BYU Upsets No. 13 Stanford in Las Vegas Showdown | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

BYU Upsets No. 13 Stanford in Las Vegas Showdown

LAS VEGAS -- In a nationally televised game on ESPN, BYU defeated No. 13 Stanford 81-76 late Saturday night in the second game of the Las Vegas Showdown.

Entering the season, most experts didn't expect much from a Cougar basketball team that lost four starters and three All-Mountain West Conference players from last year's MWC title team. But Saturday's upset over the defending Pac-10 champions may have people taking note of a BYU squad that is off to a 7-2 start.

In perhaps the Cougars' biggest non-conference game of the Steve Cleveland era, senior Eric Nielsen had the best game of his career, leading the Cougars to a five-point victory over Stanford. Nielsen had 29 points on the night, shattering his previous career high of 19 points.

"Eric doesn't play like that every night, but tonight he did," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "He responded to the challenge; give Eric credit."

Nielsen and Stanford All-American Casey Jacobsen traded blows, with Jacobsen finishing the game with 28 points. But Jacobsen went cold down the stretch and struggled throughout the game from the free throw line. With defensive stopper Travis Hansen on the bench with four fouls, sophomore Mark Bigelow matched up with Jacobsen for a key stretch in the final 10 minutes.

"Mark made a huge difference on defense fronting Jacobsen for seven or eight minutes," Cleveland said.

BYU entered the game leading the nation in free-throw percentage, and the Cougars needed it at the end of the game. Senior Matt Montague iced the game making six free throws in the final 34 seconds. Montague played nearly the entire game, missing just under a minute in the first half. He contributed eight points, four assists and a season-high seven rebounds.

"It's nice to see the seniors step up," Cleveland said.

Along with clutch free throw shooting, the Cougars shot a blistering 63.6 percent from behind the three-point line. BYU finished the game 7-11 from behind the arc, while Stanford finished the game 6-25.

Trailing 63-61 with just under 10 minutes to play, BYU went on a decisive 13-2 run over the next eight minutes that proved too much for the Cardinal to overcome. BYU missed several opportunities to finish the game off in the final minutes, but made the free throws when they counted.

"Coach Cleveland does a great job preparing us," Nielsen said. "I think this is our team's biggest non-conference win."

BYU has quietly won five games in a row and continues to creep higher in the RPI rankings. BYU hadn't defeated a ranked opponent since 1998 when the Cougars knocked off No. 15 New Mexico in The Pit. That victory came in Cleveland's first season, but the Cougar head coach knows his team isn't satisfied with one win over a ranked opponent.

"It's a big win, but it's still one game," Cleveland said. "I don't really talk to the team about wins, but about getting better. We are trying to get better every day. We can't contend for the conference championship unless we get better."

BYU will take a quick break over Christmas before the Cougars host Cal State Northridge Thursday night at 7 p.m. The Cougars look to extend their current winning streak to six games and their home winning streak to 26 games.

Game Notes

• BYU has now won six straight neutral court games at the Thomas and Mack Center. The last time BYU lost there came last season against host UNLV.

• Eric Nielsen had a career night. Nielsen scored 29 points on 11-16 shooting. Nielsen had only taken five shots the last two games before tonight's outburst. Nielsen had 17 at the half, two short of his career high. His career high came this season against Arizona State with 19 points. He also was 2-2 from the three-point line, giving him three three-pointers this season.

• Sophomore Jon Carlisle logged a season-high 14 minutes, including 10 in the first half. He doubled his previous season high of seven minutes against Fort Lewis. He tallied two points, two rebounds and one block while starting center Jared Jensen was out with foul trouble.

• With the victory over No. 13 Stanford, it marks the first victory for the Cougars over a top-20 ranked team since the Cougars knocked off New Mexico in The Pit in 1998 during Steve Cleveland's first season with the Cougars. BYU now holds a 4-1 lead in the all-time series with Stanford.

• BYU is now 2-0 against the Pac-10 this season with the other victory coming against Arizona State.

• BYU trailed at the half for the first time of the season. Stanford led 41-40 at the half.

• BYU out rebounded Stanford 38-37. Stanford was averaging 46 rebounds entering the game. BYU is now 7-0 this year when grabbing more rebounds than its opponents.

Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS

BYU vs Stanford

12/22/01 9:05 PM at Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nev.

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VISITORS: BYU 7-2

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

03 BIGELOW, Mark....... f 4-9 2-4 5-8 0 5 5 2 15 0 2 0 0 37

25 NIELSEN, Eric....... f 11-16 2-2 5-5 2 4 6 4 29 2 3 0 0 38

52 JENSEN, Jared....... c 2-5 0-0 5-6 2 0 2 3 9 0 1 0 0 19

02 HANSEN, Travis...... g 3-7 2-3 0-1 0 9 9 5 8 0 2 0 0 25

31 MONTAGUE, Matt...... g 0-3 0-0 8-11 1 6 7 0 8 4 1 0 0 40

10 NASHIF, Terry....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0+

20 BOBIK, Daniel....... 3-7 1-2 3-3 1 3 4 2 10 2 1 0 0 21

32 JEPSEN, Bart........ 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 4

40 HOWARD, Dan......... 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 2

42 CARLISLE, Jon....... 1-3 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 2 2 0 2 1 0 14

TEAM................ 1 1

Totals.............. 24-52 7-11 26-34 8 30 38 19 81 8 12 1 0 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-27 48.1% 2nd Half: 11-25 44.0% Game: 46.2% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 5-8 62.5% 2nd Half: 2-3 66.7% Game: 63.6% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 9-13 69.2% 2nd Half: 17-21 81.0% Game: 76.5% 4

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HOME TEAM: Stanford 6-2

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

22 DAVIS, Justin....... f 8-10 0-0 3-3 4 6 10 4 19 4 2 0 1 28

23 JACOBSEN, Casey..... f 9-21 3-7 7-13 1 2 3 2 28 4 2 0 2 40

02 BORCHARDT, Curtis... c 4-8 0-1 3-4 3 5 8 4 11 0 3 3 1 23

24 BARNES, Julius...... g 2-10 0-6 1-2 0 3 3 1 5 3 0 1 1 28

25 GIOVACCHINI, Tony... g 1-3 1-2 0-0 0 3 3 2 3 1 1 0 0 20

00 KIRCHOFER, Joe...... 0-1 0-0 2-2 1 0 1 0 2 0 0 1 0 8

01 CHILDRESS, Josh..... 0-4 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 10

11 HERNANDEZ, Chris.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 2 0 2 4 0 1 0 0 0 13

21 ROBINSON, Nick...... 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 9

33 LOTTICH, Matt....... 2-6 2-6 0-0 0 1 1 1 6 0 0 0 0 11

42 LITTLE, Rob......... 1-2 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 1 2 1 0 0 0 10

TEAM................ 1 1 2

Totals.............. 27-66 6-25 16-24 13 24 37 22 76 14 8 5 5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 16-35 45.7% 2nd Half: 11-31 35.5% Game: 40.9% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 2-11 18.2% 2nd Half: 4-14 28.6% Game: 24.0% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 7-13 53.8% 2nd Half: 9-11 81.8% Game: 66.7% 4

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Officials: Sam Croft, J.B. Caldwell, Rick Randall

Technical fouls: BYU-None. Stanford-None.

Attendance: 9601

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

BYU........................... 40 41 - 81

Stanford...................... 41 35 - 76

Las Vegas Showdown Game 2