Game 4 - BYU Plays at Boise State Tuesday
PROVO, Utah -- Taking its second road trip of the season, BYU (2-1) will face Boise State (3-0) Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at The Pavilion at Boise State. The game will be televised by SportsWest Productions on KSL-TV channel 5 in Salt Lake City with Tom Kirkland and Craig Hislop making the call. The radio broadcast 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 Brian Santiago providing analysis. A live audio link is available on the basketball schedule page of the official BYU athletics website, byucougars.com. Live audio is also available on BYU Radio on the Dish Network and at byuradio.org.
BYU returns from Boise to play the nationally regarded Oklahoma State Cowboys (4-0) Saturday at 4 p.m. at the Delta Center in Salt Lake City.
TICKETS FOR OKLAHOMA STATE GAME
Tickets for the game are on sale at the Delta Center Box Office or by calling 325-SEAT. Among the variety of ticket options, youth groups can purchase $5 tickets and upper bowl tickets are only $7. Students with a BYU All-Sport Card can still obtain tickets through the BYU Ticket Office. The Utah Jazz is also offering a special three-game ticket package that will be of interest to both Jazz and Cougar fans. In addition to the BYU vs. Oklahoma State game, the package includes tickets to see the Jazz play the Atlanta Hawks and recently departed BYU star Travis Hansen on Jan. 10, and the Dallas Mavericks and former Cougar Shawn Bradley on Jan. 28.
GAME #4 FAST FACTS
BYU COUGARS (2-1, 0-0 MWC) @ BOISE STATE BRONCOS (3-0, 0-0 WAC)
TUESDAY, DEC. 2, 2003
THE PAVILION AT BOISE STATE (12,380)
7:35 p.m. MST
BYU, Steve Cleveland (110-79 in seventh year; same overall)
BSU, Greg Graham (16-16 in second year; 34-21 in third year overall)
BYU leads, 5-2; Last: BYU won 83-67 on Dec. 21, 2000 in Laie, Hawaii
SportsWest Productions (KSL-TV channel 5 in Salt Lake City)
Air Time: 7:30 p.m. MST
Play-by-Play: Tom Kirkland
Game Analyst: Craig Hislop
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time: 6:30 p.m. MST
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Brian Santiago
Live audio link available at byucougars.com/basketball_m/ (select 2003-04 schedule) and via BYU Radio on Dish Network and byuradio.org.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 5-2
BYU Record in Provo: 3-1
BYU Record in Boise: 1-1
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 1-1
BYU Record in Overtime Games: N/A
Longest BYU Win Streak: 4 (1976-95)
Longest Boise State Win Streak: 2 (1996-97)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 16, 83-67 in 2000
Largest Boise State Margin of Victory: 16, 83-67
Most Points Scored by BYU: 86 in 1995
Most Points Scored by Boise State: 83 in 1997
Date Opponent Score W/L
12-01-76 Boise State 76-75 W
12-18-82 at Boise State 68-67 W
12-23-83 Boise State 66-54 W
11-25-95 Boise State 86-71 W
12-13-96 Boise State* 58-65 L
12-06-97 at Boise State 67-83 L
12-21-00 vs. Boise State' 83-67 W
'Yahoo Invitational in Laie, Hawaii
BOISE STATE QUICK FACTS
Location: Boise, Idaho
Colors: Blue and Orange
Home Arena: The Pavilion at Boise State (12,380)
Conference: Western Athletic Conference
Athletic Director: Gene Bleymaier
Head Coach: Greg Graham
Alma Mater: Oregon (1978)
Best Time to Call: Mornings
Office Phone: (208) 426-1952
Overall Record (Years): 34-21 (3rd year)
Record at School (Years): 16-16 (2nd year)
Assistant Coaches: Tim Cleary, Julious Coleman, Andy McClouskey
2002-2003 Record: 13-16
2002-03 Conference Record/Finish: 7-11 (8th)
2002-03 Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: N/A
Letterman Returning/Lost: 6/6
Starters Returning/Lost: 5/0
Leading Scorer Returning
Aaron Haynes ( F, 6-7, 180, Sr.) 14.7 ppg
Leading REBOUNDER Returning
Jason Ellis (F, 6-7, 216, Jr.) 7.8 rpg
Media Relations Basketball Contact: Todd Miles
Office: (208) 426-3868
Home: (208) 383-9617
Fax: (208) 426-1778
Press Row: (208) 426-1503
Web Site: www.broncosports.com
BOISE STATE BRONCOS
Greg Graham's Boise State Broncos return all five starters and feature a number of exciting newcomers. The Broncos are off to a 3-0 start this year with a road win at Portland (76-66) and home victories over UVSC (80-68) and Eastern Oregon (113-67). On Nov. 19, coach Graham announced the departure of three players from this year's team and the suspension of guard Bryan Defares for the season opener at Portland. Freshman Larry Davidson (knee injuries, returning to Australia), freshman Darius Harper (personal reasons), and junior Mattias Johansson (declared ineligible for playing in European professional league) are no longer on team. Defares was suspended for playing in a non-sanctioned summer league game last summer. With the experience of all five starters returning and having already gotten some big performances from other talented newcomers, the departures have not made a significant impact. Two newcomers, junior JC transfer guard Jermaine Blackburn (6-6, 209), and redshirt freshman guard Coby Karl (6-5, 194) lead the Broncos in scoring after three games with 20.0 and 17.0 points per game averages, respectively. Karl has one start, taking the place of Defares during his one-game suspension, but otherwise both newcomers are doing their damage off the bench. Senior forward Aaron Haynes (6-7, 177), the team's top returning scorer from last season at 14.7 ppg and a preseason All-MWC selection, is adding 13.0 points while true freshman guard Eric Lane (6-1, 173) adds more instant offense off the bench with 9.3 points in 15.7 minutes per game. Like last season, junior forward Jason Ellis (6-7, 216) is leading the way on the boards with 7.7 rebounds per game followed by Karl's 6.3 average and 5.3 rpg from Haynes. Senior guard Joe Skiffer (6-3, 204) leads the team with 4.3 assists per game. As a team, Boise State is shooting .484 from the floor, including .373 on threes, and .797 from the line while scoring 89.7 points per game. The Broncos are allowing opponents 67.0 points and .400 and .254 shooting percentages from the field and from long range, respectively. The Broncos have a a 2.6 advantage on the boards over their opponents.
BOISE STATE GAME 3 RECAP (EASTERN OREGON)
The Boise State basketball team went over the 100-point mark for the first time since scoring 106 points during the 1985-86 season. The Broncos 113-67 win over Eastern Oregon on Saturday night in The Pavilion at Boise State snapped a streak of 500 games without scoring in triple digits. The 113 points is the fourth most in school history trailing only the 119 scored against Portland State during the 1970-71 season, and the 115 scored against Portland State during the 1971-72 season and Northern Colorado during the 1974-75 season. Boise State used a balanced attack, placing five players in double digits with two more scoring nine points and one scoring eight points. Freshman Coby Karl led the way with 19 points, while just missing a double-double with a team-high nine rebounds. Junior Jermaine Blackburn added 18 points in just 19 minutes of action, while freshman Eric Lane had 16 points, four assists, and two steals. All-WAC preseason selection Aaron Haynes chipped in 14 points and senior center Kostas Avgerinos scored 11 points to go with six boards and three blocks. The Broncos (3-0) broke open the game with a 36-2 run that took a Boise State lead from 24-16 with 8:47 to play in the first half to 60-18 with 16:58 to play in the second half.
BOISE STATE GAME 2 RECAP (UVSC)
Jermaine Blackburn scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half as Boise State overcame a sluggish start and beat Utah Valley State 80-68 at The Pavilion at Boise State. Blackburn, who took just three shots in the first half, connected on 8-of-11 shots in the second half to help Boise State (2-0) break open a game the Broncos trailed 32-31 at the half. Blackburn was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line, while making 3-of-6 three-pointers on the night. He also had five rebounds. Aaron Haynes added 15 points and six rebounds, while freshman Coby Karl chipped in 13 points and five assists. Jason Ellis led the Broncos with nine rebounds, while Joe Skiffer moved into fifth all-time in assists at Boise State with his game-high six assists giving him 251 for his career. The Broncos won their first two games for the first time since the 1998-99 season when they started 4-0.
BOISE STATE GAME 1 RECAP (PORTLAND)
Depth is nice to have. With Boise State playing its season opener without All-WAC candidate Bryan Defares, the Broncos got 47 points from guys playing in their first game in a Boise State uniform en route to a 76-66 win over Portland at the Chiles Center in Portland. Freshman Coby Karl, getting the start in place of Defares, led the Broncos with 19 points--including seven from the free throw line in the last 8:07 of the game. Karl also had a team-best four assists while making all nine of his free throws in the game. Karl got help from a slew of other Broncos, most who came off the bench. Junior college transfer Jermaine Blackburn had 17 points and six rebounds (four offensive). Junior college transfer Franco Harris added six points, while true freshman Eric Lane had five points.
BOISE STATE'S PROJECTED STARTERS (BASED ON LAST GAME)
POS. # NAME HT. WT. YR. PPG RPG
F 15 Aaron Haynes 6-7 177 Sr. 13.0 5.3
F 45 Jason Ellis 6-7 216 Jr. 6.3 7.7
G 1 Bryan Defares 6-4 220 Sr. 5.0 2.5
G 4 Joe Skiffer 6-3 204 Sr. 5.0 1.3
G 20 Booker Nabors 6-4 184 Sr. 6.3 2.0
BYU leads the series 5-2 after winning the last outing at the 2000 Yahoo Sports Invitational in Laie, Hawaii. That win ended a two straight Boise victories over the Cougars, the first in Provo during the 1996-97 season and the second in Boise in BYU coach Steve Cleveland's first year in 1997-98. BYU is 1-1 in Boise with its win coming in 1982 by a slim 68-67 tally.
The Cougars are the preseason favorite to win the Mountain West Conference this year, returning four starters from last year's 23-9 co-championship team that advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Four-year starter Mark Bigelow and fellow senior Rafael Araujo were both named to the Preseason All-MWC Team and are MWC Player of the Year candidates. Bigelow is the team's top returning scorer at 13.9 ppg while Araujo pulled down a team-best 8.9 rebounds last year. Senior guard Kevin Woodberry and junior forward Jared Jensen also return as starters for BYU coach Steve Cleveland. Key newcomers include junior transfer Mike Hall and freshmen Mike Rose and Garner Meads. After three games, Hall leads the Cougars in scoring at 17.3 after putting up consistent totals of 16, 17 and 19 points. Araujo contributes 15.0 points with Rose adding 9.3 and Bigelow and Woodberry 8.0 each. Araujo pulls down a team-leading 8.0 rebounds followed by Hall at 5.7 and Bigelow at 4.0. Lemes leads the team in assists (3.6) followed by Woodberry (3.3). As a team, the Cougars shoot .475 from the floor, including .357 on threes, and .774 from the line while scoring 72.7 points per game. BYU allows 55.3 points while the opposition has shot .405 from the field and .262 from behind the arc. BYU has a four rebound advantage per game on the boards.
LAST OUTING -- ARAUJO, HALL LEAD COUGARS IN WIN OVER UTAH VALLEY STATE COLLEGE
PROVO -- In their first-ever meeting against Utah Valley State College, the BYU Cougars defeated the Wolverines 84-65 Saturday night in the Marriott Center with four players scoring in double figures. Rafael Araujo led the Cougars with 24 points, followed by Mike Hall with 19, Luiz Lemes with 15 and Mark Bigelow with 12. Araujo grabbed 12 rebounds to post his first double-double of the season, pulling down four clutch offensive boards. BYU coach Steve Cleveland was impressed with Hall's activity in the contest. "Mike Hall deserves the game ball tonight," Cleveland said. "He's been really steady and is so strong. He can take the ball to people and finish. He did a really good job defensively." In the second half the Cougars led by as many as 21 points. The Cougars gained the 21-point advantage when Hall ignited a 10-0 run with a trey with 7:32 left to play in the second half. Hall also came up big for the Cougars on defense as he held UVSC's Ronnie Price to only two points in the second half. Price scored 24 in the first half, going 4-for-4 in from three-point range before BYU made the switch to have Hall guard Price as the Cougars began the second half of play. "I was really impressed with Utah Valley," Cleveland said. "They came out and competed, but it wasn't anything less than I expected. They competed right to the end." Jon Bell got the Wolverines on the board first as he made the first two points of the game. UVSC's effort to hold its early lead was ousted when the Cougars went on a 9-0 run early in the first half. The 9-0 run ended for BYU when Jared Jensen was caught with a foul that sent UVSC's Ryan Toolson to the line only to walk away with two more points for the Wolverines. Another Cougar tide arose as Araujo put down a two-handed dunk followed by a forced UVSC travel by freshmen Michael Rose. Lemes drew a foul and made the layup to put the Cougars up 24-11. The Cougars shot 44.8 percent followed by a close Wolverine 42.9 percent in the BYU victory. With the win BYU improves to a 2-1 record on the season while USVC falls to 0-3 on the year.
LAST ROAD OUTING -- COUGARS FALL ON LATE TIP-IN BUCKET AT CAL
BERKELEY -- Amit Tamir's tip-in with 5.8 seconds left gave Cal a 47-46 win, thwarting BYU's comeback effort Wednesday night at Haas Pavilion. The Cougars fought back from an eight-point deficit to take a 46-45 lead late in the game behind the scoring of JC transfer Mike Hall, who scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half.BYU had a chance to extend its one-point lead when senior guard Kevin Woodberry was fouled with 21 seconds left in the game, but Woodberry missed the front end of a one-and-one to set up Tamir's game-winning score. The Cougars' late-game run was sparked by Terry Nashif, who hit a three-pointer with 8:20 left in the game to cut the Bears lead to 43-38. Mark Bigelow would then hit a layup to bring the Cougars within three. Hall scored three baskets to cap off the Cougars' 11-2 run. A defensive game throughout, BYU shot 38 percent from the floor and held the Bears to a 33 percent success rate on their shots. BYU and Cal also had trouble holding onto the ball with BYU turning the ball over 21 times while Cal committed 18 turnovers. The Cougars' big men were limited by foul trouble throughout the night. Rafael Araujo, who finished the game with nine points and seven rebounds, was on the bench for most of the second half after fouling out with just over nine minutes left in the game. "We fought through it and put ourselves in a position to win the game," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "But we didn't lose this game in the final seconds. We lost this game in the first half with 13 turnovers." BYU falls to 1-1 with the loss while the Bears improve to 1-1.
NONCONFERENCE VICTORY STREAK IN THE MARRIOTT CENTER
The Cougars have defeated 36 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.
BYU SCHEDULE INCLUDES ACC, BIG 12 AND PAC-10 OPPONENTS
Potential matchups with six nonconference opponents that made the 2003 NCAA Tournament, including teams from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Big 12 Conference and Pac-10 Conference, and 15 overall contests against teams that qualified for postseason play last year highlight the 2003-04 BYU men's basketball schedule. "We look forward to what should be a very challenging schedule with more than half our games being against teams that qualified for postseason last year," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "We face some very talented teams during nonconference and every game is a battle during the Mountain West season."
WINNING BASKETBALL TRADITION
With its all-time record of 1452-932 (.609), 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.
HALL IS MODEL OF CONSISTENCY OVER FIRST THREE GAMES
Junior College All-American Transfer Mike Hall from Dixie State College has shown why he was recruited by BYU. The junior guard is scoring a team-leading 17.3 points and is second in rebounds at 5.7 boards per outing. He has been consistent, scoring 16 points in the opener against Southern Utah, totaling a team-high 17 at Cal and putting up 19 against UVSC. He has taken a team-high 35 shots while connecting 21 times for a 60 percent success rate from the floor. He has made seven field goals in each game. He is 8-9 from the line and 2-7 on threes. While carrying the offensive load at Cal, including 13 second-half points in BYU's comeback, he also showed his defensive versatility by guarding Cal's 6-10 Amit Tamir much of the second half with BYU's post players in foul trouble. Tamir went 1-for-7 from the floor in the final half. Hall proved his ability as a defensive stopper on the perimeter against UVSC when he was assigned to guard the Wolverines' 6-foot-1 Ronnie Price in the second half after Price put up 20 first-half points after getting to the line for seven attempts and going 5-for-7 from the floor, including a perfect 4-for-4 on threes. Price scored four more quick points to begin the final half before Hall was put in the game. With Hall clamping down, Price managed just one field goal on an out-of-bounds play and went 1-of-8 shooting against Hall, including 0-4 from behind the arc and did not get to the free throw line.
ROSE BLOOMS IN 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. Rose played four minutes without taking a shot at Cal and logged 13 minutes against UVSC, scoring two points on 1-for-2 shooting, missing his only trey attempt.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR ...
ÃƒÂ½ Mark Bigelow will pass Marty Haws on BYU's career scoring list with his next basket. Bigelow needs just two points to move into 13th place on the Cougar all-time points list. He currently has 1,336 points, one behind Haws.
ÃƒÂ½ Mark Bigelow looks to break out of his shooting slump. The senior, four-year starter and All-MWC preseason pick is shooting just 29.6 percent from the floor, including 15.4 percent on threes in his first three games while averaging 8.0 points per game. He is BYU's all-time three-point leader and the team's top returning scorer from a year ago (13.9) with a career scoring average over 14 points per game. He came in with career shooting percentages of 43 percent from the floor and 41 percent on threes.
ÃƒÂ½ Mike Hall will attempt to achieve his fourth straight double-digit scoring outing. Hall has scored 16, 17 and 19 points, respectively, in the first three games.
ÃƒÂ½ BYU has two skilled post players and usually achieve victory when they make major contributions. BYU is 4-0, all last season, when Araujo and Jensen both contribute 10 or more points in a game. The Cougars are 7-3, 1-0 this year, when Araujo leads the team in scoring and 6-3, 1-0 this season, when Araujo posts a double-double. BYU was 10-1 last year, 0-0 this season, when Jared Jensen scores double-digit points from his forward slot. Including Jensen's freshman season when he played center before Araujo's arrival, BYU is 18-6 when Jensen scores in double figures.
ÃƒÂ½ The Cougars can break their four-game nonconference road losing skid Tuesday with a win. Since BYU's last nonconference road win at Arizona State last year, the Cougars have lost at Creighton, San Francisco, Weber State and Cal. BYU has won 36 straight nonconference home games since losing to Cal in December 1998 when Mark Bigelow was a freshman. Overall, BYU was 6-5 on the road last season, going 5-2 in MWC opponent arenas. The Cougars went 4-3 in neutral court games last season.
Rafael Araujo set new career highs with 11 free throws made and 13 free throw attempts vs. UVSC Saturday ... Luiz Lemes established career highs in six categories and equaled another against UVSC with 15 points, three rebounds, four field goals made, seven field goal attempts, six free throws made and nine free throw attempts all personal bests and his two steals matching his career high ... Mike Hall had personal bests of 19 points, eight rebounds, two assists, four free throws made, five free throws attempted, four three-pointers attempted, and 14 field goals attempted while tying career highs with seven field goals made and one trey made ... Garner Meads had a career-high six points along with new highs in field goals made, attempted, free throws made, attempted and steals ... Mark Roberts tied a career-high three rebounds in only six minutes vs. UVSC.
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 victories 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.
CURRENT BYU WIN/LOSS STREAKS ...
At home 7-0
On the road 0-1
On a neutral floor 0-2
At home vs. Nonconference 36-0
At home vs. MWC 5-0
On the road vs. Nonconference 0-4
On the road vs. MWC 2-0
On a neutral floor vs. Nonconference 0-2
On a neutral floor vs. MWC 0-1
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.
BYU IN THE POLLS
BYU was listed as 31st in this past week's USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll and tied for 39th in this week's Associated Press Poll. New polls are released Monday.
BIGELOW SET TO MOVE PAST MARTY HAWS TUESDAY ON COUGAR CAREER SCORING LIST
Despite a slow start in point production from BYU's top returning scorer, senior Mark Bigelow has moved into 14th place on BYU's all-time scoring list past Joe Nelson (1,317 points from 1947-50). Bigelow needs just two points to surpass the 1,337 points scored by Marty Haws (1987-90) to move into 13th place. Bigelow should steadily climb the list in his final season with the chance to finish his career among the top four scorers in Cougar hoops history.
COUGARS COMING OFF SUCCESSFUL SUMMER TOUR TO AUSTRALIA
Getting an early jump on the upcoming season, BYU participated in a six-game tour of Australia against professional teams in Sydney, Brisbane and Cairns. "Four years ago when we went to Europe it helped us get a head start on the season," BYU Coach Steve Cleveland said. "This was a nice opportunity to implement our system and give the players some good experience. Everyone got a chance to play significant minutes." BYU earned the first of four consecutive postseason tournament berths under Cleveland in 2000 after its summer 1999 trip to England, Croatia and Italy. The NCAA allows a foreign tour once every four years. The team was also allowed 10 additional practice days to prepare for the trip. All of last year's returning players were allowed to make the trip, including redshirt freshmen Austin Ainge and Garner Meads. Newcomers Mike Hall and Michael Rose, along with returning missionary Derek Dawes, were not eligible for the trip. The Cougars played six games in seven nights, posting a 4-2 record. Senior Mark Bigelow led the team, scoring 21.6 points in 27 minutes per game. Senior center Rafael Araujo added 14.0 ppg and a team-high 7.7 rpg in 20 minutes of action. Redshirt freshman Garner Meads scored 9.3 ppg and pulled down 6.0 rpg. The tour also includes visits to the Sydney Opera House, Taronga Zoo, Manly Beach and the Great Barrier Reef.
BYU LANDS TOP-20 RECRUITING CLASS
Four highly regarded high school recruits signed a letter-of-intent to play basketball at BYU during the November signing period. Rated one of the top-20 recruiting classes nationally and the third-best class in the West, BYU received official commitments from top prospects David Burgess (Irvine, Calif.), Lee Cummard (Mesa, Ariz.), Chris Miles (Provo, Utah) and Trent Plaisted (San Antonio, Texas).
In 2002-03, BYU earned its fourth straight postseason berth and second NCAA bid in the last three years while claiming a share of the Mountain West Conference regular season title for the second time in the last three years. Playing among the nation's toughest schedules, including 11 different conferences on its non-league slate, the Cougars finished the year with a 23-9 overall record, going 11-4 through the pre-conference schedule before earning a share of the MWC regular season title with Utah at 11-3. The Cougars went 1-1 at the MWC Tournament before losing to No. 5-seed Connecticut at the NCAA Tournament in Spokane, Wash. BYU went 13-1 at home and 10-8 away, including a 4-3 neutral record and 6-5 road mark. The Cougars had the MWC's top defense and also won the preseason Paradise Jam title in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. BYU was led by senior guard Travis Hansen, junior swingman Mark Bigelow and junior center Rafael Araujo. Hansen, one of two first-team All-MWC consensus players, led the team in scoring (16.8) and blocks (20) and was second in assists (2.4) and rebounds (4.8). Bigelow, a third-team All-MWC selection, was second in scoring (13.9), third in rebounding (3.7) and the team's top three-point shooter (63). Araujo, a third-team All-MWC pick, was the third-leading scorer (12.0) and top rebounder (8.9). Sophomore forward Jared Jensen, who received All-MWC honorable mention, added 7.5 points and 3.3 rebounds while JC transfer Kevin Woodberry averaged 6.3 points and 2.5 assists at the point.
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.
NATION'S LARGEST INCREASE IN ATTENDANCE
In 2002-2003, BYU averaged the 17th largest crowd in the nation at 14,468. The NCAA announced that BYU achieved the nation's largest average increase over the prior season (an average increase of 5,838 per game more than the 8,630 that attended games 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 was the largest crowd since 1992 and the 21st largest crowd in school history.
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.
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