Senior Mike Hall earned All-MWC Third Team honors Monday. Hall and the Cougars face New Mexico Thursday in the 2005 Mountain West Conference Tournament. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
As the No. 7 seed, BYU (9-20, 3-11 MWC) faces No. 2-seed New Mexico (23-6, 10-4 MWC) Thursday in its opening-round matchup at the 2005 Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Championship. The Cougars and Lobos tip off at 7 p.m. in the Pepsi Center in Denver. The game will be broadcast by ESPN+Plus, which is available in Utah on KJZZ-TV. The telecast is also available nationally via ESPN FULL COURT. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 (KSL.com).
BYU GAME #30 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (9-20, 3-11 MWC) vs. NEW MEXICO LOBOS (23-6, 10-4 MWC)
THURSDAY, MARCH 10, 2005
PEPSI CENTER (19,099)
DENVER 7:04 p.m. MST
BYU, Steve Cleveland (138-107 in eighth season; same overall)
UNM, Ritchie McKay (47-38 in third season; 132-127 in ninth year overall)
BYU leads, 67-49 (The two teams split the regular-season series with home wins)
ESPN+ (KJZZ-TV, channel 14, in Salt Lake City, and available nationally via ESPN FULL COURT with Rich Waltz calling play-by-play and Irv Brown adding analysis)
KSL 1160, BYU Sports Network (Greg Wrubell calls play-by-play with Mark Durrant adding commentary)
Live audio and live stats are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (see upcoming schedule)
COUGAR QUICK HITS
-- BYU (9-20, 3-11 MWC) was 6-8 at home, 2-9 away and 1-3 on a neutral floor in the regular season. Ã½ BYU has played the MWC's toughest schedule the past two seasons and has faced the toughest schedule on average than any MWC team over the past six seasons. This year BYU played four games against teams ranked in the top-25 (North Carolina, NC State and Utah). BYU's schedule this season included four Pac-10 opponents, two ACC teams, Utah State twice and a road contest at St. Mary's.
-- BYU had held the lead or been tied in the second half of every league game but at UNM and at AFA. Overall, 10 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. It's last win was a one-point victory at home over Colorado State on Feb. 14.
-- BYU has lost its last four games, its longest losing streak since 1999.
-- 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.
-- Jared Jensen went 9-of-10 from the floor to score 20 points in 21 minutes of play in the Pit against UNM, despite missing practice with the flu and not feeling 100 percent. His nine field goals made set a new career high.
BYU IN THE TOURNAMENT
The Cougars have a 7-4 Mountain West tournament record. BYU's seven wins is second to UNLV's nine tournament victories. BYU advanced to the finals in the first two years of the MWC tournament, winning the title over UNM in 2001 after losing to host UNLV in 2000. Overall, BYU has a 19-17 record in conference tournament games, which includes a 12-13 record in WAC tournament games.
OPENING THE TOURNAMENT
BYU has won the opening game in four of the last five postseason conference tournaments (including a 90-74 upset over soon-to-be MWC member TCU in the WAC Tournament in 1999). BYU's only MWC Tournament loss in the opening round was as the fourth seed in 2002 when the No. 5-seed San Diego State Aztecs knocked off the Cougars. Two of BYU's four opening-round MWC tournament victories have been over New Mexico.
BYU AGAINST NEW MEXICO IN THE TOURNAMENT
BYU has played New Mexico more than any other team in the five years of the MWC Tournament. The Cougars have a perfect 3-0 record against the Lobos in their three tournament matchups. Two of BYU's four opening-round MWC tournament victories have been over New Mexico. BYU upset the Lobos as the sixth seed in 2000, 55-43, and downed UNM, 71-56, as the favored No. 2 seed in 2003. The Cougars and Lobos other meeting was for the 2001 title, with No. 2 BYU edging the No. 4 Lobos, 69-65, thanks to the MVP efforts of BYU's Mekeli Wesley, who scored 30 points on 11-of-12 shooting.
IF THE HISTORY OF THE TOURNAMENT HOLDS TRUE
If the history of the first five years of the Mountain West Tournament hold true, BYU or the team that is able to beat the Cougars will win the 2005 MWC Tournament. After losing in the title game to host UNLV at the inaugural MWC Tournament in 2000, BYU won the title in 2001. The past three years the Cougars were knocked out by the eventual champion. BYU was defeated by San Diego State in the 2002 quarterfinals before back-to-back semifinal loses the past two years to 2003 champion Colorado State and 2004 champion Utah.
BYU SEEDS AT MWC TOURNAMENT
BYU is the No. 7 seed at the MWC Tournament for the first time. BYU has been the sixth seed once (advanced to the finals in 2000), the fourth seed once (only first-round exit with loss to eventual champion San Diego State in 2002), and the second seed three times (5-2 combined record in 2001, 2003 and 2004, including 2001 title).
FRUITS OF THE SEEDS
In the first five years of the MWC Tournament, the teams with the No. 2 seed boast the best overall record with a 7-4 mark. The No. 1 seeds has gone 5-4, the same record as the No. 6 seeds. The third-seeded teams has earned a 6-4 record while the No. 4 teams have gone 6-5. Fourth-seeded teams have an even 4-4 mark. The teams with the worst seed, No. 8, have a 1-4 record while the No. 7 teams has never won a game, going 0-5. The tournament title has been won by the top seed once (UNLV in 2000); the second seed once (BYU in 2001); the third seed once (Utah in 2004); the fifth seed once (San Diego State in 2002); and the sixth seed once (Colorado State in 2004).
BYU TOURNAMENT TITLES
BYU won the MWC Tournament title in 2001. BYU won WAC Tournament titles in 1992 when the Cougars' Kevin Nixon hit a dramatic three-quarter-court shot at the buzzer to defeat UTEP, 73-71, in Fort Collins, Colo. BYU won its first WAC Tournament title in 1991 with an overtime win over Utah. The Cougars also won the postseason conference playoff series in the Rocky Mountain Conference in 1924 (defeated Colorado College, 2-1) and 1933 (defeated Wyoming, 2-1).
LOOKING AT NEW MEXICO
New Mexico finished the regular season with a 23-6 overall record and a 10-4 Mountain West Conference mark, earning the second seed. The Lobos enter the MWC Tournament on a six-game winning streak, including a victory over No. 15 Utah. All-MWC First Team senior Danny Granger, who missed three games this season including an earlier matchup with BYU, leads the Lobos and the MWC in steals, ranks second in the league in points and blocked shots and third in rebounding. Granger averages 18.3 ppg and pulls down 8.5 rpg. All-MWC Third Team pick Troy DeVries is the Lobos' second-leading scorer, averaging 11.6 points per game, and leads New Mexico with 2.8 assists. DeVries is the MWC's leading three-point scorer, connecting on 68 treys and averaging 2.7 per game. His .475 three-point percentage ranks sixth in the nation among players making at least 2.5 threes per game. Junior forward David Chiotti, a third-team selection, and junior guard Mark Walters, who was MWC honorable mention, are tied for third in scoring for the Lobos as each averages 10.6 points per game. Chiotti is also shooting 56.4 percent from the field to lead the Lobos. Senior Alfred Neale, an All-MWC honorable mention forward, is fourth in scoring at 10.0 ppg. New Mexico is shooting 50 percent from the field, which ranks eighth in the nation, and boasts the nation's 14th-best three-point percentage at .393. The Lobos lead the MWC in scoring with 76.7 points per game, which is 26th in the country. Ritchie McKay is in his third season at the helm for the Lobos and has a 47-38 career record at New Mexico. McKay is 19-23 in MWC games and 0-2 in the conference tournament.
LAST OUTING - LOBOS END SEASON ON A HIGH NOTE
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - Danny Granger scored 19 points and New Mexico used a 17-0 run in the second half to rally for a 72-61 win over Colorado State Saturday night. New Mexico (23-6, 10-4 Mountain West) finished the regular season with its ninth win in the last 10 games and a runner-up finish to Utah in the conference. Colorado State (11-16, 3-11) led 38-33 at halftime and 44-40 with 16:48 left in the game. But the Rams quickly fell apart by going more than nine minutes without scoring. While New Mexico was building its scoring run, CSU was committing seven straight turnovers. The string of turnovers followed a time-out, during which New Mexico coach Ritchie McKay and CSU coach Dale Layer were both assessed technicals for repeatedly arguing calls by the officials. Seven-footer Matt Nelson, who led the Rams with 15 points, finally broke the scoring drought with a layup with 7:34 left. New Mexico countered with back-to-back 3-pointers by Alfred Neale and Ryan Wall for a 63-46 lead. CSU, which has lost 18 of the last 20 games against New Mexico, used a 10-1 run late in the first half to take a 29-26 lead. The Rams stretched it to 38-31 on a pair of free throws by Michael Morris with 10.4 seconds left in the first half. Nelson scored on a dunk in the opening minute of the second half but New Mexico started its second half rally with seven straight points. Neale, who finished with 11 points, hit a 3, Granger a pair of free throws and Mark Walters got a favorable roll on a shot inside to tie it at 40. Matt Williams scored back-to-back baskets for the Rams, but by then New Mexico's defense had disrupted CSU's offensive flow. The Rams, despite their second half scoring problems, still shot 58 percent for the game. Not enough to offset their 24 turnovers. CSU freshman 7-footer Jason Smith scored 12 points and had 8 rebounds.
NEW MEXICO'S PROJECTED STARTERS
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 2 Troy DeVries 6-4 195 Sr. 11.6 2.4
G 5 Mark Walters 6-2 225 Jr. 10.6 3.6
F 13 David Chiotti 6-9 245 Jr. 10.6 5.2
F 21 Alfred Neale 6-6 200 Sr. 10.0 4.3
F 33 Danny Granger 6-8 225 Sr. 18.3 8.5
This will be the 117th game in the series that started in the 1949-50 season. The Cougars lead the series 67-49. The two teams split the season series this year with each team winning on its home floor. The Cougars and Lobos split the series last year with UNM's controversial (official whistle) 65-63 win at The Pit and BYU's 88-71 win at the Marriott Center. BYU swept the season series in 2003 and defeated the Lobos in the opening round of the 2003 MWC Tournament. BYU has won 10 of the last 13 games in the series after New Mexico had won eight of the prior nine contests. BYU has won five straight over UNM in the Marriott Center. New Mexico's last win in Provo was a 78-74 win in 2000, which was BYU's last loss in the Marriott Center prior to starting its 44-game nation-leading homecourt victory string that was ended in 2003 by Utah. BYU is 14-26 in the Pit as the Cougars' only three series losses in the last five years have come in Albuquerque. BYU coach Steve Cleveland is 11-8 vs. the Lobos. The Cougars and Lobos have met three times in the MWC Tournament, including the 2000 and 2003 quarterfinals and the 2001 championship game. BYU won all three games.
BYU SERIES RECORD VS.NEW MEXICO
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 67-49
BYU Record in Provo: 39-15 (22-12 in the Marriott Center)
BYU Record in Albuquerque: 24-31 (14-26 in The Pit)
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 4-3
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 11-8
BYU Record in Overtime Games: 1-3 (1-1 Rd, 0-2 Hm)
Last Overtime Game: 1994, lost in Provo, 82-84
Longest BYU Win Streak: 14 (1950-57)
Longest New Mexico Win Streak: 5 (1996-98)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 30, 92-62 two times in 1955 and 1959
Largest New Mexico Margin of Victory: 42, 74-32 in 1997
Most Points Scored by BYU: 100 in 1979
Most Points Scored by New Mexico: 102 in 1987
FIRST MEETING AT BYU -- DAWES LEADS BYU TO FIRST MWC VICTORY
PROVO -- A career night for sophomore center Derek Dawes sparked BYU to a 68-53 win over New Mexico Monday at the Marriott Center, the Cougars' first Mountain West Conference victory of the season. The win improved BYU's record to 7-13 overall and 1-4 in the MWC while the Lobos dropped to 14-5 and 1-3. Dawes set career-highs in points and blocks with 14 and five while he tied a career-high with 10 rebounds. It was also his first career double-double. Sophomore forward Keena Young tied his career-high with 14 points and added seven rebounds. Sophomore guard Mike Rose led all scorers with 21 points while senior guard Mike Hall added 16. Sophomore guard Austin Ainge also tied his career-high with eight assists. Alfred Neale was the high scorer for New Mexico with 12 points, the only Lobo in double figures. Mark Walters was second on the team with nine points. Neale was also the top Lobo on the glass, collecting six boards. For the game, BYU shot 44.8 percent (26-58) and limited the Lobos to 32.7 percent (18-55) shooting. The Cougars scored 17 points on 11 New Mexico turnovers and won the battle of the boards, 40-34. The Lobos took their only lead of the night when Troy DeVries hit a three pointer for the game's opening basket. After Dawes hit the Cougars' first basket, Young scored to give BYU the lead for good. Dawes was strong throughout the first period, scoring eight points, grabbing six rebounds and blocking two shots. He hit two free throws to give BYU its biggest lead of the half at 24-16. The Lobos cut into the Cougar lead as Neale ran off five consecutive points to cut the lead to 24-22. But BYU would not allow the Lobos to get any closer as the Cougars ended the half on a 9-3 run to go into the locker room up 33-25. Rose capped the run with a three-pointer in the waning seconds of the first frame. Young was the high man of the half, finishing with 11 points and four rebounds. Rose and Hall each contributed seven while Ainge dished out four assists. As New Mexico came out cold to start the second period, missing its first five shots, BYU kept pushing. Dawes kept the Cougar run alive with a dunk on the opening possession, and Ainge connected with Hall on a fast break layup moments later to extend the advantage to 12 at 37-25. Another layup by Dawes pushed the BYU lead to 14. With a 16-point cushion at 42-26, the Cougars opened the door for the Lobos to make a run. New Mexico took advantage, scoring 12 straight points to get back into the game at 42-38. However, Rose kept New Mexico at bay, connecting from beyond the arc to spark a 13-4 BYU run and adding back-to-back treys to put the Cougars up 55-42. The lead was enough for BYU to coast to the 68-53 win.
WHAT COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME IN PROVO THIS YEAR ...
"We're preparing next year's team in the process. We've got some guys who haven't played a lot. Dawes is our future, but he just needs playing time. The effort has been there the last two games but the execution needs to improve. This group of guys is a special group of people. They found a way to win and they'll do it again."
SECOND MEETING AT NEW MEXICO -- 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. 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.
WHAT BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE GAME AT UNM THIS YEAR ...
"New Mexico played and shot the ball very well tonight. We couldn't have beaten them no matter how well we shot. Jared (Jensen) was just exhausted after the game. He missed practice this week with the flu. He helped us be more efficient offensively with his play inside. He did a very nice job tonight. I give Chris Miles credit. He was put in a difficult position with Keena (Young) and Garner (Meads) not able to play. (Danny) Granger is a mismatch for him. Chris also hit his two shots and did some nice things."
BYU's LAST OUTING - Rebel Run Ruins Cougars' Victory Hopes
PROVO -- In the final game of the regular season, UNLV went on an 18-0 run in the second half to put the Cougars away, 76-66, Saturday night at the Marriott Center. The Cougars ended the regular season 9-20 overall and 3-11 in the Mountain West Conference. The Rebels finished with a 15-12 overall record and a 7-7 MWC mark. Cougar seniors Mike Hall, Jared Jensen and Terry Nashif, who were honored at the beginning of the game, made a strong effort to lift the team in their last home game. Hall and Jensen led the Cougars with 22 and 12 points, respectively. They also received a standing ovation from the crowd as they left the game with 42 seconds left. Hall racked up 16 of his 22 points in the first half, three more points than his season average. He also tied his career high for three pointers made, shooting 5-of-9 from long range. Although BYU led 37-33 at halftime and began with an early lead in the second half, a seven-minute scoring drought for the Cougars gave UNLV its first lead since 10 minutes into the game. After free throws from Jensen gave BYU a six-point lead at 49-43 at the 13-minute mark, the Cougars did not score again until Hall sunk a free throw and Ainge hit a jumper with six minutes left. UNLV's Andy Hannan sparked the Rebels' run with four-straight points to tie the game at 49. Odartey Blankson buried a three to give UNLV the lead at 52-49. From that point on, the Rebels extended their lead to 12 points and did not look back. Hall and Ainge continued to chip away at the UNLV lead, but BYU was unable to make up the difference. In the first half, three-pointers helped BYU overcome a slow start as they connected on a first-half season-high 9-of-15 shots behind the arc. The Cougars shot 45 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes, compared to 28 percent in the second half. BYU grabbed its first lead of the game at 19-18 with a three-pointer from Mike Rose. Nashif then added his three points of the game, pushing the lead to 24-20. After two free throws from a BYU technical foul, a three-pointer by Romel Beck gave the Rebels the lead at 30-24 with less than six minutes left in the half. But Mike Hall scored 10 straight points to the end of the first half, including two three-pointers to give the Cougars a 37-33 lead. Hall led all scorers with 16 points at the break.
BYU AND THE MWC IN POSTSEASON
BYU joins Utah as the only two MWC schools to have earned an invite to a postseason tournament the last five years of the MWC. BYU is second to Utah in NCAA appearances since the formation of the MWC (BYU has made three NCAA and two NIT while Utah has made 4 NCAA and one NIT). UNLV has received four invites (one NCAA and three NIT). Wyoming (one NCAA, two NIT) and New Mexico (three NIT) have been to postseason three years. San Diego State has been twice (one NCAA, one NIT), and Colorado State and Air Force have both been to one NCAA tournament.
IN THE SIX YEARS OF THE MWC ...
-- BYU has had four 20-win seasons, second among MWC schools behind Utah's five. UNLV has had three, Wyoming three, New Mexico two, San Diego State and Air Force one and Colorado State none.
-- BYU has had the league's top RPI three times, been second once and third once (this year is seventh).
-- BYU plays the toughest schedule on average than any team in the MWC (average strength of schedule rating the past six years is 53rd, Utah is next at 67th. BYU has had the league's toughest schedule this year and last season.
-- BYU has the second most overall wins in the six years of the MWC (117, Utah leads at 137).
-- BYU is tied for second with Wyoming in conference wins (48, Utah has 63).
-- BYU is second in MWC Tournament wins (7, UNLV has 9).
-- BYU has the second-most MWC regular-season titles (two) along with Wyoming (Utah leads with four). BYU is one of five MWC teams to win the MWC Tournament title.
HALL NAMED TO 2005 ALL-MWC THIRD TEAM, AINGE RECEIVES HONORABLE MENTION
BYU senior guard Mike Hall was named to the All-Mountain West Conference Third Team and Cougar sophomore point guard Austin Ainge received All-MWC honorable mention Monday when the Mountain West Conference announced its annual postseason awards. Selected by the league's eight men's head coaches and a selected media panel, the MWC awards recognize the accomplishments of top conference performers during the 2005 MWC regular season. A native of San Bernardino, Calif., Hall was also a third-team selection last year in his first season at BYU after transferring from Dixie State College in St. George, Utah. Ainge earned honorable-mention recognition in his first season of significant playing time. The Gilbert, Ariz., native missed half the 2003-04 season with an injury and played sparingly upon his return, but took over the starting duties early this season and became the team's second-leading scorer and top assist maker. Utah's Ray Giacoletti was named the MWC Coach of the Year, while Ute center Andrew Bogut garnered MWC Player of the Year honors. Wyoming's Justin Williams is the league's Defensive Player of the Year and Colorado State's Jason Smith was named Freshman of the Year.
HALL NOTABLES IN LEAGUE PLAY
-- Hall led BYU in scoring at 14.3 points per game to rank eighth among MWC players. He fourth in steals per game (1.79) and ranked fifth in three-point shots made per game (1.86). He was 12th in free-throw percentage (.767) and 15th in blocked shots per game (0.5)
-- He led BYU in scoring (14.3), steals (1.79), free throw percentage (.767) and three-point shots made (26). He was second in assists (1.6) and and third in blocks (7).
-- Has scored in double figures in 11 of 14 conference games, including eight games with 16 or more points.
-- Scored career-high 24 points at San Diego State, making 8-of-12 shots, including 4-for-4 on three-point attempts (was one of only three MWC players to go 4-for-4 from behind the arc in a game). He had 22 points vs. UNLV on Saturday with five treys.
-- Had two of the league's five conference-best 5-steal performances. Tied career high of 5 steals vs. Colorado State and at UNLV, both Cougar wins. His two steals in the final 3 minutes at UNLV helped the Cougars erase a six-point deficit and force overtime, where he hit a big three in the BYU win.
-- Guarded the opponent's top perimeter player and has defended positions 1-4.
AINGE NOTABLES IN LEAGUE PLAY
-- Ainge ranked third among MWC players in assists per game (4.57) and was fourth in assist/turnover ratio (1.42). He was 14th in free-throw percentage (.750).
-- Led BYU in assists (4.57) and was second in scoring (10.0), steals (0.9), and free throw percentage (.750) and fourth in three-point shots made (16).
-- Led BYU in assists in 13 of 14 conference games while also leading BYU in steals four times, scoring three times and rebounds twice.
-- Had nine games with at least five assists.
-- Added 3.2 rebounds per game.
-- Scored in double figures in seven of 14 conference games, including four games with 15 or more points.
-- Scored career-high 25 points at Colorado State, making a career-best 5 three-point shots, while adding 6 assists and 3 rebounds. At Utah led BYU with 17 points, 6 assists and 5 rebounds.
-- Scored 12 points in overtime and finished with 19 in the game to lead BYU on a 10-2 run to begin overtime at UNLV as BYU outscored UNLV 19-9 in overtime for the road win.
COUGARS AMONG STATISTICAL LEADERS
Jared Jensen is third among MWC players in free throw (.844) percentage and would be sixth in field goal percentage (.551) if he met the minimum of three makes per game. Austin Ainge third in assists (4.0). Mike Hall ranks No. 4 in steals (1.6) while also ranking No. 8 in scoring (13.9). Jimmy Balderson ranks fifth in three-point percentage overall (.423) while Mike Rose is No. 7 (.401). Rose is No. 3 in most threes made overall (55) and Mike Hall is tied for fourth (53).
BYU is 9-1 when the Cougars have the better shooting percentage. BYU is 4-2 when shooting 50 percent or above, suffering the losses at UNM and at Utah. At New Mexico, the Cougars shot 55 percent, their highest percentage during MWC play. The Lobos, however, made 62 percent from the floor and 68.4 percent on threes, both highs by a BYU opponent this year. After its loss to UNLV Saturday, BYU is now 0-7 when its opposition makes 50 percent or better and is 0-19 this season when being outshot.
LINEUPS AND INJURIES A PLENTY FOR COUGARS
The Cougars have used 18 different starting lineups this year with 12 different Cougars receiving a starting assignment. Due to injuries, BYU played the last four games with eight scholarship players among its 11 players currently available. Seven players have missed time due to injury this year. After helping BYU to a 3-3 record in six straight starts, the team's leading rebounder Keena Young became the most recent Cougar to go down (broken hand), missing the past four games. He is out for the year. Garner Meads has missed the last seven games with a leg injury and is doubtful to play in the MWC Tournament. He has missed 12 games overall this year.
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 138-107 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 90-26 record in the Cougars' home arena, he is currently second behind Roger Reid, who has 92 Marriott Center wins. Cleveland has 48 MWC wins, sharing top honors with Wyoming's Steve McClain.
BYU has struggled to receive consistent performances from its young roster this season, a significant reason for its 9-20 record despite being competitive in most games. The Cougars have proven a strong team when more than two players have been able to put up double-digit points in a game. BYU has had 12 games this year when three or more players scored in double figures and the Cougars are 8-4 in those games (8-2 when four or more Cougars reach double digits). When two or fewer Cougars reach double figures, however, BYU is a mere 1-16. The impact of not having at least three players consistently stepping up offensively in a given game has been significant when considering the fact that BYU has lost 10 games by single-digit margins, including five by three points or less.
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.
PLAYERS IN THE PROS
In the past five years the BYU program has helped several players go on to professional basketball opportunities. Rafael Araujo was the No. 8 overall pick in this year's NBA draft, selected by the Toronto Raptors. Travis Hansen was the second-round pick of the Atlanta Hawks in 2003.After playing one year with the Hawks he signed a lucrative one-year contract to play in Spain. Others to play professionally over the past five years include Mekeli Wesley (Belgium), Terrell Lyday (France), Trent Whiting (Italy), Eric Nielsen (Spain) and Silester Rivers (Chile). In addition to Araujo, Mark Bigelow (Germany) and Luiz Lemes (Brazil) joined the professional ranks overseas from last year's team.
BYU AMONG 14 TEAMS TO HAVE A PLAYER DRAFTED EACH OF THE LAST TWO SEASONS
BYU is one of 14 teams to have at least one player drafted in each of the last two NBA drafts. Former BYU center Rafael Araujo was the No. 8 overall pick in the 2004 draft, being selected by the Toronto Raptors. Former BYU guard Travis Hansen was the No. 37 pick overall, taken in the second round by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2003 draft. Following is the list of teams that have had a player drafted the past two seasons (number of players drafted in parenthesis): Arizona (2), BYU (2), Connecticut (3), Duke (3), Georgia (2), Gonzaga (2), Memphis (2), Minnesota (2), Missouri (2), Oregon (2), Stanford (3), Texas (2), UCLA (2), Xavier (3).
WINNING BASKETBALL TRADITION
BYU has an all-time record of 1481-959. The Cougars entered the season ranked No. 19 all-time in Division I victories. The Cougars ranked 36th all-time in winning percentage among all Division I basketball programs. The Cougars have had 82 winning seasons in their 103 years of basketball and have made 30 postseason appearances, including 21 NCAA bids, and won 26 conference championships. BYU has earned a postseason invite the past five season, with three NCAA bids.
BYU players have received 40 All-America citations. Last year Rafael Araujo was named to the Basketball Times All-America Second Team and was an Associated Press honorable mention pick last season. Regarded as the nation's No. 2 center by Basketball Times, Araujo earned second-team honors while Connecticut center Omeka Okafor received first-team accolades and Duke center Shelden Williams was selected to the third team. Araujo led the Cougars in scoring last season at 18.4 points per game and pulled down a team-leading 10.1 boards per game, which ranks 11th nationally. He had the fourth highest combined points and rebounds averages in the nation last year. The MWC Co-Player of the Year, Araujo also topped BYU in steals (1.4 spg) and blocks (0.8 bpg) and led all MWC players in steals in league action. The 6-foot-11 280-pound native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, recorded 16 double-doubles games, the fifth best single-season total all-time at BYU, while leading the Cougars to a 21-9 record and their second straight at-large NCAA Tournament berth. Araujo was joined on the second team by Wisconsin point guard Devin Harris, North Carolina wing Rashad McCants, Providence forward Ryan Gomes, and Mississippi State forward Lawrence Roberts. Araujo is the 19th Cougar basketball player to earn All-America honors and the first since 2001 when Mekeli Wesley earned Associated Press honorable mention honors. Araujo was also named an honorable mention AP selection, as Okafor was the only center selected to the three AP teams. Araujo is the first Cougar since Mike Smith in 1988 to receive second-team honors. He recorded career highs of 32 points and 17 rebounds in BYU's win over eventual No. 3 Oklahoma State and finished his season with 24 points and 12 rebounds against defending national champion Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.