After starting the Mountain West Conference season with two home wins, BYU (12-3, 2-0) travels to New Mexico to face the Lobos (11-4, 1-0) Saturday at 1 p.m. in The Pit. The game is the featured MWC game of the week being televised by ESPN+Plus (KJZZ, channel 14 in Salt Lake City). 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 continues its road trip with an afternoon game at Air Force (6-9, 0-2)Monday. The Cougars and Falcons tip off at 2 p.m. MT in a SportsWest broadcast (KSL, channel 5 in Salt Lake City). BYU stays on road to face Utah on Jan. 28 before returning to the Marriott Center to host Wyoming on Feb. 2.
Saturday, Jan. 19, 2002
BYU (12-3, 2-0) at New Mexico (11-4, 1-0)
The Pit [18,018]
1 p.m. MT
BYU, Steve Cleveland (79-60 in fifth year; same overall)
UNM, Fran Fraschilla (50-31 in third year; 170-90 in ninth year overall)
Series: BYU leads, 61-46
ESPN+Plus (KJZZ, channel 14, in SLC)
Air Time: 1 p.m. MT
Play-by-Play: Rich Waltz
Game Analyst: Irv Brown
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time - Noon 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. 17.3 3.1
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 10.5 5.1
C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. 8.9 3.8
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 15.5 7.2
G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 6.6 7.0 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 205 So. 8.4 3.0
G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. 4.0 1.4
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. 1.1 1.9
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 0.7 1.1
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 0.5 0.7 apg
C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 260 So. 1.7 2.2
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
New Mexico returns three starters from last year's 21-13 team that advanced to meet BYU in the 2001 MWC tournament title game. The Lobos are off to an 11-4 start and 1-0 conference mark after a 50-47 win over Air Force at home Monday. The Lobos played the game without staring point guard Marlon Parmer, who was sitting out a single-game suspension. New Mexico's backcourt combination of seniors Tim Lightfoot and Eric Chatfield and juniors Marlon Parmer, Ruben Douglas and Senque Carey have been touted among the best in the nation. Parmer led the conference in assists last year, Douglas was a second-team all-conference player, Chatfield averaged almost 13 ppg, Lightfoot is among the top-10 three-point shooters in school history, and Carey led the University of Washington in assists in each of his first two years there before transferring to Albuquerque. Parmer has the opportunity to become the 22nd player in school history to reach the 1,000 point mark for his career with a performance similar to last season when he scored 395 points (11.6 ppg) in 34 contests. He is averaging13.7 ppg this year. Parmer is averaging 5.7 apg on the year, second in the Mountain West behind BYU's Matt Montague. Parmer has recorded 10 assists in a game on six separate occasions, and UNM is 5-1 in those contests. Parmer dished out 5.4 apg last year to lead the MWC. Senior guard Tim Lightfoot is a solid threat from three-point range. The Lobos' two freshmen have paid instant dividends this season, with Chad Bell and Jamaal Williams making the most of their opportunities to play at the Division I level. Williams, a 6-6 forward from Corona, Calif., is averaging 8.9 ppg and 5.7 rpg, totals which rank second and first, respectively in the Mountain West among freshmen. Williams has already recorded a double-double (12 points, 10 rebounds vs. Cal) and scored a career-high 20 points against Texas Southern. Bell, a 6-11 forward out of Inglewood, Calif., has started seven consecutive games and is averaging 5.1 ppg and 3.1 rpg on the season. He has a high-point game of 10 vs. Tennessee Tech and a high rebound game of seven, vs. Texas Southern. He blocks two shots per game. The duo is averaging 41 minutes per game between them. Patrick Dennehy set a career-high with 17 rebounds against Alcorn State in 28 minutes. UNM had an eight-game winning streak halted with its overtime loss to nationally ranked Gonzaga in its final game before MWC play. UNM's poor free-throw shooting helped Gonzaga avoid an upset with a 95-90 overtime victory in The Pit. The Lobos trailed by two in the final seconds, when Marlon Parmer drove the lane and hit a layup to knot the score at 78-78. Four seconds later, Bulldog star Dan Dickau was whistled for a player control foul and Gonzaga's Alex Hernandez was slapped with a technical foul for slamming the ball down in protest. Ruben Douglas missed both foul shots, however, and UNM could not get off a shot at the end of regulation. New Mexico head coach Fran Fraschilla is in his third season on the bench at UNM with a record of 50-31. The Lobos have been to postseason in each of Fraschilla's two seasons, advancing to the second round of the NIT in 2000 and the quarterfinals of the NIT in 2001. Overall, Fraschilla sports a mark of 170-90 in nine seasons at Manhattan (1993-96), St. John's (1996-98) and New Mexico.
NEW MEXICO LOBOS PROBABLE STARTERS
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl-Exp. PPG RPG
2 Marlon Parmer G 6-2 182 Jr-2L 13.7 5.9
5 Ruben Douglas G 6-5 200 Jr-1L 15.4 3.7
42 Eric Chatfield G 6-3 215 Sr-1L 10.1 2.6
33 Patrick Dennehy P 6-9 217 So-1L 10.1 7.7
1 Chad Bell P 6-11 240 Fr-HS 5.1 3.1
BYU has won four straight in the series, ending a four-game Lobo win streak. BYU won three times last year vs. the Lobos, including a 69-65 victory in Las Vegas to win the MWC tournament. BYU broke through last year with its first win in The Pit since Cleveland's first-year upset in 1998. New Mexico's last win in the series was a 78-74 win in Provo in 2000, which is BYU's last loss in the Marriott Center. BYU has won 30 straight at home since, the second-longest home winning streak in the nation.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads, 61-46
BYU Record in Provo: 36-13
BYU Record in Albuquerque: 21-30
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 3-3
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 5-5
Longest BYU Win Streak: 14 (1950-57)
Longest New Mexico Win Streak: 5 (1996-98)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 30, 92-62 two times in 1955 and 1959
Largest New Mexico Margin of Victory: 42, 32-74 in 1997
Most Points Scored by BYU: 100 in 1979
Most Points Scored by New Mexico: 102 in 1987
LAST YEAR VS. UNM
BYU Defeats New Mexico in Provo
PROVO -- BYU defeated New Mexico 65-49 at the Marriott Center. The game began with Terrell Lyday scoring nine of BYU's first 15 points. Wesley joined Lyday in the scoring output, netting 10 of the Cougars next 12 points. Wesley jumped past Kresimir Cosic to eighth on the all-time scoring list at 1,522 points, on a three pointer with 5:20 remaining in the first half. Despite Wesley and Lyday's offensive output, the game was largely a defensive contest. BYU held New Mexico to 23 points in the first half on 40 percent shooting, the second lowest point total for the Lobos since the second game of the season versus Temple. The Cougars ended the first half leading 36-23. New Mexico remained in the game as they opened the second half with an 11-4 run. The run, led by Marlon Parmer, closed BYU's lead to six. BYU reacted quickly, scoring 10 of the game's next 12 points, pushing their lead back to 16 at 52-36. New Mexico coach Fran Fraschilla credited the Cougars defense for the swing. Senior Nate Cooper had a strong night for the Cougars grabbing a season-high 8 rebounds. Welsey led BYU in scoring while Lyday added 19 points.
Cougars Edge Lobos in The Pit
ALBUQUERQUE, N. M. (March 1, 2001) -- Led by Terrell Lyday and Mekeli Wesley, BYU defeated New Mexico 72-67 Thursday in The Pit to improve to 20-8 overall and 9-4 in Mountain West Conference play. Earning their second straight 20-win season, the Cougars earned their second conference road win of the season. The one-two punch of Lyday and Wesley provided the bulk of BYU's scoring while the timely plays of reserves Matt Montague and Nate Knight helped seal the win. Lyday finished with a game-high 26 points and Wesley added 25 with eight rebounds to pace the Cougars. Montague played 26 minutes after only getting a combined seven minutes in the prior two games. After an effective first half, Montague started the second half and immediately made BYU coach Steve Cleveland look good for the move, making a steal and finding Terrell Lyday ahead for the fast-break bucket. Montague also converted a critical basket just before the shot clock expired. "Matt (Montague) has the best attitude in the world, whether he plays five minutes or 25," Cleveland said. "I challenged Matt and he had a big, big game for us. His teammates gave him a standing ovation in the locker room." Like Montague, Knight had his number called more often and responded with some big plays. The 6-10 senior played a season-high 20 minutes, recording season bests with seven points and seven rebounds. After a Montague free throw put BYU up two points at 67-65 with 31.7 seconds remaining, Knight retrieved the Montague miss on the second attempt, which resulted in Lyday connecting on two free tosses. Knight then drew a charge from the Lobos' Marlon Palmer on the defensive end to take away any chance of a New Mexico rally. Trent Whiting had a tough night from the floor, going 3-13, but pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds to lead the Cougars. He finished with nine points with two assists. Nathan Cooper and Montague shared team-high assist honors with three assists each. Ruben Douglas scored 20 points to lead New Mexico, while Palmer added 18 and Brian Smith contributed 10. Patrick Dennehy had a game-high 11 rebounds. BYU swept the season series with the Lobos for the first time since 1995 and has won three straight vs. New Mexico for the first time in 10 years.
BYU Wins MWC Tournament Title at the Thomas & Mack
LAS -- Trent Whiting nailed two clutch free throws with 4.6 seconds remaining to seal a 69-65 victory over New Mexico and BYU's first Mountain West Conference Tournament Championship. In a tightly contested game, tournament and league MVP Mekeli Wesley was the BYU workhorse. Wesley hit key shot after key shot for the Cougars as the Lobos didn't have an answer for the 6-9 senior who shot a nearly perfect 11-12 from the field and led the Cougars with 30 points. The Cougars led almost the entire contest, but New Mexico would never let them pull away. The Lobos owned the boards, especially on the offensive glass holding a 19-3 advantage and scoring many of their points off second chances. BYU's Wesley was scoring, Terrell Lyday was defending and Whiting was hitting big threes and rebounding. Lyday guarded New Mexico's elusive point guard Marlon Parmer and limited him to 0-4 shooting in the first half. Parmer finished with 14 points. With BYU leading by only two with under 10 seconds to play, Parmer hoisted a three pointer to try and win the game, but Lyday was right in his face and Parmer's attempt went long. Whiting rose high for his third rebound and was fouled. Besides his key free throws, Whiting also made a couple big three pointers to key the Cougar victory. Despite the efforts of BYU's talented trio, New Mexico fought hard. When Marlon Parmer drained a three-pointer to cut BYU's lead to just one it looked liked the Lobos would have a chance to pull out the victory. Wesley was fouled but converted on only one of two free throws. But when Parmer drew iron and Whiting was fouled on the rebound, the Cougars smelled victory. After Whiting's free throw put BYU up four, New Mexico's three-point attempt went long. With the victory BYU advanced to its first NCAA Tournament since 1995.
UNM Quick Facts:
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Colors: Cherry and Silver
Home Arena: The Pit/Bob King Court (18,018)
Conference: Mountain West
Athletic Director: Rudy Davalos
Head Coach: Fran Fraschilla
Alma Mater: Brooklyn College (1980)
Best time to call: Contact SID
Office Phone: (505) 925-5750
Overall Record (Years): 170-90 (9th year)
Record at School (Years): 50-31 (3rd year)
Assistant Coaches: Joe Dooley, Darren Savino, Rodney Belcher
Overall Record: 21-13
Conf. Record/Finish: 6-8/T5th
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: NIT Third Round
Letterman Returning/Lost: 5/5
Starters Returning/Lost: 3/2
Returning Starters (last year's stats)
Ruben Douglas, 6-4, 185, Jr., G (16.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg)
Eric Chatfield, 6-3, 215, Sr., G (12.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg)
Marlon Parmer, 6-2, 180, Jr., G (11.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
Basketball Contact: Bryan Satter
Office: (505) 925-5528
Home: (505) 830-9566
Fax: (505) 925-5529
Press Row: (505) 925-5988
Athletics Web Site
Cougars Claw Their Way to Win over UNLV Tuesday
PROVO -- A stingy second half defense and some timely shooting helped the BYU Cougars knock off a feisty UNLV team 60-47. BYU has now won 30 straight at home, the second-longest streak in the nation. BYU found itself down 26-22 at the half, its largest deficit after a half this season. But the Cougars came out strong in the second half. The Cougars quickly took the lead and held off several attempted runs by UNLV. BYU outscored UNLV 38-21 in the second half to take the game from the Rebels. "It's a good thing that we were playing at home and not in Las Vegas," head coach Steve Cleveland said. "The positive point is when you don't do your best and win it's a good thing." Mark Bigelow led the Cougars with 16 points, 15 coming in the second half. Bigelow hit a three pointer at the beginning of the second half, setting a new BYU record with 22 consecutive games with at least one three pointer. Terrell Lyday previously held the record with 21 straight, all coming in the 2000-2001 season. While Bigelow provided the second half scoring, the game might have been decided on the glass. BYU dominated UNLV in rebounding, holding a 39-22 edge. Freshman Jared Jensen led the team with seven rebounds, and Travis Hansen and Matt Montague each had six. "We did a good job on the boards and played a good 20 minutes in the second half," Cleveland said. UNLV played tough, physical defense throughout the game, forcing the Cougars out of their natural flow. Especially in the first half, BYU had trouble holding onto the ball, turning it over 13 times. "It was obvious that UNLV came in with a great game plan," Cleveland said. "They had a great defensive plan of just pressuring us and you have to give them credit for taking us out of what we wanted to do." UNLV head coach Charlie Spoonhour knew he had his chance with BYU not on top of its game tonight. But the Cougars played well enough to win in the second half. "I think if you're ever going to have a chance to beat BYU, this would be the night," Spoonhour said. Daniel Bobik, who hit a key three pointer late in the second half, was perfect from the free throw line again, hitting two in the final minute. Bobik now has 22 straight, just 10 short of the all-time BYU record. Dalron Johnson led UNLV with 18 points on 8-12 shooting. Johnson also blocked two shots before fouling out in the final minute.
UNLV Game Notables
Daniel Bobik has now made 22 straight free throws after he made two in the final minute of play to ice the game. He is only 10 free throws short of the record. Bobik had not taken a free throw in the last four games.
BYU only had 22 points in the first half, a season low. The Cougars only scored 26 against Creighton in the first half, the previous low, but went on to win the game. BYU trailed at the half for only the second time this season, the first time coming when BYU trailed Stanford 41-40 at the half.
UNLV's 47 points in the game equals a BYU opponent low this year. BYU also held Weber State to 47 points earlier in the season. BYU's defense tightened up in the second half to hold the Rebels to only 21 points after the break.
Turnovers plagued the Cougars throughout the game, with BYU committing a season-high 20 turnovers. The Cougars also committed 20 against Southern Utah. BYU was coming off a season-best eight turnovers Saturday vs. San Diego State.
After suffering a significant rebound deficit Saturday vs. San Diego State (44-28), BYU dominated the glass vs. the Rebels, holding a 39-22 edge in rebounds. Jared Jensen had a team-high 7 rebounds while guards Matt Montague and Travis Hansen each added 6 rebounds.
BYU held San Diego State to 37 percent shooting and UNLV to 39 percent. The Cougars have held nine opponents this year below 40 percent shooting while only two teams have shot better than 45 percent against BYU (Arizona State, .462; Utah State, .509).
BYU's offense has struggled a bit of late. BYU shot 43 percent from the floor vs UNLV. On the year, BYU is just out of the top 25 nationally with a 47.6 field goal percentage and has shot 45 percent or better in 11 of 15 games but the Cougars have only reached that percentage once (vs. SDSU) in its last four games.
Perimeter Shooting Woes/Post Plays Cavalry
BYU's three wing players, starters Travis Hansen and Mark Bigelow and sixth man Daniel Bobik have struggled from the floor of late. Over the last four games only Hansen is shooting over 40 percent 19-46 (.413) while Bigelow is 16-46 (.348) and Bobik is 6-26 (.231). BYU's post players have come to the rescue somewhat, with Nielsen scoring in double figures in all four games and Jensen in two of the four games. Bart Jepsen added a career-best seven points vs. SDSU.
Hansen Named MWC Player of the Week on Jan. 7
COLORADO SPRINGS -- BYU junior forward Travis Hansen has been named the Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week after averaging a double-double last week in BYU's two games. Hansen, from Orem, Utah (Utah Valley State College) averaged 19.5 points and 11.5 rebounds while BYU defeated San Francisco and lost in overtime at Pepperdine. The Cougar guard shot 48 percent from the field (13-of-27) and was perfect from the free throw line (14-of-14). "Travis is very deserving," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "He had a special performance at Pepperdine. He just competed like a lion. He was a warrior out there who carried us on his shoulders." In the 84-70 win vs. San Francisco, Hansen scored nine points, grabbed six rebounds, had two assists, one block and one steal in 27 minutes. Against Pepperdine, he collected his team-leading third double-double of the year with 30 points and 17 rebounds in the 82-79 overtime loss. He went 10-of-19 from the floor and 10-of-10 from the line while adding two assists and one steal in 42 minutes. He set career highs during the game in points, defensive rebounds, total rebounds, field goals made, field goals attempted, free throws made, free throw percentage, and minutes played. Hansen's 17 boards tops his previous high of 15 rebounds set earlier this year and are the most by a Cougar since Brett Applegate had 17 rebounds in December 1983. This is Hansen's first player of the week honor of his career and the second awarded to a Cougar this season. BYU senior forward Eric Nielsen earned the honor on Dec. 24. "It's an nice honor for me and the team," Hansen said. "I think it reflects how we have played as a team during the preseason. Obviously it would be a lot sweeter had we won the game at Pepperdine, but it is something to build upon entering our conference games."
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 te 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).
Cleveland in Conference Openers
BYU won its conference opener for the third straight season. BYU is 4-1 in conference openers under Steve Cleveland. BYU won also defeated San Diego State at home to open the MWC season last year and won at UNLV in 1999-2000. In Cleveland's first year BYU opened on the road at Tulsa with a win. The lone opening loss in the last five years was at Utah in 1998-99.
Cleveland in Conference Game 2s
Cleveland's teams have opened 2-0 the past two seaons after going 1-1 in his first three seasons. BYU defeated SDSU and UNLV at home to start league play each of the past two seasons.
Cleveland in Conference Game 3s
Cleveland's teams have been 2-1 after three games in each of Clevelands four prior seasons at BYU. The Cougars won game three at home vs. Wyoming in 1998, finished the sweep of a SDSU-Hawaii road trip on a last second three-pointer by Mekeli Wesley in Honolulu in 1999, defeated Wyoming at home in 2000 and lost at Colorado State (60-55) last year. BYU has opened 2-2 in 1998 and 2001 and was 3-1 in 1999 and 2000.
Cleveland in Conference Games Overall
With the win over UNLV Tuesday, BYU coach Steve Cleveland evened his overall conference record to 29-29. He is 19-11 (.633) in MWC games.
Biggest Crowd in Two Years
Attendance vs San Diego State in the MWC opener was 19,411, the largest Marriott Center crowd since Jan. 15, 2000 when 22,580 showed up to see BYU play Utah. The largest crowd last season was 19,098, also against Utah.
Getting out of the Gate
BYU has played well in the first half this year, with the exception of Tuesday's game vs. UNLV when BYU scored a season low 22 pointsand shot 38 percent. BYU has led at the half in 13 of 15 games this season, trailing UNLV (26-22) and Stanford (41-40). BYU is outscoring its opponents in the first half 525-408 (35.0 -- 27.2). The Cougars have scored more points in the second half but also yield more points. BYU has outscored its opponents 570-478 in the second half (38.0 - 33.3). Making up for its poor offensive first half vs. UNLV, the Cougars rebounded in the final 20 minutes to score its average of 38 points, shoot 48 percent and hold the Rebels to only 21 second half points. BYU has been outscored 28-16 (14.0 - 8.0) in two overtime periods this year.
BYU is shooting 49.2 percent in its 12 victories and 42 percent in its three losses. The Cougars are shooting .499 at home and .434 on the road. BYU shot 45 percent vs. SDSU, the 11th time this year BYU has shot at least 45 percent. BYU has shot 50 percent or better three times this year and is making 47.6 percent from the floor overall.
From Three-Point Range
BYU is shooting 40.2 percent on threes. BYU made eight three pointers in the first half (season best) and totaled 11 for the game (tying a season high) vs. Southern Utah. Since that outing, BYU has not made more than five threes in a game over the last four contests. The Cougars also had 11 three pointers against Idaho. BYU attempted a season-high 22 threes vs Southern Utah. Mark Bigelow made five treys vs. SUU. Bobik has also made five threes in a game, going 5-7 vs. Idaho. On the year, seven Cougars have made a three-point shot. Mark Bigelow has made a team-high 36 threes (.438) and has made a three in all 15 games this year and a BYU-record 22 straight dating back to his freshman season. Travis Hansen(.435) and Daniel Bobik (.392) have each made 20 threes.
One-Two Scoring Punch
BYU's Mark Bigelow and Travis Hansen are the Cougars one-two scoring punch. Both players have had a 30-point scoring game with Bigleow totaling 31 vs. Arizona State and Hansen having a 30-point performance at Pepperdine. Bigelow has reached double figures in 14 of 15 games ater nine points in the season-opener at San Diego and Hansen has been double-digits in 12 of 15 games. Bigelow scores 17.3 ppg and Hansen 15.5 ppg on the year.
Other Scoring Options
The Cougars have five players scoring at least 8.4 points per game. After leaders Mark Bigelow (17.3) and Travis Hansen (15.5), senior Eric Nielsen averages 10.5 ppg and has scored a career-high 29 points vs. Stanford. Freshman center Jared Jensen is averaging 8.9 ppg and had a career-high 17 points vs. SDSU. Reserve guard Daniel Bobik is adding 8.4 ppg off the bench and has twice scored highs of 17 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 three times, including a season-high 12 points at Pepperdine (he had 11 points at San Diego and vs. USF).
Numbers at the Line
BYU is shooting 78.9 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). 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 (.877), Jared Jensen (.800), Travis Hansen (.795), Matt Montague (.760), Dan Howard (.750), and Eric Nielsen (.735) All players averaging double-digit minutes shoot better than 73 percent.
In the Polls
BYU received four votes (T44th with Utah) in this week's AP poll. Wyoming had 5 votes (43rd). BYU did not receive votes in this week's ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll.
BYU's win this year over then No. 13 Stanford in Las Vegas was the Cougars' first win over a top-20 team since upsetting No. 15 New Mexico (83-62)i n 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 after a late Arizona run in the final eight minutes. 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.
Bigelow Sets Three-Point Mark
Tuesday against UNLV, Mark Bigelow connected from behind the arc for the 22nd straight game dating back to his freshman season, a new BYU record. Terrell Lyday previously held the record with 21, all coming in the 1999-2000 season. Lyday's 21 games is still the single-season consecutive games record for BYU. Bigelow has the third-longest single season mark at 15 games. He can equal BYU assistant coach Andy Toolson on the single-season list by making a three at New Mexico. Toolson made a three in 29 of 30 games as a senior in 1990, with streaks of 16 and 13 games. He didn't make a three vs. Wyoming. Bigelow has made a three in 37 of the 41 games he has played.
BYU has won two straight games. BYU had a season-best eight-game winning streak halted at Pepperdine. The eight straight wins was 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 most recent streak was extended to eight games. After opening the season with a win at the University of San Diego, BYU has lost its last three true away games (not including Stanford win on a neutral court) against Utah State (OT), UCSB, and Pepperdine (OT). BYU's longest losing streak this year is two games.
In addition to Mark Bigelow's 22 straight games with a trey, Daniel Bobik has made 22 consecutive free throws dating to his last miss vs. Arizona State. The BYU record is 32 set by Michael Smith. Travis Hansen has the longest free throw streak of the season, reaching 23 straight makes from the line until missing on his fourth attempt last Saturday vs. SDSU.
Home Winning Streak
BYU has a 30-game home court winning streak. The streak, which is a school record topping the 24 straight won between March 1994 and Jan. 1996, is the second-longest current streak in the nation behind Detriot's 37 straight wins at home. BYU is 10-0 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. BYU has won 12 straight at home over MWC teams.
Cougars Tough on Nonconference Foes
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 another month. He reinjuring his left thumb vs. Idaho (torn ligaments) and just got out of a hard cast this week. He originally suffered ligament damage in his thumb while playing three minutes at Utah State on Dec. 1. He will be in a splint for several weeks and then undergo more therapy.
Hitting the Glass
After being out boarded for only the second time this year vs. SDSU, BYU rebounded, literally and figuratively, pulling down 39 boards to UNLV's 22. The Aztecs pulled down 44 rebounds to BYU's 28. The 28 boards was BYU's second-lowest total of the year. BYU's low was 24 at Utah State, when BYU was out boarded 35-24. The Cougars and UCSB each had 35 rebounds. BYU has had the rebounding edge in 12 of 15 games, earning a 11-1 record when winning the battle of the boards. Overall, BYU averages 36.3 rebounds while its opponents grab on average 30.9. 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 has been getting a good effort on the boards from the guard line. Shooting guard Travis Hansen leads the team (7.2) and point guard Matt Montague is third at 4.7 rebounds per game. Hansen has had highs of 17 and 15 rebounds. Montague had a team-leading eight rebounds vs. SDSU and has grabbed six or more rebounds in six of the last seven games.
BYU Fared Well in Nonconference
BYU achieved double-digit nonconference wins for the third straight season with a 10-3 mark this year. 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.
Winning Ways Have Changed
When BYU's scoring leader Mark Bigelow last played for the Cougars prior to his mission in 1998-99, the Cougars suffered several close defeats on the way to a 12-16 record. With BYU off to an 12-3 record this year, Bigelow has already helped the Cougars equal the number of victories his team achieved his freshman year. During Bigelow's mission, BYU earned back-to-back 20-plus win seasons.
Tough MWC Play Ahead
BYU's seven Mountain West opponents have combined (as of Jan. 16) to win 64 percent of their games so far this year. Including the Cougars, five of the eight teams have already won 10 or more games and four have won 11 games. Only Air Force has a losing record at 6-9. 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, 14 have winning records as of Jan 16. Five have a losing record and one is at .500. Overall, BYU's opponents have combined to win 58 percent of their games with the nonconference teams having won 54 percent and MWC teams 64 percent.
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." A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Araujo will enter BYU as a junior. He will enroll next fall.
BYU vs. Postseason Teams/Conference Champs
On this year's schedule, BYU plays seven conference champions, including Pac-10 champion Stanford, and 12 games against teams who qualified for postseason play last year. In addition to Stanford, last year's champions included Creighton of the Missouri Valley Conference, Utah State of the Big West, Cal State Northridge of the Big Sky (playing in Big West this year), Southern Utah of the Mid-Continent Conference and fellow co-champions Utah and Wyoming of the Mountain West Conference. Pepperdine and New Mexico also advanced to post-season play in the NIT tournament. So far this year, BYU is 4-1 vs. the conference title holders with Utah and Wyoming still on the schedule. BYU is 4-2 against teams that earned postseason berths last year with losses at Utah State and Pepperdine and wins over Creighton, Stanford, CS Northridge, and Southern Utah.
All BYU games will be carried live on the Cougar Sports Radio Network, originating from KSL Newsradio 1160 AM in Salt Lake City. BYU is featured six times this season in the Mountain West television package with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Regional Television (ESPN+Plus) and ABC. The Cougars play twice on ESPN and four times on ESPN+Plus. An additional 12 BYU games are part of the SportsWest Productions' package and KBYU will produce two games for taped-delay broadcast. In all 21-of-27 regular season games are slated for television broadcast. BYU also appeared on Fox Sports West 2 against Pepperdine adn Fox Sports Arizona vs. Arizona State.
BYU is currently ranked 33rd 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. 16). Below is a list of MWC teams in order of ranking. To see the latest Sagarin Rankings go to: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin.htm
Rk. Team Sched Rank vs. top 10 vs. top 30
33 BYU 71 0-0 1-0
42 Utah 61 0-0 1-1
57 San Diego State 22 0-1 0-1
70 New Mexico 226 0-1 0-2
72 Wyoming 241 0-0 0-1
94 UNLV 59 0-1 0-2
110 Colorado State 129 0-0 0-0
203 Air Force 107 0-0 0-0
According to the CollegeRPI.com rankings (Jan. 16), BYU is the second-rated MWC team with a 38 RPI. The Mountain West Conference is rated 7th among the 32 conferences (and five independents).
New Mexico 42
San Diego State 61
Colorado State 111
Air Force 210
BYU in MWC Statistics (as of Jan. 16)
Â• BYU leads all MWC teams this year in scoring margin, (+11.7), free throw shooting (.784), and three-point percentage defense (.276).
Â• The Cougars rate second three-point shooting (.402), defensive rebounds (27.27), and field goal percentage defense (.392). BYU is third in assist/turnover ratio (1.03), scoring defense (62.3), field goal percentage (.476), and rebounding defense (30.9).
Â• Matt Montague leads all MWC players in assists (7.0) and assist/turnover ratio (2.84). He is tied for seventh in steals (1.67), ninth in defensive rebounds (4.13), 13th in free throw percentage (.755) and 16th in total rebounds average (4.7).
Â• Mark Bigelow is fourth in scoring (17.3), leads in free throw percentage (.864), is fourth in three-point field goals made per game (2.40) and seventh in three-point percentage (.434).
Â• Travis Hansen ranks second in defensive rebounds average (5.87), seventh in total rebounds average (7.2), sixth in three-point percentage (.435), seventh in scoring (15.5), and 12th in free throw percentage (.763).
Â• Eric Nielsen is second in field goal percentage (.587), 10th in defensive rebounds (3.73), and 14th in total rebounding (5.1).
Â• Daniel Bobik would lead all MWC players in free throw percentage (.933) but doesn't shoot enough to qualify for the rankings (min. two made free throws per game played).
Â• Jared Jensen leads in field goal percentage (.615), is eighth in free throw percentage (.809), and is 19th in total rebounding (3.8).
BYU in National Statistics (as of Jan. 16)
Â• BYU is fourth in the nation in free throw shooting percentage (78.4 -- Tulsa, 79.9; Morehead St., 79.7, Loyola Mary., 78.9). BYU is tied for 19th in three-point field goal percentage (.402).
Â• Matt Montague is tied for fourth in assists (7.0) and Daniel Bobik is tied for 10th in free throw percentage (.933).
MATT MONTAGUE / 6-0 Â• 190 Â• senior Â• point guard
Montague provides leadership at the point having started 72 times and played in all 107 games in his fourth year. Last year he started 12 games, primarily before Trent Whiting joined the team in December. He has led the team in assists during each of his three seasons. He has reached double-digit assists three times this year. He averages a MWC-best 7.1 assists per game on the year and is fourth in assists in the lastest national statistics. 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. Montague had six boards vs. UNLV and a team-leading eight rebounds vs. SDSU. The point guard, who is third on the team in rebounding, has grabbed six or more rebounds in six of the last seven games. Montague hit a three pointer for three straight games (USF, Pepperdine, SDSU), including an NBA-length three to beat the shot clock vs. SDSU, for the first time in his career. He hit three pointers in two consecutive games twice during his freshman year. Montague has reached double figures in three games this year. He had a season-high 12 points vs. Pepperdine with 8 assists and 6 rebounds and 2 steals with only 1 turnover in 45 minutes. He had 11 points, 7 assists, 7 rebounds, 5 steals and no turnovers in 39 minutes vs. San Francisco. He made a career-best eight free throws to seal the win for BYU vs. Stanford.
TRAVIS HANSEN / 6-6 Â• 210 Â• junior Â• guard/forward
After playing a supporting role in his first season at BYU last year, Hansen is playing a more significant role and has the talent to become an all-conference player. Hansen played strong defense despite an off night offensively vs. UNLV. He had 10 points but was 2-10 from the floor. He was able to shut down Dalron Johnson when given the assighment , despite a three-inch height differential. He led BYU with 19 points in its MWC-opening win over SDSU. He went 5-10 from the floor, including 3-4 on threes. His three treys equaled his career high and his 3-4 three-point effort set a new personal best in three-point percentage. Hansen has led BYU in scoring in the last two of the last three games and five times overall this year. He has reached double-digit points in 12 of 15 games. He is BYU's second-leading scorer with a 15.5 average. He grabs a team-high 7.2 rebounds per game. Hansen had his consecutive free throws-made streak end at 23 on Saturday vs. UNLV. He is 8-16 since, however, going 5-10 from the line vs. UNLV. His free throw streak is the longest BYU streak this year. Hansen averaged a double-double in BYU's final two nonconference games (19.5 ppg and 11.5 rpg). The Cougar guard had his team-leading third double-double of the year vs. Pepperdine with career highs of 30 points and 17 rebounds. He went 10-19 from the floor and 10-10 from the line in 42 minutes. He set career highs during the game in points, defensive rebounds, total rebounds, field goals made, field goals attempted, free throws made, free throw percentage, and minutes played. Hansen is the second Cougar to score 30 points in a game this year (Mark Bigelow 31 vs. ASU). Hansen's 17 boards tops his previous high of 15 rebounds this year and is the most boards by a Cougars since Brett Applegate had 17 rebounds in December 1983. Only 20 Cougars have ever had more than 17 boards in a game. No Cougar guard has ever totaled more boards in a single game. He played a key defensive role against first-team All-American Casey Jacobsen of Stanford.
MARK BIGELOW / 6-7 Â• 190 Â• sophomore Â• guard/forward
Bigelow could be one of the top performers in the Mountain West, even though he is still struggling somewhat to regain his pre-mission conditioning and strength. 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. Bigelow made a two three-pointers Tuesday vs. UNLV to set a BYU record with 22 consecutive games with a made trey. Bigelow has made a three in all 15 games this year and the last seven of his freshman year in 1998-99. Terrell Lyday holds the single-season mark (21). Biglew has reached double figures in 14 straight games and has scored at least 13 points in each of those games. He scored a team-high 16 points vs. UNLV Tuesday. He has been BYU's most consistent scorer. He leads BYU in scoring at 17.2 ppg. He has scored 20 or more points four times, including a BYU season-high 31 vs. ASU. Since shooting 50 percent from the floor and totaling 27 and 20 points against CS Northridge and Southern Utah, Bigelow has not been getting his shots to fall as regularly in the last four games. He is 16-46 (.348) in the last four games, including 5-19(.263) on threes. He has made two or more threes in 10 games this year, including a career-equaling 5 treys vs. Southern Utah.
ERIC NIELSEN / 6-9 Â• 215 Â• senior Â• forward
A four-year starter, Nielsen is being asked to play a bigger 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 56.8 career field goal percentage (296-521) ranks second all-time at BYU (Alan Taylor, .574). 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 three seasons for coach Cleveland, helping the Cougars earn a combined 58-23 (.716) record to date, including two postseason tournament berths. He is Academic All-MWC and a Cougar Scholar Athlete. Nielsen is third on the team in scoring (10.5 ppg) and is second in rebounds (5.1 rpg). He has scored in double figures in the last four straight games (first time in his career) and eight times overall this year. He had 11 points vs. UNLV and SDSU and had 10 points at Pepperdine. He had 12 points, a game-high 8 boards, a season-high 3 assists and tied a career-best 2 blocks vs. USF. 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 and 8 boards 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). 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 is second in the MWC behind teammate Jared Jensen in field goal percentage (.587).
JARED JENSEN / 6-9 Â• 245 Â• freshman Â• center
Jensen earned the 2001 Utah Deseret News Mr. Basketball Award after scoring 25.8 points and pulling down 13 rebounds per game this past season at Fremont High School. With the loss of 2001 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Mekeli Wesley in the post, he has earned the starting center spot. Jensen rebounded from his only scoreless outing of the year against Pepperdine by scoring a career-best 17 points vs SDSU. He aded eight points and seven boards vs. UNLV. He has scored in double figures in six of the last nine games and seven times overall this year. He is averaging 10.6 ppg over the last nine games. In his first six games as a collegian, he reached double-digit points once and averaged 6.5 ppg. He is fourth on the team overall at 8.9 ppg. He is shooting a team-leading and MWC-best 61.5 percent from the floor. He had a career-high 10 attempts, scoring 10 points vs. USF. Jensen had his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds vs. CSUN, also had career-best 10 boards vs. Creighton. He had a career-best 2 steals vs. CSUN and Tuesday vs. UNLV. He had 14 points on 4-5 shooting and 6-8 from the line at UCSB while playing a career-high 32 minutes. 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
Last year Daniel Bobik averaged 3.5 points and 10.4 minutes while playing in 28 of 33 games as a freshman. He has good offensive instincts and size on the guardline. He has good range and is a crafty passer with good court awareness. He and Mark Bigelow were the first recruits to sign with BYU under Steve Cleveland. Bobik plays the sixth-man role this year. He has struggled from the floor of late. He is 6-26 (.231) in the last four games from the floor, including 3-14 (.214) from three-point range. He did not score for the first time this year vs. SDSU, but played a nice floor game vs. UNLV with seven points and two assists. He had eight points at Pepperdine in front of many of his family and friends from nearby Newbury Park. He shoots a MWC-best 93.3 percent (10th nationally) from the line and has made 22 straight free throws. He was 2-2 vs. UNLV after no attempts in the previous four 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 is fifth on the team in scoring. He had a career-best 8 rebounds vs. Creighton. 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
Jepsen redshirted last season after returning from an LDS Church mission. He had suffered a severe break of his leg on his mission. He is a key reserve in the post as a rebounder and defender who can run the floor well. 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. Jepsen tied his career high in scoring with seven points and field goals made (3), coming off the bench to give the Cougars a big lift in 19 minutes vs. SDSU. His two dunks in the first half helped give BYU momentum, taking a lead it never lost throughout the entire second half. His 3-4 shooting night was also a career-best percentage. Jepsen has appeared in all 15 games off the bench, but had not played more than five minutes in four of the five games prior to the MWC opener vs. SDSU. He played nine minutes vs. UNLV Tuesday. He played only one minute, a season low, in the final two non-league games vs. USF and Pepperdine. He played 11 minutes with three boards vs. Southern Utah. He played a season-high 22 minutes at Utah State. He had 5 points vs. Fort Lewis. His rebound high is 6 vs. Arizona State.
JESSE PINEGAR / 6-9 Â• 220 Â• redshirt freshman Â• forward
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. A 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 is a mobile, athletic player, who can play several positions and has excellent range beyond the three-point line. 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. 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.
DAN HOWARD / 7-0 Â• 225 Â• sophomore Â• center
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. 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. 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
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 extended minutes. Carlisle has played in 10 games, including the last nine straight. His time is usually limited because of his conditioning but he usually contributes when he gets on the floor. He had two points and two boards in six minutes vs. UNLV. He had a season-high four rebounds and one assist in only eight minutes vs. SDSU. He was BYU's second-leading rebounder in the game. He has played double-digit minutes twice, including 13 vs. USF, scoring 2 points and grabbing 3 boards and blocking 2 shots. He also had his first assist of the 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 and has scored in six games. He scored a season-high 6 points in seven minutes vs. Fort Lewis.
JIMMY BALDERSON / 6-6 Â• 200 Â• freshman Â• guard
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 12 games, but appeared only briefly in his last three outings. He hit the game-tying three-pointer from the left corner to force overtime at Pepperdine in his only minute of action. He has reached double figures twice, scoring 11 points in 13 minutes vs. Southern Utah 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.
TERRY NASHIF / 5-10 Â• 165 Â• freshman Â• guard
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. Nashif could see more playing time with the loss of Shawn Opunui. He played breifly vs. UNLV and for few seconds only at Pepperdine while Montague hadto be attended to momentarily by the training staff. 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.
SHAWN OPUNUI / 5-11 Â• 170 Â• freshman Â• point guard
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. Opunui will be out for at least another month 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 got his hard cast taken off this week and will be in a removable splint for two or three more 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.
BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND (79-60 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.