Game 9 - BYU Hosts USU Saturday

Sophomore Keena Young leads BYU in rebounding in his first season in Provo. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

BYU (2-6) hosts the Utah State Aggies (6-2) Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The game is the second meeting between the two in-state rivals this season. The Aggies defeated the Cougars in Logan on Dec. 1, 71-57. Saturday's game will be televised on KSL-TV, channel 5 (SportsWest Productions) and is available via ESPN FULLCOURT. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 or online at KSL.com.

UP NEXT FOR THE COUGARS

The Cougars host North Carolina State Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the first visit to Provo by an ACC team. The game will be televised by SportsWest on KSL-TV locally and will also be aired on Fox Sports Net South.

BYU GAME #9 FAST FACTS

BYU COUGARS (2-6, 0-0 MWC) vs. UTAH STATE AGGIES (6-2, 0-0 BIG WEST)

SATURDAY, DEC. 18, 2004

MARRIOTT CENTER (22,700)

PROVO, UTAH

7:06 p.m. MST

Coaches:

BYU, Steve Cleveland (131-93 in eighth season; same overall)

USU, Stew Morrill (149-48 in seventh season; 367-186 in 19th year overall)

Series:

BYU leads, 133-88 (Last meeting: USU 71, BYU 57, earlier this year in Logan - Dec. 1, 2004)

TV:

SportsWest Productions on KSL-TV, Channel 5 locally and available nationally via ESPN FULLCOURT(Tom Kirkland play-by-play with Craig Hislop adding analysis)

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.

- Senior guard Mike Hall leads BYU in scoring as the only Cougar averaging double figures at 13.8 ppg. Senior Jared Jensen adds 8.9 ppg and sophomore guard Mike Rose contributes 8.6 ppg. Sophomore newcomer Keena Young leads BYU in rebounding at 6.3 rpg while sophomore Garner Meads adds 6.2 rpg.

- Sophomore swingman Jimmy Balderson has played four games since coming out of a planned redshirt season at Utah State on Dec. 1. He is averaging 7.8 ppg in 17.3 minutes. He scored a career-best 22 points in 25 minutes at USC in his second game.

- BYU is shooting .404 from the floor, .353 from behind the arc and .714 from the line.

- Playing a tough schedule, BYU has played four Pac-10 opponents already this season as well as No. 6 North Carolina of the ACC. Tuesday BYU plays another top 10-ranked ACC foe as NC State comes to Provo. BYU's two wins are over Chaminade (77-56) and Boise State (90-77).

LOOKING AT UTAH STATE

Utah State is 6-2 on the season following a 73-56 home win against Weber State. The Aggies are led by senior forward Spencer Nelson who is averaging 14.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game, while shooting 55.4 percent from the field and 72.7 percent from the free throw line. Junior forward Nate Harris is averaging 13.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game, while shooting 64.1 percent from the field and 87.1 percent from the free throw line. Freshman guard Jaycee Carroll is averaging 12.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game and is shooting 53.5 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from three-point range. As a team, Utah State is averaging 67.8 points and is shooting 53.0 percent overall. Defensively, USU is allowing only 56.2 points per game, while its opponents are shooting just 41.9 percent from the field and 32.4 percent from three-point range.

UTAH STATE'S PROBABLE STARTERS

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

F 25 John Neil 6-6 210 Sr. 4.3 1.8

F 32 Spencer Nelson 6-8 225 Sr. 14.3 8.4

C 4 Nate Harris 6-7 225 Jr. 13.6 4.4

G 2 David Pak 6-2 200 Jr. 5.5 1.8

G 20 Jaycee Carroll 6-2 175 Fr. 12.3 4.6

BYU SERIES RECORD VS. Utah State

Overall Series Record: BYU leads 133-88

BYU Record in Provo: 82-31

BYU Record in Logan: 51-57

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: N/A

BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 4-4

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 (1906-13, 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

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 222nd time on Saturday. 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 133-88, while the Aggies hold the edge in Logan, 57-51. BYU is 82-31 in Provo against USU and 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. Utah State has won the last three meetings in Logan, including its 71-57 win earlier this year. Last year Utah State took a 26-point halftime lead in Logan 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 six of the last 10 meetings in the series and 20 of the last 25 games BYU has a 4-4 record against the Aggies under Steve Cleveland.

HOME-AND-HOME SERIES THIS YEAR

BYU and Utah State are playing a home-and-home series this season. Utah State defeated the Cougars in Logan on Dec. 1, 71-57. The last time the two teams played each other twice in the same season was in 1992-93, with BYU sweeping both games. The last time Utah State won two games from BYU during the same year was in 1985-86, which was also the last Aggie win in Provo (88-76 on Dec. 10, 1985). That Aggie win also proved to have a significant impact in the series. It was the ninth straight USU win over BYU in the series -- the longest Aggie winning streak in the series. However, after that loss, BYU went on to equal its series-best 15-game winning streak over the Aggies, including six victories in Logan, until losing again in 1994 in Logan. BYU's other 15 -game winning streak over USU was from 1906-1913 -- the first 15 games played between the two teams.

OLD OQUIRRH BUCKET

BYU looks to keep alive the battle for the Old Oquirrh Bucket on Saturday, as Utah State looks to put its claim on the the Bucket. The Old Oquirrh Bucket is named after the Oquirrh Mountains to the west of Salt Lake City and is the symbol of in-state basketball supremacy in Utah. The trophy is awarded every year to the in-state college team (BYU, Southern Utah, Utah, Utah State and Weber State) which has the best won-loss record against in-state competition. Saturday's game is the Aggies' final in-state game this season. Utah State is 3-0 this year against in-state foes with a 71-57 home win against BYU on Dec. 1, a 71-45 home win against Utah on Dec. 4, and a 73-56 home win against Weber State on Dec. 11. BYU is 0-1 with its loss to the Aggies but the Cougars still have five in-state games on the schedule including Saturday's contest with USU. BYU also plays at Weber State on Dec. 23 and hosts Southern Utah on Dec. 28 prior to two Mountain West Conference games against the University of Utah in 2005.

RECENT MEETINGS VS. UTAH STATE

FIRST OUTING THIS YEAR - Ainge Shines but Cougars Lose at Utah State

LOGAN -- Despite a strong first-half performance and a career-night from guard Austin Ainge, BYU could not keep up with Utah State as the Cougars fell 71-57 to the Aggies Wednesday night in front of 9,620 screaming fans in Logan. "Coming into a difficult place, we played pretty well for 20 minutes," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "We competed and made baskets, which we've had a hard time making lately. We had trouble against the zone and our post guys needed to get the ball more, but that's something we can work on and get better at. We're committed to making it happen." The Cougars fell behind early, 14-7, and looked to be headed in the direction of last season's 26-point half-time deficit. But senior Mike Hall came alive at the 12-minute mark, scoring seven of BYU's next 10 points to bring the Cougars to within one point, when an Ainge three-pointer gave BYU its first lead of the game at 20-18. Ainge would surpass his career-high point total just 13 minutes into the game. Both teams battled down the court for the remainder of the half, keeping the game tight. With the Aggies holding a slim 36-32 lead with just over a minute to play, Keena Young prevented a sure Utah State basket with a hard foul, sending Spencer Nelson to the line. Nelson missed both free throws and the Cougars were able to convert twice more down the floor and get a stop to tie the game at 36 heading into the locker room. After shooting 50 percent in the first half, including 6-9 from beyond the arc, the Cougars were suddenly cold from all over the court as they went 2-of-14 on three-pointers and shot just 3-of-6 from the line in the second half, ending up with a 32 percent shooting mark in the second period. A seven-minute BYU drought allowed the Aggies to run up a six-point lead at 51-45, which they would eventually push to thirteen points by virtue of a 17-3 run. BYU also quickly found itself in foul trouble as Jared Jensen and Keena Young were each saddled with four while Garner Meads picked up his third foul to put Utah State in the bonus with 11 minutes still to play. The Cougars scored only 21 points in the second half, including just 12 in the final 16 minutes of play. Hall and Ainge combined for 26 points in the first half, but could not find the basket in the final 20 minutes, coming up with just eight combined points in the second half as Hall scored 19 total points and Ainge recorded a career-high 15. Jensen posted eight points for the Cougars and Jimmy Balderson, coming out of his redshirt year and seeing his first action of the season, scored six. "I've been playing well and feeling good lately," said Ainge. "I've just tried to play hard in practice and wait for my chance." BYU finished the game shooting 42 percent, their second-highest total of the season, to the Aggies' 46 percent. The Cougars had made 26-of-29 free throws in their last two games, but managed just 5-of-8 shooting from the line on the evening while Utah State went 18-for-23, including 15-of-18 in the second half. The loss marks the third straight defeat the Cougars have suffered in Logan as Aggie head coach Stew Morrill has piled up an 86-8 record at home in just over six years. BYU falls to 1-4 on the season with the loss and now prepares to travel to Los Angeles where the Cougars will take on the 1-2 USC Trojans at 7:30 p.m. PST (8:30 p.m. MST) in a Fox Sports Net 2 telecast. BYU posted an 85-61 victory last season over Henry Bibby's team in Provo.

LAST OUTING IN PROVO - COUGARS DOWN AGGIES 66-56

PROVO,Utah (Dec. 14, 2002) -- BYU extended the nation's longest homecourt winning streak by beating Utah State 66-56 Saturday at the Marriott Center in front of 14,734 fans. Winning for the 39th straight time in the Marriott Center, the Cougars improved to 7-1 on the season with another second-half comeback while the Aggies dropped to 5-2. BYU has trailed at the half in each of the last three games and five times overall this season but has rallied four times in the final 20 minutes for the win.Defensive pressure enabled the Cougars to fight back in the second half after trailing 35-31 at the break. The Aggies shot 50 percent in the first 20 minutes but were held to 32 percent in the second half. BYU held the Aggies to 41.2 percent shooting for the night. Utah State also became the first team on the year to not connect on a three-pointer against BYU. The Cougars used a combination of Jared Jensen and Travis Hansen at times to slow down Utah State star Desmond Penigar. The Aggies senior was held to just 11 points on 3-of-13 shooting. BYU used a balanced attack with four players scoring in double figures, led by Hansen and Mark Bigelow with 13 a piece. Guard Kevin Woodberry scored a new career-high 12 points, including three treys, and dished out a career-best six assists. Rafael Araujo added 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Araujo broke down the Aggie zone defense with great passing to get Bigelow open looks. The junior forward scored 10 straight points to give BYU a nine-point lead with just over six minutes to play. The Cougars held with free throw shooting by guard Ricky Bower, who knocked down 6-for-6 and ended the game with 8 points. Cardell Butler led the Aggies in scoring with 14 points and Nate Harris added 10.

WHAT COACH CLEVELAND SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

"The two guys that stand out in my mind were Woodberry and Araujo. They were key for us tonight."

WHAT COACH MORRILL SAID AFTER THE GAME ...

"I thought we played well for 30 or 31 minutes. Their defense played well and took over. They did a nice job taking us out of our offense. We ended up having to settle for the best shot we could get at times."

BYU's LAST OUTING - WASHINGTON STATE EDGES BYU

SALT LAKE -- In their second annual trip to the Delta Center, the Cougars could not hang on to an eight-point lead as Washington State fired back in the second half to edge BYU, 49-46. "We need more than two guys making baskets," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "We have not figured out how to play two halves. Somebody's got to step up and make shots, and no one's doing that." After trailing by six points in the second half, Austin Ainge sparked the Cougars' comeback, scoring the last nine points for BYU including a clutch three-pointer with 18.3 seconds left in the game. Although Ainge's trey put the Cougars within two of Washington State, BYU's 5-3 run could not help them pull ahead in the last few seconds. Ainge finished with a team- and career-high 16 points after playing 31 minutes off the bench. Despite a rough beginning, BYU soon found its range in the first half, recording a 20-3 run early on with the help of Mike Rose, who came off the bench to score 10 points in the first 13 minutes of the game. Rose continued his firepower and led the Cougar offense, going 5-for-7 from the field while hitting 50 percent beyond the arc in the first half. Rose came away with 15 points as well as picking off three steals. Ainge also made an impact early for the Cougars, who struggled offensively throughout the contest. In the first half, Ainge tallied seven points while grabbing two rebounds and dishing out two assists. Washington State's Thomas Kelati, who led WSU with 15 points, started the second half with a three, but Mike Rose answered back with a trey of his own after center Derek Dawes went 1-for-2 from the charity stripe. Dawes played some key minutes for the Cougars and finished with six points and seven rebounds while Garner Meads led the team with 10 rebounds, tying his career high.

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 two weeks ago and is scoring 7.8 points while shooting 39 percent on threes in his first four games. 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."

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. Against Boise State, the Cougars made 11 of their 21 three-point attempts, including six from Rose, two each from Hall and Ainge and one from Balderson. BYU had shot 52 percent from beyond the arc in two straight games before making a season-low 24 percent vs. Washington State last Saturday. The Cougars shot below 40 percent from behind the arc in each of their first five games.

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 six games, the Cougars are averaging 14.7 turnovers and 13.7 assists.

ROTATING LINEUPS

Coach Cleveland has used six different lineups in the first eight games of the season. Cleveland went with experience the first two games of the year, starting seniors Terry Nashif, Jared Jensen and Mike Hall as well as sophomores Garner Meads and Mike Rose. However, since then, transfer Keena Young has started four games (two in place of an injured Meads), sophomore Jimmy Balderson, who came out of his redshirt season at Utah State, has started the last two games, and sophomore point guard Austin Ainge and transfer Sam Burgess have each started one game.

CURRENT BYU WIN/LOSS STREAKS ...

At home 1-0

On the road 0-2

On a neutral floor 1-1

At home vs. Nonconference 1-0

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 1-1

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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