BYU Wins in The Pit

ALBUQUERQUE, N. M. (March 1, 2001) -- Led by Terrell Lyday and Mekeli Wesley, BYU defeated New Mexico 72-67 Thursday in The Pit to improve to 20-8 overall and 9-4 in Mountain West Conference play.

Earning their second straight 20-win season, the Cougars moved into a second-place tie in the conference race after earning their second conference road win of the season. BYU and Utah, who lost at Air Force Thursday, are one game behind Wyoming entering Saturday's final regular season games. The Cougars play at Air Force Saturday while Utah is at New Mexico and Wyoming plays at UNLV.

The one-two punch of Lyday and Wesley provided the bulk of BYU's scoring against New Mexico while the timely plays of reserves Matt Montague and Nate Knight helped seal the win. Lyday finished with a game-high 26 points and Wesley added 25 with eight rebounds to pace the Cougars.

Montague played 26 minutes after only getting a combined seven minutes in the prior two games. After an effective first half, Montague started the second half and immediately made BYU coach Steve Cleveland look good for the move, making a steal and finding Terrell Lyday ahead for the fast break bucket. Montague also converted a critical basket just before the shot clock expired.

"Matt (Montague) has the best attitude in the world, whether he plays five minutes or 25," Cleveland said. "I challenged Matt and he had a big, big game for us. His teammates gave him a standing ovation in the locker room."

Like Montague, Knight had his number called more often and responded with some big plays. The 6-10 senior has been averaging just over 11 minutes per game but played a season-high 20 minutes Thursday, recording season bests with seven points and seven rebounds.

"Nate (Knight) made some big plays," Cleveland said. "His offensive rebound and taking the charge late were key."

After a Montague free throw put BYU up two points at 67-65 with 31.7 seconds remaining, Knight retrieved the Montague miss on the second attempt, which resulted in Lyday connecting on two free tosses. Knight then drew a charge from the Lobos' Marlon Palmer on the defensive end to take away any chance of a New Mexico rally.

Trent Whiting had a tough night from the floor, going 3-13, but pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds to lead the Cougars. He also connected on one of his three field goals just as a BYU shot clock was about to expire. He finished with nine points with two assists. Nathan Cooper and Montague shared team-high assist honors with three assists each.

Wesley and Lyday both reached milestones during the game. Wesley passed Fred Roberts into fifth place all-time at BYU in both free throws made and attempted while Lyday became the 33rd player, and fourth two-year player, to reach 1,000 points in his Cougar career.

Ruben Douglas scored 20 points to lead New Mexico, while Palmer added 18 and Brian Smith contributed 10. Patrick Dennehy had a game-high 11 rebounds.

New Mexico falls to 17-10 and 6-7 with the loss. BYU swept the season series with the Lobos for the first time since 1995 and has won three straight vs. New Mexico for the first time in 10 years.

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

BYU Cougars vs New Mexico Lobos

03-01-01 7:05 MST at The Pit/Bob King Court

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

VISITORS: BYU Cougars 20-8, 9-4 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

15 WESLEY, Mekeli...... f 6-11 1-5 12-16 3 5 8 3 25 0 1 0 0 31

25 NIELSEN, Eric....... f 1-3 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 5 2 0 1 1 0 22

42 COOPER, Nathan...... f 0-2 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 3 0 0 1 18

21 WHITING, Trent...... g 3-13 1-4 2-2 2 8 10 4 9 2 0 0 2 36

24 LYDAY, Terrell...... g 8-16 1-2 9-11 1 2 3 4 26 0 1 0 0 37

01 KNIGHT, Nate........ 2-4 0-0 3-5 2 5 7 1 7 1 2 0 1 20

20 BOBIK, Daniel....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 3

31 MONTAGUE, Matt...... 1-2 0-0 1-2 1 2 3 0 3 3 0 0 1 26

43 DAWES, Derek........ 0-1 0-0 0-0 2 0 2 2 0 0 1 0 0 7

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

Totals.............. 21-52 3-12 27-36 13 24 37 21 72 9 8 1 5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 14-28 .500 2nd Half: 7-24 .292 Game: .404 DEADBALL

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-6 .167 2nd Half: 2-6 .333 Game: .250 REBOUNDS

F Throw % 1st Half: 5-7 .714 2nd Half: 22-29 .759 Game: .750 4

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

HOME TEAM: New Mexico Lobos 17-10, 6-7 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

04 WHITE, Wayland...... f 2-3 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 5 4 0 0 0 0 5

21 SMITH, Brian........ c 3-5 0-0 4-4 1 0 1 2 10 1 1 1 0 37

02 PARMER, Marlon...... g 5-10 2-4 6-8 0 1 1 3 18 2 2 0 0 31

05 DOUGLAS, Ruben...... g 6-10 2-3 6-6 0 3 3 2 20 1 2 0 0 38

42 CHATFIELD, Eric..... g 1-5 0-2 4-7 0 3 3 2 6 4 3 1 0 32

10 LIGHTFOOT, Tim...... 1-3 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 14

22 BROUSSARD, Alvin.... 1-2 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 5 2 0 0 0 1 9

31 JOHNSON, Zeke....... 0-3 0-1 0-0 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 5

33 DENNEHY, Patrick.... 1-7 0-0 3-3 3 8 11 5 5 2 0 4 2 29

TEAM................ 1 5 6

Totals.............. 20-48 4-11 23-28 6 23 29 25 67 10 9 6 3 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-25 .480 2nd Half: 8-23 .348 Game: .417 DEADBALL

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 4-8 .500 2nd Half: 0-3 .000 Game: .364 REBOUNDS

F Throw % 1st Half: 10-11 .909 2nd Half: 13-17 .765 Game: .821 3

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Officials: Larry Stubing (R) Eddie Jackson/Mark McMullen (U)

Technical fouls: BYU Cougars-None. New Mexico Lobos-None.

Attendance: 17311

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

BYU Cougars................... 34 38 - 72

New Mexico Lobos.............. 38 29 - 67

Loading Touchdowns