BYU Hosts Arizona State Tuesday in First of Four-Game Home Stand

PROVO -- After splitting its road games last week at No. 4 Arizona and the University of Denver, BYU (3-1) returns home to host the Pac-10's Arizona State (4-2) Tuesday in the first of four consecutive home games.The game will be televised by SportsWest Productions and carried on KSL-TV, channel 5 locally with Tom Kirkland providing the play-by-play and former BYU coach Tony Ingle adding commentary. KSL Newsradio 1160 will provide the radio broadcast, with Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant starting the pre-game show at 6:30 p.m. Off to a 3-1 start for the first time since the 1992-93 season, BYU plays three games this week with Tuesday's ASU contest being followed by the annual Cougar Classic on Friday and Saturday in the Marriott Center. BYU will play Texas Southern Friday and then face either Western Oregon or Weber State, who recently upset Utah in Ogden, on Saturday. BYU will stay at home to play South Carolina State on Dec. 18 before taking a pre-Christmas road trip to South Alabama and Florida International.

BYU (3-1) vs. Arizona State (4-2)

Tuesday, Dec. 7 • Marriott Center (22,700) • Provo, Utah • 7 p.m.

SportsWest (KSL-TV, channel 5 in SLC)

BYU's Probable Starters

F • 25 • Eric Nielsen • 6-8 • 210 • So. • 8.0/3.8

F • 15 • Mekeli Wesley • 6-9 • 230 • Jr. • 22.0/4.0

G • 24 • Terrell Lyday • 6-3 • 190 • Jr. • 14.5/3.5

G • 31 • Matt Montague • 6-1 • 190 • So. • 2.2/2.2

G • 13 • Michael Vranes • 6-3 • 190 • So. • 8.2/4.0

Arizona State's Probable Starters

Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG APG/BPG

F • 11 • Awvee Storey • 6-6 • 215 • So. • 10.5/7.3

F • 42 • Shawn Redhage • 6-7 • 210 • Fr. • 12.3/4.3

C • 52 • Chad Prewitt • 6-9 • 235 • So. • 8.7/4.3

G • 1 • Alton Mason • 6-1 • 180 Jr. • 6.2/2.0

G • 5 • Eddie House • 6-1 • 180 Sr. • 13.7/6.5

Quick Facts

BYU Head Coach: Steve Cleveland

Record at BYU: 23-38 (3rd year)

Overall Div. I record: Same

ASU Head Coach: Rob Evans

Record at ASU: 18-18 (2nd year)

Overall record: 104-99 (8th year)

Series Record: BYU leads 23-20

Game Time: 7 p.m. Mountain

Broadcast Plans


Network: SportsWest Productions

Air Time: 7 p.m. Mountain

Play-by-play: Tom Kirkland

Commentary: Tony Ingle


Network: KSL Newsradio 1160 AM

Air Time: 8:30 p.m. Mountain

Play-by-play: Greg Wrubell

Commentary: Mark Durrant

Scouting Arizona State

Arizona State comes to Provo Tuesday with a 4-2 record under second-year coach Rob Evans. The Sun Devils are coming off two convincing home wins over the Mountain West Conference's Colorado State (72-57) and Morgan State (74-56) after going 1-2 at the Puerto Rico Shootout with a win over American-Puerto Rico (103-63) being sandwiched between losses to No. 20 Texas (71-88) and Virginia (64-70). ASU opened the season at home with a win over Portland State (79-57). ASU has a young team, listing seven freshmen on the roster along with four sophomores. Junior Alton Mason and senior Eddie House provide leadership to a talented young group with second-year walkon senior Jeramy Ivener rounding out the roster. House (6-1), a first-team All-Pac-10 guard, leads the team with a 13.7 points per game average while pulling down 6.5 rebounds. Mason (6-1) adds 6.2 points from the other guard position while sophomores Awvee Story (6-6 forward) and Chad Prewitt (6-9 center) join freshman Shawn Redhage (6-7 forward) as starters on the front line. Redhage averages 12.3 points while Story and Prewitt contribute 10.5 and 8.7, respectively. Five freshman see significant time off the bench -- forwards Donnell Knight (5.8 ppg) and Tommy Smith (7.7 ppg) and guards Kyle Dodd (4.2 ppg), Tanner Shell (5.0 ppg) and Justin Allen (4.8 ppg). The six true freshman ties Duke and Northwestern for the most on a team and equals the most in ASU history along with the 1983-84 squad. Freshman DeWy DeWitt is a walkon, whose sister Maryon is a junior at BYU and was a National Junior College All-American for two years in softball at Ricks College. As a team, the Wildcats are scoring 77 points per game and have a scoring margin of 12 points.

Series Notes

This will be the 44th meeting between the two schools dating back to 1946. BYU has a 23-20 lead in the series. BYU and ASU have not met since the 1993-94 season when they met twice. ASU defeated BYU 106-95 in Tempe in the season opener and then BYU topped the Sun Devils in the NIT that year, 74-67, in Provo. ASU's last win in Provo was an 82-74 triumph on Dec. 12, 1990. This will be BYU coach Steve Cleveland's first time facing ASU and the first meeting for ASU coach Rob Evans.

Recent Meetings

The Cougars last played the Sun Devils during the 1993-94 season. In the season opener in Tempe, BYU lost 106-95. ASU took control in the first half and went to the break with a 61-40 advantage. BYU was able to make it a closer game in the second half when six different players on Arizona State's team had four fouls. Shane Knight led BYU with 19 points and Russell Larson had 12 rebounds. Mark Durrant, now the color commentator for BYU broadcasts on KSL 1160, scored 14 points on 6-7 shooting while adding six rebounds, two assists and one steal. Durrant had four points, two rebounds and three assists in the second matchup between BYU and ASU when the Cougars won 74-67 in Provo an NIT first-round game. Larson had a game-high 22 points while Robbie Reid and Kenneth Roberts added 14 and 12 points respectively. The previous meeting was in the 1992-93 season. BYU won this high-scoring affair 108-98 in Provo. ASU set a Marriott Center record in the game with 51 three-point attempts and 16 made treys. Durrant had another good game against ASU, scoring a career-high 20 points for the Cougars.

Team Notes

Starting Strong

BYU is off to its best start in seven years. The Cougars had not won the first two games since the 1994-95 season and now boast a 3-1 record for the first time since 1992-93.

Positive Percentages

The Cougars are shooting 51.6 percent from the floor after four games this year, including 38.9 percent of their three-point attempts. They are knocking in 5.3 treys per game on 13.5 attempts. Michael Vranes is shooting 58 percent on threes (7-12), Mekeli Wesley 57 percent (4-7) and Todd Christensen 50 percent (4-8). Two players, Eric Nielsen (61.9 percent) and Mekeli Wesley (61.2 percent) are shooting better than 60 percent from the floor and four others are making 50 percent of their shots -- Todd Christensen (5-9, .556), Silester Rivers (12-23, .522), Mark Roberts (2-4, .500) and Morgan Smith (1-2, .500). Vranes (48 percent), Cooper (45.8 percent) and Lyday (44.4 percent) are also hitting with a good degree of accuracy. Cooper has made 11 of 12 free throws and had made 13 in a row dating back to last year until he missed his only attempt against Denver Saturday.

Not Even Close

The Cougars are scoring 81.5 points per game while holding their opponents to 67.5 points. All three Cougar wins have been by 20 points or more points (29, 28, 23) an its loss to Arizona was also a plus-20 point final (24).

Livin' in the 90s

While it is nearly the new millennium, BYU coach Steve Cleveland's Cougars have decided they like living in the 90s if their first two games are any indication. BYU scored more than 90 points in its first two games this year after only having scored more than 90 points one time in Cleveland's first two seasons. The Cougars scored 92 points against Southern Utah after scoring 91 against UC Riverside in their opener.

Coach Cleveland Shows

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

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

Player Notes

Mekeli Wesley

Last week, Wesley averaged 25 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game in BYU's road split with No. 4 Arizona and Denver. Wesley scored 24 points and had four steals against the Wildcats, keeping the Cougars in a close game for more than 30 minutes on Arizona's home court. Wesley more than held his own against the Wildcats highly regarded front line. "I watched the Arizona game and Wesley was the best big man on the court," said Denver coach Marty Fletcher. Wesley continued his strong play in BYU's 81-58 road win over Denver, scoring a season-high 26 points while adding seven rebounds and three steals in 27 minutes. He made 12-19 shots, including 2-3 from three-point range. He has scored 24 points or more in three of BYU's four games this year. Last year his season high was 24 points. As a freshman he scored 31 points on two occasions. After four games he is averaging a 22 ppg while shooting 61 percent (FGs), 57 percent (3FGs) and 86 percent (FTs).

Terrell Lyday

Lyday is showing why he was recruited by Coach Steve Cleveland out of Fresno City College last year to help replace some of the production lost by the LDS Church mission departure of freshman sensation Mark Bigelow. Last year Bigelow averaged 15 points per game to lead the Cougars. Lyday is averaging 14.5 points per contest while playing a team-high 32 minutes per game. Lyday adds 3.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists while being a valuable defender on the perimeter. Last week he scored a personal BYU best 18 points against Arizona and added 11 points at Denver. He broke away for back-to-back dunks against Arizona and is second on the team with six three pointers. Last year he made more than 100 treys for Fresno City College.

Silester Rivers

Rivers has been slowed with an ankle injury this year, which he aggravated against Arizona last week. Despite only playing 17.5 minutes per game thus far, he leads the team in rebounding (5.2 rpg) and has a team-high nine offensive rebounds. He is making 52 percent of his field goal attempts and has the third best scoring average on the team at 9.5 He is second on the team with five steals.

Michael Vranes

Vranes leads the team in both three pointers made (7) and in three-point field goal percentage (7-12, .583). He has made nearly half of his overall attempts from the floor (12-25, .480) and is second on the team in both assists (11, 2.8 apg) and rebounds (16, 4.0 rpg -- tied with Mekeli Wesley). Last week he hit two three early against Arizona to get the Cougars off to a good start but was limited by personal fouls. In Denver, he had a solid overall game with six points, seven rebounds and six assists. He scored his season-high 13 points against Southern Utah. Vranes has made a three-pointer in every game but Denver (0-2).

Eric Nielsen

Nielsen has been relied upon heavily this year after returning from his LDS Church mission this past summer. With a thin front line and Silester Rivers being slowed by injuries, Nielsen is playing the second most minutes after Terrell Lyday (27.8 per game) and has played well, shooting a team-best 61.9 percent from the floor and scoring eight points per game.

Matt Montague

Montague is also recently returned from an LDS Church mission. The only true point guard on the BYU roster, Montague is third on the team in minutes played (27.0 mpg) and is averaging five assists per game. Last year, Vranes was the leading assist-giver for BYU with a 2.9 assists-per-game average. He has 20 assists to only nine turnovers on the year and is adding 2.2 boards per game. He has taken 10 shots, making only three, and has a 2.2 scoring average.

Nathan Cooper

Cooper is coming off the bench this year after starting in 23 of BYU's 28 games last year. He remains a central part of the Cougar lineup, however, finding ways to contribute in nearly ever facet of the game. He is tied for fourth on the team in scoring with an 8.2 average while also adding 3.5 rebounds and nearly two assists per game in 18.5 minutes. He is the team's best perimeter offensive rebounder with six offensive boards, trailing only Silester Rivers' nine. He is making 46 percent of his shots and has made 11 of 12 free throws (.917) and had made 13 in a row dating back to last year until he missed his only attempt against Denver Saturday. He is yet to make a three-pointer this year (0-4) and is the only Cougar to have fouled out of a game (at Arizona).

Todd Christensen

Christensen is sharing point guard duties with Matt Montague after playing shooting guard most of last year. Regarded as the best shooter on the team, Christensen has made five of his nine attempts (.556) this year with all but one shot being three-pointers. He is 4-8 from behind the arc. Christensen and Montague have taken a combined 19 shots in four games as BYU's point guards. Christensen is averaging 4.2 points, 1.0 rebounds and 0.8 assists in 16 minutes of playing time. He has only committed two turnovers.

Dan Howard

Howard has made an appearance in all four games and has yet to miss a shot. He is 3-3 (1.5 ppg) and averages 2 rebounds in 4.8 minutes.

Last Week Summary

BYU played a tough game against No. 4 Arizona before succumbing in the final 10 minutes to the team rated No. 1 in the USA Today Saragin ratings, 86-62. The Cougars took an 18-10 lead in the first half after three consecutive dunks, one by Mekeli Wesley and two by Terrell Lyday. The Wildcats extended their home win streak to 35 games. BYU shot over 50 percent for the third time this year in its 81-58 win at Denver.

A Look Back at Tucson

The Cougars played a tough game against No. 4 Arizona for 30 minutes before succumbing to the powerful Wildcat team that is rated No. 1 USA Today Saragin ratings. The Cougars took an 18-10 lead in the first half after three consecutive dunks, one by Mekeli Wesley and two by Terrell Lyday. The Cougars were in a close game with 10 minutes remaining but its lack of depth made it tough to stay with the Wildcats, who extended their home win streak to 35 games to give Lute Olson his 400th win. Silester Rivers suffered a sprained ankle and several Cougars were limited by foul trouble while Arizona' s bench provided fresh legs and a lift that carried Arizona to the win. Wesley scored 24 and Lyday 18 to lead BYU.

A Look Back at Denver

BYU shot over 50 percent for the third time this year in its 81-58 win over Denver. The Cougars also pulled down a season-high 44 rebounds. Wesley led the way with 26 points, while Lyday and Todd Christensen added 11 apiece. Michael Vranes played a strong overall game with six points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Comparing Statistics



Points per game .81.5 .77.2

Scoring margin + 14.0 + 12.0


Field goals .516 .470

3-pointers .389 .302

Free throws .771 .709


Rebounds per game .34.5 .41.0

Rebounding margin + 0.0 + 11.3


Assists per game 16.0 14.5


Turnovers per game 13.8 16.3

Turnover margin + 3.2 + 4.0


Blocks per game 1.8 1.8


Steals per game 7.0 9.8

Miscellaneous stats

BYU's record when ...

BYU leads at half................3-0

Opponent leads at half...........0-1

BYU leads with 5 minutes left....3-0

Opponent leads with 5 min. left..0-1

BYU leads with 1 minute left.....3-0

Opponent leads with 1 min. left..0-1

Score tied with 1 minute left....0-0

the game goes overtime...........0-0

BYU outrebounds opponent.........3-0

Opponent outrebounds BYU.........0-1

BYU and opponent tie in rebounds.0-0

BYU shoots 50 % or better........3-0

Opponent shoots 50 % or better...0-1

BYU out shoots opponent..........3-0