BYU (15-8, 5-5 MWC) will try to extend the nation's longest home court victory streak while seeking to avenge an earlier loss at Air Force when it hosts the Falcons (9-13, 3-6) Monday in a late 8:30 p.m. MST start. The Cougars have won 33 straight games in the Marriott Center since their last home loss on Feb. 17, 2000 when the Lobos edged the Cougars 78-74. Air Force has split its last two games, defeating New Mexico before losing at Utah Saturday. The game will be taped-delay broadcast on KUWB-30 at 9 p.m.
BYU hosts rival Utah Saturday at 1 p.m. in the featured MWC ESPN+Plus contest. Tickets to the BYU vs. Utah game 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 available.
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 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. 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).
GAME FACTS (BYU Game 24)
BYU (15-8, 5-5) vs. Air Force (9-13, 3-6)
Monday, Feb. 18, 2002
Marriott Center [22,700]
8:37 p.m. MST
BYU, Steve Cleveland (82-65 in fifth year; same overall)
AFA, Joe Scott (17-34 in second year; same overall)
BYU leads, 38-8
SportsWest Productions (delayed on KUWB-30 in SLC)
Air Time: 9 p.m. MST -- (TAPED DELAY)
Play-by-Play: Craig Bolerjack
Game Analyst: Blaine Fowler
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time - 7:30 p.m. MST
Play-by-Play: Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst: Mark Durrant
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 2.8
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 10.3 4.8
C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. 9.2 3.6
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 15.3 6.6
G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 6.3 7.5 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 205 So. 7.2 2.6
G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. 4.5 1.6
C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 250 So. 2.0 1.7
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. 1.1 1.7
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 1.3 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 Air Force
Air Force (9-13, 3-6 MWC) has gone 3-3 in its last six outings, which began with its 74-64 win over BYU in Colorado Springs. In that win the Falcons shot the highest percentage yielded by BYU this year (.543). The Falcons lost a close game at Utah on Saturday, 59-51, despite leading for most of the game. They have played well while suffering some tough losses in conference play, including an 83-76 quadruple overtime loss at Wyoming, a 63-57 overtime loss to Utah and three-point setbacks at Colorado State (60-57) and at New Mexico (50-47). In addition to its win over BYU, AFA has home MWC wins over San Diego State (67-54) and New Mexico (47-44). The Falcons have already surpassed the eight overall wins and equaled the three conference victories they achieved last year in coach Joe Scott's first season at the Academy. The Falcons returned 10 lettermen and four starters from last year's 8-21, 3-11 team. The Falcons are 0-4 on the road in conference play but have four road/neutral court wins this year in 13 games. The Falcons a 2-9 in an opponent's arena and 2-0 on a neutral floor. AFA's four wins away from Clune Arena is the most in one season since 1989-90 (two of those wins came in the WAC tournament). The Falcons have won twice on the road for the first time since 1998-99. Their victory over Northern Arizona (57-56) is its first road win over a team with a winning record since beating Navy 64-63 on Nov. 30, 1997. In nonconference, they have wins over Denver (52-44) and Arkansas State (67-63 OT) Yale (68-62), Montana State (70-65), Liberty (66-54) and Northern Arizona (57-56). The Falcons split their first eight games of the year, alternating wins and losses, before suffering two straight losses for the first time when a loss at Denver on Dec. 12. followed their loss to Oakland. The Falcons longest losing streak of the year is four and its longest winning string of two was just ended Saturday at Utah. AFA's back-to-back conference wins was the first time since 1995 that they have won two straight league games. They have won three straight conference games at home for the first time since 1989. Lamoni Yazzie (6-1, 180, Sr., G) leads the Falcons in scoring at 12.8, followed by Joel Gerlach (6-6, 195, So., F) at 11.8 and Tom Bellaires (6-7, 230, Jr., F/C) at 10.5. Another returning starter, Vernard Jenkins (5-9, 184, Jr., G) has a team-leading 54 assists. Bellairs pulls down a team-best 5.6 rebounds per game. The Falcons have attempted 440 three-point shots in 22 games (20 treys per game). They make 7.7 threes per game on average, shooting 38.6 percent from behind the arc. Yazzie has made a team-best 50 three-pointers (2.3 per game). Gerlach (.481), Bellairs (.425) and Tim Keller (.415) and shoot better than 40 percent from long range, making 26, 17 and 27 threes, respectively. A.J. Kuhle has made 29 threes at a 36.3 percent clip. As a team, Air Force shoots 47.1 percent from the floor, 38.6 percent on threes, and 70 percent from the line. They average only 22.3 rebounds while allowing 29.4. Air Force is averaging 58.0 points and allowing 61.5. Teams have shot 47 percent against the Falcons, but only 31.5 percent on threes. (Sophomore Robert Todd (7.1 ppg) was suspended and then left the team this year after eight games).
AIR FORCE PROBABLE STARTERS
No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. PPG RPG
33 Joel Gerlach F 6-6 195 11.8 3.4
32 Tom Bellairs C 6-7 230 10.5 5.6
12 Lamoni Yazzie G 6-1 180 12.8 2.2
10 A.J. Kuhle G 6-3 185 7.8 2.8
22 Vernard Jenkins G 5-9 180 4.0 2.0
AFA defeated BYU at Clune Arena in January to end a BYU four-game winning streak in the series. AFA has never won back-to-back games in the series since its first game in 1963. BYU has won five of the last eight outings since winning a series-best 15 straight over the Falcons from 1990-96. BYU has won the last 10 games in the Marriott Center since a 79-78 Falcon win in 1989 (Cleveland is 3-0 in Provo). Air Force has won three of the last four at USAFA (Cleveland is 1-3 at Air Force). BYU won three times last year vs. the Falcons.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 38-8
BYU Record in Provo: 18-3
BYU Record at The Academy: 17-5
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 3-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 5-3
Longest BYU Win Streak: 15 (1990-96)
Longest Air Force Win Streak: 1
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 35, 103-68 in 1993
Largest Air Force Margin of Victory: 19, 61-80 in 1998
Most Points Scored by BYU: 110 in 1965
Most Points Scored by Air Force: 93 in 1987
Cougars 3-Point Bombed by Air Force in 74-64 Loss in First 2002 Meeting
USAFA -- BYU was blind-sided by a hungry Air Force team in a 74-64 loss at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. The Falcons began the game with a full-court press and bombarded the Cougars with 13 three-pointers on their way to their first conference win of the season. "Why we would come out and play with this kind of energy, I'm not sure," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "Not only was there a lack of defensive intensity, but there was also a lack of defensive court sense and awareness." Air Force (7-10, 1-3) put BYU on its heels early with its fast and furious long-range shooting, dropping seven three-pointers on the Cougars in the first half alone. Tim Keller came off the bench to burn Brigham Young with 5-of-5 three-point shooting in the first half. "It was like a clinic for them," Cleveland said. "Once they got their confidence, then they could make their threes even when they were contested." BYU (12-5, 2-2) actually shot better percentages in all shooting categories in the first half, going 10-15 from the floor and 3-5 from beyond the three-point arc. But the Falcons shot nearly twice as much as the Cougars. The Falcons went 16-29 from the field, including 9-16 three-point shooting in the first half. At the start of the second half, the Cougars turned to Jared Jensen. Jensen scored seven of BYU's first nine points as BYU rallied back early in the second half. For the game, Jensen notched game highs in scoring with 20 points and seven rebounds. The freshman center's 20 points is a career high. BYU freshman guard Jimmy Balderson also made an impact, scoring 14 points and grabbing 6 rebounds off the bench for the Cougars. His 14 points is the most he has scored against a division one opponent. Balderson recorded career highs in three-pointers made and attempted with 2-of-6 shooting from beyond the arc. "I thought Jimmy Balderson came off the bench and earned the right to play, and that's what he did," said Cleveland. "He gave us a huge lift." But their efforts would not be enough to stop the scrappy Falcons -- a team that lost its last two games to Utah in overtime and to New Mexico by three points. "We'd already given them all their confidence in the first half. They were hungry. They found a way to win tonight and we did not," Cleveland said. "We didn't have the energy until the last eight or nine minutes." Two true freshmen scored more than half of BYU's points with Jensen's 20 points and Balderson's 14 points.The Cougars made 19-of-23 (82.6%) shots from the stripe. BYU's shooting guards struggled. Travis Hansen fouled out with five points on 2-of-7 shooting. In his first career start, sixth man Daniel Bobik took and made only one shot.
BYU Defeated Falcons in Last Year's MWC Tournament Opener
LAS -- Terrell Lyday scored 25 points to lead BYU to a win over Air Force, 69-54, in the Cougars' MWC tournament opener. The Cougars played the Falcons in back-to-back contests, having just played in Colorado Springs to finish the regular season. Trent Whiting added 17 and Mekeli Wesley 13 as BYU shot 51 percent from the field and 60 percent on threes (9-16). Air Force also shot well, making 52 percent overall and 50 percent on threes. Matt Montague started for the third time vs. the Falcons, playing 37 minutes while going 2-2 from the floor (5 points, 4 rebounds). Once again, Montague provided a spark at the end of the half but BYU trailed 31-25 going into the break. The Cougars put the clamps on Air Force in the second half, allowing only 22 points. Meanwhile BYU's offense found the mark, scoring 44 points while shooting 58 percent from the floor and making 6-7 three-point attempts. Lamoni Yazzie hit two threes and led Air Force with 12 points.
BYU Got Out to Early Lead, Defeated Air Force Last Time in Provo
PROVO -- BYU utilized a stingy defense and a hot hand from senior guard Terrell Lyday to defeat Air Force 62-45 in the Marriott Center. The Falcons began the game missing their first 10 field goal attempts as the Cougars scored 15 unanswered points. The Cougar charge was led by Lyday who had 10 points before the Falcons found the bottom of the net. Air Force coach Joe Scott cited the Falcons scoring drought as a reason for the lackluster performance. "This game was won in the first six minutes," Scott said. "If you want to win a game on the road, you have to go out and take it. We just let them have it in the beginning." Despite the slow start, the Falcons stayed in the game by playing some defense of their own and by taking advantage of the Cougars' 10 first half turnovers. "It was evident that our impatience led to too many turnovers," coach Steve Cleveland said. "They were just silly turnovers. Air Force is not an easy team to play against and we can't play like that to win." The Falcons first half hopes rested on the shoulders of Lamoni Yazzie, as he scored 8 points, including 2 of 3 from the three point line. Air Force fought back into the game early in the second half with a 7-3 run to open the second period, this time led by sophomore center Tom Bellairs. The Falcons closed the gap to just 8 points at 32-24. Scott felt the Falcons' effort was vital to keeping it close. "I can't question my guys on their effort and their alertness on defense," Scott said. "We're playing pretty good defense. Now, our offense has to get up to where it matches our defense." The Cougars responded in the second half by posting a 15-5 run of their own, with buckets from Mekeli Wesley, Trent Whiting and Lyday, along with two free throws from junior guard Matt Montague. The run put the Falcons away for the night, with the teams exchanging buckets and fouls for the final ten minutes. Cleveland commented on the Air Force scheme. "Its hard to get any kind of rhythm or flow against these guys [Air Force]," Cleveland said. "You just never feel comfortable playing that system, at either end of the floor and you don't know what you're going to get." Lyday led the Cougars with 22 points on 8 for 13 shooting to pace the Cougars. The Cougars other two leading scores, Whiting and Wesley added 11 and 9 respectively. Meanwhile, Bellairs scored a career high 18 points, including 10 for 11 shooting from the free throw line. Yazzie was the only other Falcon in double figures at 11 and shooting 60 percent from behind the arc.
AFA Quick Facts:
Location: USAF Academy, Colo.
Colors: Blue and Silver
Home Arena: Clune Arena (6,002)
Conference: Mountain West
Athletic Director: Col. Randall Spetman
Head Coach: Joe Scott
Alma Mater: Princeton University (1987)
Office Phone: (719) 333-3039
Overall Record (Years): 17-34 (2nd year)
Record at School (Years): same
Assistant Coaches: Chris Mooney, Mike McKee, Larry Mangino, Maj. Jon Jordan
Overall Record: 8-21
Conf. Record/Finish: 3-11/8th
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: NA
Letterman Returning/Lost: 10/4
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1
Returning Starters (last year's stats)
Lamoni Yazzie, 6-1, 180, Sr., G (8.8 ppg, 2.2 rpg)
Tom Bellairs, 6-7, 230, Jr., F/C (9.7 ppg, 7.3 rpg)
Vernard Jenkins, 5-9, 184, Jr., G (6.7 ppg, 3.8 apg)
Joel Gerlach, 6-6, 195, So., F (8.6 ppg, 2.1 rpg)
Basketball Contact: Jerry Cross
Office: (719) 333-3950
Home: (719) 473-8704
Fax: (719) 333-3798
Athletics Web Site
Last Outing - BYU Battles Back to Defeat New Mexico Saturday
PROVO -- BYU came out on top over New Mexico 68-62 at the Marriott Center Saturday afternoon in a seesaw battle that saw the Cougars repeatedly battle back from behind to win their 33rd straight home game. The last team to beat BYU at home was the Lobos, who did so almost two years ago to the day when New Mexico won 78-74 on Feb. 17, 2000 Down 51-39 with 13 minutes remaining in the game, BYU went on a tear outscoring the Lobos 29-11 to come away with the victory. Before today's victory, BYU had never come back to win a game when trailing with five minutes left (0-6 for the season before today). New Mexico led 57-53 with five minutes remaining today. "This game said something about the character of the team," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "I told our players after the game that this may be the most gratifying win of the season." "We knew they would make a run on us and they did," said New Mexico head coach Fran Fraschilla. "It's a game where we knew we wouldn't be able to blow them out." Cougar Travis Hansen led the comeback, scoring 14 in the second half to finish with a game-high 20 points. This is his sixth 20-point game this season but it is the first time he has scored 20 or more points since the Utah game Jan. 28 in Salt Lake. Hansen also spurred his teammates on with four assists, one shy of his career high of five that he set last year against UNLV. Mark Bigelow also came around in the second half as he scored 10 points in the last period. He finished with 14 points, marking his fifth consecutive game in double figures. "I was really pleased with the way Travis and Mark made big baskets toward the end. We played really, really intelligent ball in the last minutes of the game," Cleveland said. In contrast to Hansen and Bigelow, Eric Nielsen led all scorers at the half with 10 points but didn't score at all in the second and only took one shot. The Cougars as a team shot 49 percent from the field but only 20 percent from three-point range for the game. Matt Montague led all players with eight assists as he continues to be a national leader in assists per game (apg). He averages 7. 5 apg which is good for third nationally. Cougar center Dan Howard again provided solid play off the bench, scoring three points and grabbing two rebounds in 12 minutes of play. Against SDSU, Howard had eight points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes, making this back-to-back performance the most impressive of his career. The outcome of the game was never clear as each team scored in spurts. Down 7-4, BYU went on a 10-3 run to go up 14-10 with 12:27 left in the first half. New Mexico then went on an 11-4 run to make the score 21-18 at the 6:31 mark of the first half. Another Cougar run, 7-4, brought them into the lead, 25-24, before the teams ultimately ended the half in a tie, 34-34. New Mexico started the second half with a 17-5 run of their own to make the score 51-39 with 13 minutes left in the game. From there, BYU battled back with their impressive run of 29-11 to defeat the Lobos for the fifth time in six meetings. The win gives the Cougars a split with New Mexico for the season as BYU lost 73-58 down at The Pit in Albuquerque Jan. 19.
BYU's record when . . .
BYU leads at half 11-4
Opponent leads at half 2-4
Score tied at half 2-0
BYU leads with 5 minutes left 14-2
Opponent leads with 5 min. left 1-6
BYU leads with 1 minute left 15-0
Opponent leads with 1 min. left 0-7
Score tied with 1 minute left 0-1
Game goes into overtime 0-2
BYU out rebounds opponent 11-2
Opponent out rebounds BYU 3-5
BYU and opponent tie in rebounds 1-1
BYU shoots 50 % or better 4-1
Opponent shoots 50 % or better 0-3
BYU out shoots opponent 13-3
Opponent out shoots BYU 2-5
BYU scores 60 or more points 14-6
Opponent scores below 60 points 9-0
BYU is shooting 49.3 percent in its 15 victories and 44.6 percent in its eight losses. The Cougars are shooting .498 at home and .448 on the road. BYU has shot at least 45 percent in 16 games this year. BYU has shot 50 percent or better five times this year and is making 47.6 percent from the floor overall. BYU is tied for 24th nationally in field goal percentage.
From Three-Point Range
BYU is shooting 39.2 percent on threes (tied for 25th nationally). BYU made a season-low two threes Saturday vs. UNM, going 2-10, to end a string of six straight games with at least five threes. That string started at AFA (5-16). BYU was 6-12 at SDSU last Monday. BYU's 57.1 percent from three-point range vs. Wyoming was its second highest mark from downtown this season. BYU equaled a season-high 11 treys vs. Southern Utah on Dec. 29. 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 (.413) and made a three in 20 of 23 games this year (including a BYU-record 22 straight games dating back to his freshman season). Travis Hansen has made 26 treys (.419) and Daniel Bobik has made 24 (.381).
One-Two Scoring Punch
Mark Bigelow and Travis Hansen are BYU's 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 20 of 23 games and Hansen has been in double-digits in 17 of 23 games. The only game this year when neither player reached double-digit points was at UNM. Hansen had 20 and Bigelow 14 vs. UNM Saturday. Hansen rebounded with 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 15.3.
Other Scoring Options
The Cougars have three players scoring in double figure points. After leaders Mark Bigelow (15.7) and Travis Hansen (15.3), senior Eric Nielsen averages 10.3 ppg and has scored a career-high 29 points vs. Stanford. He has scored in double-digits in 10 of his last 11 starts and 10 of the last 12 games. In addition, freshman center Jared Jensen is averaging 9.2 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 12 at SDSU last Monday.
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). There shooting touch returned with home wins over Wyoming and CSU as Bigelow made 15-24 (.625) Hansen 13-21 (.619) and Bobik 2-4 (.500). Including Saturday's win over UNM, Bigelow and Hansen are both 20-34 (.588) in the last three home games since their mid-season slump. In wins this year, Bigelow is shooting .486 and averaging 17.5 ppg, Hansen .469 and 14.6 ppg and Bobik .413 and 7.2 ppg. In losses, Bigelow's number drop to .346 and 12.1 ppg while Hansen's percentage falls to .419 but his average is up to team-leading 16.6 ppg. Bobik has shot better in losses (.440) with similar average (7.1 ppg).
Numbers at the Line
BYU is shooting 77.5 percent from the line for the year (4th 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 and 78.3 vs. UNM.
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 this year until missing on his fourth attempt at home vs. SDSU. Bobik is 10th nationally at 92.1 percent. Jimmy Balderson 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 37.3 minutes per outing. Forward Bart Jepsen and guard Daniel Bobik are the only reserves to play in every game. Jon Carlisle and Dan Howard have been seeing some time in the post and Jimmy Balderson on the perimeter. Dan Howard played a career-high 17 minutes at SDSU Monday and 12 vs. UNM Saturday. 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 37.3 minutes per game. While playing nearly the entire game, he tied for 2nd nationally in assists (7.5), dishing out 172 assists to only 58 turnovers. In MWC play, he averages 7.8 assists, making 78 assists while only commiting 27 turnovers. He leads the league in assist/turnover ratio. He is also averaging a career-best 6.3 ppg and 4.2 rpg.
BYU won its last game to end a two-game skid. 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 nine 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 33 consecutive home games.
Home Winning Streak
BYU has a 33-game home court winning streak. The streak, which is a school record topping the 24 straight won between March 1994 and January 1996, is the longest current streak in the nation after Detriot's 39 straight wins came to an end last Monday. Gonzaga and Tennessee Tech are second at 26 straight at home. BYU is 13-0 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 15 straight at home over MWC teams.
Hitting the Glass
BYU has had the rebounding edge in 13 of 23 games, earning a 11-2 record when winning the battle of the boards. Overall, BYU averages 33.7 rebounds while its opponents grab on average 30.9.The Cougars have been out rebounded eight times overall this year (3-5 in those games). BYU has been out boarded in seven of 10 MWC games. BYU got some key rebounds late vs. UNM Saturday to help seal its comeback despite being out boarded 32-25. Allowing some offensive rebounds late had hurt the Cougars in recent close losses. BYU's low on the glass was 23 at Air Force. BYU out boarded Fort Lewis, 47-17, for its season high. 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. Shooting guard Travis Hansen leads the team (6.6) and point guard Matt Montague is third at 4.2. Forward 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 ranks second in the conference in field goal percentage defense (.419) and three-point percentage defense (.300) and third in scoring defense (64.7). 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 and UNM 45.3 in the last five games. Only three teams have shot better than 50 percent against BYU (at AFA, .543; at New Mexico, .536; at Utah State, .509). The Cougars have held nine opponents this year below 40 percent shooting while eight teams have shot better than 45 percent against BYU.
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
The last time BYU was 5-5 in conference play was in 2000 and 1999. BYU was 7-3 last year. The Cougars were 5-6 after 11 games in both 1999 and 2000 and 8-3 last year.
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 UNM, Cleveland's conference (WAC/MWC) record is 32-34. Cleveland reached a .500 mark with the UNLV win in Provo before three conference road losses at New Mexico, Air Force and Utah. 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 was the first time since a 2-2 mark 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 21-16 (.568) 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 15-8 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 61-28 (.685) in the last three seasons.
Tough MWC Conference
BYU's seven Mountain West opponents have combined (as of Feb. 17) 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, 14 have winning records as of Feb. 17. Six 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 60.3 percent of their games with the nonconference teams having won 60 percent and MWC teams 62 percent.
BYU Opponent 2001-02 Records (as of Feb. 17)
Nonconference teams ....
San Diego 14-11
Arizona State 14-10
UC Santa Barbara 15-8
Utah State 20-4
Weber State 16-8
Ft. Lewis 16-8
CS Northridge 8-15
Southern Utah 10-14
San Francisco 12-13
Total nonconference opponents - (.598) 186-125
MWC teams ...
San Diego State 15-10
New Mexico 14-9
Air Force 9-13
Colorado State 10-14
Total record MWC opponents - (.624) 103-65
Total record all opponents - (.603) 289-190
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 6-4 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 , Wyoming and New Mexico.
BYU's win this year over then No. 13 Stanford in Las Vegas was the Cougars' first win over a top-20 team since upsetting No. 15 New Mexico (83-62)i n The Pit in February 1998. Last year BYU lost to No. 13 USC, 70-67, at the Yahoo Sports Invitational in Laie, Hawaii, after leading by 18 at the half, 41-23. BYU played at No. 4 Arizona on Dec. 1, 1999 but lost 86-62 after a late Arizona run in the final eight minutes. BYU took No. 11 Arizona to overtime in Provo on Nov. 24, 1998, before losing 78-74. BYU nearly won in regulation, but Arizona's Jason Terry hit a three-pointer to send the game to overtime.
All BYU games will be carried live on the Cougar Sports Radio Network, originating from KSL Newsradio 1160 AM in Salt Lake City. BYU is featured six times this season in the Mountain West television package with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Regional Television (ESPN+Plus) and ABC. The Cougars play twice on ESPN and four times on ESPN+Plus. An additional 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 (as of Feb. 17)
BYU is currently ranked 51st and is the third-rated team in the Mountain West Conference in the Sagarin ratings. BYU has the highest rated schedule (35th). The MWC is the 7th ranked conference. 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 58
48 Wyoming 139
51 BYU 35
73 San Diego State 51
75 UNLV 68
83 New Mexico 121
140 Colorado State 76
155 Air Force 72
RPI Report (as of Feb. 17)
According to the CollegeRPI.com rankings, BYU is ranked 37th nationally in RPI, the second-rated MWC team behind Utah at 19. The Mountain West Conference is rated 7th among the 32 conferences (and five independents).
New Mexico 52
San Diego State 63
Air Force 146
Colorado State 155
BYU in MWC Statistics (as of Feb. 17)
Category Overall 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 3rd
3-FG Percentage 2nd 3rd
3-FG % Defense 2nd 3rd
Rebound Offense T-5th 5th
Rebounding Def. 4th 5th
Rebound Margin 5th 6th
Blocked Shots 6th 5th
Assists T-5th 3rd
Steals 8th 8th
Turnover Margin 6th 3rd
Assist/TO Ratio 1st 1st
Offensive Reb. 7th 6th
Defensive Reb. 2nd 5th
3-FG Made 4th T-4th
Individuals in MWC Statistics (overall games)
Â• Matt Montague leads the MWC in assists and assist/turnover ratio. He is tied for 9th in defensive rebounds, tied for 9th in steals, 11th in free throw percentage and tied for 17th in rebounding.
Â• Mark Bigelow 7th in scoring, 5th in free throw percentage, and 4th in three-pointers per game and 10th in three-point percentage.
Â• Travis Hansen is 8th in scoring, 7th in rebounding, 4th in defensive rebounds, tied for 7th in three-point percentage, tied for 9th in free throw percentage.
Â• Eric Nielsen is 7th in field goal percentage, tied for 10th in blocks, tied for 9th in defensive rebounds, and 13th 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. He is 14th in three-point percentage.
Â• Jared Jensen is No. 1 in FG percentage, is 6th in FT percentage and 14th in off. rebounds.
Â• Jon Carlisle is 12th in blocked shots.
BYU in National Statistics (as of Feb. 17)
Â• BYU is 4th in the nation in free throw shooting percentage (.775), tied for 24th in field goal percentage (.476), and tied for 25th in three-point percentage (.392).
Â• Matt Montague is tied for 2nd in assists (7.5) (T.J. Ford, Texas,8.7; Edward Scott, Clemson, 7.5). Daniel Bobik is 10th in free throw percentage (.921). Jared Jensen is 21st in FG percentage (.610).
BYU PLAYER NOTES
MATT MONTAGUE / 6-0 Â• 190 Â• senior Â• point guard
Â• Montague provides leadership at the point having started 80 times and played in all 115 games in his fourth year. He has led the team in assists during each of his four seasons.
Â• He averages a MWC-best 7.5 assists, which ranks 2nd nationally. He tops the MWC in assist/turnover ratio. He has 172 assists and 58 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.
Â• 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.
Â• With 12 pts at SDSU last Monday, he has reached double figures points in five games this year, including a season-high 13 points at Utah.
Â• He made a career-best eight free throws to seal the win for BYU vs. Stanford.
Â• Since grabbing 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 4.2 but he hasn't had more than 3 boards in the last five games.
Â• 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 37.3 minutes and handling the ball the entire game.
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 and missed part of the year with injury.
Â• This year he is BYU's second-leading scorer with a 15.3 average and grabs a team-high 6.6 rebounds per game.
Â• He had 20 points vs. UNM and has scored 17 or more in five of the last six games, including three games with 20 or more points. The exception was his 7 points at SDSU last Monday, where he played a season-low 18 minutes due to foul trouble.
Â• He has led BYU in scoring nine times overall this year, including 20 vs. UNM 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 17 of 23 games.
Â• He averaged a double-double against league leaders 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• He played the last two games with deep muscle pulls (groin and hip flexor).
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 leads BYU in scoring at 15.7 ppg and has scored at least 13 points in 19 of 23 games. He has five 20 or more points games this year, including a BYU season-high 31 vs. ASU. He had a string of 14 straight double-digit games before his season-low 4 points at UNM. He also had 4 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, 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. He rebounded vs. Wyoming going 8-12 for 19 points. In the last five games, starting with Wyoming, he has continued to shoot better, going 27-53 (.509) from the floor and and 11-25 (.444) on threes, averaging 15.2 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 (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 single-season mark, 21 games in 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. He is 0-7 on threes vs. UNM -- two of only three games he hasn't made a trey.
Â• He averages 18.4 ppg at home, shooting .500, including .427 on threes; and 12.1 ppg and .350, .391 away.
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 55.2 career field goal percentage (328-594) 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 61-28 (.685) 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 (10.3 ppg), second in rebounding (4.8 rpg) and field goal percentage (.527).
Â• He is averaging 12.6 ppg in the last three outings. He was forced out at UNLV after being knocked out momentary. Â• He has scored in double figures in 10 of the last 12 games. He has reached double digits 14 times this year.
Â• He was sick and did not start for the first time this year at Air Force, playing 20 minutes with three free throws.
Â• 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 has taken 182 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.
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).
Â• He missed his only start at Air Force because he was ill. He did not attempt a shot for only time this year (3 pts).
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 9.2 ppg. In MWC games, he is tied for third on the team at 10.2 ppg.
Â• He shoots a team-leading and MWC-best 61.0 percent (21st nationally). He has 11 double figure games this year.
Â• He has played 20 or more minutes in 13 games. After 8 straight 20-plus minute outings, he played a season-low 7 minutes at Utah and has only had one 20-minute game in the last six contests. He had 7 pts in 17 minutes vs. UNM.
Â• He tied a career-best six field goals while grabbing a career-best 6 offensive rebounds at UNLV (12 points).
Â• He has failed to make a field goal three times this year (at Pepperdine, at Utah an vs. CSU). 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 (first time was at Pepperdine).
Â• He had perhaps the best game of his young career at Air Force when he scored a career-high 20 points, going 6-10 from the floor and 8-9 from the line. He also added 7 rebounds and 2 steals.
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 (7.2). 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 played 20 minutes for the first time in the last four games at SDSU, but played a season-low 8 minutes Saturday vs. UNM. He had seen the fewest minutes of the year in recent games. He played 13 minutes vs. CSU after 15 minutes vs. Wyoming in BYU's prior two-game homestand. He played 16 minutes at UNLV. He averages 20.2 minutes overall. He played a career-high 33 minutes with 12 points and four rebounds in the season-opener at USD.
Â• He did not take a shot for the first time this year in his season-low 8 minutes Saturday vs. UNM.
Â• Five of his seven double figures games have been on the road, including 12 at USD, 10 vs. Stanford in two wins.
Â• With Eric Nielsen sick, he got his only start at Air Force, playing 21 minutes, taking only 1 shot, scoring 2 points.
Â• He shoots a MWC-best 92.1 percent (10th nationally) from the line and had a string of 27 straight free throws until missing his last attempt at Utah (all-time BYU record is 32 by Michael Smith). Bobik's free throw string extended over 17 games (began vs. ASU). He set career bests in all three free throw categories, going 8-8 vs. CS 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 had 2 points on a dunk in only 4 minutes Saturday vs. UNM and three rebounds in only five minutes at SDSU last Monday.
Â• He blocked Brian Greene's shot with seconds left to help BYU preserve its three-point lead over CSU at home. 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 four of the last 16 games, but played a season-high 22 minutes at UNLV last Saturday (also played 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 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.
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, consequently, will likely not factor into any 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. He is a career 14-19 from the floor in his two seasons, including 6-8 this year.
Â• Howard has appeared in 14 games overall this season. Last year, Howard also played in 14 games in limited action.
Â• He has played his most significant time in the last two games. He played 12 minutes, including a nice tip-in follow to help BYU come back on UNM Saturday. Last Monday at SDSU 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 in the past two games is his first extended minutes in games still in question since playing a season-high 12 minutes at San Francisco last season.
Â• In conference play, he appeared against CSU and Wyoming in addition to SDSU and UNM games.
Â• He started the season-opener at USD, the only 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. He played a 13 minutes in each game.
Â• He has played double-digit minutes four times this year. In those games he averages 13.8 minutes, 3.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg while going 6-7 from the floor and 3-4 from the line.
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 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.
Â• Carlisle has played in 18 games, including the last 17 straight. He has grabbed a rebound in 15 of 18 games and has scored in 10 of his 18 games.
Â• He is 12-24(.500) from the floor.
Â• After three straight scoreless games, he scored 5 points and had 2 rebounds in 8 minutes vs. UNM Saturday. He recorded his first steal of the year and equaled a season-high 4 field goal attempts.
Â• He played a season-high 19 minutes vs. Wyoming, scoring a career-high 8 points.
Â• 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.
Â• He had four points and season-high four boards in 13 minutes at UNM in Albuquerque. 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 Â• 200 Â• freshman Â• guard
Â• 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.
Â• Balderson shoots 51 percent from the floor and 32 percent on threes. Almost half of his attempts are three-pointers.
Â• He had 8 points in seven minutes at SDSU last 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.
Â• Balderson has played in 20 games. He played a season-high 23 minutes at Air Force, with 14 points, 6 rebounds. His 14 points at Air Force is his highest total vs. a Division I team.
Â• He has reached double figures three times. In addition to 14 points at AFA, 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.
Â• He had a string of 14 consecutive made free throws come to an end at SDSU last 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 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 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 15 games, but has played only one minute in six of those games.
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 recorded a career-high 3 points, going 3-6 from the line, playing five minutes vs. CSUN .
Â• He played four minutes at UNLV 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 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 (82-65 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.