After winning the University of the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, BYU (3-0) will host former Western Athletic Conference foe Rice (2-1) in the Cougars' home opener Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The Cougars will try to continue their 36-game home victory streak -- the longest active streak in the nation. The game will be broadcast on KSL Newsradio 1160 and the Cougar Sports Network, beginning at 6 p.m. with a one-hour pregame show. KSL's Greg Wrubell will call the play-by-play action with Mark Durrant providing game analysis. A live internet audio link and live stats webcast are available on the basketball page of the official BYU athletics website, byucougars.com. The game is not being televised.
BYU is off to a 3-0 start for the first time since the 1991-92 team started 7-0. The Cougars won the 2002 Paradise Jam title with victories over Toledo (71-56), Kansas State (73-64 and St. Bonaventure (66-57). Shooting guard Travis Hansen and small forward Mark Bigelow earned all-tournament honors, leading BYU with 17.7 and 13.7 scoring averages over the three games. Hansen is pulling down a team-leading 7.3 rebounds while junior college transfer center Rafael Araujo is adding 6.3 boards per game. The Owls opened at home with a 72-58 win over Tulane before traveling to Palo Alto to face Stanford, where the Cardinal defeated Rice 79-62. The Owls returned home Wednesday to earn another home win over Houston, 71-53. BYU has a 3-2 lead in the series after ending a two-game losing skid to the Owls with a 59-49 win at the Compaq Center on Dec. 9, 2000.
Game # 4 FAST FACTS
BYU (3-0, 0-0 MWC) vs. Rice (2-1, 0-0 WAC)
Saturday, Nov. 30, 2002
Marriott Center (22,700)
7 p.m. MST
BYU, Steve Cleveland (88-69 in sixth year; same overall)
Rice, Willis Wilson (129-156 in 11th year; same overall)
Series: BYU leads, 3-2
Last Meeting: BYU won 59-49, Dec. 9, 2000, on neutral floor in Houston (Compaq Center)
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time: 6 p.m. MST
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Mark Durrant
Web: Live audio link available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2002-03 schedule above)
BYU's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 3 Mark Bigelow 6-7 195 Jr. 13.7 3.3 3.0 apg
F 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 250 So. 9.0 4.0
C 55 Rafael Araujo 6-11 265 Jr. 5.7 6.3 1.0 bpg
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Sr. 17.7 7.3
G 24 Kevin Woodberry 6-0 170 Jr. 5.0 1.3 2.0 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 14 Ricky Bower 6-4 185 Jr. 7.0 4.0
F 15 John Allen 6-7 215 So. 5.0 2.0
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 Jr. 3.7 1.3 1.0 bpg
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 2.7 1.3 1.0 apg
F 5 Jake Shoff 6-9 265 Jr. 1.0 2.5
G 4 Luiz Lemes 6-3 180 Jr. 0.0 0.7
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 Jr. 0.0 0.0
G 12 Marc Roberts 6-3 205 So. -- --
Rice's Probable Starters
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 24 Jamaal Moore 6-5 195 Fr. 7.7 1.7
F 33 Michael Harris 6-6 225 So. 13.7 10.3
C 42 Yamar Diene 6-9 230 Jr. 9.0 3.3
G 0 Omar-Seli Mance 6-2 190 Sr. 14.3 4.0
G 15 Rashid Smith 6-3 175 Jr. 3.3 2.3
Rice (2-1, 0-0 WAC) returns four starters and 10 lettermen from last year's 10-19 team that finished seventh in the WAC. Six of Rice's losses last year were by five points or less. With nearly the entire team returning, the Owls are poised to significantly improve their results this year. Rice is off to a 2-1 start after Wednesday's win over Houston at home. Sophomore Brock Gillespie scored 13 of his game-high 18 points in the first half, leading Rice to a 71-53 romp past Houston at Autry Court, giving the Owls initial possession of the Administaff Bayou Cup. Rice shot to as much as a 22-point lead in the first half to put the game away early. Gillespie came off the bench to score 13 of the Owls' first 33 points as Rice raced to a 39-21 halftime lead. Freshman Jamal Moore also scored 12 points in the opening period en route to a career-high 16. Playing in Palo Alto Sunday, Rice kept pace with PAC-10 powerhouse Stanford and trailed by only two deep in the second half but didn't score during a five minutes stretch, allowing the Cardinal to pull away and win 79-62. Senior returning starting guard Omar-Seli Mance led the Owls with 15 points. In its first game of the season, Rice beat Tulane 72-58 at home. Four players scored in double figures against Tulane, with Mance totaling 20, sophomore forward Michael Harris 17, junior center Yamar Diene 13, and Gillespie 12. Harris, at 6-foot-6, 225-pounds, led the Owls last year (12.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg) on his way to WAC Freshman of the Year honors. He and Diene join Mance and junior guard Rashid Smith as returning starters. Harris has led the Owls in on the boards in all three games this season, pulling down 13, 10 and eight, respectively. He is averaging a double-double on the year at 13.7 points and 10.3 rebounds, while Mance is putting down a team-leading 14.3 points per game and adding 4.0 rebounds per contest. Smith is dishing out 5.7 assists while Mance is distributing 4.7 assists per game. Diene is adding 9.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.0 blocks and has made 11-12 free throw attempts. Gillespie is providing offensive firepower off the bench, scoring 12.7 points in just 16 minutes per game. As a team, Rice is shooting .429 from the floor, .298 on threes, and .830 from the line while allowing its opponents .393 on field goals and .440 from behind the arc. The Owls average 68.3 points while allowing 63.3. Rice hasn't fared as well on the boards, where they are allowing an average 38.3 rebounds while pulling down 34.3 misses. Rice coach Willis Wilson is 129-156 in his 11th year at Rice.
RICE General Info
Location: Houston, Texas
Colors: Blue and Gray
Home Arena: Autry Court
Athletic Director: Bobby May
Head Coach: Willis Wilson
Alma Mater: Rice '82
Best time to call: M-F, 9 a.m.-12 noon
Office Phone: 713-348-4075
Overall Record(Years): 129-156 (11th)
Record at School (Years): 129-156 (11th)
Assistant Coaches: Marty Gross, Todd Smith, Marty Gillespie
Overall Record: 10-19
Conference Record/Finish: 5-13/7th
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: N/A
Letterman Returning/Lost: 10/4
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1
Omar-Seli Mance, 6-2, 190, Sr., G (12.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
Rashid Smith, 6-3, 175, Jr., G (3.6 ppg, 2.4 rpg)
Michael Harris, 6-6, 225, So., F (12.8 ppg, 8.6 rpg)
Yamar Diene, 6-9, 230 Jr., F/C (3.6 ppg, 3.0 rpg)
Series Record: BYU leads 3-2
Last Meeting: December 9, 2000
Result: BYU won 59-49
Basketball Contact: John Sullivan
Press Row: 713-348-5638
Web Site: www.RiceOwls.com
BYU leads the overall series against Rice, 3-2. The Cougars are 1-0 under Steve Cleveland against the Owls, thanks to a win in the last meeting. BYU won 59-49 in Houston at the Compaq Center during the Toys for Tots College Basketball Challenge that also featured a game between North Carolina and Texas A&M. BYU senior Travis Hansen is the only current Cougar to play in the last meeting. He scored eight points and had four rebounds, one assist and one block in 22 minutes off the bench. The Owls won the previous two meetings, both during the 1996-97 season in which BYU finished 1-25. The last game in Provo was a 62-59 Owl win on Jan. 23, 1997. BYU won the first two contests with wins in 1963 and 1971. BYU is 1-1 in Provo vs. Rice, winning the first game in the series, 89-78, on Dec. 20, 1963. BYU is 0-1 in the Marriott Center vs. the Owls. This will be the second game, both against Rice, BYU has played against a former WAC opponent since the inception of the Mountain West Conference for the 1999-2000 season.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 3-2
BYU Record in Provo: 1-1
BYU Record in Houston: 0-1
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-1
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 1-0
BYU Record in Overtime Games: N/A
Longest BYU Win Streak: 2 (1963-71)
Longest Rice Win Streak: 2 (1997)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 23 (1971)
Largest Rice Margin of Victory: 24 (1997)
Most Points Scored by BYU: 96 (1971)
Most Points Scored by Rice: 78 (1963)
Date Opponent Score W/L
12-20-63 Rice 89-78 W
12-29-71 vs. Rice+ 96-73 W
1-23-97 Rice 59-62 L
2-22-97 at Rice 44-68 L
12-9-00 vs. Rice 59-49 W
BEST START SINCE 1991-92
After starting the season 2-0 for the fourth straight year, BYU was able to win its third contest and go 3-0 for the first time since the 1991-92 team won seven straight out of the gate. That team, like this year's team, was picked to finish fourth in the conference entering the season. The 1991-92 team went on to win the Western Athletic Conference title and finish 25-7 after losing to LSU and Shaquille O'Neal in the NCAA tournament.
CLEVELAND PERFECT IN SEASON-OPENERS
BYU has started the year with a win in each of the six seasons Steve Cleveland has been the coach. This year is the first time in the past six years the Cougars have started the year on a neutral floor. In season openers under Cleveland, BYU is 3-0 at home and 3-0 away from the Marriott Center, including a 2-0 record on an opponent's home court.
HANSEN STARTS SENIOR SEASON STRONG
BYU's lone senior, guard Travis Hansen, is off to a strong start in his final campaign. He leads BYU in scoring (17.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rpg), despite being ejected with 8:48 to go in last Saturday's win over Kansas State. Hansen, who is also second on the team with eight assists (2.7 apg), is shooting 50 percent (15-30) from the floor, 57.1 percent (4-7) from behind the three-point line (which was extended to the experimental rules distance of 20 feet, 6 inches at the Paradise Jam), and 79.2 percent (19-24) from the free throw line.
HANSEN, BIGELOW EARN PARADISE JAM AWARDS
Leading BYU to the University of the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam title, Travis Hansen and Mark Bigelow were named to the Paradise Jam All Tournament Team. Others selected to the team were Pervis Pasco of Kansas State, Nick Moore of Toledo, Terry Taylor of Virginia Tech and tournament MVP Marques Green of St. Bonaventure.
BYU set the Paradise Jam tournament record for fewest average points allowed by giving up only 59 points per game in its three tournament wins. The previous record was LaSalle's 62.7 points allowed over three tournament games last year. In the championship game, BYU held St. Bonaventure, who came into the title showdown having scored 91 and 89 points in its first two games, to 57 points and 28 percent shooting. BYU held Toledo to 34.6 percent shooting and 56 points and allowed only 40.4 percent shooting and 64 points by Kansas State. Combined, BYU's opponents are shooting 33.9 percent from the floor, including 31.8 percent on threes, and have averaged 59 points per game.
BYU coach Steve Cleveland is expected to play a larger rotation this year with a deeper bench available. With junior forward Jake Shoff seeing his first playing time of the year against Kansas State, all 12 players who are expected to play this year have already received playing time. Shoff hadn't played in any of BYU's exhibtion contests or the opening game with Toledo due to back problems. He has had limited practice time as well since practices started in October. Sophomore guard Marc Roberts has not played to keep a redshirt opportunity available while freshmen guards Austin Ainge and Jermaine Odjegba are using the season to redshirt. Ainge did not make the trip to the Virgin Islands after breaking his thumb during practice the night before the team's departure. He had surgery in Phoenix last week and is expected to be out for six to eight weeks.
FROM BEHIND THE EXTENDED ARC
BYU played at the experimental three-point distance of 20 feet, six inches during the Paradise Jam. The Cougars shot 46.3 percent at that distance, going 19-41 on trey attempts. All six players to attempt a shot from behind the arc have connected at least twice. Mark Bigelow (5-9) and Travis Hansen (4-7) lead the way, followed by Ricky Bower (3-3), John Allen (3-4), Terry Nashif (2-4) and Kevin Woodberry (2-14). Woodberry, who has taken five more threes than any Cougar, is the only player shooting less than 50 percent from behind the arc.
PARADISE JAM OFFERED OFF COURT MEMORIES
During their week in the Virgin Islands, the Cougars were able to do more than just win three games to claim the Paradise Jam title. While the coaches and players weren't able to fully take advantage of the beautiful beaches and other opportunities available on St. Thomas, the team was able to go on a Catamaran Tour, that included snorkeling, the day before its first game. One of the highlights of the trip was on Sunday. With BYU not practicing or playing that day, the entire team and extended traveling party attended church services at the local branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Cougar contingency helped boost the branch attendance from its usual 20-25 to 138. It was the largest group to ever attend church services in the branch. Later that evening, the entire team returned to participate in a church fireside. During the day, BYU coach Steve Cleveland, Travis Hansen, Mark Bigelow, Dan Howard, Terry Nashif and Ricky Bower all spoke and the entire team mingled and spent time with the local members. Many church members attended BYU's games during the week, giving the Cougars a nice fan base in the 3,000-seat Sports and Fitness Center. BYU, along with the other teams in the Paradise Jam, participated in the Paradise Jam Dockside Jamboree on the evening before the tournament began. The festival, located near the dock were cruise ships come to port, included local bands, steel drum bands, mocko jumbies, local food, arts, crafts and shopping. The players had opportunities to sign autographs and Coach Cleveland was able to talk about the team and university on a live radio program being broadcast remotely from the event.
Seventeen games against teams who qualified for postseason play last year and spots in the University of The Virgin Islands Paradise Jam (U.S. Virgin Islands) and Touchstone Energy All-College Classic (Oklahoma City) highlight BYU's 2002-03 men's basketball schedule. BYU's nonconference schedule includes teams from 10 different conferences. Overall, 12 teams earned postseason bids last season, seven advancing to the NCAA tournament and five playing in the NIT. Six teams earned a conference regular season or league tournament title and 12 placed in the top three in their league standings. In all, the schedule includes a total of 29 regular season games and two exhibitions. The Cougars will play 14 regular season games in the Marriott Center, where BYU owns the nation's longest active home-court victory streak at 36 games. Excluding the MWC Tournament, BYU plays 15 road games, including 11 away contests and four neutral site games. The 2003 MWC Tournament takes place March 12-15 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. The Pac-10, Big 12, Atlantic 10, Big Sky, Big West, Mid-American, Mid-Continent, Missouri Valley, West Coast and Western Athletic are represented on the non-league schedule. Nine teams -- Arizona State, Creighton, San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, San Francisco, Utah State, Southern Utah, Weber State and Pepperdine -- were also on last year's nonconference schedule. BYU earned a 6-3 record in those games, losing at UCSB and dropping overtime games at both Utah State and Pepperdine.
BYU ON TELEVISION
The Cougars will be featured in 15 television broadcasts in 2002-03, including five times as part of the Mountain West Conference television package with ESPN. BYU will appear on ESPN2 vs. Oklahoma State in the Touchstone Energy All-College Classic in Oklahoma City on Jan. 4 and on ESPN "Big Monday" at Utah on Feb. 24. BYU appears three times on ESPN+Plus, hosting Utah Jan. 25 and New Mexico Feb. 1 before facing reigning MWC champion Wyoming in Laramie on Feb. 8. BYU will also be featured in nine SportsWest Production telecasts and on Fox Sports Net Arizona. The Mountain West Conference television agreement with ESPN will provide 32 national and regional television broadcasts on ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN+Plus in 2002-03, including 14 appearances on ESPN, two on ESPN2, two on ABC and 12 on ESPN+Plus as the featured "Mountain West Conference Game of the Week". ESPN+Plus games in Utah are aired on KJZZ-TV, channel 14. An additional 20 MWC games are scheduled to be aired on SportsWest as point-to-point broadcasts by local affiliates, while local institutional packages will add a minimum of another 19 games in 2002-03. For the fourth consecutive season every game of the EAS Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Championship will be televised by ESPN or ESPN+Plus.
HOME WINNING STREAK
BYU has a 36-game home court winning streak. The streak, which is a school record topping the 24 straight won between March 1994 and January 1996, is the longest current streak in the nation. BYU went 16-0 at home last season and was 15-0 the prior year. BYU has had a perfect home record seven times since the Marriott Center opened for the 1971-72 season. The past two year, however, marks the first time it has happened in back-to-back seasons. Last year's team tied the BYU single-season record with 16 home wins and was only the fourth Cougar squad to win more than 14 home games in a season. The 1987-88 Ladell Andersen squad went 16-2 in the Marriott Center. BYU's last home loss was on Feb. 17, 2000 when New Mexico edged the Cougars 78-74. BYU has won 17 straight at home over MWC teams. BYU has defeated 27 straight nonconference opponents in the Marriott Center. The last non-league foe to win in Provo was the California Bears, who edged BYU 71-70 on Dec. 19, 1998.
BREAKING THROUGH ON THE ROAD
While BYU owns the nation's longest active home winning streak at 36 games, the Cougars also finished last season having lost their last 10 games away from the Marriott Center, including two overtime defeats. BYU snapped that streak with its three wins at the Paradise Jam -- BYU's first win streak away from home since the end of the 2001 season. The three wins at the Paradise Jam gave BYU one more victory than all of last year away from home. Last year's road wins were a neutral court 81-76 upset over No. 13 Stanford at the Las Vegas Showdown on Dec. 22, 2001 and a season-opening win at San Diego, 70-59, on Nov. 17. In true away games, BYU has lost its last 11 straight games on an opponents home court since the win at San Diego. BYU has a chance to end that streak at Arizona State on Dec. 4.
BYU is 12-7 on a neutral court under Steve Cleveland. Last year BYU was 1-1 on a neutral floor. Prior to the Paradise Jam, BYU's last neutral court game was a 62-51 loss to San Diego State at the 2002 MWC Tournament. BYU's prior neutral win was over No. 13 Stanford, 81-76, at the Las Vegas Showdown. The Cougars have won seven of their last nine neutral court contests.
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF BASKETBALL
BYU is celebrating 100 years of basketball. Since the first season of BYU basketball in 1903, BYU entered this season having achieved a 1428-922 (.608) overall record with 21 different coaches at the helm. The combined efforts of these men have provided the Cougars with 80 winning seasons in 100 years. BYU has won 25 conference titles and made 28 postseason tournament appearances with 19 NCAA bids and nine NIT berths. The Cougars won the 1951 and 1966 NIT titles and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament in 1981, highlighted by Danny Ainge's length-of-the-court dash to defeat Notre Dame at the buzzer. Ainge was named the nation's top player as the John Wooden Award and Eastman Award winner. Twenty-three players have received All-America recognition while NBA teams have selected a Cougar 41 times in its annual draft. BYU has the nation's 11th longest rivalry, dating back to 1909, against the University of Utah. BYU and Utah have the 10th longest rivalry in terms of games played with 232 contests. Amazingly, the series is tied at 116-116. For more information on BYU's 100-year history, please consult the 2002-03 BYU media guide.