Cougar Comeback Falls Short in 78-74 Loss to the Lobos | The Official Site of BYU Athletics

Cougar Comeback Falls Short in 78-74 Loss to the Lobos

PROVO -- A second-half comeback effort fell just short as BYU dropped only its second home game of the season Thursday in a 78-74 loss to New Mexico.

The Cougars, who have lost four of the last five and suffered back-to-back losses for the second time this year, struggled defensively in the first half as the Lobos shot 60 percent from the floor and scored 51 points -- the most points allowed by the Cougars in any half this year. While the Cougar offense scored 37 points in each half, BYU's defense championed its comeback effort by allowing the Lobos 27 points over the final 20 minutes.

Trailing by 14 points at the half and by as many as 15 points in the second stanza, the Cougars got within two points at 76-74 with 53 seconds remaining when Terrell Lyday made a driving shot and converted the three-point play from the foul line. But while Michael Vranes denied a pass to Lobo star Lamont Long, New Mexico's freshman point guard Marlon Palmer drove the lane and hit a floater over Lyday with 21 ticks left to give the Lobos a four-point lead. BYU got off two tough three-point attempts by Mekeli Wesley and Nathan Cooper but they did not go down.

Lyday led all scorers with a game-high 29 points while Long was just behind with 28 points in the Lobo effort. Long scored 19 points at half but the Cougar defense held the Lobos' top scorer to nine points in the second half. Wayland White added 12 points for the Lobos before fouling out and Palmer scored eight on 3-4 shooting. Despite playing on a sprained ankle that limited his mobility, BYU's Wesley played 30 minutes and scored 16 points. He also surpassed 1,000 career points to become only the 32nd Cougar to do and only the eighth to reach the plateau as a junior.

The Lobos become only the third team all year to shot 50 percent or better against BYU, hitting 51 percent from the floor and nearly 38 percent on threes. BYU shot 41 percent and only made 2-13 three-point attempts (15 percent). Lyday went 0-4 from behind the arc, ending his BYU record for consecutive games with a trey at 21.

Cooper led BYU on the boards with six and Vranes has a game-high six assists. Long totaled a season-high 11 rebounds for the Lobos, who out rebounded BYU 37-31 on the night.

BYU falls to 15-7 overall and 4-5 with the loss while New Mexico improves to 14-11 and 6-4. While the Lobos return home to host first-place Utah, BYU, now 9-2 at home, hosts second-place UNLV Saturday at 7 p.m.

Post-Game Coaches Quotes

BYU coach Steve Cleveland:

"Well, you all saw the game. We only played 20 minutes. We got it down to two, and we had a stop. We just did not have any energy or effort, and we didn't defend at all. In the second half, we actually defended, and that's why we were in the game at the end."

"The good thing about this was that we found how to recapture that intensity which we will obviously need for the balance of the season."

"The bottom line is, if we had played two 20 minute halves like we did in the second half, and lost that game by four, I could live with that. Unfortunately, just 20 minutes worth of performance against a team that has that kind of weapons just isn't enough."

"New Mexico made some great shots towards the end of the game. and we took a couple of threes late in the game, and the wrong people shot them. We need to find our go-to guys and understand that. There were a couple of possessions on the weak side when Terrell was open. When you get late in the game, you've got to get the ball in to those players. They made the big shots, and we didn't. "

New Mexico coach Fran Fraschilla:

"We played well enough in the first half to give ourselves a cushion...so we could hold them off for what we knew would be a run in the second half. They were well prepared defensively...they have a very intelligent team.

We were able to break them down off the dribble. Obviously, when you have a guy like Lamont Long out there taking people off the dribble, it makes things a lot easier. We did enough down the stretch to hold them off."

"I like being in this conference. We've got great teams, great players, great arenas...it's what college basketball is all about.

BYU Game Notes:

• With 19:15 left in the second half, Mekeli Wesley hit a jump shot to score his 1000th and 1001st career points. He is only the 32nd player in BYU to reach the 1000-point plateau and only the eighth BYU player to do it as a junior. He joined Danny Ainge, Michael Smith, Devin Durrant, Russell Larson, Fred and Ken Roberts and Jeff Chatman as the only BYU players to have scored more that 1,000 points by the end of their junior years.The most recent BYU basketball players to have scored 1,000 career points were Ken Roberts (1,652 points) and Randy Reid (1,073 points) who both ended their BYU careers in 1996.

• Eric Nielsen fouled out for the fifth time on the season and for the third game in a row. He has fouled out in four of the Cougars nine conference games. (vs. New Mexico, 2-17-00; at Utah, 2-12-00; at San Diego State, 2-3-00; vs. Utah, 1-15-00; at Florida International, 12-21-99)

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

University of New Mexico vs BYU

2/17/00 7:05 at Provo, Utah

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VISITORS: University of New Mexico 14-11. 6-4

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 6-11 0-0 0-0 3 1 4 5 12 0 3 4 2 31

33 WALKER, Damion...... f 0-1 0-0 6-8 1 5 6 5 6 0 5 1 0 23

34 GUINN, R.T.......... f 2-3 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 4 4 0 1 1 1 8

03 LONG, Lamont....... g 10-21 1-3 7-11 2 9 11 4 28 3 2 0 1 39

11 HENRY, Kevin........ g 2-7 1-4 2-2 1 2 3 3 7 3 0 0 1 30

10 LIGHTFOOT, Tim...... 1-3 0-0 3-5 0 1 1 0 5 0 1 0 1 20

13 PARMER, Marlon...... 3-4 1-1 1-3 0 1 1 3 8 0 1 0 0 16

21 SMITH, Brian........ 1-1 0-0 2-2 0 3 3 2 4 0 1 0 0 12

42 HANNAH, Roland...... 2-2 0-0 0-2 2 1 3 2 4 0 0 1 1 21

TEAM................ 3 3

Totals.............. 27-53 3-8 21-33 12 25 37 28 78 6 14 7 7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 18-30 .600 2nd Half: 9-23 .391 Game: .509 DEADBALL

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-6 .500 2nd Half: 0-2 .000 Game: .375 REBOUNDS

F Throw % 1st Half: 12-14 .857 2nd Half: 9-19 .474 Game: .636 5

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HOME TEAM: BYU 15-7, 4-5

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

02 RIVERS, Silester.... f 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 4 4 3 0 0 1 0 0 5

15 WESLEY, Mekeli...... f 5-11 0-3 6-9 1 3 4 4 16 1 3 1 0 30

13 VRANES, Michael..... g 2-7 1-1 2-3 0 0 0 3 7 6 1 1 2 31

24 LYDAY, Terrell...... g 10-17 0-4 9-10 0 3 3 3 29 1 0 0 2 34

31 MONTAGUE, Matt...... g 1-3 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 3 2 1 4 0 0 18

04 CHRISTENSEN, Todd... 1-3 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 16

05 ROBERTS, Marc....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4

10 ALLEN, John......... 1-2 1-1 1-2 0 3 3 1 4 0 1 0 0 11

25 NIELSEN, Eric....... 1-2 0-0 5-6 1 3 4 5 7 1 0 2 0 24

42 COOPER, Nathan...... 1-7 0-2 5-6 3 3 6 0 7 2 0 0 1 27

TEAM................ 4 1 5

Totals.............. 22-53 2-13 28-36 10 21 31 24 74 12 11 4 5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-25 .440 2nd Half: 11-28 .393 Game: .415 DEADBALL

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-5 .200 2nd Half: 1-8 .125 Game: .154 REBOUNDS

F Throw % 1st Half: 14-17 .824 2nd Half: 14-19 .737 Game: .778 4

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Officials: Bobby Hunt, Dick Cartmell, Verne Harris

Technical fouls: University of New Mexico-WHITE, Wayland. BYU-WESLEY,

Mekeli.

Attendance: 8593

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

University of New Mexico...... 51 27 - 78

BYU........................... 37 37 - 74