Game 5 - BYU Plays at Utah State Wednesday

Mike Hall scored a career-high 23 points Saturday vs. California and hopes to keep the hot hand in Logan Wednesday when the Cougars face Utah State.

BYU (1-3) faces the Utah State Aggies (3-1) in Logan Wednesday in the first game of a home-and-home series between the two teams this season. The Aggies come to Provo to play the Cougars on Dec. 18. Wednesday's game is being televised locally on KJZZ-TV. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 or online at KSL.com. BYU opened the year at the Maui Invitational with losses to No. 11 North Carolina and Stanford (listed 26th) and a win over Chaminade (77-56) and suffered a 67-64 loss to California at home Saturday. Utah State owns a 3-1 record, winning at home Saturday over Cal Davis (81-55) after going 2-1 at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, with wins over Georgia Southern (71-61) and Northwestern (64-57) and a loss to Central Florida (55-52).

UP NEXT FOR THE COUGARS

BYU continues its stretch of five road games in its first six contests with a trip to Los Angeles to play USC (Fox Sports Net 2) on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. PST. (8:30 p.m. MST).

BYU GAME #5 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (1-3) at UTAH STATE AGGIES (3-1)

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 1, 2004

DEE GLEN SMITH SPECTRUM (10,270)

LOGAN, UTAH

7 p.m. MST

Coaches:

BYU, Steve Cleveland (130-90 entering eighth year; same overall)

USU, Stew Morrill (146-47 in seventh season; 364-185 in 19th year overall)

Series:

BYU leads, 133-87 (Last meeting: USU 76, BYU 74, last year in Logan - Dec. 23, 2003)

TV:

KJZZ-TV (Steve Brown calls play-by-play with Thurl Bailey adding commentary)

Radio:

KSL 1160, BYU Sports Network (Greg Wrubell calls play-by-play with Mark Durrant adding commentary)

Web:

Live audio is available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2004-05 schedule)

COUGAR QUICK HITS

- BYU's game at USU is its first on an opponent's home court this year but also its fourth game away from Provo. BYU played three neutral games in Maui to open the season. BYU goes to USC on Saturday to complete its fifth game away from home in the first six contests for Steve Cleveland's young squad.

- Senior Jared Jensen has enjoyed his increased opportunities this year. After earning MWC Co-Freshman of the Year honors in 2002, he moved from center to power forward during All-American center Rafael Araujo's two years in Provo. Now with an improved jumper, Jensen has returned to the low post and has been the Cougars' most consistent player to date, averaging 11.8 points while shooting 58.6 percent from the floor and 76.5 percent from the line.

- Senior Mike Hall's play has been noticably better as his injured ankle has improved. After missing a full week of practice, he played in four games last week on the ankle. After poor shooting nights and less mobility the first two games, he has scored 14 and a career-high 23 points in the last two outings.

- Among BYU's newcomers, sophomore forward Keena Young was the most effective in Maui. He averaged 9.7 points and 6.7 rebounds, scoring 14 points starting for injured Garner Meads vs. Chaminade.

- After shooting just 62 percent from the line in BYU's first two games, BYU has responded by making 26-of-29 (.897), including a perfect 10-for-10 from the line vs. Chaminade, in the last two games.

LOOKING AT UTAH STATE

Utah State is off to a 3-1 start, including a 1-0 record at home. The Aggies enjoyed a blowout win at home Saturday over Cal Davis (81-55) after going 2-1 at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, to open the season. USU earned wins over Georgia Southern (71-61) and Northwestern (64-57), with its lone loss a close defeat to Central Florida (55-52). The Aggies return three starters and seven lettermen from last year's 25-4 team that earned a top-25 ranking and tied for first in the Big West at 17-1 before falling to Hawaii in the first round of the NIT. The Aggies are led by freshman guard Jaycee Carroll, who has averaged 12.3 points and 3.5 rebounds in his first four college games. Senior forward Spencer Nelson adds 11.8 points and a team-leading 8.5 rebounds while junior forward Nate Harris is contributing 9.5 points and 5.8 rebounds. As a team the Aggies are scoring 67 points per game while burning the nets at a .542 clip from the floor. Ten of the 11 Aggies to take a shot this year are making 50 percent or better from the field. USU's shooting percentage has not been as strong from long range where the Aggies are making 30.6 percent of their threes. Carroll has led the way on treys for USU, making 5 of his 12 attempts while junior guard Chris Huber has made 4-of-8 threes off the bench. USU is shooting .724 percent from the line. Aggie opponents have shot .433 from the floor, including .302 from three-point range, while scoring 57 points per game. Stew Morrill owns a 146-47 record in seven seasons in Logan and is 364-185 in his 19th year overall.

AGGIES AT HOME THIS YEAR

Spencer Nelson recorded a double-double with 18 points and 10 rebounds as Utah State shot a school-record 77.8 percent from the field en route to an 81-55 victory against UC Davis Saturday night. The Aggies hit 76.5 percent from the field in the first half before improving those numbers to 78.9 percent in the second half. For the game, USU made 28 of its 36 shots to best its old school record of 69.5 percent set against New Mexico State in 1985. Eleven of the 12 USU players that saw action scored in the game. In addition to Nelson's team-best 18 points on six of six shooting, Cass Matheus chipped in 16 points on five of five shooting. Marques Crane added nine points, while Nate Harris and Chris Huber each scored eight points. Huber added a game-high four assists as well.

UTAH STATE'S PROBABLE STARTERS

POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG

F 1 Marques Crane 6-4 210 Jr. 8.3 2.0

F 32 Spencer Nelson 6-8 225 Sr. 11.8 8.5

C 4 Nate Harris 6-7 225 Jr. 9.5 5.8

G 2 David Pak 6-2 200 Jr. 6.3 1.8

G 20 Jaycee Carroll 6-2 175 Fr. 12.3 3.5

SERIES NOTES

Utah State is BYU's oldest rival. The rivalry is among the nation's longest ongoing rivalries. BYU and Utah State will be meeting for the 221st time on Wednesday. The first game played between the two schools was back on Feb. 23, 1906, with BYU winning 21-14. BYU leads the all-time series 133-87, while the Aggies hold the edge in Logan, 56-51. Utah State has won the last two meetings in Logan, defeating BYU 90-81 in overtime on Dec. 1, 2001 before last year's 76-74 Aggie win. In 2001 BYU had a chance to win in regulation but Daniel Bobik's finger roll fell fell off the rim. The Aggies took charge in the overtime period. Last year Utah State took a 26-point halftime lead but BYU erased the deficit in the second half prior to losing on a last-second shot by Spencer Nelson. BYU last won in Logan on Jan. 8, 2000, riding transfer Terrell Lyday's 35 points to an 82-73 victory. BYU has won the last 14 games played in the Marriott Center between the two rivals, dating back to Utah State's 88-76 win in Provo on Dec. 10, 1985. BYU has won six of the last 10 meetings in the series and 21 of the last 25 games between the two schools dating back to the 1985-86 season. Prior to the 1985-86 season, Utah State won nine straight games. BYU has a 4-3 record against the Aggies under Steve Cleveland.

BYU SERIES RECORD VS. ...

Utah State

Overall Series Record: BYU leads 133-87

BYU Record in Provo: 82-31

BYU Record in Logan: 51-56

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: N/A

BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 4-3

BYU Record in Overtime Games: 2-4* (0-2 Rd, 2-2 Hm)

*BYU is 1-0 in 2OT games, winning in Provo in 1978

Last Overtime Game: 2001, lost at Utah State, 81-90

Longest BYU Win Streak: 15 two times (1906-12, 1986-93)

Longest Utah State Win Streak: 9 (1981-85)

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 34, 115-81 in 1966

Largest USU Margin of Victory: 36, 55-19 in 1923

Most Points Scored by BYU: 121 in 1987

Most Points Scored by Utah State: 112 in 1987

LAST YEAR'S OUTING -- COUGARS UPENDED ON LAST-SECOND SHOT AT UTAH STATE

LOGAN -- Spencer Nelson's driving layup with 1.2 seconds left ended BYU's comeback bid, giving Utah State a 76-74 victory over the Cougars on Tuesday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The loss ends BYU's six-game victory streak and gives the Cougars a 7-2 record on the year. With its one-point defeat at California, BYU's two setbacks this season have come by a combined three points. The Aggies, now 6-1 on the year, jumped out to a 26-point lead in the first half by pressuring the Cougars and doubling down on Rafael Araujo. Araujo only touched the ball twice on offense in the first 11 minutes and finished the half with four points. Utah State also hit six three-pointers in the half. BYU coach Steve Cleveland said the Aggies played with more urgency in the first half and dominated the first 20 minutes of the game. "They had more energy than we did," Cleveland said. "They shot the ball and executed well. Obviously, we didn't play with the kind of energy that we would have liked in the first 20 minutes. Don't ever come to a game and have your opponent have more energy than you." Trailing by 26 points, the Cougars did come out energized in the second half. They started the half scoring on six of their first seven possessions, including a three-pointer by Luiz Lemes and three baskets by Jared Jensen. BYU continued to whittle down USU's lead, eventually tying the game on a driving layup by Mark Bigelow with 21 seconds left, but the Cougars weren't able to stop the Aggies on their next possession. BYU's desperation attempt to tie the game on its last possession was halted when Nelson stole Lemes' length-of-the-court pass intended for Araujo. Araujo led four Cougars in double figures with 16 points, followed by Mike Hall (15), Bigelow (14) and Jensen (10). Araujo posted his sixth double-double of the season by adding 10 rebounds and also dished out a career-high four assists. Nelson and Cardell Butler each totaled 19 points to lead Utah State. The Cougars made 21-of-27 shots (.778) in the second half to shoot a season-high 62 percent for the game, but had their worst night at the free throw line in years, converting only 7-of-16 attempts, far below the team's typical touch (.725) this season from the charity stripe. The Aggies, conversely, made 16-of-20 free throws while shooting a solid 52 percent from the floor.

BYU's LAST OUTING - COUGARS FALL SHORT VS. CAL

PROVO -- Mike Hall carried the Cougars late in the second half but the Cougars would come up short to the California Bears in a 67-64 thriller Saturday night in the Marriott Center that ended BYU's 18-game home winning streak. Hall delivered plenty of key baskets, finishing with a career-high 23 points for the Cougars. Cal's size and athleticism proved to be difficult to handle as the Cougars trailed at the half, 39-31. Despite the absence of last year's Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Leon Powe, who was sidelined from a knee injury, and starting point guard Ayinde Ubaka, who was out with a foot injury, the Golden Bears came out on fire. In the first half, the Golden Bears shot a stifling 48.5 percent led by Richard Midgley who finished with 15 points to the Cougars' 27.3 percent shooting from the field. The Cougars were out-rebounded 27-18 while the Golden Bears took advantage of many of their offensive rebounds and converted them into easy two-point baskets. "This ball game was determined in the first 20 minutes," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "We didn't match their aggression level tonight." The Cougars and 9,857 screaming fans came alive early in the second half with a Hall 3-pointer, but Cal would bounce back with a Midgley 3-pointer and a DeVon Hardin put-back dunk. Throughout the half the Cougars and Golden Bears traded baskets, yet the Cougars were never able to bring the game closer than five points until the final minutes. The Cougars fought hard to bring the score to within two at 64-66 with under a minute to play after Mike Hall was fouled on a three point-shot and hit all three free throws. Cal guard Martin Smith was fouled with 17.1 seconds in the game but was only able to extended the Cal lead to three, giving the Cougars one chance to tie the game. In the end, the Cougars fell short on a desperate shot from beyond the arc by Jared Jensen. "In the second half, we competed and tried to win the game," Cleveland said. "We did better on the boards, but we lost the game on offensive rebounds." The Cougars struggled shooting throughout the game, finishing with 32.8 percent from the field, the Cougars' second-lowest shooting percentage of the season, to the Golden Bears' 44.8 percent. Terry Nashif's size didn't get in the way of his dominating play as he scored a season-high eight points while adding eight rebounds and a team-high five assists. After falling to 1-3 on the season with the loss, the Cougars' next two match-ups are away from the Marriott Center when they will face Utah State on Wednesday and USC on Saturday.

SLOW SHOOTING START

Despite some open looks, BYU has struggled shooting the ball thus far this season. The Cougars have made 35 percent or less of their attempts in three of their four games -- all losses. In those three losses, BYU has not topped 30 percent from three-point range. In BYU's win over Chaminade, the Cougars shot 49 percent from the floor and 33 percent from behind the arc. Overall, BYU has converted on 37.5 percent from the field and 28 percent from long range. After shooting 62 percent from the free throw line in the first two games, the Cougars have improved the past two games (26-of-29) to increase their percentage to 74 percent for the season.

DEFENSIVE NUMBERS

BYU has held its opponents to .421 shooting from the floor and .275 from three-point range. BYU opponents have averaged 67.8 points against BYU. In the last three games after the loss to preseason No. 3 North Carolina, BYU has held Stanford, Chaminade and Cal to a combined 61.6 points while averaging 64.6 points.

TURNOVER TURNAROUND

After averaging 23 turnovers to only 6 assists in BYU's first two games, the Cougars have averaged 11.5 turnovers and 14 assists in the last two outings -- both games totaling more assists than miscues.

BYU BASKETBALL ON KSL NEWSRADIO 1160

The "Voice of the Cougars" is KSL Newsradio 1160's Greg Wrubell. He is in his ninth season as the play-by-play voice of BYU basketball. Wrubell, also the voice of BYU football, is joined by color analyst Mark Durrant, a four-year BYU basketball letterman who graduated in 1995 as a three-time Academic All-WAC forward, or Brian Santiago, who was the WAC assist and three-point percentage leader at Fresno State. Durrant has been part of the KSL broadcast team for eight years while Santiago is in his fourth year providing analysis for select games. Stations on the Cougar Sports Network include:

Salt Lake City, Utah (Flagship) KSL 1160 AM

St. George, Utah KDXU 890 AM

Manti, Utah KMTI 650 AM

Delta, Utah KNAK 540 AM

Idaho Falls, Idaho KZNI 1260 AM

Also, listen online at KSL.com

BYU COACHES ON KSL EACH WEEK ...

Coaches Corner with Steve Cleveland -- Mondays at 8:45 a.m.

*The Steve Cleveland Show -- Wednesdays 6-7 p.m.

Cougar Hoops Weekly with Dave Rose -- Thursdays 6-7 p.m.

*Due to game conflicts, this week's Steve Cleveland Show aired Monday and next week's show airs on Tuesday from 6-7 p.m.

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