BYU Faces No. 20 Utah Saturday in Salt Lake City

PROVO -- BYU plays its fourth straight road game while beginning the second half of the conference season at Utah Saturday at 7 p.m. The Cougars, 15-5 overall and 4-3 in the Mountain West Conference, are tied for third after the first rotation of league games while the Utes, 17-4 and 6-1 going into Thursday's home game against San Diego State, are in the top spot. The game will be televised on KJZZ-TV, channel 14 with announcers Steve Brown and Thurl Bailey. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM with Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant calling the action.

Up Next

BYU returns home to host New Mexico Thursday and UNLV Saturday next week in two important contests against upper division teams.

Last Time Out

BYU defeated San Diego State 72-50 last week to end a two-game losing skid. The Cougars and Aztecs battled back and forth over the game's first 12 minutes before BYU went on a 17-5 run to turn a 21-20 Aztec lead into 37-26 BYU advantage entering the break. BYU shot 52 percent in the first half and 56 percent in the second and increased its lead to as many as 29 points. Four Cougars scored in double figures (Mekeli Wesley had a game-high 15 points and nine rebounds; Terrell Lyday and Michael Vranes, 12; Todd Christensen, 11. After going 4-30 on three-pointers in its previous two losses, BYU made 7-13 treys against the Aztecs with Christensen connecting on 3-4 attempts. Lyday went 1-3 to extend his BYU record for consecutive games with a three-pointer to 20. Epps, who was averaging a league-best 22 points in conference games, was held to three points in 32 minutes of action. Marcelo Correa led the Aztecs with 13 points and six rebounds. The Aztecs shot 34 percent from the floor and made only 2-15 three-point attempts.

Quick Facts:

BYU (15-5, 4-3) at Utah (*17-4, 6-1)

Saturday, Feb. 12 • Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000) • Salt Lake City • 7 p.m. Mtn

*Utah plays Thursday vs. SDSU

Broadcast Plans:

Radio:

Network: Cougar Sports Network

Station: KSL Newsradio 1160 AM

Air Time: 6:30 p.m. Mountain

Play-by-play: Greg Wrubell

Commentary: Mark Durrant

Television:

Station: KJZZ-TV, channel 14 in SLC

Air Time: 7 p.m. Mountain

Play-by-play: Steve Brown

Commentary: Thurl Bailey

BYU's Probable Starters:

F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-8 210 So. 4.9/4.1

F 15 Mekeli Wesley 6-9 230 Jr. 18.0/ 6.2

G 24 Terrell Lyday 6-3 190 Jr. 17.0/ 4.0

G 13 Michael Vranes 6-3 190 So. 7.9/4.5

G 31 Matt Montague 6-1 190 So. 3.0/3.0

Utah's Probable Starters:

F ** To Be Determined **

F 50 Alex Jensen 6-7 225 Sr. 15.0/7.7

C 52 Nate Althoff 6-11 260 Jr. 9.1/4.8

G 3 Gary Colbert 6-1 175 So. 4.2/2.7

G 32 Jeremy Killion 5-11 190 Sr. 9.4/1.8

BYU Coach: Steve Cleveland

Record at BYU: 36-42 (3rd year)

Overall Div. I record: Same

Utah Coach: Rick Majerus

Record at Utah: 255-68 (11th year)

Overall record: 354-120 (16th year)

Series Record: Tied 113-113

Game Time: 7 p.m. Mountain

Scouting Utah

Entering its game Thursday at home with San Diego State, Utah is 17-4 overall, including a 13-0 home record. Utah currently has a the nation's longest active homecourt winning streak at 48 games. The last time Utah lost at home was to Wake Forest on Dec. 31, 1996. Utah has won 33 consecutive home conference games, with its last conference defeat coming on Jan. 10, 1996 to Fresno State (65-64). The 33 straight conference wins is currently the longest active streak in the nation. Utah is in first place with a 6-1 MWC record. Utah did have its 25-game regular season conference win streak snapped by UNLV on Feb. 5, 72-66 in Las Vegas. The loss also ended the Utes' 23-game consecutive win steak in overall league contests. Alex Jensen (Sr., F) garnered his second double-double in a row (22nd career) with 19 points and 11 boards at UNLV. Tony Harvey (Sr., G) notched his fourth straight double-figure scoring game with 12 points. Jensen had a career-high 26 points and 12 rebounds vs. UNM. In non-conference play, the Utes defeated Utah State (77-42), Oregon State (87-77) and nationally ranked Texas (79-73) at home and Washington State (78-66) on the road. Utah lost at Louisville (75-55). The Utes other two non-conference losses were to Kentucky (56-48) in the Preseason NIT and at Weber State (84-72). Common non-conference opponents with BYU are Utah State (home win), Weber State (road loss) and Southern Utah (73-56 home win). BYU defeated Southern Utah and Weber State at home and won at Utah State. Utah returns four starters and eight letterwinners from last year's 28-5 team that went unbeaten in conference play and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Utes boast two of the best forwards in the country in Mottola (6-9 Sr.) and Alex Jensen (6-7 Sr.). Mottola, however, is expected to miss Thursday's SDSU game and may miss more action because of an injured elbow and thumb. Althoff (6-11 Jr.) fills the center position and Jeremy Killion (5-11 Jr.) the shooting guard slot with and Gary Colbert (6-1 So.) playing the point position vacated with the departure of Andre Miller. Tony Harvey (6-5 Sr.) is a key contributor off the bench at both guard spots. Mottola leads the Utes with a 17.5 average and Jensen adds 15.0 and a team-best 7.7 rebounds. Killion scores 9.4 and Althoff 9.1.

Series Notes

This will be the 227th meeting between the two rivals with the series being even at 113-113. Utah is BYU's second longest standing opponent (Utah State oldest). Utah has won the last 11 meetings, it's longest win streak in the series. The Cougars' last victory was a 64-57 home win in January 1995. Coach Cleveland is 0-6 against the Utes. BYU's biggest win in recent history over the Utes was a 96-65 win at the Delta Center during the 1994 WAC Tournament. Utah holds a 66-46 advantage in games played in Salt Lake City and a 2-1 record in games played on Feb. 12.

Last Meeting

Utah defeated BYU 56-49 in Provo on Jan. 15 to even the overall series at 113-113. Unable to convert in the final minutes, BYU saw its five-game win streak came to an end before a near-sellout crowd of 22,580 in the Marriott Center. With then No. 24 Utah holding a 51-49 edge with 6:54 left in the game, both the Cougars and Utes went the next six minutes without scoring with BYU missing several opportunities to tie the game, including several missed free throws and a missed layup. Hanno Mottola's jumper with 54 seconds left gave Utah a four-point margin. A Utah steal on BYU's next possession sealed the Cougars' fate. The Utes' size proved an advantage as Mottola led Utah with 18 points and Nate Althoff added 11. Alex Jensen scored nine while making both of his three-point attempts to give the Utes a lift at critical times. Mekeli Wesley scored 21 points, followed by Terell Lyday with 12, to lead BYU. Wesley also had a game-high seven rebounds. The Cougars shot 40 percent for the game compared to Utah's 43 percent. The Cougar fell to 12-3 overall and 1-1 in Mountain West Conference play with the loss while Utah improved to 13-3 and 2-0.

Media Guidelines

Team Practices

• Closed Practice:

Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 3:30-6 p.m.

• Open Practice:

Tuesday and *Thursday, 3:30-6 p.m.

(*except game days)

All home practices are at the Marriott Center. Practice days and times vary on the road.

Coach and Player Interviews

• All player and coaches interviews, including during travel and when on the road, need to be scheduled through Brett Pyne in the Athletic Media Relations office. He can be reached at the following numbers:

Office: 801-378-4912

Cell: 801-367-1631

Home: 801-796-6867

E-mail: brett_pyne@byu.edu

• Coach Cleveland is available for interviews before practice at 3:30 p.m. on the court on Tuesday and Thursday. Interviews can also be conducted mornings (best time generally 9-11 a.m.). With prior arrangement, Coach Cleveland will do interviews on the day of the game at the shootaround with media who are generating a live broadcast (radio or television) of the game.

• Player interviews are conducted before practice. TUESDAY is the preferred day for interviews. Contact Brett Pyne to arrange a player interview. Special requests such as live radio or television interviews, extended feature interviews or interviews on days other than Tuesday can be arranged as necessary through Brett Pyne. No player interviews are available on the day of a game until post game.

Travel

Media wanting a travel itinerary for BYU's road games can request it by contacting Brett Pyne in the Athletic Media Relations office.

Interviews conducted while on the road must also be arranged through Brett Pyne. Players are not free to be interviewed in airports or at hotels unless an arrangement has been made through Brett Pyne.

Other interview guidelines also apply while on the road.

Coach Cleveland Shows

Radio: Coach Steve Cleveland can be heard Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. this week with host Greg Wrubell on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM.

Television: The Coach Cleveland Show can be viewed each Sunday at 5 p.m. on KSL-TV, channel 5 with host Alema Harrington.

MWC Tournament Tickets

Less than 400 tickets in the BYU section remain for the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas March 8-11. The ticket package for the entire 8 sessions of the tournament, including the women's games, cost $135. Tickets start at $25. Tickets are available by calling the BYU ticket office at 801-378-BYU1 or 800-322-2981.

BYU's record when . . .

BYU leads at half 13-1

Opponent leads at half 1-4

Score tied at half 1-0

BYU leads with 5 minutes left 14-1

Opponent leads with 5 min. left 0-4

BYU leads with 1 minute left 14-0

Opponent leads with 1 min. left 1-5

Score tied with 1 minute left 0-0

Game goes into overtime 1-0

BYU out rebounds opponent 11-0

Opponent out rebounds BYU 4-5

BYU and opponent tie in rebounds 0-0

BYU shoots 50 % or better 9-0

Opponent shoots 50 % or better 0-1

BYU out shoots opponent 14-1

Opponent out shoots BYU 1-4

Two-Man Game

Mekeli Wesley and Terrell Lyday have score 47.9 percent of BYU's overall

points. They are not alone in the conference when it comes to having two dominant scorers. Including BYU, five of the eight MWC schools' top two scorers account for over 40 percent of their teams' points. Air Force's Jarvis Croff and Tyron Wright are second with 45.9 percent of the Falcons points while Colorado State gets 41.8 percent of its scoring from the tandem of Ceedric Goodwyn and John Sivesind. UNM is fourth with 41.4 percent of its points collected by Lamont Long and Damion Walker and UNLV gets 40.2 percent of its scoring from Kaspars Kambala and Trevor Diggs.

More BYU's Record When ...

Mekeli Wesley has been BYU's top scorer in 11 games this season and the Cougars are 7-4 in those games. He has also been BYU's top rebounder in 11 games. BYU is 8-3 in those games. BYU is 4-3 in the games when Mekeli Wesley was both the team's leading scorer and rebounder. Terrell Lyday has led BYU in scoring in seven games and BYU is 6-1 (except UNM) in those contests. Silester Rivers has been BYU's best rebounder in five games and the Cougars are 4-1 (except UNM). When the Cougars get good scoring efforts from its supporting cast, they have been hard to beat. BYU is 7-0 when Michael Vranes has scored in double figures and 6-0 when Christensen scores in double digits. They are 6-1 (all but UNM) when Rivers reaches double figures and 4-1 when Cooper has scored 10 or more (again except UNM).

On a Roller Coaster

Todd Christensen has been on a scoring roller coaster in conference play. He opened the MWC season with 8 points at UNLV, then went scoreless vs. Utah, had 7 vs. Wyoming, was scoreless again vs. CSU, had 6 at Air Force, did not score at UNM and totaled 11 at SDSU.

On a Roll

After scoring only four points in the first three MWC games, Eric Nielsen has averaged 9.25 in the last four. He has scored 10 twice, eight once and nine points at SDSU last week.

Win Column

With a 15-5 record, BYU has achieved 15 wins in a season for the first time since the 1995-96 season when the Cougars finished 15-13.

Game Time Change in Laramie

The BYU at Wyoming game scheduled for Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in Laramie, Wyo.,

has been changed to a 4:07 p.m. start.

Attendance Notable

This year's first meeting between BYU and Utah in the Marriott Center on Jan. 15, produced the eighth largest fan attendance this season in Division I (22,580).

Polls

Utah is ranked 20th in AP and 21st in USA Today ESPN. UNLV received votes. The Cougars have not received votes since losing back-to-back games at AFA and UNM. After starting 14-3, BYU had receiving six votes USA Today ESPN poll and five votes in the AP poll. Those votes were the first BYU has received since 1994-95 (when The Cougars were rated as high as 26th in AP).

Second Half Production

BYU shot 54 percent from the floor at SDSU. After shooting 52 percent in the first halt to take an 11 point lead,BYU, unlike its last two games, improved to shot 56 percent in the second half. In both of BYU's previous games, both losses, the Cougars could not find their shooting touch in the second half. Against Air Force, the Cougars shot 50 percent in the first half and trailed by one point but made only 29 percent of their second-half attempts and lost by five. Against New Mexico, BYU shot 54 percent in the first half for a 34-32 lead, but managed just 30 percent shooting in the final 20 minutes and lost by nine points.

Hit and Miss

In their three conference losses, the Cougars shot 40 percent from the floor in each game. In their four MWC wins, they shot 48, 49, 50 and 54 percent from the floor.

Streaks

BYU won its last game at SDSU after suffering back-to-back losses for the first time this year at AFA and UNM. Last year BYU had two three-game losing streaks and one four-game skid. The Cougars have had two five-game winning streaks this year and a seven-game home winning streak. On the road, BYU had a four-game winning streak snapped at AFA (the longest road win streak since 1992-93, when the Cougars won six straight road games).

Assist vs. Turnover Trends

BYU has not taken care of the ball as well since the beginning of MWC play. The Cougars committed 18 turnovers against SDSU compared to 12 assists, the fourth straight game and sixth of seven MWC contests (except Wyoming) in which BYU has had more turnovers than assists. On the year, BYU has one more assist (298) than turnovers (297) to average 14.9 assists and turnovers per game (last year BYU averaged 17.3 turnovers per game to only 12.8 assists). In conference play, BYU averages 12.7 assists and 16.6 turnovers in seven games. BYU has had nine games this year where it has had more assists than turnovers, one game when assists equaled turnovers and 10 games when it has had more turnovers than assists.

Lyday Extends BYU Consecutive Game Three-Point Record

Lyday has made a three-pointer in all 20 games this year to extend his BYU record. The previous record was 16 games set by Andy Toolson in 1990. Lyday has made 42 percent of his three-point attempts and a team-best 44 treys. Lyday made 102 treys last year at Fresno City College. He has come close to ending his streak in the last three games, going 1-6 at AFA, 1-7 at UNM and 1-3 at SDSU. He has been recovering from a sprained ankle.

Three-Point Range

After making only 8-46 (17.4 percent) three-pointers in its previous three games, including a season-low 7.7 percent (1-13) at UNM, BYU made 7-13 (.538) attempts at SDSU. Christensen hit 3-4 three pointers, Vranes 2-3, Wesley 1-2 and Lyday 1-3. As a team, BYU makes 38.8 percent. Three players are shooting 40 percent or better -- Christensen (45.9), Lyday (41.9) and Wesley (41.0). Vranes shots 36.8. BYU's opponents are shooting 26.8 percent from three-point range. BYU is makes 5.9 treys/game and its opponents 4.6.

More From Behind the Line

Lyday is 3-16 in the last three games from three-point range. Vranes is 2-8, Wesley 1-4, Cooper 0-4 and Christensen 5-9.

Numbers on the Road

BYU is 6-4 on the road this year, having tripled its road wins last year (2-10). BYU is coming off a win at SDSU after two road losses at AFA and UNM ended a four-game road winning streak. BYU is scoring 70.1 points in away games for a 3.4 scoring margin. BYU is shooting .438, including .393 on threes, and .706 from the line. BYU is being out rebounded 34.8-36.9. Terrell Lyday leads the Cougar scoring effort on the road with a 18.8 average, including a career-high 35 at Utah State and 30 at UNLV. Mekeli Wesley averaged 16.7 points and a team-best 6.0 boards.

Cougars Equal Home Win Total of Last Year, Four Home Games Remain

BYU is 9-1 at home this year, equaling its home win total of last year (9-5). The only loss was (56-49) against Utah. The Cougars are averaging 76.0 points per game at home (16.3-point margin of victory). The Cougars are making 50.2 percent of its shots, including 38.3 percent of its three-point attempts, in the Marriott Center. They are pulling down 36.5 rebounds per game to their opponents 33.5. Wesley is scoring a team-best 19.3 points, followed by Terrell Lyday at 15.2, Michael Vranes 9.3, Silester Rivers at 8.8 and Nathan Cooper at 7.9.

Defense

BYU's defense has been a large part of the Cougars success this year. Against SDSU, BYU held the Aztecs to 34 percent shooting, including 13 percent on threes. The Cougars rank first in the MWC in both field goal percentage defense (.381) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.268). The Cougars have held opponents below a 40 percent shooting in 13 of 20 games. BYU is 12-1 in those games (exception - Air Force). In BYU's five losses, Arizona shot .544, South Alabama .490, UNM .452, Utah .429 and AFA .392. BYU holds opponents to 63.2 points. Individually BYU has had outstanding defensive efforts, including Terrell Lyday helping hold Eddie House of Arizona State (No. 3 scorer in the nation) to a 0-16 night -- the only time House has gone without a field goal in his career.

On the Boards

BYU is pulling down 35.7 rebounds per game and its opponents 35.2. The Cougars are 11-0 when they have out rebounded their opponents and 4-5 in games were the opposition totalled more boards. Mekeli Wesley leads BYU with 6.2 rebounds per game, including a team-best 94 defensive boards. Silester Rivers has a team-high 32 offensive rebounds (Wesley has 31). BYU has been out boarded in four MWC games (UNM, AFA, Wyo, Utah).

Offense

BYU has scored more than 80 points in a five games and averages 73.1 points. BYU has shot better than 50 percent in nine games (recently conf. games best 54 at SDSU and 50 vs. CSU). The Cougars have shot below 40 percent three times -- 36.5 percent in a loss at No.4 Arizona and a season-low 29.6 in a win at UCSB and 29.6 percent at AFA. The Cougars are shooting 46.9 percent (38.8 on threes and 70.9 percent from the line. BYU is 9-0 when it shots 50 percent or better and 14-1 when it out shoots its opponent (except AFA). Three regular players are shooting better than 50 percent. Silester Rivers is making a team-best 57.1 percent, Eric Nielsen 53.5 percent and Mekeli Wesley 50.4. Todd Christensen (48.2) and Terrell Lyday (46.2) have the best percentages from the back court. Cooper shoots a team-best 83 percent from the line.

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

RPI Report (as of Feb. 7, 2000)

According to CollegeRPI.com rankings computed by Jerry Palm and the Collegiate Basketball News, BYU is the second highest rated team in the MWC. According to CBN, BYU has the third toughest schedule among MWC teams at No. 97. The Mountain West Conference is rated ninth and tenth, respectively, among the 31 conferences (and five independents) in the country as of Feb. 7.

School CBN/Collegerpi.com

Utah 32/30

BYU 45/43

UNLV 59/56

UNM 95/95

CSU 104/106

UW 127/127

AFA 189/188

SDSU 235/232

MWC Statistical Leaders

Overall (as of 2-6-00)

Team

Scoring 84.6, UNLV

Scoring Defense 60.8, Utah

FG Pct. .492 Utah

FG Pct. defense .380, BYU

3 Pt. Pct. .428, Colorado State

3 Pt./Game 8.24, Colorado State

Ft Pct. .711, Colorado State

Steals 9.42, Air Force

Blocked Shots 5.10, Colorado State

Assists 19.84, UNLV

Offensive Rebounds 15.05, UNLV

Defensive Rebounds 27.89, UNLV

Reb. Mar. +4.5, UNLV

Scoring Mar. +10.6, Utah

TO Mar. +2.11, Air Force

Asst/TO Mar 1.21, UNLV

Individual

Scoring 18.7, Kaspars Kambala (UNLV)

FG Pct. .586 (106-181), Alex Jensen, (Utah)

FT Pct. .822 (83-101), Damion Walker (UNM)

3-Pt. Pct. .507 (38-78), Alex Jensen (Utah)

3-Pt./Game 2.79, Jarvis Croff (AFA)

Rebounding 9.1, Kaspars Kambala (UNLV)

Off. Rebounds 3.68, Tom Bellairs (AFA)

Def. Rebounds 6.42, Kaspars Kambala (UNLV)

Assists 8.74, Mark Dickel (UNLV)

Blocks 2.05, Wayland White (UNM)

Steals 2.21, Tyron Wright (AFA)

Conference Only (as of 2-6-00)

Team

Scoring 84.1, UNLV

Scoring Defense 62.9, Utah

FG Pct. .475, New Mexico

FG Pct. defense .397, BYU

3 Pt. Pct. .404, New Mexico

3 Pt./Game 7.43, Colorado State

Ft Pct. .741, San Diego State

Steals 8.71, Air Force

Blocked Shots 5.00, New Mexico, UNLV

Assists 18.00, UNLV

Offensive Rebounds 14.29, Wyoming

Defensive Rebounds 28.86, UNLV

Reb. Mar. +6.9, UNLV

Scoring Mar. +8.7, UNLV

TO Mar. +4.29, Colorado State

Asst/TO Mar 1.20, UNLV

Individual

Scoring 20.6, Lamont Long (UNM)

FG Pct. .656 (40-61), Alex Jensen (Utah)

FT Pct. .840 (42-50) Mark Dickel (UNLV)

3-Pt. Pct. (min. 5) .556 (15-27), T.Lightfoot (UNM)

.556 (10-18) Vernard Jenkins (AFA)

3-Pt./Game 2.50, Tim Lightfoot (UNM)

Rebounding 9.4, 4 Tied

Off. Rebounds 4.43, Dalron Johnson (UNLV)

Def. Rebounds 7.43, Kaspars Kambala (UNLV)

Assists 9.14, Mark Dickel (UNLV)

Blocks 2.83, Wayland White (UNM)

Steals 2.71, Terrell Lyday (BYU)

BYU in Mountain West Conference Stats

Team (as of 2-6-00)

Scoring Offense, 3rd (73.1)

(7th conf.only -- 68.1)

Scoring Defense, 2nd (63.2)

Scoring Margin, 2nd (+ 9.9)

Free Throw Percentage, 3rd (.709)

Field Goal Percentage, 3rd (.469)

Field Goal % Defense, 1st (.380)

3 pt. Percentage, 3rd (.388)

3 pt. % Defense, 1st (.268)

Rebounding Offense, 5th (35.6)

Rebounding Defense, 4th (35.2)

Rebounding Margin, 5th (+ 0.4)

Offensive Rebounds, 7th (9.2)

Defensive Rebounds, 2nd (26.5)

Blocks, 7th (2.2)

Assists, 4th (14.9)

Steals, 4th (8.0)

TO Margin, 4th (0.9)

Asst./TO Ratio, 4th (1.0)

Individual (as of 2-6-00)

Scoring:

Wesley, T3rd, (18.0) (6th conf.only - 17.4)

Lyday, 6th (17.0) (5th conf.only - 17.6)

Rebounding:

Wesley, T6th (6.2)

Rivers, 17th (4.6)

Field Goal Percentage (min 3 per game):

Wesley, 11th (.504)

Free Throw Percentage (min 2 per game):

Lyday, 6th (.765)

Wesley, 7th (.762)

3 pt. Percentage (min. 1 made per game):

Christensen, 5th (.459)

Lyday, 7th (.419)

3 pt. FG Made:

Lyday, 3rd (2.2)

Assists:

Montague, 2nd (4.25)

Vranes, 13th (2.75)

Steals:

Lyday, 3rd (2.15) (1st conf. only - 2.71)

Wesley, 13th (1.40)

Asst./TO Ratio:

Montague, 3rd (1.85)

BYU in National Stats (as of 2-7-00)

Team:

3-Pt Field Goal %, 21st, (38.8)

Mekeli Wesley

Wesley is BYU's leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 18.0 ppg and 6.2 rpg. He averages 17.4 and 6.1 in MWC games. He has been BYU's top scorer in 11 games this season and has scored in double figures in 18 of BYU's 20 games, including the last 10 straight games. He has nine games with 20 or more points and one game with 30 or more. Mekeli Wesley 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

Lyday averages 17.0 points, second on the team, and team-high 32.7 minutes. He has scored in double figures in 18 of BYU's 20 games, including the last nine straight games. He has made a three-pointer in a BYU record 20 straight games this season ( previous record was 16 games by Andy Toolson 1990). He has made a team-high 44 threes (42 percent). Last year he made 102 treys at Fresno City College. He has excelled defensively also, guarding the other team's best perimeter player. He helped hold Arizona State's high scoring Eddie House to a 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). Lyday is averaging 17.6 points and 4.9 rebounds in MWC games. Lyday had 12 points and 5 rebounds at SDSU last week. 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 Dec. 10-11. He scored 18 points against Arizona and had 17 vs. ASU.

Silester Rivers

Rivers averages 7.8 points (4th on team) and 4.6 rebounds (2nd on team). He has a team-high 32 offensive boards and is shooting a team-best 57.1 percent (FG). He has scored in double figures seven times this year and has led the team in rebounds four times (6 vs. UC Riverside, 9 at Denver, 11 at FIU, 9 at UNM). He fouled out with 15 minutes remaining at SDSU (3 pts, 2 rbs). He played well with 12 pts, team-high 9 boards 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 points 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

Vranes is third on the team in rebounding (4.5 rpg), and scoring (7.9 ppg), and second with 2.8 assists per game. He has made a trey in 11 games. He has scored in double figures in seven games (all BYU wins). He has only reach double figures in two of the last eight games. Vranes did score 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 seven rebounds vs. CSU and added 11 points. He had eight points, five rebounds and three assists vs. Wyoming. He had four points, four rebounds and three assists vs. Utah. He had nine points and four boards at UNLV and had nine points, five rebound and two assists at Utah State. He had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists against UC Irvine. Vranes matched a career high with a team-best nine rebounds at UCSB. He also had team-high three assists despite three points on 1-9 shooting. He scored eight of his 12 points in overtime at FIU. He totalled 10 points, six rebounds and a season-high seven assists vs. South Carolina State. He had a season-high 15 points along with five rebounds vs. Weber State.

Todd Christensen

Regarded as the best shooter on the team, Christensen shoots 48 percent from the floor and 46 percent from behind the arc. He averages 5.9 ppg in 18 minutes. He is sharing point guard duties after playing shooting guard most of last year. Beginning with Utah State, he started six straight games before coming off the bench (0-1. 0 pts and 8 minutes) at UNM. He totaled 11 points at SDSU, including a 3-4 night from long range. He hit two treys for 6 points at AFA. He did not score (0-3 -- all treys), 3 assists vs. CSU. He had 7 points, 3 assists vs. Wyoming. He did not score, taking only one shot, vs. Utah. At UNLV, he had 8 points, including a clutch three-pointer to put the Cougars up four late in the game. At Utah State he scored 7 early points to help BYU shot 57 percent in the first half. Christensen scored 13 points, 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 points in the first half at FIU (4-5 treys in 11 minutes). He had 3 assists at S. Alabama in 12 minutes. He had a season-high 16 points, including 5-8 threes, vs. South Carolina State (10 at Denver).

Matt Montague

The only true point guard on the BYU roster, he has team-leading 85 assists (4.2 apg, 3.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg). Plagued by a achilles injury all year, he has felt better in recent weeks. After starting the first 12 games, he came off the bench for the next six before returning to the starting lineup at UNM. He had 2 rebounds and 2 assists but did not score at SDSU. He had 4 pts, 6 assts at UNM in 36 minutes. He took season-high seven shots and scored season-best 9 points at AFA (6 assts). He had 5 assists, 5 boards and 2 points vs. CSU and had 7 points vs. Wyoming. He played a season-low seven minutes vs. Utah (1 assist, 3 TO, 1 rebound). He scored 6 points, 7 assists 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). He had 5 points vs. South Carolina State and made his second three-pointer of the year. 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

A returned LDS missionary to Russia, Nielsen is averaging 4.9 points and 4.1 rebounds. He has started in 17 games, including the first nine and the last four. 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). After scoring only four points in the first three MWC games, Nielsen has averaged 9.25 in the last four. He had 9 points, 4 boards 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 Southern Utah and had 10 against UC Riverside.

Nathan Cooper

He is coming off the bench this year after starting 23 of BYU's 28 games last year. He is averaging 6.2 points and 3.2 rebounds in 19.6 minutes. He has made a team-best 39-47 free throws (.830). He has five double-figures scoring games and has made a trey in five games. He scored 6 points at SDSU with 3 boards. He broke out of a slump with 11 straight BYU points, 9 in 1:40, and 5 rebounds in 12 minutes at UNM. He did not score for first time this year and had 1 rebound at AFA. He had 4 points, 5 boards and 2 assists vs. CSU after scoring 1 point vs. Wyoming. He had 5 points and 3 rebounds 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 and had 2 points and 1 rebound. He played 15 minutes at Utah State, scoring 1 point and adding 2 boards and 2 assists. He and Michael Vranes received the coaches game ball for their effort against UC Irvine. Cooper had 14 points and 4 rebounds in a season-high 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 points and 3 boards. He had 5 points, 6 rebound effort at FIU. He set a career high with 7 assists at South Alabama. He scored a season- and team-high 15 points against Weber State.

Marc Roberts

Marc Roberts, a true freshman out of Provo's Timpview High School, has seen action in the last five games. On the year, he has averaged 3.8 minutes in 12 games. He has scored 11 points (4 at Denver is his high) and is 3-6 from the floor and 5-6 from the line.

David Nielsen

A redshirt freshman from Brighton High School in Salt Lake City, Nielsen scored four points at SDSU last week, making both his shot. He scored a career-best six points vs. Texas Southern. He has played in nine games this year, including three of the last four (except UNM). He averages 3.9 minutes in those games and 1.6 points.

John Allen

A walkon freshman, Allen saw action in the post at SDSU because of BYU's foul trouble inside. He has played in eight games this year, and averages 0.9 rebounds and 0.8 points in 3.9 minutes.

Dan Howard Redshirts

Center Dan Howard, a 7-0 freshman, is taking a medical redshirt year this season. He had surgery on his right knee after the Denver game. He played in BYU's first four games and was 3-3 (1.5 ppg) and averaged 2 rebounds in 4.8 minutes.

Comparing Statistics

BYU Utah

SCORING

Points per game .73.1 71.3

Scoring margin + 9.9 + 10.5

SHOOTING PERCENTAGES

Field goals .469 .492

3-pointers .388 .410

Free throws .709 .710

REBOUNDING

Rebounds per game 35.7 32.6

Rebounding margin + 0.4 + 4.2

ASSISTS

Assists per game 14.9 14.0

TURNOVERS

Turnovers per game 14.9 14.0

Turnover margin + 0.9 - 0.1

BLOCKS

Blocks per game 2.2 2.7

STEALS

Steals per game 8.0 6.5