LAS -- No. 6-seeded BYU, 20-9 overall, advances to the Mountain West Conference Tournament Finals to face top-seeded UNLV, 22-7, on the Rebels home court in the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas Saturday. The game starts at 7 p.m. Pacific (8 p.m. Mountain) and will televised by ESPN. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM with Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant calling the action.
Mountain West Tournament Championship Game
BYU (20-9) vs. UNLV (22-7)
Saturday, March 11 Â• Thomas & Mack Center (18,500) Â• Las Vegas Â• 7 p.m. Pacific (8 p.m. Mtn)
Network: Cougar Sports Network
Station: KSL Newsradio 1160 AM
Air Time: 6:30 p.m. Pacific (7:30 p.m.Mtn)
Play-by-play: Greg Wrubell
Analyst: Mark Durrant
Air Time: 7 p.m. Pacific (8 p.m. Mtn)
Play-by-play: Bob Carpenter
Analyst: Jimmy Dykes
BYU's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 42 Nathan Cooper 6-5 210 Jr. 5.9 3.3
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-8 210 So. 5.6 4.2
F 15 Mekeli Wesley 6-9 230 Jr. 17.2 5.8
G 24 Terrell Lyday 6-3 190 Jr. 17.4 4.0
G 13 Michael Vranes 6-3 190 So. 7.7 4.1
BYU Coach: Steve Cleveland
Record at BYU: 41-46 (3rd year)
Overall Div. I record: Same
UNLV's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 10 Dalron Johnson 6-9 205 Fr. 11.1 7.0
F 14 Donovan Stewart 6-4 210 Jr. 4.7 2.3
C 34 Kaspars Kambala 6-9 250 Jr. 18.6 9.3
G 11 Mark Dickel 6-2 175 Sr. 13.5 4.0
G 3 Trevor Diggs 6-3 185 Jr. 15.0 1.7
UNLV Coach: Bill Bayno
Record at UNLV: 90-59 (5th year)
Overall record: Same
Series Record: Tied 4-4
Game Time: 7 p.m. Pacific (8 p.m. Mtn)
UNLV is 22-7 overall and finished the conference as the top seed at 10-4, winning the tiebreaker with Utah. UNLV is coming off Mountain West Conference Tournament wins over No. 8-seed San Diego State and No. 5 seed Wyoming. in the Mountain West Conference. UNLV's conference losses include two to BYU, one at Utah and one at Wyoming. The Rebels won their first five games of the year before losing to North Carolina (102-78) at the Food Lion MVP Classic in Charlotte, N.C. UNLV also has losses to nationally ranked Oklahoma State (89-75) and Cincinnati(106-66). Two starters and five letterwinners return from last year's 16-13 team that qualified for the NIT Tournament and tied for first in the WAC Mountain Division. Kaspars Kambala leads the Rebels in scoring (18.6), followed by Trevor Diggs (15.0) and Mark Dickel (13.5). Mark Dickel (Sr., G) leads the nation in assists. As a team, the Rebels shoot 46 percent from the floor, 32 percent on threes and 68 percent from the line while scoring 83 points per contest.
This will be the ninth meeting between the two schools. The series is tied 4-4 (2-2 in Las Vegas and 2-2 in Provo). BYU has won the last two games, both close contests this year (77-75 in Las Vegas in conference opener and 83-82 in Provo). Playing in different WAC divisions last year, the two schools did not play. Before this year, the Rebels won the previous meeting, an 84-76 victory in Provo on Feb. 21, 1998. UNLV also won in Las Vegas that same year with a 76-63 win on Jan. 22, 1998. BYU's previous game in Las Vegas was in 1982 (52-50 Rebel win). Before this year's victory, BYU's last win in Provo was during the 1980-81 season (86-77) when BYU swept the season series also winning an overtime battle in Las Vegas (92-90).
PROVO -- BYU held on to defeat UNLV in the Marriott Center, 83-82, when a Trevor Diggs 17-footer with Michael Vranes in his face missed the mark for the Rebels at the final buzzer. BYU led by as many as 11 and never relinquished the lead during the game's final 28 minutes, but nearly allowed the Rebels to steal a win because of missed free throws down the stretch. The Cougars led by seven with just over 30 seconds remaining but with three different Cougars missed free pitches at the line, UNLV was able to nearly erase the Cougar lead. Five Cougars scored in double figures for the first time since the second game of the season, led by Terrell Lyday with 22 points. Mekeli Wesley added 17, Todd Christensen 15, Vranes 12 and Eric Nielsen 11. Vranes pulled down a team-high seven rebounds and Wesley and Lyday both had career bests with six and five assists, respectively. Kaspars Kambala led all scorers with 27 points for UNLV. Diggs totaled 21 and Dalron Johnson 14. BYU shot 52 percent from the floor, including 6-12 on threes, while UNLV shot 48 percent and was 6-16 from behind the arc. BYU finished at 62 percent from the line going 21-34. BYU actually made 13 free throws in a row at one point in the second half before going cold in the final minutes. The Cougars had 21 assists to only 12 turnovers.
LAS VEGAS -- Terrell Lyday scored 30 points, grabbed a career-best 11 rebounds and tied a career high with six steals to lead BYU to a 77-75 upset win over UNLV. Lyday score 30 points for the second straight game, making 10-17 shots, including 5-10 from three-point range, and all five free throws. Lyday scored a career-best 35 at Utah State. Mekeli Wesley scored 17 points while Michael Vranes added nine and Todd Christensen eight. Christensen, who started his second straight game at the point in place of Matt Montague, hit a big three with 3:04 left in the game to extend BYU's lead to four at 70-66. Montague played 24 minutes off the bench and dished out a team-high seven assists while scoring a season-best six points. He made two clutch free throws with less than a minute to keep the Cougars in front. BYU led at the half 42-32. BYU shot 48 percent to the Rebels' 39 and made 10-19 threes. UNLV Head Coach Bill Bayno missed the game while serving a one-game suspension for missing a mandatory Mountain West Conference head coaches meeting on Oct. 21. Glynn Cyprien, associate head coach, coached the rebels in Bayno's absence.
BYU MWC Tournament Notables
Â• BYU is shooting 39 percent from the floor in its two tournament wins this week. They have held New Mexico and Utah to a combined 29 percent shooting.
Â• The Cougars are being out rebounded so far in their two wins, 43.5-36.0.
Â• Terrell Lyday leads BYU with a 19.5 points per game average in the two wins. He is also adding five rebounds and three assists per game. Lyday, who lead the league in steals during the regular season, has not recorded a steal in the tournament. In the last game with UNLV in the Thomas and Mack Center, Lyday had a season-high six steals.
Â• Eric Nielsen is playing his best ball of the season. The returned missionary from Russia, has not only had the season to get his legs back but he has had to step up and assume a greater offensive role with the loss of Silester Rivers to knee surgery last week. Nielsen is averaging 12.5 points and 10 rebounds in the two tournament victories while setting career highs in each game. Against New Mexico, he pulled down a career-best 11 rebounds while scoring eight points. Last night versus Utah, Nielsen scored a game-high 17 points to best his previous career best of 15 during his freshman season before his mission. He also added a team-high nine rebounds in the victory over rival Utah. Nielsen is shooting 61 percent from the floor in the two games (11-18) and makes 56 percent of his shots on the year. His 13 shots against Utah was a season high (8 was previous high versus Denver).
Â• BYU is making its first appearance in a conference tournament championship game since 1994 when they fell to Hawaii, 73-66. The last time the Cougars won a league tournament crown was in 1992 when they defeated UTEP, 73-71, on a three-quarter court buzzer-beater by Kevin Nixon in Fort Collins, Colo.
Â• The starting lineup of Michael Vranes, Terrell Lyday, Nathan Cooper, Eric Nielsen and Mekeli Wesley has started the last three games and is now 3-0 as a group. Nathan Cooper has started the last four games, his only starts of the season, and BYU is 4-0 in those games. BYU coach Cleveland has used seven different lineups this season.
MWC Series Notables
With its two wins over UNLV this year, BYU evened its series with the Rebels at 4-4. With its win Friday over Utah, BYU ended a 12-game losing skid to the Utes and is now even in that series at 114-114. BYU has a winning record against every other Mountain West team. With its win over New Mexico and Utah in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, BYU has now beaten each MWC team this season.
Cougars Defeat Lobos in Opening Round
BYU defeated New Mexico 55-43 Thursday in the conference quarterfinals. BYU has now opened with a tournament upset win in each of the last two seasons. BYU held New Mexico to 43 points, equaling the fewest points allowed by BYU this season (South Carolina State also scored 43). Lyday led BYU with 23 points and Mekeli Wesley added 10. Eric Nielsen had a career-high 11 rebounds while Michael Vranes did a good job containing Lamont Long. The Lobo star had scored 27 and 28 points in the previous two matchups but with Vranes taking the defensive assignment, Long was limited to 13 points, including only two first-half points. BYU shot 37 percent for the game but held the Lobos to 28 percent, including only 1-15 three-pointers, the worst three-point game by a BYU opponent this season.
Cougars Top Utes
BYU defeated rival Utah for the first time this year and the first time in the last 13 games to even the overall series at 114-114. BYU was led by Eric Nielsen and Terrell Lyday. Nielsen had a career-high 17 points and a team-high nine rebounds while playing 39 minutes against the much bigger Utah post players. He made 7-13 field goal attempts and dished out two assists while only committing one turnover. Lyday scored 16 points with six rebounds and two assists to extend his consecutive games streak in double-figures scoring to 18 straight games. BYU held Utah to season lows in field goal percentage (30.9) and field goals made (17). BYU committed a season-low six turnovers. With the win and its previous victory over New Mexico, BYU has now beaten each of the MWC teams at least once this season.
Cougars in the Conference Tournament
The Cougars have a 14-13 record in conference tournament games, which includes a 2-0 Mountain West tournament record and a 12-13 record in WAC tournament games. BYU's win over New Mexico Thursday marks the second straight year the Cougars have upset their opening round opponent. Last year BYU upset TCU in its first-round game, 90-74, before losing to Utah for the third time last year. Friday's upset win over Utah marks the first time the Cougars have one two tournament games and advanced to the tournament finals since 1994 when BYU beat Utah 96-65 and Fresno State 87-72 in the Delta Center in Salt Lake City before losing to Hawaii in the finals, 73-66. The last time BYU won the conference tournament title was in 1992, when the Cougars' Kevin Nixon hit a dramatic three-quarter court shot at the buzzer to defeat UTEP, 73-71, in Fort Collins, Colo. BYU assistant coach Nate Call was on that team.
Tournament Title Game First
This is the first time the BYU men's and women's basketball teams have both reached the tournament finals in the same season. The women/s team last went to the finals in 1993.
BYU's record when . . .
BYU leads at half 17-1
Opponent leads at half 2-7
Score tied at half 1-1
BYU leads with 5 minutes left 19-1
Opponent leads with 5 min. left 0-8
BYU leads with 1 minute left 19-0
Opponent leads with 1 min. left 1-9
Score tied with 1 minute left 0-0
Game goes into overtime 1-0
BYU out rebounds opponent 13-0
Opponent out rebounds BYU 7-9
BYU and opponent tie in rebounds 0-0
BYU shoots 50 % or better 11-0
Opponent shoots 50 % or better 0-5
BYU out shoots opponent 19-1
Opponent out shoots BYU 1-8
In BYU's seven conference losses this year, the Cougars shot 40 percent from the floor in three games, 41 percent in three and 38 percent in one. In BYU's seven conference wins, the Cougars shot 42, 48, 49, 50, 52, 54 and 61percent from the floor. BYU out shot its opponents in both games this week (19-1 in those games and 1-8 when they don't out shoot the opponent). BYU shot a season-best 61.2 percent vs. AFA last week at home. The Cougars are 11-0 when they shoot 50 percent or better.
BYU has a four-game winning streak. This year the Cougars have had two five-game winning streaks. BYU has had three two-game losing streaks this year, all in conference play, but has not lost three straight games this year. Last year BYU had two three-game losing streaks and one four-game skid. BYU is 2-0 on a neutral floor after having lost its last three away games. BYU had a four-game road winning streak earlier this year, which was the longest road win streak since 1992-93, when the Cougars won six straight road games.
Assist vs. Turnover Trends
BYU had a season-low six turnovers vs. Utah and 7 assists (fourth time with single-digit assists). It marked the first back-to-back turnover games for BYU this year (and fourth of the year) after BYU had 11 assists and 8 turnovers vs. UNM. BYU had 14 assists and 17 turnovers vs. SDSU and 16 assists and 12 turnovers vs. AFA. In the previous two games BYU had a season-low six assists at CSU and only nine assists at Wyoming, its third lowest total of the year. BYU surpassed 20 assists in a game for the fourth time this year (all wins) with 21 assists in its previous home game vs. UNLV. It is the only time the Cougars did so in conference play. The other 20-plus assist games came at Denver (21), vs. Texas Southern (20) and vs. South Carolina State (23). Against MWC opponents, BYU has had more assists than turnovers in seven of 16 games. On the year, BYU averages 14.1 assists and 13.8 turnovers. (Last year BYU averaged 17.3 turnovers per game to only 12.8 assists). In conference play, BYU averaged 12.9 assists and 14.6 turnovers in 14 games. BYU has had 15 games this year where it has had more assists than turnovers, one game when assists equaled turnovers and 13 games when it has had more turnovers than assists.
BYU was 3-13 vs. Utah and 4-13 vs. UNM. BYU shot 50 percent (4-8) on threes vs. AFA (7-18 vs. SDSU). BYU has shot 50 percent or better nine times this year. The Cougars are 8-1 when they shoot 50 percent or better on three-point attempts (lost at S.Alabama despite hitting season high 61.5 percent on threes). BYU made nine threes, two off its high for the season, while attempting a season-high 23 treys at Wyoming. BYU has made nine or more threes three previous times this season -- all in road wins (11 at FIU, 9 at Utah State and 10 at UNLV). Since entering its first game with CSU when BYU was third in the nation in three-point shooting at 42 percent, BYU went 55-168 (.327) on threes in the next 11 games to finish the regular season and fall to 38.3 percent. BYU went 5-6 record in those games. In those 11 games, Terrell Lyday shot 17-52 (.327) on threes, Michael Vranes 9-29 (.310), Mekeli Wesley 7-24 (.292),Nathan Cooper 6-16 (.375) and Todd Christensen 13-34 (.382).
Lyday From Behind the Arc
Lyday set a BYU record streak for consecutive games with a three-pointer at 21 this year (first 21 games). The prior consecutive games record was 16 set by Andy Toolson in 1990. After going 0-3 vs. Utah on threes, Lyday has made a three in 27 of BYU's 29 games this year. Lyday made 2-5 vs. UNM and made three treys last Saturday vs. San Diego State-- the seventh time he has made three or more treys in a game this year, but the first time in the last 10 games. He has 17 games this year with two or more threes in a game.
More BYU's Record When ...
BYU is 2-1 in games decided by two points or less; 1-2 in 3-5-point games; 4-2 in 6-9-point games; and 13-4 in double-digit margins. Mekeli Wesley has either shared or been BYU's top scorer in 15 games this season and the Cougars are 9-6 in those games. He has also been BYU's top rebounder in 13 games. BYU is 9-4 in those games. BYU is 5-4 in the games when Mekeli Wesley was both the team's leading scorer and rebounder. Terrell Lyday has shared or led BYU in scoring in 12 games and BYU is 8-4 in those contests. When the Cougars get good scoring efforts from its supporting cast, they have been hard to beat. BYU is 8-1 when Michael Vranes has scored in double figures and 7-1 when Christensen scores in double digits. They were 6-1 (all but at UNM) when Rivers reaches double figures, and are 5-1 (all but at AFA) when Eric Nielsen had double digits and 5-2 when Cooper (except UNM and at Utah) has scored 10 or more.
Wesley Moves Up Scoring Ladder
Mekeli Wesley, who now has 1,113 career points, moved into 24th place this week on BYU's career scoring list this week when he passed Mark Handy (1,099 points, 1974-77), John Fairchild (1,106 points, 1964-65), and Gary Earnest (1,108 points, 1959-61). Last week he overtook Randy Reid (1,073 points, 1993-96) and Mel Hutchins (1,084 points, 1948-51). Wesley needs 5 to overtake Joe Richey (1,117 points, 1951-53) and 16 to surpass Steve Schreiner (1,128 points, 1989-91) into the 22nd spot. Wesley is only the 32nd player in BYU history to reach 1,000 points and only the eighth to do so as a junior (even though he missed part of sophomore season). Danny Ainge (1978-81) tops the career list at 2,467 points. Other players to reach 1,000 points before the end of their junior years were Ainge, Michael Smith, Devin Durrant, Russell Larson, Fred and Ken Roberts and Jeff Chatman.
BYU's defense has been a large part of the Cougars success this year as is evident by BYU's two wins this week when BYU held its opponents to 29 percent shooting, including 20 percent on threes. BYU held Utah to its season low in FG percentage (30.9) and FGs made (17). Only five teams have shot 50 percent or better against BYU but four came in the last half of the conference season. Wyoming shot 51 percent; CSU 58.5; UNM 51; and Utah 56 percent (UNLV nearly hit the mark at 48 percent). Arizona is the other team at 54 percent. In BYU's four other losses, S. Alabama shot .490, UNM .452, Utah .429 and AFA .392. The Cougars rank first in the MWC in both field goal percentage defense and three-point field goal percentage defense. The Cougars held SDSU to 34.5 percent and AFA to 33 percent. They have held opponents below a 40 percent shooting in 17 games. BYU is 16-1 in those games (exception - at Air Force). BYU holds opponents to 63.9 points. Individually BYU has had outstanding defensive efforts, including Michael Vranes containing Lamont Long Thursday and Terrell Lyday helping hold Eddie House of Arizona State to a 0-16 night -- the only time House has gone without a field goal in his career.
BYU has scored more than 80 points in a six games and averages 70.9 points. BYU has shot better than 50 percent in 11 games (all wins). BYU made a season-best 61.2 percent of its attempts vs. AFA last week. With their loss at CSU, the Cougars have shot below 40 percent four times -- 38.1 at CSU, 36.5 percent in a loss at No.4 Arizona, a season-low 29.6 in a win at UCSB and 29.6 percent at AFA. The Cougars are shooting 46 percent (37.6 on threes and 69.8 percent from the line. BYU is 11-0 when it shots 50 percent or better and 19-1 when it out shoots its opponent (except at AFA). Two regular players are shooting better than 50 percent. Eric Nielsen makes 56 percent to lead BYU. Mekeli Wesley makes 47.6 percent while Todd Christensen (46.8) and Terrell Lyday (46.1) have the best percentages from the back court. Cooper makes a team-best 77.6 percent from the line.
On the Boards
BYU is pulling down 34.5 rebounds per game and its opponents 35.3. The Cougars are 13-0 when they have out rebounded their opponents and 7-9 when the opposition totalled more boards. BYU has been out boarded in both tournament games this week but has received an out standing effort from Eric Nielsen, who is averaging 10 rpg this week. BYU had 42 rbs vs. SDSU, the seventh time over 40 this year and first time in last 10 games. Mekeli Wesley leads BYU with 5.8 rebounds per game, including a team-best 129 defensive boards. Nielsen has a team-high 40 offensive rebounds (along with Silester Rivers, now out for the year. Wesley and Cooper have 39 and Cooper 34. BYU was out boarded in nine of its 14 MWC games (Utah, UNM, AFA, Wyo, Utah, UNM, UNLV, CSU, Wyoming).
Coach Cleveland Show
Radio: Coach Steve Cleveland can be heard next Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. with host Greg Wrubell on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM.
BYU Starting Lineups
UCR Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
SUU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Ariz. Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Den. Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
ASU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
TSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
WSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
SCSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
USA Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
FIU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley
UCSB Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley
UCI Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
USU Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
UNLV Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Utah Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley
Wyo Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
CSU Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
AFA Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
UNM Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
SDSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Utah Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
UNM Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley
UNLV Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
CSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Wyo Vranes, Lyday, Roberts, Nielsen, Wesley
AFA Vranes, Christensen, Lyday, Cooper, Wesley
SDSU Vranes, Lyday, Cooper, Nielsen, Wesley
UNM Vranes, Lyday, Cooper, Nielsen, Wesley
Utah Vranes, Lyday, Cooper, Nielsen, Wesley
Starting Lineup Record (total)
Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley 10-5 (15)
Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley 2-1 (3)
Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley 4-1 (5)
Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley 0-1 (1)
Vranes, Lyday, Roberts, Nielsen, Wesley 0-1 (1)
Vranes, Christensen, Lyday, Cooper, Wesley 1-0 (1)
Vranes, Lyday, Cooper, Nielsen, Wesley 3-0 (3)
Mekeli Wesley Â• 17.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg Â• (17.4, 5.4 MWC Games)
Wesley is BYU's top rebounder and has been BYU's leading scorer all year until Lyday took a slight statistical edge after Friday's game when Mekeli scored a season-low seven points. He has been BYU's top scorer in 15 games this season and has scored in double figures in 26 of BYU's 29 games, including 18 straight until Friday. He has 11 games with 20 or more points and one game with more than 30. In the tournament, he had 10 pts, 6rbs vs. UNM and 7 pts, 4 rbs vs. Utah. He had 15 pts, 5 rbs, 2 assts, 2 blks, 1 steal vs. SDSU Saturday. He had a game-high 18 pts, including 14 in the first half, and a team-high 7 rbs vs. AFA. He scored a game-high 25 pts, and 4 rbs, team-best 3 assts, and 2 steals at Wyoming. He was 2-9 for 11 pts and only 2 rbs at CSU Thursday. Despite playing on a sprained ankle last week, he scored a team-high 22 vs. UNLV along with a career-best 6 assists. He also had 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. He had 16 points in 30 minutes vs. UNM. When he scored his 11th point at UNM he became the 32nd BYU player to reach 1,000 career points and only the eighth to do so as a junior. He tied Terrell Lyday with a game-high 14 points at Utah and had a team-best 6 rebounds. He hit two treys to help BYU take an early 18-9 lead. He recorded game highs with 15 points and nine rebounds to lead BYU to a 72-50 road win at San Diego State Thursday. After two bad shooting nights at AFA and UNM, Wesley responded by hitting 6-11 shots, including 1-2 three-pointers, to help the Cougars break its first two-game losing skid of the season. He added two steals and a block and assist in 25 minutes against the Aztecs. He went 3-12 from the floor at UNM (10 points, 7 rebounds) and scored a team-high 12 points (4-10 shooting) at Air Force and only had two rebounds, matching his season low (2 vs. SUU). He had 13 points in 21 minutes vs. CSU and scored a career- and conference-play high 34 points vs. Wyoming (he scored 31 points twice as a freshman) and had team highs of 8 rebounds and 4 assists. He had game highs of 21 points and 7 rebounds against Utah. He scored 17 points and had 4 rebounds at UNLV Monday. He scored 11 points and had a team highs with 8 rebounds and 3 assists at Utah State. He scored 18 points and pulled down 6 boards against UC Irvine. He had 6 rebounds and scored a game-high 24 points, 16 in the second half, at UCSB. He had 8 points, 7 rebounds at FIU. He had a game-high 20 points at South Alabama. He averaged 21 points and 9 rebounds to earn MWC Player of the Week honors (Dec. 7-11) and was named the Cougar Classic MVP for the second time in his career (also as freshman). He recorded his first double-double of the year (fourth of career) with 24 points, 10 rebounds in win over Texas Southern. He scored a season-high 26 points in back-to-back games this year versus Denver and ASU.
Terrell Lyday Â• 17.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg Â• (17.8 ppg, 4.4 rpg MWC Games)
After scoring 19.5 ppg in the first two MWC tourney games, Lyday now leads the team in scoring at 17.4 ppg. He and plays a team-high 33.5 minutes. He has scored in double figures in 27 of BYU's 29 games, including the last 18 straight games. He made a three-pointer in a BYU record 21 straight games this season before his streak came to an end at home vs. UNM when he went 0-4 (the previous record was 16 games by Andy Toolson in 1990). Lyday has made a three in 28 of 29 games overall. He has made a team-high 57 threes. He has excelled as a defender and helped hold Arizona State's high scoring Eddie House to 5 points on 0-16 shooting, the only time House has not scored a field goal in his career. House has the top two scoring games in the nation this year (61 and 46). He scored a game-high 23 vs. UNM and 16 vs. Utah while averaging 5 rpg. He had a game-high 19 pts, with 6 rbs, 5 assts and 4 steals vs. SDSU. Lyday had 10 pts, 3 rbs and tied career-best 5 assists vs. AFA and had 17 pts, 4 rbs, 3 steals at Wyoming. He scored a game-high 20 vs. CSU along with team-high 4 rbs. He scored 17 and had career-best 5 assists vs. UNLV and scored a game-high 29, his third-best effort of the year, vs. UNM in 34 minutes. He had 14 points and 4 assists at Utah. He was only 4-11 from the floor, 1-4 on treys and 5-8 form the line. He had 12 points and 5 rebounds at SDSU. He scored 17 first-half points at UNM and 21 in the game. Playing on a sprained ankle, he was 4-11 (11 pts) vs. AFA. He had game-high 15 vs. CSU and scored 22 points vs. Wyoming. He had 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists vs. Utah. Lyday made 5-10 threes, scored 30 points and had a career-high 11 rebounds and tied a career-best with 6 steals at UNLV. It was his first double-double of the year. He was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week (Jan. 3-8) after averaged 28.5 points and shooting better than 60 percent from the floor and on threes in two BYU wins. He carried BYU to a win at Utah State with a career-high 35 points, including six three-pointers, and scored a game-high 22 points to lead a BYU comeback win over UC Irvine. He had career-best 6 steals at UCSB, despite an off night scoring (2-11 for 8 points and held scoreless in the first half for the first time this year). He scored 26 points at FIU and had 15 points against South Alabama, where he was a perfect 4-4 on three-point attempts. He joined Wesley on the Cougar Classic All-Tournament team. He scored 18 pts against Arizona and had 17 vs. ASU.
Silester Rivers Â• Out after knee surgery
Rivers is out for the year after having surgery on his left knee last week. He averaged 6.6 points (4th on team) and 4.5 rebounds (2nd on team) and had a team-best 40 offensive rebounds while shooting 53.8 percent. He scored in double figures seven times and led the team in rebounding five times (6 vs. UC Riverside, 9 at Denver, 11 at FIU, 9 at UNM, 9 at Wyoming). He had 9 rbs, 5 pts in 19 minutes at Wyoming and did not take a shot and had 3 rbs in seven minutes at CSU. Despite fouling out, he gave BYU 21 solid minutes while banging Kaspars Kambala of UNLV (he was 2-3 for 4 pts, 3 rbs). He started vs. UNM but got in quick foul trouble and only played 5 minutes without scoring (0-1) while grabbing four rbs. He played 20 minutes at Utah and did not take a shot while grabbing two rbs and committing three fouls. He fouled out with 15 minutes remaining at SDSU (3 pts, 2 rbs). He played well with 12 pts, team-high 9 rbs at UNM in 29 minutes off the bench (only 6-12 from the line). He played only eight minutes at AFA but had 7 pts, 2 rbs, 2 assts. He scored 9 points vs. CSU and 8 points vs. Wyoming. He started his third game of the year vs. Utah and had 5 points, 4 rebounds while guarding the much larger Ute post players. Rivers had 3 points (3-4 FTs) and 5 rebounds at UNLV. He had a strong outing at Utah State, scoring 15 points (some nice post moves), 7 rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. Rivers came off the bench against UC Irvine after starting the two previous games. Despite being weakened by the flu, he contributed 5 points and 6 rebounds in 11 minutes. He started his second straight game against UCSB but was 0-2 with 4 rebounds in 17 minutes. He played a season-high 31 minutes in his first start at Florida International and had double-double 10 points and season-high 11 rebounds. He scored 8 pts in 12 minutes at South Alabama. He scored game- and season-high 17 points against South Carolina State. He had 10 points versus Arizona State and 14 points in back-to-back games to open the year against UC Riverside and Southern Utah.
Michael Vranes Â• 7.7 ppg, 4.1 rpg Â• (7.4 ppg, 3.6 rpg MWC Games)
Vranes is third on the team in scoring and second in assists at 2.5 apg. He has made a trey in 18 games. He has scored in double figures in nine games (BYU 8-1 in those games). He has started at the point in the last four games (he played point most of last year). He had averaged 3.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg in the tournament. He was called upon to shut down UNM's Lamont Long defensively. He had 5 pts, 2 rbs vs. SDSU and had 7 pts, 2 rbs, 3 assts vs. AFA. He had 10 pts (4-5 FG, 2-3 treys), 4 rbs at Wyoming. He had 9 pts, 3 rbs, 4 steals at CSU and scored 12 points and had team-high 7 rbs along with 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block vs. UNLV. He had 7 pts and game-high 6 assts vs. UNM but no rebounds for the first time all year. He had 7 pts, 1 rbd at Utah and had 12 points at SDSU after recording only three total points in the two previous games. At UNM, he went 1-6 shooting (3 pts, 2 rbs, 2 assts). Fighting the flu, he went 0-3 and did not score for the first time in his career at Air Force. He had a team-high 7 rebounds vs. CSU and 11 pts. He had 8 pts, 5 rbs , 3 assts vs. Wyoming. He had 4 pts, 4 rbs, 3 assts vs. Utah. He had 9 pts, 4 rbs at UNLV and 9 pts, 5 rbs, 2 assts at Utah State. He had 11 pts, 5 rbs, 5 assts against UC Irvine. Vranes matched a career high with a team-best 9 rebounds at UCSB and had a team-high 3 assists despite 3 points on 1-9 shooting. He scored 8 of his 12 points in overtime at FIU. He totalled 10 pts, 6 rbs and a season-high 7 assists vs. South Carolina State. He had a season-high 15 pts along with 5 rbs vs. Weber State.
Todd Christensen Â• 5.9 ppg, 0.8 rpg Â• (5.4 ppg, 1.0 rpg MWC Games)
Christensen shoots 46.8 percent, including 43.5 percent on threes. He plays both guard spots and has started in seven games. He scored 7 pts vs. Utah in 12 minutes and 2 pts in only 3 minutes vs. UNM. He had 4 pts, 2 rbs in 22 minutes vs. SDSSU and had 2 pts, 1 asst in 17 minutes vs. AFA. He had 10 pts (3-6 treys) at Wyoming and 3 pts at CSU. He was one off his season high vs. UNLV, scoring 15 pts (3-4 on treys). He took a season-high 10 shots and made 5 to equal his season best for field goals made. He 2 pts in 16 minutes vs. UNM. He scored 7 pts at Utah and totaled 11 pts at SDSU, including a 3-4 night from long range. He hit two treys for 6 pts at AFA. He did not score (0-3 -- all treys), 3 assts vs. CSU. He had 7 pts, 3 assts vs. Wyoming. He did not score, taking only one shot, vs. Utah. At UNLV, he had 8 pts, including a clutch three-pointer to put the Cougars up four late in the game. At Utah State he scored 7 early pts to help BYU shot 57 percent in the first half. Christensen scored 13 pts, including a four-point play at UCSB. Against UCSB and FIU he was 9-16 (.562) from the floor, 6-11 (.545) on treys, and 3-3 from the line while averaging 13.5 ppg. He scored all of his 14 pts in the first half at FIU (4-5 treys in 11 minutes). He had 3 assts at S. Alabama in 12 minutes. He had a season-high 16 pts, including 5-8 threes, vs. South Carolina State (10 at Denver).
Matt Montague Â• 2.9 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.5 apg Â• (3.6 ppg, 2.7 rpg, 3.3 apg MWC)
The only true point guard on the roster, he has team-leading 101 assists. He has started 18 games, including the first 12. He played only 4 minutes vs. Utah (1 pt) and 11 minutes vs. UNM (did not score) without recording an assist in either game (now three games this year without an assist). He had 7 pts, matched season-best 6 rbs, and 4 assts in 28 minutes vs. SDSU and had 6 pts, 2 rbs, 2 assts, 2 steals in 20 minutes vs. AFA. He had 4 rbs, 1 asst, 2 steals in 22 minutes at Wyoming after playing only 12 minutes at CSU. He had 2 pts, 3 rbs, 4 assts (no turnovers) vs. UNLV in 15 minutes. He made his third trey of the year at Utah (5 pts, 3 assts in 18 minutes. He had 4 pts, 6 assts at UNM in 36 minutes. He took season-high 7 shots and scored season-best 9 points at AFA (6 assts). He had 5 assts, 5 rbs , 2 pts vs. CSU and 7 pts vs. Wyoming. He had 6 pts, 7 assts at UNLV. At Utah State he played 25 minutes off the bench and had 4 points, 2 assists. He was limited to 10 minutes (achilles) against UC Irvine and did not record an assist for the first time this year. Montague made three clutch free throws down the stretch at UCSB. He had 2 pts, 4 rbs , 8 assts in team- and personal career-high 41 minutes at FIU. He shared team-high 5 rebounds with Wesley at South Alabama (4 assts). After receiving stitches to repair a cut above his eye against ASU, Montague returned and led BYU on a 14-1 run. He dished out a season-high 9 assists vs. Weber State and helped hold Wildcat guard Eddie Gill to 2-14 shooting.
Eric Nielsen Â• 5.6 ppg, 4.2 rpg Â• (5.6 ppg, 3.6 rpg MWC Games)
Nielsen has started 24 games. After scoring 10 and 12 points in first two games, he went 14 straight outings without reaching double digits until scoring 10 points in back-to-back games ( vs. CSU and at AFA). He has six double-digit games. He has played his best ball in the tournament, setting career-highs both days (11 rbs vs. UNM and 17 pts vs. Utah). He is averaging 12.5 pts, 10 rbs in the two wins. He started vs. SDSU, 8 pts, 3 rbs after coming off the bench vs. AFA (2 pts, 2 rbs, 15 min.). He had 1 pt, 6 rbs at Wyoming and 5 pts, 2 rbs at CSU. He had 11 pts in 22 minutes vs. UNLV and had only one foul after having fouled out of the previous three games. He had 7 pts, 4 rbs in 24 minutes vs. UNM. He had 4 pts, 2 rbs at Utah. He had 9 pts, 4 rbs and a team-high 3 assists at SDSU. He was 4-6 for 8 points, 5 boards at UNM and had a career-best 9 boards (4-5, 10 pts) at AFA. He had 6 rebounds, 3 steals vs. CSU. He didn't score for the second time this year vs. Wyoming. He fouled out, playing 14 minutes, scoring 2 points on one attempt and had 1 rebound vs. Utah. In foul trouble, he played only 10 minutes at UNLV (2 pts, 4 rebounds). At Utah State he was held scoreless and had 4 rebounds. He had 4 points, 3 rebounds and a season-high 3 assists vs. UC Irvine. At UCSB, he equaled a then career-best 7 rebounds. He was married to BYU All-American volleyball player Anna-Lena Smith Dec. 30 in Mesa, Ariz. He had 8 points at South Alabama and at Denver. He scored a season-high 12 points versus SUU and had 10 against UC Riverside.
Nathan Cooper Â• 5.9 ppg, 3.3 rpg Â• (4.6 ppg, 3.1 rpg MWC Games)
Since Silester Rivers' surgery, Cooper has started the last four games (he started 23 of 28 games last year). He played season high 35 minutes vs. Utah and had 9 pts, 5 rbs, 2 assts. He had 2 pts in 28 minutes vs. UNM. In his first start vs. AFA, he responded with 14 pts, 4 rbs in 29 minutes. He has made a team-best 77.6 percent from the line (45-58). He has seven double-figures scoring games and has made a trey in nine games, including three of the last four. He had 4 pts, season-high 9 rbs vs. SDSU. Prior to getting his first start last week, he had not scored in the three previous games, playing 8 minutes at Wyoming, 16 minutes at CSU and 7 minutes vs. UNLV. He had team-best 6 rbs along with 7 pts, 2 assts vs. UNM in 27 minutes. He hit 3-4 treys and scored 11 pts along with 5 rbs at Utah. He had 6 pts, 3 rbs at SDSU. He broke out of a slump with 11 straight BYU pts, 9 in 1:40, and 5 rbs in 12 minutes at UNM. He did not score for first time this year and had 1 rebound at AFA. He had 4 pts, 5 rbs and 2 assts vs. CSU after scoring 1 point vs. Wyoming. He had 5 pts, 3 rbs vs. Utah. He was forced to play the 4 position at UNLV with foul trouble to Eric Nielsen and Silester Rivers. He played 22 minutes (2 pts, 1 rbd). He played 15 minutes at Utah State, scoring 1 point and adding 2 rbs, 2 assts. He and Michael Vranes received the coaches game ball for their effort against UC Irvine (Cooper had 14 pts, 4 rbs in 31 minutes). He scored BYU's first basket at UCSB five minutes into the contest and sparked an 8-0 run with a steal, forcing a turnover and handing out an assist. He finished with 3 pts, 3 rbs. He had 5 pts, 6 rbs effort at FIU. He set a career high with 7 assts at USA. He scored a season- and team-high 15 pts vs. Weber State.
David Nielsen Â• 1.6 ppg, 0.8 rpg Â• (1.6 ppg, 0.6 rpg MWC Games)
A redshirt freshman, Nielsen has played in 10 of the last 13 games (except both UNM and UNLV), including the last six straight. He has played in 16 games this year and averages 6.0 minutes. He played a season-high 18 minutes vs. UNM, having to guard players six inches taller than he is while adding 4 pts and 2 rbs. on 2-3 shooting. He played 10 minutes with 2 rbs, 1 asst vs. Utah. He played a 16 minutes vs. AFA and tied career-best 6 pts, 2 rbs, along with 1 assist. He had 2 rbs in seven minutes at CSU. He scoring 4 points at SDSU and scored 6 points vs. Texas Southern. He is 7-13 from the floor and 12-15 from the line.
John Allen Â• 1.2 ppg, 1.1 rpg Â• (1.6 ppg, 1.3 rpg MWC Games)
A walkon freshman, Allen has played in 14 games this year, and averages 4.8 minutes. He played vs. Utah and played 6 minutes, picking up 4 fouls while trying to give Mekeli Wesley a breather because of foul trouble. He had 4 pts in 5 minutes vs. AFA and 2 pts in 6 minutes at Wyoming. He played a season-high 11 minutes vs. UNM with 4 pts, 3 rbs. He was 1-2 from the floor, including 1-1 on threes (his first).
Marc Roberts Â• 1.2 ppg, 0.5 rpg Â• (1.1 ppg, 0.5 rpg MWC Games)
Marc Roberts had 2 pts in his last two games in late action but has not played in the MWC tournament. He has seen action in 11 of the last 14 games. He started for the first time at Wyoming and was 0-1 (a trey),1 rbd, 2 assts in nine minutes. He was 2-2 from the floor and 2-2 from the line for a career-best 6 pts in seven minutes at CSU. He is 5-9 from the floor and 11-14 from the line. He averages 3.9 minutes.