Saturday against Weber State Kevin Woodberry scored 13 points on 5-of-6 shooting, including 3-of-4 trey attempts. The senior enters Tuesday's Utah State game shooting 52 percent overall and 53 percent on threes. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah -- After improving to 7-1 with its win over Weber State Saturday, BYU faces another instate foe when it travels to play the Utah State Aggies (5-1) Tuesday at 8 p.m. in Logan. The game will be televised on KJZZ-TV, channel 14, in Salt Lake City. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160, beginning with a one-hour pregame show. KSL's Greg Wrubell will call the play-by-play action with Mark Durrant providing analysis.
After Christmas, BYU will prepare to face Idaho State at the Cable Car Classic on Monday at 8 p.m. (PST) in Santa Clara, Calif. BYU finishes the Classic Tuesday against either Santa Clara or Wisconsin-Milwaukee. (No TV)
GAME #9 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (7-1, 0-0 MWC) @ UTAH STATE (5-1, 0-0 BIG WEST)
TUESDAY, DEC. 23, 2003
DEE GLEN SMITH SPECTRUM (10,270)
8:05 p.m. MST
BYU, Steve Cleveland (115-79 in seventh year; same overall)
USU, Stew Morrill (123-43 in 10th year; 341-181 in 18th year overall)
BYU leads, 133-86. Last: BYU won 66-56 on Dec. 14, 2002 in Provo.
KJZZ-TV, channel 14, in Salt Lake City
Air Time: 8 p.m. MST
Play-by-Play: Jeff Rickard
Game Analyst: Thurl Bailey
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time: 7 p.m. MST
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Mark Durrant
Live audio links available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2003-04 schedule), on KSL.com, via BYU Radio on Dish Network and at byuradio.org.
The Cougars have won six straight, including a win over No. 25 Oklahoma State and the Pac-10's USC, on their way to a 7-1 start. They 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. Senior guard Kevin Woodberry and junior forward Jared Jensen also were starters last season for BYU coach Steve Cleveland. Key newcomers include junior transfer Mike Hall and freshmen Mike Rose and Garner Meads. Araujo is scoring 21.8 points and 10.9 rebounds to lead BYU after eight games. Hall adds 14.1 points and 4.4 rebounds while Bigelow is scoring 12.0 points and 3.6 rebounds. Luiz Lemes leads the team in assists (5.6). As a team, the Cougars shoot .505 from the floor, including .386 on threes, and .725 from the line while scoring 79.0 points per game. BYU allows 61.0 points while the opposition has shot .433 from the field and .299 from behind the arc. BYU has an average rebounding advantage of 8.9.
UTAH STATE AGGIES
Like last year when Utah State entered its annual meeting with BYU, the Aggies are off to a 5-1 start. Coach Stew Morrill returns three starters and seven letterwinners from last year's team that posted its fourth straight 20-win season, won its third Big West Tournament championship in the last four years, and advanced to its third NCAA Tournament in the last four years. Leading the way are senior guards Mark Brown and Cardell Butler, and junior forward Spencer Nelson. Utah State also returns three redshirts from a year ago in senior center Mike Ahmad and junior forwards Ian McVey and John Neil. Six new players joined this year's team, adding a lot of size and perimeter shooting. Utah State is picked to finish a close second in the Big West Conference behind UC Santa Barbara by both the league's coaches and media. Last year, Utah State won the Big West Tournament championship after finishing third in the league during the regular season with a 12-6 record. Over the last four-plus years, Utah State has been one of the best basketball programs in the country, recording a 108-30 (.783) record. Those 108 wins are the seventh most in the country, while the 78.3 percent winning percentage is the seventh-best. USU has also been among the top-13 teams in the country in points allowed in each of the last four seasons, and is just one of seven teams in the country to participate in it's conference's postseason tournament championship game in each of the last four years. This year, senior Cardell Butler leads the team in scoring after six games at 14.0 ppg. Spencer Nelson is the other double-digit scorer at 10.2 while pulling down a team-leading 6.7 rebounds per game. Cardell had 19 points in USU's last game, while sophomore Nate Harris (9.7 ppg average off the bench) added a career-high 15 points off the bench to lead the Aggies to a convincing 67-42 win over Jackson State Thursday night in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The Aggies are 3-0 at home with their two other home wins coming against Fort Lewis College (86-54) and Illinois State (89-84). USU is 2-1 on the road with wins at Weber State (66-60) and Idaho State (73-62), BYU's next opponent. The Aggies lone loss of the season came at Utah (56-45). The Aggies average 71.0 points while allowing 59.7. USU is a good shooting team. The Aggies shoot .497 from the field, .413 from behind the arc, and .783 from the line. Their opponents have shot a combined .417 from the floor and .347 from three-point range. USU has dominated the boards with a 10.8 rebound advantage per game.
UTAH STATE'S PROJECTED STARTERS (BASED ON LAST GAME)
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 30 Jason Williams 6-7 198 Jr. 6.8 2.5
F 32 Spencer Nelson 6-8 225 Jr. 10.2 6.7
C 42 Mike Ahmad 6-9 240 R-Sr. 7.5 3.8
G 15 Cardell Butler 6-4 195 Sr. 14.0 3.2
G 20 Mark Brown 5-10 150 Sr. 8.7 2.8
OFF THE BENCH
G 2 Quenton Harvey 6-2 175 Jr. 4.2 1.0
F 4 Nate Harris 6-7 225 So. 9.7 6.0
G 21 Calvin Brown 5-10 160 Jr. 0.0 0.5
G 23 Chris Huber 6-1 190 So. 4.3 1.7
G 24 Tyler Williams 6-1 200 Jr. 0.0 0.0
F 25 John Neil 6-6 210 R-Jr. 3.3 1.0
C 31 Ian McVey 6-9 225 R-Jr. 2.8 3.4
F 44 Chad Evans 6-7 210 Sr. 1.2 1.7
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 220th time on Tuesday. 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 133-86, while the Aggies hold the edge in Logan, 55-51. Utah State won the last meeting in Logan, defeating BYU 90-81 in overtime on Dec. 1, 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. BYU won the meeting in Logan, riding transfer Terrell Lyday's 35 points to an 82-73 win on Jan. 8, 2000. 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 four of the last five meetings in the series and 21 of the last 24 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 4-2 record against the Aggies under Steve Cleveland.
LAST YEAR 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 LAST YEAR'S 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 LAST YEAR'S 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-UTAH ST. SERIES BREAKDOWN
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 133-86
BYU Record in Provo: 82-31
BYU Record in Logan: 51-55
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 4-2
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
Longest Utah State Win Streak: 9 (1981-85)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 34, 115-81 in 1966
Largest Utah St. 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
BYU has won six straight games, which is the team's longest winning streak since the 2001-02 season when the Cougars recorded a Cleveland-era-best eight-game victory streak, which included a win over No. 13 Stanford. This year's six-game streak includes a win over No. 25 Oklahoma State and the Pac-10's USC. This is the third time under Cleveland that the Cougars have won six straight. The other six-game winning streak was in 2000-2001. If the Cougars can extend the streak to seven games, it will be the second-longest streak since Cleveland took the helm in 1997-98.
CURRENT BYU WIN/LOSS STREAKS ...
At home 10-0
On the road 1-0
On a neutral floor 1-0
At home vs. Nonconference 39-0
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 1-0
On a neutral floor vs. MWC 0-1
BYU COMING OFF STRONG PERFORMANCES AT HOME
BYU has won its last three games by more than 20 points. The last time the Cougars accomplished the feat was when the 1987-88 Cougars blew out Central Connecticut by 33 (109-76), defeated Hawaii by 31 (97-66) and downed San Diego State by 27 (92-65) during that team's school-record 17-game winning streak and assent to No. 2 in the national polls. The 1987-88 team is also the last BYU team to finish the season ranked in the top-25 polls. BYU was last ranked in the 1992-93 season (see polls note below).
LAST OUTING -- COUGARS IMPROVE TO 7-1 WITH WIN OVER WEBER STATE
PROVO -- Behind another dominating performance from senior center Rafael Araujo and his game-high 23 points, BYU defeated the Weber State Wildcats 86-65 Saturday night in the Mariott Center. The Cougars improve to 7-1, while the Wildcats drop to 5-4. Araujo also pulled down a game-high seven rebounds and has now led the Cougars in points and rebounds in six consecutive games. He also shot 11-for-14 from the floor. The Cougars shot a season-high tying 58.2 percent of their shots, in avenging a loss to the Wildcats last season. "I thought that when the game was on the line defensively, our defense was as good as it's been," said BYU coach Steve Cleveland. "I thought we took them out of what they wanted to do, but obviously it was a big loss not having Ocokoljic. We knew that, but you still have to play the game. We felt like we needed to stay with our game plan, but it did get sloppy at the end." The Wildcats struck first in the game with a quick field goal to take a 2-0 lead, but it would prove to be WSU's only lead of the contest as BYU answered with an 11-0 run to take a commanding 11-2 lead. Hall spurred the run with a three-point play and a 3-pointer, enroute to a career-high 22 points. WSU came out a tentative team in the first half, as BYU continued to widen its lead. Junior guard Kevin Woodberry continued the Cougars' surge with a trey at the 13:18 mark to put BYU up 17-5. "Defensively, the first 10 or 12 minutes was as good a defensive effort as we've had all season," Cleveland said. A lay-up by Woodberry, followed by a Hall dunk gave the Cougars a 29-10 lead and forced a Wildcats timeout at the 5:56 mark. After an Anthony Jackson made free throw, Araujo slammed a field goal home to give the Cougars' a 20-point lead, their largest of the half, 31-11. From there WSU outscored BYU 14-9 to narrow the half time deficit to 14 points, at 38-24, BYU. Araujo and Hall led the Cougars with 12 points a piece in the half. The second half was in marked contrast to the first, as the Wildcats came out of the chute, a hot shooting team. BYU, though, countered with even hotter shooting to stem the WSU tide. The Cougars started the half 8-for-8 on field goals. With 10:56 to play in the half, BYU was shooting 92.9% (13-14) and WSU was knocking shots down at an 83.3% (10-12) clip. Araujo helped to set the tone at the start of the half with three quick buckets, but it was Hall who brought the crowd to its feet, as he slashed to the basket down the left baseline and tomahawk jammed the ball over a Wildcats player at the 17:42 mark. Senior forward Jake Shoff fouled out scoreless for the game, but he single-handedly kept the momentum with BYU as he stole the ball from WSU's Lance Allred on three consecutive possessions early in the half. "Jake Shoff did a good job," Cleveland said. "He gave us energy when we started to slow down." The Cougars continued fend off the Wildcats and slowly built on their lead. Senior guard Mark Bigelow hit a trey at the 13:59 mark to give BYU a 22-point cushion at 61-39. Araujo then put down a breakaway dunk at the 12:09 mark to give the Cougars a 24-point edge at 67-43. Woodberry then hit another shot from downtown at the 9:20 mark to give BYU their largest lead of the game at 75-50, but that would be the Cougars' final field goal until a Garner Meads dunk with 33 seconds to go. With a bulk of its reserves finishing the game, BYU struggled offensively, as WSU finished the game on a 15-8 run. "They were tougher and better than us," Weber State coach Joe Cravens said. "They kind of, I guess, out-competed us and out-toughed us." Bigelow tied a career-high with six assists on the night to go with nine points. Senior guard Luiz Lemes continues to excel in leading the team as he dished out a game-high nine assists. BYU will have a couple of days off before another important instate match-up. "As for the progress of the team, there are still a number of things we need to get better at," Cleveland said. "We'll get tested seriously Tuesday night up at Logan."
BYU STARTING LINEUPS RECORD
Lemes, Woodberry, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo 1-1
Lemes, Woodberry, Hall, Bigelow, Araujo 2-0
Lemes, Hall, Bigelow, Meads, Araujo 2-0
Lemes, Hall, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo 2-0
OLD OQUIRRH BUCKET
The Old Oquirrh Bucket (named after the Oquirrh Mountains to the west of Salt Lake City) is the symbol of instate basketball supremacy in Utah. Each year the trophy is awarded to the instate college team (Utah, BYU, Southern Utah, Utah State and Weber State) which has the best won-loss record against in-state competition. In 2001, BYU posted a 4-1 record against instate schools and brought home the bucket for the first time since 1994. BYU went 3-2 in 2002 as Utah State took the Bucket, thanks to its OT win over BYU. Utah won the Bucket in 2003. BYU is 2-0 instate this year while USU is 1-1.
1974-75 Utah State
1975-76 Utah State
1976-77 Weber State
1982-83 Utah State
1983-84 Utah State
1984-85 Utah State
1985-86 Weber State
1992-93 Weber State
1999-00 Weber State
2001-02 Utah State
BYU IN THE POLLS
BYU is listed 33rd in the most recent Associated Press Poll, with 15 points among other receiving votes. BYU is listed tied for 35th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll with five points. BYU opponents receiving votes include Oklahoma State (30th coaches, T43 AP), North Carolina State (T35 with BYU in coaches, T36 AP), Boise State (T45 coaches, T47 AP) and Utah (T38 AP). New polls are released Monday. BYU was last ranked in the Top 25 during the 1992-93 season when the Cougars earned a No. 21 ranking. The last time BYU finished the year ranked was the 1987-88 season.
COUGARS AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS
In the NCAA rankings released last week, BYU center Rafael Araujo was ranked fourth in the nation in rebounds per game at 11.4. Araujo was 18th nationally in scoring at 21.6 ppg. Freshman Mike Rose rated No. 3 in three-point field goal percentage having made 62.5 percent of his long-range attempts (Ben Reed of Western Michigan leads at 64 percent). Mark Bigelow was 38th in free throw percentage (.889). As a team, BYU was 17th in rebound margin (9.3), 21st in field goal percentage (.493) and 23rd in scoring margin (17.6).
BYU BASKETBALL ON KSL
The "Voice of the Cougars" is KSL Newsradio 1160's Greg Wrubell. He is in his eighth 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 seven years while Santiago is in his third year providing analysis for select games. KSL Newsradio 1160 AM in Salt Lake City is the flagship of the Cougar Sports Network.
CLEVELAND ON KSL ...
Coaches Corner Mondays at 8:40 a.m.
Steve Cleveland Show Wednesdays 7-8 p.m.
ARAUJO ACHIEVES DOUBLE-DOUBLE MARKS
Araujo tied an MWC record by posting five consecutive double-doubles starting with the UVSC game until his streak ended with his 23 points and 7 rebounds in 24 minutes against Weber State Saturday. He tied the Mountain West record held by former Wyoming Cowboy Uche Nsonwu-Amadi. Nsonwu-Amadi recorded five in a row from the last game of the 2001-02 season through his first four appearances in 2002-03. Araujo is the only MWC player to record five consecutive double-doubles in the same season. During his five-game double-double streak, Araujo averaged 26 points and 13.6 rebounds.
ARAUJO EARNED SECOND STRAIGHT MWC PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONOR (DEC. 7-DEC. 13)
BYU senior center Rafael Araujo captured Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week honors for the second consecutive week after leading the Cougars to victories over Western Oregon (92-56) and Southern California (85-61). Araujo is the first MWC player to win the award on back-to-back weeks since the inception of the MWC in 1999-2000. This is Araujo's third career player of the week honor. In two games last week, Araujo, a Sao Paulo, Brazil (Arizona Western) native, averaged 21.5 points and 12.5 rebounds, while shooting 64 percent from the floor. He scored 15 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked two shots in just 25 minutes of action against Western Oregon. In the 14-point victory over USC, Araujo netted 28 points, 11 boards and two steals. He hit 10-of-15 field goals, including a career-best two three pointers.
ARAUJO EARNED ESPN NATIONAL PLAYER SUPPORTING CAST RECOGNITION (DEC. 7-DEC. 13)
BYU senior center Rafael Araujo was regognized as one of the nation's top performers last week as supporting cast mention to ESPN's weekly national player honor. Araujo was one of seven players singled out by ESPN for outstanding play. ESPN also acknowledged it was the second consecutive week Araujo deserved the honor, stating, "OK, we admit we messed up by not including Araujo last week in the supporting cast." Araujo was named national player of the week that week by both the Sporting News and Collegeinsider.com.
ARAUJO EARNED NATIONAL, CONFERENCE PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS (NOV. 30-DEC. 6)
BYU senior center Rafael Araujo was named the National Player of the Week by The Sporting News and by Collegeinsider.com for the week of Nov. 30-Dec. 6 after recording two double-doubles in victories at Boise State (75-69) and against 25th-ranked Oklahoma State (76-71). He was also named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week. He averaged 31.5 points and 15.5 rebounds, while shooting 71.4 percent from the floor and 76.7 percent from the free throw line. In the win at Boise State, Araujo scored 31 points and pulled down 14 rebounds. He made 10-of-13 attempts from the field and earned 14 trips to the free throw line, knocking down 11. In the victory over Oklahoma State at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City, Araujo scored a career-high 32 points and grabbed 17 rebounds. He made 10-of-15 field goals and 12-of-16 free throws on the day and scored 26 of the Cougars' 40 second half points. His 17 rebounds, one shy of the entire OSU team, led the way for BYU as it dominated the boards against the Cowboys, 44-18.
ARAUJO IN 30-30 CLUB
Rafael Araujo scored back-to-back, 30 points games with his 31 points at Boise State and career-best 32 points against No. 25 Oklahoma State at the Delta Center. Araujo became the first Cougar to accomplish the feat since Terrell Lyday scored 35 points in a win at Utah State and followed that with a 30-point effort in a win at UNLV in January 2000.
BIGELOW CURRENTLY TIED WITH CHEESMAN AS NO. 10 SCORER ALL-TIME AT BYU
Senior Mark Bigelow scored nine points against Weber State to tie Jay Cheesman (1,408 points from 1974-77) in 10th place on BYU's all-time scoring list. He surpassed current BYU assistant coach Andy Toolson (1,388 points from 1985, 88-90) against USC after overtaking Roland Minson (1,375 from 1949-51) against Western Oregon. Bigelow has the chance to finish his career among the top four scorers in Cougar hoops history.
CLEVELAND NOW FIFTH ON BYU VICTORY LIST
With BYU's seven wins this season, Cougar head coach Steve Cleveland has moved into fifth on BYU's career coaching victories list. He moved past Ladell Andersen (114-71 record from 1983-89). Cleveland has a 115-79 record in his seventh season in Provo. Legendary Cougar coach Stan Watts has the most wins in school history with 372 triumphs from 1949-72. Ott Romney (1927-35) and Roger Reid (1989-96) both achieved 152 victories and Frank Arnold (1975-83) is fourth with 137 wins. Cleveland currently has the third-most wins in the Marriott Center with a 76-18 record in the Cougars' home arena. Reid has the most Marriott Center wins with 92, followed by Arnold with 81. Andersen is fourth with 71.
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 wins 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.
ROBERTS DISCONTINUES PLAYING, DRESSER ADDED TO ROSTER
Junior Marc Roberts decided to discontinue playing basketball due to continued struggles with tendonitis in his knees. He made the decision prior to the USC game. The walk-on guard appeared in 37 games with one start over his two-plus years with BYU, averaging 1.5 points and 0.8 rebounds in 5.3 minutes per game. This year Roberts was averaging 1.6 points and 1.4 rebounds in 8.6 minutes while playing in five of six games. With Ricky Bower and Austin Ainge still unable to play due to injuries, the Cougars have added another walk-on player, Mike Dresser, to the roster. Dresser is a 6-5, 195-pound freshman guard/forward from Sacramento, Caliif., who has been practicing with the team. He wears jersey No. 15. He played in his first game against Weber State and made 1-of-2 free throws in his two minutes of action.
ROSE PROVIDES LONG-RANGE THREAT
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. He made 5-of-10 threes and scored 14 points in 18 minutes against Western Oregon and went 4-for-4, including 3-of-3 on threes, for 11 points in nine minutes vs. USC. Rose was ranked third nationally in three-point field goal percentage (.625) by the NCAA in their lastest rankings release.
POST SCORING EQUALS WINS
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 12-3, 6-0 this year, when Araujo leads the team in scoring and 10-3, 5-0 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.
Facing No. 25 Oklahoma State, BYU played its first top-25 ranked team this season. The victory was BYU's first over a top-25 team since an 81-76 victory over No. 13 Stanford on Dec. 22, 2001 at the Las Vegas Showdown.
RECORD AGAINST TOP TEAMS
BYU is 2-1 this year against teams that qualified for postseason last year with its 21-point win over Weber State at home, five-point win over Oklahoma State on a neutral floor and 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.
IN THE MARRIOTT CENTER
BYU is 5-0 at home this year and has won 10 straight overall in the Marriott Center. BYU has won 54 of its last 55 games at home and is 49-1 over in the past four seasons. BYU finished last season 13-1 at home in 2002-03. Lone senior Travis Hansen concluded his three seasons as a Cougar having lost only once at home. BYU earned a 44-1 record in Hansen's three years at BYU -- the best three-year home record in school history. The second-best home record over three years was a 39-2 mark from 1979-81 in Danny Ainge's final three seasons. The 44-1 record over the prior three seasons is the school's best-ever three-year home record. BYU won a school-record 44 straight home games in the Marriott Center before losing to Utah, 79-75, on Jan. 25. The streak was the longest active streak in the country over parts of the last two seasons. BYU continues its string of nonconference home wins.
NONCONFERENCE VICTORY STREAK IN THE MARRIOTT CENTER
The Cougars have defeated 39 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.
WINNING BASKETBALL TRADITION
With its all-time record of 1457-932 (.610), 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.
COUGARS HOSTED CHRISTMAS PARTY FOR CHILDREN WITH CANCER
The men's and women's basketball teams brought a little Christmas cheer this year to 82 families who have children with cancer. The basketball teams worked with the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation, a charitable organization, to host its annual Christmas Party for local families who have children with cancer. At the party, the children with cancer and their siblings were able to play games, have posters autographed by the men's and women's players, enjoy good food, and visit with Cosmo -- BYU's mascot -- and, of course, with Santa Claus. The children all received several gifts and the Pizza Factory provided food for all in attendance. Including volunteers and organizers, more than 500 people participated in this year's party. "This has been a very rewarding experience for me and for the young men on the team," said coach Steve Cleveland, who has been, involved along with the basketball team, the past six years. "This helps give our players some perspective, to see that there is much more than basketball. It is a good opportunity to serve others. The Foundation is working hard to help all the families they can. Seeing these kids smile and enjoy themselves at the party is a nice feeling for everyone involved, especially considering all these families go through on a daily basis."
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.
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.
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."
COUGAR FANS SHOWING SUPPORT
BYU is ahead of last year's attendance pace with an average crowd of 13,242 after five games. Last year BYU averaged the 17th largest crowd in the nation overall at 14,468. The NCAA announced that BYU achieved the nation's largest average increase over the prior season 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 last year was the largest crowd since 1992 and the 21st largest crowd in school history.
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.
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).
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.