Cougar guard Kevin Woodberry has made 16 treys this year and is shooting 53 percent from behind the arc. (Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
BYU (7-2) travels to Santa Clara, Calif., to play in the Cable Car Classic Monday and Tuesday. The Cougars face Idaho State (3-7) Monday at 8 p.m. PST (9 p.m. MST). Tuesday the Cougars will play either host Santa Clara or Wisconsin-Milwaukee at either 6 or 8 p.m. PST (7 or 9 p.m. MST). The games are not being televised. The radio broadcasts 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 Brian Santiago providing analysis. Live audio and live stats links can be selected on the basketball schedule page of the official BYU athletics website, byucougars.com. Live audio is also available KSL.com, BYU Radio on the Dish Network, and at byuradio.org.
After playing either Santa Clara or Wisconsin-Milwaukee Tuesday at the Cable Car Classic, BYU returns to Provo to host St. Mary's on Jan. 2 (SportsWest Productions telecast on KSL-TV, channel 5, in Salt Lake City).
GAMES 10 AND 11 QUICK FACTS
GAME #11 (Monday, Dec. 29, 2003, 8 p.m. PST/9 p.m. MST)
BYU COUGARS (7-2, 0-0 MWC) vs. IDAHO STATE (3-7, 0-0 BIG SKY)
GAME #12 (Tuesday, Dec. 30, 2003, 6 or 8 p.m. PST/7 or 9 p.m. MST)
BYU COUGARS vs.. WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE (5-3, 0-0 HORIZON) or SANTA CLARA (7-5, 0-0 WCC)
Leavey Center (4,500), Santa Clara, Calif.
BYU, Steve Cleveland (115-80 in seventh year; same overall)
ISU, Doug Oliver (56-91 in fifth year; same overall)
UWM, Bruce Pearl (45-24 in fourth year; 276-70 in 13th year overall)
SCU, Dick Davey (193-137 in 12th year; same overall)
BYU leads ISU, 27-6; BYU leads UWM, 1-0; BYU leads Santa Clara, 13-5
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time: Monday at 7 p.m. PST (8 p.m. MST); Tuesday one-hour prior to tipoff
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Brian Santiago
Live audio and live stats links are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2003-04 schedule). Live audio also available on KSL.com, via BYU Radio on Dish Network and at byuradio.org.
The Cougars have a 7-2 record including wins over No. 25 Oklahoma State and the Pac-10's USC. 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. 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 21.1 points and 10.8 rebounds to lead BYU after nine games. Hall adds 14.2 points and 4.2 rebounds while Bigelow is scoring 12.2 points and 3.3 rebounds. Luiz Lemes leads the team in assists (5.6). As a team, the Cougars shoot .517 from the floor, including .381 on threes, and .705 from the line while scoring 78.4 points per game. BYU allows 62.7 points while the opposition has shot .442 from the field and .326 from behind the arc. BYU has an average rebounding advantage of 6.9.
IDAHO STATE BENGALS
Idaho State returns three starters and five lettermen from last year's 15-14 team that finished third in the Big Sky Conference (7-7). This year the Bengals are off to a 3-7 start and have lost their last five games. ISU is 0-2 at home and 0-2 in away games but is 3-3 on a neutral floor this year. The Cable Car Classic will be the team's fourth tournament of the season. The Bengals have wins over Binghamton (78-62) and Texas-San Antonio (65-59) at the Top of the World Classic in Fairbanks, Alaska, and over Arkansas-Little Rock (51-47) at the Iowa State Cyclone Classic in Ames, Iowa. The Bengals also played in the University of Hawaii Adidas Festival. Orem's Scott Henry (Mountain View HS) is the team's top returning scorer and rebounder from last season when he averaged 11.7 ppg and 8.2 rpg. This year, Henry is pulling down a team-leading 6.2 rebounds while scoring 12.3 points as one of three Bengals averaging double figures. Guard Marquis Poole is averaging team highs of 16.0 points and 5.0 assists while another Orem native (Snow College), guard Jeff Gardner, adds 10.6 points. ISU is shooting .399 from the floor, .314 on threes and .577 from the line to score 62.4 points per game. Bengal opponents have combined to shoot .436 on field goals, .330 on threes and has averaged 72.3 points per game. ISU has struggled on the boards, being out rebounded by 13.7 boards per game.
IDAHO STATE'S PROJECTED STARTERS (BASED ON LAST GAME)
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
G 11 Jeff Gardner 6-2 165 Jr. 10.6 2.6
G 23 Marquis Poole 6-2 175 Sr. 16.0 3.7
F 31 Scott Henry 6-7 200 Sr. 12.3 6.2
F 34 Doug D'Amore 6-5 195 Jr. 5.9 2.1
C 42 Jesse Smith 6-10 270 So. 6.3 5.3
SANTA CLARA BRONCOS
Santa Clara hosts the Cable Car Classic. The Broncos return three starters among 10 lettermen from last year's 13-15 team that finished sixth (4-10) in the West Coast Conference. This year Santa Clara is 7-5 entering its game against Wisconsin-Milwaukee Monday at the Cable Car Classic. After opening the season with two losses at the Maui Invitational to Hawaii (56-43) and Villinova (53-51 in OT), the Broncos started a six-game victory streak with its Maui win over Central Michigan (76-62). SCU ended a three-game losing streak with a win in its last outing over UMBC (65-63 in OT). The Broncos are 4-1 at home this year, with the lone loss coming against Mississippi State (66-61) in overtime. The Broncos have played three overtime games this year, including the last two games. Junior guard Kyle Bailey averaged 12.2 points last year and is the team's top returning scorer, while senior center Jim Howell was the team's top rebounder last year at 6.2 rpg. This year Howell again leads the team at 6.2 rebounds per game while transfer Doron Perkins (Jr., G) is averaging a team-leading 12.8 points and Bailey addes 10.7 ppg. The Broncos are shooting .423 from the floor, .350 from three, and .651 from the line to average 66.9 points per game. Santa Clara opponents have combined to average 64.7 points while shooting .428 from the floor and .343 from behind the arc. The Broncos are winning the battle of the boards by an average of 3.1 rebounds per outing.
SANTA CLARA'S PROJECTED STARTERS (BASED ON LAST GAME)
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 41 Travis Niesen 6-7 220 So. 8.3 3.8
C 45 Jim Howell 6-8 230 Sr. 6.1 6.2
G 3 J.R. Patrick 6-4 205 Sr. 6.2 3.5
G 11 Kyle Bailey 6-2 200 Jr. 10.7 4.9
G 30 Doron Perkins 6-2 200 Jr. 12.8 3.9
Wisconsin-Milwaukee returns two starters among 11 lettermen from last year's 24-8 NCAA team that placed second in the Horizon League with a 13-3 record. The Panthers lost to Notre Dame by a single point in the NCAA first round. This year the Panthers are 5-3 entering Monday's game against host Santa Clara at the Cable Car Classic. The Panthers are 3-1 at home and 2-2 on the road. Tuesday's game against either BYU or Idaho State will be the team's first neutral court game of the year. UWM's one home loss was to Southern Illinois (81-77) and its two road defeats came at upcoming BYU opponent North Carolina State (77-71) and Wisconsin (89-71). Senior forward Daylan Page is the team's top returning scorer (17.7) and rebounder (4.9) from last season. This year the 6-foot-9 post player is averaging a team-best 20.5 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the floor, 36 percent on threes, and 81 percent from the line. Junior guard Ed McCants adds 17.9 points and sophomore forward Joah Tucker contributes 14.4 as the Panthers average 81.9 points as a team. UWM gives up 75.8 points and holds a 1.8 edge on the boards over its opponents. The Panthers shoot .487 from the floor, .340 on threes, and .722 from the line. Panther opponents have combined to shoot .460 from the floor and .327 from long range.
WISCONSIN-MILWAUKEE'S PROJECTED STARTERS (BASED ON LAST GAME)
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 13 Joah Tucker 6-5 220 So. 14.4 4.4
F 15 Dylan Page 6-9 225 Sr. 20.5 7.8
F 44 Adrian Tigert 6-7 230 So. 6.6 5.8
G 02 Chris Hill 5-10 160 So. 8.6 3.0
G 22 Ed McCants 6-3 195 Jr. 17.9 3.1
THE CABLE CAR CLASSIC
Since 1967, the Cable Car Classic has been a Bay Area basketball tradition. This year's event includes teams BYU, Idaho State and Wisconsin-Milwaukee joining host Santa Clara. The Cable Car Classic is one of the longest running, most prestigious holiday tournaments in the nation. In its 37th year, it is the longest-running regular-season tournament in the nation. The Cable Car Classic was founded by two gentlemen who combined a passion for basketball with the hope of bringing the nation's top collegiate talent to the Bay Area. Art Santo Domingo, former public relations director of the San Francisco Giants, and Harry Jupiter, a sports writer for the San Francisco Examiner, have watched their hopes for exceed their wildest dreams, as the Cable Car Classic enters its 36th season as one of the country's longest running holiday tournaments.
The teams, players, and coaches who have participated in past Cable Car Classic read like a who's who in
college basketball. From the Santa Clara teams of the 1960's and '70's that featured the talents of Bud Ogden, Dennis Awtrey and Kurt Rambis and the USF squads, led by Kevin Restani, Winford Boynes and Bill
Cartwright to traditional basketball powers such as Dean Smith's North Carolina Tar Heels featuring Michael Jordan and James Worthy and the Ralph Sampson-led Virginia Cavaliers, it's easy to see why all eyes in the college basketball world turn to the South Bay in late December.
BYU IN THE CABLE CAR CLASSIC
The Cougars are making their fourth appearance in the Cable Car Classic with the opportunity to earn the most Cable Car titles of any non-Bay Area team and tie for the second-most crowns overall. BYU has won the event in two of its three prior appearances, joining Alabama as the two teams outside of the Bay Area with the most Cable Car titles. Santa Clara has won the event 13 times in 36 appearances, while San Francisco has the next most titles with three in its 11 appearances. Local-area teams San Jose State and Stanford join the Cougars and Crimson Tide with two Cable Car crowns, the Spartans doing so in five appearances while the Cardinal won in both of its appearances. BYU has a 4-2 record in its three previous Classics (Alabama went 5-3 in four Classic apperances). After going 0-2 in its first Classic in 1969 -- in only the third year of the tournament -- BYU has won the event in its last two trips. The Cougars won in 1986 with Mike Smith earning MVP honors and Bob Capener joining him on the all-tournaemnt team. The Cougars opened with a win over Michigan State before defeating host Santa Clara for the title. BYU again claimed the title in 1994 led by Classic MVP Russell Larson and all-tourney performer Robbie Reid. Steve Nash was an all-tourney selection for Santa Clara that year as the Cougars defeated Nash and the Broncos to win the tournament. The 1994 event was played in San Jose, not Santa Clara like the 1986 tournament. The Cougars had to face San Jose State in the first round, but defeating the Spartans, 74-61, before downed the Broncos, 76-55.
LAST OUTING -- COUGARS UPENDED ON LAST-SECOND SHOT AT UTAH STATE
LOGAN -- Spencer Nelson's driving layup with 1.2 seconds left ended BYU's comeback bid, giving Utah State a 76-74 victory over the Cougars on Tuesday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The loss ends BYU's six-game victory streak and gives the Cougars a 7-2 record on the year. With its one-point defeat at California, BYU's two setbacks this season have come by a combined three points. The Aggies, now 6-1 on the year, jumped out to a 26-point lead in the first half by pressuring the Cougars and doubling down on Rafael Araujo. Araujo only touched the ball twice on offense in the first 11 minutes and finished the half with four points. Utah State also hit six three-pointers in the half. BYU coach Steve Cleveland said the Aggies played with more urgency in the first half and dominated the first 20 minutes of the game. "They had more energy than we did," Cleveland said. "They shot the ball and executed well. Obviously, we didn't play with the kind of energy that we would have liked in the first 20 minutes. Don't ever come to a game and have your opponent have more energy than you." Trailing by 26 points, the Cougars did come out energized in the second half. They started the half scoring on six of their first seven possessions, including a three-pointer by Luiz Lemes and three baskets by Jared Jensen. BYU continued to whittle down USU's lead, eventually tying the game on a driving layup by Mark Bigelow with 21 seconds left, but the Cougars weren't able to stop the Aggies on their next possession. BYU's desperation attempt to tie the game on its last possession was halted when Nelson stole Lemes' length-of-the-court pass intended for Araujo. Araujo led four Cougars in double figures with 16 points, followed by Mike Hall (15), Bigelow (14) and Jensen (10). Araujo posted his sixth double-double of the season by adding 10 rebounds and also dished out a career-high four assists. Nelson and Cardell Butler each totaled 19 points to lead Utah State. The Cougars made 21-of-27 shots (.778) in the second half to shoot a season-high 62 percent for the game, but had their worst night at the free throw line in years, converting only 7-of-16 attempts, far below the team's typical touch (.725) this season from the charity stripe. The Aggies, conversely, made 16-of-20 free throws while shooting a solid 52 percent from the floor.
BYU IN THE POLLS
BYU is listed 29th in the Associated Press Poll released Dec. 22, with 27 points among others receiving votes. BYU is listed 33rd in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Top 25 Poll with nine points. The Cougars lost 76-74 at Utah State since the polls were released. New polls will 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 RANK AMONG NATIONAL LEADERS
Senior center Rafael Araujo is tied for 10th in the nation in rebounds (10.8), tied for 16th in scoring (21.1) and is 14th in field goal percentage (.657) through games played Dec. 25th. Freshman guard Mike Rose is tied for 19th in three-point percentage (.571). BYU is ranked sixth in the nation in team field goal percentage (.586) and is tied for 23rd in scoring margin (15.7).
WINNING STREAK ENDS
BYU achieved a six-game victory streak prior to its loss at Utah State Tuesday. The streak 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 included a win over No. 25 Oklahoma State and the Pac-10's USC. It is the third time under Cleveland that the Cougars have won six straight. The other six-game winning streak was in 2000-2001.
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 115-80 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.
BYU ACHIEVED FIRST SINCE 1987-88
BYU won three straight games by more than 20 points with victories over Western Oregon (92-56), Southern California (85-61) and Weber State (86-65). The last time BYU 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).
ARAUJO ACHIEVED 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. He has six double-doubles this year and 14 for his career.
ARAUJO BECAME FIRST BACK-TO-BACK MWC WEEKLY PLAYER AWARD WINNER (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 NOW NO. 10 SCORER ALL-TIME AT BYU
Senior Mark Bigelow moved out of a tie with Jay Cheesman (1,408 points from 1974-77) in 10th place on BYU's all-time scoring list with his 14 points at Utah State. 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 needs 91 points to pass former Cougar great Kresimir Cosic, who scored 1,512 points in only three season from 1971-73.
FRESHMAN ROSE SETS THREE-POINT RECORD IN HIS COLLEGE DEBUT
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 is tied for 19th nationally in three-point field goal percentage (.571) and shares the team lead with Kevin Woodberry with 16 triples.
WOODBERRY FINDING THE MARK
After struggling with his shooting last year playing point guard and adjusting to Division I competition, senior Kevin Woodberry has found his touch and provided a long-range threat for the Cougars playing primarily the shooting guard position this season. Woodberry is shooting 54 percent from the floor and 53 percent from behind the arc while sharing team-high honors with freshman Mike Rose with 16 treys. He scores 8.2 points per game (fourth on the team) and adds 2.8 assists (tied for second). A starter last year, Woodberry has made four starts this season but has given the team a lift coming off the bench.
BYU is 1-0 on a neutral court this season with its win over No. 25 Oklahoma State at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City. The Cougars have won nine of their last 14 neutral court contests. BYU is 14-10 on a neutral court under Steve Cleveland. Last year BYU earned a 4-3 mark on a neutral floor with three wins at the Paradise Jam in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands to claim the Jam Title and a Mountain West Tournament victory over New Mexico. Its three losses were to UConn in the NCAA Tournament, Colorado State in the MWC Tournament semifinals and to Oklahoma State at the Touchstone Energy All-College Classic in Oklahoma City.
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.
Rafael Araujo and Jared Jensen are in their second season as teammates. When the two post players make major contributions BYU usually achieves victory, although that was not the case in BYU's last outing against Utah State. BYU is 4-1, 4-0 last season, when Araujo and Jensen both contribute 10 or more points in a game. Araujo led the Cougars with 16 and Jensen added 10 in BYU's 76-74 loss at Utah State Tuesday. The Cougars are 12-4, 6-1 this year, when Araujo leads the team in scoring and 10-4, 5-1 this season, when Araujo posts a double-double, which he did for the sixth time this year at USU. BYU is 10-2 (10-1 this season), when Jared Jensen scores double-digit points from his forward slot.
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, an appearance in the Cable Car Classic, 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.
Facing then No. 25 Oklahoma State, BYU played its first top-25 ranked team this season. The victory over the Cowboys 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 2-2 this year against teams that qualified for postseason last year (21-point win over Weber State at home; five-point win over Oklahoma State on a neutral floor; two-point loss at Utah State; 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.
WINNING BASKETBALL TRADITION
With its all-time record of 1457-933 (.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.
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.
ROBERTS DISCONTINUED 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.
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.
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.