Senior Rafael Araujo totaled 14 points and nine rebounds in Saturday's Cougar Tipoff. (Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)
PROVO -- The BYU Men's Basketball team came out strong in the inaugural Cougar Tipoff Saturday night in the Marriott Center. In a full-length scrimmage, the Blue team pulled off a 53-46 win in front of 5,341 screaming Cougar fans.
Four Cougars, Luiz Lemes, Rafael Araujo, Mike Hall, and Mike Rose, scored in double figures. Lemes led all scorers with 16.
"Luiz (Lemes) I thought was the best player on the floor tonight," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "He was always in the right spot on the floor and played well defensively. He was really solid."
Mike Rose, a true freshman, also had a big night, scoring 13 points, including 3 three-pointers. Said Rose after the game, "It was great to get out here and play in front of all the fans." Senior leader Mark Bigelow seemed content to sit back and let his teammates shine, scoring only six points but playing hard and giving his team a strong presence all over the court.
Fans were treated to some entertaining match-ups as big boys Araujo and Jared Jensen battled it out in the low-post, each stacking up nine rebounds, while point guards Kevin Woodberry and Terry Nashif went head to head with Woodberry dishing out six assists and Nashif four.
In addition to featuring the Blue vs. White Scrimmage, Cougar Tipoff introduced both the men's and women's teams and included numerous contests and giveaways.
The men's and women's teams combined to compete in a Two-Ball Challenge. The shooting competition was won by sophomore forward Ambrosia Anderson and Bigelow, beating out junior guard Kali Taylor and Rose in the finals 27-26. Anderson's free-throw jumper at the horn sealed the deal.
A full student section in the Marriott Center was treated to games and special events before the scrimmage began, including a Sweet 16 Shootout, an XBOX Challenge, BYU Student Body President Dave Johnson dancing with the Cougarettes, and BYU's own American Idol Carmen Rasmussen as co-emcee of the event with KSL Radio's Greg Wrubell. A slam dunk exhibition by the men's players showcased their skills and drew huge roars from fans.
Overall, the team looked poised and ready for Thursday's exhibition game against the EA Sports All-Star team. The Cougars play a second exhibition on Nov. 11 before their Nov. 21st home opener against Southern Utah University.
Encouraged by the team's performance, Nashif offered his outlook on the season. "This should be a great year."