BYU senior Mark Bigelow and the Cougars will face nationally ranked Oklahoma State Saturday in the Delta Center. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah -- After improving to 3-1 on the year with its win at Boise State, BYU prepares to face No. 25 Oklahoma State (4-0) Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Delta Center in Salt Lake City. 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 and stats links are available on the basketball schedule page of the official BYU athletics website, byucougars.com. Live audio is also available on BYU Radio on the Dish Network and at byuradio.org.
BYU plays two games at home next week. The Cougars will host Western Oregon Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center followed on Saturday with a 7 p.m. matchup with Southern California.
TICKETS FOR OKLAHOMA STATE GAME
BYU season ticket holder have a ticket as part of the season package. Tickets are on sale at the Delta Center Box Office or by calling 325-SEAT. Among the variety of ticket options, youth groups can purchase $5 tickets and upper bowl tickets are only $7. Students with a BYU All-Sport Card can still obtain tickets through the BYU Ticket Office. The day of the game students with a BYU All-Sport Card can get tickets at the Delta Center. The Utah Jazz is also offering a special three-game ticket package that will be of interest to both Jazz and Cougar fans. In addition to the BYU vs. Oklahoma State game, the package includes tickets to see the Jazz play the Atlanta Hawks and recently departed BYU star Travis Hansen on Jan. 10, and the Dallas Mavericks and former Cougar Shawn Bradley on Jan. 28.
GAME #5 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (3-1) vs. No. 25 OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS (4-0)
SATURDAY, DEC. 6, 2003
DELTA CENTER (19,911)
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH
4:08 p.m. MST
BYU, Steve Cleveland (111-79 in seventh year; same overall)
OSU, Eddie Sutton (298-124 in 14th year; 728-288 in 34th year overall)
Tied 3-3; Last: OSU won 78-65 on Jan. 4, 2003 at the All-College Classic in Oklahoma City
No local televsion
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time: 3 p.m. MST
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Mark Durrant
Live stats and live audio links available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2003-04 schedule) and audio available via BYU Radio on Dish Network and byuradio.org.
Delta Center pressrow/media room number is 801-325-2608
OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS
The No. 25 Oklahoma State Cowboys come into Saturday's contest at the Delta Center with an unblemished 4-0 record that includes a 3-0 record at home and a 1-0 record on a neutral court. This season's squad returns six players, of which two were starters on last year's roster. The Cowboys are coming off an 83-53 win over Texas-San Antonio on Wednesday night, which pushed the team's non-conference home-game wins to 110 of its last 111. As a team the Cowboys are shooting 54 percent from the field and 35 percent from behind the arc with 17 trays on the year. That shooting has converted into 84.8 points per game compared to the opponents' 61.5 average. OSU has not had much trouble getting to the free-throw line this season with 104 trips thus far but the Cowboys have converted on only 64 of those attempts for a 61 percent average from the line. On the glass, the team is out rebounding its opponents 151-126 with 37.8 boards per game. Leading the way for the Cowboys is the 6-4 senior guard Tony Allen who is averaging 16 points and 27.5 minutes per game, yet is only 50 percent form the foul line going 11-22 on the year. Following Allen is the 6-7 junior forward Joey Graham with 12 points 5 rebounds and 2 assists per game for the Cowboys. Former Cougar Daniel Bobik, who transferred to OSU after two years at BYU and sat out last season as a redshirt, is contributing with 31 points on the year for 7.8 points per outing along with 3.2 assists and 3.8 rebounds per game as the Cowboys' starting shooting guard.
OKLAHOMA STATE'S PROJECTED STARTERS (BASED ON LAST GAME)
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 23 Ivan McFarlin 6-8 232 Sr. 9.5 6.8
F 33 Jason Miller 6-8 239 Sr. 5.3 3.8
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-4 200 Jr. 7.8 3.8
G 24 Tony Allen 6-4 213 Sr. 16.0 2.8
G 15 John Lucas 5-11 152 Jr. 11.8 2.3
LAST YEAR'S MEETING -- COWBOYS DOWN COUGARS IN OKLAHOMA CITY
OKLAHOMA CITY -- BYU dropped its third game of the year, losing 78-65 to Oklahoma State at the Touchstone Energy All-College Classic in Oklahoma City. BYU, now 10-3 with the loss, got another double-double performance from junior center Rafael Araujo, but Oklahoma State improved its record to 10-1 on the strength of its defense and a career-scoring night by forward Ivan McFarlin. Looking impressive early, the Cougars went on a 9-0 run to take a 12-7 lead before gaining their biggest first-half advantage at 18-11 on a trey by point guard Kevin Woodberry with 10:40 until the break. After the Cowboys scored six in a row to get within one, BYU went on another brief run capped by a Travis Hansen three-pointer that made the score 25-19 with 5:09 remaining. With BYU's starting post players in foul trouble, the Cowboys scored the next 10 points as part of a 16-2 run that didn't end until BYU reserve center Dan Howard converted a three-point play on an offensive put-back with just 19 seconds until the half. McFarlin and Tony Allen scored all but two of the points for Oklahoma State during the run to help the Cowboys build a 35-30 halftime lead. BYU looked inside in the second half as Araujo and Jared Jensen scored the Cougars' first eight points to tie the game at 38. But the Cougars went nearly the next 12 minutes without a field goal, allowing OSU to go on a 21-4 spurt that included two separate 9-0 runs only separated by two BYU trips to the foul line. The field-goal drought ended when Araujo, who had been out during much of the OSU run with foul trouble, scored inside with 5:55 remaining. The Cowboys' pressure defense forced 19 BYU turnovers, the most for the Cougars since losing at Creighton. Oklahoma State led by 18 three times in the second half, the final time at 66-48. BYU fought back but got no closer than 10 the rest of the way. Hansen led BYU in scoring with 14 before fouling out. He scored 12 of his points in the first half. Araujo turned in his third double-double effort in the last four games with 11 points and 14 rebounds while Mark Bigelow also added 11 points. McFarlin led the Cowboys with a career-high 27 points, followed by Allen with 22. BYU out rebounded the Cowboys 30-28 but shot 43 percent to OSU's 51 percent from the floor. BYU was 7-18 on threes, five coming in the first half, while OSU went 3-8 from behind the arc.
Overall Series Record: Series tied 3-3
BYU Record in Provo: 1-1
BYU Record in Stillwater: 1-1
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-1
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 0-1
BYU Record in Overtime Games: N/A
Longest BYU Win Streak: 3 (1971-94)
Longest Oklahoma St. Win Streak: 2 (1961-63)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 27 (1972)
Largest Oklahoma St. Margin of Victory: 17 (1961)
Most Points Scored by BYU: 96 (1972)
Most Points Scored by Oklahoma St.: 74 (1971)
Date Opponent Score W/L
12-15-61 at Oklahoma State 44-61 L
12-12-63 Oklahoma State 64-71 L
12-15-71 at Oklahoma State 84-74 W
12-13-72 Oklahoma State 96-69 W
11-23-94 vs. Oklahoma St.* 69-59 W
01-04-03 vs. Oklahoma St.' 65-78 L
*Great Alaska Shootout
'ESPN All-College Classic (Oklahoma City)
OKLAHOMA STATE QUICK FACTS
Location: Stillwater, OK
Colors: Orange and Black
Home Arena: Gallagher-Iba Arena (13,611)
Conference: Big 12
Athletic Director: Dr. Harry Birdwell
Head Coach: Eddie Sutton
Alma Mater: Oklahoma State, '58
Best Time to Call: Contact SID
Office Phone: (405) 744-5845
Overall Record (Years): 728-288 (33rd year)
Record at School (Years): 298-124 (14th year)
Assistant Coaches: Sean Sutton, Glynn Cyprien, James Dickey
Overall Record: 22-10
Conference Record/Finish: 10-6/4th
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: 24th ESPN/USA Today / NCAA Second Round
Letterman Returning/Lost: 6/6
Starters Returning/Lost: 2/3
Leading Scorer Returning
Tony Allen (G, 6-4, Sr.) 14.4 ppg
Leading REBOUNDER Returning
Ivan McFarlin (F, 6-8, Sr.) 7.8 rpg
Series Record: Series tied 3-3
Last Meeting: Jan. 4, 2003 in Oklahoma City at All-College Classic
Result: Oklahoma State won 65-78
Basketball Contact: Mike Noteware
Office: (405) 744-7714
Fax: (405) 744-7754
Press Row: (405) 744-5757
Web Site: www.okstate.com
The Cougars are the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference this year, returning four starters from last year's 23-9 co-championship team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Four-year starter Mark Bigelow and fellow senior Rafael Araujo were both named to the Preseason All-MWC Team and are MWC Player of the Year candidates. Bigelow is the team's top returning scorer at 13.9 ppg while Araujo pulled down a team-best 8.9 rebounds last year. Senior guard Kevin Woodberry and junior forward Jared Jensen also return as starters for BYU coach Steve Cleveland. Key newcomers include junior transfer Mike Hall and freshmen Mike Rose and Garner Meads. Araujo is scoring 19.0 points and 9.5 rebounds to lead BYU after four games. Hall adds 14.8 points and 4.5 rebounds while Bigelow is scoring 9.8 points and Woodberry 8.0 points. Luiz Lemes leads the team in assists (3.5) followed by Woodberry (2.8). As a team, the Cougars shoot .483 from the floor, including .364 on threes, and .775 from the line while scoring 73.2 points per game. BYU allows 58.8 points while the opposition has shot .413 from the field and .310 from behind the arc. BYU has a 2.5 rebound advantage per game on the boards.
LAST OUTING -- ARAUJO CARRIES COUGARS TO VICTORY AT BOISE STATE
BOISE -- Rafael Araujo carried the load and Mark Bigelow delivered in the clutch as BYU downed Boise State 75-69 Tuesday to earn its first road victory of the season. The Cougars overcame a lead the Broncos held for much of the game to improve their record to 3-1 while previously unbeaten Boise State fell to 3-1 with the loss. The Broncos had no answer to Araujo. The 6-foot-11, 280-pound Cougar center was nearly unstoppable inside while equaling a career-high 31 points and pulling down a season-best 14 rebounds. Araujo made 10-of-13 attempts from the floor and earned 14 trips to the free throw line, knocking down 11 shots from the charity stripe. "Rafael was a man among boys tonight," Bigelow said. "He was getting good position and every time we got the ball to him he did something with it." When Araujo wasn't getting good position inside he was showing his finesse and athletic ability on the perimeter. The biggest player on the court took one of his game-high three steals coast-to-coast and drove through the BSU defense from 20 feet out to score another goal. Araujo's performance was his second consecutive double-double effort after 24 points and 12 rebounds against UVSC. "We did a good job of getting the ball into the post consistently," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "I really like the way Rafael kept himself composed. He also made some good passes out of the post, which allowed us to establish the inside first and then go outside." On the outside was Bigelow, who like Araujo is a preseason All-MWC pick. After a poor-shooting first half had compounded his slow start over the first three games, the Cougar captain and four-year starter scored 10 points in the final seven minutes to allow BYU to take control of a tight game. After an Araujo bucket gave BYU the lead at 57-55 -- the Cougars' first advantage since 6-5 -- Bigelow made two key plays to help BYU take a 68-60 lead with less than five minutes remaining. On the first, Bigelow got BSU's Coby Karl in the air with a pump fake and then hit a leaner while drawing the foul. After converting at the free throw line, Bigelow followed two Mike Hall free throws with a 22-foot bomb to give BYU its biggest lead of the game. He totaled 15 points on the night, moving past Marty Haws into 13th place on BYU's all-time scoring list. "Mark had a focus. He really stepped up and hit big buckets that helped us win the game," Cleveland said. "We also did a better job of guarding in the second half." Boise State controlled most of the first half. After a Bryan Defares trey gave Boise a game-high nine-point lead at 31-22, Araujo took over inside with six straight points in what proved to be a 13-4 Cougar run to even the score at 35 with 1:53 to go in the half. Two more Bronco treys by Jermaine Blackburn and Defares gave Boise State momentum to claim a 43-39 lead at the half. Boise State shot 43 percent for the game compared to the Cougars' 51 percent clip. BSU shot 44 percent on threes while BYU connected on 4-of-10 attempts. BYU put the game away with free throws, making 21-of-27 for the game. Boise State went 12-for-17 from the line. The Cougars' Kevin Woodberry came off the bench for the first time this year and contibuted eight points, along with Jared Jensen. Hall added seven points, Luiz Lemes four and Garner Meads two to round out BYU's scoring. Lemes had a team-best three assists along with four rebounds. Blackburn led four Boise State players in double figures with 20 points. Defares and Jason Ellis added 13 points each and Karl totaled 12. Defares led BSU with eight rebounds.
CLEVELAND GETTING IT DONE (2003 MWC COACH OF THE YEAR)
BYU coach Steve Cleveland was named MWC Coach of the Year in 2003. At 23-9 last year, BYU achieved its fourth straight postseason tournament invitation and third 20-win season in the last four years. Only eight BYU teams have ever achieved more victories in a season than last year's team. The BYU record for wins is 28 (9 losses) in 1951 when the Cougars won the national title as NIT champs. The 2002-03 season was Cleveland's third 20-win season in the last four years, including a 24-9 record in 2001. 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.
BYU SCHEDULE INCLUDES ACC, BIG XII AND PAC-10 OPPONENTS
Potential 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, and 15 overall contests against teams that qualified for postseason play last year highlight the 2003-04 BYU men's basketball schedule. "We look forward to what should be a very challenging schedule with more than half our games being against teams that qualified for postseason last year," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "We face some very talented teams during nonconference and every game is a battle during the Mountain West season."
WINNING BASKETBALL TRADITION
With its all-time record of 1453-932 (.609), 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 81 winning seasons in their 101 years of basketball and have made 29 postseason appearances, including 20 NCAA bids, and won 26 conference championships.
NONCONFERENCE VICTORY STREAK IN THE MARRIOTT CENTER
The Cougars have defeated 36 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.
HALL OFF TO A GOOD START IN DIVISION I
Junior College All-American Transfer Mike Hall from Dixie State College has shown why he was recruited by BYU. The junior guard is scoring a 14.8 points and is second in rebounds at 4.5 boards per outing. He scored 16 points in the opener against Southern Utah, totaled a team-high 17 at Cal and put up 19 against UVSC before his first non double-digit game with seven points at Boise State. He has started the last two games. He is shooting 59 percent from the floor. While carrying the offensive load at Cal, including 13 second-half points in BYU's comeback, he also showed his defensive versatility by guarding Cal's 6-10 Amit Tamir much of the second half with BYU's post players in foul trouble. Tamir went 1-for-7 from the floor in the final half. Hall proved his ability as a defensive stopper on the perimeter against UVSC when he was assigned to guard the Wolverines' 6-foot-1 Ronnie Price in the second half after Price put up 20 first-half points after getting to the line for seven attempts and going 5-for-7 from the floor, including a perfect 4-for-4 on threes. Price scored four more quick points to begin the final half before Hall was put in the game. With Hall clamping down, Price managed just one field goal on an out-of-bounds play and went 1-of-8 shooting against Hall, including 0-4 from behind the arc and did not get to the free throw line.
ROSE BLOOMS IN 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 played four minutes without taking a shot at Cal and went 1-for-2, missing his only three, in 13 minutes against UVSC. He was 0-for-4, taking two threes, at Boise State in 10 minutes.
IN THE POST
When Rafael Araujo and Jared Jensen make major contributions BYU usually achieves victory. BYU is 4-0, all last season, when Araujo and Jensen both contribute 10 or more points in a game. The Cougars are 8-3, 2-0 this year, when Araujo leads the team in scoring and 7-3, 2-0 this season, when Araujo posts a double-double. BYU was 10-1 last year, 0-0 this season, when Jared Jensen scores double-digit points from his forward slot.
ARAUJO PLAYING BIG, BIGELOW FIGHTING THROUGH SHOOTING SLUMP
Center Rafael Araujo is averaging 17.5 points and 13.0 rebounds in the last two games while leading BYU overall after four games at 19.0 ppg and 9.5 rpg. Fellow senior preseason All-MWC selection Mark Bigelow has gotten off to an uncharacteristly poor shooting start making only 31.6 percent from the floor, including 4-of-18 threes. Although he shot only 4-for-11 at Boise State, he scored 10 of his season-high 15 points in the final seven minutes to secure BYU's road victory. Bigelow is BYU's all-time three-point leader and the team's top returning scorer from a year ago (13.9) with a career scoring average over 14 points per game. He came in with career shooting percentages of 43 percent from the floor and 41 percent on threes.
NEW PLAYER BESTS
In the last game at Boise State, Rafael Araujo tied career bests with 31 points and 11 free throws and took a career-high 14 free throws (has made 11 free throws in each of the past two games) ... Kevin Woodberry shot .750 (3-of-4) from the floor for a personal-best single-game percentage and tied his best percentage on threes (.667) going 2-of-3 ... Luiz Lemes pulled down a career-high four rebounds in a career-best 36 minutes ... Garner Meads had a new high of three rebounds in his first start while adding a personal best one block.
Facing No. 25 Oklahoma State, BYU plays a top-25 ranked team for the first time since losing 71-64 at No. 23 Utah last Feb. 24. The Cougars' prior game against a ranked team was an 81-76 victory over No. 13 Stanford on Dec. 22, 2001 at the Las Vegas Showdown.
RECORD AGAINST TOP TEAMS
BYU is 0-1 this year against teams that qualified for postseason last year with its one-point loss at Cal. BYU finished last season with a 7-2 record against teams that were conference champions the prior season. BYU went 12-6 last year against teams that qualified for postseason play in 2002. BYU played 12 games last year against eight teams that earned an invitation to the 2003 NCAA Tournament. BYU had a 5-7 record in those games (UConn 0-1, Arizona State 1-0, San Diego 1-0, Utah State 1-0, Colorado State 2-1, Weber State 0-1, Creighton 0-1, Oklahoma State 0-1, Utah 0-2). Seven of BYU's nine losses in 2002-03 came against teams that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. UNLV and San Francisco were the two teams to beat BYU that didn't advance to the NCAA tournament.
The Cougars have won eight of their last 13 neutral court contests. BYU is 13-10 on a neutral court under Steve Cleveland. Last year BYU earned a 4-3 mark on a neutral floor with three wins at the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands to claim the Jam Title and a Mountain West Tournament victory over New Mexico. Its three losses were to UConn in the NCAA Tournament, Colorado State in the MWC Tournament semifinals and to Oklahoma State at the Touchstone Energy All-College Classic in Oklahoma City.
CURRENT BYU WIN/LOSS STREAKS ...
At home 7-0
On the road 1-0
On a neutral floor 0-2
At home vs. Nonconference 36-0
At home vs. MWC 5-0
On the road vs. Nonconference 1-0
On the road vs. MWC 2-0
On a neutral floor vs. Nonconference 0-2
On a neutral floor vs. MWC 0-1
BYU PICKED AS FAVORITE TO CLAIM 2004 MWC CROWN
Bigelow, Araujo selected to preseason All-MWC team
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 IN THE POLLS
BYU was listed tied for 40th in both this week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and Associated Press Poll. Oklahoma State is ranked No. 25 by AP and is 26th in the coaches poll.
BIGELOW MOVING UP CAREER SCORING LIST
Senior Mark Bigelow moved into 13th place on BYU's all-time scoring list against Boise State to pass Marty Haws (1,337 points from 1987-90). Bigelow needs to score 25 points to pass Roland Minson (1,375 from 1949-51) into 12th place and 38 points to surpass current BYU assistant coach Andy Toolson (1,388 points from 1985, 88-90) for 11th place. Bigelow should steadily climb the list in his final season with the chance to finish his career among the top four scorers in Cougar hoops history.
COUGARS COMING OFF SUCCESSFUL SUMMER TOUR TO AUSTRALIA
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.
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'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.
STATISTICS SHOWED STRENGTH
BYU's strong play and conference championship last season was reflected in the MWC statistics. BYU finished the regular season in the top three in 17 of 19 statistical categories in league play. BYU led in five statistical categories, was the second-rated team in six and finished third in six more. The lone two categories BYU was not in the top three were FG percentage (5th) and blocks (7th).
NATION'S LARGEST INCREASE IN ATTENDANCE
In 2002-2003, BYU averaged the 17th largest crowd in the nation at 14,468. The NCAA announced that BYU achieved the nation's largest average increase over the prior season (an average increase of 5,838 per game more than the 8,630 that attended games in 2001-2002 during the middle of the 2002 Winter Olympic Games in Salt Lake City. BYU's 22,702 attendance vs. CSU in its last home game was the largest crowd since 1992 and the 21st largest crowd in school history.
NCAA TOURNAMENT TRADITION
BYU appeared in its 20th NCAA Tournament with its at-large invite in 2003. BYU coach Steve Cleveland has guided the Cougars to the NCAA Tournament twice (in the last three years) in his six years at the helm since taking over a program that was 1-25 the season before his arrival. He has led BYU to postseason play in each of the last four years.
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).