BYU Hosts South Alabama Saturday at 7 p.m. | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

BYU Hosts South Alabama Saturday at 7 p.m.

Coming off its first true away win of the season Thursday at Weber State, BYU returns home for the first of five straight home games starting with Saturday's contest with the South Alabama Jaguars. Both BYU and South Alabama boast identical 8-4 records. USA won last year's meeting in Mobile, 64-63. Saturday's tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. following the BYU women's game vs. SMU, which starts at 4:30 p.m. The men's game can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM with Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant calling the action on the Cougar Sports Network. The game is not being televised.

Looking Ahead

BYU hosts Idaho Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The Vandals entered this week with a 3-7 record and play Eastern Washington before coming to Provo. This will be the first meeting since 1947. Overall, the Vandals hold a 2-1 edge in the series. The Cougars will then host Texas A&M Corpus Christi Saturday, Jan. 6 in the final game before starting Mountain West Conference play. BYU opens the conference season at home versus a much-improved San Diego State team and the defending conference champions UNLV.

Game 13 Fast Facts

Teams:

Brigham Young University Cougars (8-4) -- Provo, Utah

University of South Alabama (8-4) -- Mobile, Alabama

Date: Saturday, Dec. 30, 2000

Site: Provo, Utah

Arena:Marriott Center (22,700)

Time: 7 p.m. MST

Series: USA leads, 1-0

Last Meeting: USA 64, BYU 63 in Mobile (Dec. 21, 1999)

Coaches:

BYU, Steve Cleveland (51-52 in fourth year; same overall)

USA, Bob Weltlich (60-37 in fourth year; 279-307 in 21st year overall)

TV: None

Radio:

KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)

Pregame Air Time -- 6:30 p.m. MST

Play-by-Play -- Greg Wrubell

Game Analyst -- Mark Durrant

BYU's Probable Starters:

Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG

F 42 Nathan Cooper 6-6 210 Sr. 4.4 4.1

F 15 Mekeli Wesley 6-9 240 Sr. 17.2 5.6

F 1 Nate Knight 6-10 225 Sr. 4.2 3.6 G 24 Terrell Lyday 6-3 195 Sr. 15.5 2.7

G 21 Trent Whiting 6-1 185 Sr. 16.0 1.8

USA's Probable Starters:

Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG

F 43 Henry Williams 6-6 225 So. 6.8 5.0

C 55 Virgil Stanescu 6-10 275 Sr. 14.2 7.7

G 11 Demetrice Williams 6-2 155 So. 9.9 2.1

G 14 Ericson Beck 5-11 185 Sr. 4.3 1.9

G 22 Ravonte Dantzler 6-2 205 Sr. 12.0 5.6

Scouting South Alabama

South Alabama returns four starters and seven lettermen from last year's 20-10 team that tied for first in the Sun Belt Conference with a 13-3 league mark. The Jaguars come to Provo with an 8-4 record, including a 3-3 road mark. The Jaguars have played a quality schedule. Among USA's three road losses was an eight-point setback (70-62) at Indiana. Among its three road wins was a 68-66 win at Auburn. The Jaguars have won three of the last four but are coming off their only home loss in six outings vs. Louisiana-Lafayette (67-55). South Alabama has not lost back-to-back game this season and won its last road game at Murray State (82-76) on Dec. 19. The Jaguars are led by senior center Virgil Stanescu. At 6-foot-10 and 275, Stanescu is a big presence and leads the Jaguars in both scoring (14.2 ppg) and rebounding (7.7 rpg). Fellow senior Ravonte Dantzler (6-2, 205) adds 12.0 points and 5.6 rebounds from his guard spot and has made a team-best 25 three-pointers while shooting 39 percent from long range. The Jaguars are shooting 43.3 percent as a team from the floor and 35.1 percent from behind the arc. They have connected on 68 percent of their free throw attempts and are out rebounding their opponents by nearly four boards per game.

Series History

South Alabama leads the seried, 1-0, after a 64-63 win in Mobile last year.

Last Year's Meeting

MOBILE -- BYU's five-game win streak came to a halt when the Cougars fell to South Alabama, 64-63, in the first of three straight road games. A South Alabama comeback in the final eight minutes proved to be just enough to hand the Cougars their second loss of the season. After Mekeli Wesley hit a leaning three-pointer to give the Cougars the lead at 63-62 with just under 30 seconds remaining, the Jaguars' Brett Gravitt responded with a 12-foot runner to give South Alabama the advantage. Wesley got off a final attempt but neither it nor tip attempts by Michael Vranes and Terrell Lyday would go down for the Cougars. "We did all the things we needed to do to win this game until about the final two minutes," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "We uncharacteristically missed a some free throws and made a couple turnovers and they made a couple runners and some tough shots. We got a good shot off and a couple tips but they didn't go down. It's a game that could have gone either way and

unfortunately it went against us." The Cougars, who fall to 7-2 overall and 1-2 on the road, trailed by three at the half, 33-30, but out scored the Jaguars 22-11 over the first 12 minutes of the second half to take a 52-42 lead with 8:14 remaining. With the Jaguars 6-10 center Virgil Stanescu committing his fifth foul with 7:35 to go in the game, BYU appeared on its way to its sixth straight win. But Gravitt and Ravonte Dantzler, who scored 22 of South Alabama's 31 second half points, led a Jaguar comeback that was culminated by Gravitt's 10th point of the game -- all in the second half. South Alabama improves to 3-5 on the year and 2-3 at home. The Jaguars were led by Dantzler at 17, followed by Gravitt and Stanescu with 10. They shot 49 percent for the game compared to 43 percent by BYU.Wesley lead the Cougars with 20 points followed by Lyday with 15. Nielsen and Silester Rivers added eight and Cooper and Michael Vranes six. Cooper also had a career-high seven assists and Wesley and Montague shared team-high honors with five rebounds.

USA Quick Facts:

General Info

Location: Mobile, Ala.

Founded: 1963

Enrollment: 11,870

Nickname: Jaguars

Colors: Blue, Red and White

Home Arena: Mitchell Center (10,000)

Conference: Sun Belt

Athletic Director: Joe Gottfried

Basketball Info

Head Coach: Bob Weltlich

Alma Mater: Ohio State (1967)

Best time to call: Contact SID

Office Phone: (334) 460-6104

Overall Record (Years): 279-307 (21st year)

Record at School (Years): 60-37 (4th year)

Assistant Coaches: Chris Jones, Dwight Evans, Mark Coffman

1999-2000

Overall Record: 20-10

Conf. Record/Finish: 13-3 / T1st

Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: N/A

2000-2001

Lettermen Returning/Lost: 7/5

Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1

Returning Starters (last year's stats)

Virgil Stanescu, 6-10, 275, Sr., C, (13.4 ppg, 6.9 rpg)

Ravonte Dantzler, 6-2, 205, Sr., G, (12.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg)

Demetrice Williams, 6-2, 155, So., G, (9.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg)

Michael Bollman, 6-6, 235, So., F, (4.1 ppg, 3.0 rpg)

Media Relations

Basketball Contact: Matt Smith

Office: (334) 460-7035, ext. 5

Home: (334) 344-1529

E-mail: jagsid2@aol.com

Fax: (334) 460-7297

Athletic Web Site: www.southalabama.edu

2000-01 Schedule

11/14 at Marquette (Chase Preseason NIT)

at Marquette 67-54 W

11/17 Preseason NIT

at Indiana 62-70 L

11/21 Stephen F. Austin 73-51 W

11/25 Sam Houston State 70-66 W

11/28 at Southern Mississippi 43-54 L

12/1 at Auburn 68-66 W

12/4 Wright State 79-71 W

12/9 at Alabama State 61-69 L

12/12 West Florida 69-48 W

12/16 Louisville 72-65 W

12/19 at Murray State 82-76 W

12/23 Louisiana-Lafayette 55-67 L

12/30 at BYU

1/4 at Florida International

1/6 at Arkansas State

1/10 Western Kentucky

1/13 Middle Tennessee

1/17 Valdosta State

1/21 New Mexico State

1/25 at New Orleans

1/27 at Louisiana-Lafayette

2/1 Denver

2/3 Louisiana Tech

2/8 at North Texas

2/10 at New Mexico State

2/14 at Arkansas-Little Rock

2/17 New Orleans

2/22 at Denver

2/24 North Texas

3/2-6 Sun Belt Tournament

BYU Earns First Road Win Thursday at Weber State

OGDEN -- Winning in Ogden for the first time in 10 years, BYU scored 56 second-half points to come from behind and defeat Weber State 84-75 in front of 10,252 fans at the Dee Events Center. The Cougars improved to 8-4 with the win and a perfect 3-0 against instate rivals this season. BYU handed Weber State its first home loss of the year in four games and the Wildcats suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season with the loss. Weber State, now 5-5 overall, was coming off a loss at Utah State. BYU trailed at half, 32-28, as its leading scorer, Mekeli Wesley, did not score in the first 20 minutes on four attempts. But Wesley put down 17 second half points to lead a balanced BYU offense that out scored the Wildcats 56-43 in the final 20 minutes. Five Cougars reached double figures for the first time this year. After Wesley's 17 points, Trent Whiting had 15, Terrell Lyday 14, and Eric Nielsen and Travis Hansen added 12 apiece. Montague provided a spark off the bench for the Cougars, adding seven points and a game-high five assists in 18 minutes. With Weber State starting the game with a 10-0 run, BYU had six times gotten to within a possession of equaling the score but had not been able to convert. Montague helped turn the momentum BYU's way when he stole the ball from Wildcat star Jermaine Boyette and fed Hansen for a break-away hammer dunk to finally tie the game at 46 at the 11:58 mark. BYU did not trail again, and built a lead that reached 12 points thanks to strong free throw shooting. The Cougars went 23-24 from the line in the second half and 30-32 for the game. The Cougars made 24 straight free throws at one point in the game between their only two misses from the line. Boyette had a career night for Weber State, scoring 36 points with five rebounds and five assists. The quick Wildcat guard went 13-19 from the floor, including 2-3 from three-point range, and was a nearly perfect 8-9 from the line. Center Stephan Bachmann added 13 points while Jake Shoff had a game-high 10 rebounds in a losing effort. Lyday had a season-high seven rebounds for BYU while playing the entire 40 minutes and having the task of guarding Boyette. Lyday took only one three, a miss, to halt his string of 15 straight games with a made three-pointer, the third longest streak in BYU history. Lyday set the BYU mark at 21 last season.

Cougars 3-0 vs. Instate Opponents this Season

After defeating each of the other four instate schools at least once last year for the first time in school history, BYU is off to a perfect 3-0 record this year against its instate rivals. The Cougars won at home over Southern Utah (58-52) and Utah State (69-67) before getting a win on the road Thursday at Weber State (84-75). BYU will play Utah at least twice during Mountain West Conference play. The first BYU-Utah game is a 10 p.m. ESPN tip off Jan. 29 in Provo and the second is an ESPN Regional game in Salt Lake on Feb. 24.

Five Make 10 for First Time in 2000

BYU had its most balanced offensive attack of the season in Thursday's win at Weber State. The Cougars scored 84 points, the most since a 100-point night in the season-opener, and had five players reach double figures for the first time this year. Mekeli Wesley led the way with 17 points, all in the second half, followed by Trent Whiting with 15, Terrell Lyday with 14, and Eric Nielsen and Travis Hansen with 12 apiece. The Cougars have had four players reach double figures in two other games (USC and Elon College).

Other Firsts

BYU won its first true road game Thursday, defeating Weber State on its home court. The Cougars are now 1-2 on the road and 2-2 on a neutral court this year. The win over Weber was also the first Cougar win in Ogden since 1990, ending a four-game road losing streak to the Wildcats. BYU is now 4-9 in Ogden. Travis Hansen reached double figures for the first time Thursday, scoring a career-high 12 points. Cleveland started the lineup of Whiting, Lyday, Cooper, Nielsen and Wesley for the first time this year in Thursday's win. Cooper only logged nine minutes after getting his 10th start of the year.

Cleveland's Record

With a 51-52 record Steve Cleveland can even his overall record at BYU with a Cougar win Saturday vs. South Alabama. He reached 50-50 with a win over Boise State before consecutive defeats to ranked teams at the Yahoo! Invitational. He improved to 3-1 vs. Weber State Thursday and is now 9-9 vs. instate schools. He has a winning record against every instate school but Utah (1-7).

Whiting, Knight Made Strong BYU Debuts

Transfer players Trent Whiting (Utah) and Nate Knight (Kentucky) made their Cougar debuts Dec. 16 vs. Utah State after sitting out the first seven games of the year because of transfer rules. Whiting scored a game-high 22 points on 7-11 shooting, including 4-7 threes, in a team-high 39 minutes in his debut while Knight made a solid contribution with five points and six rebounds in 18 minutes. Neither player had played in a game for more than a year since transferring last fall.

Added Offense

BYU has received a shot in its offensive arm since Trent Whiting and Nate Knight joined the lineup Dec. 16 vs. Utah State. BYU has averaged 74.8 points per game in the five games the two transfer seniors have played for the Cougars. BYU had failed to score 60 points in three of the four games prior to their debuts and was averaging 69.1 points per contest overall. Excluding the 100-point effort in the season-opening win over Elon College, BYU was averaging 64 points in the other six games before Whiting and Knight became eligible. Whiting has provided another strong offensive option for the Cougars, averaging 16 points in 35.8 minutes while Knight has added 4.2 points in a more limited 14.4 minutes per game.

Streaks

The Cougars look to extend their winning streak to two games Saturday after ending a two-game losing skid with their first true away win of the year Thursday at Weber State. The two losses were both single-digit defeats to nationally ranked teams. The Cougars have lost consecutive games twice this year and had back-to-back losses on three occasions last season. BYU has not lost more than two consecutive games since losing three straight in February of the 1998-99 season. BYU won five straight games between its two sets of losses this year. The Cougars have a 10-game home winning streak dating back to last year when the Cougars won their final five contests in the Marriott Center. BYU is 5-0 at home this season. BYU's last home loss was to New Mexico (78-74) on Feb. 17, 2000. Terrell Lyday had his string of 15 straight games with a three-pointer end Thursday when he missed on his only attempt from behind the arc. He had a trey in BYU's first 11 games this year and the last four of last season. He holds the BYU record after making a trey in 21 consecutive games to begin last season.

Closer Contests

After having the first six games of the year decided by more than 10 points, five of BYU's last six games have been single-digit outcomes, including Thursday's win at Weber State (84-75) and its last two home wins over instate opponents Southern Utah (58-52) and Utah State (69-67). BYU lost to No. 13 USC (70-67) and No. 26 Iowa State (77-71) last week at the Yahoo! Sports Invitational. The Cougars only double-digit game in the last two weeks was a 16-point triumph over Boise State in Hawaii.

Trends

BYU had 15 turnovers and 15 assists Thursday after committed more turnovers than dishing out assists in the prior three games and six times overall. BYU is 3-3 in those games. ... Mekeli Wesley, Terrell Lyday and Trent Whiting have each scored in double figures in the last four games. Wesley and Whiting have had double-digits in the last five. Overall, Wesley has 11 double-figures games and Lyday 10. Eric Nielsen has had two straight double figures games ... The Cougars have allowed double-digit offensive rebounds in each of the last seven games while BYU has only grabbed single-digit offensive boards in the last seven games. BYU is 5-2 in those games. The two losses coming last week vs. Iowa State and USC.

BYU's record when . . .

BYU leads at half 7-2

Opponent leads at half 1-2

Score tied at half 0-0

BYU leads with 5 minutes left 7-1

Opponent leads with 5 min. left 1-3

BYU leads with 1 minute left 7-0

Opponent leads with 1 min. left 1-4

Score tied with 1 minute left 0-0

Game goes into overtime 0-0

BYU out rebounds opponent 3-0

Opponent out rebounds BYU 4-4

BYU and opponent tie in rebounds 1-0

BYU shoots 50 % or better 3-0

Opponent shoots 50 % or better 0-3

BYU out shoots opponent 8-1

Opponent out shoots BYU 0-3

BYU scores less than 70 4-2

Opponent scores less than 70 7-0

BYU scores 70 or more 4-2

Opponent scores 70 or more 1-4

PLAYER NOTES

Mekeli Wesley (17.2 ppg, 5.6 rpg)

Last Game: 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal in 32 minutes vs. Weber State.

• Wesley had a team-high 17 points, all in the second half. He has not scored in the first half three times this year (ASU, SUU, WSU) and BYU is 2-1 in those games.

• He was named to the Yahoo! Sports Invitational All-Tournament Team last week while averaging 21.3 points and 5.7 rebounds in three games. He was 22-33 (.667) from the floor and 19-23 (.826) from the line. He also made his only three-point attempt. He had games of 19, 26 and 19 points.

• After starting the year shooting 34.9 percent in the first four games, he shot 60.8 percent in the next seven games going 45-74 before going 4-11 Thursday. He has made at least 50 percent of his attempts in all but two (0-2 vs. SUU, and 4-11 Thursday) of the last eight games. He is now shooting 50 percent for the year.

• He was named MWC Player of the Week Dec. 11.

• Wesley has scored in double figures in 11 of BYU's 12 games, including five straight. He has been the Cougars' top scorer or shared the honor in nine games, including three of the last four. Last year he had double figures in 30 of 33 games and led the Cougar in scoring in 17 games.

• Wesley was 8-8 from the line Thursday and is moving up the career free throw charts at BYU. He is in sixth place on BYU's all-time attempts list with 520. He moved past Mike Smith (491) and Gary Trost (496) last week. Next up is Fred Roberts at 602 attempts. He has made 402 free throws and needs to make 30 more to move past Mike Smith (431) into sixth place. This year Wesley has team highs of 72 makes and 90 attempts (.800).

• He leads the team with 5.6 rebounds per game. He has had an offensive rebound in each of the last 11 games and has a team-best 20 offensive boards.

• Wesley did not make a field goal for the third time in his career vs. SUU, taking only two shots vs. SUU's zone. Of the three outings, the SUU game was the only time BYU won when Wesley did not connect from the floor and it was also the most minutes (31) he has played in a game without making a field goal. Ironically, the two previous times he did not make a field goal he also failed on only two attempts. He was 0-2 vs. Colorado State with no rebounds while playing 11 minutes in a 55-44 loss on Jan. 17, 1998 during his freshman season. In his second game back as a sophomore, he went 0-2 in 11 minutes, going 3-4 from the line in an 82-75 loss at UC Irvine on Dec. 22, 1998.

WESLEY CAPSULE: A preseason All-Mountain West Conference selection, Wesley enters his senior year as the only player on the roster to have played in each of head coach Steve Cleveland's three previous seasons ... a three-year starter, he has developed into one of the top players in the Mountain West Conference with good scoring ability from both the post and the perimeter ... he earned second-team All-MWC honors as a junior and was on the WAC Newcomer Team as a freshman ... he has bulked up between his junior and senior seasons and is in the best shape of his career ... he missed part of his sophomore season while attending Salt Lake Community College for a semester and struggled to regain his freshman form ... a team captain, he returned to lead BYU in rebounding and was nine points shy of Lyday in scoring last year ... he will again be asked to provide leadership as a primary scorer and rebounder.

2000-01 BIO: Wesley had team-high 17 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal in 32 minutes vs. Weber State. ... 19 points, team-best 6 rebounds, 2 assists in 25 minutes vs. USC ... season-high 26 points with 4 rebounds in 33 minutes vs. Iowa State ... 19 points, game-high 7 rebounds in 23 minutes vs. Boise State ... came out on fire making 7-8 first half shots, including 2-3 treys, for 16 points in 20 minutes on his way to a game-high 22 points with 2 rebounds, 2 assists in 30 minutes vs. USU ... season-low 5 points, team-best 9 rebounds and two timely blocks in the closing moments in 31 total minutes vs. SUU ... named MWC Player of the Week Dec. 11 ... season-high 21 points with 4 rebounds, 2 blocks in 34 minutes vs. Rice ... 16 points, 4 rebounds, season-high 3 assists in 31 minutes vs. FIU ... team-high 11 points, 7 rebounds in 30 minutes at ASU ... a season-high 20 points and 5 rebounds, 2 assists in 32 minutes vs. USF ... recorded career highs of 12 rebounds and five blocks against UCSB while recording his fifth career double double (first of season) with 11 points ... had a team-high 19 points, 3 rebounds in 21 minutes vs. Elon College, making all five of his field goals.

Terrell Lyday (15.5 ppg, 2.7 rpg)

Last Game: 14 points, season-high 7 rebounds, 1 steal in 40 minutes at Weber St.

• Lyday did not come out of the game for the first time this year while having the defensive assignment to guard Jermaine Boyette. He averages 33.8 minutes on the year.

• He had his best week of the year last week despite having two ankle sprains. He averaged 20 points, 2.7 points, 2.3 assists and 2.3 steals in three games. He scored a season-best 25 points vs. Boise State.

• He has reached double figures points in four straight games and 10 of 12 overall this year. He has reach double figures in all but five games since joining BYU last year.

• He took only one three-pointer vs. Weber State, a miss, to end his string of 15 straight games with a trey, third on the BYU all-time list. He set the BYU record with a trey in the first 21 games of last year. He had made a three in each of BYU's first 11 games this year and the last four of last season. He has made multiple threes in seven games this year, including 4-7 vs. Boise State and 3-7 vs. Iowa State last week. Last year he made a two or more treys in 20 of 33 games .

• Lyday shot only 22.4 percent from the floor and 16.7 on threes in BYU's fist three games away from the Marriott Center but last week shot 45 percent (18-40) from the floor and 50 percent (8-16) on threes in three games in Hawaii. He was 4-9 Thursday at Weber State. Overall, he is shooting 36.5 percent from the floor and 34.8 on threes.

LYDAY CAPSULE: Lyday enters his senior season after exciting Cougar fans with a strong first season upon transferring from Fresno City College ... a preseason All-Mountain West Conference selection, he is a MWC Player of the Year candidate and considered the top guard in the league ... he was named MWC Newcomer of the Year last year ... athletic with a smooth jumper, he is a scorer who can finish inside or consistently knock down shots from the outside ... quick with good hands, he is an outstanding defender who led the MWC in steals last year ... he will be a go-to player for the Cougars in his final season.

2000-01 BIO: Lyday had 14 points, season-high 7 rebounds, 1 steal in 40 minutes at Weber State ... 17 points, 2 rebounds, season-high 4 assists in 34 minutes vs. USC ... 18 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 3 steals in 32 minutes vs. ISU ... season-highs of 25 points and four steals with 4 rebounds, 2 steals in 36 minutes vs. Boise State despite a sore ankle ... had a career-low 5 points, with 2 rebounds, 2 assists in injury -shortened (sprained right ankle) 26 minutes vs. USU ... game-high 24 points, season-high 4 rebounds, career-high 2 blocks in 39 minutes vs. SUU ... 10 points, 3 rebounds in 37 minutes vs. Rice at the Compaq Center ... 16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists in 31 minutes vs. FIU ... 11 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists in 38 minutes at ASU ... 16 points, no rebounds, 1 assist in 39 minutes at USF ... team-high 21 points, no rebounds, 1 assist in 30 minutes vs. UCSB ... 9 points, 3 rebounds in 23 minutes vs. Elon College ... sat out the last exhibition with a muscle strain in his lower leg and played just over half vs. Elon.

Trent Whiting (16.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 1.8 apg)

Last Game: 15 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal, season-high 4 assists in season-low 33 minutes at Weber St.

• He has reached double figures in all five games he has played this year. He has led the Cougars in scoring once (vs. USU). He averaged 14.3 points last week.

• He plays a team-high 35.8 minutes per game.

• He is shooting 41.9 percent, 40 percent on threes, and team-best 88.9 percent from the line.

• Starting in his BYU debut, Whiting hit his first three shots and made four of five threes to score 14 first half points. He made several big plays in the game. He nailed a buzzer-beating three from 30-plus range to put BYU up 41-40 to end the half. He later made a critical steal and layup to tie the game with 2:40 remaining and made two free throws in the last minute to tie the score again at 67. He was 7-11 from the floor on the night. With Lyday playing only 26 minutes because of an ankle sprain, Whiting played both guard positions, coming out for only one minute.

WHITING CAPSULE: Whiting enters his first year at BYU after transferring from Utah last year ... he will not be eligible to compete until Dec. 16th against Utah State because of transfer rules ... he only played five games at Utah last year because of injury ... a NJCAA All-American at Snow College, he can play either guard position ... expected to be a key contributor, he is a gifted outside shooter with excellent range and a conditioned athlete with a strong vertical leap.

2000-01 BIO: Whiting had 15 points, 1 rebound, 1 steal, season-high 4 assists in season-low 33 minutes at Weber State ... 12 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist in 34 minutes vs. USC ... 12 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal in 38 minutes vs. Iowa State ... 19 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal in 35 minutes vs. Boise State ... career-high 22 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists in team-high 39 minutes vs. USU in his BYU debut.

Nathan Cooper (4.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg)

Last Game: 1 point in season-low 9 minutes after starting at Weber State.

• After starting the first seven games, he came off the bench vs. USU and Boise State before returning to the starting lineup in BYU's last three games. He was 0-3 and 1-2 on free throws Thursday. He did not score in the previous two games, taking only three shots.

• After averaging 7 points over the first six games, Cooper has averaged 1.8 points over the last six, three times going scoreless in a more limited role. His best game of the stretch was a 6 point, 5 rebound effort off the bench vs. Boise State.

• He is shooting 50 percent overall this year and is 3-8 on threes (.375). After being last year's top Cougar (.778) from the free throw line, he is shooting 64.3 percent (18-28) from the line this year. He has never averaged less than 74 percent (as a freshman) from the line over the course of a season.

• Making hustle plays, Cooper grabbed five offensive boards last week among his 11 rebounds. All three of his rebounds vs. Utah State came off the offensive glass. On the year is one behind Wesley with 19 offensive rebounds and is second to Wesley in total rebounds with 49 (4.1 per game).

COOPER CAPSULE: Cooper returns for his senior season as one of the team captains ... he is a versatile player who has a solid outside shot and a willingness to mix it up inside ... he has been considered the heart of the team because of his tough, scrappy nature and competitive desire ... he was the team's top free throw shooter last year... tendonitis in his knee limited his off-season play ... he has been a solid contributor in each of his first three seasons, both as a starter and off the bench.

2000-01 BIO: Cooper had 1 point in season-low 9 minutes after starting at Weber State ... did not score with 3 rebounds, 1 steal in 25 minutes vs. USC ... did not score, 3 rebounds, 1 steal in 19 minutes vs. Iowa State ... 6 points, 5 rebounds in 22 minutes vs. Boise State ... 4 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists in 14 minutes vs. USU ... did not score, taking only one shot, with 1 rebound, 1 steal in 18 minutes vs. SUU ... 10 points, 4 rebounds, season-high 4 assists in 29 minutes vs. Rice ... had 7 points, 7 rebounds in 21 minutes vs. FIU ... had 5 points, 5 re bounds in 19 minutes at ASU ... had 4 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists in 31 minutes at USF ... had 6 points, 6 rebounds vs. UCSB in 28 minutes ... had 10 points and 7 rebounds in 20 minutes vs. Elon College, going 3-3 from the floor, including 1-1 on threes, and hit 3-4 free throws.

Eric Nielsen (6.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg)

Last Game: 12 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist in 34 minutes at Weber State.

• After not scoring for the first time this year vs. Iowa State, he has scored 10 points and 12 points, respectively, in the last two games. He has reached double figures three this year and his fourth on the team in scoring at 6.9 points per game.

• He is averaging 11 points and 4 rebounds over the last two games.

• He was 5-7 from the floor Thursday at Weber State after attempting only seven shots last week in three games. He returned to the starting lineup Thursday after coming off the bench for the first time in the previous two games. He averages 3.8 attempts per game overall.

• He is shooting a team-best 64.4 percent from the floor. Last year he had the eighth best season field goal percentage in BYU history at 57.8. His current 55.8 career percentage ranks third all-time at BYU among starters having made 184-330 field goals in his two-plus seasons.

NIELSEN CAPSULE: Nielsen came on strong at the end of last season and is expected to be a major contributor during his junior season ... a two-year starter, he played on the 1-25 1996-97 team and, after returning from an LDS Church mission, on last year's 22-11 NIT quarterfinalist squad ... an intelligent player with a good mid-range jumper, he returns for his junior year physically much stronger and has improved his shooting.

2000-01 BIO: Nielsen had 12 points, 5 rebounds, 1 assist in 34 minutes at Weber State ... 10 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal in 20 minutes vs. USC ... no points, 3 rebounds, 1 steal in 23 minutes vs. ISU ... 2 points, no rebounds, 1 block in 15 minutes vs. BSU ... 6 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists in 21 minutes vs. USU ... season-high 15 points with 4 rebounds in 35 minutes vs. SUU ... 6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist in 19 minutes vs. Rice ... 8 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists in season-high 32 minutes vs. FIU ... season highs of nine points and nine rebounds in 31 minutes at ASU ... 4 points, 2 rebounds in 8 minutes at USF, fouling out ... 3 points, 2 rebounds in 12 foul-trouble limited minutes vs. UCSB ... 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists in 25 minutes vs. Elon College ... 3 assists vs. Elon College matched his season high of last season.

Travis Hansen (5.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg)

Last Game: Career highs of 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists in 21 minutes at Weber State.

• He came off the bench the last three games after started the previous two. He came off the bench in the first seven games.

• He played 21 minutes Thursday after played less than 20 minutes in all three games last week. He played more than 20 minutes in each of the previous three games after playing less than 20 in the first five games. Overall, he averages 17.6 minutes per game.

• He is fifth on the team in scoring with a 5.8 average.

HANSEN CAPSULE: Hansen enters his first season at BYU and should make an immediate impact ... he enrolled this fall after sitting out a redshirt season last year upon return from his LDS Church mission ... he played at Utah Valley State College as a freshman ... he is one of the most athletic players on the team ... he is a scorer who has nice range from outside and can slash to the basket effectively ... his explosive athleticism will be highlighted in BYU's motion offense and should improve the Cougars' team rebounding.

2000-01 BIO: Hansen had career highs of 12 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists in 21 minutes at Weber State ... 5 points in 16 minutes off the bench vs. USC ... career-high 9 points with 3 rebounds in 18 minutes off the bench vs. ISU ... started but did not score with 2 rebounds, 1 assist in 12 minutes vs. BSU ... started for the first time and had 2 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal in 25 minutes vs. USU ... had identical 8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 22 minutes lines vs. SUU and Rice ... 5 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists in 18 minutes vs. FIU ... had 8 points, 2 rebounds in 17 minutes at ASU .... he did not score and had 3 rebounds, 1 assist in 11 minutes at USF ... had 8 points, 3 rebounds, 1 assist in 18 minutes vs. UCSB ... had 4 points, 1 rebound, 3 assists in 11 minutes vs. Elon College ... After missing the final exhibition game with a groin injury, he only played limited minutes vs. Elon.

Nate Knight (4.2 ppg, 3.6 rpg)

Last Game: 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 block in 6 minutes at Weber State.

• He came off the bench again Thursday after started the previous two games. He came off the bench in his first two Cougar games.

KNIGHT CAPSULE: Knight transferred to BYU from Kentucky ... he becomes eligible to play his senior season on Dec. 16 vs. Utah State because of transfer rules ... he previously played at Utah Valley State College and Oregon State ... he is a hard-nosed player who can create problems for opponents with his ability to run the floor and post up ... he is primarily a power forward but could also play at center ... provides experience and depth to Cougar front line ... his brother Shane played for BYU and brother Travis currently plays in the NBA after a college career at Connecticut.

2000-01 BIO: Knight had 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 block in 6 minutes at Weber State ... started and had 2 points (2-2 FTs), 2 rebounds in 15 minutes vs. USC ... got first start, equaled season-best 6 points with 5 rebounds, 1 block in 21 minutes ... season-high 6 points with 4 rebounds in 12 minutes vs. BSU ... 5 points, 6 rebounds in 18 minutes vs. USU in his BYU debut.

Matt Montague (3.8 ppg, 2.3 rpg, 4.0 apg)

Last Game: 7 points, 2 rebounds, game-high 5 assists, 1 steal in 18 minutes at Weber State.

• He provided a nice spark Thursday, penetrating effectively while handing out a team-best 5 assists and scoring 7 points. His lone steal was taken from WSU star Jermaine Boyette and set up a Travis Hansen hammer dunk to finally pull BYU even at 46-46. BYU did not trail the rest of the way.

• He started the first seven games but has come off the bench in the last five since Trent Whiting made his BYU debut vs. Utah State.

• He ended a six game stretch without making a field goal going 1-1 from the floor Thursday. He started the year making his first eight shots, including 5-5 on threes, then made 5 of his next 8 shots, 1-2 on threes, but was 0-10 from the floor in the last six games. He is still shooting a strong 51.9 percent overall from the floor and on treys attempts (6-12), doubling the number of treys he made all of last year (3-12).

• He had not scored in the previous four games since coming off the bench and five of the last six before his seven points Thursday at Weber State. Overall, he has failed to score in six of BYU's 12 games.

• He has a team-best 48 assists (Lyday is next with 17).

MONTAGUE CAPSULE: Montague enters his junior season as the top assist maker on the Cougar roster ... he led the team in assists last year while starting 19 of 33 games ... prior to serving his LDS Church mission, he led the 1996-97 Cougars in assists while starting every game ... a hard-nosed competitor, he sees the floor well and is a great transition passer ... he was slowed some by an achilles injury last year and wasn't able to participate in preseason conditioning fully because of a flair up of the injury.

2000-01 BIO: Montague had 7 points, 2 rebounds, game-high 5 assists, 1 steal in 18 minutes at Weber State ... did not score and only took two shots (both threes) in three games at the Yahoo! Sports Invitational ... played 11 minutes with 2 assists, 1 rebound, 1 steal vs. USC, 12 minutes with 2 assists, 2 rebounds vs. ISU, and 30 minutes with 5 assists, 2 rebounds, 1 steal and his first-ever block vs. BSU ... did not score (0-1) with 1 assist, 1 steal in season-low 10 minutes vs. USU ... was 0-3 from the floor with 4 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, career-high 5 steals in 34 minutes vs. SUU ... shot 0-4 and did not score with 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 steals in 40 minutes vs. Rice ... 8 points, 3 rebounds, season-low 2 assists vs. FIU ... did not score and had 3 rebounds, 3 assists in 28 minutes at ASU ... made his first eight shots of the year over three games, including 5-5 on threes ... had a season-high 12 points with 2 rebounds, 6 assists in 34 minutes at USF ... 9 points, 3 rebounds, 7 assists in 33 minutes vs. UCSB ... 6 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists in team-high 30 minutes vs. Elon College, going 2-2 from the floor, both three pointers, marking the first time he has made two treys in a game during his career at BYU ... also had 8 assist and no turnovers and with game-best 3 steals.

Daniel Bobik (3.6 ppg, 1.2 rpg)

Last Game: Did not play.

• He has not played in the last two games and played only 1 minute vs. ISU. He has not scored in the four of the last five games in which he has played after getting on the scoreboard in the first five games. He had four points, 4-4 FTs, vs. BSU.

• He has taken only three field goal attempts, all missed threes, in limited play during the last six games he played. He took only one field goal attempt last week during his eight minutes vs. BSU. The last field goal he made was vs. Florida International on Dec. 7. Since playing a season-high 20 minutes vs. FIU he has played a combined 26 minutes (4.3 mpg) in his last six games.

BOBIK CAPSULE: Bobik has enrolled at BYU for his freshman season after returning from an LDS Church mission to the Dominican Republic ... he was one of the first recruits to sign with BYU under Steve Cleveland ... he is an excellent shooter and good passer with good court awareness who could play either guard position ... he has worked with a personal trainer since returning from his two-year mission to prepare for the season.

2000-01 BIO: Bobik did not play vs. Weber State or USC ... played only 1 minute vs. ISU ... 4 points (4-4 FTs), 1 rebound, 1 assist, 1 steal in 8 minutes vs. BSU ... played 3 minutes vs. USU ... was 0-1 (a trey attempt) with 1 rebound, 1 assists, 1 steal in 9 minutes vs. SUU ... 0-1 (trey attempt) with 1 rebound, 2 assists, 1 steal in season-low 5 minutes v. Rice ... 9 points, 3 rebounds, season-high 3 assists in 20 minutes vs. FIU ... 3 points, 3 rebounds in 16 minutes at ASU ... 2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists in 12 minutes at USF ... 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist in 9 minutes vs. UCSB ... 16 points, 1 rebound, 1 assists in 19 minutes in his college debut vs. Elon College and was 5-10 from the floor and 4-4 from the line. He had three more field goal attempts than the next closest Cougar (Terrell Lyday with 7) ... started against EA Sports (Exhibition) in place of injured Terrell Lyday and had 13 points, 5 rebounds, 5 assists ... had 17 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists off the bench vs. Team Reebok.

Jacob Chrisman (4.6 ppg, 1.8 rpg)

Last Game: 4 points, 1 rebound in 7 minutes at Weber State.

• He was 1-1 from the floor and 2-2 front the line Thursday.

• He did not play for the first time this year vs. ISU. He has scored in 10 of the 11 game he has played (except SUU). He has had a rebound in 9 of 11 games played (except Rice and SUU). He played only 5 minutes vs. SUU.

• He has made 17-29 (.586) field goals this year.

CHRISMAN CAPSULE: Chrisman could be a significant contributor in his freshman season ... he is extremely mobile and a strong rebounder ... he is an athletic low post player who can score in multiple ways ... he has developed a nice perimeter game ... a hard worker, he has a knack for the game and finds a way to make plays both on offense and defense ... a slasher-type player who has a nice shooting touch ... he will be primarily a three but could also play some four for the Cougars.

2000-01 BIO: Chrisman had 4 points, 1 rebound in 7 minutes at Weber State ... 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist in 11 minutes vs. USC ... did not play for the first time vs. ISU ... 2 points (2-2 FTs), 2 rebounds in 7 minutes vs. BSU ... 3 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist in 10 minutes vs USU ... did not score or grab a rebound in season-low 5 minutes vs. SUU ... had 2 points and no rebounds in 8 minutes vs. Rice ... 7 points, 4 rebounds in 11 minutes vs. FIU ... 5 points, 3 rebounds in 12 minutes at ASU ... 7 points, 4 rebounds in 15 minutes at USF ... 4 points, 1 block, 1 steal in 23 minutes vs. UCSB ... 15 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block, 1 steal, 1 assist in 20 minutes in his college debut vs. Elon College.

Derek Dawes (1.6 ppg, 2.8 rpg)

Last Game: Did not play.

• He was 0-2 from the floor last week and has only taken four shots in the last seven games in which he has played (played in 9 of 11 games). He is 5-11 on the year from the field.

• He averages 2.8 rebounds in 6.6 minutes per game.

DAWES CAPSULE: Dawes enters his first year of college basketball as one of the most sought-after centers in the West ... he is an active player who runs the floor well and is a good free throw shooter ... he has outstanding shot blocking ability with great timing and good athleticism and size.

2000-01 BIO: Dawes did not play at Weber State ... did not score with 3 rebounds, 1 block in 8 minutes vs. USC ... 2 rebounds in 3 minutes vs. ISU ... did not play vs. BSU ... 1 rebound in 4 minutes vs. USU ... 2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block in 7 minutes vs. SUU ... he gave a nice contribution vs. Rice despite playing only six minutes. After making a block he came down the court and knocked down a long jumper on his only attempt. He also grabbed three boards (2 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block in 6 minutes vs. Rice in Houston) ... did not play vs. FIU ... started at ASU and did not score with 2 blocks, 1 rebound in 6 minutes ... 1 point, 1 rebound in 6 minutes at USF ... 3 points, 4 rebounds in 7 minutes vs. UCSB ... 6 points, 7 rebounds, 1 block in 12 minutes vs. Elon College in his college debut.

Dan Howard (2.0 ppg, 0.8 rpg)

Last Game: Did not play.

• He has played in one of the last seven games and only five games overall.

• He is 3-4 from both the floor and 2-2 from the line this year. Last year he was 3-3 from the floor before being forced to redshirt with a knee injury.

HOWARD CAPSULE: Howard played four games last year but redshirted after having knee surgery ... he has not had any significant game experience since last playing for his high school team in 1996 ... a hard worker, he has a knack for the ball and could be a factor in his freshman year with his size inside.

2000-01 BIO: Howard did not play at Weber State ... played only 1 minute vs. USC, committing a foul ... did not play in the previous five games ... sat out Rice game with knee injury ... 2 points in 4 minutes vs. FIU ... had 2 rebounds in 2 minutes at ASU ... fouled out with 4 points, no rebounds, 1 block after playing a season-high 12 minutes at USF with Eric Nielsen in foul trouble and USF putting a 7-footer on the court ... did not play vs. UCSB ... had 2 points, 1 rebound, 1 block in 5 minutes vs. Elon College.

Ty Shippen (1.3 ppg, 1.0 rpg, 1.3 apg)

Last Game: Did not play.

• He has not played in the last eight games.

• After averaging 5 minutes in BYU's first two home wins, he has played only one minute since (at ASU).

SHIPPEN CAPSULE: Shippen joins the Cougars as a walk-on after transferring from Ricks College in Rexburg, Idaho ... he is a gifted shooter and can play either guard position ... he is married to the former Kaly Gillette, who plays on the BYU women's basketball team ... he is the younger brother of BYU women's basketball coach Trent Shippen ... he served an LDS Church mission to North Carolina.

2000-01 BIO: Shippen had 1 assist in 1 minute at ASU ... he did not play at USF ... played only two minutes with one turnover vs. UCSB ... had 4 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists in 8 minutes vs. Elon College.

Jordan Archibald (1.0 ppg, 1.0 apg)

Last Game: Did not play.

• He has only played six minutes this year, all in the season opener vs. Elon College.

ARCHIBALD CAPSULE: Archibald redshirted last year and returns for his freshman season ... he has good size and is a good shooter ... he suffered a broken hand during the off-season and his preseason skill development and conditioning opportunities were further limited due to a fall groin pull.

2000-01 BIO: Archibald had 1 point, 1 assist in 6 minutes vs. Elon College.

Vranes out for the Year

Two-year starting guard Michael Vranes will miss the entire season after a foot injury required two fall surgeries. Vranes played both the point and wing for the Cougars and was the third leading scorer last season and the team's best defender on the perimeter.