PROVO -- BYU, 16-9 overall and 5-7 in the Mountain West Conference, hosts Air Force, 8-17, 4-8, Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The game is the second half of a double header with BYU's women's team also hosting Air Force at 5 p.m. The Cougars are still in the hunt for a post-season tournament berth and need to win both games this week. The men's game vs. Air Force can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM with Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant calling the action.
All-America and Senior Nights
During halftime of Thursday's game, BYU will honor all of its All-America athletes from this past year. Saturday BYU will honor the seniors on this years team.
BYU hosts San Diego State Saturday at 7 p.m. in its final regular season game.
Last Time Out
Wyoming made 11 three pointers and shot nearly 51 percent from the floor to run away from BYU in the second half Saturday for an 85-70 win in Laramie. The Cowboys became the second straight team to make better than 50 percent of their shots from the floor and from three-point range against the Cougars. Wyoming's 11 treys equaled a season high for a BYU opponent this season. BYU battled Wyoming to a 43-43 tie entering the break as Mekeli Wesley had 16 first-half points and Terrell Lyday added 12. BYU evened the score again at 56-56 on a Michael Vranes layup with 12:08 remaining and was still within four points at 65-61 with seven minutes to go before the Cowboys hit three straight threes and out scored BYU 20-9 to take their largest lead of 15 at the final buzzer. Wesley scored a game-high 25 points to lead BYU, followed by Lyday with 17 and Vranes and Christensen with 10. The Cougars shot 41 percent for the game, including 39 percent on threes, and for the second straight game had only single-digit assists with nine. Wesley handed out a team-best three assists. Freshman guard Marc Roberts had his first start and played nine minutes and had two assists, one rebound and did not score, taking only one shot. Coach Cleveland played 11 players in the game. Marcus Bailey and Josh Davis had 15 for the Cowboys, followed by Chris McMillian with 14 and Brett McFall with 11. Wyoming made 51 percent from the floor and 11-22 threes while out rebounding the Cougars 38-34.
Game Quick Facts:
BYU (16-9, 5-7) vs. Air Force (8-17, 4-8)
Thursday, March 2 Â• Marriott Center (22,700) Â• Provo, Utah Â• 7:30 p.m. Mountain
Network: Cougar Sports Network
Station: KSL Newsradio 1160 AM
Air Time: 7 p.m. Mountain
Play-by-play: Greg Wrubell
Commentary: Mark Durrant
BYU's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-8 210 So. 5.1 3.9
F 15 Mekeli Wesley 6-9 230 Jr. 17.9 5.8
G 24 Terrell Lyday 6-3 190 Jr. 17.5 3.9
G 13 Michael Vranes 6-3 190 So. 8.2 4.2
G 4 Todd Christensen 6-1 185 Jr. 6.2 0.8
Air Force's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 4 Miguel Garcia 6-6 215 Sr. 7.1 6.0
F 33 Tyron Wright 6-4 195 Sr. 13.8 4.7
F 32 Tom Bellairs 6-6 225 Fr. 8.6 9.4
G 22 Vernard Jenkins 5-9 177 Fr. 5.1 2.1
G 24 Jarvis Croff 6-4 185 Jr. 17.2 4.5
BYU Coach: Steve Cleveland
Record at BYU: 37-46 (3rd year)
Overall Div. I record: Same
AFA Coach: Reggie Minton
Record at AFA: 151-292 (16th year)
Overall record: 162-307 (17th year)
Series Record: 34-7 BYU
Game Time: 7:35 p.m. Mountain
Scouting Air Force
The Falcons are 8-17 overall and 4-8 in the Mountain West Conference. Air Force is in seventh place, one game behind BYU. The Falcons can still earn sixth place if they beat BYU Thursday and either beat Utah Saturday in Salt Lake City or the Cougars lose their Saturday game at home vs. San Diego State. Last week Air Force split its games with a win at home over San Diego State (63-55) and a road loss at UNLV (84-61). Since defeating BYU at the Academy, the Falcons also have a home win over Wyoming (82-79 in OT). The Falcons other conference win was a triple-overtime road win at San Diego State (81-77) in its second conference outing. The win ended the Falcon's 38-game conference road losing streak. Air Force's last conference road win came on Feb. 26, 1994 at Texas-El Paso (70-68). Air Force is 2-9 on the road, including 1-5 in conference play. The Falcons other win on the road was at Dartmouth (70-62). Three starters and eight letterwinners return from last year's 10-16 team. The Falcons are led by guard 6-4 Jarvis Croff, who made several key shots in the final minute to seal the Falcon's win over BYU at the Academy. He is averaging a team-best 17.2 points per game and has made 70 three-pointers on the year. He has been the Air Force's top scorer in 16 of 25 games this year. Tyron Wright, a 6-4 guard/forward, adds 13.8 points. Croff and Wright entered this year as the highest scoring pair of first-year varsity players in Air Force history as Wright scored 18.3 and Croff 14.2 last season. Freshman Tom Bellairs, a 6-6 forward, is an outstanding rebounder. He pulls down a team-leading 9.4 rebounds per contest and scores 8.6 points per game. Seniors Miguel Garcia ( 7.1 ppg, 6.0 rpg) and Lawrence Yazzie (7.1 ppg) add steady, experienced play. Freshman guard Vernard Jenkins, 5-9, scores 5.1 points per game and has a team-best 80 assists.
This will be the 42nd meeting between the two teams dating back to 1961. BYU leads the series 34-7. BYU lost the first meeting in Colorado Springs this year but has captured 20 of the last 23 meetings. BYU has won three of the last five, including two wins in 1995-96 and a split season series in 1997-98. BYU defeated Air Force 79-60 in the last game in Provo and has won nine straight in the Marriott Center. Air Force's last win in Provo was a 79-78 victory in 1989. Steve Cleveland is 1-2 against the Falcons, including a 1-0 home record.
BYU lost at Air Force 60-55, falling to 14-4 and 3-2 in the Mountain West Conference. After shooting 50 percent and trailing by one point, 28-27, at intermission, BYU lost its shooting touch in the final 20 minutes, making only 29 percent of its attempts. The Cougars took the lead momentarily at 41-40 after a Mekeli Wesley three-point play, but the Cougars could not deliver when needed down the stretch while Air Force's Jarvis Croff hit two key jumpers late on his way to a game-high 16 points. Tom Bellairs and Tyron Wright each contributed 13 points for the Falcons. BYU was led by Wesley's 12 points while Lyday added 11 and Eric Nielsen 10. Lyday, who was playing on a sprained ankle and had not practiced leading up to the game, and fellow starter on the wing, Michael Vranes, who was fighting the flu, were continually short of the mark. Lyday was 4-11 and Vranes 0-3 from the floor. Vranes did not score for the first time in his career. Eric Nielsen, who scored in double figures for the second straight game, had a career-high nine rebounds while Matt Montague had a season-high nine points.
MWC Race Enters Final Week
Entering the final week of league play, several teams are still jockeying for seeding position in next week's conference tournament. Utah remains needs one win in the final week to assure themselves of at least a tie for the regular season title after losing at Wyoming Monday.UNLV and New Mexico are currently tied with Utah with four losses. The Runnin' Rebels face San Diego State Thursday, while the Lobos host Colorado State Thursday. UNLV and UNM will meet in the regular season finale for both teams on Saturday. Wyoming is in fourth place and CSU fifth heading into this week's action and will play head-to-head on Saturday. The Rams play at New Mexico Thursday. BYU is currently in the No. 6 position and will face seventh-place Air Force on Thursday before closing out the season Saturday vs. San Diego State. In order for the Falcons to move up in the standings, they must defeat BYU Thursday and either win at Utah Saturday or hope for an Aztec upset of the Cougars on Saturday.
BYU's record when . . .
BYU leads at half 14-1
Opponent leads at half 1-7
Score tied at half 1-1
BYU leads with 5 minutes left 15-1
Opponent leads with 5 min. left 0-8
BYU leads with 1 minute left 15-0
Opponent leads with 1 min. left 1-9
Score tied with 1 minute left 0-0
Game goes into overtime 1-0
BYU out rebounds opponent 11-0
Opponent out rebounds BYU 5-9
BYU and opponent tie in rebounds 0-0
BYU shoots 50 % or better 10-0
Opponent shoots 50 % or better 0-5
BYU out shoots opponent 15-1
Opponent out shoots BYU 1-8
More BYU's Record When ...
BYU is 2-1 in games decided by two points or less; 0-2 in 3-5-point games; 4-2 in 6-9-point games; and 10-4 in double-digit margins. Mekeli Wesley has either shared or been BYU's top scorer in 14 games this season and the Cougars are 8-6 in those games. He has also been BYU's top rebounder in 12 games. BYU is 8-4 in those games. BYU is 4-4 in the games when Mekeli Wesley was both the team's leading scorer and rebounder. Terrell Lyday has shared or led BYU in scoring in 10 games and BYU is 6-4 in those contests. When the Cougars get good scoring efforts from its supporting cast, they have been hard to beat. BYU is 8-1 when Michael Vranes has scored in double figures and 7-1 when Christensen scores in double digits. They are 6-1 (all but at UNM) when Rivers reaches double figures, 4-1 (all but at AFA) when Eric Nielsen had double digits and 4-2 when Cooper (except UNM and at Utah) has scored 10 or more.
Wesley Moves Up Scoring Ladder
Mekeli Wesley moved into 29th place on BYU's career scoring list after recording 36 points last week (11 points at CSU and 25 at Wyoming). Wesley, who became only the 32nd player in BYU history to reach 1,000 points and only the third to do so as a junior (even though he missed part of sophomore season), now has 1,063 career points. Last week he passed Bernie Fryer, who score 1,031 (1971-72) and Scott Runia, who totaled 1,051 (1977-80). He needs 11 points to pass Randy Reid (1,073 points, 1993-96), 22 points to surpass Mel Hutchins (1,084 points, 1948-51) and 37 points to overtake Mark Handy (1,099 points, 1974-77). Danny Ainge (1978-81) tops the career list at 2,467 points. Other players to reach 1,000 points before the end of their junior years were Ainge, Michael Smith, Devin Durrant, Russell Larson, Fred and Ken Roberts and Jeff Chatman.
Mekeli Wesley and Terrell Lyday have score 49.1 percent of BYU's overall points -- the biggest percentage any two players have scored of a Mountain West Conference team's total points. Wesley and Lyday combined for 57.4 percent of BYU's points Thursday (31 of 54). BYU is not alone, however, 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 entering this week's games. Air Force's Jarvis Croff and Tyron Wright are second with 45.4 percent of the Falcons points while UNM is third with 41.5 percent of its points collected by Lamont Long and Damion Walker. Colorado State gets 41.3 percent of its scoring from the tandem of Ceedric Goodwyn and John Sivesind and UNLV gets 41.1 percent from Kaspars Kambala and Trevor Diggs. In conference play, only three teams have duos scoring over 40 percent of their overall points. Again Wesley and Lyday lead the way by scoring 52.4 percent of the Cougars' points. The other two teams, Air Force (Croff/Wright - 41.7 percent) and New Mexico (Long/Walker - 41.6 percent), are just over the 40 percent mark.
Helping Out but No Longer Perfect
Todd Christensen and Michael Vranes each scored 10 points against Wyoming Saturday, marking the first time all year that BYU has lost a game in which either of the two scored in double digits. BYU is now 8-1 when Vranes had scored in double figures and 7-1 when Christensen had reached double digits.
BYU is 16-9 but has lost six of its last eight games. BYU has two home games this week before the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas. BYU's 16 wins is its most since the 1994-95 season when BYU finished 22-10 (22-8 in the regular season). BYU's last winning season was in 1995-96 season when the Cougars finished 15-13.
In BYU's seven conference losses, the Cougars have shot 40 percent from the floor in three games, 41 percent in three and 38 percent in one (last week 38 at CSU and 41 at Wyoming). In BYU's five conference wins, the Cougars have shot 48, 49, 50, 52 and 54 percent from the floor. In its most recent win, BYU shot 52 percent from the floor against UNLV, including 6-12 on threes. The Cougars are 10-0 when they shoot 50 percent or better. They are 15-1 when they out shoot the opposition and 1-8 when they don't.
BYU dropped its last two games and now has a three-game road losing streak. BYU had a four-game road winning streak earlier this year, which was the longest road win streak since 1992-93, when the Cougars won six straight road games. BYU has had three two-game losing streaks this year, all in conference play, but has not lost three straight games this year. Last year BYU had two three-game losing streaks and one four-game skid. BYU won its last home game, defeating UNLV after a home loss to New Mexico. This year the Cougars have had two five-game winning streaks this year and a seven-game home winning streak.
Assist vs. Turnover Trends
BYU had a season-low six assists at CSU and only nine assists at Wyoming, its third lowest total of the year. BYU has committed more turnovers than assists in the last two games, breaking a string of three straight games with more assists than turnovers. BYU surpassed 20 assists in a game for the fourth time this year (all wins) with 21 assists in its last home game vs. UNLV. It is the only time the Cougars have done so in conference play. The other 20-plus assist games came at Denver (21), vs. Texas Southern (20) and vs. South Carolina State (23). In conference play, BYU has had more assists than turnovers in four of 12 games. On the year, BYU averages 14.4 assists and 14.3 turnovers. (Last year BYU averaged 17.3 turnovers per game to only 12.8 assists). In conference play, BYU averages 12.6 assists and 14.7 turnovers in 12 games. BYU has had 12 games this year where it has had more assists than turnovers, one game when assists equaled turnovers and 12 games when it has had more turnovers than assists.
BYU made nine threes, two off its high for the season, while attempting a season-high 23 treys at Wyoming Saturday. BYU has made nine or more threes three previous times this season -- all in road wins (11 at Florida International, 9 at Utah State and 10 at UNLV). BYU's high for threes made in a game at home this year is 8 vs. South Carolina State. BYU has shot 50 percent or better on threes eight times this year, including its last home game vs. UNLV. The Cougars are 7-1 when they shoot 50 percent or better on three-point attempts (lost at S.Alabama despite hitting season high 61.5 percent on threes). Since entering its first game with CSU when BYU was third in the nation in three-point shooting at 42 percent, BYU has gone 44-142 (.309) on threes in the last nine games to fall to 38 percent on the year. BYU has a 3-6 record in those games. In the last nine games, Terrell Lyday has gone 13-45 (.289) on threes, Michael Vranes 7-23 (.250), Mekeli Wesley 5-21 (.238), and Nathan Cooper 3-11 (.304). Todd Christensen, who has gone 13-30 (.433) in last nine games, is now the only Cougar (used to be four) to still shoot above 40 percent on the year from behind the line (.456).
Lyday From Behind the Arc
Lyday had his BYU record streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer halted at 21 vs. New Mexico when he went 0-4 from behind the arc. The prior consecutive games record was 16 set by Andy Toolson in 1990. Lyday made two threes in each of the last three games (making 15 games this year when he has made two or more threes in a game). On the year, he has made a three in 24 of BYU's 25 games. Lyday has made 39.5 percent of his three-point attempts and a team-best 51 treys.
Numbers on the Road
BYU is 6-7 on the road this year, having tripled its road wins last year (2-10). BYU has lost its last three and five of its last six road games. Two road losses at AFA and UNM ended a four-game road winning streak. BYU is scoring 68.2 points in away games and allowing 69.0. BYU is shooting .431, including .385 on threes, and .699 from the line. BYU is being out rebounded 32.8-36.2. Terrell Lyday leads the Cougar scoring effort on the road with a 18.4 average, including a career-high 35 at Utah State and 30 at UNLV. Mekeli Wesley averaged 16.7 points and a team-best 5.5 boards. Christensen and Vranes average 7.1 points each.
Numbers at Home
BYU is 10-2 at home this year, surpassing its home win total of last year (9-5). The losses were to Utah (56-49) and vs. UNM (78-74). The Cougars are averaging 76.4 points per game at home (13.3-point margin of victory). The Cougars are making 49.6 percent of its shots, including 37.3 percent of its three-point attempts, in the Marriott Center. They are pulling down 35.7 rebounds per game to their opponents 33.8. Wesley is scoring a team-best 19.2 points, followed by Terrell Lyday at 16.5, Michael Vranes 9.3, Silester Rivers at 7.7 and Nathan Cooper at 7.2.
BYU's defense has been a large part of the Cougars success this year as is evident by BYU's recent losses. Only five teams have shot 50 percent or better against BYU but four have been in the last five outings. Wyoming shot 51 percent; CSU 58.5; UNM 51; and Utah 56 percent (UNLV nearly hit the mark at 48 percent). Arizona is the other team at 54 percent. In BYU's four other losses, S. Alabama shot .490, UNM .452, Utah .429 and AFA .392. The Cougars rank first in the MWC in both field goal percentage defense and three-point field goal percentage defense. The Cougars have held opponents below a 40 percent shooting in 13 games. BYU is 12-1 in those games (exception - Air Force). BYU holds opponents to 66.2 points. Individually BYU has had outstanding defensive efforts, including Terrell Lyday helping hold Eddie House of Arizona State to a 0-16 night -- the only time House has gone without a field goal in his career.
On the Boards
BYU is pulling down 34.2 rebounds per game and its opponents 35.0. The Cougars are 11-0 when they have out rebounded their opponents and 5-9 in games were the opposition totalled more boards. Mekeli Wesley leads BYU with 5.8 rebounds per game, including a team-best 112 defensive boards. Silester Rivers has a team-high 40 offensive rebounds (Wesley has 34 and Nielsen 32). BYU has been out boarded in nine of its 12 MWC games (Utah, UNM, AFA, Wyo, Utah, UNM, UNLV, CSU, Wyoming).
BYU has scored more than 80 points in a six games, including 83 in its last home game vs. UNLV. BYU averages 72.2 points. BYU has shot better than 50 percent in 10 games (all wins). With their loss at CSU last week, the Cougars have now shot below 40 percent four times -- 38.1 at CSU, 36.5 percent in a loss at No.4 Arizona, a season-low 29.6 in a win at UCSB and 29.6 percent at AFA. The Cougars are shooting 46.1 percent (38 on threes and 70.4 percent from the line. BYU is 10-0 when it shots 50 percent or better and 15-1 when it out shoots its opponent (except AFA). Two regular players are shooting better than 50 percent. Eric Nielsen makes 56 percent and Silester Rivers 53.8. Mekeli Wesley makes 48.7 percent while Todd Christensen (47.7) and Terrell Lyday (45.5) have the best percentages from the back court. Cooper makes a team-best 78.6 percent from the line.
RPI Report (as of Feb. 28, 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 behind Utah. According to CBN, BYU also has the toughest schedule among MWC teams at No. 27. The Mountain West Conference is rated 11th and 12th, respectively, among the 31 conferences (and five independents) in the country as of Feb. 28.
MWC Series Notables
With its two wins over UNLV this year, BYU evened its series with the Rebels at 4-4. BYU has a winning record against every other Mountain West team but Utah, who defeated the Cougars twice this year and have 12 straight wins over BYU. The Cougars now trail Utah by one game, 113-114, which is the first time in the 91-year history of the rivalry that Utah has held the advantage.
BYU played in front of the second largest crowd of the season when 17,432 attended the UNLV game. The largest crowd BYU has seen on the road this year was 17,242 at New Mexico. BYU's largest crowd came at home against Utah in the Marriott Center on Jan. 15. The 22,580 made up the eighth largest fan attendance this season in Division I.
Notables from Last Week
Â• BYU dropped back-to-back games for the third time this year in road defeats at Colorado State and Wyoming last week. BYU has not lost three straight games this year.
Â• BYU has lost six of its last eight games but still is a candidate for post-season play with a 16-9 record and two home games this week before the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas.
Â• In its two games last week, BYU shot a 40 percent from the floor, including 35 percent on threes, and made 67 percent of its free throw attempts.
Â• BYU set a season low with six assists at Colorado State and had only its third single digit assist effort of the year at Wyoming with nine. The Cougars also equaled a season low with 16 field goals at CSU, including a first-half low of only seven.
Â• Colorado State and Wyoming shot a combined 54 percent from the floor and just over 51 percent on threes against BYU. CSU's 59 percent shooting from the floor and 54 percent from behind the arc were the best percentages made by a BYU opponent this year. Wyoming shot 51 percent from the floor and 50 percent from the line. BYU opponents have shot 50 percent or better in three of the last four games (UNLV's 48 percent was lone exception).
Â• The Cowboys made 11 threes against BYU to equal the most threes given up by the Cougars this season (also Southern Utah). BYU made nine threes, two off its high for the season, while attempting a season-high 23 treys.
Â• BYU was out rebounded by five boards in its two losses last week (28.5-33.5).
Â• Terrell Lyday and Mekeli Wesley averaged 18.5 and 18.0 points, respectively, last week. Lyday scored a game-high 20 at CSU while Wesley tallied a game-best 25 at Wyoming. Lyday has scored 20 or more points eight times this year while Wesley has totaled 20 or more on 11 occasions (second time in last nine games). Wesley has reached double figures in 15 straight games and Lyday has scored in double digits in 14 straight contests.
Rivers Out for the Season after Undergoing Knee Surgery Tuesday
Senior forward Silester Rivers will miss the remainder of the basketball season after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday. Rivers, who has been slowed by ankle and knee injuries all season, received the 30-minute procedure from the team's orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Kirt Kimball, after surgery was determined to be in his best interest. The surgery was successful and will require 4-6 weeks of recovery. The damage to River's left knee was considered severe or a grade three. He had chondral defects under his left knee cap and the groove in his femur bone was worn down extensively. Rivers had the same surgery on his right knee in September of 1998 prior to his junior year. "Silester's been experiencing a great deal of pain in both his ankle and his knee," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "It's been frustrating for him because his injuries have limited his ability to perform this season. Getting the surgery done at this time was determined to be in his best interest. Obviously, this comes at a difficult time for us. We are already very thin on the front line. We will especially miss his ability to defend and rebound." Rivers played in all 25 BYU games so far this season while averaging 6.6 points and 4.5 rebounds in 17 minutes. He started four games. Last year he averaged 11 points and 5.7 rebounds in 25 minutes while starting in 22 of BYU's 28 games (he played in 27, missing one game).
Rivers is out for the year after having surgery on his left knee Tuesday. He averaged 6.6 points (4th on team) and 4.5 rebounds (2nd on team) and had a team-best 40 offensive rebounds while shooting 53.8 percent. He scored in double figures seven times and led the team in rebounding five times (6 vs. UC Riverside, 9 at Denver, 11 at FIU, 9 at UNM, 9 at Wyoming). He had 9 rbs, 5 pts in 19 minutes at Wyoming and did not take a shot and had 3 rbs in seven minutes at CSU. Despite fouling out, he gave BYU 21 solid minutes while banging Kaspars Kambala of UNLV (he was 2-3 for 4 pts, 3 rbs). He started vs. UNM but got in quick foul trouble and only played 5 minutes without scoring (0-1) while grabbing four rbs. He played 20 minutes at Utah and did not take a shot while grabbing two rbs and committing three fouls. He fouled out with 15 minutes remaining at SDSU (3 pts, 2 rbs). He played well with 12 pts, team-high 9 rbs at UNM in 29 minutes off the bench (only 6-12 from the line). He played only eight minutes at AFA but had 7 pts, 2 rbs, 2 assts. He scored 9 points vs. CSU and 8 points vs. Wyoming. He started his third game of the year vs. Utah and had 5 points, 4 rebounds while guarding the much larger Ute post players. Rivers had 3 points (3-4 FTs) and 5 rebounds at UNLV. He had a strong outing at Utah State, scoring 15 points (some nice post moves), 7 rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. Rivers came off the bench against UC Irvine after starting the two previous games. Despite being weakened by the flu, he contributed 5 points and 6 rebounds in 11 minutes. He started his second straight game against UCSB but was 0-2 with 4 rebounds in 17 minutes. He played a season-high 31 minutes in his first start at Florida International and had double-double 10 points and season-high 11 rebounds. He scored 8 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.
Wesley is BYU's leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 17.9 ppg and 5.8 rpg. He averages 17.5 and 5.3 in MWC games. He has been BYU's top scorer in 14 games this season and has scored in double figures in 23 of BYU's 25 games, including the last 15 straight. He has 11 games with 20 or more points and one game with more than 30. He scored a game-high 25 pts, and 4 rbs, team-best 3 assts, and 2 steals at Wyoming. He was 2-9 for 11 pts and only 2 rbs at CSU Thursday. Despite playing on a sprained ankle last week, he scored a team-high 22 vs. UNLV along with a career-best 6 assists. He also had 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. He had 16 points in 30 minutes vs. UNM. When he scored his 11th point at UNM he became the 32nd BYU player to reach 1,000 career points and only the eighth to do so as a junior. He tied Terrell Lyday with a game-high 14 points at Utah and had a team-best 6 rebounds. He hit two treys to help BYU take an early 18-9 lead. He recorded game highs with 15 points and nine rebounds to lead BYU to a 72-50 road win at San Diego State Thursday. After two bad shooting nights at AFA and UNM, Wesley responded by hitting 6-11 shots, including 1-2 three-pointers, to help the Cougars break its first two-game losing skid of the season. He added two steals and a block and assist in 25 minutes against the Aztecs. He went 3-12 from the floor at UNM (10 points, 7 rebounds) and scored a team-high 12 points (4-10 shooting) at Air Force and only had two rebounds, matching his season low (2 vs. SUU). He had 13 points in 21 minutes vs. CSU and scored a career- and conference-play high 34 points vs. Wyoming (he scored 31 points twice as a freshman) and had team highs of 8 rebounds and 4 assists. He had game highs of 21 points and 7 rebounds against Utah. He scored 17 points and had 4 rebounds at UNLV Monday. He scored 11 points and had a team highs with 8 rebounds and 3 assists at Utah State. He scored 18 points and pulled down 6 boards against UC Irvine. He had 6 rebounds and scored a game-high 24 points, 16 in the second half, at UCSB. He had 8 points, 7 rebounds at FIU. He had a game-high 20 points at South Alabama. He averaged 21 points and 9 rebounds to earn MWC Player of the Week honors (Dec. 7-11) and was named the Cougar Classic MVP for the second time in his career (also as freshman). He recorded his first double-double of the year (fourth of career) with 24 points, 10 rebounds in win over Texas Southern. He scored a season-high 26 points in back-to-back games this year versus Denver and ASU.
Lyday averages 17.5 points, second on the team, and team-high 33 minutes. Lyday is averaging 18.3 points and 4.4 rebounds in MWC games. He has scored in double figures in 23 of BYU's 25 games, including the last 14 straight games. He made a three-pointer in a BYU record 21 straight games this season before his streak came to an end at home vs. UNM when he went 0-4 (the previous record was 16 games by Andy Toolson in 1990). Lyday has made a three in 24 of 25 games overall. He is only 13-45 (.289) on threes in last nine games and BYU has gone 3-6 in those games.He has made a team-high 51 threes (39.5 percent). He has excelled as a defender. 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 had 17 pts, 4 rbs, 3 steals at Wyoming. He scored a game-high 20 vs. CSU along with team-high 4 rbs. He scored 17 and had career-best 5 assists vs. UNLV and scored a game-high 29, his third-best effort of the year, vs. UNM in 34 minutes. He had 14 points and 4 assists at Utah. He was only 4-11 from the floor, 1-4 on treys and 5-8 form the line. He had 12 points and 5 rebounds at SDSU. He scored 17 first-half points at UNM and 21 in the game. Playing on a sprained ankle, he was 4-11 (11 pts) vs. AFA. He had game-high 15 vs. CSU and scored 22 points vs. Wyoming. He had 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists vs. Utah. Lyday made 5-10 threes, scored 30 points and had a career-high 11 rebounds and tied a career-best with 6 steals at UNLV. It was his first double-double of the year. He was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week (Jan. 3-8) after averaged 28.5 points and shooting better than 60 percent from the floor and on threes in two BYU wins. He carried BYU to a win at Utah State with a career-high 35 points, including six three-pointers, and scored a game-high 22 points to lead a BYU comeback win over UC Irvine. He had career-best 6 steals at UCSB, despite an off night scoring (2-11 for 8 points and held scoreless in the first half for the first time this year). He scored 26 points at FIU and had 15 points against South Alabama, where he was a perfect 4-4 on three-point attempts. He joined Wesley on the Cougar Classic All-Tournament team Dec. 10-11. He scored 18 points against Arizona and had 17 vs. ASU.
Vranes is third on the team in rebounding (4.2 rpg), and scoring (8.2 ppg), and second with 2.6 assists per game. He has made a trey in 15 games. He has scored in double figures in nine games (BYU 8-1 in those games), including two of last three. He had 10 pts (4-5 FG, 2-3 treys), 4 rbs at Wyoming. He had 9 pts, 3 rbs, 4 steals at CSU and scored 12 points and had team-high 7 rbs along with 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block vs. UNLV. He had 7 pts and game-high 6 assts vs. UNM but no rebounds for the first time all year. He had 7 pts, 1 rbd at Utah and had 12 points at SDSU after recording only three total points in the two previous games. At UNM, he went 1-6 shooting (3 pts, 2 rbs, 2 assts). Fighting the flu, he went 0-3 and did not score for the first time in his career at Air Force. He had a team-high 7 rebounds vs. CSU and 11 pts. He had 8 pts, 5 rbs , 3 assts vs. Wyoming. He had 4 pts, 4 rbs, 3 assts vs. Utah. He had 9 pts, 4 rbs at UNLV and 9 pts, 5 rbs, 2 assts at Utah State. He had 11 pts, 5 rbs, 5 assts against UC Irvine. Vranes matched a career high with a team-best 9 rebounds at UCSB and had a team-high 3 assists despite 3 points on 1-9 shooting. He scored 8 of his 12 points in overtime at FIU. He totalled 10 pts, 6 rbs and a season-high 7 assists vs. South Carolina State. He had a season-high 15 pts along with 5 rbs vs. Weber State.
Regarded as the best shooter on the team, Christensen shoots 47.7 percent from the floor and 45.6 percent from behind the arc. He averages 6.2 ppg in 18 minutes. He plays both guard spots. Beginning with Utah State, he started six straight games before coming off the bench at UNM. He had 10 pts (3-6 treys) at Wyoming and 3 pts at CSU. He was one off his season high vs. UNLV, scoring 15 pts (3-4 on treys). He took a season-high 10 shots and made 5 to equal his season best for field goals made. He 2 pts in 16 minutes vs. UNM. He scored 7 pts at Utah and totaled 11 pts at SDSU, including a 3-4 night from long range. He hit two treys for 6 pts at AFA. He did not score (0-3 -- all treys), 3 assts vs. CSU. He had 7 pts, 3 assts vs. Wyoming. He did not score, taking only one shot, vs. Utah. At UNLV, he had 8 pts, including a clutch three-pointer to put the Cougars up four late in the game. At Utah State he scored 7 early pts to help BYU shot 57 percent in the first half. Christensen scored 13 pts, including a four-point play at UCSB. Against UCSB and FIU he was 9-16 (.562) from the floor, 6-11 (.545) on treys, and 3-3 from the line while averaging 13.5 ppg. He scored all of his 14 pts in the first half at FIU (4-5 treys in 11 minutes). He had 3 assts at S. Alabama in 12 minutes. He had a season-high 16 pts, including 5-8 threes, vs. South Carolina State (10 at Denver).
The only true point guard on the BYU roster, he has team-leading 95 assists (3.8 apg, 2.8 ppg, 2.8 rpg). After starting the first 12 games, he came off the bench for the next six before returning to the starting lineup in the next six games until coming off the bench again at Wyoming Saturday when he had 4 rbs, 1 asst, 2 steals in 22 minutes. He had 2 rbs, 1 assist in 12 minutes at CSU. He had 2 pts, 3 rbs, 4 assts (no turnovers) vs. UNLV in 15 minutes. He had 2 pts, 1 asst (4 turnovers) vs. UNM in 18 minutes. He made his third trey of the year at Utah and scored 5 points with 3 assists in 18 minutes. 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.
Nielsen is averaging 5.1 points and 3.9 rebounds. He has started in 21 of 25 games. After scoring 10 and 12 points in first two games, he went 14 straight outings without reaching double digits until scoring 10 points in back-to-back games ( vs. CSU and at AFA). He has five double-digit games. He had 1 pt, 6 rbs at Wyoming and 5 pts, 2 rbs at CSU. He had 11 pts in 22 minutes vs. UNLV and had only one foul after having fouled out of the previous three games. He had 7 pts, 4 rbs in 24 minutes vs. UNM. He had 4 pts, 2 rbs at Utah. He had 9 pts, 4 rbs and a team-high 3 assists at SDSU. He was 4-6 for 8 points, 5 boards at UNM and had a career-best 9 boards (4-5, 10 pts) at AFA. He had 6 rebounds, 3 steals vs. CSU. He didn't score for the second time this year vs. Wyoming. He fouled out, playing 14 minutes, scoring 2 points on one attempt and had 1 rebound vs. Utah. In foul trouble, he played only 10 minutes at UNLV (2 pts, 4 rebounds). At Utah State he was held scoreless and had 4 rebounds. He had 4 points, 3 rebounds and a season-high 3 assists vs. UC Irvine. At UCSB, he equaled a then career-best 7 rebounds. He was married to BYU All-American volleyball player Anna-Lena Smith Dec. 30 in Mesa, Ariz. He had 8 points at South Alabama and at Denver. He scored a season-high 12 points versus SUU and had 10 against UC Riverside.
He is coming off the bench this year after starting 23 of BYU's 28 games last year. He is averaging 5.6 points and 3.0 rebounds in 19 minutes. He has made a team-best 78.6 percent from the line (44-56). He has six double-figures scoring games and has made a trey in six games. He did not score in the last three games, playing 8 minutes at Wyoming, 16 minutes at CSU and seven minutes vs. UNLV. He had team-best 6 rbs along with 7 pts, 2 assts vs. UNM in 27 minutes. He hit 3-4 treys and scored 11 pts along with 5 rbs at Utah. He had 6 pts, 3 rbs at SDSU. He broke out of a slump with 11 straight BYU pts, 9 in 1:40, and 5 rbs in 12 minutes at UNM. He did not score for first time this year and had 1 rebound at AFA. He had 4 pts, 5 rbs and 2 assts vs. CSU after scoring 1 point vs. Wyoming. He had 5 pts, 3 rbs vs. Utah. He was forced to play the 4 position at UNLV with foul trouble to Eric Nielsen and Silester Rivers. He played 22 minutes (2 pts, 1 rbd). He played 15 minutes at Utah State, scoring 1 point and adding 2 rbs, 2 assts. He and Michael Vranes received the coaches game ball for their effort against UC Irvine (Cooper had 14 pts, 4 rbs in 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 pts, 3 rbs. He had 5 pts, 6 rbs effort at FIU. He set a career high with 7 assts at USA. He scored a season- and team-high 15 pts vs. Weber State.
Marc Roberts, a true freshman out of Provo's Timpview High School, started for the first time Saturday at Wyoming. He has seen action in nine of the last 10 games (except at Utah). He was 0-1 (a trey) with 1 rbd, 2 assts in nine minutes at Wyoming and was 2-2 from the floor and 2-2 from the line for a career-best 6 pts in seven minutes at CSU. On the year, he has averaged 4.2 minutes in 16 games. He has scored 17 points on the year (1.1 ppg) and is 5-9 from the floor and 7-8 from the line.
A redshirt freshman from Brighton High School in Salt Lake City, Nielsen has played in six of the last nine games (except both UNM and UNLV). He played only two minutes at Wyoming. He had two rbs in seven minutes at CSU. He scoring 4 points at SDSU, making both his shots. He scored a career-best 6 points vs. Texas Southern. He has played in 12 games this year and averages 3.9 minutes in those games and 1.2 points.
A walkon freshman, Allen has played in 11 games this year, and averages 1.1 pts, 0.9 rbs in 4.8 minutes. He had 2 pts in six minutes at Wyoming. He played a season-high 11 minutes vs. UNM with four pts, 3 rbs. He was 1-2 from the floor, including 1-1 on threes (his first).
Coach Cleveland Shows
Radio: Coach Steve Cleveland can be heard each Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. with host Greg Wrubell on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM.
Television: The Coach Cleveland Show can be viewed Sunday at 5 p.m. on KSL-TV, channel 5 with host Alema Harrington.
BYU Starting Lineups
UCR Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
SUU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Ariz. Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Den. Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
ASU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
TSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
WSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
SCSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
USA Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
FIU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley
UCSB Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley
UCI Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
USU Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
UNLV Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Utah Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley
Wyo Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
CSU Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
AFA Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
UNM Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
SDSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Utah Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
UNM Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley
UNLV Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
CSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Wyo Vranes, Lyday, Roberts, Nielsen, Wesley
Starting Lineup Record (total)
Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley 10-5 (15)
Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley 2-1 (3)
Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley 4-1 (5)
Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley 0-1 (1)
Vranes, Lyday, Roberts, Nielsen, Wesley 0-1 (1)