After completing the first half of Mountain West Conference play with a 4-3 record, BYU (14-6, 4-3 MWC) travels to Las Vegas to start the second half of league action at UNLV (11-8, 3-4) in a 7:30 p.m. PT (8:30 MT) contest. SportsWest will televise the game, which will be aired live in Salt Lake City on KUWB-30. BYU is coming off two home wins but has lost its last six straight road games. UNLV had a three-game win steak come to an end Tuesday with an overtime loss at New Mexico. BYU won the first meeting with the Rebels in Provo. 60-47.
The Cougars stay on the road to face San Diego State Monday at 7:30 p.m. PT (8:30 MT). The game is a SportsWest telecast that will be taped-delay broadcast on KUWB-30 in Salt Lake City due to Olympic coverage on KSL, channel 5.
Game Time Reminder
BYU's game with UNLV will be tip at 7:35 p.m. PT and be televised live by SportsWest Productions on WB 30 in Utah. The game was originally schedule to air on ABC at 12:30 p.m. PT but was rescheduled after ABC's commitment to the NFL Pro Bowl was moved to the same date after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
GAME FACTS (BYU Game 21)
BYU (14-6, 4-3) at UNLV (11-8, 3-4)
Saturday, Feb. 9, 2002
Thomas & Mack Center [18,500]
Las Vegas, Nevada
7:37 p.m. PT / 8:37 p.m. MT
BYU, Steve Cleveland (81-63 in fifth year; same overall)
UNLV, Charlie Spoonhour (11-8 in first year; 330-178 in 17th year overall)
Series: Tied, 6-6
SportsWest Productions (KUWB-30 in SLC)
Air Time: 7:30 p.m. PT / 8:30 p.m. MT
Play-by-Play: Dave McCann
Game Analyst: Blaine Fowler
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time -6:30 p.m. PT / 7:30 p.m. MT
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Mark Durrant
Web: Live audio on KSL.com
BYU's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 3 Mark Bigelow 6-7 190 So. 16.2 3.0
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 10.0 4.7
C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. 9.3 3.7
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 15.2 7.1
G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 6.5 7.6 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 205 So. 7.8 2.7
G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. 4.4 1.6
C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 250 So. 2.1 1.9
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. 1.0 1.7
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 0.6 0.9
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 0.4 0.6 apg
F 4 Jesse Pinegar 6-9 225 Fr. 0.4 0.6
UNLV (11-8, 3-4 MWC) is coming off an 84-81 overtime loss at New Mexico Tuesday. The loss ended a three-game UNLV win streak (75-68 vs. CSU, 80-79 in OT at San Diego State and 90-75 vs. DePaul). The Runnin' Rebels are 8-2 at home and 3-6 away from the Thomas & Mack Center this season. UNLV is 1-1 at home in conference play and 2-3 on the road. The Rebels have away conference wins over Air Force and San Diego State and a home win over Colorado State. The team is under new leadership this season as Charlie Spoonhour is in his first year running the Rebel program. Spoonhour is in his 17th season as a Division I head coach and has a career record of 330-178 (.649). Against UNM Tuesday, Dalron Johnson led the Rebels with 25 points. He missed a 3-pointer with 2 seconds left in the overtime. The Rebels forced overtime with Lou Kelly's 3-pointer with 7 seconds left. UNLV trailed 69-65 with 1:48 left, but erased the deficit with 3-pointers from Johnson and Kelly. New Mexico appeared to have the game in hand with an 82-77 lead with 36.8 seconds left in overtime. But UNLV got an offensive rebound basket from Johnson and Marcus Banks hit two free throws with 14 seconds left after a UNM turnover. SenqueeCarey then was fouled and hit two free throws - his only points of the night -- with 10 seconds remaining. Banks finished with 21 points and Kelly had 16. On the year, Johnson leads the team in scoring (17.4) and rebounding (72). Marcus Banks is second in scoring (15.1) and leads the team in assists (2.9). Lou Kelly is the other Runnin' Rebel averaging double figures in scoring (13.6). Last year, the squad finished with an overall record of 16-13 and placed fourth in the Mountain West Conference with a 7-7 mark. Dalron Johnson has scored 10 or more points in 14 straight games. For the season, he has scored in double figures in 18 of 19 games. Loy Kelly is averaging 19.8 ppg over the last four games. During UNLV's recent three-game win streak, Kelly scored 63 points for a 21.0 ppg average. He led the team in scoring in each of those games. Sunday in its win over DePaul, UNLV had six players score in double figures in the same game for the first time this season. UNLV has had two other games in which it has had five players score in double figures. Three Runnin' Rebels have scored 20 or more points in a game this season a combined 16 times. Marcus Banks and Dalron Johnson have each had six 20-plus point nights, while Lou Kelly has done it four times. Marcus Banks is the only Runnin' Rebel to have scored 30 or more points in a game as he scored 31 vs. Old Dominion. Marcus Banks was named the Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Player of the Week on Dec. 31 and Dalron Johnson earned the honor on Dec. 17. UNLV leads the Mountain West Conference in steals this year and is recording almost two full steals more per game than second-place Air Force. The Runnin' Rebels are 7-0 in games in which they shoot over 50 percent. UNLV shot 56.4 percent vs. Wisconsin, 60.3 percent vs. Nicholls State, 52.4 percent vs. Nevada, Reno, 58.2 percent vs. Tennessee State, 52.5 percent at Air Force, 54.2 percent vs. Colorado State and 57.4 percent vs.DePaul. Overall, UNLV shoots 46 percent from the floor and nearly 35.5 percent on threes while averaging74.9 ppg. The Rebels shoot 69.9 percent from the line. UNLV allows 45.6 percent by its opponents, including 36.7 percent on threes, and 72.4 ppg.
This will be the 13th meeting between the two schools dating back to 1981. BYU evened the series at 6-6 with a 60-47 victory in Provo on Jan. 15. BYU has won four of the six games as MWC opponents. The two teams did not play in the 1998-99 season. BYU swept the regular season series in 1999-2000 before the Rebels achieved their largest margin of victory over BYU at the Thomas & Mack Center in the 2000 MWC title game. The two teams each won at home last year.
Overall Series Record: Tied, 6-6
BYU Record in Provo: 4-2
BYU Record in Las Vegas: 2-4
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 4-4
Longest BYU Win Streak: 2 (1981, 2000)
Longest UNLV Win Streak: 4 (1981-98)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 28, 91-63 in 2001
Largest UNLV Margin of Victory: 23, 56-79 in 2000
Most Points Scored by BYU: 92 in 1981
Most Points Scored by UNLV: 90 in 1981
Date OpponentScore W/L
1-3-81 at UNLV 92-90(2OT)W
2-6-81 UNLV 86-77 W
12-5-81 UNLV 63-66 L
2-12-82 at UNLV 50-52 L
1-22-98 at UNLV 63-76 L
2-21-98 UNLV 76-84 L
1-10-00 at UNLV 77-75 W
2-19-00 UNLV 83-82 W
3-11-00 at UNLV 56-79 L **MWC title game
1-15-01 UNLV 91-63 W
2-10-01 at UNLV 56-68 L
1-15-02 UNLV 60-47 W
RECENT MEETINGS WITH UNLV
Cougars Claw Their Way to Win over UNLV in First Meeting in Provo
PROVO -- A stingy second half defense and some timely shooting helped the BYU Cougars knock off a feisty UNLV team 60-47. BYU found itself down 26-22 at the half, its largest deficit after a half at that point in the season. 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 extended his string of made free throws to 22. Dalron Johnson led UNLV with 18 points on 8-12 shooting. Johnson also blocked two shots before fouling out in the final minute.
Â• BYU only had 22 points in the first half, a season low. 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.
Â• Turnovers plagued the Cougars throughout the game, with BYU committing a season-high 20 turnovers. The Cougars also committed 20 against Southern Utah. UNLV leads the MWC in steals.
Â• 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.
UNLV Downs BYU at the Thomas & Mack in Last Meeting in Las Vegas
LAS -- Still seeking its first conference road victory, BYU was defeated by UNLV Saturday afternoon, 68-56, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The Cougars led throughout most of the first 30 minutes but could not hold off the home team as the Rebels evened the season series. BYU led by 16 points, 30-14, at the 9:04 mark of the first half but managed only one field goal and three total points over the nine minutes to take a 33-31 advantage at the break. Mekeli Wesley led the Cougars with 12 points in the first half and added a bucket and an assist in the first three minutes of the second half to help BYU take a nine-point lead at 40-31. But the Cougars went cold from the floor and suffered foul trouble, which helped the Rebels gain the momentum. After shooting 41 percent in the first half, BYU made only 27 percent of its shots in the final 20 minutes, including 1-7 from three-point range. Wesley picked up his fourth foul with 12 minutes remaining with the Cougars still clinging to a 42-39 lead. Wesley, Eric Nielsen and Nate Knight all had four fouls before the second half was eight minutes old. "I thought we had good intensity and that we had good execution," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "They did a much better job defensively but we missed several layups and 2-footers. Lafonte Johnson is a good shooter. He stepped up and had a big night. He's the reason they won the ball game." UNLV got a career night from reserve guard Lafonte Johnson, who equaled Trevor Diggs with a team-high 17 points on 5-8 shooting, including three treys. Rebel center Kaspars Kambala added a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds while Dalron Johnson contributed 10 points and six boards. Wesley led BYU with 17 points and six rebounds. Terrell Lyday also pulled down six boards while adding 14 points. Much of Lyday's success came from the line where he was a perfect 7-7. Lyday and Trent Whiting continued to have trouble finding the mark from the field on the road as Lyday went 3-12 while Whiting was only 2-11. Dropping its third straight road game, BYU fell to 16-7 overall and 5-3 in the Mountain West Conference while UNLV improved to 14-9 and 5-3.
UNLV Quick Facts:
Location: Las Vegas, Nev.
Nickname: Runnin' Rebels
Colors: Scarlet and Gray
Home Arena: Thomas and Mack Center
Conference: Mountain West
Head Coach: Charlie Spoonhour
Alma Mater: University of the Ozarks (1961)
Best time to call: 11 a.m. -- 12 p.m. Pacific/weekdays
Office Phone: (702) 895-3295
Overall Record (Years): 330-178 (16th year)
Record at School (Years): 11-8 (1st year)
Assistant Coaches: Deane Martin, Jay Spoonhour, Derek Thomas
Overall Record: 16/13
Conf. Record/Finish: 7-7/4th
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: NA
Letterman Returning/Lost: 9/6
Starters Returning/Lost: 2/3
Returning Starters (last year's stats)
Dalron Johnson, 6-9, 205, Jr., F (12.3 ppg, 7.6 rpg)
Vince Booker, 6-1, 175, Sr., G (3.8 ppg, 1.6 rpg)
Basketball Contact: Andy Grossman
Office: (702) 895-3995
Home: (702) 260-7369
Fax: (702) 895-0989
Press Row: (702) 895-4600
Athletics Web Site
UNLV leads all MWC teams in steals and doubles BYU, who ranks last in steals among MWC teams. UNLV averages 10.5 steals to BYU's 5.0. In league games, the differential is even greater, with the Rebels making 11.4 steals to BYU's 5.1. On the strength of its steals, UNLV is No. 1 in turnover margin, averaging 15.7 turnovers to its opponents' 18.5. BYU is 7th, committing less turnovers (13.9) but not taking away as many opponent passes (opponents' average 12.6 turnovers).
BYU and UNLV dish out the same assists per game but Vegas commits more turnovers. BYU averages 14.5 assists to its 13.9 turnovers. UNLV averages 14.4 assists to its 15.7 turnovers. In league play, they both have 91 assists (13.0) but UNLV has committed 14 more turnovers, averaging 15.1 to BYU's 13.1 in seven league games.
BYU Had Worst Shooting Night, Held On to Beat Colorado State Monday
PROVO -- BYU held on for its 32nd consecutive win in the Marriott Center, narrowly escaping with a 57-52 win over physical Colorado State team. Mark Bigelow continued to resurface for BYU, leading the Cougars with 20 points on 7-for-12 shooting, including 4-of-7 from downtown. Bigelow's four long-range buckets are the most for him in conference play, just one short of his career high of five. Bigelow scored 20 for the first time since going for 20 against Southern Utah on Dec. 29. "Bigelow was the difference in my mind," Colorado State head coach Dale Layer said. "We would make some runs at them but he would come back, get a good look and make the big shot." The Cougars, rated third in the nation in free throw percentage, struggled from the line throughout the second half, shooting 11-for-20 from the stripe to keep the game close. BYU finished the game 21-of-31 from the line, only the second time this season the team has shot below 70 percent in a game. The team also overcame a poor night from the field, hitting a season-low 37.5 percent. Before the game, BYU's lowest percentage from the Marriott Center floor this year had been 42.9 percent, against San Francisco on Jan. 2 and also against UNLV on Jan. 15. The game was not decided until the final minute, when Bart Jepsen blocked a Brian Greene shot that would have put the Rams within one. After Jepsen's block, Eric Nielsen went to the line and sank two free throws with 22 seconds left, giving the Cougars the victory. "I thought, defensively, we did a very good job guarding them," associate head coach Dave Rose said. "Bart Jepsen was huge in the final minutes because he attacked the penetration. His blocked shot in the final minute was critical for us." For the second consecutive game, Matt Montague had double-digit assists, finishing with 11. The feat marks the first time in his career Montague has had back-to-back games with more than 10 assists. Travis Hansen also had a good night, finishing with 17 points on 5-9 shooting. Hansen and Bigelow tied for the team lead in rebounds with five apiece. The teams went into the break deadlocked at 30 but BYU responded in the second half, pushing its lead to as many as six points. The Rams made several runs to keep the score close but the Cougars responded with big buckets to maintain the lead. BYU never trailed in the second half and only trailed twice in the game. A Travis Hansen three with 1:30 left in the first half gave the Cougars a 28-26 lead and the team never trailed from there. The win pushes BYU's record to 9-0 when it holds its opponents to less than 60 points in a game.
Hot Shooting Helped Cougars to Victory over Wyoming Saturday
PROVO -- Travis Hansen and Mark Bigelow each scored 19 points to lead the BYU men's basketball team to an 85-70 win over league-leading Wyoming. The game marks the first time both players scored in double digits in four games, and not coincidentally, it is also BYU's first win in those four games. The Cougars shot 68 percent from the field and 71.4 percent from beyond the arc in the first half and 58.6 percent and 57.1 percent respectively for the game. BYU's sharp shooting allowed them to build a 12-point halftime lead. "It's been a long couple of weeks but it was great to see the kids start making baskets," Cleveland said. "This was a very important game just for the whole mental framework of this team." Hansen and Bigelow got plenty of support from Eric Nielsen's 12 points , seven rebounds and career-high three blocks and Jared Jensen's 10 points and two blocked shots. Senior guard Matt Montague's 15 assists tied a career high he set this season against the Idaho Vandals on Dec. 15. "You can't say enough about Matt," Wyoming head coach Steve McClain said. "He plays solid and does what his team asks and that is what makes him a good player." The Cougar bench got into the act as well with Jimmy Balderson, Daniel Bobik and Jon Carlisle combining for 19 points. Carlisle had BYU career bests of four-of-four free throwshooting, eight points and 19 minutes played. "I thought we got great play off the bench," said Cleveland. "Daniel Bobik, Jimmy Balderson and Jon Carlisle, even though they did not play a lot of minutes, did a great job coming off the bench. They gave us offense and defense." BYU's 58.6 percent field goal shooting against the Cowboys is the first time the Cougars have shot over 50 percent since the Southern Utah game Dec. 29. The Cougars have only shot better from the arc once this season when they played Stanford Dec. 22, going 7-of-11 for 63.6 percent. "We caught them on a night when everything was going good and we couldn't do anything to stop that. That is a credit to Steve Cleveland, his staff and his players," said McClain. With the win, the Cougars (13-6, 3-3) extend their home winning streak to 31 games, second in the nation behind the University of Detroit. BYU has won three straight over Wyoming (14-5, 5-1) in the series. Wyoming has lost the last four meetings in Provo, last defeating the Cougars in the Marriott Center during BYU's 1-25 season in 1996-97. BYU was able to hold the Cowboys to 29 rebounds, 13 below the Pokes' season average. BYU was only out-rebounded by two against a Wyoming team that leads the nation in rebounding margin (+10.3). The Cougars' defense was also able to hold Wyoming to 70 points, 11 below its 81points-per-game average (tied for 19th best nationally). "I think we ran into a team coming off [three] losses that knew they had their backs against the wall," McClain said. "They had a game plan and it worked. I thought they had a solid defensive effort."
At the Thomas & Mack
BYU is 8-5 all-time at the Thomas & Mack Center, including a win over then No. 13 Stanford earlier this year. BYU was 3-1 last year, 3-1 in 2000, 1-1 in 1999 and 0-2 in 1998. BYU is 1-3 vs. UNLV in the Thomas & Mack (regular season victory in 2000). As a neutral court, the Thomas & Mack has been friendly to the Cougars. BYU is 7-2 in neutral court games (WAC and MWC tournaments and this year's Las Vegas Showdown). BYU's first two games in Las Vegas in 1981 and 1982 were played before the Thomas & Mack was constucted in 1983.
BYU is shooting 49.3 percent in its 14 victories and 43.3 percent in its five losses. The Cougars are shooting .499 at home and .439 on the road. BYU has shot at least 45 percent in 13 games this year. BYU has shot 50 percent or better four times this year and is making 47.4 percent from the floor overall.
From Three-Point Range
BYU is shooting 39.4 percent on threes. BYU's 57.1 percent from three-point range vs. Wyoming was its second highest mark from downtown this season. BYU made six treys vs. CSU and eight threes against the Cowboys -- the first time since equaling a season-high 11 treys vs. Southern Utah on Dec. 29 that BYU has made more than five threes in a game. 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 46 threes (.422) and made a three in 18 of 20 games this year (including a BYU-record 22 straight games dating back to his freshman season). Travis Hansen has made 25 treys (.439) and Daniel Bobik has made 23 (.377).
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 17 of 20 games and Hansen has been in double-digits in 15 of 20 games. The only game this year when neither player reached double-digit points was at UNM. Hansen had a team-high 22 points at Utah after a season-low five points at Air Force. Bigelow equaled a season-low four points at Utah, but responded to share game-high honors with Hansen vs. Wyoming with 19. Overall, Bigelow averages 16.2 ppg and Hansen 15.2 ppg.
Other Scoring Options
The Cougars have three players scoring in double figure points. After leaders Mark Bigelow (16.2) and Travis Hansen (15.2), senior Eric Nielsen averages 10.0 ppg and has scored a career-high 29 points vs. Stanford. He has scored in double-digits in seven of his last eight starts and seven of the last nine games. In addition, freshman center Jared Jensen is averaging 9.3 ppg and had a career-high 20 points at Air Force. Reserve guard Daniel Bobik is adding 7.8 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 four times, including a season-high 13 points at Utah.
In the first 11 games this year BYU started with a 9-2 record as Mark Bigelow shot 46.9 percent, Travis Hansen 46.0 percent, and Daniel Bobik 45.2 percent. BYU was 3-4 over the next seven games, however, as Bigelow went 24-71 (.338) Hansen 31-83 (.373), and Daniel Bobik 14-40 (.350). In the last two games, both wins, the perimeter shooting has returned. Bigelow made 15-24 (.625) Hansen 13-21 (.619) and Bobik 2-4 (.500).
Numbers at the Line
BYU is shooting 77.7 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 nationally. Since shooting its worst percentage from the line at UNM, making only 7-12 free throws (.583), BYU has shot 82.6 percent (Air Force) and 86.7 percent (Utah) and 81.8 percent (Wyo) before suffering only its second game below 70 percent with a 66.7 percent effort vs. CSU Monday.
Bobik, Hansen Made Run at Consecutive Free Throw Record
Daniel Bobik made 27 consecutive free throws before missing his last attempt (3-4) at Utah. His string of successes spanned 17 games, last missing in the second game vs. Arizona State. The BYU record is 32 set by Michael Smith. Travis Hansen reaching 23 straight makes this year until missing on his fourth attempt vs. SDSU. Bobik is 8th nationally at 92.1 percent.
Six Seeing Majority of Minutes
Six players play the majority of the minutes for BYU coach Steve Cleveland. 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 likely see some more time off the bench depending on matchups include Bart Jepsen and Jon Carlisle in the post and Jimmy Balderson on the perimeter. With reserve point guard Shawn Opunui out with an injury, BYU suits up 12 players.
Montague is BYU Energizer, Keeps on Going, and Going
The guttiest player on the team senior point guard Matt Montague averges a team-leading 37.2 minutes per game. While playing nearly the entire game, he is second nationally in assists (7.6), dishing out 151 assists to only 48 turnovers. In MWC play, he averages 8.1 assists, making 57 assists while only commiting 17 turnovers. He leads the league in assist/turnover ratio. He is also averaging a career bests of 6.5 ppg and 4.6 rpg.
BYU has won two straight after ended a three-game losing streak. BYU's three-game losing skid was its first in Mountain West play and its first since February 1999 when BYU lost at Fresno State, San Jose State (OT) and vs. New Mexico in Provo as a member of the WAC. BYU has dropped six straight road games (not including the Stanford win on a neutral court) since opening the season with a win at the University of San Diego. BYU's road losses include Utah State (OT), UCSB, Pepperdine (OT), UNM, AFA and Utah. 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. BYU has won 32 consecutive home games.
Home Winning Streak
BYU has a 32-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 39 straight wins at home (Detriot at home again on Feb. 11). BYU is 12-0 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 14 straight at home over MWC teams.
Hitting the Glass
The Cougars have only been out rebounded five times overall this year but has been out boarded in four of seven MWC games. BYU and CSU each had 30 rebounds Monday. 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 13 of 20 games, earning a 11-2 record when winning the battle of the boards. Overall, BYU averages 34.5 rebounds while its opponents grab on average 30.6. 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 (7.1) and point guard Matt Montague is third at 4.6. Eric Nielsen is second at 4.7. Hansen has had highs of 17 and 15 rebounds and had an 11-board effort at Utah. Montague has grabbed six or more rebounds in eight of the last 12 games.
BYU ranks second in the conference in field goal percentage defense (.411) and first in three-point percentage defense (.293). 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 to the Lobos at The Pit and 54.3 percent to Air Force -- the two highest highest percentages allowed by BYU this year. The Cougars stepped up their defense against Utah, who was shooting 60 percent from three-point range over the first four MWC games. BYU held the Utes to 42 percent overall, including 22 percent on threes. Wyoming shot 45 percent and CSU 42.6 percent. 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 five teams have shot better than 45 percent against BYU (Arizona State, .462; Utah State, .509 and New Mexico, .536; AFA, .543; Wyoming, .453).
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
Reserve point guard Shawn Opunui could likely be out the remainder of the season with torn ligaments in his left thumb. He 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. After getting out of a hard cast, he wears a splint and is doing therapy. Eric Nielsen and Mark Bigelow have both had trouble with lingering illness over the past several weeks but not missed any games although Nielsen did not start at Air Force because he was sick. Starting point guard Matt Montague broke his nose during practice on Christmas day. He has not missed any playing time.
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 vs. UNLV in Provo
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. Toolson didn't make a three vs. Wyoming.
Cougars at the Mid-Point in Conference Play
BYU is 4-3 after the first half of conference play. The Cougars were 2-5 after seven games in 1998, 3-4 in 1999, 4-3 in 1999 and 5-2 last year in league action. BYU opened the second half at UNLV last year, falling to 5-3 with a loss. BYU was last 4-4 after eight games in 2000, losing at Utah to start the second half of the season.
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 Games Overall
After the win over CSU, Cleveland's conference (WAC/MWC) record is 31-32. After three conference road losses at New Mexico, Air Force and Utah, Cleveland's conference record dropped below .500 after he had reached a .500 mark with the UNLV win in Provo. He can reach .500 again with a win over the Rebels in Las Vegas. Taking over after BYU's 1-25 season, Cleveland has improved BYU's conference record each year. The UNLV win in Provo marked was the first time since a 2-2 mark early in his first season that Cleveland reached .500 in conference play. Overall, he has been at .500 three times (1-1, 2-2, 29-29) and has had a winning mark twice (1-0, 2-1). Cleveland has a 20-14 (.588) MWC record.
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 14-6 record this year, Bigelow has already helped the Cougars achieve more wins than his team achieved his freshman year. During Bigelow's mission, BYU earned back-to-back 20-plus win seasons. Including this year, the Cougars are 60-26 (.698) in the last three season.
Tough MWC Conference
BYU's seven Mountain West opponents have combined (as of Feb. 6) to win 62 percent of their games this year. 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, 15 have winning records as of Feb. 6. Five teams have a losing record. Overall, BYU's opponents have combined to win 60 percent of their games with the nonconference teams having won 59 percent and MWC teams 62 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 5-2 vs. the conference title holders with another game against Utah and Wyoming still on the schedule. BYU is 5-4 against teams that earned postseason berths last year with losses at Utah State, Pepperdine, New Mexico and Utah and wins over Creighton, Stanford, CS Northridge, Southern Utah and Wyoming.
BYU's win this year over the
n 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 13 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 and Fox Sports Arizona vs. Arizona State.
BYU is currently ranked 53rd and is the second-rated team in the Mountain West Conference behind Utah (40) in the Sagarin ratings. BYU has the highest rated schedule (40th). The MWC is ranked 7th in the latest ratings (Feb. 6). 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
40 Utah 63
53 BYU 40
54 Wyoming 154
71 San Diego State 46
75 New Mexico 152
83 UNLV 72
126 Colorado State 65
176 Air Force 90
According to the CollegeRPI.com rankings (Feb. 6), BYU is the second-rated MWC team with a 33 RPI. The Mountain West Conference is rated 7th among the 32 conferences (and five independents).
New Mexico 42
San Diego State 65
Colorado State 137
Air Force 168
BYU in MWC Statistics (as of Feb. 6)
Category All Games Conf. Only
Scoring Offense 5th 5th
Scoring Defense 3rd 3rd
Scoring Margin 3rd 3rd
FT Percentage 1st 2nd
FG Percentage 3rd 3rd
FG % Defense 2nd 2nd
3-FG Percentage 2nd 3rd
3-FG % Defense 1st 3rd
Rebound Offense 5th T-4th
Rebounding Defense 4th 3rd
Rebound Margin 5th 5th
Blocked Shots 6th 3rd
Assists 5th T-3rd
Steals 8th 8th
Turnover Margin 7th 4th
Assist/Turnover Ratio 3rd 2nd
Offensive Rebounds 7th 6th
Defensive Rebounds 2nd 4th
3-FG Made 4th 5th
Individual (overall games)
Â• Matt Montague leads the MWC in assists and assist/turnover ratio. He is 8th in defensive rebounds, tied for 7th in steals, 12th in free throw percentage and tied for 15th in rebounding.
Â• Mark Bigelow 7th in scoring, 5th in free throw percentage, and 5th in three-pointers per game and 9th in three-point percentage.
Â• Travis Hansen is 8th in scoring, 7th in rebounding average, 3rd in defensive rebounds, 7th in three-point percentage, 11th in free throw percentage and 13th in three-pointers per game.
Â• Eric Nielsen is 9th in field goal percentage, 12th in defensive rebounds and 14th in rebounds.
Â• Daniel Bobik would lead all MWC players in free throw percentage (.921) 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 6th in free throw percentage.
Â• Jon Carlisle is 9th in blocked shots.
BYU in National Statistics (as of Feb. 6)
Â• BYU is 4th in the nation in free throw shooting percentage at .777. (1. Morehead St., 78.8; 2. Loyola Mary., 78.6; 3. Oregon, 78.0).
Â• Matt Montague is 2nd in assists (7.6) (trailling T. Ford of Texas at 8.6 apg) and Daniel Bobik is 8th in free throw percentage (.921).
MATT MONTAGUE / 6-0 Â• 190 Â• senior Â• point guard
Â• Montague provides leadership at the point having started 77 times and played in all 112 games in his fourth year. He has led the team in assists during each of his four seasons.
Â• He has recorded double-digit assists in back-to-back games for the first time in his career, with 15 (vs. Wyo.) and 11(vs. CSU) in the last two games. He has had 10 or more assists in six games this year and nine times in his career.
Â• He averages a MWC-best 7.6 assists per game on the year and is 2nd in assists in the national statistics. He tops the MWC in assist/turnover ratio. He has 151 assists and 48 turnovers. On average, he dishes out 1 assist every 4.9 minutes played. Conversely, he averages 1 turnover in every 15.5 minutes played. He had15 assists vs. Wyoming, equaling the career-high he had vs. Idaho. It is the most assists by a Cougar in the last 25 years. The BYU and Marriott Center record is 16 assists set by Mike May vs. Niagara in 1976.
Â• Montague scored a season-high 13 points at Utah and has reached double figures points in four games this year.
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 three other seven rebound games, including his seven boards at Utah. He has collected six or more rebounds in eight of the last 12 games. At 6-foot, he is third on the team in rebounding average at 4.6.
Â• Last week vs. Utah and Wyoming, he averaged 10 assists, 9.5 points and 5.0 rebounds while shooting 60 percent.
TRAVIS HANSEN / 6-6 Â• 210 Â• junior Â• guard/forward
Â• Hansen played a supporting role in his first season at BYU last year andmissed part of the year with injury.
Â• This year he is BYU's second-leading scorer with a 15.2 average and grabs a team-high 7.1 rebounds per game.
Â• Hansen has paced the Cougars in scoring over the last three games, averaging 19.3 ppg in those games. He has led BYU in scoring seven times overall this year, including 19 points vs. Wyoming last Saturday.
Â• Hansen rebounded from a season-low 5 points at Air Force with a game-high 22 points at Utah.
Â• He has reached double-digit points in 15 of 20 games.
Â• Last week, he averaged a double-double against Utah and Wyoming (20.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg).
Â• He had his team-leading fourth double-double of the year vs. Utah with 22 points and 11 rebounds. Against Pepperdine he had career highs of 30 points and 17 rebounds. 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 option's best perimeter player.
Â• After going 8-8 at Utah from the line, he is 7-14 in the last two games from the charity stripe.
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• He has been BYU's most consistent scorer. He leads BYU in scoring at 16.2 ppg and has scored at least 13 points in 17 of 20 games. He scored 20 vs. Colorado State and has five 20 or more points games this year, including a BYU season-high 31 vs. ASU. He reached double figures in 14 straight games before his season-low four points at UNM. He also had four points at Utah, taking a season-low one three-point attempt.
Â• After averaging 18.3 ppg over the first 11 games and shooting .469 from the floor, capped by shooting 17-34 and totaling 27 and 20 points against CS Northridge and Southern Utah, Bigelow went 24-71 (.338) over the next seven games, including 8-32(.250) on threes while averaging 11.7 ppg over the stretch. In the last two games, however, he has found his shot again, going 15-24 (.625) from the floor and and 7-13 (.538) on threes, averaging 19.5 ppg.
Â• Bigelow made two three-pointers vs. UNLV in Provo to set a BYU record with 22 consecutive games with a trey. His string ended the next game at UNM. 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 of 21 games (1999-2000). Bigelow has made two or more threes in 13 games this year, including a career-equaling 5 treys vs. Southern Utah. He had four threes vs. CSU, a conference-season high.
ERIC NIELSEN / 6-9 Â• 215 Â• senior Â• forward
Â• A four-year starter, Nielsen is the onlystarter back from last year's NCAA team. An intelligent player with a good mid-range jumper, his 55.6 career field goal percentage (312-561) is tied for third all-time at BYU with Jared Miller and Russell Larson (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 60-26 (.698) record to date, including two postseason tournament berths. He is Academic All-MWC and a Cougar Scholar Athlete.
Â• Nielsen is third on the team in scoring (10.0 ppg), second in rebounding (4.7 rpg) and field goal percentage (.537).
Â• He had 7 points vs. CSU, goingonly 2-8 from the floor, to end a string of seven straight starts in double figures. He has scored in double figures in 7 of the last 9 games. He has reached double digits 11 times overall this year.
Â• He scored 12 vs. Wyoming and 10 points at Utah, where he went 5-7 from the floor before fouling out. He was sick and did not start for the first time this year at Air Force, playing 20 minutes with three free throws.
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• He needs eight more field goal attempts to equal the most shots he has taken in a season (157 as a freshman).
Last year the most shots he took in a game was eight, when he averaged 3.8 attempts per game. This year he is averaging 7.5 attempts.
Â• Nielsen fouled out for the first time this year at Utah (with 8:36 remaining). He had fouled out of 26 of 92 games (every 3.5 games) over his first three seasons (10 times as a freshman, 7 times as a sophomore and 9 times last year).
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• He is fourth on the team overall at 9.3 ppg. In MWC games, he is third on the team at 10.9 ppg.
Â• He is shooting a team-leading and MWC-best 60.4 percent from the floor.
Â• Jensen went 0-2 from the floor vs. CSU Monday, only the third time this year he has not connected from the floor. Two of those three games have occurred in the last three outings.
Â• He scored 10 points vs.Wyoming, going 4-8, including several jumpers. Against Utah, he got in foul trouble and played only seven minutes because of matchups at Utah and did not score for only the second time this year.
Â• He scored a career-high 20 points at AFA after scoring a team-high 15 points at UNM. He had 8 vs. UNLV in Provo.
Â• He has scored in double figures in nine of the last 14 games and10 times overall this year. He has played well since reaching double-digit points only once in his first six games while averaged 6.5 ppg.
Â• Jensen had his first career double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds vs. CS Northridge. He also 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• Bobik is fifth on the team in scoring (7.8). He has scored in double digits in seven games, including two MWC games. He had 10 at Utah and 11 at New Mexico. 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. 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 had a career-best 8 rebounds vs. Creighton.
Â• He has seen the fewest minutes of the year in the last two games, played a season-low 13 minutes vs. CSU Monday after 15 minutes vs. Wyoming. He averages 21.1 minutes overall. He played a career-high 33 minutes with 12 points and four rebounds in the season-opener at USD.
Â• With Eric Nielsen sick, he made his first career start at Air Force, playing 21 minutes, taking only one shot and scoring two points.
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 92.1 percent (T-8th nationally) from the line and had a string of 27 straight free throws until missing his last attempt at Utah (The all-time BYU record is 32, set by Michael Smith). Bobik's free throw string extended over 17 games (streak began vs. Arizona State). He set career bests with in free throws made, attempted and percentage going 8-8 vs. Cal State Northridge.
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• Jepsen has appeared in every game this year off the bench, joining Bobik as only reserves to play in every game.
Â• He blocked Brian Greene's shot with seconds left to help BYU preserve its three-point lead over CSU on Monday. It was his third blocked shot of the year.
Â• After playing double-digit minutes in five of first seven games, he has only played 10 or more minutes in three of the last 13 games. After played a combined three minutes at New Mexico and Air Force, he played 15 minutes at Utah. 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• 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 in December (due to shoulder surgery in June). It was his first action since his junior year of high school. He sat out his senior year of high school 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• He has not appeared in any conference games.
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 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 last season before the injury.
Â• He no longer has pain in his shoulder but remains behind in his conditioning and strength and will likely not factor into the regular rotation this season.
DAN HOWARD / 7-0 Â• 225 Â• sophomore Â• center
Â• The tallest player on the roster, he has a nice touch for a big man. Howard played in 14 games last year in limited action.
Â• Howard has appeared in 12 games overall this season.
Â• He played against CSU and Wyoming after not appearing in the prior six 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).
Â• He is a career 10-15 from the floor in his two seasons, including 2-4 this year.
JON CARLISLE / 6-10 Â• 250 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, 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 15 games, including the last 14 straight. He has grabbed a rebound in every game he has played except at Air Force and CSU and has scored in nine of his 15 games.
Â• He is 10-20(.500) from the floor.
Â• He played a season-high 19 minutes vs. Wyoming, scoring a career-high 8 points.
Â• He had two blocks, one rebound and dove on the floor to create a BYU possession resulting in a Matt Montague layin in only seven minutes at Utah. He had four points and season-high four boards in 13 minutes at UNM. He also had four rebounds in eight minutes vs. SDSU. He was BYU's second-leading rebounder vs. SDSU.
Â• He has played double-digit minutes three times. He played 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.
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 shot 54 percent from the floor and 91 percent from the free throw line at Magrath High. He has excellent range from the three-point line and has good size. 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 shoots 52 percent from the floor and 36 percent on threes. Half of his attempts are three-point shots.
Â• He scored six points in five minutes vs. Wyoming on a three pointer and a spectacular oldfashion three-point play on a reverse layin. He played four minutes vs. CSU and did not score for the first time in five games.
Â• Balderson has played in 17 games. After four straight 1-2 minute appearances, he played seven minutes at UNM, a season-high 23 minutes at Air Force and 16 minutes at Utah.
Â• He had five points at Utah and 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 trey 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 six games, averaging 9.7 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 only true point guard backing up Matt Montague since the loss of Shawn Opunui to injury.
Â• With starter Matt Montague playing nearly the entire game, Nashif has usually only seen very limited action.
Â• He has played in 13 games, but has played only one minute in six of those games. He has appeared in nine of 12 games since Opunui's last 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 could be out the remainder of the season with torn ligaments in his left thumb. He originally suffered ligament damage in his thumb while playing three minutes at Utah State on Dec. 1 and then reinjured his left thumb vs. Idaho (torn ligaments). Since getting his hard cast taken off, he has been wearing a removable splint and doing therapy.
Â• He 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 (81-63 in fifth year)
Steve Cleveland is in his fifth season at the helm of the Cougars. In his five 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.