. But with 7.7 seconds on the clock and four seconds on the shot clock, Cougar guard Kevin Woodberry was called for a foul. The foul reset the shot clock and Araujo picked up his fifth foul trying to stop the clock on the inbound play. The Utes went on to win the barnburner 54-51 as Hall's last-second three-point attempt just fell short of the hole and bounced off the front of the rim as time ran out. BYU will now wait to hear from the NCAA Selection Committee as to whether it will be invited to the NCAA Tournament.
GAME 28 RECAP -- COUGARS HOLDS OFF COWBOYS TO ADVANCE TO MWC SEMIFINALS
DENVER -- BYU got one step closer to the Mountain West Conference title with a 79-75 win over the No. 7 seed Wyoming Cowboys in only the second postseason meeting between the two teams. With the victory the Cougars' improve to 4-1 in MWC Quarterfinal games, extend their current winning streak to nine straight games and also get one step closer to ensuring themselves a bid into the NCAA Tournament. "It was another great college game," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "I think we can make a really good case that we belong (in the NCAA Tournament) but the best way to make that case is just to keep winning." And winning is what BYU has done, improving their overall record to 21-7, while the Cowboys finish their season at 11-17 overall. "There were several people for us that stepped up, probably none bigger than Luiz in making some big baskets," said Cleveland. Leading the Cougars in scoring was senior point guard Luiz Lemes, who turned in a team-high 18 points and three assists in 37 minutes of play. Other Cougars who stepped up were seniors Rafael Araujo and Mark Bigelow along with junior Mike Hall who had great performances with all three Cougars scoring in double-digits in the afternoon game. Both Bigelow and Hall had 13 points while Araujo recorded his 15th double-double of the season with 17 points on 6-of-10 shooting and 14 boards, his second highest rebound total of the season and second highest in MWC Tournament history and most ever by a senior. In the first half, the Cougars fell behind 6-7 but it didn't last long as the Cougars mounted a 12-3 run to pull ahead of the Cowboys for the rest of the game. Araujo, Bigelow and Shoff each chipped in eight points in the half for BYU, teaming up for 24 of the Cougars' 32 points. The highlight of the half came as Araujo blocked a Wyoming shot, gathered the ball, passed it out to senior guard Kevin Woodberry who found Bigelow streaking down the sideline and hit him with an outlet pass for a wide open two-handed jam that brought the Cougar fans to their feet. Shoff then reeled off six straight points for the Cougars to go up 26-18 with under five minutes left in the half. BYU went on to close out the half with a pair of free throws by junior forward Jared Jensen, up 32-27 going into the break. The Cougars came out strong in the early going of the second half, putting up five unanswered points to go up by 10. Wyoming answered back with a 6-0 run of their own, including back-to-back steals and layups by David Adams to pull within four at 39-35. BYU fought to get some breathing room, pushing its lead to 12, the largest of the game, at 52-40 behind three-point baskets by Lemes and Hall. With 6:13 left in the game, senior forward Jake Shoff and Wyoming's David Rottinghaus were called for a double foul as the two fell to the floor away from the ball. The foul sent Shoff to the bench with his fifth foul. Wyoming instituted a full-court press through most of the half in an effort to force the Cougars to turn the ball over, but BYU was able to beat the press each time. "It was hard because we've never had that before," said Lemes, "There were 6-foot-9, 6-foot-10 guys against me, a 6-foot-3 guard. That was pretty tough but our guys did a good job against the press." The Cowboys managed to chip away at the Cougars' lead through the next five minutes, closing the margin to four points with less than two minutes to go in the game at 70-66. Free throws became key for the Cougars' down the stretch as the Cougars hit 7-of-8 shots from the line in the closing minute where they did not score a field goal. With less than 20 seconds to play, it was Woodberry's defensive play on Wyoming's Jay Straight that sealed the victory as Woodberry blocked Straight's three-point attempt, grabbed the ball and dribbled out the clock for the 79-75 win.
MWC TOURNAMENT TITLE GOES THROUGH BYU
BYU is one of five different MWC teams to win the MWC Tournament in the first five years of the league championship event. The Cougars won the MWC Tournament title in 2001. The other four seasons the Cougars lost in the tournament to the eventual champion. BYU lost in the finals to home-team UNLV in 2000 and were defeated by San Diego State in the 2002 quarterfinals, lost in overtime to CSU in the 2003 seminfinals and lost in the final seconds this year to Utah in the seminfinals.
ARAUJO NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM
Rafael Araujo was named to the Mountain West Conference Mens' Basketball Championship All-Tournament team after averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds in two games last week at the Pepsi Center in Denver. He shot 60 percent from the floor, hit his only three attempt, and made 71 percent of his free throw attempts.
ARAUJO RECORDS MWC REBOUNDING MARK
Rafael Araujo's 14 rebounds vs. Wyoming in the MWC Tournament quarterfinals is the most ever in the MWC Tournament by a senior and tied for second-highest rebound total by any player, joining former Wyoming star Josh Davis who had 14 boards vs. San Diego State in the 2001 tournament.
DOUBLE-DOUBLE GAMES UP TO 15 FOR ARAUJO
Rafael Araujo scored 17 points and added 14 rebounds vs. Wyoming in the MWC Tournament quarterfinals to record his 15th double-double game of the season. Araujo is one of the country's most productive players. He ranks fourth nationally for the highest combined points and rebounds averages. He leads BYU at 18.2 ppg and 10.0 rpg.
BYU MOST DOUBLE-DOUBLES
IN A SINGLE SEASON
22 John Fairchild 64-65
21 Brett Applegate 83-84
20 Kresimir Cosic 71-72
18 Steve Trumbo 81-82
16 John Fairchild 63-64
16 Russell Larson 93-94
15 Kresimir Cosic 70-71
15 Rafael Araujo 03-04
BIGELOW APPROACHES MILESTONE ONLY DANNY AINGE HAS ACHIEVED
Mark Bigelow needs 14 points to reach 400 points this year. If he reaches that mark, he will become only the second player ever at BYU to score at least 400 points all four seasons. The only Cougar to accomplish that feat in BYU's 102-year basketball history is Danny Ainge. The Cougar All-American scored 500 points every year but his sophomore season, when he scored 498 points.
Mark Bigelow will start his 119th game for BYU when the Cougars face Syracuse in the NCAA Tournament, equaling the career starts of former Cougar great Fred Roberts. Only three Cougars have more starts: Jeff Chatman and Randy Reid (122) and Ken Roberts (121). Bigelow will also make his 118th consecutive start, good for third on BYU's all-time list behind Chatman (122) and Fred Roberts (119).
ARAUJO ONE OF 30 COUGARS TO SCORE 500 POINTS IN A SEASON
Rafael Araujo scored his 500th point of the season with his first bucket vs. Wyoming in last week's MWC quarterfinals. He is the 30th Cougar to reach 500 points in a year and the 42nd occasion when a BYU player has scored 500 points in a season.
BYU won a season-best nine straight games before its MWC Tournament semifinal loss to Utah in its last outing. The nine-game win streak is the team's longest since the 1992-93 season when BYU won 13 in a row. BYU's eight straight wins to conclude the regular season this year is the longest for the Cougars during regular-season MWC play under Steve Cleveland. BYU's victory string was tied for the seventh-longest active streaks in NCAA Division I. BYU still maintains an 18-game homecourt winning streak, which is currently tied for the sixth longest nationally.
As of Monday, BYU is the top-rated MWC team in RPI according to Collegiate Basketball News and CollegeRPI.com. BYU is 31st in both ratings. BYU has played the toughest schedule among MWC teams, rated No. 35 (CBN) and No. 37 (CollegeRPI). The MWC is rated seventh as a league by CBN.
MWC ANNOUNCES ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS AND POSTSEASON AWARDS
THREE COUGARS HONORED -- ARAUJO NAMED CO-PLAYER OF THE YEAR, HALL EARNS DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
The Mountain West Conference announced its 2003-04 men's basketball awards Monday. The league's eight men's head coaches along with a selected media panel picked the all-conference teams, as well as the coach, player, freshman and defensive awards.
Rafael Araujo of BYU and Nick Welch of Air Force were selected as Co-Players of the Year, marking the first time in the five-year history of the league two players share the top individual honor. Air Force head coach Joe Scott captured Coach of the Year honors, while BYU's Mike Hall was named Defensive Player of the Year, and Freshman of the Year honors went to Andrew Bogut of Utah.
Regular-season champion Air Force, along with second-place BYU and fourth-place UNLV led the league with three all-conference selections each. Utah also had multiple players chosen with two, while Colorado State, New Mexico, San Diego State and Wyoming each had one. For the first time, the conference did not have any consensus first-team selections or individual awards winners. All eight institutions were represented on the three all-conference teams for the second straight season. Four players were repeat all-conference selections. Second-team honoree Mark Bigelow of BYU was a third-team pick last year, while first-teamer Nick Jacobson of Utah was a two-time third-team selection prior to this season. Air Force's Tim Keller and Colorado State's Matt Nelson are repeat third-team selections from 2002-03.
ARAUJO NAMED CO-PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Araujo is ranked among the top five players in five MWC statistical categories and rates in the top-10 in seven. The senior center from Sao Paulo, Brazil, is an NABC District 13 First Team selection and leads the league in steals (1.93), is fifth in scoring (16.2) and tied for third in rebounds (9.3). In all games, Araujo ranks second in the league in scoring at 18.4 points per clip and is tied for second in rebounding (10.0 rpg). He earned player of the week honors three times during the season and also earned national honors from The Sporting News and Collegeinsider.com. As the Cougars leader in scoring, rebounds, steals and blocks, Araujo led the team in scoring in seven conference games and in rebounds nine times. He recorded four double-doubles in league play and 15 overall. A Wooden Award Midseason Top 30 selection, Araujo became the second Cougar to capture MWC Player of the Year honors joining Mekeli Wesley (2000-01).
HALL EARNS DEFENSIVE PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Hall, who transferred from Dixie State college last year, ranked second in the league in steals with 25 (1.79 per game). The junior guard led BYU in steals in six games and had the most blocks on four occasions. Throughout the year, Hall received assignments to defend every position but point guard while helping the Cougars to a 10-4 league record. In BYU's win over Utah that secured the No. 2 seed for the Cougars, Hall defended one of the league's top shooters in Nick Jacobson. He forced Jacobson into six turnovers and a 5-for-14 shooting night, including 3-of-10 from behind the arc. Hall played solid defense against UNLV's Demetrius Hunter in BYU's win in Provo on Feb. 7, holding the senior guard to five points and one rebound. He cemented the victory by blocking Hunter's attempt at a game-winning trey with just 2.7 seconds remaining and then securing the rebound. After being fouled, he hit both free throws to finish with 16 points and give BYU the 64-61 triumph. His top performance of the year came against New Mexico's versatile power forward Danny Granger in Provo. Granger had dropped 27, including the game-winner, on the Cougars in the first meeting and came into the game averaging 20.8 points and 9.0 rebounds. The defensive switch proved fruitful as Hall held the Lobos' star to just nine points on 3-of-9 shooting and three rebounds. Hall is the second straight Cougar to capture defensive player of the year honors after Travis Hansen shared the award with UNLV's Marcus Banks last year.
-- With its win at UNLV to conclude the regular season, BYU achieved its 28th 20-win season. The Cougars have averaged 20 wins every 2.7 years (BYU has played 76 seasons in which it has played at least 20 games in a season).
-- This is BYU coach Steve Cleveland's fourth 20-win season in his seven years in Provo since rebuilding the program from its 1-25 season in 1996-97. Cleveland has the second-highest percentage of 20 win seasons (57%) in BYU history behind Roger Reid (75%). Only three BYU coaches have had more than four seasons of 20 wins:
Stan Watts had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 23 years of coaching
Roger Reid had 6 seasons of 20 wins in 8 years of coaching
G.Ott Romney had 5 seasons of 20 wins in 9 years of coaching
The Cougars went from a tie at the bottom of the MWC standings at 2-4 to second place at 10-4 with eight consecutive wins to end league play. BYU won nine straight prior to its loss to Utah in the MWC Tournament semifinals. The Cougars have traditionally finished strong under Steve Cleveland to earn postseason bids. This is BYU's fifth straight postseason appearance. The Cougars shared the conference regular season title in two of the prior three years and advanced to the finals of the MWC Tournament in two of the five seasons, claiming the championship in 2001.
PLAYER PERFORMANCE NOTABLES
Rafael Araujo led BYU with 13 points and 8 rebounds vs. Utah in the MWC semifinals, while Kevin Woodberry dished out a team-high six assists off the bench ... Luiz Lemes scored a team-high 18 points vs. Wyoming in the MWC quarterfinals, while Rafael Araujo had his 15th double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds vs. Wyoming ... Luiz Lemes scored a career-high 23 points, making several tough shots, and dished out 6 assists, including the game-winner to Rafael Araujo as time expired. Rafael Araujo scored 21 points and had 13 rebounds for his 14th double-double. His bucket with 0.5 seconds left gave BYU its 89-88 victory over UNLV. Kevin Woodberry hit three treys and scored 13 points, including 11 in the first half to help BYU keep pace with the Rebels ... Mike Hall made 8-of-10 shots on his way to a game-high 21 points in BYU's win over Utah ... 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, while 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.
ARAUJO EARNED THIRD MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONOR THIS SEASON (Feb. 16-22)
BYU senior center Rafael Araujo averaged 19.5 points and 10 rebounds 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. 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 , 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. This is the first MWC Player of the Week honor for Hall.
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 nine more Marriott Center wins to have the most ever by a BYU coach. With his 84-18 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 127-85 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, USBWA DISTRICT 8 TEAM
Rafael Araujo was named to All-District 8 by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Monday. He was previously named to the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) District 13 First Team. All-American honors will be announced at the conclusion of the season. Last year BYU's Travis Hansen also earned a spot on the USBWA District 8 team and a first-team selection to the NABC District 13 squad. 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 14 double-double games this year and 21 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, while Western Kentucky's 6-foot-11 Nigel Dixon is second in rebounds.
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.
BIGELOW NO. 8 ALL-TIME SCORER AT BYU
Senior Mark Bigelow (1,698 points) surpassed Kenneth Roberts (1,652 points) and moved into eighth place on BYU's all-time scoring list with his 21-point effort vs. Air Force. 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.
FRESHMAN ROSE SETS THREE-POINT RECORD IN HIS COLLEGE DEBUT
It didn't take long for freshman Mike Rose to put his name in the BYU record book. In his college debut, the true freshman guard out of Houston set a new BYU single-game record with eight 3-pointers while scoring a game-high 26 points to lead the Cougars to an 88-54 win over Southern Utah University. His 26 points is the most scored by a BYU freshman since Mark Bigelow totaled 33 points at Washington State in 1998. Rose's eight 3-pointers broke the BYU record of seven threes in a game, previously set by Nick Sanderson (1992) and Danny Bower (1998). Rose's performance behind the arc was just shy of tying the Marriott Center's record of nine 3-pointers in a game held by Utah State's Jay Goodman (1990). Rose also dished out six assists with only one turnover and added two rebounds and one steal in his 22 minutes off the bench. He made 61.5 percent of his 3-point attempts, going 8-of-13 from behind the arc, and finished 9-for-16 (.563) overall from the floor against Southern Utah's match-up zone. He scored 17 points in 11 first-half minutes on 6-of-8 shooting, including 5-of-7 on threes. He broke the school record with 7:01 left in the second half on a three taken several feet behind the arc.
ROSE CAN PROVIDE INSTANT OFFENSE
Mike Rose can provide instant offense. The true freshman got off the bench early against CSU in Provo and sparked BYU's decisive first-half run. He logged 11 minutes in the first half, scoring 10 points, and got the crowd in a frenzy hitting 3-of-4 long-range bombs. He played a season-high 23 minutes for the night. It was his second game of more than 20 minutes (other was 22 minutes in season opener when he scored 26 points and hit a BYU record 8 threes). He made 5-of-10 threes and scored 14 points in 18 minutes against Western Oregon and went 4-for-4, including 3-of-3 on threes, for 11 points in nine minutes vs. USC. He went 3-for-4 on treys for nine points in 12 minutes vs. UNM Saturday. He has only played double-digit minutes in eight games but he has 28 triples. He ranks first in three-point percentage in all games among MWC players.
ROBERTS DISCONTINUED PLAYING; DRESSER ADDED TO ROSTER
Junior Marc Roberts decided to discontinue playing basketball prior to BYU's game vs. USC due to continued struggles with tendonitis in his knees. The walk-on guard appeared in 37 games with one start over his two-plus years with BYU, averaging 1.5 points and 0.8 rebounds in 5.3 minutes per game. This year Roberts was averaging 1.6 points and 1.4 rebounds in 8.6 minutes while playing in five of six games. With Ricky Bower out with an injury, the Cougars decided to add another walk-on player, Mike Dresser, to the roster for the USC game. Dresser is a 6-5, 195-pound freshman guard/forward from Sacramento, Caliif., who had been practicing with the team. He wears jersey No. 15 at home and No. 33 on the road.
BYU has played 14 games this year where the outcome was in question entering the final minute. The Cougars have gone 9-5 in those games. BYU's five losses in close games have come by a combined 12 points. BYU's 11 other wins have been by a margin of 13 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 20-0 when leading with five minutes remaining and 19-1 when holding the advantage or it is tied with one minute left in the game.
COUGAR OPPONENTS HAVING STRONG SEASONS
BYU has played a strong schedule. BYU is one of three teams to defeat current No. 3 and Big XII Champion Oklahoma State (27-3). Four BYU opponents won either their regular season or conference tournamennt titles. Two others placed second and two others placed third in their leauges. The seven teams to beat BYU this year have a combined 132-71 record (.650).
ON THE ROAD
BYU is 8-8 away from the Marriott Center this year with a 5-7 away record and a 3-1 neutral court mark. BYU has won four of its last five games away from home. BYU played one stretch this year of 8-of-11 games on the road. BYU has played more games away than at home. 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 a perfect 13-0 at home this year and has won 18 straight overall in the Marriott Center. BYU has won 62 of its last 63 games at home and is 57-1 over the past four seasons. 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. Overall, BYU also has the best nonconference record among MWC teams with a 56-20 (.737) record since the inception of the MWC in 1999.
COUGAR FANS SHOWING SUPPORT
BYU averaged 15,300 in 13 home games this year, tops among all MWC teams. BYU had a season-high 22,718 attendance vs. Utah Monday, the largest crowd since 1992 and the 21st largest ever in the Marriott Center. Last year BYU averaged the 17th largest crowd in the nation overall last year at 14,468.
SHOOTING, REBOUNDING SUCCESS
BYU has outshot its opponents in 22 of 29 games this year. BYU is 18-4 when when it shoots better and 3-4 when the opposition has the better touch. On the boards, BYU has had the upper hand in 20 of 29 games. BYU is 17-3 when winning the rebound battle and 4-5 when the opposition has the advantage on the glass.
BYU's win over San Diego State in Provo this year is the Cougars' only overtime game of the season. BYU's last OT game was an 86-80 OT loss to Colorado State in the MWC tournament in 2003. The Cougars had lost four straight overtime contests prior to beating SDSU this year. 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. 3) 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 11-6 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 and current No. 7 Oklahoma State on a neutral floor; 29-point and six-point wins over CSU; two 14-point wins over Wyoming and a five-point win over the Cowboys; three-point and one-point wins over UNLV; 14-point OT win over SDSU; 13-point win over Utah; two-point loss at now nationally ranked Utah State; one-point loss at Cal, 27-point loss at nationally ranked North Carolina State, four-point loss at SDSU and an eight-point setback at Utah and three-point defeat to the Utes). BYU BYU went 12-6 last year against teams that qualified for postseason play in 2002. BYU posted a 4-2 record this year against teams that won their conference titles the prior season.
COUGARS CLAIMED CABLE CAR CLASSIC TITLE
SANTA CLARA -- With its top three post players fouled out of the game, BYU looked to Mark Bigelow and he delivered a slashing bucket-and-one with 14.9 seconds remaining to lead the Cougars to a 68-66 win over host Santa Clara to claim the Cable Car Classic title at the Leavey Center. Senior center Rafael Araujo again loomed large, posting his eighth double-double in nine games with 18 points and 12 rebounds -- with all 18 points scored in the second half. Araujo was named the Cable Car Classic Most Valuable Player after combining for 41 points and 23 boards in the two Cougar wins. With its title this year, BYU won for the third time in four Cable Car appearances to tie the University of San Francisco for the second-most Cable Car Classic titles and the most of any non-Bay Area team. SCU leads with 13 titles and the Cougars have beaten the Broncos for each of their three titles. BYU also breaks SCU's six-game winning streak in the tournament, as the Broncos won the previous two titles.
BYU WAS PRESEASON MEDIA FAVORITE TO CLAIM 2004 MWC CROWN
The Mountain West Conference released its men's basketball preseason media poll and all-conference team at the league's media day being held at the Denver Marriott Tech Center. The league media selected BYU to claim the Mountain West Conference men's basketball title with 144 total points and 13 of the possible 19 first-place votes. Utah was picked second with 138 points and was the only other team to garner first place votes with six. Defending MWC Tournament Champion Colorado State came in third with 107 points, followed by UNLV fourth with 97. Wyoming placed fifth with 73 points, followed by San Diego State (55), New Mexico (36), and Air Force (35). BYU has earned a share of the conference titles in 2001 and 2003, but this is the first time in more than 10 years the Cougars have been the preseason MWC favorites. The Cougars and Utes shared the conference's regular season crown last season with 11-3 records. BYU went 23-9 overall and fell to Connecticut in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. Utah finished the 2002-03 season 25-8, defeating Oregon in the first round of the NCAA Tournament before falling to Kentucky in the second round. The Mountain West Conference has sent six of its eight teams to the postseason each of the past two seasons and is the only league in the country to have sent 75 percent of its members to the postseason two straight years. BYU seniors Mark Bigelow and Rafael Araujo were selected to the preseason first-team All-MWC team. Other athletes picked were Utahs Tim Frost and Nick Jacobson, Air Force's Tim Keller and the top MWC returnee Matt Nelson from CSU.
BYU SCHEDULE INCLUDED ACC, BIG XII AND PAC-10 OPPONENTS
Matchups with six nonconference opponents that made the 2003 NCAA Tournament, including teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big XII Conference and Pac-10 Conference, an appearance in the Cable Car Classic, and 15 overall contests against teams that qualified for postseason play last year highlighted the 2003-04 BYU men's basketball schedule. It was a very challenging schedule with more than half of BYU's games being against teams that qualified for postseason last year.
COUGARS HAD SUCCESSFUL SUMMER TOUR TO AUSTRALIA IN AUGUST
Getting an early jump on the upcoming season, BYU participated in a six-game tour of Australia against professional teams in Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. "Four years ago when we went to Europe it helped us get a head start on the season," BYU Coach Steve Cleveland said. "This was a nice opportunity to implement our system and give the players some good experience. Everyone got a chance to play significant minutes." BYU earned the first of four consecutive postseason tournament berths under Cleveland in 2000 after its summer 1999 trip to England, Croatia and Italy. The NCAA allows a foreign tour once every four years. The team was also allowed 10 additional practice days to prepare for the trip. All of last year's returning players were allowed to make the trip, including redshirt freshmen Austin Ainge and Garner Meads. Newcomers Mike Hall and Michael Rose, along with returning missionary Derek Dawes, were not eligible for the trip. The Cougars played six games in seven nights, posting a 4-2 record. Senior Mark Bigelow led the team, scoring 21.6 points in 27 minutes per game. Senior center Rafael Araujo added 14.0 ppg and a team-high 7.7 rpg in 20 minutes of action. Redshirt freshman Garner Meads scored 9.3 ppg and pulled down 6.0 rpg. The tour also includes visits to the Sydney Opera House, Taronga Zoo, Manly Beach and the Great Barrier Reef.
BYU's lone departing senior in 2003, guard Travis Hansen, was selected 37th overall in 2003 NBA Draft and has signed a two-year contract with the Atlanta Hawks. BYU rates second among Mountain West Conference teams with 42 NBA Draft selections after UNLV's 49.
WINNING BASKETBALL TRADITION
With its all-time record of 1471-939 (.610), BYU is the ranked 40th all-time in winning percentage among all Division I basketball programs. In terms of total wins, BYU is in the top 25. The Cougars have had 82 winning seasons in their 102 years of basketball and have made 29 postseason appearances, including 20 NCAA bids, and won 26 conference championships.
NCAA TOURNAMENT TRADITION
BYU will appear in its 21st NCAA Tournament with its at-large invite in 2004. BYU coach Steve Cleveland has guided the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament three times in the last four years. He is in his seventh year at the helm since taking over a 1-25 program. He has led BYU to postseason play the last five years.
In 2002-03, BYU earned its fourth straight postseason berth and second NCAA bid in the last three years while claiming a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title for the second time in the last three years. Playing among the nation's toughest schedules, including 11 different conferences on its non-league slate, the Cougars finished the year with a 23-9 overall record, going 11-4 through the pre-conference schedule before earning a share of the MWC regular season title with Utah at 11-3. The Cougars went 1-1 at the MWC Tournament before losing to No. 5-seed Connecticut at the NCAA Tournament in Spokane, Wash. BYU went 13-1 at home and 10-8 away, including a 4-3 neutral record and 6-5 road mark. The Cougars had the MWC's top defense and also won the preseason Paradise Jam title in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. BYU was led by senior guard Travis Hansen, junior swingman Mark Bigelow and junior center Rafael Araujo. Hansen, one of two first-team All-MWC consensus players, led the team in scoring (16.8) and blocks (20) and was second in assists (2.4) and rebounds (4.8). Bigelow, a third-team All-MWC selection, was second in scoring (13.9), third in rebounding (3.7) and the team's top three-point shooter (63). Araujo, a third-team All-MWC pick, was the third-leading scorer (12.0) and top rebounder (8.9). Sophomore forward Jared Jensen, who received All-MWC honorable mention, added 7.5 points and 3.3 rebounds while JC transfer Kevin Woodberry averaged 6.3 points and 2.5 assists at the point.
BYU LANDS TOP-20 RECRUITING CLASS
Four highly regarded high school recruits signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball at BYU during the November signing period. Rated one of the top-20 recruiting classes nationally and the third-best class in the West, BYU received official commitments from top prospects David Burgess (Irvine, Calif.), Lee Cummard (Mesa, Ariz.), Chris Miles (Provo, Utah) and Trent Plaisted (San Antonio, Texas).
Burgess is a 6-foot-10, 260-pound center considered one of the best big men in the country. He was the only high school player to compete on the USA Basketball World Championships Team that finished 7-1, losing only to eventual champion Australia, and went 5-0 to win the 2003 Global Games in Dallas. Burgess averaged 16.4 points, 12.4 rebounds and 2.6 blocks last year as a junior at Woodbridge High School in Irvine, Calif., leading the team to a 21-6 record. During the season, he recorded game highs of 31 points, 20 rebounds, eight assists, four steals and nine blocks. A Street & Smith All-America High Honorable Mention pick, Burgess was a 2003 All-CIF First Team selection and garnered 2003 league MVP and all-county honors. He was all-league and All-CIF as a sophomore while averaging 12 points, 10 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. Entering his senior season, he already has helped Woodbridge claim two CIF championships and one state crown. He played for the Southern California All-Stars during the summer and was an all-star and the leading rebounder at the adidas ABCD Camp. Among the many schools that recruited Burgess were Gonzaga, Louisville, Florida, UCLA, Kansas, Kentucky, Washington State and Utah.
Cummard is considered one of the top shooting guards in the West and has been rated the No. 1 prospect by some recruiting experts. The 6-foot-6, 175-pound wing player averaged 17 points and six rebounds as a junior last year at Mesa (Ariz.) High School while leading the Jackrabbits to the state tournament quarterfinals before a double-overtime loss. A good athlete with a natural feel for the game, he has all-around abilities and good leadership qualities. SI/CNN calls the versatile Cummard the fifth-best small forward in the West. Known as a fierce competitor, Cummard has good ball-handling skills, excellent shooting range and the toughness to rebound and finish in traffic. A Street & Smith All-America Honorable Mention, he was a member of the East Valley All-Region First Team as a junior after earning second-team honors as a sophomore. He was recruited by Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Iowa State, Utah State, Utah, New Mexico, Miami, Gonzaga, Oklahoma State, San Diego State and Texas Tech.
Miles is Utah's reigning 4A State MVP and 4A State Tournament MVP out of Timpview High School in Provo. The local standout averaged 11 points, eight rebounds and five blocks for a balanced Thunderbird team that won the state title in 2003 and is ranked No. 25 in the nation entering this season. He was invited to the NBA Players Camp during the summer, where he was rated No. 47 among the nation's top high school players. He has been ranked as high as the No. 2 post player in the West. A Street & Smith All-America High Honorable Mention selection, the 6-foot-10, 225-pound forward is a quick and versatile player, tough defender and outstanding shot-blocker. He is on track to become the No. 2 all-time shot-blocker in Utah high school history during his senior season behind former BYU and current NBA center Shawn Bradley. Gonzaga, Utah State, Utah, Kansas, Oregon State, Connecticut, UCLA, Vanderbilt, Wyoming and Texas Tech also recruited Miles.
Plaisted is a 6-foot-10, 220-pound forward who led Clark High School in San Antonio to the 2003 District 28-5A title and regional quarterfinals in Texas' largest classification. The only junior named to the All-District 28 First Team, Plaisted averaged 12.5 points and 5.5 rebounds as a junior while helping his team (which is preseason No. 2 in Texas this season) achieve a 31-7 record. A left-handed shooter and young player who just turned 17 in October, he has earned MVP honors at numerous tournaments and has been nominated for McDonald's All-America recognition. He averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds this summer on his AAU team, the San Antonio Bulls, where he was given the opportunity to play more on the perimeter. Rated the No. 10 player in Texas, Plaisted impressed at the Texas Elite Camp and made a national name for himself at the 2003 Kingwood Classic in Houston. Long and athletic, Plaisted runs the floor well and has a soft shooting touch to 18 feet. He is a good shot-blocker and solid rebounder. Among schools recruiting Plaisted were Florida State, Stanford, Kansas, Oklahoma State, Washington State, Texas A&M, Utah, Arkansas, New Mexico, Texas Tech, and Vanderbilt.
Player Name Ht. Wt. Pos. Hometown (High School)
David Burgess 6-10 260 C Irvine, Calif. (Woodbridge High School)
Lee Cummard 6-6 175 G Mesa, Ariz. (Mesa High School)
Chris Miles 6-10 225 F Provo, Utah (Timpview High School)
Trent Plaisted 6-10 220 F San Antonio, Texas (Clark High School)
CURRENT BYU WIN/LOSS STREAKS ...
At home 18-0
On the road 3-0
On a neutral floor 0-1
At home vs. Nonconference 40-0
At home vs. MWC 12-0
On the road vs. Nonconference 0-1
On the road vs. MWC 3-0
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 13-4
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
MARK BIGELOW / 6-7 / 200 / senior / forward
SEASON NOTES: Bigelow earned All-MWC Second Team honors this year ... He has scored in doube figures in 23 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 had 19 points vs. Utah and 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 ... scored 14 points on 5-of10 shooting, including the game-winning three-point play at Santa Clara ... is the No. 8 all-time scorer at BYU ... set 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 38 triples but is shooting uncharacteristic .290 on treys (41 percent first three years) ... He has a good mid-range game ... Inside the arc, he has made 55.5 percent (86-155) 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 (210) and consecutive games with a trey (22) ... Bigelow is also No. 1 in threes attempted (549), No. 8 in field goal attempts (1236), No. 8 in free throws made (410) and No. 7 in free throw attempted (509).
RAFAEL ARAUJO / 6-11 / 280 / senior / center
SEASON NOTES: An All-American candidate, Araujo is the MWC Co-Player of the Year and an All-MWC First Team selection ... He has been named to the NABC District 13 First Team and the USBWA District 8 Team ... He leads BYU in points, rebounds, steals and blocks ... He has led BYU in scoring in 18 games, been the leading rebounder on 24 occasions, had a team-high steals 11 times and had the most assists in two contests ... He ranks among national leaders with 15 double-doubles this season ... He has topped 20 points 12 times this year and 30 points twice ... He has had 26 double-digit scoring games, including a string of 16 straight double-figure scoring games ... He has had 15 double-digit rebound games, including seven of 13 or more ... He was named Cable Car Classic MVP, and has won three 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 ... He has the fourth-highest combined scoring and rebounding averages in the nation ... He ranks in the top-4 in six categories in the MWC stats and is top-10 in eight 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 17 games, including topped 70 percent on six occasions, including a career-best 9-of-10 vs. Air Force when he scored 21 points ... He had 21 points, including two clutch free throws with a minute to go and then the game-winning bucket with 0.5 seconds left, grabbed 13 rebounds and tied a personal-best with 4 assists at UNLV ... He had team highs of 18 points, 8 rebounds vs. New Mexico and had a team-high 21 points and 12 rebounds at CSU, and added a nifty behind-the-back assist to a cutting Cougar for a layup ... He had a solid game at Wyoming with 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting, with 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals ... He took a career-high 17 free throw attempts vs. Wyoming in Provo, equaling his personal high of 12 makes ... BYU is 6-0 this year when he attempts double-digit free throws ... Played career-best 38 minutes at Utah State, dishing out a career-high 4 assists ... Had 4 assists vs. SDSU, including a behind-the-back beauty to a posting Garner Meads ... He is the first BYU player to have back-to-back 30-point games since Terrell Lyday in January 2000.
JARED JENSEN / 6-9 / 250 / junior / forward-center
SEASON NOTES: Jensen has returned for the past 10 games -- 9-1 record -- after missing the prior three games -- all losses -- due to a back sprain he suffered against Wyoming in Provo ... BYU went 10-1 in MWC games with Jensen suited up and and 0-3 without him ... A smart player with a total understanding of the BYU's team defensive scheme, he also finishes well when given the opportunity, shooting 58 percent from the floor for his career ... He made several big buckets with 6 points and 4 rebounds in only eight minutes at UNLV in the regular season finale ... He had 3 points and 2 rebounds in 9 minutes vs. New Mexico and had 6 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist while playing solid defense in only 10 minutes at CSU ... He also played only 10 minutes at Wyoming but hit two key free throws to help stave off a Cowboy run, his first free throw attempts since Jan. 17 vs. CSU ... He went 14-17 (.824) from the line in MWC games ... He missed the first game of his career at Air Force after playing in 78 straight games for BYU, including 58 starts ... In part due his recovery from an earlier hand injury and more recently his back, he has seen more limited playing time this season, topping more than 20 minutes in a game only three times after averaging 20 minutes or better his first two years ... He played 22 minutes vs. CSU in Provo, scoring 8 points and equaling a career-high 10 rebounds ... His 10 points at Utah State is his first double-figure game of the year ... Last year BYU had a 10-1 record when he reached double figures.
MIKE HALL / 6-3 / 205 / junior / guard
SEASON NOTES: Hall is the MWC Defensive Player of the Year and a All-MWC Third Team selection ... He is third on the team in rebounding and scoring ... He has led BYU in scoring in five games, been the top rebounder once, dished out a team-high in assists twice, had the high in steals in 11 games and the high in blocks seven times ... He has had 19 double-figure scoring games, including eight of the last 10 outings ... BYU is 15-4 when he scores in double digits ... He was named MWC Co-Player of the Week on Feb. 16 for his play vs. SDSU and at Wyoming ... He led BYU with 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting vs. Utah ... His dunk over MWC Co-Player of the Year Nick Welch of Air Force was the ESPN Play of the Day ... He had 16 points vs. New Mexico while holding Danny Granger to 9 points and 3 rebounds (Granger came in averaging 21 and 9) ... He had 14 points, 6 boards and 2 steals at CSU Monday and scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 2-of-3 treys, at Wyoming ... He scored 20 points, adding 5 rebounds and a career-best 5 steals vs SDSU, getting a 16-0 BYU run rolling in overtime by taking the OT tip all the way in for a dunk ... He has shot 50 percent or better in 16 games .. He totaled a team-high 15 points at SDSU, sharing team-high honors, and had a 21-point effort at New Mexico ... scored a team-leading 20 vs. SDSU ... He did not make a field goal for the first time this year and scored a season-low 2 points at Air Force ... Put down crowd-pleasing alley-oop slam from Mark Bigelow to stave off a Wyoming rally in Provo and build BYU momentum going into the half ... Had 3 steals and scored 9 points vs. CSU ... Made season-high 3 treys at Santa Clara ... Scored career-high 22 points vs. Weber State on 8-of-12 shooting.
LUIZ LEMES / 6-3 / 180 / senior / combo guard
SEASON NOTES: Lemes leads team with 4.4 assists per game ... BYU is 11-1 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 8-0 when he has six or more assists ... He has led BYU in assists 17 times this year, also having a team-high in steals eight times and in blocks four times ... He has led BYU in scoring twice in the last three games, averaging 16.7 points in that span ... He has had 11 double-digit points games and BYU is 11-0 in those games ... He scored a team-leading 18 points vs. Wyoming in the Pepsi Center in BYU's MWC Quarterfinal win over Wyoming after scoring a career-best 23 points at UNLV, hitting several clutch shots, and dished out six assists, including the game-winner to Rafael Araujo as time expired ... 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 in Provo, adding nine points ... He did not have an assist for the first game this year vs. Wyoming in Provo, but scored 17 points ... The week of the Cable Car Classic he averaged 15.7 points and 5.3 assists in BYU's three wins, shooting 63 percent from the floor, 64 percent (7-for-11) on threes, and 83 percent from the line ... He had career-best 3 steals and scored 17 points vs. Saint Mary's, including 15 second-half points to key BYU's win ... He had 20 points vs. Idaho State at the Cable Car Classic ... He had nine assists (also against 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.
KEVIN WOODBERRY / 6-0 / 170 / senior / combo guard
SEASON NOTES: A starter last year (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 as the backup point during BYU's last 10 games ... He has led BYU in assists five times this year, incluidng his 6 vs. Utah in BYU's MWC semifinal loss to Utah in the Pepsi Center last week ... He led BYU with 5 rebounds vs. Utah in Provo... He has had BYU's top steals game five times and the most blocks five times, including a block of Wyoming guard Jay Straight's three-point attempt to seal BYU's MWC Tournament victory ... He has made 30 treys this year ... He hit three treys at UNLV, scoring 13 points, including 11 in the first half to hlep BYU keep pace ... He played a strong floor game in BYU's win over Air Force ... He made a team-high two treys at CSU for six points, adding two assists, two rebounds and two steals ... 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, including 10 points in 14 minutes vs. SDSU ... 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 ... Has tied career-high 2 blocks against at Wyoming and vs. Oklahoma State and USC ... Had career-best 7 assists vs. SUU, adding season-high 14 points.
MIKE ROSE / 6-2 / 180 / freshman / combo guard
SEASON NOTES: Rose can provide instant offense ...He is shooting .475 from behind the arc, tops among MWC players ... 28 of his 34 field goals have been treys ... He played five minutes vs. Utah in the MWC semifinals, hitting his only shot, a trey, and pulling down one rebound ... He had 6 points (one trey) in 13 minutes vs. Air Force and 9 points on 3-of-4 shooting from long range vs. New Mexico in 12 minutes ... He set new BYU three-point record with 8 treys against Southern Utah's matchup zone in his college debut, totaling 26 points ... He had 14 points, hitting 5 threes, against Western Oregon ... He was a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor, including 3-of-3 on treys for 11 points in nine minutes vs. USC ... He scored 10 points, all in his 11 first-half minutes when he made 3-of-4 treys, and played 22 minutes vs. CSU ... scored 9 points in 19 minutes at Air Force ... will leave in June to serve a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Venezuela.
JAKE SHOFF / 6-9 / 265 / senior / forward-center
SEASON NOTES: Shoff has made a significant contribution with his energy off the bench after being more limited earlier in the season while coming back from injuries ... He has played 10 or more minutes in 19 games, including 10 of the last 11 ... He has made 16 of his last 21 (.762) shots from the floor over the past eight games and has been an emotional spark for the Cougars off the bench ... He averaged 7.0 ppg last week in two games at the MWC Tournament in Denver ... He had 8 points on 4-of-5 shooting vs. Wyoming and scored 6 points on 2-of-2 shooting vs. Utah ... He had 8 rebounds and 4 points, including a strong drive to the hoop, at UNLV in 22 minutes in the regular season finale ... He made a key diving play in the paint to knock the ball away and save an easy Utah basket while forcing a Utah turnover ... 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 a solid 22-minute contribution at Wyoming ... He filled a void in the middle with Araujo playing only five minutes in the first half vs. SDSU. He scored scored 4 points and added 4 rebounds, three on the offensive glass, in 15 minutes, taking a season-high 5 shots ... He played 12 minutes vs. UNLV, grabbing three boards and scoring one point ... He played 16 minutes at Utah with Jared Jensen missing the game, scoring 4 points, including 2-for-2 shooting while adding 3 rebounds ... He played 10 minutes with 4 points vs. Wyoming after sitting out vs. CSU due to illness ... He had four points and grabbed five rebounds in 14 minutes vs. SDSU ... He had three rebounds, two on the offensive glass, in eight minutes at NC State ... He made valuable contribution with four points and four rebounds in 18 minutes vs. Saint Mary's ... 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 ... After 12 occasions when he made one steal in a game, Shoff 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.
TERRY NASHIF / 5-10 / 165 / junior / point guard
SEASON NOTES: Nashif has seen very limited action since returning after being out nearly a month with mononucleosis .... He has played double-digit minutes in eight contests ... He started at Air Force and had 2 points, 2 steals and 1 aassist in 13 minutes ... He had a career-best 6 rebounds and added 4 points and 3 assists in only 8 minutes on a sore ankle vs. CSU ... He provided a spark in 12 minutes at SDSU before leaving with an injured ankle ... He has led BYU in assists once this year, dishing out a career-best 8 assists against Idaho State at the Cable Car Classic in 18 minutes ... He had season-high 21 minutes and 6 points vs. Western Oregon.
GARNER MEADS / 6-8 / 230 / redshirt freshman / forward
SEASON NOTES: The redshirt freshman has 17 starts this year, including 15 of the last 16 games ... He has played double-digit minutes in 20 games this year, including 15 of the last 18 ... He has four double-figure scoring games and one double-digit rebounding outing ... In MWC games, he was fifth on the team in scoring at 6.3 ppg, and tied for second in rebounds at 3.7 rpg ... He shot 59 percent in league games, which would have rated second among MWC players but he didn't have the minimum three shots per game ... He has led BYU in rebounds in two games this year ... Had career-best 2 blocks and tied personal-best 2 steals vs. Utah, scoring two of his four points with a drive to the hoop during a BYU run that gave the Cougars momentum towards the win ... Logged 16 minutes vs. Air Force (3 points) ... He played only eight minutes but scored 6 points on 2-2 shooting from the floor and the line vs. UNM ... He had 5 points, including a powerful drive and one-handed slam in traffic, while adding 7 rebounds, 1 block and 1 steal at CSU ... He had a career-high 2 steals at Wyoming ... He played a career-best 34 minutes vs. SDSU, scoring a personal-best 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including an aggressive one-handed slam through traffic in transition, and added 8 rebounds ... He scored 10 points at Utah, all in the first half, and added 5 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal and 1 blocked shot while logging 29 minutes ... He came off the bench at Air Force, scoring 5 points and grabbing 5 rebounds in 11 minutes ... He recorded his first double-double with career highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds vs. Wyoming in Provo, going 6-for-9 from the floor in 26 minutes ... He went 2-for-3 in 11 minutes vs. CSU in Provo, scoring 4 points with 2 rebounds ... He started and played well at SDSU with a 10 points, going 4-of-6 from the floor, along with 4 rebounds in 26 minutes on the floor ... He played well against Oklahoma State with 7 rebounds, including a key offensive rebound, and 6 points while playing 26 minutes ... After that game he sat out the next game, vs. Western Oregon, and played only five minutes against USC, resting from an injury.
AUSTIN AINGE / 6-2 / 180 / redshirt freshman / point guard
SEASON NOTES: After missing the first nine games with an injury, Ainge made his college debut, hitting his only shot to score two points and grabbing one rebound in two minutes vs. Idaho State at the Cable Car Classic ... saw his first extended playing time vs. CSU in Provo, logging 10 minutes, including first-half action for the first time, while scoring a season-best 6 points on 2-of-3 shooting and adding 2 assists ... played 10 minutes at Air Force ... played well in four first-half minutes vs. SDSU ... played 6 minutes vs. New Mexico in his last action.
MIKE DRESSER / 6-5 / 195 / freshman / guard-forward
SEASON NOTES: Played in late-going against Weber State and Saint Mary's, scoring in each game ... added one steal vs. Saint Mary's ... had 2 points and 1 assist vs. CSU ... had one rebound in his one minute vs. Wyoming in Provo ... saw first action after not playing in seven straight games with 3 minutes vs. UNM ... wears No. 15 white uniform and No. 33 blue uniform.