Shoff Sparks Cougars to Victory Over CSU
FORT COLLINS -- Rafael Araujo recorded his 13th double-double of the season, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds, as the Cougars defeated Colorado State 79-73 Monday night at Moby arena.
Araujo and Ram center Matt Nelson battled back and forth all night with Nelson scoring 24 points to lead all scorers, but the most pivotal stretch of the game came when Araujo was sitting on the bench with four fouls.
Colorado State had battled back from a seven-point deficit to tie the game at 54 when backup center Jake Shoff replaced Araujo.
Shoff helped ignite a 15-4 run, scoring five points in less than one minute during the run before collecting his fourth foul. Shoff finished the game with a season-high nine points and three rebounds in only 12 minutes of work.
"Bench play was critical to our success," coach Steve Cleveland said. "(Kevin) Woodberry was solid. Jake Shoff had a good game, and (Jared) Jensen contributed tonight."
Following the Cougar run, BYU led by 11 points and held on to win by six points, giving BYU its second straight road win. With the victory, the Cougars swept the Front Range road trip in back-to-back years for the first time since BYU did it in the 1971-72 and 1972-73 seasons. BYU won in back-to-back years at CSU for the first time in 10 years.
The Cougars opened the game with sloppy play, falling behind by 11 points early, but the Cougars exploded for a 20-2 run to take a 28-21 lead. BYU extended its lead to nine points before the Rams closed the half on a 6-0 run to cut the Cougar lead to 35-32 at the half.
Colorado State continued its run into the second half, eventually tying the score at 36, but BYU fought back with another run of its own to take a seven point lead, which the Rams would quickly erase. But BYU had one more run up its sleeve that put Colorado State away for good.
BYU scored 19 fast-break points, using its defense to ignite several scoring runs. Three Cougars scored in double figures as Mike Hall totaled 14 points and Mark Bigelow added 10. Freshman Dwight Boatner contributed 11 points for CSU while Matt Williams and Michael Morris each added 10 points. BYU had a 41-30 advantage on the boards, including 14 offensive rebounds.
The Cougars improve to 6-4 in MWC play and 16-7 overall, while Colorado State falls to 3-7 in conference and 11-12 overall. BYU begins the first of three straight home games Saturday against New Mexico at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.
Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS
Brigham Young University vs Colorado State
02-16-04 10:00 p.m. at Fort Collins, Colo. (Moby Arena)
VISITORS: Brigham Young University 16-7 (6-4 MWC)
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
03 BIGELOW, Mark....... f 3-9 1-5 3-4 0 0 0 4 10 2 5 0 0 29
41 MEADS, Garner....... f 2-4 0-0 1-2 3 4 7 3 5 0 1 1 1 25
55 ARAUJO, Rafael...... c 7-17 0-0 7-10 4 8 12 4 21 1 0 0 4 31
01 HALL, Mike.......... g 5-9 1-4 3-4 2 4 6 1 14 1 2 0 2 32
04 LEMES, Luiz......... g 3-7 0-2 0-1 0 5 5 2 6 6 3 0 2 37
00 WOODBERRY, Kevin.... 2-5 2-4 0-0 0 2 2 1 6 2 1 0 2 19
02 ROSE, Mike.......... 1-2 0-1 0-2 0 0 0 0 2 0 1 0 0 5
05 SHOFF, Jake......... 4-5 0-0 1-1 2 1 3 4 9 0 1 1 1 12
52 JENSEN, Jared....... 1-2 0-0 4-4 1 1 2 2 6 1 1 0 0 10
TEAM................ 2 2 4
Totals.............. 28-60 4-16 19-28 14 27 41 21 79 13 15 2 12 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-37 40.5% 2nd Half: 13-23 56.5% Game: 46.7% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-12 25.0% 2nd Half: 1-4 25.0% Game: 25.0% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 2-4 50.0% 2nd Half: 17-24 70.8% Game: 67.9% 3
HOME TEAM: Colorado State 11-12 (3-7 MWC)
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
20 CLARK, Ronnie....... f 3-4 0-0 2-4 1 1 2 3 8 0 2 0 1 20
22 JOHNSON, Shelton.... f 1-7 0-5 0-1 2 2 4 1 2 0 1 0 2 34
42 WILLIAMS, Matt...... c 4-10 0-0 2-4 1 4 5 4 10 2 5 0 2 29
05 BOATNER, Dwight..... g 3-5 1-2 4-4 0 1 1 2 11 3 2 0 0 34
32 MORRIS, Micheal..... g 3-8 1-5 3-3 0 6 6 0 10 5 0 4 1 30
10 RAKIECKI, Jon....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1 0 0 2
11 THOMASSON, Phillip.. 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 0 10
13 ROBINSON, Freddy.... 2-3 0-1 2-3 0 2 2 2 6 1 0 0 1 15
34 VERWERS, Stephen.... 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 2 0 0 0 0 5
54 NELSON, Matt........ 9-12 0-0 6-8 1 6 7 4 24 1 2 1 1 21
TEAM................ 1 1
Totals.............. 26-53 2-13 19-27 6 24 30 20 73 12 13 5 8 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-22 54.5% 2nd Half: 14-31 45.2% Game: 49.1% DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-4 25.0% 2nd Half: 1-9 11.1% Game: 15.4% REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 7-9 77.8% 2nd Half: 12-18 66.7% Game: 70.4% 2
Officials: David Hall, Scott Thornley, Larry Spaulding
Technical fouls: Brigham Young University-None. Colorado State-None.
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
Brigham Young University...... 35 44 - 79
Colorado State................ 32 41 - 73
Points in the paint-BY 46,CS 34. Points off turnovers-BY 22,CS 10.
2nd chance points-BY 15,CS 6. Fast break points-BY 19,CS 0.
Bench points-BY 23,CS 32. Score tied-4 times. Lead changes-1 time.
Game 23 - BYU Plays at CSU Monday on ESPN
Looking to sweep the Front Range trip for the second consecutive season, BYU (15-7, 5-4 MWC) plays at Colorado State (11-11, 3-6 MWC) Monday at 10 p.m. (MST) in this week's featured Mountain West Conference game on ESPN. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160, beginning with a one-hour pregame show. Live audio is available online by selecting the basketball schedule page of the official BYU athletics website, byucougars.com. Live audio is also available on KSL.com, via BYU Radio on the Dish Network and at byuradio.org.
BYU returns home to host New Mexico Saturday at 7 p.m. (MST) in the Marriott Center (SportsWest, KSL-5).
GAME #23 FAST FACTS (MWC GAME #10)
BYU COUGARS (15-7, 5-4 MWC) @ COLORADO STATE RAMS (11-11, 3-6 MWC)
MONDAY, FEB. 16, 2004
MOBY ARENA (8,745)
FORT COLLINS, COLO.
10 p.m. (MST)
BYU, Steve Cleveland (123-85 in seventh year; same overall)
CSU, Dale Layer (57-56 in fourth year; 224-143 in 13th year overall)
BYU leads, 76-44 First meeting this year: BYU won 82-53 on Jan. 17 in Provo
Air Time: 10 p.m. (MST)
Play-by-Play: Bob Carpenter
Game Analyst: Jimmy Dykes
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time: 9 p.m. (MST)
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Brian Santiago
Live audio links are available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2003-04 schedule); on KSL.com; and via BYU Radio on the Dish Network and at byuradio.org.
The Cougars (15-7, 5-4) finished nonconference play with a 10-3 record, including the Cable Car Classic title and wins over No. 25 Oklahoma State and the Pac-10's USC. BYU has won three straight games. The preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference, BYU is currently third place in the league standings behind Air Force and Utah. BYU returns 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 were starters last season but are primarily come off the bench this year. Key newcomers include junior transfer Mike Hall and freshmen Mike Rose and Garner Meads. Araujo is averaging 18.2 points and 10.2 rebounds to lead BYU this year. Bigelow adds 13.4 points and 3.8 rebounds while Hall contributes 12.5 points and 3.5 rebounds. First-year starter Luiz Lemes leads the team in assists (4.5). As a team, the Cougars shoot .478 from the floor, .346 on threes, and .737 from the line while scoring 72.8 points per game. BYU allows 64.0 points while the opposition has shot .443 from the field and .333 from behind the arc. BYU has an average rebounding advantage of 5.7.
COUGARS LOOK TO REPEAT RARE FRONT RANGE SWEEP
With its win over Wyoming Saturday, BYU will look for another rare sweep of the Wyoming-CSU road trip. Last year BYU swept the Front Range road trip for the first time since the 1992-93 season when BYU won 70-63 at CSU and then 77-64 at Wyoming. BYU finished the 1992-93 season with a 25-9 record, tied for the WAC title and advanced to the NCAA tournament, going 1-1 with a win over SMU before a loss to Kansas. Last year BYU tied for the league title and advanced to the NCAA tournament before a 5-point loss to Connecticut. Last year was also the first time since the 1992-93 Front Range sweep that BYU even won the first of the two games on the trip. Wyoming had won five straight times over BYU in Laramie and CSU had won six straight games over the Cougars in Moby Arena prior to last season. BYU's prior victory in Laramie was in 1996 and its prior win in Fort Collins was in 1994.
COLORADO STATE RAMS
Colorado State returns eight lettermen and three starters from last year's 19-14 team that finished sixth in the Mountain West Conference regular season before winning the MWC Tournament to advance to the NCAA Tournament. The Rams are 11-11 this year, including a 3-6 conference record, after its 80-70 loss to Utah Saturday night in Fort Colllins. CSU is 7-3 in Moby Arena. Colorado State has been smitten with the injury bug this year. Among the players missing action this year have been all-league center Matt Nelson and starting guard Micheal Morris. Morris has played in 18 of 22 games while Nelson has played in 17 games, but has seen limited action in some of his appearances. Nelson did not dress Saturday against Utah. Coach Dale Layer's team is led by Nelson's 14.8 scoring average, followed by junior forward Matt Williams at 11.0 ppg. Ronnie Clark adds 9.6 points. Swingman sophomore Freddy Robinson contributes 8.4 points while starting in 17 of his 20 appearances. Morris, a sophomore, scores 8.1 points per game. Williams leads the team on the glass with 6.2 rebounds per outing, followed by Clark at 5.6 and Nelson at 5.5 rpg. As a team, CSU shoots .460 from the floor, .350 on threes, and .695 from the line while scoring 70.5 points. The Rams are allowing 71.8 points to opponents that have combined to shoot .423 from the field and .326 from behind the arc. On the boards, CSU has a 1.7 average advantage per game.
CSU's LAST OUTING -- Rams Fall to Utes in Fort Collins
FORT COLLINS - Utah held off Colorado State's second-half rally en route to an 80-70 Mountain West Conference men's basketball win Saturday night in Moby Arena. The Utes led 34-28 at half, but Colorado State closed within five points, 42-37, with 16 minutes to play on Micheal Morris' two free throws. Utah used a 9-0 run over the next 2 minutes to lead by 14, and CSU would come no closer than seven the rest of the way. "It was a hard-fought battle. Probably the difference was we made runs, and Andrew Bogut got put-backs. We'd make a run and get a stop, and he'd get a put-back. Those were back-breaking plays," said Rams' coach Dale Layer. Bogut finished with 16 points and five of his 10 rebounds were on the offensive end. Tim Drisdom had a career-most 24 points to lead the Utes, while Nick Jacobson added 22. Freshman guard Dwight Boatner led the Rams with a career-high 16 points. Morris added 15 and Ronnie Clark had 11. Forward Matt Williams added a career-high 11 rebounds. The Rams shot 39 percent, the team's lowest mark from the floor in a home game this season, and 3-of-13 three-point goals. "We had some good shots, but just couldn't get guys to make the shots," said Layer.
COLORAOD STATE'S PROJECTED STARTERS (based on last game)
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 20 Ronnie Clark 6-5 225 Sr. 9.6 5.6
F 42 Matt Williams 6-6 212 Jr. 11.0 6.2
G/F 22 Shelton Johnson 6-3 200 So. 5.3 2.9
G 32 Micheal Morris 6-3 208 So. 8.1 3.5
G 5 Dwight Boatner 5-11 170 Fr. 5.4 1.5
Monday's game will be the 121st meeting between the two schools. BYU leads the series 76-44. With its win in Provo in the first meeting this year, BYU now leads the series in Provo, 51-10. The Rams hold a 31-24 advantage in Fort Collins. Last year, BYU swept the regular-season series for the first time since 1994, beating the Rams in Fort Collins and again in Provo, before the Rams came back from a 10-point halftime deficit to beat BYU in the MWC Tournament (86-80 in OT). CSU has a 3-1 advantage in neutral court games. Last year CSU went on to win the MWC title over host UNLV to earn the league's automatic NCAA Tournament bid. BYU's win in Fort Collins last year was its first win at Moby Arena since a 72-70 overtime win 1994, ending six straight defeats in Moby Arena. The Cougars have won five of the last seven games overall. BYU has won five straight in Provo since CSU swept the series in 1998, winning in Provo, 55-44, on Jan. 22. The two teams did not meet in 1999. Steve Cleveland is 6-6 against Colorado State with a 5-1 record in Provo, 1-4 mark at Moby Arena and 0-1 neutral court result. The series dates back to 1938.
BYU vs. CSU SERIES BREAKDOWN
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 76-44
BYU Record in Provo: 51-10
BYU Record in Fort Collins: 24-31
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-3
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 6-6
BYU Record in OT Games: 4-3* (1-1 R, 3-1 H, 0-1 N)
*1-0 in 2OT (1971, won 98-92 in Ft. Collins)
Last Overtime Game: 2003, lost 80-86 in Las Vegas
Longest BYU Win Streak: 9 (two times 1985-89, 1991-94)
Longest CSU Win Streak: 7 (1960-70)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 39, 91-52 in 1939
Largest CSU Margin of Victory: 25, 74-49 in 1958
Most Points Scored by BYU: 105 in 1972
Most Points Scored by CSU: 100 in 1996
FIRST MEETING THIS YEAR AT BYU -- COUGARS WIN BIG AGAINST SHORT-HANDED CSU, 82-53
PROVO, Utah, (Jan. 17, 2004) -- Rafael Araujo scored 16 points and grabbed nine boards to lead BYU past Colorado State 82-53 Saturday evening at the Marriott Center. BYU used an 18-1 run to build a 19-point lead midway through the first half, and the Cougars didn't look back, extending their lead to 26 points at halftime, BYU's largest lead at the break this season. Coach Steve Cleveland said he was pleased his team came out and played well after the way they played in the last two games. "I didn't care if this was home or away. I wanted to play well," Cleveland said. "I thought we did that. We attacked defensively and got good shots. We played 30 minutes of good basketball, but it got sloppy in the end." The Cougars' run started when freshman Mike Rose was inserted into the game and subsequently hit a three-pointer. Rose would hit two more threes during the stretch, and Mike Hall would add another. "Mike Rose came in and hit some huge shots," Cleveland said. "That's how I plan to play him the rest of the year. He's played well in practice and earned the minutes." Those three-pointers opened up the middle for Araujo, allowing him to get the ball deep in the post and score easily over the Ram defenders. The Cougars didn't let up after halftime, outscoring CSU 18-6 while extending its lead to 31 three different times during the second half. After two poor shooting nights against North Carolina State and San Diego State where the Cougars hit only 40.4 percent of their shots, BYU hit 49.1 percent of its shots against the Rams, including 38.9 percent from three-point range. Besides Araujo, the Cougars had three other players hit double figures, including Luiz Lemes (12), Mark Bigelow (11) and Rose (10). Injuries compounded CSU's woes Saturday. CSU's all-conference center Matt Nelson (knee) saw only four minutes of action and starting guard Micheal Morris (hamstring) did not play due to injuries. With the victory, BYU improves its record to 11-4 and 1-1 in the MWC.
LAST YEAR AT CSU -- COUGARS SWEEP FRONT RANGE WITH WIN AT CSU
FT. COLLINS, Colo. (February 10. 2003) -- Travis Hansen scored a season-high 27 points to lead BYU to a 77-68 victory over CSU Monday. After winning at Wyoming Saturday, the victory gave the Cougars their first Front Range road sweep since 1992-93. The win is the first for the Cougars in Ft. Collins since the 1993-94 season. BYU improves to 17-5 on the season and atop the MWC standings with Utah at 6-1. CSU drops to 14-8 overall and 3-4 in the conference. Back in the starting lineup for the second consecutive game, guard Kevin Woodberry had his best performance of the season and a career-high 17 points, including three treys, five assists and five steals. "I just wanted to be solid on defense and be more aggressive on offense and that's what I did," Woodberry said. "I felt comfortable and they left me open and I knocked them down." Mark Bigelow added 21 points on 5-of-16 shooting. Bigelow was 9-for-9 from the line and moved into BYU's top 20 in scoring all-time with 1174 career points. BYU broke a 33-33 halftime tie with a 14-1 run to open the final half, jumping out to a 13-point lead at 47-34 with 15:25 left. Hansen took over in the second half and sparked the run. The senior scored nine points during the stretch. BYU led by 12 on a three-pointer by Bigelow with just over 10 minutes to play, but CSU dropped a five-point play on the Cougars with a trey and foul underneath, adding two free throws, to cut the lead to 57-50. BYU held on to a nine-point lead with 6:06 to play when Araujo picked up his fourth foul. CSU stayed close on back-to-back threes by Andy Birley, bringing the Rams to within six with just under six minutes left. Moments later CSU center Matt Nelson scored and was fouled by Araujo sending him to the bench. Nelson's play cut the lead to four with three-and-a-half minutes left. Down the stretch BYU got stops when they needed them and knocked down clutch free throws to seal the game. BYU was 19-of-21 from the stripe (91 percent). The Cougars played great defense on CSU forward Brian Greene. With Hansen assigned to guard him, the Rams second-leading scorer (13.4 ppg) was not a factor as he spent most of the first half on the bench with two fouls and no points. Greene did not score until the 2:05 mark in the second half and finished the game with two points. Andy Birley led the Rams with 18 points on six treys. Nelson added 16 and Ronnie Clark chipped in 13. The Cougars managed to enter the locker room at halftime tied at 33 despite great shooting by the Rams. At one point CSU made 11 straight field goal attempts. That streak came to an end with 52.9 seconds left before the break on a missed jam by Ronnie Clark, who paced the Rams with 11 first-half points. BYU was outshot 65 percent to 39 percent in the first half but capitalized on 11 Rams' turnovers to stay in the game. BYU big men Araujo and Jensen went just 1-for-4 from the floor in the opening half, scoring just two points between them on a layup by Jensen. The Rams shot 50 percent for the night, including 6-of-12 three-point shooting, while converting 66.7 percent from the line. The Rams had a 30-27 edge on the glass. BYU shot 46.3 percent from the floor, including 8-of-19 threes, along with a season-high 90.5 free throw shooting.
WHAT BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND HAD TO SAY IN FORT COLLINS LAST YEAR ...
"This was a very satisfying weekend for us and we will enjoy it, but we need to get back to work and try to play the best we can every game."
LAST YEAR AT MWC TOURNEY -- SECOND-HALF SCORING DROUGHT DOOMS COUGARS
LAS -- In a game of contrasting halves, BYU had the game in hand after a strong first half, but went cold in the second half as it was upset 86-80 in overtime by Colorado State in the semifinals of the Mountain West Conference Tournament. The loss to the Rams marks the first time this season the Cougars have lost when leading at the half. CSU jumped out the an early lead, but more importantly Rafael Araujo picked up two quick fouls and Jake Shoff left in the fourth minute of the game with a recurring back injury. With the two big men on the bench, Dan Howard entered the lineup, but BYU didn't miss a beat, as it proceeded to take the lead. Mark Bigelow hit a 3-pointer at the 14:12 mark to give BYU a 12-9 lead and the Cougars would lead throughout the rest of the half. BYU would stretch its lead in the frenetic final 10 minutes of the opening half and enjoyed its largest lead of 14 after a Bigelow lay-up. CSU would close the gap, but the Cougars headed into the break with a 39-29 lead. As the second half started, the Rams slowly chipped into the Cougar lead and parlayed their confident play into a 16-0 run to take a 45-39 lead, before Travis Hansen ended BYU's 0-for-13 drought with a field goal at the 11:10 mark. Although the Rams carried play for most of the second half, the Cougars staged a rally behind Bigelow as he had a basket and a 3-pointer on back-to-back possessions, the latter coming with 6:11 to play and giving BYU a 55-53 lead. The two teams would stay close to the end of regulation in a foul-filled second half. With CSU up by a bucket, Bigelow made a slashing move to the basket to tie the game at 67-67, sending it to overtime. Play in overtime remained close, but Michael Morris made a deep 3-pointer as the shot clock was expiring to give the Rams a 76-73 lead, after which CSU held off BYU for the win. Matt Nelson took advantage of Shoff's absence to score a game-high 28 points. Araujo scored 14 points and had a game-high 10 rebounds.
GAME 22 RECAP -- BIGELOW'S BIG GAME LIFTS COUGARS OVER COWBOYS
LARAMIE -- Mark Bigelow scored 21 points, including 16 in the first half, to lead three Cougars in double figures past the Cowboys 67-53 Saturday afternoon in the Arena-Auditorium. "You win games like these typically with seniors," coach Steve Cleveland said of Bigelow's performance, "Mark along with Rafa (Araujo), Shoff, Woodberry and Lemes gave us a big lift tonight." BYU jumped out to a quick lead in the first half as Mike Hall and Bigelow each hit three-pointers to open the game for the Cougars, and Bigelow added another basket to cap an 8-0 run. The Cougars extended their lead to 10 at 25-15 with just over seven minutes left in the game following Bigelow's fourth three of the first half, but the Cowboys would reel off 10 straight points to tie the game at 25, before BYU would extend its lead to three at the half. Rafael Araujo was sitting on the bench during Wyoming's run with two fouls, allowing the Cowboys to score in the paint. Before Araujo was forced to sit because of foul trouble, he was playing excellent post defense, picking up two steals in the first half and three overall. BYU opened the second half much like they did the first half, extending its lead to 11 points with 12:10 on a basket by Luiz Lemes, capping a 6-0 run by the Cougars. The Cowboys kept hanging around, cutting the Cougars' lead to six points at 56-50 after a three-point basket by Mikel Watson. Wyoming had an opportunity to cut BYU's lead to four, but David Adams, a 77 percent free-throw shooter, missed two straight foul shots, and BYU outscored the Cowboys 11-3 to close the game and account for the final score. "In the last five minutes of the game, we were in control," Cleveland said. "Road wins are always the ones you cherish the most." After hitting just 5 of 34 three-pointers in two games last week, the Cougars recovered to hit 7 of 15 in this game, including a season-high four three-pointers by Bigelow. "I told Mark, 'If you're open, shoot the ball," Cleveland said, trying to infuse confidence in the senior forward. Hall followed up his 20-point game with another solid outing scoring 13 points and Araujo added 12 points and nine boards, just missing his 13th double-double of the season. Joe Ries led the Cowboys with 16 points and 11 rebounds. With the victory the Cougars end a five-game losing streak on the road and improve to 5-4 in the conference and 15-7 overall, while the Cowboys drop to 2-7 in the conference and 9-13 overall.
GAME 21 RECAP -- MEADS CAREER NIGHT HELPS COUGARS DEFEAT AZTECS IN OVERTIME
PROVO -- It took overtime and a 16-0 run but the Cougars captured their second-consecutive conference win on Monday night at home against the San Diego Aztecs with an 83-69 win on ESPN's Big Monday. With the win the Cougars improved to 4-4 in Mountain West play and 14-7 overall while the Aztecs fell to 3-5 in MWC play and 12-11 overall. Senior Rafael Araujo was unusually quiet on offense for the night as he finished with seven points, six rebounds and four assists. What wasn't quiet about Araujo was his defense. "In the end, Rafa got a huge defensive ballgame going," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "It's nice to win a game when he's not scoring 25 points a game." Five Cougars scored in double figures to lead the way for BYU, mostly off the open looks that many Cougars got as the Aztecs focused their defense on Araujo. "When Rafa gets as much attention as he does, it frees up other guys and Meads took care of that," said Cleveland. Redshirt freshman Garner Meads benefited greatly from the free looks as he recorded a career-high 19 points while junior Mike Hall finished two points short of his career high with 20 points on the night. Seniors Mark Bigelow, Luiz Lemes and Kevin Woodberry were the other Cougars to score in double figures with 10, 11 and 10, respectively. On defense, the Cougars held the Aztecs leading scorer, Brandon Heath, to only three points on the night. That's down a great deal from his usual 16.7 points per game average. San Diego opened up the game with a 7-0 run, which the Cougars followed with a 5-0 run of their own. BYU's first lead of the game came with 16:34 left in the half as Hall stole the ball and dribbled the length of the court for a slam-dunk and put the Cougars up 10-9. Araujo picked up his second foul only five minutes into the game and sat out the remainder of the half, entering intermission without having attempted a shot. With Araujo on the bench, the other big men were called on to fill up the middle, and Shoff responded by tying his season high of four points in 13 minutes of action in the half. Shoff scored the final basket of the half for the Cougars to keep BYU ahead of the Aztecs, 30-29, going into the break. The second half started with the Cougars going on a 9-0 run, capped with a dunk by Meads as he rebounded Bigelow's missed three-point attempt. BYU lead by as many as 10 at 58-48 with 7:52 left to play in the game, but the Aztecs went on a 9-1 run and made it a two-point game at 59-57 with 5:16 left to play. With 49 seconds left in regulation, Heath gave the Aztecs a two-point lead at 65-67. The Cougars came down the court and Bigelow spotted up from the right-hand corner and buried a jumper to tie the game at 67 apiece with 35 second left in the game. Heath brought the ball up for the Aztecs and dribbled down the clock and threw up a last second shot with the Lemes in his face that bounced around the rim and fell off with no time left, sending the game into overtime. From the opening tip in the overtime the Cougars looked like a completely different team as they dominated the Aztecs up and down the floor. Hall took the opening tip-off in for a two-handed jam with only five seconds ticking off the clock. BYU stopped the Aztecs on their end of the floor, came down the court and Lemes nailed a three-pointer to give BYU a 72-67 lead. The Cougars never looked back in the overtime as they went on a 16-0 run, not allowing the Aztecs a single basket until there was under a minute left. BYU went on to win 83-69.
BYU's win over San Diego State last Monday on ESPN was BYU's first overtime game of the season. BYU's last OT game was an 86-80 OT loss to Colorado State in the MWC tournament last year. The Cougars had lost four straight overtime contests prior to beating SDSU. BYU's prior overtime victory came at Florida International on Dec. 23, 1999. The Cougars had last played in an overtime game at home on Nov. 28, 1998, losing to the Arizona 78-74. BYU's last home win in overtime before the SDSU victory was on Jan. 26, 1995, against UTEP. Last Monday's game was BYU's fifth overtime game against the Aztecs, with BYU now holding a 3-2 edge in those games, including a 2-1 mark in Provo. The last overtime game between the two schools was an SDSU win in Provo in 1997 (89-86) during BYU's 1-25 season. BYU has a 4-3 overtime record against Colorado State, including a 1-1 mark in Fort Collins.
Mike Hall was hot from the floor in BYU's past two wins. The junior guard made 11-of-16 attempts (.688), including 2-of-5 treys (.400) and went 9-for-11 (.818) from the line. He made 5-of-6 shots at Wyoming, including 2-of-3 triples to help BYU earn its first league road victory of the MWC season. Hall's shooting resulted in his team-leading 16.5 scoring average over the two wins. He added 3.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game. Over the last five games Hall has the team's top scoring average at 15.6 points per game.
PLAYER PERFORMANCE NOTABLES
Mark Bigelow made a season-high 4 treys on his way to a game-high 21 points at Wyoming ... Kevin Woodberry played a strong game, holding Jay Straight to five points on 2-0f-9 shooting, twice blocking his three-point attempts. He added a season-high 5 rebounds with 6 points on the offensive end ... Freshman Garner Meads had a career-high 19 points along with 8 boards vs. SDSU ... Mike Hall recorded a personal-best 5 steals while scoring 20 points. He extended his free-throw streak to 18 straight before a miss, going 8-for-9 on the night ... Against UNLV, Luiz Lemes recorded a career-high 10 assists ... At Utah, Mark Bigelow scored a season-high 22 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including three triples. Bigelow pullled down a season-high nine rebounds the prior outing at New Mexico ... Mike Hall also scored 21 points, one below his season-high, and Araujo recorded a double-double (21 points, 11 rebounds) against the Lobos ... Bigelow scored a 19 points on 6-of-10 shooting at Air Force ... Meads recorded his first double-double with career highs of 13 points and 10 rebounds vs. Wyoming in Provo ... Bigelow dished out a career-best 9 assists vs. the Cowboys ... Against CSU, Jared Jensen tied his career-high 10 rebounds, Terry Nashif set a new personal best of 6 rebounds, and Austin Ainge got his first extended playing time, logging 10 minutes and scoring a career-best 6 points while dishing out a high of 2 assists.
BYU returned to the road this weekend to face Wyoming Saturday and Colorado State Monday after its home wins last weekend vs. UNLV and SDSU. Prior to those two home games, the Cougars played eight of their prior 11 games on the road, going 5-6 in those games, including its first three-game losing skid since MWC play of 2002. The Cougars have traditionally finished strong under Steve Cleveland to earn postseason bids and have shared the conference title in two of the last three years. Last year BYU swept the Front Range trip to Wyoming and Colorado State for the first time since 1993.
SHOOTING THE THREE
BYU used a hot-hand from behind the arc to jump out to an early lead and take control of the game in its win at Wyoming Saturday. BYU hit 5 of its first six treys and shot a strong .467 for the game (7-15). A much better game in contrast to BYU's recent win over UNLV at home. In that game, BYU managed to beat the Rebels despite its worst shooting night of the season from behind the arc. Luiz Lemes opened BYU's scoring with a trey but that would end up being the only triple made by the Cougars. BYU went 1-15 (6.7 percent) -- the Cougars lowest percentage in the Marriott Center by a Steve Cleveland team and the lowest shooting percentage overall since going 1-16 (6.2 percent) at Colorado State on Jan. 20, 2001 in a loss. The last time BYU did not make a trey in a game was the year before Cleveland's arrival when BYU went 0-9 against Cal State Fullerton on Nov. 22, 1996 during the team's 1-25 season.
Other than guard Rick Bower, the team's sixth man last year with five starts, who has missed the entire season with a back injury, no Cougar player is out for Monday's game at CSU. Cougar backup point guard Terry Nashif missed three straight games with mononucleosis before returning for potential action Saturday at Wyoming. He was available but did not play agains the Cowboys. Jared Jensen was out with an injury during BYU's three-game MWC road losing skid.
BIG NUMBERS -- INCLUDING WIN OVER RAMS IN PROVO
The Cougars have won at home this year by an average of 20.9 points. BYU's recent three-point win over UNLV is the only home game in the Marriott Center, where BYU is 10-0 this year, with a final margin of less than 14 points. The Cougars, however, did win in overtime over SDSU by 14 and played a close game against Wyoming before the final margin of 14 points. BYU achieved its largest halftime lead of the season vs. CSU, taking a 26-point advantage to the break. The Cougars also equaled their largest first-half scoring output of the season with 49 points. The most points BYU has scored in a half this year is 51 points in the second half against Idaho State at the Cable Car Classic. The Cougars' 29-point victory over CSU, however, is not the largest margin of victory for the Cougars in Mountain West play. Last year BYU defeated Air Force in Provo by 32 points, 65-33. BYU's largest margin of victory this season overall was a 36-point win over Western Oregon. On the losing side of the big numbers, BYU was down 23 points at the half on the way to suffering its largest margin of defeat in a Mountain West Conference regular-season game with its 22-point setback at Air Force. The league-leading Falcons had their best shooting night ever against a Division I team (and second best against any team) at 72.5 percent.
HOME AND AWAY
Excluding the Cougars' two neutral court victories, BYU is averaging 62.4 points in away games while shooting .456 from the floor, .338 on threes, and .750 from the line. BYU has a 4.4-points scoring deficit in true away games, giving up 66.8 points while earning a 3-7 record. At home where the Cougars are 10-0, BYU averages 81.2 points while giving up just 60.3. The Cougars shoot .492 in the Marriott Center, including .362 on threes, and .725 from the line. One difference on the road has been the scoring output of BYU point guard Luiz Lemes. In 10 home games where he is averaging 29.2 minutes, he has scored 10.8 ppg while shooting .486 from the floor and .469 (15-32) on threes. In 10 true away games he has averaged 32.4 minutes while scoring 4.5 ppg and shooting .327 from the floor and .286 (6-21) on threes. Araujo averages 18.4 ppg at home and 16.2 in true away games. Among players who have scored more in true away games for BYU include Mark Bigelow (14.9 away, 12.0 at home) and Jared Jensen (5.1 away, 3.4 at home).
ARAUJO SELECTED TO WOODEN AWARD MIDSEASON TOP 30 LIST
Senior Rafael Araujo has been selected as one of the top-30 candidates for the Wooden Award Player of the Year and All-America Team by the John R. Wooden Award Midseason Committee. On March 30, the 10-player Wooden All-America Team will be announced. One member of the team will be selected April 10 to receive the Wooden Award as the nation's "Most Outstanding Collegiate Basketball Player of the Year." BYU's Danny Ainge was recognized as the nation's top player in 1981 when he received the Wooden Award.
ARAUJO RANKS AMONG NATIONAL DOUBLE-DOUBLE LEADERS
Araujo has 12 double-double games this year and 19 for his career. His 12 double-double games was tied for sixth nationally entering the weekend's play. 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. During his five-game double-double streak, Araujo averaged 26 points and 13.6 rebounds.
ARAUJO RATES HIGH IN NATIONAL AND MWC STATISTICS
Senior center Rafael Araujo is 1oth in the nation in rebounds in the latest release of NCAA statistics (Feb. 10). Among MWC players after Saturday's games, he is the top scorer and rates second in defensive rebounds, third offensive rebounds and in total rebounds, and is fourth in steals. He is seventh in blocked shots and field goal percentage and 14th in free throw percentage. Araujo leads all MWC players in steals in league games.
BYU has played nine games this year where the outcome was in question entering the final minute. The Cougars have gone 5-4 in those games, including an overtime win over SDSU last Monday and a 64-61 win against UNLV. BYU's four losses in close games have come by a combined nine points. BYU's 10 other wins have been by a margin of 14 or more points, with six being by more than 20 points, including two 30-plus point blowouts. BYU has suffered two blowout losses, a 27-point setback at North Carolina State and a 22-point defeat at Air Force. BYU is 14-0 when leading with five minutes remaining and 14-1 when holding the advantage or it is tied with one minute left in the game.
COUGAR OPPONENTS HAVING STRONG SEASONS
BYU has played two of the nation's hottest teams this year, handing 19-2 Oklahoma State one of its two losses and losing by two points at 20-2 Utah State. The seven teams to beat BYU this year have a combined 108-45 (.706) record. Of those seven teams, all have a winning record and five are in the top 3 in their league standings with four being either first or second.
ON THE ROAD
BYU is 5-7 away from the Marriott Center this year with a 3-7 away record and a 2-0 neutral court mark. BYU played a stretch this year of 8-of-11 games on the road. For the second straight season, the Cougars played more nonconference games away from Provo than they did in the friendly confines of the Marriott Center. This year, BYU played six games at home and seven out-of-town contests while going 10-3 in nonconference. BYU went 6-0 at home and 4-3 away from Provo, with a 2-0 neutral court mark and a 2-3 record in an opponent's arena. Among those games included a neutral court win over then No. 25 Oklahoma State; a win at Boise State; and a victory over host Santa Clara to win the Cable Car Classic. Last season BYU played seven home games and eight away from the Marriott Center while earning an 11-4 record before starting Mountain West Conference play. BYU finished 4-4 away from home last year during nonconference play. The Cougars went 3-1 on a neutral floor, including a 3-0 mark to win the Paradise Jam, and were 1-3 in true away games, with a win over Arizona State.
IN THE MARRIOTT CENTER
BYU is 10-0 at home this year and has won 15 straight overall in the Marriott Center. BYU has won 59 of its last 60 games at home and is 54-1 over the past four seasons. BYU finished last season 13-1 at home. 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 the 2001-02 and 2002-03 seasons. BYU continues its string of nonconference home wins.
NONCONFERENCE VICTORY STREAK IN THE MARRIOTT CENTER
The Cougars have defeated 40 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.
COUGAR FANS SHOWING SUPPORT
BYU is averaging 14,067 after 10 home games this year. 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.
COUGARS CLAIM CABLE CAR CLASSIC TITLE, ARAUJO MVP
SANTA CLARA -- With its top three post players fouled out of the game, BYU looked to Mark Bigelow and he delivered a slashing bucket-and-one with 14.9 seconds remaining to lead the Cougars to a 68-66 win over host Santa Clara to claim the Cable Car Classic title at the Leavey Center. Senior center Rafael Araujo again loomed large, posting his eighth double-double in nine games with 18 points and 12 rebounds -- with all 18 points scored in the second half. Araujo was named the Cable Car Classic Most Valuable Player after combining for 41 points and 23 boards in the two Cougar wins. With its title this year, BYU won for the third time in four Cable Car appearances to tie the University of San Francisco for the second-most Cable Car Classic titles and the most of any non-Bay Area team. SCU leads with 13 titles and the Cougars have beaten the Broncos for each of their three titles. BYU also breaks SCU's six-game winning streak in the tournament, as the Broncos won the previous two titles.
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 7-5 this year against teams that qualified for postseason last year (21-point win over Weber State at home; five-point win over No. 25 Oklahoma State on a neutral floor; 29-point win over CSU; two 14-point wins over Wyoming; three-point win over UNLV; 14-point OT win over SDSU; two-point loss at Utah State; one-point loss at Cal, 27-point loss at North Carolina State, four-point loss at SDSU and eight-point setback at Utah). 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.
CURRENT BYU WIN/LOSS STREAKS ...
At home 15-0
On the road 1-0
On a neutral floor 2-0
At home vs. Nonconference 40-0
At home vs. MWC 9-0
On the road vs. Nonconference 0-1
On the road vs. MWC 1-0
On a neutral floor vs. Nonconference 2-0
On a neutral floor vs. MWC 0-1
BYU STARTING LINEUPS RECORD
Lemes, Hall, Bigelow, Meads, Araujo 7-3
Lemes, Hall, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo 4-2
Lemes, Woodberry, Hall, Bigelow, Araujo 3-0
Lemes, Woodberry, Bigelow, Jensen, Araujo 1-1
Nashif, Lemes, Hall, Bigelow, Araujo 0-1