BYU (9-2) looks to extend its winning streak to eight games when it faces the University of San Francisco (4-7) Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The game is not being televised. The live radio broadcast of the men's game can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 with Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant calling the action on the Cougar Sports Network. San Francisco is coming off a win over Michigan Saturday at the Pete Newell Challenge in Oakland, Calif. The Dons defeated BYU last year in San Francisco in the first meeting since 1979.
After completing its three-game homestand Wednesday, BYU takes its fifth road trip of the year before beginning Mountain West Conference play next week at home. The Cougars travel to Malibu, Calif., to face the Pepperdine Waves Saturday at 5 p.m. PT (6 p.m. MT). The game will be televised by SportsWest Productions on KSL-TV, channel 5, in Salt Lake City and on Fox Sports West 2. After going 22-9 and winning at Wyoming in the NIT last year, the Waves are in their first year under former NBA player and coach Paul Westphal. Pepperdine (6-6) has already recorded wins over nationally ranked UCLA and USC while playing a tough schedule. Last week the Waves lost at No. 14 Arizona (94-71) and defeated West Virginia (97-65).
GAME FACTS (BYU Game 12)
Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2001
BYU (9-2) vs. San Francisco (4-7)
Marriott Center (22,700)
7:07 p.m. MT
BYU, Steve Cleveland (76-59 in fifth year; same overall)
USF, Philip Mathews (98-87 in seventh year; same overall)
Series: USF leads, 4-3
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time - 6 p.m. MT
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Mark Durrant
BYU's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 3 Mark Bigelow 6-7 190 So. 18.4 3.4
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 10.3 5.3
C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. 9.0 3.7
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 15.0 7.0
G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 5.6 7.2 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 205 So. 9.9 3.4
G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. 5.4 2.1
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. 0.9 2.4
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 0.8 1.2
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 0.7 1.0 apg
C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 260 So. 1.5 1.8
F 4 Jesse Pinegar 6-9 225 Fr. 0.5 0.8
G 12 Shawn Opunui (OUT/INJURY) 5-11 175 Fr. 1.5 2.8 apg
Scouting San Francisco
Coming off a win over Michigan Saturday at the Pete Newell Challenge, San Francisco travels to Provo with a 4-7 record. USF was picked to finish second behind Gonzaga in a tough West Coast Conference by the league's coaches. The WCC's Gonzaga has fared well this year with wins over St. John's, Texas and Fresno State, while Pepperdine has defeated UCLA and USC, and LMU topped Texas A&M on the road, and Portland defeated Oregon. USF has not had an easy road to its 4-7 mark. They have played a good schedule facing the likes of Seton Hall (lost 87-79), at Fresno State (lost 75-65), Xavier (lost 87-72), Pacific (lost 72-69), UC Santa Barbara (lost 69-49) and vs. Michigan (won 55-47). Other Don wins were at CS Fullerton (70-43), at Southern University (93-78) and at home vs. CS Hayward (94-59). Three of the Dons' four wins have been away from home. The Dons defense was the story as USF defeated Michigan 55-47 Saturday evening at the Oakland Coliseum. The Dons held the Wolverines to just 24.6 percent shooting in the contest and just 47 points. USF was paced by Darrell Tucker who scored a team-high 14 points and added 11 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the year. He scored five straight USF points in the last 2:30 to enable the Dons to hold onto the victory. Hondre Brewer also had a big game with 8 points, 11 rebounds and five blocked shots. Tucker, who hails from nearby McClymonds High School that also gave USF Bill Russell, is playing well, scoring 17.8 points and averaging 9.6 rebounds per game. He scored his 1000th career point at Texas A&M Corpus Christi and is now 23rd on the USF career scoring list passing Mike Quick and Erwin Mueller. Tucker passed 500 career rebounds vs. Michigan Saturday. USF senior center Hondre Brewer is the WCC's all-time shot block leader. He has 217 career blocks after his five rejections vs. Michigan. The Dons are shooting 43.7 percent from the floor, 30.2 percent on threes, and 72.4 percent from the line. They average 36.4 rebounds and 70.9 points. Their field goal percentage defense is 41.4 percent. USF has two new assistant coaches this season in former USF star Billy Reid (who was a co-captain on the USF Bill Cartwright teams) and former Sonoma State aide Paul Trevor. Head coach Philip Mathews is 98-87 in his 7th season.
BYU will face San Francisco in Provo for the first time since 1953. It will be the first meeting in the Marriott Center. The Dons lead the overall series, 4-3, having won the last four straight,including last year's 80-70 Don win in San Fransisco. The two teams had not met before last year since the 1979 NCAA tournament. The last game in Provo was in a newly constructed Smith Fieldhouse. Cougar fans were entertained as BYU pulled out a 68-61 victory against a Don team featuring basketball legends Bill Russell and K.C. Jones. Coming to Provo in 1952 and 1953, USF was the first real big-name basketball school to play in Provo, with schools like Michigan and UCLA soon following with trips to Provo.
Overall Series Record: San Francisco leads 4-3
BYU Record in Provo: 2-0
BYU Record in San Francisco: 0-3
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 1-1
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 0-1
Longest BYU Win Streak: 3 (1946-53)
Longest San Francisco Win Streak: 4 (1968-Present)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 9, 45-36 in 1946
Largest San Francisco Margin of Victory: 23, 63-86 in 1979
Most Points Scored by BYU: 84 in 1974
Most Points Scored by San Francisco: 103 in 1974
12-20-46 vs. San Francisco 45-36 W at Reno Tournament
12-12-52 San Francisco 53-52 W
12-22-53 San Francisco 68-61 W
12-13-68 at San Francisco 75-79 L
12-13-74 at San Francisco 84-103 L
3-10-79 vs. San Francisco 63-86 L at NCAA tournament (Tucson)
11-30-00 at Sand Francisco 70-80 L
Looking Back at Last Year's Game
The Dons handed BYU its first loss of the year last season in the Cougars first road game. The Cougars shot only 39 percent while USF made 51 percent, including 6-of-9 threes. Guard Ali Thomas scored 25 points, including 4-5 treys, while this year's key returners for USF Darrell Tucker added 16 pts, 9 rbs and Hondre Brewer 11 pts, 5 rbs. Of BYU players who played last year, Matt Montague had the best outing, scoring in double figures for the only time last season with 12 points, going 4-of-6, including 2-of-3 on threes, while adding six assists. Eric Nielsen played only eight minutes before fouling out with four points. Travis Hansen played 11 minutes, going 0-6 from the floor and did not score, while Daniel Bobik played 12 minutes and totaled two points. Dan Howard gave a solid effort, playing a season-high 12 minutes before fouling out with four points and one block.
USF Quick Facts:
Location: San Francisco, Calif.
Colors: Green and Gold
Home Arena: War Memorial Gymnasium (5,300)
Conference: West Coast
Athletic Director: Bill Hogan
Head Coach: Philip Mathews
Alma Mater: UC Irvine (1972)
Best time to call: Contact SID
Office Phone: (415) 422-6950
Overall Record (Years): 98-87 (7th)
Record at School (Years): 98-87 (7th)
Assistant Coaches: Billy Reid, Justin Piergrossi, Paul Trevor
Overall Record: 12-18
Conf. Record/Finish: 5-9/5th
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: NA
Letterman Returning/Lost: 7/4
Starters Returning/Lost: 3/2
Returning Starters (last year's stats)
Hondre Brewer, 7-0, 225, Sr., C (8.5 ppg, 3.8 bpg)
Shamell Stallworth, 6-5, 185, Jr., G (8.0 ppg, 3.3 rpg)
Darrell Tucker, 6-9, 215, Jr., F (16.5 ppg, 6.8 rpg)
Basketball Contact: Peter Simon
Office: (415) 422-6161
Home: (650) 875-DONS
Fax: ((415) 422-2929
Press Row: (415) 422-2919
Athletics Web Site
First Half Success
BYU has led at the half in all 10 of 11 games this season, trailing only Stanford (41-40). BYU is outscoring its opponents in the first half 326-248 (36.2 -- 27.5). The Cougars have scored more points in the second half but also yield more points. BYU has outscored its opponents 432-383 in the second half (39.3 -- 34.8). BYU has been outscored 15-6 in one overtime period this year.
BYU is shooting 51 percent in its nine victories and 43.6 percent in its two losses. The Cougars are shooting about the same behind the arc (.441 in losses and .422 in wins). BYU shot 52 percent from the floor last week in its two wins. BYU shot 59.6 percent vs. Southern Utah, its second best shooting night of the season. BYU has shot 50 percent or better three times this year and is making just under 50 percent (.495) from the floor overall after 11 games.
From Three-Point Range
BYU made eight three pointers in the first half (season best) vs. Southern Utah and 11 for the game (tying a season high). The Cougars also had 11 three pointers against Idaho. BYU attempted a season-high 22 threes vs Southern Utah. BYU's 11 treys vs. SUU all came from four players with Mark Bigelow making five, and Travis Hansen, Daniel Bobik, and Jimmy Balderson each making two threes. On the year, seven Cougars have made a three-point shot. Mark Bigelow has made a team-high 31 threes (31-64, .484). He has made a trey in all 11 games. Daniel Bobik is 17-37 (.459) and Travis Hansen is 15-34 (.441). Bobik has also made five threes in a game, going 5-7 vs. Idaho.
One-Two Scoring Punch
BYU's Mark Bigelow and Travis Hansen are the Cougars one-two scoring punch. Bigelow has reached double figures in 10 of 11 games and Hansen in nine of 11. Bigelow scores 18.4 ppg and Hansen 15.0 ppg on the year.
Other Scoring Options
The Cougars have five players scoring at least nine points per game. After leaders Mark Bigelow (18.4) and Travis Hansen (15.0), senior Eric Nielsen averages 10.3 ppg and has scored a career-high 29 points vs. Stanford. Reserve guard Daniel Bobik is adding 9.9 ppg off the bench and has twice scored highs of 17 points. Freshman center Jared Jensen is averaging 9.0 ppg and has twice totaled a high of 14 points. He averaged 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds last week. Freshman guard Jimmy Balderson has twice reached double figures with a high of 19 points while point guard Matt Montague has reached double digits once with 11 points at San Diego.
Consistency at the Line
BYU has made 80 percent or more of its free throws in six of 11 games this season, including five of the last eight. BYU is shooting 79.2 percent from the line for the year. Last year, BYU led the nation at 78 percent from the line. This year the Cougars are ranked second in the latest NCAA rankings (Nov. 17).
More Free Throw Numbers
Seven Cougars are shooting 70 percent or better from the free throw line and three are making 80 percent or better. Daniel Bobik makes a team-leading 92.9 percent (No. 1 among MWC players), followed by Mark Bigelow (.860), Jared Jensen (.818), Matt Montague (.794), Eric Nielsen (.783), Travis Hansen (.767) and Dan Howard (.750).
Last week BYU received votes for the first time this season in both the AP poll and the USA Today/ESPN poll. BYU received seven votes (T-36th) in this week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll. The AP poll will be released Monday. The Cougars receiving 18 points in last week's AP poll for a No. 37 ranking. BYU's win over then No. 13 Stanford was the Cougars' first win over a top-20 team since upsetting No. 15 New Mexico in The Pit in February 1998. Last year BYU lost to No. 13 USC, 70-67, at the Yahoo Sports Invitational in Laie, Hawaii, after leading by 18 at the half, 41-23. BYU played at No. 4 Arizona on Dec. 1, 1999 but lost 86-62. BYU took No. 11 Arizona to overtime in Provo on Nov. 24, 1998, before losing 78-74. BYU nearly won in regulation, but Arizona's Jason Terry hit a three-pointer to send the game to overtime.
Nielsen Earns MWC Player of the Week Award after Stanford Victory
COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU senior forward Eric Nielsen was named the Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week Monday after leading the Cougars to an 81-76 upset of 13th-ranked Stanford Saturday at the Las Vegas Showdown. It was Nielsen's first player of the week honor of his career. Nielsen, from Freemont, Calif. (Irvington HS) scored a career-high 29 points after making 11-of-16 shots from the floor (68.8 percent), including 2-for-2 from three-point range. He was also a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line and grabbed six rebounds, while dishing out two assists. Nielsen's two treys marked a career best and equaled the total number of threes he's made in the past two years combined. Nielsen scored 17 points in 18 first-half minutes, keeping BYU within one at intermission, 41-40. He added 12 points in the second half and helped the Cougars outrebound Stanford, holding the Cardinal nine boards their season average. Nielsen also set career highs with the 16 field goal attempts, 11 field goals made and free throw percentage (1.000).
MWC Men's Basketball Players of the Week:
Nov. 19 - Joel Gerlach (So., F), Air Force
Nov. 26 - Ruben Douglas (Jr., G), New Mexico
Dec. 3 - Tony Bland (Jr., G), San Diego State
Dec. 10 - Al Faux (Sr., G), San Diego State
Dec. 17 - Dalron Johnson (Jr., F), UNLV
Dec. 24 - Eric Nielsen (Sr., F), BYU.
BYU has won seven straight games, the first seven-game streak by a BYU team since the 1994-95 season. Coach Cleveland's teams have had six five-game streaks over the last three seasons, which they twice extended it to six games before reaching seven straight wins for the first time Saturday.
Home Winning Streak
BYU has a 27-game home court winning streak. The streak, which is a school record besting the 24 straight won between March 1994 and Jan. 1996, is the fourth-longest current streak in the nation. BYU is 7-0 this year and was a perfect 15-0 in the Marriott Center last season. BYU's last loss in the Marriott Center was on Feb. 17, 2000 when New Mexico edged the Cougars 78-74.
Home Winning Streak 2
BYU has defeated 25 straight nonconference opponents in the Marriott Center. The last non-league foe to win in Provo was the California Bears, who edged BYU 71-70 on Dec. 19, 1998. BYU has a 31-6 home record against nonconference teams under Steve Cleveland. BYU is 24-0 vs. non-MWC teams at home since the conference was founded in 1999. The Cougars are the only MWC team with an unbeaten home nonconference mark.
From the Training Room
Starting point guard Matt Montague broke his nose during practice on Christmas day. He has not missed any playing time. Reserve point guard Shawn Opunui will be out for approximately six weeks after reinjuring his left thumb Saturday vs. Idaho (torn ligaments). He originally suffered ligament damage in his thumb while playing three minutes at Utah State on Dec. 1. It is anticipated the freshman guard will be in a hard cast for the next four weeks and then a removable splint for two weeks.
Hitting the Glass
BYU has done a good job on the boards this year. BYU averages 36.5 rebounds while its opponents grab on average 29.5. BYU has out boarded its opponents in nine games, including a 38-26 advantage over Southern Utah and a 39-32 edge over CSUN last week. The Cougars had a slight 38-37 edge over Stanford. BYU is 9-0 when winning the rebounding battle. The Cougars have only been out boarded once, 35-24 in its overtime loss to Utah State. The Cougars and UCSB each had 35 rebounds. BYU out boarded Fort Lewis, 47-17. BYU's 42-26 rebounding advantage over ASU was the third worst margin suffered by ASU coach Rob Evan's in his coaching career and his worst at ASU.
BYU Record - Comparing Recent Starts
With its 9-2 record, BYU is off to its best start since starting 12-2 in 1999-2000. The Cougars have earned 11 nonconference wins in each of the last two years on their way to back-to-back 20-plus victory seasons. Last year BYU was 11-4 enter MWC play and went on to a 24-9 record. In 1999-2000 the Cougars were 11-2 and finished 22-11. BYU has a chance to reach 11 nonconference wins this year with a 9-2 record entering the final week before conference play begins.
BYU Opponent Records
Of the 20 opponents BYU will face this year, 13 have winning records as of Dec. 30. Five have a losing record and one, Pepperdine, is at .500 mark. Overall, they have combined to win 57 percent of their games with the nonconference teams having a 75-66 record and MWC teams boasting a 51-28 record. The 11 teams BYU has played already have won 55 percent of their games (65-53).
BYU is currently ranked 30th and is the top-rated team in the Mountain West Conference in the Sagarin ratings. The MWC is ranked 7th in the latest ratings (Dec. 30). Below is a list of MWC teams in order of ranking (records reflect Division I games only). To see the latest Sagarin Rankings go to: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin.htm
Rk. Team Rating W-L Sched (Rank) vs. top 10 vs. top 30
30 BYU 84.64 8-2 75.23 (138) 0-0 1-0
52 San Diego State 82.47 6-4 79.31 (20) 0-1 0-2
59 Utah 81.88 7-3 75.47 (127) 0-0 0-1
65 New Mexico 80.74 9 3 71.96 (269) 0-0 0-1
81 Colorado State 79.06 6-5 76.10 (99) 0-0 0-0
84 UNLV 79.02 6-4 75.27 (137) 0-1 0-1
107 Wyoming 77.25 8-3 69.72 (310) 0-0 0-1
229 Air Force 70.16 5-6 73.31 (214) 0-0 0-1
According to the CollegeRPI.com rankings (Dec. 30), BYU has the top RPI among Mountain West Confernce teams. The Mountain West Conference is rated 9th among the 32 conferences (and five independents).
New Mexico 38
San Diego State 52
Colorado State 67
Air Force 250
BYU in MWC Statistics (as of Dec. 30)
Â• BYU leads all MWC teams this year in scoring margin, (+12.8), free throw shooting (.792), three-point shooting (.426) and three-point percentage defense (.286).
Â• The Cougars rate second in scoring defense (62.8), field goal percentage defense (.390), defensive rebounds (27.82), field goal percentage (.495), and rebounding margin (+7.0). The Cougars are third in rebounding defense (29.5) and three-point field goals made per game (6.5).
Â• Matt Montague leads all MWC players in assists (7.2) and assist/turnover ration (2.63).
Â• Mark Bigelow is second in scoring (18.4), third in free throw percentage (.860), third in three-point field goals made per game (2.82) and fifth in three-point percentage (.484).
Â• Travis Hansen ranks second in defensive rebounds average (5.6), eighth in total rebounds average (7.0), seventh in scoring (15.0) and ninth in three-pointers made per game (1.36).
Â• Eric Nielsen is fifth in field goal percentage (.582).
Â• Daniel Bobik leads all MWC players in free throw percentage (.929) and is seventh in three-pointers made per game (1.55)
Â• Jared Jensen leads all MWC players in field goal percentage (.706), and is 10th in free throw percentage (.818).
BYU in National Statistics (as of Dec. 17)
Â• BYU is second in the nation in free throw shooting percentage, 19th in field goal percentage, 27th in three-point field goal percentage and 27th in scoring defense.
Â• Senior point guard Matt Montague is tied for third nationally in assists per gameand Mark Bigelow is tied for 12 in free throw percentage.
BYU PLAYER NOTES
MATT MONTAGUE / 6-0 Â• 190 Â• senior Â• point guard
CAPSULE: Montague provides leadership at the point having started 57 times and played in all 92 games in his first three years ... Last year he started 12 games, primarily before Trent Whiting joined the team in December, but still lead the team in assists (2.9) while playing mostly a reserve role ... He has led the team in assists during each of his three seasons ... A hard-nosed competitor, he sees the floor well and is a great transition passer ... Career averages entering this year are 3.6 points and 3.8 assists.
Matt Montague played both games last week with a broken nose, an injury he sustained late Christmas day during practice. He tied his season high in rebounds with seven (also had seven in the upset victory over Stanford) vs. CS Northridge while scoring six points in 35 minutes. He had two points and 10 assists in 30 minutes vs. Southern Utah. It is the third time this year Montague has reached double-digit assists in a game. He averages a MWC-best 7.2 assists per game on the year and was tied for third in assists in the last release of NCAA statistics (Nov. 17). Matt Montague had a season-high seven rebounds vs. CSUN and Stanford. He made a career-best eight free throws to seal the win for BYU vs. Stanford. He set a career-high with 15 assists vs. Idaho. It was the most assists by a Cougar in the last 25 years. He was one shy of the BYU and Marriott Center record of 16 assists set by Mike May vs. Niagara in 1976. He scored 11 points and had a game-high eight assists at USD in the season-opener. Montague reached double-digit points only once last year in 33 games, scoring 12 points at the University of San Francisco.
TRAVIS HANSEN / 6-6 Â• 210 Â• junior Â• guard/forward
CAPSULE: . After playing a supporting role in his first season at BYU last year, Hansen is playing a more significant role in 2001-02 ... With his increase in playing time, he has the talent to become an all-conference player ... He is very athletic ... His explosiveness gives him great potential as a scorer and rebounder ... He is most effective when slashing to the basket but has range from the three-point arc ... He was fifth in scoring last year (5.5) and also grabbed 3.0 boards per game ... He earned a starting job midway through the year before missing nine games in the middle of MWC play because of a fractured right foot. He played primarily a reserve role to senior Nathan Cooper after returning from his injury ... He started nine games and the Cougars had a 7-2 record in those games with loses at Colorado State and Wyoming, where he suffered the foot injury ... He played his freshman year at Utah Valley State College before going on an LDS Church mission ... He sat out a year as a redshirt before joining the Cougars in 2000-2001.
Hansen leads BYU in rebounding (7.0 rpg) and is second in scoring (15.0 ppg). After taking 11 or more shots in the first four games, he did not take more than eight attempts in the next six games until going 5-10 Saturday vs. Southern Utah, scoring 16 points, his highest total in the last five games. He has reached double figures in nine of 11 games. He played a key defensive role against first-team All-American Casey Jacobsen of Stanford while adding a team-high 9 rebounds and 8 points. He had a team-high 18 points on 5-7 shooting along vs. Crieghton. Hansen scored a career-high 26 points against Utah State in an overtime loss. He went 10-15 from the floor, including a 3-5 from three-point range, and was 3-4 from the line. He added a team-high five rebounds. His 10 field goals, three treys and 38 minutes were all career highs. He has two double-doubles, the first of his career, with 14 points and 10 rebounds at UC Santa Barbara and 18 points and a career-high 15 rebounds vs. Arizona State.
MARK BIGELOW / 6-7 Â• 190 Â• sophomore Â• guard/forward
CAPSULE -- Bigelow could be one of the top performers in the Mountain West if he returns to his pre-mission form ... So far he has proved capable of returning to his pre-mission form ... He was BYU's leading scorer (15.0) and rebounder (6.3) in 1998-99 before going on a two-year LDS Church mission to Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. ... He returned from his mission in June having grown an inch to 6-7 ... He is an excellent shooter and extremely intelligent player ... A gifted offensive player with a great mid-range game ... He moves well without the ball ... He was the 1999 WAC Pacific Division Freshman of the Year, All-WAC Second Team and All-Newcomer Team.
Mark Bigelow leads BYU in scoring at 18.4 ppg. He has made a three in all 11 games this year, totaling 31 threes (2.8 per game) while making 48.4 percent of his three-point attempts. In addition to being BYU's leading scorer, he has been the team's most consistent offensive threat, totaling 14 or more points in 10 straight games after scoring nine points in the season-opener before fouling out. He has scored 20 or more points four times, including a BYU season-high 31. He had a game-high 27 points vs. CSUN. He matched a career high with 20 attempts vs. CSUN and set a new career high with 10 three-point attempts. He had game highs of 20 points and 6 rebounds while equaling a career-best five treys vs. Southern Utah Saturday. He scored half of BYU's points in the first half of each game last week, scoring 17 points in the first half of both games. For the week, he averaged 23.5 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from both the floor and from three-point range. He averaged 4.5 made threes per game.
ERIC NIELSEN / 6-9 Â• 215 Â• senior Â• forward
CAPSULE -- A three-year starter, Nielsen will play a big role for the Cougars in 2001-02 with the loss of the team's other four starters ... An intelligent player with a good mid-range jumper, his 56.3 career field goal percentage ranks third all-time at BYU ... Nielsen and teammate Matt Montague were all freshmen members of the 1996-97 BYU team that finished 1-25 .... After returning from his mission, Nielsen has played the past two seasons for coach Cleveland , helping the Cougars earn a combined 46-20 record and two postseason tournament berths ... He is Academic All-MWC and a Cougar Scholar Athlete.
Nielsen is third on the team in scoring (10.3 ppg) and is second in rebounds (5.3 rpg). He was 3-of-3 for 6 points vs. SUU and 5 points and 6 rebounds vs. CSUN. He has reached double-figure points in four games. After scoring a season-low 2 points against Idaho in 25 minutes, taking only two shots, he scored a career-high 29 points vs. Stanford, taking a career-high 16 attempts while making a personal-best 11 shots. He had 14 points, 8 boards and 2 assists vs. Weber State. He had 14 at Utah State and had a then career-high 19 points vs. ASU in BYU's home opener (his prior best was 17 against Utah at the Thomas & Mack Center in the 2000 MWC tournament in Las Vegas). This year against ASU, he went 8-11 from the floor. Last year the most shots he took in a game was eight, when he averaged 3.8 shot attempts per game. This year he is taking 7.2 shots per game. He ranks third all-time at BYU in career field goal percentage and is making 58.2 percent of his shots so far this year.
JARED JENSEN / 6-9 Â• 245 Â• freshman Â• center
CAPSULE: Jensen earned the 2001 Deseret News Mr. Basketball Award after scoring 25.8 points and pulling down 13 rebounds per game this past season at Fremont High School (Utah). He averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game as a high school junior when he also earned Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News All-State honors. He is a talented offensive player in the low-post who can also score with his jumper. He should get the opportunity to play as a freshman with the loss of 2001 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Mekeli Wesley in the post.
Jensen equaled his career high with 14 points vs. Southern Utah. All of his points came in the second half. Jensen had his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds vs. CSUN. His 10 boards matched his career high. He averaged 13.5 points and 7.5 rebounds for the week while shooting 83.3 percent (10-12) from the floor and 77.8 percent (7-9) from the line. He also had a career-best 2 steals vs. CSUN. Jensen has reached double-digit points in four of the last five games and five times overall this year. He had 9 points vs. Stanford. He went 4-4 from the floor and 4-4 from the line vs. Idaho. He is shooting a MWC-best 70.6 percent from the floor. He had 12 points in 20 minutes vs. Idaho and 12 points in 16 minutes vs. Fort Lewis. He had a career-high 14 points on 4-5 shooting and 6-8 from the line at UCSB. He had a career-best 10 boards vs. Creighton, along with 4 points and 2 assists. In his first career start vs. Arizona State, he played 15 minutes and had 4 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist.
DANIEL BOBIK / 6-6 Â• 205 Â• sophomore Â• guard
CAPSULE: Bobik averaged 3.5 points and 10.4 minutes while playing in 28 of 33 games last year as a freshman ... He has good offensive instincts and size on the guardline ... He will get playing time as a sophomore with the loss of BYU's all-conference guard line of Trent Whiting and Terrell Lyday ... He has good range and is a crafty passer with good court awareness ... He could play some point but is primarily a wing player ... He enrolled at BYU for his freshman season after returning from an LDS Church mission to the Dominican Republic ... He and Mark Bigelow were the first recruits to sign with BYU under Steve Cleveland.
Bobik plays the sixth-man role. He is averaging 22.2 minutes, 9.9 points and 3.4 rebounds. He has made 20 straight free throws. The all-time BYU record is 32, set by Michael Smith. Bobik hasn't missed a free throw since the Arizona State game. He set career bests with in free throws made, attempted and percentage going 8-8 vs. Cal State Northridge. He did not go to the line vs. Southern Utah. Bobik has scored in double digits three of the last four games. He had a career-high 17 against Idaho, 10 against Stanford and 17 again vs. CS Northridge before making two threes for six points in 18 minutes vs. Southern Utah. Bobik also set career highs vs CSUN with four assists and three steals. He shoots a MWC-best 92.9 percent from the line. He is fourth on the team in scoring. He had a career-best 8 rebounds vs. Creighton. He had 13 points at Utah State. He played a career-high 33 minutes with 12 points and four rebounds in the season-opener at USD.
BART JEPSEN / 6-9 Â• 235 Â• redshirt sophomore Â• forward
CAPSULE: Jepsen redshirted last season after returning from an LDS Church mission ... He had suffered a severe break of his leg on his mission ... He will likely play a significant role in the middle as a rebounder and defender who can run the floor well ... A strong physical presence and good rebounder, he could play a role similar to that of outgoing senior Nate Knight ... Before a two-year LDS Church mission, Jepsen started nine times while playing 27 games as a freshman in 1997-98 in Cleveland's first season ... He is the younger brother of former Cougar center Bret Jepsen.
Jepsen has appeared in all 11 games off the bench, averaging 2.4 rebounds in 10.6 minutes per game. He played 11 minutes with three boards vs. Southern Utah after only playing four minutes vs. CSUN and four minutes vs. Stanford. He played a season-high 22 minutes at Utah State. He had a season-high 5 points vs. Fort Lewis. His rebound high is 6 vs. Arizona State. He takes just over one shot per game.
JESSE PINEGAR / 6-9 Â• 220 Â• redshirt freshman Â• forward
CAPSULE: Pinegar redshirted last year after coming to BYU as one of the Cougars' top recruits and the first of BYU's top-20 recruiting class to commit to the Cougars ... He was rated the top center in the West as a junior and sat out his senior year of high school after shoulder surgery ...An extremely skilled offensive player, he was expected to play a strong role for BYU this season but again injured his left (non dominant) shoulder in June ... He played for the first time last week, appearing in both games in a limited role ... He had not been able to practice since June ... His latest surgery should completely repair the injury but he still has some pain ... He is a mobile, athletic player, he can play several positions and has excellent range beyond the three-point line ... He is an outstanding passer and a very skilled young offensive post player ... He made significant strides in the weight room this past season before the injury .... He has the tools to play a significant role once healthy but is not in condition to compete at this point.
Redshirt Freshman Jesse Pinegar has played in four games since being cleared by doctors (shoulder surgery in June). It was his first action since his junior year of high school. He sat out his senior year after shoulder surgery and then redshirted last season at BYU. He injured his shoulder again this summer and had surgery in June. Pinegar scored the first points of his collegiate career vs. Southern Utah. He scored with about a minute to play on running one-hand baseline jumper. He played a season-high seven minutes with 1 rebound and 1 assist vs. Fort Lewis in his first career appearance.
DAN HOWARD / 7-0 Â• 225 Â• sophomore Â• center
CAPSULE: Howard played in 14 games last year in limited action ... The tallest player on the roster, he has a nice touch for a big man ... He entered the year having made 8-of-11 field goal attempts as a Cougar ... A hard worker, he has a knack for the ball and could be a factor in inside this year, especially with the Cougars' losses in the post ... He has not had the opportunity to play a lot of consistent minutes (he played a career-best 12 minutes at San Francisco last year) since last playing for his high school team in 1996.
Howard started the season-opener at USD, the first start of his career. He played seven minutes, with one rebound. He has appeared in nine games overall, playing 5.6 minutes per game. He played 5 minutes vs. SUU (1 point) and 3 minutes vs. CSUN, scoring 2 points. He made his first two free throws of the season and set a career best with the two makes vs. CSUN. He played 2 minutes vs. Stanford with one rebound. He had 4 points and 5 boards vs. Fort Lewis and had 3 rebounds and 2 blocks vs. Idaho in the most action he has seen this year. He played a career-high 13 minutes in each game. Last year he played 12 minutes at San Francisco. He is a career 10-15 from the floor in his two seasons, including 2-4 this year.
JON CARLISLE / 6-10 Â• 260 Â• sophomore Â• center
CAPSULE: Carlisle is from Salt Lake City and last played on Utah's Final Four team in 1998 as the primary backup to current Cleveland Cavaliers center Michael Doleac. He averaging 2.4 points and 2.1 rebounds in 10.3 minutes per game. He averaged 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds at Brighton High School in 1997 and was one of three players, including new Cougar teammate Jake Shoff (who is redshirting due to transfer rules), to earn Region 4 Tri-Player of the Year honors. He continues to work to get back into playing shape, having already taken off 40 pounds since returning from his mission. He is a talented post player who has the tools to be a strong contributor once he is in condition to play.
Carlisle has played in six games, including the last five. He went to the line for the first time vs. SUU, going 1-2. He has grabbed a rebound in every game, averaging 1.8 boards in 6.7 minutes per game. He played a season-high 14 minutes vs. Stanford, more than doubling his previous high while making a significant contribution. He played 10 minutes in the first half with Jared Jensen in foul trouble. He scored 2 points and had 2 rebounds and 1 block. He scored a season-high 6 points in seven minutes vs. Fort Lewis.
JACOB CHRISMAN / 6-8 Â• 225 Â• sophomore Â• forward
CAPSULE: A two-sport athlete, Chrisman is also is a pitcher on the BYU baseball team ... He announced last spring that he will redshirt basketball this year to play a full season of baseball, but could still try to play both sports this season ... He started practicing with the basketball team in November after the completion of fall baseball workouts ... He could be a significant contributor if he does play basketball ... 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 could play both the three and four positions for the Cougars.
He is yet to play this year while working out. He could still redshirt the basketball season.
JIMMY BALDERSON / 6-6 Â• 200 Â• freshman Â• guard
CAPSULE: Balderson is a 6-foot-6 combo guard who averaged 34 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists while leading Magrath High School in Alberta, Canada to a 32-3 record this past season ... He has excellent range from the three-point line and has good size ... He shot 54 percent from the floor and 91 percent from the free throw line at Magrath High ... A skilled young player, he could factor in on perimeter this year ... He plans to leave in the spring on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Balderson has played in eight games and averages 10 minutes. He has reached double figures twice, scoring 11 points in 13 minutes vs. Southern Utah Saturday and totaling a career-high 19 points to lead all BYU scorers against Fort Lewis in 22 minutes. He went 8-10 from the floor vs. Fort Lewis. He also recorded career highs with 7 rebounds and 3 steals, sharing team-high honors in both categories. He has been able to score when he has gotten the playing time. He has played double-digit minutes in four games, averaging 14.5 minutes and 9.8 points. He could get some opportunities to play the point with Opunui out with an injury.
SHAWN OPUNUI / 5-11 Â• 170 Â• freshman Â• point guard
CAPSULE: Opunui averaged 21.7 points and 6.1 assists as an all-state point guard at Orem High School in 1999 before leaving for an LDS Church mission ... A strong offensive player and solid defender, Opunui shot nearly 91 percent from the free throw line, third best in state history, and 40 percent on three-point attempts ... His 401 assists put him on the state's top-10 all-time list ... He is an athletic point guard who has excellent open court passing skills and is an outstanding three-point shooter ... His ability to break defenses down with the dribble should create offensive opportunities for his teammates ... He loves pushing the ball up the floor as a true point guard with great court vision ... A super passer and great penetrator, Opunui should have the opportunity to play with the loss to graduation of all-MWC guards Trent Whiting and Terrell Lyday and loss to injury of Michael Vranes.
It is anticipated Opunui will be out for at least six weeks after reinjuring his left thumb vs. Idaho (torn ligaments). He originally suffered ligament damage in his thumb while playing three minutes at Utah State on Dec. 1. The freshman guard will wear a hard cast for the next four weeks and then a removable splint for two weeks. He had played in four games. His only significant playing time was against Fort Lewis when he played 20 minutes. It was his first action in three games after injuring his thumb at Utah State. He dished out a career-best 10 assists and had career highs with six points, four rebounds and three steals in 20 minutes vs. Fort Lewis. He had six assists in the first half in only seven minutes.
TERRY NASHIF / 5-10 Â• 165 Â• freshman Â• guard
CAPSULE: Nashif is a freshman who served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after his senior year in 1999 at Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Wash. ... A smart player who can put down the three-pointer, he knows how to run a team and is an excellent distributor of the ball ... He could factor in at the point.
Nashif could see more playing time with the loss of Shawn Opunui. He equaled his season high playing 10 minutes vs. Southern Utah, recording a high of 3 rebounds. He played five minutes vs. CSUN and recorded a career-high 3 points, going 3-6 from the line. He took one three-pointer. He has played in seven games, including a brief appearance vs. Stanford at the end of the game. He played 10 minutes against Fort Lewis, and had 2 points and 3 assists. He is averaging 4.6 minutes.
STEVE CLEVELAND (76-59 in fifth year)
Steve Cleveland enters his fifth season at the helm of the Cougars in 2001-02. In his four seasons at BYU, Cleveland has proven to be a first-rate recruiter, an excellent coach and player developer, and above all, a winner. Last year Cleveland guiding BYU to its first NCAA tournament bid since 1995, its first conference regular season title since 1993 and its first conference tournament championship since 1992. While rebuilding a program that finished 1-25 before his arrival, he has improved the Cougars each season, posting records of 9-21, 12-16, 22-11 and 24-9. The Cougars also improved upon an NIT season in 1999-2000 to earn an NCAA berth last year. The past two seasons both rank among of the school's best year's ever in terms of wins dating back to the Cougars first season in 1902. In fact, only five BYU teams have ever recorded more wins than last year's 24-9 team and only seven have improved upon the 22-11 record in 1999-2000.