BYU (10-2) takes an eight-game winning streak into its final nonconference game at Pepperdine Saturday at 5 p.m.PT (6 p.m. MT). The Waves (6-6)) are coming off a 97-65 rout of West Virginia on Sunday in the consolation game of the Fiesta Bowl Classic at the McKale Center in Tucson. The game is being televised by SportsWest Productions on KSL, channel 5, in Salt Lake City and regionally on the West Coast on Fox Sports West 2. The live radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 with Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant calling the action on the Cougar Sports Network.
BYU returns to Provo to open Mountain West Conference play, hosting San Diego State Saturday Jan. 12 at 4 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The game will be televised by SportsWest Productions. BYU will then face UNLV Tuesday, Jan. 15, at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center in another SportsWest broadcast.
GAME FACTS (BYU Game 13)
Saturday, Jan. 5, 2001
BYU (10-2) at Pepperdine (6-6)
Firestone Fieldhouse (3,104)
5 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. MT
BYU, Steve Cleveland (77-59 in fifth year; same overall)
Pepperdine, Paul Westphal (6-6 in first year; 90-33 in fourth year overall)
Series: Pepperdine leads, 3-1
SportsWest Productions (KSL 5 in SLC) / Fox Sports West 2 on West Coast
Air Time: 5 p.m. PT / 6 p.m. MT
SportsWest Play-by-Play: Tom Kirkland
SportsWest Game Analyst: Craig Hislop
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time - 4 p.m. PT / 5 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. 18.1 3.3
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 10.4 5.5
C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. 9.1 3.6
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 14.5 6.9
G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 6.1 7.2 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 205 So. 9.3 3.3
G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. 5.0 1.9
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. 0.8 2.2
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 0.7 1.1
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 0.6 0.9 apg
C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 260 So. 1.9 2.0
F 4 Jesse Pinegar 6-9 225 Fr. 0.4 0.6
G 12 Shawn Opunui (OUT/INJURY) 5-11 175 Fr. 1.5 2.8 apg
Pepperdine returns two starters and eight lettermen from last year's 22-9 team that finished second to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference. The Waves are 6-6 on the year and are coming off a 97-65 victory over West Virginia in Tucson after being defeated by the No. 14 ranked Arizona Wildcats 94-71. Junior forward Boomer Brazzle and junior guard Devin Montgomery each scored a career-high total of 21 points on Sunday afternoon in Pepperdine's rout of West Virginia in the consolation game of the Fiesta Bowl Classic at the McKale Center in Tucson. Montgomery made all seven of his field goal attempts, including five shots from three-point territory, and dished out five assists. Junior forward Jimmy Miggins added 18 points and seven rebounds and freshman forward Robert Turner chipped in a career-best 17 points as the Waves evened their record at 6-6. West Virginia, 7-4, was led by forward Chris Moss with 20 points. The Mountaineers have posted road wins earlier this season at New Mexico and Tennessee. Pepperdine shot a season-best 63.2 percent from the field (36-of-57) and connected on 13-of-19 shots from three-point range (68.4 percent). The Waves limited West Virginia to just 38.5 percent shooting (25-of-65) and even won the rebounding battle by a 33-29 margin. The Waves also have wins at nationally ranked UCLA (85-78) and vs. USC (78-77), having played a tough schedule that also includes road losses at Utah (81-74), UC Irvine (96-93 in 2OT), Oregon (88-64) and UC Santa Barbara (68-51). The Waves are 1-5 on the road, 2-0 on a neutral floor and 3-1 at home. At home, they have defeated local foes Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State and Point Loma, while losing to intersectional foe Georgia. Dating back to the start of the 1997-98 season, Pepperdine is 46-8 (.852) in games played at Firestone Fieldhouse, including a 24-4 (.857) mark the last two-plus seasons. Junior forward Jimmy Miggins is the Waves' top player, averaging team-best totals of 15.4 points and 6.6 rebounds a game. Miggins has recorded three double-doubles to date and also contributes 2.2 assists and 1.7 steals a contest. Terrance Johnson is averaging 14.8 points a game, while Craig Lewis, the Waves' best perimter shooter, chips in 11.1 points a contest. Pepperdine's three community college transfers--Gary Colbert, Miggins and Devin Montgomery--have all made an immediate impact on the program. In additon to Miggins' team-best 15.4 points and 6.6 rebounds a game, Montgomery chips in 8.4 points and 3.0 assists a contest while Colbert contributes 5.4 points and 2.5 assists a ballgame. Pepperdine has posted back-to-back 20-win seasons earning an NIT bid last year and an NCAA berth in 1999-2000. Since the 1980-81 season, Pepperdine teams have either won or shared the WCC regular season title on nine occasions--1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, 1986, 1991, 1992, 1993 and 2000. Former NBA player and coach Paul Westphal (6-6 in first season at Pepperdine / 90-33 in fourth season overall) is in his first year with the Waves.
F - Jimmy Miggins, 6-6, 190, Jr., Canton, MS; 15.4 ppg 6.6 rpg
C - Cedric Suitt, 6-11, 230, Sr., Atlanta, GA; 3.0 ppg 4.1 rpg
G - Terrance Johnson, 6-5, 185, Fr., Dallas, TX; 14.8 ppg 3.6 rpg
G - Craig Lewis, 6-3, 190, Sr., Portland, OR; 11.1 ppg 1.9 rpg
G - Micah McKinney, 6-3, 190, So., L.A., CA; 4.0 ppg 3.2 apg
Overall Series Record: Pepperdine leads 3-1
BYU Record in Provo: 1-1
BYU Record at Pepperdine: 0-2
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 1-0
Longest BYU Win Streak: 1
Longest Pepperdine Win Streak: 3 (1944-85)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 1, 53-52 in 1997
Largest Pepperdine Margin of Victory: 10, 73-83 in 1985
Most Points Scored by BYU: 73 in 1985
Most Points Scored by Pepperdine: 83 in 1985
12-29-44 at Pepperdine 51-56 L
12-15-49 at Pepperdine* 39-45 L
12-14-85 Pepperdine' 73-83 L
12-13-97 Pepperdine* 53-52 W
Pepperdine Quick Facts:
Location: Malibu, Calif.
Colors: Blue, Orange and White
Home Arena: Firestone Fieldhouse (3,104)
Conference: West Coast
Athletic Director: John Watson
Head Coach: Paul Westphal
Alma Mater: USC (1972)
Best time to call: Contact SID
Office Phone: (310) 506-4161
Overall Record (Years): 84-27 (3)
Record at School (Years): First Year
Assistant Coaches: Gib Arnold, Jim Nielsen, Wyking Jones
Overall Record: 22-9
Conf. Record/Finish: 12-2/2nd
Post Season: NIT -- Second Round
Letterman Returning/Lost: 8/7
Starters Returning/Lost: 2/3
Returning Starters (last year's stats)
Craig Lewis, 6-3, 185, Sr., G (9.0 ppg, 2.6 apg)
Boomer Brazzle, 6-5, 210, Jr., F (3.5 ppg, 3.3. rpg)
Basketball Contact: Michael Zapolski
Office: (310) 506-4333
Home: (818) 597-1561
Fax: (310) 506-4322
Press Row: (310) 456-5050
Athletics Web Site
BYU Wins Eighth Straight with Victory over San Francisco Wednesday
PROVO -- A rigid defense allowed BYU to overcome a shaky shooting night from the field as the Cougars extended their home winning streak to 28 straight games with a 65-51 victory over San Francisco in the Marriott Center Wednesday. BYU improved to 10-2 on the year with the win while the Dons fell to 4-8. BYU won its eighth straight game, the team's longest winning streak since running off 13 straight in the 1992-1993 season, and improved their record to 10-2 on the season, the best start for the team since the 1999-2000 campaign when the Cougars started the season 12-2. "This happened to be a night when we did not shoot well but we found a way to win the game," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "Both our seniors played very well. Matt Montague was outstanding." Montague led the Cougars on both ends of the floor, tying his season high with 11 points and a career high with two three-pointers. the senior point guard tied a career high defensively with five steals and tied a season high for rebounds with seven. Montague seems to come up with big nights every time he faces the Dons. He has hit two treys in a game only three times in his career, two of those coming against San Francisco. In the past two seasons he has scored in double figures only three times, two of those coming against the Dons. Senior forward Eric Nielsen was the team's leading rebounder with eight boards and was one of four Cougars to finish the night in double figures with 12 points. Mark Bigelow once again led the Cougar scorers with 15 points. Freshman center Jared Jensen added 10 points. "Eric Nielsen had the task of defending the Dons' best player," Cleveland said. "He did a nice job on him, especially in the second half." The Cougars trailed by as many as five points early in the game but took a 12-11 lead over San Francisco on two Travis Hansen free throws with just over 14 minutes to go in the first half. After taking the one-point lead, BYU stayed up on the scoreboard for the rest of the game. "This is the type of possession game that we will have throughout January and February," Cleveland said. "Our young men are beginning to learn the urgency of every possession, especially against teams that make runs at you." The Cougar defense helped BYU to keep the lead despite several Don runs that kept the game close. After BYU took a 44-31 lead early in the second half, San Francisco pulled to within three points with just over 12 minutes to go in the game. But the Cougars were able to withstand each run as it came, allowing the Dons only 20 points in the final 20 minutes. BYU shot only 43 percent from the floor, including a 29 percent clip from three-point range, but held the Dons to 40 percent shooting, including a 3-21 effort from behind the arc. BYU had a season high nine steals against the Dons.
Â• The streaking Cougars extended their Marriott Center record home winning streak to 28 games with tonight's victory. BYU has won eight straight games, the longest winning streak since the 1992-1993 season. The 10-2 Cougars are off to their best start since the 1999-2000 season when the team started 12-2.
Â• Matt Montague had his best night of the season, tying career highs in steals with five and threes with two. He tied season highs with 11 points and seven rebounds.
Â• Montague has hit two threes in three different games during his career, two of those games have come against San Francisco. He has scored in double figures three times in the past two seasons and two of those have come in games against the Dons.
Â• With his 15-point night, Mark Bigelow has scored 14 or more points in 11 consecutive games. With his one-for-three night from downtown, Bigelow has hit a trey in 12 straight games, the fourth-longest streak in BYU history behind Terrell Lyday (21 and 14) and Andy Toolson (16).
Â• Jared Jensen, BYU's freshman center, has scored in double figures for five of the last six games.
Â• With the 36-31 advantage at the break, the Cougars have gone to the half with the lead in 11 of their 12 games this season, trailing only against Stanford (41-40).
First Half Success
BYU has led at the half in all 11 of 12 games this season, trailing only Stanford (41-40). BYU is outscoring its opponents in the first half 430-324 (35.8 -- 27.0). The Cougars have scored more points in the second half but also yield more points. BYU has outscored its opponents 461-403 in the second half (38.4 -- 33.6). 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 .441 in losses and .409 in wins. BYU shot 52 percent from the floor last week in its two wins but only 43 percent, a season low in the Marriott Center this year, vs. USF Wednesday. 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 49 percent from the floor overall after 12 games.
From Three-Point Range
BYU shot 28.6 percent (4-14) on threes vs. USF, the second time the in last three games they have shot below 30 percent from long range. Ironically, between those games BYU made eight three pointers in the first half (season best) and totaled 11 for the game (tying a season high) vs. Southern Utah. The Cougars also had 11 three pointers against Idaho. BYU attempted a season-high 22 threes vs Southern Utah. Mark Bigelow making five treys vs. SUU. On the year, seven Cougars have made a three-point shot. Mark Bigelow has made a team-high 32 threes (32-67, .478). He has made a trey in all 12 games. Daniel Bobik is 17-41 (.415) and Travis Hansen is 16-38 (.421). Bobik has also made five threes in a game, going 5-7 vs. Idaho. BYU makes 41.5 percent overall from behind the arc.
One-Two Scoring Punch
BYU's Mark Bigelow and Travis Hansen are the Cougars one-two scoring punch. Bigelow has reached double figures in 11 of 12 games and Hansen in nine of 12. Bigelow scores 18.1 ppg and Hansen 14.5 ppg on the year.
Other Scoring Options
The Cougars have five players scoring at least nine points per game. After leaders Mark Bigelow (18.1) and Travis Hansen (14.5), senior Eric Nielsen averages 10.4 ppg and has scored a career-high 29 points vs. Stanford. Reserve guard Daniel Bobik is adding 9.3 ppg off the bench and has twice scored highs of 17 points. Freshman center Jared Jensen is averaging 9.1 ppg and has twice totaled a high of 14 points. In addition, freshman guard Jimmy Balderson has twice reached double figures with a high of 19 points while point guard Matt Montague has reached double digits twice with 11 points at San Diego and vs. USF.
Consistency at the Line
BYU has made 80 percent or more of its free throws in seven of 12 games this season, including six of the last nine. BYU is shooting 79.5 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 (Dec. 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 (.873), Jared Jensen (.818), Matt Montague (.789), Travis Hansen (.781), Eric Nielsen (.769) 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 and had 17 points in the AP Poll (33rd). Wyoming is the only other MWC team in this week's AP Poll with 3 votes (49th). 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
Dec. 31 - Marcus Banks (Jr., G), UNLV
BYU has won eight straight games, the longest streak since the 1992-93 team won 13 in a row. Coach Cleveland's teams have had six five-game streaks over the last three seasons, which they twice extended it to six games before the current streak was extended to seven and now eight games.
Home Winning Streak
BYU has a 28-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 8-0 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 26 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 32-6 home record against nonconference teams under Steve Cleveland. BYU is 25-0 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 36.2 rebounds while its opponents grab on average 29.6. BYU has out boarded its opponents in 10 games, including a slight 32-30 edge over USF Wednesday. BYU is 10-0 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 totaled 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 Starting Lineup Record
Montague, Hanen, Bigelow, Nielsen, Jensen 9-2
Montague, Hanen, Bigelow, Nielsen, Howard 1-0
Top JC Center Signs with Cougars
Rafael Araujo, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound center at Western Arizona, in November signed an NCAA Letter-of-Intent to play at BYU. Considered one of the top five junior-college players in the country, Araujo was recruited by North Carolina, Illinois, UNLV and San Diego State among others. A physically strong athlete with great leaping ability, Araujo runs the floor well and has range on the perimeter. "We are thrilled to have Rafael decide to join the BYU basketball program," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "He is a great young man that people really enjoy being around. He's got legitimate NBA center size and has the potential to make a significant impact on the program. He's still got some things to learn, but he has all the tools to become an outstanding player at the Division I level." Araujo is averaging 21 points and 13 rebounds this year for No. 7-ranked Western Arizona, located in Yuma. He scored a season-high 35 points in 22 minutes in the season-opener and has totaled a season-high 17 rebounds. A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Araujo will enter BYU as a junior. He will enroll next fall.
BYU Record - Comparing Recent Starts
With its 10-2 record, BYU is off to its best start since starting 12-2 in 1999-2000. With a win Saturday at Pepperdine, the Cougars could earn their 11th nonconference victory for the third straight season. Last year BYU was 11-4 entering MWC play and went on to a 24-9 record. In 1999-2000 the Cougars were 11-2 and finished 22-11.
Tough MWC Play Ahead
BYU's seven Mountain West opponents have combined (as of Jan. 3) to win 65 percent of their games so far this year. Including BYU, MWC teams have a 67 percent winning percentage in nonconference play. Including the Cougars, five of the eight teams have already won nine games and no team has a losing record (Air Force is 6-6). The league was predicted to be stronger top to bottom from last season. BYU was picked sixth in the preseason poll with Wyoming and Utah considered the top two teams to win the title this year.
BYU Opponent Records
Of the 20 opponents BYU will face this year, 13 have winning records as of Jan 3. Five have a losing record and two, Air Force and Pepperdine, are at .500. Overall, BYU's opponents have combined to win 58 percent of their games with the nonconference teams having a 78-68 record and MWC teams boasting a 56-30 record. The 12 teams BYU has played already have won 54 percent of their games (72-62).
BYU is currently ranked 36th and is the top-rated team in the Mountain West Conference in the Sagarin ratings. The MWC is ranked 7th in the latest ratings (Jan. 2). 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
According to the CollegeRPI.com rankings (Jan. 3), BYU is the second-rated MWC team with a 39 RPI. Utah has a 36 RPI. The Mountain West Conference is rated 7th among the 32 conferences (and five independents).
New Mexico 42
San Diego State 45
Colorado State 75
Air Force 221
BYU in MWC Statistics (through games played Jan. 1)
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 (latest release 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.
MATT MONTAGUE / 6-0 Â• 190 Â• senior Â• point guard
CAPSULE: Montague provides leadership at the point having started 69 times and played in all 104 games in his fourth year ... 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.
Matt Montague has played the last three games with a broken nose, an injury he sustained late Christmas day during practice. He was the spark for BYU vs. USF Wednesday, leading the Cougars on both ends of the floor, tying his season high with 11 points with 7 assists and no turnovers in 39 minutes while equaling a career high defensively with five steals and tying a season high for rebounds with seven. He made a career-best two treys, something he has done three times in his career, two of those coming against San Francisco. In the past two seasons he has scored in double figures only three times, two of those coming against the Dons. 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). 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.
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 (6.9rpg) and is second in scoring (14.5 ppg). After playing 30 or more minutes in six of the first eight games, he has not reached 30 minutes in the last four straight contests. He has reached double figures in nine of 12 games, scoring nine points Wednesday vs. USF. 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. 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 18.1 ppg. He has made a three in all 12 games this year, the fourth longest streak in BYU history. In addition to being BYU's leading scorer, he has been the team's most consistent offensive threat, totaling 14 or more points in 11 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 vs. ASU. 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 last week. 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. Last week he averaged 23.5 points and 4.0 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from both the floor and from three-point range, making 4.5 treys/game. He had a team-high 15 points vs. USF Wednesday.
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 (10.4 ppg) and is second in rebounds (5.5 rpg). He had 12 points, a game-high 8 boards, a season-high 3 assists and tied a career-best 2 blocks vs. USF Wednesday. He has reached double-figure points in five 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 7.3 shots per game. He ranks third all-time at BYU in career field goal percentage and is making 58.6 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 has become a consistent offensive threat inside the last six games, reaching double figures in five of those games while averaging 11.7 ppg. In his first six games as a collegian, he reached double-digit points once and averaged 6.5 ppg. He is fifth on the team overall at 9.1 ppg. He is shooting a MWC-best 67.2 percent from the floor. He had a career-high 10 attempts, scoring 10 points vs. USF. He equaled his career high with 14 second-half points vs. Southern Utah. Jensen had his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds vs. CSUN, also had career-best 10 boards vs. Creighton. Last week 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. He had 12 points vs. Idaho and vs. Fort Lewis. He had a career-high 14 points on 4-5 shooting and 6-8 from the line at UCSB. 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• sophomoreÂ• 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 21.7 minutes, 9.3 points and 3.3 rebounds. He has made 20 straight free throws but has not had an attempt in the last two games. 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. Bobik has scored in double digits in five games. He reached double digits in three straight games with a career-high 17 against Idaho, 10 against Stanford and 17 again vs. CS Northridge. 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 , primarily as a rebounder and defender ... 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 12 games off the bench, averaging 9.8 minutes per game. He played only one minute, a season low, vs. USF Wednesday after playing 11 minutes with three boards vs. Southern Utah. 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 has not attempted a shot in the lat three games and takes just over one shot per game on average.
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 five 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. He appeared only briefly vs. USF Wednesday.
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 has appeared in 10 games overall, playing 5.2 minutes per game. He started the season-opener at USD, the first start of his career. He played seven minutes, with one rebound. He played only 2 minutes vs. USF Wednesday. 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 seven games, including the last six straight. He has played double-digit minutes twice, including 13 Wednesday vs. USF, scoring 2 points and grabbing 3 boards and blocking 2 shots. He also had his first assist of they year. He played a season-high 14 minutes vs. Stanford, more than doubling his previous high while making a significant contribution to the victory, playing 10 minutes in the first half with Jared Jensen in foul trouble. He went to the line for the first time vs. SUU, going 1-2. He was 2-4 from the line vs. USF. He has grabbed a rebound in every game, averaging 2.0 boards in 7.6 minutes per game. He scored a season-high 6 points in seven minutes vs. Fort Lewis.
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 nine games and averages 9.1 minutes. He has reached double figures twice, scoring 11 points in 13 minutes vs. Southern Utah last week 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 in those games. 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 played only one minute vs USF with one rebound after equaling 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 eight 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 4.1 minutes.
STEVE CLEVELAND (77-59 in fifth season)
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.
Coaching Staff Additions
Former BYU player Andy Toolson and Pine View High School (St. George, Utah) coach John Wardenburg were hired as assistant coaches in May. Toolson joins Cleveland's staff after an 11-year professional career in Europe and the NBA, while Wardenburg comes to BYU with 11 years of coaching experience at the high school and junior college level. Former assistant coach Nathan Call was named director of basketball operations. Associate Head Coach Dave Rose remains in that capacity. Heath Schroyer, who had served alongside Cleveland, Rose and Call the past four seasons in Provo, left to accept an assistant position at Wyoming. Brian Santiago, Cleveland's administrative assistant the past four seasons, is BYU's assistant athletic director responsible for game operations.