Game 31 Notes - BYU Faces CSU in MWC Semifinal Friday

After defeating No. 7 New Mexico, BYU (23-7, 11-3 MWC) now faces No. 6-seed Colorado State (17-13, 5-9) Friday at 6 p.m. PST (7 p.m. MST) in the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. The Rams upset No. 3-seed Wyoming 74-71 Thursday. Friday's MWC semifinal game is a ESPN+Plus telecast that will air on KJZZ-TV in Salt Lake City and will be available via pay-per-view on ESPN FULL COURT. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 and the Cougar Sports Network, beginning with a one-hour pregame show. KSL's Greg Wrubell will call the play-by-play action with Mark Durrant providing analysis. Live audio is available on the basketball page of the official BYU athletics website, byucougars.com, and on KSL.com and via BYU Radio on the Dish Network and at byuradio.org.

GAME #31 FAST FACTS (MWC TOURNAMENT GAME #2)

#2 BYU (23-7, 11-3 MWC) vs. #6 COLORADO ST (17-13, 5-9 MWC)

FRIDAY, MARCH 13, 2003

THOMAS & MACK CENTER (18,500)

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA

6 p.m. PST (7 p.m. MST)

Coaches:

BYU, Steve Cleveland (108-76 in sixth year; same overall)

CSU, Dale Layer (44-44 in third year; 211-131 in 12 year overall)

Series:

BYU leads, 75-43; Last: BYU won 67-55 in Provo on March 8, 2003

TV:

ESPN+Plus (KJZZ-TV in Salt Lake City)

Pay-per-view: ESPN FULL COURT

Play-by-Play: Rich Waltz

Game Analyst: Irv Brown

Radio:

KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)

Pregame Air Time: 5 p.m. PST (6 p.m. MST)

Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell

Game Analyst: Mark Durrant

Web:

Live audio links are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2002-03 schedule) and on KSL.com and byuradio.org or via BYU Radio on Dish Network.

BYU's Probable Starters:

Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG

F 3 Mark Bigelow 6-7 195 Jr. 13.8 3.7 2.2 apg

F 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 250 So. 7.9 3.3

C 55 Rafael Araujo 6-11 265 Jr. 12.9 8.9

G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Sr. 16.5 4.7 2.4 apg

G 24 Kevin Woodberry 6-0 170 Jr. 6.3 2.2 2.4 apg

BYU Reserves:

Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG

G 14 Ricky Bower 6-4 185 Jr. 5.5 1.4

F 5 Jake Shoff 6-9 265 Jr. 2.5 2.9

G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 So. 2.3 1.7 2.3 apg

F 15 John Allen 6-7 215 So. 2.6 1.3

G 12 Marc Roberts 6-3 205 So. 1.7 1.1

G 4 Luiz Lemes 6-3 180 Jr. 1.5 0.8

C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 Jr. 1.2 0.7

F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 Jr. 1.0 0.8

BYU DEFEATS NEW MEXICO TO OPEN MWC TOURNAMENT

LAS VEGAS -- BYU turned it on in the second half to win its first-round game at the Mountain West Conference Tournament, beating New Mexico for the third time this season 71-56. The Cougars advance to the semifinals and will play Colorado State Friday night at 7 p.m. MST. The Rams upset No. 3-seed Wyoming 74-71 Friday. The Cougars (23-7) trailed much of the first half but took the lead at 21-20 with 1:07 to go before the half on a three-point play by Rafael Araujo. The next trip down, Ricky Bower extended the lead to 25-20 on a three-pointer. BYU enjoyed the five-point lead at the break by not allowing UNM to get a shot off before the buzzer sounded. The Lobos regained the lead in the second half at 30-25 with 16:56 to play in the game but that would be the last lead UNM would enjoy. "Defensively we played solid the entire game but struggled a little in the first half," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "In the second half we did a much better job getting the ball inside." BYU went on a 14-0 run by holding the Lobos scoreless for over the next seven minutes. BYU was able to run and get some easy buckets by beating New Mexico up the court. "When we can get out and run in our transition game we can be pretty good, we made an effort to run," Mark Bigelow said. He finished the game with 14 points but was held without a trey for the first time since the game against UNLV earlier in the season on the same court. BYU looked to its big man throughout the game as Araujo grabbed the first lead of the game for the Cougars and helped the team hold it. He led BYU with 19 points and 13 rebounds including six at the offensive end. Senior Travis Hansen struggled from the floor, shooting just 4-for-13 and totaling 11 points. Hansen fulfilled his leadership role despite the scoring below his average. He kept the team focused in timeouts and made key shots when a bucket was needed. BYU shot 47 percent for the game compared to 40 percent for the Lobos. The Cougars struggled from behind the arc shooting just 25 percent, but did make 83 percent of their free throws on 19-for-23. Guard Kevin Woodberry turned in another great effort with 10 points, four assists, three steals, two blocks, and no turnovers. Several Cougars traded the responsibility of guarding MWC MVP Ruben Douglas. Bigelow, Hansen, Luiz Lemes and Woodberry all pitched in to control Douglas, holding him to just 18 points. For UNM Mark Walters scored 11 points and David Chiotti chipped in 10. BYU now focuses on its third trip to the Tourney semifinals in four seasons."We have something to prove every time we play and we need to keep that in mind no matter where we play," Cleveland said.

NOTABLES

o With BYU's win Thursday , BYU improves its record to 23-7 record -- one win away from the most wins in a season under Steve Cleveland (24-9 in 2001). Only eight BYU teams in have ever achieved more victories. The BYU record for wins is 28 (9 losses) in 1951 when the Cougars won the national title as NIT champs. This is Cleveland's third 20-win season in the last four years. The only BYU coaches to have more 20-win seasons are Stan Watts (7) and Roger Reid (6). Cleveland joins Frank Arnold and Ladell Andersen with three 20-win seasons.

o BYU has traditionally finished strong under Steve Cleveland. BYU is 18-8 in March under Steve Cleveland, including this year's 5-0 record in March. Cleveland is 6-2 in the MWC Tournament.

o BYU has won five straight games and 10 of its last 12.

o BYU is now 3-0 vs. UNM in MWC games and 6-2 overall in the MWC Tournament. BYU is 2-0 in MWC semifial appearances, defeating Utah in 2000 and Wyoming in 2001.

o BYU's margin of victory over UNM (15 points) ties BYU's largest margin of victory in an MWC game. It was also the largest margin (prior to the remainder of Thursday's results) in a MWC Tournament game since 2001 (a span of 11 games) when the Cougars defeated Air Force 69-64 and Wyoming defeated SDSU 73-59.

o Rafael Araujo recorded his seventh double-double of the year with 19 points and 13 rebounds vs. UNM Thursday.

o BYU is 18-0 when leading at the half and 23-0 this season when leading with five minutes remaining.

o BYU is 2-0 this year when having to play the day after a game. Those victories took place at the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands over Kansas State and St. Bonaventure.

o BYU is 4-1 on a neutral floor this year. The loss was to Oklahoma State at the Touchstone Energy All-College Classic in Oklahoma City. BYU is 13-8 on a neutral court under Steve Cleveland. The Cougars have won eight of their last 11 neutral court contests.

o BYU has a 7-1 record against teams that were conference champions last year. BYU is 12-5 against teams that qualified for postseason play last season.

o BYU earned a share of the league title with Utah. It is the second time in the last three years the Cougars have shared the regular season title. BYU last earned a piece of the conference regular season title in 2001 when there was a three-way tie at 10-4 with Wyoming and Utah. BYU went on to win the MWC Tournament that year and was the lone MWC team to advance to the NCAA Tournament. In BYU's 100-year basketball history, the Cougars now have claimed 26 conference championships.

o BYU become the first team to hold Colorado State below 40 percent shooting this year in its win in Provo last Saturday. The top shooting team in the nation, CSU managed just .383 shooting, .214 on threes, in the Marriott Center.

BYU AT THE THOMAS AND MACK CENTER

As a neutral court, the Thomas & Mack Center has been friendly to the Cougars. BYU is 8-3 in neutral court games (WAC and MWC tournaments and last year's Las Vegas Showdown) at the Thomas & Mack. Last year BYU was 1-1 at the Thomas and Mack in neutral games, defeating No. 13 Stanford at the Las Vegas Showdown and losing to San Diego State at the MWC Tournament. The Cougars has won seven of its last eight neutral court games at the Thomas & Mack (1-0 this year; 1-1 last year, 3-0 in 2001; 2-0 in 2000). BYU is 9-8 all-time at the Thomas & Mack Center when factoring in its 1-5 record vs. UNLV (BYU's win was a regular season victory in 2000). BYU's first two games in the series vs. UNLV played in Las Vegas in 1981 and 1982 were played before the Thomas & Mack was constructed in 1983.

HANSEN MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK MONDAY, EARNS ALL-MWC HONORS FIRST-TEAM HONORS AND DEFENSIVE PLAYER SELECTION

Senior guard Travis Hansen was joined Ruben Douglas of New Mexico as the only consensus All-MWC First Team members and was selected Co-Defensive Player of the Year with Marcus Banks. Hansen was also named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week Monday after leading BYU to three wins last week to earn a share of the regular season title with an 11-3 record. He scored a team-leading 21.3 points per game while adding 3.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. It is the second time he has won the award during his career. On Monday, he scored a team-high 26 points at New Mexico while going a perfect 12-for-12 from the free throw line. He added four boards, two steals and one assists. In a battle with third-place Wyoming, he put BYU in position to win the MWC title by scoring a game-high 23 points while adding 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal. He tied his career high by making three treys against the Cowboys. Hansen scored 15 points Saturday against Colorado State to help the Cougars earn their second share of a conference title in the last three years. During the week, he also excelled at the defensive end. He forced the nation's leading scorer Ruben Douglas to take a lot of tough shots as he shot 7-for-22 from the floor, including 1-of-7 on threes. He held Wyoming's leading scorer Donta Richardson to 9 points on 3-of-8 shooting. Richardson came in averaging 18.2 ppg. He made a spectatular block against the Cowboys, coming from behind the play to pin a would-be Wyoming layup off a fastbreak between the rim and backboard. He and his teammates became the first team to hold Colorado State below 40 percent shooting this season. Hansen leads BYU in scoring, assists and blocks and is second in rebounds.

BYU IN THE CONFERENCE TOURNEY

The Cougars have a 18-15 record in conference tournament games, which includes a 6-2 Mountain West tournament record and a 12-13 record in WAC tournament games. BYU advanced to the finals in the first two years of the MWC tournament, winning the title over UNM in 2001 after losing to UNLV in 2000. Last year BYU lost in the opening round to eventual tournament champion San Diego State. BYU defeated Air Force and co-champion Wyoming in 2001 in the first two games. In 2000, BYU defeated UNM and Utah in the first two tourney games. With its win over UNM Thursday, BYU has won the opening game in four of the last five postseason conference tournaments, including an upset of TCU in its first-round WAC tournament,90-74, in 1999. Prior to BYU's MWC Tournament title in 2001, BYU had last won a conference tournament title 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.

COLORADO STATE RAMS

Colorado State defeated Wyoming Thursday 74-71 to advance to the MWC Tournament Semifinals. Matt Nelson led the Rams with 25 points while Brian Greene added 14 and Ronnie Clark 10. The Rams have won their last three of their last four games after suffering a seven-game losing streak througout league play. The lone loss was to BYU in Provo last Saturday to end the regular season. The Rams are playing well with recent wins over San Diego State, Utah and Wyoming. They started MWC play 3-1. Eight returning letterwinners currently are on Colorado State's 2002-03 roster, along with six newcomers. Despite the experience of returning five starters from last year's squad, Colorado State still possesses one of the MWC's most youthful rosters. Only five of the 13 players have been in the program at least three years, including fourth-year seniors G Andy Birley and F Brian Greene. The average length of service on the roster is 2.1 years. Brian Greene is the first player since Milt Palacio (1999) to earn NABC All-District honors. Colorado State has shot 50 percent or higher 16 times this year. Four Rams average double figures (Nelson, Greene, Clark and Andy Birley).

COLORADO STATE'S POSSIBLE STARTERS

POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR.

F 20 Ronnie Clark 6-5 210 Jr.

F 33 Brian Greene 6-8 225 Sr.

F 42 Matt Williams 6-6 215 So.

G 11 Andy Birley 6-4 200 Sr.

G 32 Micheal Morris 6-3 185 Fr.

SERIES TIDBITS

Friday's game will be the 119th meeting between the two schools. BYU leads the series 75-43. BYU has a 1-2 neutral court record against CSU, all WAC Tournament games. The Rams are the only MWC team the Couars have not played to date in the MWC Tournament's now four-year existence. BYU won the first meeting in Fort Collins, its first win at Moby Arena since a 72-70 overtime win 1994. CSU had won six straight over the Cougars in Moby Arena. BYU wept the season series for the first time since 1994. The Cougars have won four of the last five games overall. BYU has won four straight in Provo since CSU swept the series in 1998. The two teams did not meet in 1999. BYU coach Steve Cleveland is 5-5 against Colorado State, including a 4-1 record in Provo. The series dates back to 1938.

SERIES BREAKDOWN

Overall Series Record: BYU leads 75-43

BYU Record in Provo: 50-10

BYU Record in Fort Collins: 24-31

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-2

BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 5-5

BYU Record in Overtime Games: 4-2* (1-1 Rd, 3-1 Hm)

*1-0 in 2OT (1971, won 98-92 in Ft. Collins)

Last Overtime Game: 2002, lost 75-79 at Ft. Collins

Longest BYU Win Streak: 9 (two times 1985-89, 1991-94)

Longest CSU Win Streak: 7 (1960-70)

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 39, 91-52 in 1939

Largest CSU Margin of Victory: 25, 74-49 in 1958

Most Points Scored by BYU: 105 in 1972

Most Points Scored by CSU: 100 in 1996

AT CSU -- COUGARS SWEEP FRONT RANGE WITH CSU WIN

FT. COLLINS, Colo. (February 10. 2003) -- Travis Hansen scored a season-high 27 points to lead BYU to a 77-68 victory over CSU Monday. After winning at Wyoming Saturday, the victory gave the Cougars their first Front Range road sweep since 1992-93. The win is the first for the Cougars in Ft. Collins since the 1993-94 season. BYU improves to 17-5 on the season and atop the MWC standings with Utah at 6-1. CSU drops to 14-8 overall and 3-4 in the conference. Back in the starting lineup for the second consecutive game, guard Kevin Woodberry had his best performance of the season and a career-high 17 points, including three treys, five assists and five steals. "I just wanted to be solid on defense and be more aggressive on offense and that's what I did," Woodberry said. "I felt comfortable and they left me open and I knocked them down." Mark Bigelow added 21 points on 5-of-16 shooting. Bigelow was 9-for-9 from the line and moved into BYU's top 20 in scoring all-time with 1174 career points. BYU broke a 33-33 halftime tie with a 14-1 run to open the final half, jumping out to a 13-point lead at 47-34 with 15:25 left. Hansen took over in the second half and sparked the run. The senior scored nine points during the stretch. BYU led by 12 on a three-pointer by Bigelow with just over 10 minutes to play, but CSU dropped a five-point play on the Cougars with a trey and foul underneath, adding two free throws, to cut the lead to 57-50. BYU held on to a nine-point lead with 6:06 to play when Araujo picked up his fourth foul. CSU stayed close on back-to-back threes by Andy Birley, bringing the Rams to within six with just under six minutes left. Moments later CSU center Matt Nelson scored and was fouled by Araujo sending him to the bench. Nelson's play cut the lead to four with three-and-a-half minutes left. Down the stretch BYU got stops when they needed them and knocked down clutch free throws to seal the game. BYU was 19-of-21 from the stripe (91 percent). The Cougars played great defense on CSU forward Brian Greene. With Hansen assigned to guard him, the Rams second-leading scorer (13.4 ppg) was not a factor as he spent most of the first half on the bench with two fouls and no points. Greene did not score until the 2:05 mark in the second half and finished the game with two points. Andy Birley led the Rams with 18 points on six treys. Nelson added 16 and Ronnie Clark chipped in 13. The Cougars managed to enter the locker room at halftime tied at 33 despite great shooting by the Rams. At one point CSU made 11 straight field goal attempts. That streak came to an end with 52.9 seconds left before the break on a missed jam by Ronnie Clark, who paced the Rams with 11 first-half points. BYU was outshot 65 percent to 39 percent in the first half but capitalized on 11 Rams' turnovers to stay in the game. BYU big men Araujo and Jensen went just 1-for-4 from the floor in the opening half, scoring just two points between them on a layup by Jensen. The Rams shot 50 percent for the night, including 6-of-12 three-point shooting, while converting 66.7 percent from the line. The Rams had a 30-27 edge on the glass. BYU shot 46.3 percent from the floor, including 8-of-19 threes, along with a season-high 90.5 free throw shooting.

WHAT BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY AFTER THE FIRST MEETING THIS YEAR ...

"This was a very satisfying weekend for us and we will enjoy it, but we need to get back to work and try to play the best we can every game."

AT BYU - BIGELOW, JEPSEN HELP COUGARS EDGE RAMS

PROVO -- The largest Marriott Center crowd in 11 years (22,702) honored BYU hall-of-famer Danny Ainge and saw the Cougars win a share of the Mountain West Conference Championship by beating Colorado State 67-55 Saturday night. Ainge's jersey, number 22, was retired and now hangs from the rafters in Provo. BYU also paid tribute to lone senior Travis Hansen in his last home game as a Cougar. Hansen was the first player to cut a loop from the net, which came down after the game in celebration of the school's 26th conference championship. No player in BYU history helped the Cougars to a better home record over a three-year period than Travis Hansen. In the last three seasons the Cougars have posted a 44-1 mark. The next best three-year home record was 39-2 during the final three seasons of Ainge's BYU career from 1979-81. In the first half, BYU used a 17-2 run during an eight-minute stretch to build the lead to 14 points at 26-12. The Rams held the lead momentarily at 10-9 thanks to a bucket by Ronnie Clark with just under 15 minutes to play in the first half before the Cougars' run. In the second half, BYU controlled the boards, pounded the ball inside, and held CSU to 34.6 percent shooting to pull ahead. It is the first time this year the Rams were held below 40 percent shooting. Brian Greene led the Rams with 18 points and eight rebounds while Matt Nelson added 17. Ram sharp-shooter Andy Birley, who connected on six three-pointers in Fort Collins, was held to just one trey and only three points. The Cougars spread the ball around effectively with four players scoring in double figures. Mark Bigelow led all scorers with 20 points followed by Hansen with 15. Rafael Araujo scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds.Kevin Woodberry chipped in 10.

WHAT BYU HEAD COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY IN PROVO THIS YEAR ...

"I have a great appreciation for where we started, and tonight to see the arena full was a great thrill. To share this in front of an entire community was something very special for me." "

WHAT CSU HEAD COACH DALE LAYER HAD TO SAY IN PROVO THIS YEAR ...

"Right now BYU is playing better basketball than anyone in the league."

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