COUGARS HOST UC SANTA BARBARA SATURDAY BEFORE TRAVELING TO PLAY SAN FRANCISCO MONDAY
Averaging 13,222 fans in its first three home games, BYU (7-1) will again play in front of the home crowd when it hosts the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (3-4) Saturday afternoon in 5 p.m. start in the Marriott Center. The Cougars will then travel to San Francisco for a pre-Christmas game Monday at 7 p.m. PST (8 p.m. MST) against the USF Dons (2-6). Neither game is being televised. The radio broadcasts 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 game analysis Saturday and Brian Santiago Monday. Live Internet audio links are available on the basketball page of the official BYU athletics website, byucougars.com, and via BYU Radio on the Dish Network and at byuradio.org.
The Cougars enter Saturday's game with a 7-1 record after playing five of its first eight games away from Provo. BYU's lone loss was a 74-64 defeat at Creighton (currently ranked No. 19 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, No. 20 in the Associated Press Poll and No. 1 in the Sagarin Ratings). BYU rebounded with two wins at home over San Diego and instate rival Utah State. BYU has a chance to improve to 8-1 for the first time since the 1991-92 season.
The Gauchos finished 20-11 last year and advanced to the NCAA tournament as the Big West Tournament Champions. They are 3-4 this year after their 67-60 loss at 4-1 California on Dec. 10. The Dons are 2-6 this year but are 1-1 since getting two Division I transfers after fall semester. Picked to finish third in the West Coast Conference after predicted co-champs Pepperdine and Gonzaga, USF started the first of three straight home games Wednesday with a 73-59 win over Sonoma State (4-2).
GAME # 9 FAST FACTS
BYU (7-1, 0-0 MWC) vs. UCSB (3-4, 0-0 BIG WEST)
Saturday, Dec. 21, 2002
Marriott Center (22,700)
Provo, Utah; 5 p.m. MST
GAME # 10 FAST FACTS
@ SAN FRANCISCO (2-6, 0-0 WCC)
Monday, Dec. 23, 2002
War Memorial Gymnasium
San Francisco, Calif.; 7 p.m. PST (8 p.m. MST)
BYU, Steve Cleveland (92-70 in sixth year; same overall)
UCSB, Bob Williams (65-57 in fifth year; 254-157 in 15th season overall)
USF, Philip Mathews (109-101 in eighth year; same overall)
vs. UCSB: BYU leads, 3-1; Last: UCSB won 68-58 on Nov. 28, 2001 in Santa Barbara
vs. USF: Tied 4-4; Last: BYU won 65-51 on Jan. 2, 2002 in Provo
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Times: Saturday 4 p.m. MST; Monday 6 p.m. PST (7 p.m. MST)
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Mark Durrant (Saturday); Brian Santiago (Monday)
Live audio link available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2002-03 schedule) and via BYU Radio on Dish Network and byuradio.org.
BYU's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 3 Mark Bigelow 6-7 195 Jr. 13.8 3.9 2.4 apg
F 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 250 So. 10.5 4.1
C 55 Rafael Araujo 6-11 265 Jr. 7.4 7.6
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Sr. 15.8 5.0 2.6 apg
G 24 Kevin Woodberry 6-0 170 Jr. 6.4 1.9 2.0 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 14 Ricky Bower 6-4 185 Jr. 5.4 1.6 1.4 apg
F 15 John Allen 6-7 215 So. 3.5 1.9
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 2.3 1.9 1.1 apg
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 Jr. 1.9 0.8
F 5 Jake Shoff 6-9 265 Jr. 1.7 1.8
G 4 Luiz Lemes 6-3 180 Jr. 1.3 0.8
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 Jr. 1.3 0.6
UC SANTA BARBARA GAUCHOS
UC Santa Barbara returns four starters and 10 lettermen from last year's 20-11 NCAA team that won the Big West Tournament. The Gauchos enter Saturday's game with a 3-4 record after dropping two close games on the road at Pepperdine (72-68) and California (67-60). Those two losses ended a three-game victory streak over Centenary (84-69), San Francisco (70-47) and USC (69-53). The Gauchos opened the year at the BP Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, losing to Weber State (91-82) and Jacksonville State (73-66) before closing the tournament with its win over Centenary. They are 2-0 at home, 0-2 on the road and 1-2 on a neutral court. The Gauchos have played only an exibition (74-63 win Wednesday over crosstown Westmont College) since its last outing at California on Dec. 10. The Guachos have a three-man scoring punch with junior guard Nick Jones (6-4, 185) averaging 15.9 ppg, junior swingman Branduinn Fullove (6-4, 210) 15.4 ppg and senior forward Mark Hull (6-7, 210) 14.3 ppg. Jones pulls down a team-leading 6.7 rebounds per game while Hull adds 5.3. All five Gaucho starters shoot 46 percent or better from the floor with three topping 51 percent (Jones, .547; junior forward Brian Whitehead, .524; Fullove, .515). Joining returning starters Jones, Hull and Fullove is junior point guard Jacoby Atako (6-1, 180), who has 30 assists (4.3 apg) with only 14 turnovers. Sophomore forward Casey Cook (6-8, 220) and freshman guard Cecil Brown (6-4, 185) average 6.0 and 5.7 ppg, respectively, off the bench. UCSB is a strong shooting team, making 50.3 percent of its field goal attempts, including 45.5 percent of its three-pointers (60-132). The Gauchos shot 68.1 percent from the line and average 71.3 points while allowing 67.4 points per game. They are pulling down 31.1 rebounds to just edge the opposition's 30.6. They dish out 16.1 assists to their 15.1 turnovers while their opponent's average only 8.4 assists with 14.3 turnovers. Coach Bob Williams is 65-57 in fifth year in Santa Barbara and 254-157 in his 15th season overall.
UC SANTA BARBARA'S PROBABLE STARTERS
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 30 Mark Hull 6-7 210 Sr. 14.3 5.3
F 50 Bryan Whitehead 6-8 245 Jr. 3.7 3.3
G 33 Branduinn Fullove 6-4 210 Jr. 15.4 3.0
G 3 Nick Jones 6-4 185 Jr. 15.9 6.7
G 5 Jacoby Atako 6-1 180 Jr. 4.0 2.1 4.3 apg
SERIES BREAKDOWN vs. UC SANTA BARBARA
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 4-1
BYU Record in Provo: 2-0
BYU Record at UCSB: 2-1
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 2-1
BYU Record in Overtime Games: N/A
Longest BYU Win Streak: 4 (1940-2000)
Longest UCSB Win Streak: 1 (2001-present)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 22, 87-65 in 1979
Largest UCSB Margin of Victory: 10, 68-58 in 2001
Most Points Scored by BYU: 87 in 1979
Most Points Scored by UCSB: 68 in 2001
Date Opponent Score W/L
12-18-40 at UC Santa Barbara 47-39 W
12-14-79 UC Santa Barbara* 87-65 W
12-29-99 at UC Santa Barbara 57-48 W
11-25-00 UC Santa Barbara 67-53 W
11-28-01 at UC Santa Barbara 58-68 L
This will be the sixth meeting in the series vs. UC Santa Barbara, which BYU leads 4-1. The Gauchos earned their first victory with a win last year. BYU is 2-0 in Provo, including a 67-53 win in 2000 in the last meeting in the Marriott Center. BYU is 2-1 under Steve Cleveland. The Cougars are 1-0 vs. the Big West this year, defeating Utah State in their last game. They are 158-99 (.615) all-time vs. the Big West and Cleveland is 13-4 (.765).
LAST YEAR - UCSB LATE RUN LEADS GAUCHOS TO VICTORY
SANTA BARBARA -- After controlling the game for the first 35 minutes, BYU could not hang on as UC Santa Barbara came from behind to earn a 68-58 victory over the Cougars Wednesday in Santa Barbara. With the loss, BYU dropped to 2-1 on the year while the Gauchos improved to 3-1. BYU led by as many as 12 points in the first half, thanks in large part to four Mark Bigelow three-pointers. BYU's advantage was 32-23 with 1:20 left in the half before a Cleveland technical gave the Gauchos some momentum. They converted both free throws and a bucket on the same possession followed by another field goal after a BYU miss to suddenly cut the Cougar lead to only three at 32-29 with 59 seconds remaining in the half. Leading 34-29 at the break, BYU found success in the second half by going inside to freshman center Jared Jensen. The 6-9, 245-pounder scored eight of his career-high 14 points in the early going of the final 20 minutes with several nice post moves. A Jensen free throw gave BYU its largest lead of the final half at 49-41 at the 10:14 mark. A second Cougar technical foul, this time on Travis Hansen, again turned the momentum toward the Gauchos. With Bigelow having just converted a shot while also being fouled, Hansen was whistled for the technical. Before Bigelow could convert the old-fashioned three-point play at the line, UCSB's Mark Hull was able to negate the Bigelow bucket with two free throws on the other end. Bigelow's free throw gave BYU only a three-point lead at 54-51 with 6:18 left in the game. BYU's offense suddenly sputtered as the Cougars made only one more field goal while the Gauchos went on a 17-4 run to end the game. UCSB took its first lead at 55-54 with 3:28 remaining when Hull made two of his game-high 23 points. Hull came back with a three in the next possession, the first Gaucho trey in the second half after eight failed attempts, to push the lead to four. The Cougars got within two but couldn't convert and were forced to foul as UCSB scored its final eight points on free throws to push the final margin to double digits. Bigelow led BYU with 15 points while Hansen and Jensen added 14 apiece. Hansen recorded his second consecutive double-double also pulling down a team-high 10 rebounds. Matt Montague had six assists and eight points. Senior forward Eric Nielsen played only 24 minutes due to foul trouble and had a season-low three points and four rebounds. Neither team shot well. BYU made 38.5 percent from the floor and UCSB 37.7 percent. BYU did fare better from three-point range, going 6-of-14 compared to the Gauchos' 3-for-16 three-point shooting. But UCSB made up the difference and more at the free throw line. They made 25-of-28 free throws, while BYU only went to the line 16 times, making 12.
WHAT COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY LAST YEAR ...
"It was a pretty good effort for about 35 minutes. We didn't take care of the ball down the stretch and we missed a few free throws late. We didn't take good shots. We took off-balance shots. We played with a lot of energy -- I have no problem with the effort. We just didn't do the little things when it mattered. I was very pleased with Jared (Jensen). He played very solid. We did a good job defensively. We guarded them well until the last two or three shots when they got open looks. Hull is a great player."
LAST GAME IN PROVO - DEFENSE CARRIES COUGARS TO WIN
BYU played strong defense while Mekeli Wesley recorded a double-double and Terrell Lyday scored 21 points as BYU posted a 67-53 victory over UC Santa Barbara. BYU improved to 2-0 on the year with the win while the Gauchos fell to 0-3. The Cougars got off to a slow start in a tightly officiated game. The two teams were whistled for 12 fouls in the first five minutes of play. Terrell Lyday put BYU on the board first, sinking two-of-three free throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt. The Cougars used a 12-2 run midway through the first half to open up a 25-12 lead. BYU went into the locker room with a seven-point lead, up 31-24 at halftime. In the second half, UCSB cut the BYU lead to three points, 42-39, behind a six point spurt from guard B.J. Ward. But a solid defensive effort by the Cougars stifled the UCSB offense, holding the Gauchos under 30 percent shooting (.294) on the night. Lyday took over the game when it got close and finished the night shooting 4-9 from behind the arc, en route to a game-high 21 points. Sophomore forward Mark Hull kept the Gauchos in the game with a career-high 21 points of his own. Wesley contributed 11 points with his career-best 12 re bounds and five blocks while Matt Montague and Travis Hansen added nine and eight points, respectively, for BYU. Montague made all four of his field goal attempts and is now perfect on all six attempts he has taken in the first two games. He has already equaled the number of three-pointers he made all of last year, making his third trey of the year in the first half. BYU shot 43 percent for the game, including 43.8 percent on three-point shots. The Cougars made 16-25 free throws (.640).
WHAT UCSB COACH BOB WILLIAMS HAD TO SAY ...
"Twenty-two turnovers and seven assists pretty much sums up the game. Their defense, and our lack of handling it, pretty much did us in."
WHAT BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY ...
"Defensively we were really solid. When you can hold a team under 30 percent shooting, and you keep its three-point shooting under 21 percent, you know you're doing something right."
SAN FRANCISCO DONS
The Don's return three starters and five lettermen from last year's 13-15 team. USF is predicted to finish third in the West Coast Conference behind Pepperdine and Gonzaga. They enter the game with a 2-6 record but are 1-1 since two Division I transfers -- Alvin Broussard (6-6, Jr., F) from New Mexico and James Bayless (6-7, Jr., F) from Nevada -- were cleared to play after the completion of the fall semester. Bayless is averaging 14.5 ppg, 6.5 rpg and Broussard 11.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg in their first two games, giving coach Phil Mathews added scoring and rebounding punch and a deeper rotation, which will help the Dons apply better defensive pressure. Returning starters Darrell Tucker (6-9, Sr., F), John Cox (6-5, Jr., F) and Shamell Stallworth (6-5, Sr., G) are averaging 18.4, 11.3. and 9.4 ppg, respectively. Tucker led USF with 22 points and 10 rebounds (team-best 8.9 rpg on the year) and Stallworth was 7-8 from the floor with 16 points in the Don's victory over Sonoma State Wednesday. Cox, coming off the bench, had 11 points. The Dons shot 57 percent, 50 percent from threes and 89 percent from the line. Jovan Harris (6-3, Jr., G) had 5 assists as the starting point while Jason Gaines (6-0, So., G) added 5 assists (team-best 3.5 apg) off the bench. Overall, the Dons shoot .420, .321 on threes and .721 from the line. They allow .455 on field goals, including .345 on threes. USF scores 62.6 ppg and allows 69.0 and pulls down 32.2 rebounds compared to 36.8. USF is 0-4 on the road and 2-2 at home, with two close defeats. The Dons home losses were three-point setbacks to Nevada (64-61) and Fresno State (74-71). Home wins are over Southern University (82-71) and Sonoma State (73-59). Their road losses were at Seton Hall (77-51), UC Santa Barbara (70-47), Sacramento State (62-57) and Pacific (75-59). Coach Philip Mathews is 109-101 in his eight year in San Francisco.
SAN FRANCISCO'S PROBABLE STARTERS
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 44 Alvin Broussard 6-6 215 Jr. 11.0 4.0
F 0 James Bayless 6-7 225 Jr. 14.5 6.5
F 3 Darrell Tucker 6-9 245 Sr. 18.4 8.9
G 13 Shamell Stallworth 6-5 200 Sr. 9.4 3.5
G 35 Jovan Harris 6-3 175 Jr. 6.8 2.0 2.3 apg
SERIES BREAKDOWN vs. SAN FRANCISCO
Overall Series Record: Series tied at 4-4
BYU Record in Provo: 3-0
BYU Record in San Francisco: 0-3
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-1
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 1-1
BYU Record in Overtime Games: N/A
Longest BYU Win Streak: 3 (1946-53)
Longest San Francisco Win Streak: 4 (1968-2000)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 14, 65-51 in 2001-02
Largest USF Margin of Victory: 23, 86-63 in 1979
Most Points Scored by BYU: 84 in 1974
Most Points Scored by San Francisco: 103 in 1974
12-20-46 vs. San Francisco+ 45-36 W
+ Reno Tournament
12-12-52 San Francisco 53-52 W
12-22-53 San Francisco 68-61 W
12-13-68 at San Francisco* 75-79 L
12-13-74 at San Francisco 84-103 L
3-10-79 vs. San Francisco# 63-86 L
# NCAA (Tucson)
11-30-00 at San Francisco 70-80 L
1-2-02 San Francisco 65-51 W
BYU and USF meet for the ninth time. BYU evened the series at 4-4 with its win in Provo, ending a four-game Don winning streak in the series,including an 80-70 Don win in the last outing in San Fransisco on Nov. 30, 2000. BYU is 0-3 at San Francisco and 1-1 under Steve Cleveland. BYU is 1-0 vs. the West Coast Conference this year with a home win over San Diego. BYU is 27-16 (.628) all-time vs. the West Coast Conference and Cleveland is 4-2 (.667).
LAST YEAR - COUGARS WIN EIGHTH STRAIGHT IN WIN OVER USF
PROVO -- A rigid defense allowed BYU to overcome a shaky shooting night from the field as the Cougars extended their home winning streak to 28 straight games with a 65-51 victory over San Francisco in the Marriott Center Wednesday. BYU won its eighth straight game, the team's longest winning streak since running off 13 straight in the 1992-1993 season, and improved their record to 10-2 on the season, the best start for the team since the 1999-2000 campaign when the Cougars started the season 12-2. The Dons fell to 4-8 with the loss. Montague led the Cougars on both ends of the floor, tying his season high with 11 points and a career high with two three-pointers. the senior point guard tied a career high defensively with five steals and tied a season high for rebounds with seven. Montague seems to come up with big nights every time he faces the Dons. He had hit two treys in a game only three times in his career, two of those coming against San Francisco. In the past two seasons he has scored in double figures only three times, two of those coming against the Dons. Senior forward Eric Nielsen was the team's leading rebounder with eight boards and was one of four Cougars to finish the night in double figures with 12 points. Mark Bigelow once again led the Cougar scorers with 15 points. Freshman center Jared Jensen added 10 points. The Cougars trailed by as many as five points early in the game but took a 12-11 lead over San Francisco on two Travis Hansen free throws with just over 14 minutes to go in the first half. After taking the one-point lead, BYU stayed up on the scoreboard for the rest of the game. The Cougar defense helped BYU to keep the lead despite several Don runs that kept the game close. After BYU took a 44-31 lead early in the second half, San Francisco pulled to within three points with just over 12 minutes to go in the game. But the Cougars were able to withstand each run as it came, allowing the Dons only 20 points in the final 20 minutes. BYU shot only 43 percent from the floor, including a 29 percent clip from three-point range, but held the Dons to 40 percent shooting, including a 3-21 effort from behind the arc. BYU had a season high nine steals against the Dons.
WHAT COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY LAST YEAR ...
"This happened to be a night when we did not shoot well but we found a way to win the game. Both our seniors played very well. Matt Montague was outstanding. Eric Nielsen had the task of defending the Dons' best player. He did a nice job on him, especially in the second half. This is the type of possession game that we will have throughout January and February. Our young men are beginning to learn the urgency of every possession, especially against teams that make runs at you."
LAST GAME AT USF - HOT SHOOTING DONS DOWN COLD COUGARS
The Dons handed BYU its first loss of the year in 2000 in the team's first road game of the year. The Cougars shot only 39 percent, including 16 percent on threes, while USF made 51 percent, including 6-of-9 threes. Guard Ali Thomas scored 25 points, including 4-5 treys, while Darrell Tucker added 16 points and nine rebounds and Hondre Brewer 11 points and 5 rebounds. Mekeli Wesley led BYU with 20 points, followed by Terrell Lyday's 16. Both were perfect from the line, Wesley going 12-12 and Lyday 7-7, but both had trouble from the floor with Wesley shooting 4-11 and Lyday 4-17. Wesley added five rebounds, all on the offensive glass, sharing team-high honors with Nathan Cooper. Matt Montague had one of his best outings of the year for BYU, scoring in double figures for the only time of the season with 12 points, going 4-of-6 from the floor, including 2-of-3 on threes, while adding six assists. Eric Nielsen played only eight minutes before fouling out with four points. Travis Hansen played 11 minutes, going 0-6 from the floor and did not score, while Daniel Bobik played 12 minutes and totaled two points. Dan Howard gave a solid effort, playing a season-high 12 minutes before fouling out with four points and one block.
BYU coach Steve Cleveland is expected to play a larger rotation this year with a deeper bench. All 12 players who are expected to play this year have already received playing time. Cleveland has gone with the same starting lineup in every game but St. Bonaventure, where a the Bonnies pressing defense warranted a lineup change. Sophomore guard Marc Roberts and freshman guards Austin Ainge and Jermaine Odjegba are planning to use the season to redshirt. Ainge broke his thumb during practice three days before BYU's season opener. He had surgery in Phoenix. He isn't expected to practice for 2-4 weeks.
BYU STARTING LINEUP RECORD
Woodberry, Hansen, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo (6-1)
Woodberry, Bower, Bigelow, Hansen, Araujo (1-0)
BYU received votes in the national polls (Nov. 25) for the first time since last season's eight-game winning streak that included a win over No. 13 Stanford. BYU received four votes (T-41st) in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll and two votes (49th) in the Nov. 25 Associated Press Poll. This week BYU received one vote in the coaches poll (T-41st) but received no votes in the AP Poll.
BYU 7TH IN RPI, 9TH IN SAGARIN RATINGS
BYU is rated 7th nationally in the RPI ratings produced by Collegiate Basketball News, including results through Sunday. In the Sagarin ratings, updated after Wednesday's results, the Cougars are the top-rated Mountain West Conferenc school at No. 9. Creighton is the top-rated team in the nation. The Mountain West is rated seventh nationally as a league in the, just ahead of the the Atlantic-10 and Pac-10.
BYU'S LAST OUTING -- STRONG SECOND-HALF LEADS TO WIN OVER USU
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. The Cougars have held all eight of their opponents this year below 42 percent shooting. Utah State also became the first team since Oklahoma in December 1992 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.
At 7-1, BYU has equaled the program's best start since the 1999-2000 team also began the year 7-1. However, the 1999-2000 team recorded six of its seven wins at home while this year's team is 3-0 at home and 4-1 away from the Marriott Center. In addition to the 1999-2000 team, the 1991-92 and 1992-93 Cougars also started 7-1 but only the 1991-92 team improved to 8-1. That team started 9-1 before suffering its second loss. A win Saturday vs. UCSB would earn Cleveland his best beginning in his six years guiding the BYU program. BYU's best-ever start was a 17-0 run at the beginning of the 1987-88 season that garnered the Cougars a No. 2 national ranking.
BYU has won its last two games since its loss at Creighton ended a string of four consecutive BYU wins away from the Marriott Center. It was the team's best streak away from home since BYU's 2001 NCAA team won five consecutive games (2 away, 3 at the MWC tournament) in March 2001. The Cougars won five straight games overall to open this season, the longest overall streak since winning eight straight games last year in preseason. BYU owns the nation's longest homecourt win streak at 39 games.
BYU has held all eight opponents to 42 percent or lower shooting, and has held four opponents below 35 percent shooting. BYU has held six of its eight opponents this year to 60 points or less (Kansas State scored 64, Creighton 74). BYU is 47-3 under Steve Cleveland when holding its opponents below 60 points. BYU held USD to a BYU-opponent low of 49 points. BYU's defense has stopped the other teams top scorers. BYU made Utah State's leading scorer Desmond Penigar earn all 11 of his points on 3-11 shooting. He was averaging 15.2 and shooting 49 percent from the floor entering the game. The other top Aggie scorer, guard Mark Brown, entered the game with a 13.8 scoring average, having reached double figures in every game. He scored only two points against the Cougar defense, going 1-8 from the floor in a team-high 35 minutes. BYU also held San Diego's leading scorer, 6-foot-10, 290-pound center Jason Keep, who had 30 points and 16 rebounds at UCLA this year, to just seven points -- nearly 11 points below his 17.7 average entering the game. Against Rice, BYU held 2002 WAC Freshman of the Year forward Michael Harris, who came in averaging 13.7 points and 10.3 rebounds, including a 14-point, 10-rebound night on 7-10 shooting at Stanford, to 11 points and four boards. ASU's freshman sensation Ike Diogu was held five points below his season average. Despite the loss, BYU held Creighton, a team that shot 54 percent from the floor and 51 percent on threes in its first five games, to 42 percent shooting from the floor and 29 percent three-point shooting on its home floor.
STARTING STRONG -- IN THE SECOND HALF
BYU has trailed at the half in each of the last three games and five times overall this year. The Cougars have played well in the second half, however, rallying for four victories to post a 4-1 record when trailing at the break. BYU has made its run early in the final 20 minutes as the Couars have had the lead with five minutes remaining in seven games, winning all seven. BYU went on an 18-0 run, its longest of the season, in the second half against USD. BYU out scored Utah State 35-21 last Saturday in the final 20 minutes. The Aggies lost for the first time in six games this year when they had the halftime advantage.
FROM THE LINE
Annually among the top free throw shooting teams in the nation, BYU has suffered through some poor shooting recently. After shooting 70 percent or better from the free throw line in its first six games, topping 80 percent three times, BYU made just over half (11-20, .550) of its attempts vs. USD. It was BYU's worst free throw effort since shooting 50 percent (2-4) vs. San Diego State two years ago (1/13/01). For the week, BYU shot 65.3 percent from the line after returning to a more respectable 72.4 percent (21-29) vs. Utah State Saturday.
TWO'S COMPANY, 13,000'S A CROWD
The Cougars have averaged more than 13,222 fans in its three home games this year, including a season-high 14,734 against Utah State last Saturday.
SHOOTING, REBOUNDING SUCCESS
BYU has outshot all eight opponents this year and outrebounded six (except Creighton and Utah State). BYU is shooting .474, including .404 on threes, while limiting opponents to .369 shooting from the floor and only .262 on threes. BYU averages 35.2 boards to its opponents' 32.1.
Utah State did not connect on a three-point attempt, going 0-5, against BYU last Saturday. It marked the first time a BYU opponent had failed to make a three-pointer since Oklahoma went 0-9 vs. the Cougars in the 1992 Maui Classic on Dec. 21, 1992. A single three could have made a big difference as BYU edged the Sooners, 76-75. Trailing Utah State at the half, BYU also trailed the Sooners in 1992, coming back from a 42-31 deficit to earn the win.
BYU has made a three-point shot in 187 consecutive games since last going 0-9 in a 75-67 loss to Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 22, 1996 during BYU's 1-25 season. The player that holds the mark for the most consecutive games with a three is current Cougar Mark Bigelow, who made a three in 22 straight games over his freshman and sophomore seasons. Bigelow is third all-time in three-pointers made at BYU with 123 treys and needs just five more threes to move into second place past Terrell Lyday (127). Current BYU assistant coach Andy Toolson holds the school record with 141 career threes. Randy Reid is fourth with 114 and Craig Wilcox made 112.
CELEBRATING 100 YEARS OF BASKETBALL
BYU is celebrating 100 years of basketball. Since the first season of BYU basketball in 1903, BYU entered this season having achieved a 1434-923 (.608) overall record with 21 different coaches at the helm. The combined efforts of these men have provided the Cougars with 80 winning seasons in 100 years. BYU has won 25 conference titles and made 28 postseason tournament appearances with 19 NCAA bids and nine NIT berths. The Cougars won the 1951 and 1966 NIT titles and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament in 1981, highlighted by Danny Ainge's length-of-the-court dash to defeat Notre Dame at the buzzer. Ainge was named the nation's top player as the John Wooden Award and Eastman Award winner. Twenty-three players have received All-America recognition while NBA teams have selected a Cougar 41 times in its annual draft. BYU has the nation's 11th longest rivalry, dating back to 1909, against the University of Utah. BYU and Utah have the 10th longest rivalry in terms of games played with 232 contests. Amazingly, the series is tied at 116-116. For more information on BYU's 100-year history, please consult the 2002-03 BYU media guide.
BYU VS. ITS CONFERENCE PEERS
BYU is picked to finish fourth this year in the Mountain West Conference. BYU has a won 58 percent (418-299) of its games vs. its MWC opponents. As an overall athletic program, BYU has dominated the Mountain West, winning 63 percent of the titles in the league's first three seasons.
HANSEN, BIGELOW EARN PARADISE JAM AWARDS
Leading BYU to the University of the Virgin Islands Paradise Jam title, Travis Hansen and Mark Bigelow were named to the Paradise Jam All Tournament Team. Others selected to the team were Pervis Pasco of Kansas State, Nick Moore of Toledo, Terry Taylor of Virginia Tech and tournament MVP Marques Green of St. Bonaventure.
COUGARS SIGN COMBO GUARD MICHAEL ROSE
During the early signing period in November, BYU signed Michael Rose, a 6-foot-1 combo guard out of Spring Woods High School in Houston Texas. A four-year starter, Rose averaged 16.3 points, five rebounds and three assists playing shooting guard as a junior. A preseason All Greater Houston First Team selection, Rose will play point guard his senior season. He has earned first-team All-District 21 5A honors the past two seasons and was the team MVP in 2002. He has helped his team to second-place District 21 finishes the past two years. In is first season, he was named District 21 Freshman of the Year. Rose has played four years on the Houston Hoops summer AAU team that also features top-five recruits Ndidi Eby