BYU (12-5, 2-2 MWC) plays its third straight Mountain West Conference road game when it faces league-leading Utah (14-3, 4-0) at the Huntsman Center Monday in a 10 p.m. ESPN contest.
The Cougars return home looking to extend their 30-game home winning streak against Wyoming on Saturday, Feb. 2, in the Marriott Center in a 1 p.m. ESPN+Plus game. BYU will then host Colorado State Monday in an 8:30 p.m. start.
BYU on ESPN
BYU has won its last four games on ESPN. BYU last played on ESPN on Dec. 22 at the Las Vegas Showdown, defeating then No. 13 Stanford, 81-76. Last year, BYU went 3-0 on ESPN, including two home wins over Utah and UNLV before defeating New Mexico, 69-65, in the Mountain West Conference Championship title game in Las Vegas to earn the MWC automatic berth to the 2001 NCAA tournament. MWC Player of the Year Mekeli Wesley went 11-12 from the floor on his way to 30 points. BYU's last loss on ESPN was at Notre Dame in the quarterfinals of the 2000 NIT.
BYU Game 18 Facts
BYU (12-5, 2-2) at Utah (14-3, 4-0)
Monday, Jan. 28, 2002
Jon M. Huntsman Center [15,000]
Salt Lake City
10:05 p.m. MT
BYU, Steve Cleveland (79-62 in fifth year; same overall)
Utah, Rick Majerus (275-76 in 13th year; 376-128 in 18th year overall)
Series: Tied, 115-115
Air Time: 10 p.m. MT
Play-by-Play: Bob Carpenter
Game Analyst: Jimmy Dykes
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time - 9 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. 16.5 2.9
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 10.0 4.7
C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. 9.9 3.9
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 14.5 6.8
G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 6.2 7.1 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 205 So. 8.2 2.8
G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. 4.6 1.7
C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 260 So. 1.9 2.2
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. 1.0 1.7
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 0.7 1.1
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 0.4 0.7 apg
F 4 Jesse Pinegar 6-9 225 Fr. 0.4 0.6
The Runnin' Utes are 14-3 overall and 4-0 in Mountain West Conference play. In its first league road trip of the season, Utah defeated Air Force 63-57 in overtime before blowing out New Mexico in The Pit, 81-51. Junior 6-9 forward Britton Johnsen hit 9 of 12 shots and scored 25 points in Utah's win at New Mexico. Phil Cullen added 15 points, going 5-for-6 on 3-pointers. The Utes hit 12 of 18 three-pointers on the night. An 18-2 run gave Utah a 32-20 lead with 4:15 left in the first half. After missing 11 of their first 12 shots, the Utes hit 12 of their last 16 in the first half. Utah turned it into a rout midway through the second half as Johnsen scored six straight points for a 56-37 lead. New Mexico helped assure the loss by missing 13 of 25 free throws. With every missed free throw and every Utah layup, The Pit crowd of 17,380 unleashed a crescendo of boos on the Lobos, who on Saturday had their best game of the season in a 73-58 win over BYU. The loss was the worst for New Mexico at home since an 86-50 loss to Utah in the Western Athletic Conference tournament in 1995.
The Utes are 4-1 on opponents' courts this season. After starting out 3-3, Utah has won 11 in a row. Utah's current win streak is its longest since winning a school-record 23 games during the 1998-99 season. The Runnin' Utes opened Mountain West play in Salt Lake City by defeating UNLV 86-63 and San Diego State 76-70. Sophomore 6-4 guard Nick Jacobson leads the Runnin' Utes in scoring (15.3 ppg), shooting 52.5 percent (52-of-99) from three-point range to rank 24 in the nation. Jacobson averaged 22.0 points and 2.5 rebounds to win his first MWC Player of the Week honor. The Ute guard shot 65 percent from the field (15-of-23), 69 percent from 3-point range (11-of-16) and 75 percent free throw line (3-of-4) in wins over San Diego State and Air Force to receive the award. With Chris Burgess out with an injury, Britton Johnsen is second in scoring on the year (11.6 ppg) and first in rebounding (5.5 rpg). Senior 6-1 guard Travis Spivey leads the team in assists (4.6 apg). Senior 6-4 guard/forward Jeff Johnsen is third among current scorers (9.3 ppg), second in assists (3.1 apg) and first in steals (1.6 spg). Junior 6-5 guard/forward Trace Caton has hit 18-33 threes (.545) to rank 10th nationally in three-point percentage. Utah is the nation's top three-point shooting team (44.8), ranks 10th in the NCAA in scoring defense (59.8 ppg), and tied for 23rd in threes made per game (8.3).
UTAH'S PROBABLE STARTERS
No. Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. PPG RPG
35 F Jeff Johnsen 6-4 204 Sr. 9.3 3.3
31 F Britton Johnsen 6-9 213 Jr. 11.6 5.5
13 C Cameron Koford 6-11 230 Jr. 3.0 2.2
11 G Travis Spivey 6-1 212 Sr. 5.6 3.6
15 G Nick Jacobson 6-4 198 So. 15.3 2.1
Incredibly, in a series that began in 1909 and has seen 230 meetings, BYU and Utah are deadlocked at 115-115 in the overall series. BYU has won two of the last three after ending a Utah 12-game winning streak, its longest in the series. Utah won the last outing between the two teams, an 82-75 win in Salt Lake City. The Utes have won seven straight at home against the Cougars and hold a 67-45 overall advantage in Salt Lake City. BYU's last win at Utah was a 64-62 victory on Jan. 8, 1994. That win started a four-game BYU winning streak that preceded Utah's 12-game streak. BYU won in Provo last year, 69-61, in a game broadcast nationally on ESPN. That win ended a string of five straight Utah wins in Provo. The year before in 2000, Utah swept the regular season series to take its first lead in the overall series since it began in 1909. The Cougars then defeating Utah in the 2000 MWC tournament semifinals in Las Vegas to end Utah's 12-game series victory streak. Utah is the opponent BYU has played the most in its history (230 games) and is the second longest running series (Utah State series began in 1905 and includes 218 games). BYU won the inaugural game, 32-9 in Provo, on Jan. 23, 1909, and won again on March 5 of that year, 40-27, in SLC.
Overall Series Record: 115-115
BYU Record in Provo: 64-46
BYU Record in Salt Lake: 45-67
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 6-2
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 2-8
Longest BYU Win Streak: 8 (1909-12)
Longest Utah Win Streak: 12 (1995-2000)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 31 two times (1965, 94)
Largest Utah Margin of Victory: 36 (1997)
Most Points Scored by BYU: 115 (1966)
Most Points Scored by Utah: 106 two times (1962, 1963)
Total overtime games: 10 (Utah leads, 6-4)
Double overtime games: 1 (BYU 115-113 in 1984)
Triple overtime games: 2 (both Utah wins, 1983 and 1985).
Last overtime game: March 9, 1991 (BYU 51, Utah 49)
Overtimes in SLC: 2 (the first two in the series in 1913 (Utah win), 1927 (BYU win)
LAST YEAR VS. UTAH
Cougars Defeated Rival Utes in Provo on ESPN
PROVO -- In a highly anticipated matchup against his former team, senior guard Trent Whiting scored 21 points to lead BYU to a 69-61 victory over arch rival Utah in front of 19,000 fans and a national television audience. The win, which moved the Cougars back into the lead of the all-time series with the Utes, marked the first Utah defeat at the Marriott Center in six years. BYU now leads the series with Utah 115-114, dating back to 1909. More importantly, however, the Cougars improved their overall record to 14-6 on the season, and their 3-2 conference mark moves them into a tie for second place. The Utes got on the board first, opening the game with a short jumper by Nate Althoff and a three-pointer by Nick Jacobson to take a 5-0 lead. But just over five minutes in, a jumper from Mekeli Wesley gave BYU an 8-7 advantage, and the Cougars would only relinquish the lead once the rest of the game. Two free throws from Mike Puzey near the close of the first half brought Utah to within two at the break. But BYU opened the lead up in the second half with solid defense and sharp shooting from three point range. "The difference in the ball game was the second half," said BYU coach Steve Cleveland. "We played with much more aggression, especially at the defensive end." While the Cougars picked up their defensive intensity and rebounding in the second period, the offense started heating up as well. BYU went on a 9-0 run midway through the half, which included back-to-back three pointers and a 15-foot jumper from Wesley, to extend the lead to 49-34 with 11:20 to play. With a traditional three-point play, Whiting capped off an 8-0 run minutes later to give BYU its largest lead of the game at 60-21. The Utes fought back, pulling to within eight with under a minute to play. But the Cougars sealed the victory at the free throw line, hitting 7-of-8 down the stretch. BYU shot 46 percent from the field and 52 percent from three-point range for the game, including 5-of-8 on threes in the second half. The Cougars held Utah to just 39 percent from the floor, marking the sixth straight game BYU has held an opponent under 40 percent shooting in the Marriott Center. Wesley finished the night with 16 points, including a career-high four three-pointers. Whiting shot 5-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Terrell Lyday also scored in double figures, finishing with 14 points for the Cougars. Nick Jacobson led the Utes with 11 points, and Jeff Johnson, the only other Ute in double figures, added 10 points.
Hot-Shooting Utes Downed Cougars in Salt Lake City
SALT LAKE CITY -- After watching his teammates shoot nearly 62 percent from the floor in the first half, freshman guard Nick Jacobson caught fire in the second half as Utah notched an 82-75 win over BYU Saturday at the Huntsman Center. With the win, Utah (18-9, 9-3) knotted up the all-time series with BYU (19-8, 8-4) at 115-115. More importantly though, the Utes took sole possession of first place in the Mountain West Conference standings. In his first trip back to Utah, senior guard Trent Whiting started out hot for BYU, putting the Cougars on the board first with a three-pointer just 14 seconds into the game. Another Whiting three put BYU up 8-2 just over three minutes into the contest. But as Utah's shooters began to heat up, the Utes fought back and tied the game at 13-13 on a Kevin Bradley three-pointer with 13:40 to play in the first half. Utah proceeded to go on a 9-3 run, including seven points from sophomore forward Britton Johnsen, to take a 22-16 lead halfway through the first period. The Utes also began to pound the ball down low to junior center Chris Burgess, trying to take advantage of two early fouls on BYU senior big man Mekeli Wesley. Burgess, who missed the last matchup with the Cougars in Provo due to a fractured ankle, had six points in a two-and-a-half minute span as Utah pushed its lead up to nine points. Another Bradley three gave the Utes a 12-point advantage, 36-24, with 5:01 to go in the half. Bradley, the only player on the Utah roster to average in double figures, matched his season average with 11 points in the first half alone. A late 10-2 run from the Cougars cut the lead to just four, but Trace Caton hit a three with 9 seconds left to give Utah a 41-34 advantage at the break. Despite not taking a single shot in the first half, it was Jacobson who had the hot hand in the second period. Two threes and two jumpers by Jacobson in a five-minute span kept the Utes at a comfortable 10-point advantage. Jacobson finished with 13 points on 4-5 shooting, including three-of-three from beyond the arc. But the biggest shot of the night for the freshman came with just under five minutes to play in the game. Two free throws by Whiting had brought BYU to within four points, 60-56, with 5:30 to go. On the ensuing Utah possession, just when the Cougars appeared to have made a defensive stop, Jacobson launched an NBA-range bomb that dropped as the shot clock was winding down. BYU would get no closer than seven points the rest of the way, and Utah converted 13-of-16 shots from the free throw line in the final 1:27 to secure the victory and the top spot in the conference. Utah shot 57 percent for the game, the highest for a BYU opponent this season. They also made eight three-pointers, another opponent high. Bradley led four Ute scorers in double figures with 16 points, as Johnsen and Burgess finished with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Whiting led all scorers with 22 points, while junior forward Eric Nielsen scored a season-high 16 points on 6-6 shooting, including one three-point basket. Nielsen's career-high of 17 points came against Utah last year in the MWC tournament. Terrell Lyday also added 14 for BYU.
Utah Quick Facts:
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Nickname: Runnin' Utes
Colors: Crimson and White
Home Arena: Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000)
Conference: Mountain West
Athletic Director: Chris Hill
Head Coach: Rick Majerus
Alma Mater: Marquette (1970)
Best time to call: Late Mornings
Office Phone: (801) 581-5451
Overall Record (Years): 376-128 (18th year)
Record at School (Years): 275-76 (13th year)
Assistant Coaches: Dick Hunsaker, Jeff Strohm, Kerry Rupp
Overall Record: 19-12
Conf. Record/Finish: 10-4/T1st
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: NIT First Round
Letterman Returning/Lost: 9/3
Starters Returning/Lost: 5/0
Returning Starters (last year's stats)
Chris Burgess, 6-10, 240, Sr., C/F (7.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg)
Phil Cullen, 6-9, 221, Sr., F/C (9.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
Nick Jacobson, 6-4, 198, So., G/F (7.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg)
Britton Johnsen, 6-9, 213, Jr., F (9.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg)
Travis Spivey, 6-1, 212, Sr., G (5.2 ppg, 3.5 apg)
Basketball Contact: Mike Lageschulte
Office: (801) 587-9162
Home: (801) 582-1781
Fax: (801) 581-4358
Press Row: (801) 581-6657
Athletics Web Site
LAST OUTING - Cougars 3-Point Bombed by Air Force in 74-64 Loss
A sluggish BYU men's basketball team was blindsided Monday by a hungry Air Force team in a 74-64 loss at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The Falcons began the game with a full-court press and bombarded the Cougars with 13 three-pointers on their way to their first conference win of the season. "Why we would come out and play with this kind of energy, I'm not sure," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "Not only was there a lack of defensive intensity, but there was also a lack of defensive court sense and awareness." Air Force (7-10, 1-3) put BYU on its heels early with its fast and furious long-range shooting, dropping seven three-pointers on the Cougars in the first half alone. Tim Keller came off the bench to burn Brigham Young with 5-of-5 three-point shooting in the first half. "It was like a clinic for them," Cleveland said. "Once they got their confidence, then they could make their threes even when they were contested." BYU (12-5, 2-2) actually shot better percentages in all shooting categories in the first half, going 10-15 from the floor and 3-5 from beyond the three-point arc. But the Falcons shot nearly twice as much as the Cougars. The Falcons went 16-29 from the field, including 9-16 three-point shooting in the first half. At the start of the second half, the Cougars turned to Jared Jensen who continues to be the answer for BYU in conference play. Jensen scored seven of BYU's first nine points as BYU rallied back early in the second half. For the game, Jensen notched game highs in scoring with 20 points and seven rebounds. The freshman center's 20 points is a career high. BYU freshman guard Jimmy Balderson also made an impact, scoring 14 points and grabbing 6 rebounds off the bench for the Cougars. His 14 points is the most he has scored against a division one opponent. Balderson recorded career highs in three-pointers made and attempted with 2-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. "I thought Jimmy Balderson came off the bench and earned the right to play, and that's what he did," said Cleveland. "He gave us a huge lift." But their efforts would not be enough to stop the scrappy Falcons -- a team that lost its last two games to Utah in overtime and to New Mexico by three points. "We'd already given them all their confidence in the first half. They were hungry. They found a way to win tonight and we did not," Cleveland said. "We didn't have the energy until the last eight or nine minutes."
AFA GAME NOTES
Two true freshmen scored more than half of BYU's points at Air Force. Center Jared Jensen had a career-high 20 points while reserve guard Jimmy Balderson added 14 points in a season-high 23 minutes.
Mark Bigelow showed signs of a return to his early season form. Bigelow was more aggressive in his shooting and he asked for the ball more than he has, Cleveland said. Bigelow finished the night with 16 points on 3-of-9 from the arc and 5-13 overall.
BYU kept pace with its fourth-ranked standing nationwide in free throw shooting. The
Cougars as a team made 19-of-23 (82.6%) shots from the stripe.
The Cougars were out rebounded for only the fourth time this season, 27-23, but it is the third time in the last four games that BYU's opponent has grabbed more boards.
BYU's guards continued to struggle. Travis Hansen fouled out of the game with five points on 2-of-7 shooting, bringing his shooting total in the last six games to 25-66 (.379). In his first career start, sixth man Daniel Bobik took and made only one shot, bringing his six-game total to 11-33 (.333).
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).
Bigelow Sets Three-Point Mark
Against UNLV, Mark Bigelow connected from behind the arc for the 22nd straight game dating back to his freshman season, a new BYU record. His streak ended with three misses at New Mexico. 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 also achieved the third-longest single season mark at 15 games. BYU assistant coach Andy Toolson is second on the single-season list. 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 38 of the 43 games he has played.
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.
Cougars After Four/Five Games in Conference Play
BYU is 2-2 after four games entering Monday's game with Utah. The Cougars also opened 2-2 in 1998 and 2001 and was 3-1 in 1999 and 2000. BYU has been 3-2 after five games the last three years. The last time BYU was 2-3 after five games in league play was in Cleveland's first season in 1998.
Cleveland in Conference Games Overall
With the two losses at New Mexico and at Air Force, Cleveland's conference record dropped to 29-31 after he had reached a .500 mark with the UNLV win. It was the first time since a 2-2 mark early in his first season that Cleveland has been .500 in conference play. Overall, he has reached .500 overall three times (1-1, 2-2, 29-29) and has had a winning mark twice (1-0, 2-1). Cleveland has a 19-13 (.594) MWC record.
BYU is shooting 49.2 percent in its 12 victories and 43.2 percent in its four losses. The Cougars are shooting .499 at home and .439 on the road. BYU has shot at least 45 percent in 12 games this year. BYU has shot 50 percent or better three times this year and is making 47.3 percent from the floor overall.
From Three-Point Range
BYU is shooting 38.7 percent on threes. BYU was 5-16 at Air Force and only 3-13 at UNM. BYU has not made more than five threes in a game in the last six contests since equaling its season high of 11 threes vs. Southern Utah. BYU made eight three pointers in the first half (season best) against SUU. 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. Mark Bigelow has made a team-high 39 threes (.411) and made a three in 16 of 17 games this year (including a BYU-record 22 straight games dating back to his freshman season). Daniel Bobik (.389) has made 21 treys while Travis Hansen (.408) has made 20.
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 15 of 17 games and Hansen has been double-digits in 12 of 17 games. Both failed to reach double digits in the same game for the first time at UNM. Hansen has not reached double digits in the last two games after a season-low five points at Air Force. Bigelow scores 16.5 ppg and Hansen 14.5 ppg on the year.
Other Scoring Options
The Cougars have four starters scoring near double figure points. After leaders Mark Bigelow (16.5) and Travis Hansen (14.5), senior Eric Nielsen averages 10.0 ppg and has scored a career-high 29 points vs. Stanford. Freshman center Jared Jensen is averaging 9.9 ppg and had a career-high 20 points at Air Force. In addition, reserve guard Daniel Bobik is adding 8.2 ppg off the bench and has twice scored highs of 17 points. Freshman guard Jimmy Balderson has reached double figures three times 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 78.0 percent from the line for the year. Last year, BYU led the nation at 78 percent from the line. This year the Cougars are fourth in the latest NCAA rankings. BYU suffered its worst shooting night from the line at UNM, making only 7-12 free throws (.583). BYU shot 82.6 percent in its last game at Air Force.
Perimeter Struggles of Late
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 six games Hansen is shooting 25-66 (.379), Bigelow is 23-66 (.348) and Bobik is 11-33 (.333). In the first 11 games this year, Hansen shot 46.0 percent, Bigelow 46.9 percent, and Bobik 45.2 percent. Overall, Hansen is shooting .430, Bigelow .429, and Bobik .415.
Post Scoring Stepping Up
While BYU's perimeter has had its shooting woes over the last six games, BYU's post players have stepped up their scoring as senior forward Eric Nielsen has scored in double figures in five of the last six games (sick and did not start at Air Force with three points) and freshman center Jared Jensen in four of the six games. Jensen had a career-high 20 points at Air Force after scoring a team-high 15 points at New Mexico. Sophomore forward Bart Jepsen added a career-best seven points vs. SDSU. Nielsen is 22-41 (.537) over the six-game stretch while Jensen is 24-44 (.545) in those games. Jensen made a career-high six field goals and went 6-7 from the floor vs. the Lobos and was 6-10, matching his personal high in attempts, at Air Force. Nielsen's five-game double-digit scoring steak was the longest of his career.
Depth is an Issue
Picked to finish sixth in the conference with four starters and five seniors graduating, BYU coach Steve Cleveland will need to not only get strong play from his starters but also some timely help from the bench for the Cougars to succeed in their goal to repeat as MWC champions. Lacking depth, six players play the majority of the minutes. Only Daniel Bobik averages double-digit minutes off the bench. Four starters, Matt Montague, Eric Nielsen, Mark Bigelow and Travis Hansen average more than 30 minutes a game, with Montague playing a team-high 37.2 minutes per outing. Players who could make a difference off the bench include Bart Jepsen and Jon Carlisle in the post and Jimmy Balderson on the perimeter. With Shawn Opunui injured, BYU suits up 12 players.
BYU has lost its last two games and has dropped five straight road games since opening the season with a win at the University of San Diego (not including the Stanford win on a neutral court). BYU's road losses include Utah State (OT), UCSB, Pepperdine (OT), UNM and AFA. BYU has had two losing streaks this year of two games. BYU has never lost three straight MWC games. BYU has not lost three straight since February 1999 with losses at Fresno State, San Jose State (OT) and in Provo vs. New Mexico. Including this year, the Cougars have had eight two-game losing streaks since losing the three straight in 1999. 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.
Free Throw Streak
Daniel Bobik has made 24 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 38 straight wins at home (Detriot not at home again until Jan. 31. 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.
Hitting the Glass
BYU has been out boarded in three of four MWC games, even though the Cougars have only been out rebounded four times overall this year. BYU's low on the glass 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 17 games, earning a 11-1 record when winning the battle of the boards. Overall, BYU averages 35.1 rebounds while its opponents grab on average 30.8. 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 (6.8) and point guard Matt Montague is third at 4.6, one total rebound behind Eric Nielsen at 4.7 rpg. 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 seven of the last nine games, including a team-high six boards at UNM.
After holding San Diego State to 37 percent shooting and UNLV to 39 percent at home to open MWC play, BYU yielded 53.6 percent shooting to the Lobos at The Pit and 54.3 percent to Air Force -- the two highest highest percentages allowed by BYU this year. Only three teams have shot better than 50 percent against BYU. The Cougars have held nine opponents this year below 40 percent shooting while only four teams have shot better than 45 percent against BYU (Arizona State, .462; Utah State, .509 and New Mexico, .536; AFA, .543).
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. Unlike many schools, BYU's announced attendance is actual attendance instead of paid attendance.
From the Training Room
Eric Nielsen did not start at Air Force because of being ill. 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.
BYU Starting Lineup Record
Montague, Hanen, Bigelow, Nielsen, Jensen 11-4
Montague, Hanen, Bigelow, Nielsen, Howard 1-0
Montague, Bobik, Hansen, Bigelow, Jensen 0-1
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 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. 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.
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 12-5 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 Conference
BYU's seven Mountain West opponents have combined (as of Jan. 23) to win 63 percent of their games so far this year. Including the Cougars, five of the eight teams have already won 11 or more games and four have won at least 12 games. The two losing records belong to Air Force at 7-10 and Colorado State at 8-9. 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 23. Six teams have a losing record. Overall, BYU's opponents have combined to win nearly 60 percent of their games with the nonconference teams having won 57 percent and MWC teams 63 percent.
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 4-3 against teams that earned postseason berths last year with losses at Utah State, Pepperdine and New Mexico and wins over Creighton, Stanford, CS Northridge, and Southern Utah.
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.
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 51st and is the second-rated team in the Mountain West Conference behind Utah (31) in the Sagarin ratings. The MWC is ranked 7th in the latest ratings (Jan. 23). 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
31 Utah 49
51 BYU 46
57 Wyoming 215
65 San Diego State 30
73 New Mexico 205
89 UNLV 59
122 Colorado State 93
189 Air Force 99
According to the CollegeRPI.com rankings (Jan. 23), BYU is the third-rated MWC team with a 46 RPI. The Mountain West Conference is rated 7th among the 32 conferences (and five independents).
New Mexico 35
San Diego State 61
Colorado State 147
Air Force 165
BYU in MWC Statistics (as of Jan. 23)
Category All Games Conf. Only
Scoring Offense 5th 5th
Scoring Defense 3rd 4th
Scoring Margin 3rd 3rd
FT Percentage 1st 2nd
FG Percentage 4th 5th
FG % Defense T-2nd 3rd
3-FG Percentage 2nd 6th
3-FG % Defense 2nd 3rd
Rebound Offense 5th 5th
Rebounding Defense 3rd 4th
Rebound Margin 5th 5th
Blocked Shots 7th 4th
Assists 6th T-7th
Steals 8th T-7th
Turnover Margin 7th 5th
Assist/Turnover Ratio T-3rd 5th
Offensive Rebounds 7th 5th
Defensive Rebounds 2nd 6th
3-FG Made 4th 6th
Individual (overall games)
Â• Matt Montague leads the MWC in assists and assist/turnover ratio. He is tied for eighth in steals, eighth in defensive rebounds and 16th in total rebound average.
Â• Mark Bigelow fifth in scoring, third in free throw percentage, and fifth in three-pointers made per game, ninth in three-point percentage
Â• Travis Hansenis is 10th in scoring, seventh in rebounding average, fourth in defensive rebounds, 10th in free throw percentage.
Â• Eric Nielsen is fourth in field goal percentage, 11th in defensive rebounds, 15th in rebounds.
Â• Daniel Bobik would lead all MWC players in free throw percentage (.938) but doesn't shoot enough to qualify for the rankings (min. two made free throws per game played).
Â• Jared Jensen leads the MWC in field goal percentage and is 8th in free throw percentage.
BYU in National Statistics (as of Jan. 23)
Â• BYU is fourth in the nation in free throw shooting percentage at .780. (1. Morehead St., 79.7, 2. Loyola Mary., 78.6, 3. Tulsa, 78.4).
Â• Matt Montague is tied for 4th in assists (7.1), Daniel Bobik is 8th in free throw percentage (.938), and Jared Jensen is 11th in field goal percentage (.632).
BYU PLAYER NOTES
MATT MONTAGUE / 6-0 Â• 190 Â• senior Â• point guard
Â• Montague provides leadership at the point having started 74 times and played in all 109 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 previous seasons.
Â• He has reached double-digit assists four times this year. He averages a MWC-best 7.1 assists per game on the year and is tied for fourth in assists in the 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.
Â• Montague has reached double figures points in three games this year. He had a season-high 12 points vs. Pepperdine.
Â• He made a career-best eight free throws to seal the win for BYU vs. Stanford.
Â• Since grabbing a season-high seven rebounds vs. Stanford, Montague has had two other seven rebound games and has collected six or more rebounds in seven of the last nine games. At 6-foot, he is third on the team in rebounding.
TRAVIS HANSEN / 6-6 Â• 210 Â• junior Â• guard/forward
Â• 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.
Â• Hansen is coming off a season-low 5 points at Air Force but has led BYU in scoring in five times overall this year.
Â• He has reached double-digit points in 12 of 17 games. He is BYU's second-leading scorer with a 14.5 average. He grabs a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game.
Â• Hansen had his consecutive free throws-made streak end at 23 on vs. UNLV. His free throw streak is the second-longest BYU streak this year. Daniel Bobik has made 24 straight from the line.
Â• He 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.
Â• He played a key defensive role against first-team All-American Casey Jacobsen of Stanford. He is usually given the assignment to guard the opposition's best perimeter player.
MARK BIGELOW / 6-7 Â• 190 Â• sophomore Â• guard/forward
Â• Bigelow 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 is still working to regain his pre-mission conditioning and strength.
Â• Bigelow made two three-pointers vs. UNLV to set a BYU record with 22 consecutive games with a made trey. Bigelow made a three in the first 15 games this year and the last seven of his freshman year in 1998-99. Terrell Lyday holds the single-season mark (21 games in 1999-2000 season).
Â• Bigelow reached double figures in 14 straight games before his season-low four points at UNM. He has been BYU's most consistent scorer. He leads BYU in scoring at 16.5 ppg and has scored at least 13 points in 15 of 17 games. He has scored 20 or more points four times, including a BYU season-high 31 vs. ASU.
Â• 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 six games. He is 23-66 (.348) in the last five games, including 8-31(.258) on threes. He has made two or more threes in 11 games this year, including a career-equaling 5 treys vs. Southern Utah. He had three treys at Air Force.
ERIC NIELSEN / 6-9 Â• 215 Â• senior Â• forward
Â• 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 56.4 career field goal percentage (300-532) ranks third all-time at BYU (No. 1 Alan Taylor, .574; No. 2 Gary Trost, .566). Nielsen and teammate Matt Montague were all freshmen members of the 1996-97 BYU team that finished 1-25. Since returning from his mission, Nielsen has played three seasons for coach Cleveland, helping the Cougars earn a combined 58-25 (.699) record to date, including two postseason tournament berths. He is Academic All-MWC and a Cougar Scholar Athlete.
Â• He was sick and did not start for the first time this year at Air Force, playing 20 minutes with three free throws.
Â• Nielsen is third on the team in scoring (10.0 ppg) and is second in rebounds (4.7 rpg). He has scored in double figures in five of the last six games and in his last five straight starts. He has reached double digits nine times overall this year.
Â• 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.
Â• 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 7.1 shots per game. He is second behind Jared Jensen in field goal percentage (.567).
JARED JENSEN / 6-9 Â• 245 Â• freshman Â• center
Â• 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.
Â• Jensen scored a career-high 20 points at Air Force after scoring a team-high 15 points at UNM. He is 12-17 from the floor in the last two games, going 6-10 at AFA and 6-7 at UNM. His six field goals in a game is a personal best.
Â• He has scored in double figures in eight of the last 11 games and nine times overall this year. He has really come on after reaching double-digit points once in his first six games while averaged 6.5 ppg.
Â• He is fourth on the team overall at 9.9 ppg. In MWC games, he scores a team-leading 15.0 ppg.
Â• He is shooting a team-leading and MWC-best 63.2 percent from the floor, which ranks 11th nationally. He had a career-high 10 at AFA and vs. USF.
Â• Jensen had his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds vs. CSUN. He had a career-best 10 boards vs. Creighton.
DANIEL BOBIK / 6-6 Â• 205 Â• sophomoreÂ• guard
Â• Last year Daniel Bobik averaged 3.5 points and 10.4 minutes while playing in 28 of 33 games as a freshman. Bobik plays the sixth-man role this year.
Â• With Eric Nielsen sick, he made his first career start at Air Force, playing 21 minutes with two points.
Â• At UNM, he went 4-6 from the floor, a career-best .667 percentage, with 11 points. He scored on back-to-back ally-oop layins.
Â• He had eight points at Pepperdine in front of many of his family and friends from nearby Newbury Park.
Â• He shoots a MWC-best 93.8 percent (8th nationally) from the line and has made 24 straight free throws. The all-time BYU record is 32, set by Michael Smith. Bobik hasn't missed a free throw since the Arizona State game. He set career bests with in free throws made, attempted and percentage going 8-8 vs. Cal State Northridge.
Â• Bobik has scored in double digits in six games, last reaching 10 or more points with 11 at New Mexico. He reached double digits in three straight games with a career-high 17 against Idaho, 10 against Stanford and 17 again vs. CS Northridge.
Â• 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
Â• Jepsen redshirted last season after returning from an LDS Church mission. He is 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.
Â• After playing double-digit minutes in five of first seven games, he has only played 10 or more minutes in two of the last 10 games. He played a combined three minutes in the last two games. His season high is 22 minutes at Utah State.
Â• 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.
Â• Jepsen has appeared in all 17 games off the bench. His rebound high is 6 vs. Arizona State.
JESSE PINEGAR / 6-9 Â• 220 Â• redshirt freshman Â• forward
Â• 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.
Â• 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.
Â• 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 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 but is not in condition to compete at this point.
DAN HOWARD / 7-0 Â• 225 Â• sophomore Â• center
Â• Howard has appeared in 10 games overall, playing 5.2 minutes per game. He has not appeared in the last five games.
Â• He started the season-opener at USD, the first start of his career. He played seven minutes, with one rebound.
Â• He played 2 minutes vs. Stanford with one rebound.
Â• 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 a season-high 12 minutes at San Francisco. He is a career 10-15 from the floor in his two seasons, including 2-4 this year.
Â• 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.
JON CARLISLE / 6-10 Â• 260 Â• sophomore Â• center
Â•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.
Â•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. He still gets fatigued easily and will likely not be able to play long spurts this season, but has been a spark in the post at times, giving the Cougars a solid effort during his limited time.
Â• Carlisle has played in 12 games, including the last 11 straight. His time is usually limited because of his conditioning but he usually contributes when he gets on the floor.
Â• He had four points and season-high four boards in 13 minutes at UNM. He had a season-high four rebounds and one assist in only eight minutes vs. SDSU. He was BYU's second-leading rebounder vs. SDSU.
Â• He has played double-digit minutes three time. 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.
Â• He has grabbed a rebound in every game he has played except at Air Force and has scored in eight of his 12 games.
Â• He scored a season-high 6 points in seven minutes vs. Fort Lewis.
JIMMY BALDERSON / 6-6 Â• 200 Â• freshman Â• guard
Â• 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.
Â• Balderson has played in 14 games. After four straight 1-2 minute appearances, he played seven minutes at UNM and a season-high 23 minutes at Air Force in BYU's last two games.
Â• He scored 14 points at Air Force, his highest total vs. a Division I team. He has reached double figures three times. He scored 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.
Â• He hit the game-tying three-pointer from the left corner to force overtime at Pepperdine in his only minute of action.
Â• He has been able to score when he has gotten the playing time. He has played double-digit minutes in five games, averaging 10.6 points in 16.2 minutes in those games.
TERRY NASHIF / 5-10 Â• 165 Â• freshman Â• guard
Â• 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.
Â• Nashif is the backup point guard since the loss of Shawn Opunui to injury. He has played in 12 games, including 8 of 9 games since Opunui's last game played.
Â• With starter Matt Montague playing nearly the entire game, Nashif has usually only seen very limited action.
Â• He equalled his season high playing 10 minutes vs. Southern Utah, recording a high of 3 rebounds. He played 10 minutes against Fort Lewis, and had 2 points and 3 assists.
Â• He played five minutes vs. CSUN and recorded a career-high 3 points, going 3-6 from the line.
SHAWN OPUNUI / 5-11 Â• 170 Â• freshman Â• point guard
Â• 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 last week and will be in a removable splint for two or three more weeks.
Â• He has played in four games.
Â• 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. He had six assists in the first half in only seven minutes.
Â• 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 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. He loves pushing the ball up the floor as a true point guard with great court vision.
BYU COACH STEVE CLEVELAND (79-62 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.