Game 23 Notes - BYU Hosts New Mexico

BYU (14-8, 4-5 MWC) will try to extend the nation's longest home court victory streak Saturday when it hosts New Mexico (14-8, 4-4) at 1 p.m. MST in the featured Mountain West Conference game of the week on ESPN+Plus (KJZZ, channel 14, in SLC). The Cougars have won 32 straight games in the Marriott Center since their last home loss on Feb. 17, 2000 when the Lobos edged the Cougars 78-74. New Mexico has had a week to prepare for the game since losing at Air Force last Saturday.

Up Next

BYU hosts Air Force Monday at 8:30 p.m. (SportsWest -- delay on KUWB at 9 p.m.).

Game Parking Affected by Olympics

BYU parking lots 45, 48 and 49 immediately west, south and east of LaVell Edwards Stadium will not be available for BYU basketball event parking for BYU's games on Saturday and Monday. The Salt Lake Olympic Committee is using the parking lots for patrons attending women's and men's hockey at The Peaks during the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. Olympic patrons will ride shuttle buses to The Peaks. Except for these closures, all parking lots and routes on campus will be open. Additional BYU basketball event parking is being made available in Lot 1 by the BYU administration building (ASB), Lot 2 by the Museum of Art, and Lot 50 by Print and Mail Services (directly south of MTC).

Utah Tickets Still Available

Tickets to the BYU vs. Utah men's basketball game on Saturday, Feb. 23 are still available. The game starts at 1 p.m. A few lower bowl and some good upper chair and bleacher seats remain. Tickets can be obtained at the Marriott Center Ticket Office or by calling 1-800-322-BYU1 or 378-BYU1. Student tickets are also still available.

GAME FACTS (BYU Game 23)

BYU (14-8, 4-5) vs. New Mexico (14-8, 4-4)

Monday, Feb. 16, 2002

Marriott Center [22,700]

Provo, Utah

1:05 p.m. MST

Coaches:

BYU, Steve Cleveland (81-65 in fifth year; same overall)

UNM, Fran Fraschilla (53-35 in third year; 173-94 in ninth year overall)

Series: BYU leads, 61-47

TV:

ESPN+Plus (KJZZ, channel 14, in SLC)

Air Time: 1 p.m. MST

Play-by-Play: Rich Waltz

Game Analyst: Irv Brown

Radio:

KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)

Pregame Air Time - Noon MST

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. 15.7 2.9

F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 10.3 4.8

C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. 9.3 3.7

G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 15.1 6.7

G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 6.4 7.5 apg

BYU Reserves:

Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG

G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 205 So. 7.5 2.7

G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. 4.6 1.6

C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 250 So. 1.8 1.7

F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. 1.0 1.8

C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 1.2 1.4

G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 0.3 0.7 apg

F 4 Jesse Pinegar 6-9 225 Fr. 0.4 0.6

Scouting UNM

The Lobos are off to an 14-8 start and 4-4 conference mark. The have had a week to prepare for Saturday's game since losing 47-44 at Air Force last Saturday. UNM is currently in fourth place in the Mountain West Conference at 4-4. UNLV is third at 5-4, while BYU is in fifth at 4-5. New Mexico have two starters back from last year's 21-13 team that advanced to meet BYU in the 2001 MWC tournament title game since starting point guard Marlon Parmer was dismissed from the team. The Lobos are 2-3 since Parmer was dismissed from the team, although he was not much of a factor in his last game, a blowout loss to Utah in The Pit. He returned from a suspension to play BYU in Albuquerque and was a significant contributor to the victory with 13 points, 6 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 steals in 27 minutes. Parmer was averaging 12.8 ppg, second-highest on the team, and a team-high 5.4 apg. Since his departure, several players have picked up the slack. New Mexico has excellent perimeter players in seniors Tim Lightfoot and Eric Chatfield and juniors Ruben Douglas and Senque Careyo to compensate for Parmer's loss. Last year, Douglas was a second-team all-conference player, Chatfield averaged almost 13 ppg, Lightfoot is among the top-10 three-point shooters in school history, and Carey led the University of Washington in assists in each of his first two years there before transferring to Albuquerque. Freshman Chad Bell is expected to start but freshman forward Jamaal Williams will not play this weekend while being treated for a possible stress fracture in his right tibia. Douglas averages a team-leading 16.2 ppg with Chatfield (10.9) and forward Patrick Dennehy (10.0) also averaging double figures. Dennehy is expected to play against BYU. According to UNM team physician Dr. Bob Schenck (pronounced "skank"), Dennehy is currently being treated for a confidential medical condition. UNM shoots .448 from the floor, .367 on threes, .674 from the line and averages 36.9 rebounds and 72.8 points. The Lobos allow 67.4 ppg, and 32.1 rpg while yielding a .442 field goal percentage and .373 three-point percentage. New Mexico head coach Fran Fraschilla is in his third season on the bench at UNM with a career record of 53-35 (.602). He had the third-highest win total (39) after his first two seasons of any Lobo mentor, behind only Norm Ellenberger (43) and Dave Bliss (42). The Lobos have been to postseason in each of Fraschilla's two seasons, advancing to the second round of the NIT in 2000 and the quarterfinals of the NIT in 2001. Overall, Fraschilla sports a mark of 173-94 (.648) in nine seasons at Manhattan (1993-96), St. John's (1996-98) and New Mexico. Fraschilla is 19-17 in Mountain West Conference play, including 12-7 at home and 7-10 on the road.

NEW MEXICO LOBOS PROBABLE STARTERS

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl-Exp. PPG RPG

1 Chad Bell C 6-11 240 Fr-HS 3.8 2.5

33 Patrick Dennehy F 6-9 217 So-1L 10.0 7.5

3 Senque Carey G 6-4 209 Jr-TR 5.5 4.0

5 Ruben Douglas G 6-5 200 Jr-1L 16.2 4.4

42 Eric Chatfield G 6-3 215 Sr-1L 10.9 2.2

UNM RESERVES

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl-Exp. PPG RPG

10 Tim Lightfoot G 6-3 192 Sr-3L 5.6 1.1

12 Ryan Ashcraft G 6-2 194 So-1L 0.7 0.3

20 Beau Anderson G 6-4 210 Sr-TR 1.3 0.0

24 Jamaal Williams F 6-6 223 Fr-HS 8.5 5.4

30 Pat Kelly F 6-6 205 Sr-3L 0.4 0.6

40 Cody Payne F 6-7 235 Jr-Tr 2.0 1.8

Series Information

BYU has won four of the last five and had a string of four straight wins come to an end with UNM's victory at The Pit in January. The Lobos had their own four-game streak in the series prior to BYU's. BYU won three times last year vs. the Lobos, including a 69-65 victory in Las Vegas to win the MWC tournament. BYU broke through last year with its first win in The Pit since Cleveland's first-year upset in 1998. New Mexico's last win in Provo was a 78-74 win in in 2000, which is BYU's last loss in the Marriott Center. BYU has won 32 straight at home since, the longest home winning streak in the nation.

Overall Series Record: BYU leads, 61-47

BYU Record in Provo: 36-13

BYU Record in Albuquerque: 21-31

BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 3-3

BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 5-6

Longest BYU Win Streak: 14 (1950-57)

Longest New Mexico Win Streak: 5 (1996-98)

Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 30, 92-62 two times in 1955 and 1959

Largest New Mexico Margin of Victory: 42, 32-74 in 1997

Most Points Scored by BYU: 100 in 1979

Most Points Scored by New Mexico: 102 in 1987

RECENT MEETINGS WITH UNM

Lobos Deal Cougars First Conference Loss in Albuquerque

ALBUQUERQUE -- BYU fell 73-58 to New Mexico at The Pit Saturday. The Cougars took a one-point lead into the locker room at the half but were outscored 42-26 to lose the game by 15, their worst loss of the season. BYU (12-4, 2-1) fell victim to a hot-shooting New Mexico team that made 53 percent from the field for the game. "They made shots tonight, even when they were contested," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "Offensively, they had good balance." The Lobos (12-4, 2-0) got solid contributions from their guards, with Ruben Douglas, Eric Chatfield and Tim Lightfoot each scoring 13 points in the contest. A bright spot for the Cougars continues to be Jared Jensen, who had a game-high 15 points in 24 minutes of play. Jensen got little help from the outside, however, as BYU struggled from the floor. "I thought we were going to win," said UNM head coach Fran Fraschilla. "The catch was the defense - we did a good job on their shooters." BYU was 24-for-54 from the floor and made only 3-of-13 three-pointers. Mark Bigelow failed to extend his BYU record of 22 consecutive games with a three-pointer. Bigelow also ended his string of 14 straight games in double figures. He was 2-7 with four points, a season low. "It was tough," said Jensen. "Obviously, we're disappointed a little bit but we still have unity, we're still going to go out and compete. We've got to keep this thing rolling." The Cougars came out aggressive and sharp in the first half, going toe-to-toe with the sharp-shooting Lobos. Cougar forward Eric Nielsen was 2-2 from beyond the arc, equaling the career-best effort he had against Stanford this season. He finished the game with 10 points, his fifth straight game in double figures. Travis Hansen had six early points, including an authoritative one-handed dunk over Lobo center Chad Bell. But Hansen - like the rest of the Cougars - cooled off in the second half, not scoring again until 6:47 remained in the game. "We competed with a lot more energy in the first half than in the second," Cleveland said. "Part of making plays is making shots when the game is on the line." New Mexico went on a 12-2 run to start the second half, going up 43-34 and never looking back. The hot-shooting Lobos shot nearly 60 percent in the second half, compared to BYU's 41 percent. Free throws also plagued the Cougars as they only shot 58 percent from the line on 7-for-12 shooting, their worst effort since Jan. 13, 2001, when they shot 50 percent against SDSU. BYU guard Daniel Bobik, however, pushed his free throw streak to 24 on 2-for-2 shooting, passing Hansen's previous season high of 23. Senior guard Matt Montague dished out 11 assists, his fourth double-digit assist game this year and second-highest total behind the career-high 15 assists he had against the University of Idaho. He also grabbed six boards to lead the team in rebounding for the second time in the last three games.

BYU Claims MWC Tournament Title at the Thomas & Mack

LAS -- Trent Whiting nailed two clutch free throws with 4.6 seconds remaining to seal a 69-65 victory over New Mexico and BYU's first Mountain West Conference Tournament Championship. In a tightly contested game, tournament and league MVP Mekeli Wesley was the BYU workhorse. Wesley hit key shot after key shot for the Cougars as the Lobos didn't have an answer for the 6-9 senior who shot a nearly perfect 11-12 from the field and led the Cougars with 30 points. The Cougars led almost the entire contest, but New Mexico would never let them pull away. The Lobos owned the boards, especially on the offensive glass holding a 19-3 advantage and scoring many of their points off second chances. BYU's Wesley was scoring, Terrell Lyday was defending and Whiting was hitting big threes and rebounding. Lyday guarded New Mexico's elusive point guard Marlon Parmer and limited him to 0-4 shooting in the first half. Parmer finished with 14 points. With BYU leading by only two with under 10 seconds to play, Parmer hoisted a three pointer to try and win the game, but Lyday was right in his face and Parmer's attempt went long. Whiting rose high for his third rebound and was fouled. Besides his key free throws, Whiting also made a couple big three pointers to key the Cougar victory. Despite the efforts of BYU's talented trio, New Mexico fought hard. When Marlon Parmer drained a three-pointer to cut BYU's lead to just one it looked liked the Lobos would have a chance to pull out the victory. Wesley was fouled but converted on only one of two free throws. But when Parmer drew iron and Whiting was fouled on the rebound, the Cougars smelled victory. After Whiting's free throw put BYU up four, New Mexico's three-point attempt went long. With the victory BYU advanced to its first NCAA Tournament since 1995.

BYU Victorious Last Year in Provo

PROVO -- BYU defeated New Mexico 65-49 at the Marriott Center. The game began with Terrell Lyday scoring nine of BYU's first 15 points. Wesley joined Lyday in the scoring output, netting 10 of the Cougars next 12 points. Wesley jumped past Kresimir Cosic to eighth on the all-time scoring list at 1,522 points, on a three pointer with 5:20 remaining in the first half. Despite Wesley and Lyday's offensive output, the game was largely a defensive contest. BYU held New Mexico to 23 points in the first half on 40 percent shooting, the second lowest point total for the Lobos since the second game of the season versus Temple. The Cougars ended the first half leading 36-23. New Mexico remained in the game as they opened the second half with an 11-4 run. The run, led by Marlon Parmer, closed BYU's lead to six. BYU reacted quickly, scoring 10 of the game's next 12 points, pushing their lead back to 16 at 52-36. New Mexico coach Fran Fraschilla credited the Cougars defense for the swing. Senior Nate Cooper had a strong night for the Cougars grabbing a season-high 8 rebounds. Welsey led BYU with 21 points while Lyday added 19.

UNM Quick Facts:

General Info

Location: Albuquerque, N.M.

Founded: 1889

Enrollment: 24,250

Nickname: Lobos

Colors: Cherry and Silver

Home Arena: The Pit/Bob King Court (18,018)

Conference: Mountain West

Athletic Director: Rudy Davalos

Basketball Info

Head Coach: Fran Fraschilla

Alma Mater: Brooklyn College (1980)

Best time to call: Contact SID

Office Phone: (505) 925-5750

Overall Record (Years): 173-94 (9th year)

Record at School (Years): 53-35 (3rd year)

Assistant Coaches: Joe Dooley, Darren Savino, Rodney Belcher

2000-2001

Overall Record: 21-13

Conf. Record/Finish: 6-8/T5th

Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: NIT Third Round

2001-2002

Letterman Returning/Lost: 5/5

Starters Returning/Lost: 3/2

Returning Starters (last year's stats)

Ruben Douglas, 6-4, 185, Jr., G (16.3 ppg, 5.8 rpg)

Eric Chatfield, 6-3, 215, Sr., G (12.9 ppg, 3.9 rpg)

**Marlon Parmer, 6-2, 180, Jr., G (11.6 ppg, 4.0 rpg)

**has been dismissed from the team

Media Relations

Basketball Contact: Bryan Satter

Office: (505) 925-5528

Home: (505) 830-9566

Email: bsatter@unm.edu

Fax: (505) 925-5529

Press Row: (505) 925-5988

Athletics Web Site

www.golobos.com

BYU NOTES

Last Outing - BYU Shoots Well but Aztecs Claim Win in San Diego Monday

SAN -- BYU fell to San Diego State, 77-73, at Cox Arena in San Diego Monday night. The loss is the first in Steve Cleveland's career against the Aztecs and is the Cougars' fifth conference road loss and eighth consecutive road loss of the season. BYU (14-8, 4-5) has yet to win a conference road game this season. The Cougars lost despite shooting 51 percent, including 50 percent from beyond the arc (6-12). In a game eerily similar to last Saturday night's loss at UNLV, BYU got down early and just didn't have enough to overcome the deficit. "We never got over the top," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "The effort was certainly more sustained, but we were just never able to get over the hump." The Cougars found an unexpected spark from Dan Howard, who notched career highs in points (8), rebounds (7) and minutes and tied career highs in field goal attempts and field goal percentage. "I think Dan was the critical component for us to get back into the game," Cleveland said. "He actually had energy, he gave us a lift and brought us into the game." "It felt good to get out there and play with someone besides my teammates," added Howard, who has spent much of the season playing on the practice squad for the Cougars. Howard ignited a comeback with his rebound and put-back followed by BYU freshman Jimmy Balderson's lay-in that tied the game for the Cougars 47-47 with 13:37 remaining. SDSU then went on a 5-0 run before Balderson scored again to make the score 52-49 with 12 minutes remaining. A BYU free throw and a three-pointer by Daniel Bobik brought BYU within one, 54-53, as BYU hit 9 of their first 11 shots to start the second half. The Aztecs then went on a 7-2 run capped by a Deandre Moore three-pointer, making the score 61-55. Moore finished the game shooting 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. Despite Nielsen and Bobik layups, BYU still trailed 63-59 before SDSU went on another run to extend its lead, 68-59, on an Al Faux three-pointer. Howard put in two more points, making it 68-62, and ended the scoring for both teams for the next three minutes. SDSU made four foul shots while the Cougars hit two field goals to bring the score to 73-66 with 20 seconds left in the contest. Both teams began the game with solid shooting, connecting on a combined 17-of-22 to start the game. The Cougars hit seven of their first 10 shots while the Aztecs made 10-of-12 from the field. For the rest of the first half, however, the Cougars were only able to connect on four of their 16 attempts and ended the half shooting 11-for-26 (42 percent). BYU went five minutes without a field goal and fell behind 38-27, their biggest deficit of the game. Montague made two three-pointers to tie his career best for three-pointers made in a game. He led the Cougars in scoring in the first half with eight points. Meanwhile, Aztec Holcomb led his team and all scorers with 11 first half points on his way to a double-double (15 pts, 10 rebs). Nielsen paced BYU with 14 points, Montague added 12 and Bigelow 10.

Shooting Numbers

BYU is shooting 49.3 percent in its 14 victories and 44.6 percent in its eight losses. The Cougars are shooting .499 at home and .448 on the road. BYU has shot at least 45 percent in 15 games this year. BYU has shot 50 percent or better five times this year and is making 47.5 percent from the floor overall. BYU is tied for 26th nationally in field goal percentage.

From Three-Point Range

BYU is shooting 39.8 percent on threes (tied for 20th nationally). BYU went 6-12 at SDSU Monday. 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 had 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 50 threes (.427) and made a three in 20 of 22 games this year (including a BYU-record 22 straight games dating back to his freshman season). Travis Hansen has made 26 treys (.426) and Daniel Bobik has made 24 (.381).

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 19 of 22 games and Hansen has been in double-digits in 16 of 22 games. The only game this year when neither player reached double-digit points was at UNM. Bigelow only had 10 and Hansen 7 at SDSU. Hansen had 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 15.7 and Hansen 15.1.

Other Scoring Options

The Cougars have three players scoring in double figure points. After leaders Mark Bigelow (15.7) and Travis Hansen (15.1), senior Eric Nielsen averages 10.3 ppg and has scored a career-high 29 points vs. Stanford. He has scored in double-digits in nine of his last 10 starts and nine of the last 11 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 7.5 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. He had 13 at SDSU Monday.

Perimeter Barometer

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 home games, both wins, the perimeter shooting returned. Bigelow made 15-24 (.625) Hansen 13-21 (.619) and Bobik 2-4 (.500). In the last two road losses at UNLV and SDSU, Hansen was 8-18 (.444), Bigelow 7-19 (.368) and Bobik 4-8 (.500).

Numbers at the Line

BYU is shooting 77.5 percent from the line for the year (tied for third nationally). Last year, BYU led the nation at 78 percent from the line. Since shooting its worst percentage from the line at UNM, making only 7-12 free throws (.583), BYU 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 at 66.7 percent vs. CSU. BYU shot 75 percent at UNLV and SDSU.

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. Jimmy Balderson just had a string of 14 straight makes come to an end at SDSU.

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 most likely to 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. Dan Howard played a career-high 17 minutes at SDSU Monday. With reserve point guard Shawn Opunui out with an injury, BYU suits up 12 players.

Montague is BYU Energizer, Keeps on Going, and Going

Senior point guard Matt Montague averages a team-leading 37.2 minutes per game. While playing nearly the entire game, he is third nationally in assists (7.5), dishing out 164 assists to only 55 turnovers. In MWC play, he averages 7.8 assists, making 70 assists while only commiting 24 turnovers. He leads the league in assist/turnover ratio. He is also averaging a career-best 6.4 ppg and 4.4 rpg.

Streaks

BYU has lost its last two games. BYU has lost eight 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 longest losing streak of the year is three games, its first in Mountain West play and its first three-game slide 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. Including this year, the Cougars have had eight two-game losing streaks since losing the three straight in 1999. BYU's road losses include Utah State (OT), UCSB, Pepperdine (OT), UNM, AFA, Utah UNLV (at the buzzer) and SDSU. 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 longest current streak in the nation after Detriot's 39 straight wins came to an end Monday. Tennessee Tech is second at 25 wins and Gonzaga has won 24 straight at home. BYU is 12-0 this year and was a perfect 15-0 in the Marriott Center last season. BYU's last home loss 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 seven times overall this year but have been out boarded in six of nine MWC games. SDSU had a 31-27 edge Monday and UNLV topped BYU 35-32 last Saturday. Allowing some offensive rebounds late has hurt the Cougars in several close games. BYU's low on the glass was 24 at Utah State, when BYU was out boarded 35-24. BYU has had the rebounding edge in 13 of 22 games, earning a 11-2 record when winning the battle of the boards. Overall, BYU averages 34.0 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 (6.7) and point guard Matt Montague is third at 4.4. Eric Nielsen is second at 4.8. 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 games.

BYU Defense

BYU ranks second in the conference in field goal percentage defense (.417) and three-point percentage defense (.300). 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, CSU 42.6 percent, UNLV 46.7 percent and SDSU 48.2 in the last four games. 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 seven teams have shot better than 45 percent against BYU (Arizona State, .462; Utah State, .509 and New Mexico, .536; AFA, .543; Wyoming, .453; UNLV, .467; SDSU, .482).

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

Senior Eric Nielsen was knocked out momentarily during last Saturday's game at UNLV. He had his lip stitched and a CT scan later that evening proved negative and he had 14 points at SDSU. Matt Montague and Travis Hansen are playing with groin-pull injuries. Hansen also has a deep pull in his hip flexor. Montague also broke his nose during practice on Christmas day. He did not miss any playing time. Nielsen did not start at Air Force due to illness. After playing only four games, reserve point guard Shawn Opunui could likely be out the remainder of the season with torn ligaments in his left thumb. After getting out of a hard cast, he wears a splint and is doing therapy.

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 this Point in Conference Play

BYU was 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. This season, BYU fell to 4-4 with a loss at UNLV. The Cougars enter their 10th league game with a 4-5 record. Last year BYU was 6-3 after nine games and 7-3 after 10 games. In 1999 and 2000, the Cougars were 4-5 before going to 5-5 after 10 games. In 1998, BYU was 2-7 after nine games before falling to 2-8.

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 loss at SDSU, Cleveland's conference (WAC/MWC) record is 31-34. 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. Taking over after BYU's 1-25 season, Cleveland improved BYU's conference record in each of his first four seasons. 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 20-16 (.556) 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 14-8 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 60-28 (.682) in the last three season.

Tough MWC Conference

BYU's seven Mountain West opponents have combined (as of Feb. 13) 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. 13. Five teams have a losing record. Seven of BYU's eight losses (except Air Force) have come against team's with winning records. 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.

Ranked Opponents

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.

Radio/TV

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.

Sagarin Ratings

BYU is currently ranked 53rd and is the third-rated team in the Mountain West Conference in the Sagarin ratings. BYU has the highest rated schedule (27th). The MWC is ranked 7th in the latest ratings (Feb. 13). 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

39 Utah 52

50 Wyoming 148

53 BYU 27

73 UNLV 62

79 San Diego State 49

82 New Mexico 144

128 Colorado State 64

159 Air Force 92

RPI Report

According to the CollegeRPI.com rankings (Feb. 13), BYU is the third-rated MWC team with a 49 RPI. The Mountain West Conference is rated 7th among the 32 conferences (and five independents).

School Collegerpi.com

Utah 19

New Mexico 48

BYU 49

San Diego State 67

UNLV 77

Wyoming 80

Air Force 147

Colorado State 140

BYU in MWC Statistics (as of Feb. 13)

Category All Games Conf. Only

Scoring Offense 5th 5th

Scoring Defense 3rd 3rd

Scoring Margin 3rd 3rd

FT Percentage 1st 1st

FG Percentage T-2nd 3rd

FG % Defense 2nd 4th

3-FG Percentage 2nd 3rd

3-FG % Defense 2nd 4th

Rebound Offense 6th 5th

Rebounding Defense 4th 4th

Rebound Margin 5th 5th

Blocked Shots 7th 5th

Assists 6th 4th

Steals 8th 8th

Turnover Margin 7th 4th

Assist/Turnover Ratio 2nd 2nd

Offensive Rebounds 7th 6th

Defensive Rebounds 2nd 5th

3-FG Made 3rd 4th

Individual (overall games)

• Matt Montague leads the MWC in assists and assist/turnover ratio. He is 9th in defensive rebounds, tied for 9th in steals, 12th in free throw percentage and tied for 15th in rebounding.

• Mark Bigelow 7th in scoring, 5th in free throw percentage, and 4th in three-pointers per game and 7th in three-point percentage.

• Travis Hansen is 8th in scoring, 7th in rebounding, 4th in defensive rebounds, tied for 8th in three-point percentage, tied for 9th in free throw percentage.

• Eric Nielsen is 7th in field goal percentage, tied for 10th in blocks, 11th in defensive rebounds, and 13th in rebounds.

• Daniel Bobik would lead all MWC players in free throw percentage (.921) but doesn't shoot enough to qualify for the rankings. He is 14th in three-point percentage.

• Jared Jensen is No. 1 in FG percentage, is 6th in FT percentage and 13th in off. rebounds.

• Jon Carlisle is 12th in blocked shots.

BYU in National Statistics (as of Feb. 12)

Team

• BYU is tied for 3rd in the nation in free throw shooting percentage (.775), tied for 20th in three-point percentage (.398) and tied for 26th in field goal percentage (.475).

Individual

• Matt Montague is 3rd in assists (7.5) (trailling T. Ford of Texas at 8.7 and Edward Scott, Clemson at 7.9). Daniel Bobik is 8th in free throw percentage (.921).

BYU PLAYER NOTES

MATT MONTAGUE / 6-0 • 190 • senior • point guard

• Montague provides leadership at the point having started 79 times and played in all 114 games in his fourth year. He has led the team in assists during each of his four seasons.

• He averages a MWC-best 7.5 assists, which ranks 3rd nationally. He tops the MWC in assist/turnover ratio. He has 164 assists and 55 turnovers. He has two of the nation's top seven assist games. He had15 assists vs. Wyoming and Idaho. It is the most assists by a Cougar since Mike May set the school record with 16 vs. Niagara in 1976.

• He recorded double-digit assists in back-to-back games for the first time in his career, with 15 (vs. Wyo.) and 11(vs. CSU). He has had 10 or more assists in six games this year and nine times in his career.

• With 12 pts at SDSU Monday, he has reached double figures points in five games this year, including a season-high 13 points at Utah.

• He made a career-best eight free throws to seal the win for BYU vs. Stanford.

• Since grabbing a seven rebounds vs. Stanford, Montague grabbed six or more boards in 8 of the next 10 games, incluidng a season-high 8 rebounds at home vs. SDSU. At 6-foot, he is third on the team in rebounding average at 4.4 but he is averaging 2.5 in the last four games.

• With four turnovers at SDSU, he ended a string of 10 games with 3 or less. He has had only four games with four or more turnovers despite averaging 37.2 minutes and handling the ball the entire game.

TRAVIS HANSEN / 6-6 • 210 • junior • guard/forward

• Hansen played a supporting role in his first season at BYU last year and missed part of the year with injury.

• This year he is BYU's second-leading scorer with a 15.1 average and grabs a team-high 6.7 rebounds per game.

• He ended a string of four games with 17 or more points with 7 points at SDSU Monday, playing a season-low 18 minutes due to foul trouble. He paced the Cougars in scoring over the four games, averaging 19.8 ppg in those games. He has led BYU in scoring eight times overall this year, including 21 points at UNLV last Saturday.

• Hansen rebounded from a season-low 5 points at Air Force with a game-high 22 points at Utah.

• He has reached double-digit points in 16 of 22 games.

• He averaged a double-double against league leaders Utah and Wyoming (20.5 ppg, 10.0 rpg).

• 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.

• 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.

• He played the last two games with deep muscle pulls (groin and hip flexor).

MARK BIGELOW / 6-7 • 190 • sophomore • guard/forward

• 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.

• He leads BYU in scoring at 15.7 ppg and has scored at least 13 points in 18 of 22 games. He has five 20 or more points games this year, including a BYU season-high 31 vs. ASU. He had a string o 14 double-digit games before his season-low four points at UNM. He also had four points at Utah, taking a season-low one three-point attempt.

• 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 slumped to 24-71 (.338) over the next seven games, including 8-32(.250) on threes while averaging 11.7 ppg over that stretch. In the last four games, however, he has shot better, going 22-43 (.512) from the floor and and 11-21 (.524) on threes, averaging 15.5 ppg.

• 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 (0-3). 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 14 games this year, including a career-equaling 5 treys vs. Southern Utah. He had four threes vs. CSU, a conference-season high, in BYU's last home game.

• He averages 18.8 ppg at home, 12.1 away, shooting .500, including .451 on threes at home and .350, .391 away.

ERIC NIELSEN / 6-9 • 215 • senior • forward

• 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 55.3 career field goal percentage (324-586) is fifth all-time at BYU (No. 1 Alan Taylor, .574; No. 2 Gary Trost, .566, No. 3 Jared Miller and Russel Larson, .556). 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 60-28 (.682) record to date, including two postseason tournament berths. He is Academic All-MWC and a Cougar Scholar Athlete.

• Nielsen is third on the team in scoring (10.3 ppg), second in rebounding (4.8 rpg) and field goal percentage (.529).

• He is coming off back-to-back 14 point games. He was forced out of the UNLV game after being knocked out momentary. He has scored in double figures in 9 of the last 11 games. He has reached double digits 13 times this year.

• He was sick and did not start for the first time this year at Air Force, playing 20 minutes with three free throws.

• After scoring a season-low 2 points against Idaho in 25 minutes, taking only two shots, he scored a career-high 29 points vs. Stanford, taking a career-high 16 attempts while making a personal-best 11 shots.

• He has taken 174 shots this year, topping his previous season high of 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 7.9 attempts.

• 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 • 245 • freshman • center

• Jensen earned the 2001 Utah Deseret News Mr. Basketball Award after scoring 25.8 points and pulling down 13 rebounds per game this past season at Fremont High School. With the loss of 2001 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Mekeli Wesley in the post, he has earned the starting center spot.

• He is fourth on the team overall at 9.3 ppg. In MWC games, he is third on the team at 10.6 ppg.

• He is shooting a team-leading and MWC-best 61.3 percent from the floor.

• He has scored in double figures in 11 games this year.

• He played only 15 minutes at SDSU, with 7 pts and 2 blocks. He didn't have a rebound for only the second time.

• He had 12 points at UNLV, tying a career-best six field goals while grabbing a career-best 6 offensive rebounds.

• He went 0-2 from the floor vs. CSU in the last home game, only the third time he has not made a field goal.

• 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.

• He scored a career-high 20 points at AFA after scoring a team-high 15 points at UNM.

• 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 • 205 • sophomore• guard

• 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.

• Bobik is fifth on the team in scoring (7.5). 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.

• He had a career-best 8 rebounds vs. Creighton.

• He played 20 minutes for the first time in the last four games at SDSU. He had seen the fewest minutes of the year in the prior three games, played a season-low 13 minutes vs. CSU after 15 minutes vs. Wyoming in BYU's last two home games. He played 16 minutes at UNLV. He averages 20.8 minutes overall. He played a career-high 33 minutes with 12 points and four rebounds in the season-opener at USD.

• With Eric Nielsen sick, he made his first career start at Air Force, playing 21 minutes, taking only one shot and scoring two points.

• He shoots a MWC-best 92.1 percent (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 • 235 • redshirt sophomore • forward

• 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.

• Jepsen has appeared in every game this year off the bench, joining Bobik as only reserves to play in every game.

• He had three rebounds in only five minutes at SDSU Monday.

• He blocked Brian Greene's shot with seconds left to help BYU preserve its three-point lead over CSU in its last home game. It was his third blocked shot of the year.

• After playing double-digit minutes in five of first seven games, he has only played 10 or more minutes in four of the last 15 games, but played a season-high 22 minutes at UNLV last Saturday (also played 22 minutes at Utah State).

• 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 in Provo. 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.

• His rebound high is 6 vs. Arizona State.

JESSE PINEGAR / 6-9 • 220 • redshirt freshman • forward

• 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.

• Pinegar scored the first points of his collegiate career vs. Southern Utah. He scored with about a minute to play on running one-hand baseline jumper. He played a season-high seven minutes with 1 rebound and 1 assist vs. Fort Lewis in his first career appearance.

• He has not appeared in any conference games.

• 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.

• 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 • 225 • sophomore • center

• The tallest player on the roster, he has a nice touch for a big man. He is a career 13-18 from the floor in his two seasons, including 5-7 this year.

• Howard has appeared in 13 games overall this season.Last year, Howard played in 14 games in limited action.

• He is coming off the best performance of his career. He had career highs in points (8), rebounds (7), steals (1) and minutes (19) and equaled his career bests in field goals (3), field goal attempts (3), field goal percentage (3-3, 1.000), free throws (2), free throw attempts (2) and free throw percentage (2-2, 1.000). While his offensive numbers were good, his biggest contribution was on the defensive end. He was able to significantly slow down SDSU's Randy Holcomb, who had a huge first half for the Aztecs. Howard's action was his first extended minutes in a game still in question since playing a season-high 12 minutes at San Francisco last season.

• He played at SDSU and against CSU and Wyoming in conference play.

• He started the season-opener at USD, the first start of his career. He played seven minutes, with one rebound.

• He played 2 minutes vs. Stanford with one rebound.

• He had 4 points and 5 boards vs. Fort Lewis and had 3 rebounds and 2 blocks vs. Idaho. He played a 13 minutes in each game.

• He has played double-digit minutes three times this year. In those games he averages 14.3 minutes, 4.0 ppg, 5.0 rpg while going 5-6 from the floor and 2-2 from the line.

JON CARLISLE / 6-10 • 250 • sophomore • center

• Carlisle is from Salt Lake City and last played on Utah's Final Four team in 1998 as the primary backup to current Cleveland Cavaliers center Michael Doleac. He averaging 2.4 points and 2.1 rebounds in 10.3 minutes per game.

• He continues to work to get back into playing shape, having 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 more minutes. He has been a spark in the post at times, giving the Cougars a solid effort during his limited time.

• Carlisle has played in 17 games, including the last 16 straight. He has grabbed a rebound in 14 of 17 games and has scored in nine of his 17 games.

• He is 10-20(.500) from the floor.

• He played a season-high 19 minutes vs. Wyoming, scoring a career-high 8 points.

• He has played double-digit minutes four 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.

• He had four points and season-high four boards in 13 minutes at UNM in the first meeting. He also had four rebounds in eight minutes vs. SDSU in Provo. He was BYU's second-leading rebounder vs. SDSU. 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.

JIMMY BALDERSON / 6-6 • 200 • freshman • guard

• Balderson averaged 34 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists at Magrath High School in Alberta, Canada, where he shot 54 percent from the floor and 91 percent from the line. He has excellent range from the three-point line and good size. He plans to leave in the spring on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

• Balderson shoots 52 percent from the floor and 33 percent on threes. Half of his attempts are three-point shots.

• He had 8 points in seven minutes at SDSU Monday. 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 had 4 points at UNLV.

• Balderson has played in 19 games. Since playing 1 minutes against SDSU and UNLV in BYU's first two conference games, he has averaged 9.7 minutes in the last seven league outings, including a season-high 23 minutes at Air Force.

• 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.

• He hit the game-tying trey from the left corner to force overtime at Pepperdine in his only minute of action.

• 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.

• He had a string of 14 consecutive made free throws come to an end at SDSU Monday, going 4-5 from the line. He missed the first of three attempts after being fouled on a three-point attempt with 1.7 seconds remaining.

TERRY NASHIF / 5-10 • 165 • freshman • guard

• Nashif is a freshman who served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after his senior year in 1999 at Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Wash A smart player who can put down the three-pointer, he is an excellent distributor of the ball.

• Nashif is the only true point guard backing up Matt Montague since the loss of Shawn Opunui to injury.

• With starter Matt Montague playing nearly the entire game, Nashif has usually only seen very limited action.

• He has played in 15 games, but has played only one minute in six of those games. He has appeared in11 of 14 games since Opunui's last action.

• 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.

• He recorded a career-high 3 points, going 3-6 from the line, playing five minutes vs. CSUN .

• He played four minutes at UNL and at SDSU. His last five appearances are all on the road. He hasn't played in a home game since the UNLV victory on Jan. 15.

SHAWN OPUNUI / 5-11 • 170 • freshman • point guard

• 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.

• He played in four games.

• His only significant playing time was against Fort Lewis when he played 20 minutes. It was his first action in three games after injuring his thumb at Utah State. He dished out a career-best 10 assists and had career highs with six points, four rebounds and three steals. He had six assists in the first half in only seven minutes.

• 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 (81-65 (.556)

Steve Cleveland is in his fifth season at the helm of the Cougars. In his five years 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.

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