Game 7 - BYU Hosts Boise State Wednesday

BYU hosts Boise State Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.

BYU (1-5) hosts the Boise State Broncos (4-2) Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 or online at KSL.com. The game is being televised on KBCI-TV (Boise, Idaho) and will be also be aired in Twin Falls and Idaho Falls over the Bronco Television Network.

UP NEXT FOR THE COUGARS

The Cougars play their fourth Pac-10 opponent of the year when they face the Cougars of Washington State Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City. The game is not being televised.

BYU GAME #7 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (1-5, 0-0 MWC) vs. BOISE STATE BRONCOS (4-2, 0-0 WAC)

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 8, 2004

MARRIOTT CENTER (22,700)

PROVO, UTAH

7:05 p.m. MST

Coaches:

BYU, Steve Cleveland (130-92 in eighth season; same overall)

Boise State, Greg Graham (40-28 in third season; 58-33 in fourth season overall)

Series:

BYU leads, 6-2 (Last meeting: BYU 75, Boise State 69, last year in Provo - Dec. 2, 2003)

TV:

No local broadcast; KBCI-TV in Boise, Idaho, and on Bronco Television Network in Twin Falls and Idaho Falls

Radio:

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

Web:

Live stats and live audio are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2004-05 schedule)

COUGAR QUICK HITS

- Steve Cleveland's young squad meshes 10 players who did not suit up for BYU last year with six returning lettermen. Of those returning, senior Mike Hall started in 28 of 30 games last year while averaging 12.8 ppg, sophomore Garner Meads made 18 starts (averaged 16 minutes in 29 games, 4.2 ppg) and senior Jared Jensen started 8 games (averaged 12.1 minutes in 27 games, 3.8 ppg). The other three players who played for BYU last season include senior Terry Nashif (averaged 7.4 minutes in 23 games, 1.0 ppg), sophomore Mike Rose (averaged 7.9 minutes in 26 games, 3.9 ppg) and sophomore Austin Ainge (averaged 4.5 minutes in 8 games, 1.3 ppg).

- Among the 12 players who have seen the most time for BYU this season, seven are sophomores, two are freshman and three are seniors.

- After starting the year playing on an injured ankle, senior Mike Hall's play has been noticeably better as his injured ankle has improved. He is averaging 17.3 points over the last four games, including a career-high 23 points at Utah State.

- Sophomore swingman Jimmy Balderson has made an impact in his two games played this season. After missing the first four games planning to redshirt, he has come off the bench in the last two games. Despite not being 100 percent yet since returning in August from a two-year Church mission, Balderson scored 6 points in 11 minutes at Utah State and then led the Cougars with a career-bests of 22 points in 25 minutes, including five treys.

- BYU is playing only its second home game of the season Wednesday when it faces Boise State. The Cougars have already played three Pac-10 teams and nationally ranked North Carolina of the ACC.

LOOKING AT BOISE STATE

Boise State is off to a 4-2 start, including a 1-1 record on the road. In their opening weekend at the Boise State Invitational Tournament, the Broncos recorded wins over Idaho (76-66) and Henderson State (54-52) before falling 56-48 to Southeastern Louisiana. Boise State then welcomed Portland State and posted a 63-51 victory. In their first road trip of the year, the Broncos suffered a 74-55 defeat against Utah Valley State College in Orem, before beating the Idaho Vandals again (70-67) Saturday. The Broncos return three starters and five lettermen from last year's 23-10 team. Boise State is led by senior center Jason Ellis, who is currently averaging 10.7 ppg and 7.8 rpg. Ellis is just the fourth Bronco in history to reach 700 points and 700 rebounds in his career and was named to the All-WAC defensive team last season. He is joined by senior Jermaine Blackburn, a preseason All-WAC Second Team pick and the team's leading returning scorer. Blackburn currently averages 14.8 ppg and 5.3 rpg. Sophomore Coby Karl returns after scoring 309 points in his freshman campaign, the fourth most by a freshman in school history, and is averaging 10.8 ppg and 4.5 rpg. Newcomer Kareem Lloyd, a transfer from New Mexico junior college, earned starting time this season after averaging 12.5 ppg in Boise State's exhibition games and is currently contributing 6.7 ppg and 3.8 rpg. Highland (Illinois) junior college transfer McNeal Thompson is starting at the point, adding 2.0 ppg and 1.0 rpg, in place of injured starter Eric Lane. As a team the Broncos are scoring 61 points per game on 42.3 percent shooting while allowing their opponents to shoot 43.3 percent from the floor and score an average of 61 points per contest. Ellis leads the way with a 60.5 percent shooting mark. The Broncos are also shooting 32.8 percent from behind the arc and 66 percent from the free-throw line. Head coach Greg Graham owns a 40-28 record in his third season in Boise and is 58-33 overall.

BRONCOS ON THE ROAD THIS YEAR

Boise State is currently 1-1 on the road this season, having played their last two games away from home. The Broncos suffered a 74-55 loss at the hands of the Utah Valley State College Wolverines on Nov. 27 but bounced back to defeat the Idaho Vandals 70-67 Saturday on the road. Jermaine Blackburn led Boise State against UVSC with 13 points while Jason Ellis scored a career-high 23 points against Idaho.

BOISE STATE'S PROBABLE STARTERS

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

F 12 Kareem Lloyd 6-6 198 Jr. 6.7 3.8

F 21 Jermaine Blackburn 6-6 216 Sr. 14.8 5.3

C 45 Jason Ellis 6-7 220 Sr. 10.7 7.8

G 5 Coby Karl 6-4 200 So. 10.8 4.5

G 11 McNeal Thompson 5-10 166 Jr. 2.0 1.0

SERIES NOTES

Wednesday's matchup will be the ninth meeting between Boise State and BYU dating back to 1976 with the Cougars holding a 6-2 series advantage, including a 4-1 mark in Provo. BYU head coach Steve Cleveland is 2-2 against the Broncos. The Cougars are currently riding a two-game win streak against Boise State including a 75-69 win last season in Boise.

BYU SERIES RECORD VS. BOISE STATE

Overall Series Record: BYU leads 6-2

BYU Record in Provo: 4-1

BYU Record in Boise: 2-1

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: N/A

BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 2-2

BYU Record in Overtime Games: 1-1 both in Tempe

Longest BYU Win Streak: 4 (1976-95)

Longest Boise State Win Streak: 2 (1996-97)

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 16, 83-67 in 2000

Largest Boise State Margin of Victory: 16, 83-67 in1997

Most Points Scored by BYU: 86 in 1995

Most Points Scored by Boise State: 83 in 1997

12-01-76 Boise State 76-75 W

12-18-82 at Boise State 68-67 W

12-23-83 Boise State 66-54 W

11-25-95 Boise State 86-71 W

12-13-96 Boise State* 58-65 L

12-06-97 at Boise State 67-83 L

12-21-00 vs. Boise State 83-67 W

12-2-03 at Boise State 75-69 W

*Cougar Classic

LAST YEAR'S 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 contributed 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.

BYU's LAST OUTING - BALDERSON HEATS UP BUT COUGARS FALL AT USC

LOS -- Despite overcoming a 17-point second-half deficit and getting a career-night from sophomore Jimmy Balderson, the Cougars could not hang on against the USC Trojans, falling 87-82 Saturday night in Los Angeles. "We played good basketball in the second half," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "We didn't get the win but we definitely competed and put ourselves in a position to win. We've just got to get the victory. There's a lot of positive things that came from this. Obviously losing leaves a sick feeling in your stomach but we're definitely improving." Both teams started off slow as the first bucket of the game did not come until 3:36 into the first half and the score was tied at two almost six minutes in. The nets started heating up midway through the period, giving the Trojans a tight 17-16 lead. The rest of the half was all USC as the Trojans made 11-of-12 baskets at one point and ending the half on a 10-2 run to take a 44-30 lead heading into the locker rooms. In the second half, the Trojans got off to a quick start, extending their lead to 17 points at 53-36 with 17:10 left in the game. But the Cougars put together a spectacular resurgence, going on a 26-7 run, tying the game at 56 on a Mike Rose three-pointer and taking the lead for the first time since the opening minutes on two free throws from Balderson. From there, the teams traded baskets until back-to-back threes gave USC a six-point cushion, which the Trojans quickly pushed to 12 to cap a 16-2 spurt. The Cougars responded with a 12-2 run of their own, sparked by Balderson, to get within two at 81-79 with just 1:15 to play. Rose and Balderson were each unable to connect on three-point attempts in the closing minute. Things unraveled for BYU from there with a Cougar turnover being followed by an intentional foul against Derek Dawes, which gave the Trojans two free throws and the ball, which USC converted to go up 87-79 with just eight seconds left in the game. Mike Hall drained a three-pointer as time expired to leave BYU with the 87-82 loss. Balderson, playing in just his second game of the season after coming out of a planned redshirt year, lit up the scoreboard with a career-high 22 points, including five three-pointers, while Hall added 13 points along with Rose, who scored 13 on four three-pointers and a free-throw. Dawes and starter Garner Meads, who led the Cougars with eight rebounds, each posted 10 points. Point guard Terry Nashif dished out a career-high 10 assists off the bench. Despite the defeat, the Cougars improved, scoring a season-high 82 points, 52 of which came in the second half. BYU shot 47 percent (26-55) from the field, the second-highest shooting mark of the season, and picked up a season-best 52 percent (13-25) shooting from behind the arc. The Cougars out-boarded the Trojans 40-30 but came up short in the turnover and free-throw columns as they committed 21 giveaways to USC's 11 and shot just 65 percent from the line, missing nine free-throws, to USC's 71 percent mark. The Trojans were led by Lodrick Stewart with 22 points. With the loss, the Cougars fall to 1-5 on the season.

YOUNG TEAM FACING STRONG SCHEDULE

BYU's schedule includes 10 teams that finished in the top three in their respective league standings, with eight finishing as either the league champion or runner-up. Seven teams played in the NCAA Tournament and five were invited to the NIT, while eight opponents achieved 20-win seasons last year. North Carolina, North Carolina State and Stanford all finished the season in the final top-25 rankings. The Cougars will play two teams from the ACC in the same season for the first time in nearly 50 years and they also play four teams from the Pac-10 for the first time since 1998-99. The last time BYU had a schedule with two ACC teams was the 1955-56 season when the Cougars played at both NC State and Wake Forest.

BALDERSON MAKING PRESENCE KNOWN

Jimmy Balderson came out of a planned redshirt season this week to score 14.0 ppg while shooting 50 percent from the floor and 54.5 percent (6-of-11) on three-point attempts. He led a furious BYU comeback from 17 points down against USC to let the Cougars regain the lead late in the second half, scoring a career-high 22 points off the bench in a career-most 25 minutes. He made 5-of-8 threes and 6-of-12 shots overall while also leading the Cougars with a career-best four assists. His five treys was another career mark. He scored 6 points in 11 minutes in his season debut at Utah State, hitting 2-of-4 shots, including one triple. Said Balderson, "This has been the craziest week of my life. Last week I'm planning out my lifting schedule and then coach calls me in and all of a sudden I'm playing again. I'm much happier getting to play. Any basketball player doesn't like to sit and watch. I feel more confident and smarter than I did my freshman year. I'm ready to play and score some points."

IMPROVEMENT LAST WEEK

Despite its two losses, BYU improved its play this past week. The Cougars shot 44 percent from the floor, including 46 percent on threes, in the two games while averaging 69.5 ppg. BYU entered the week shooting 38 percent from the field and 28 percent on threes while averaging 61 ppg over his first four outings.

LONG-RANGE ATTACK

BYU's 13 three-point shots made at USC was just one off the school record of 14. Sophomore Jimmy Balderson connected on five triples, sophomore Mike Rose made four, senior Mike Hall converted on three and sophomore Austin Ainge added one three against the Trojans.

KEEPING TURNOVERS DOWN

BYU has taken better care of the ball after averaging 23 turnovers to only 6 assists in its first two outings this year. Over the last four games, the Cougars are averaging 14.8 turnovers and 14.0 assists.

CURRENT BYU WIN/LOSS STREAKS ...

At home 0-1

On the road 0-2

On a neutral floor 1-0

At home vs. Nonconference 0-1

At home vs. MWC 12-0

On the road vs. Nonconference 0-3

On the road vs. MWC 3-0

On a neutral floor vs. Nonconference 1-0

On a neutral floor vs. MWC 0-1

at regular season tournament 1-0

at MWC Tournament 0-1

at NCAA Tournament 0-5

at NIT 0-1

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