BYU Hosts First Place Utah Saturday at 1 p.m.
BYU (16-8, 6-5 MWC) seeks to complete its second straight 15-0 season at home when it hosts Mountain West Conference-leader Utah (19-5, 9-2) Saturday at 1 p.m. MST in the Marriott Center. The Cougars have won 34 straight games in Provo, the nation's longest home court winning streak. Saturday's contest will be the final home game for BYU seniors Matt Montague and Eric Nielsen. Both players will be honored in a ceremony before the game.
BYU completes the Mountain West Conference regular season on the road at Wyoming Thursday and at Colorado State Saturday.
Tickets Still Available
Tickets for Saturday's game are still available. Bench seats above concourse are $12. Chair seats above concourse are $15. Students with a BYU All-Sport card can use their card to obtain a ticket or students without the All-Sport Card can purchase tickets for $8 with a valid student ID. Students must be ticketed to get into the game and seating is limited. Tickets can be obtained at the Marriott Center Ticket Office or by calling 1-800-322-BYU1 or 378-BYU1.
Regular Parking Lots Open Saturday
With the completion of the Olympic hockey competition at The Peaks, BYU will have all of its regular event parking lots available for Saturday's game with Utah.
GAME FACTS (BYU Game 25)
BYU (16-8, 6-5) vs. Utah (19-5, 9-2)
Saturday, Feb. 23, 2002
Marriott Center [22,700]
1:05 p.m. MST
BYU, Steve Cleveland (83-65 in fifth year; same overall)
Utah, Rick Majerus (280-78 in 13th year; 381-130 in 18th year overall)
Utah leads, 116-115
ESPN+Plus (KJZZ, channel 14, in SLC)
Air Time: 1 p.m. MST
Play-by-Play: Rich Waltz
Game Analyst: Irv Brown
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. 15.1 2.9
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 10.0 5.0
C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. 9.4 3.5
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 15.5 6.5
G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 6.6 7.5 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 205 So. 7.2 2.5
G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. 4.5 1.5
C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 250 So. 2.0 1.6
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. 1.0 1.7
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 1.3 1.7
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 0.3 0.6 apg
F 4 Jesse Pinegar 6-9 225 Fr. 0.3 0.5
The Runnin' Utes are 19-5 overall and 9-2 in Mountain West Conference play. The Utes have gone 4-2 since defeating BYU in Salt Lake City on Jan. 28. They are 5-2 on the road , including a 3-1 record in conference road play. The Utes lone league loss away from Salt Lake City was its last road game at UNLV on Feb. 11 when the Utes fell 72-64. Utah has road wins over Air Force (63-57 in overtime), New Mexico (81-51) and San Diego State (70-53). After starting out 3-3, Utah won 13 straight before losing at home to Wyoming on Feb. 4. The Utes won three of the next four and have won eight of the last 10 games. Utah's 13-game win streak was its longest since winning a school-record 23 games during the 1998-99 season. Junior forward Britton Johnson has upped his scoring average by nearly two points since last facing BYU, leading the Utes at 13.3 ppg. He adds 6.0 rebounds per outing, second in average only to center Chris Burgess (13.2 ppg, 7.2 rpg), who has missed the last 13 games with a foot injury. While Britton Johsnon has scored more points recently, sophomore guard Nick Jacobson has had his scoring average fall from 15.3 to 13.0 since the first meeting with BYU. Senior forward Jeff Johnson also scores in double figures at 10.2 ppg. Senior 6-1 guard Travis Spivey leads the team in assists (4.7 apg) while adding 4.1 rebounds and 6.5 ppg. Junior 6-5 guard/forward Trace Caton has played a significant role for the Utes since Burgess has been out, often guarding other team's bigs. On offense, he shoots 47 percent from the floor, including 49 percent of his threes, and 88 percent from the line. Utah shoots a league-leading 41.3 percent from long range as a team. The Utes average 68.1 ppg while allowing 60.0.
UTAH'S PROBABLE STARTERS
No. Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown PPG RPG
35 F Jeff Johnsen 6-4 204 Sr. Murray, Utah 10.2 3.2
31 F Britton Johnsen 6-9 213 Jr. Murray, Utah 13.3 6.0
13 C Cameron Koford 6-11 230 Jr. Plain City, Utah 3.4 2.8
11 G Travis Spivey 6-1 212 Sr. Myrtle Beach, S.C. 6.5 4.1
15 G Nick Jacobson 6-4 198 So. Fargo, N.D. 13.0 2.0
BYU and Utah will meet for the 232nd time since the series began in 1909. With its win in Salt Lake last month, Utah holds a 116-115 edge in the closely contested rivalry. The two teams have split the last four games with Utah having won the last two meetings, both in Salt Lake City to end a two-game Cougar streak. Utah won 71-66 on Jan. 28 and last year earned an 82-75 win at the Huntsman Center. BYU won in Provo last year, 69-61, in a game broadcast nationally on ESPN. That win ended a string of five straight Utah wins in Provo. The prior year in 2000, the Cougars defeating Utah in the 2000 MWC tournament semifinals in Las Vegas to end 12 straight Utah victories, its longest success string in the series. Utah's win this year gave the Utes the overall series lead for only the second time. Utah swept the regular season series in 2000 to take its first lead in the overall series since it began in 1909. Utah is the opponent BYU has played the most in its history (231 games) and is the second longest running series (Utah State series began in 1905 and includes 218 games). BYU won the inaugural game, 32-9 in Provo, on Jan. 23, 1909, and won again on March 5 of that year, 40-27, in SLC on its way to winning the first eight games against the Utes. BYU has a one-game streak in Provo but is 64-46 overall at home vs. Utah. The Utes have won eight straight at the Huntsman Center against the Cougars and hold a 68-45 overall advantage in Salt Lake City. BYU's last win at Utah was a 64-62 victory on Jan. 8, 1994. That win started a four-game BYU winning streak that preceded Utah's 12-game streak.
Overall Series Record: 116-115
BYU Record in Provo: 64-46
BYU Record in Salt Lake: 45-68
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 6-2
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 2-9
Longest BYU Win Streak: 8 (1909-12)
Longest Utah Win Streak: 12 (1995-2000)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 31 two times (1965, 94)
Largest Utah Margin of Victory: 36 (1997)
Most Points Scored by BYU: 115 (1966)
Most Points Scored by Utah: 106 two times (1962, 1963)
Total overtime games: 10 (Utah leads, 6-4)
Double overtime games: 1 (BYU 115-113 in 1984)
Triple overtime games: 2 (both Utah wins, 1983 and 1985).
Last overtime game: March 9, 1991 (BYU 51, Utah 49)
Overtimes in SLC: 2 (the first two in the series in 1913 (Utah win), 1927 (BYU win)
RECENT MEETINGS WITH UTAH
Cougar Charge Falls Short in First Meeting this Year in SLC
SALT LAKE -- BYU lost a hard-fought battle 71-66 to Utah at the Huntsman Center in a game that lived up to all the tradition and emotion of the rivalry. The BYU loss came despite leading the Utes in every shooting category and outrebounding Utah 36-29. "We lost because we dug ourselves into a hole and had to fight back the whole game," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "In the bigger picture, I was significantly more pleased with the effort." The Cougars (12-6, 2-3) doubled their first half output, scoring 44 points in the second half compared to 22 in the first. That effort helped BYU pull within three, 67-64, after a Matt Montague layup with just under a minute remaining. Utah answered with four free throws while BYU did not score until another Montague layup as time expired, bringing the final score to 71-66. Montague finished the game with a season-high 13 points. BYU was able to cool off the Utes' deadly three-point shooting with aggressive perimeter defense that held Utah to 4-of-18 from beyond the arc. "We did a really solid job as far as taking away their perimeter game -- we defended well enough to win this game," Cleveland said. Utah (15-3, 5-0) led the nation in three-point field goal percentage but shot a dismal 22 percent for the game. Utah's leading scorer Nick Jacobson (15.3 ppg) and the nation's fourth-best three-point percentage, scored only 5 points on 2-of-9 shooting. On the Cougar offensive end of the court, Eric Nielsen provided BYU with the offensive spark it needed in the first half. Nielsen had eight of the Cougars' 15 points to give BYU a 15-13 edge with 10:25 remaining in the first half. But Nielsen got into foul trouble early with three fouls in the first half and ultimately fouled out at the 8:36 mark of the second half with only 21 minutes of game time. He finished the game with 10 points on 5-of 7 shooting. Utah looked to the Johnson brothers, Jeff and Britton, to fill the void left by the Ute's absent perimeter. The duo combined for 13 of Utah's 21 points before the rest of the team got into the act, going on a 13-2 run to end the first half up 34-22. The 12-point deficit equalled the Cougars' largest halftime gap set at Air Force. The Utes extended their lead to 38-22 to open the second half before Travis Hansen stormed back with six points, two of them coming on an athletic fast-break spin move around Ute guard Travis Spivey. Hansen led all scorers with 22 points and all rebounders with 11 on his way to his fourth double-double of the season. BYU freshman Jimmy Balderson made a three-pointer to make the score 46-35 and Hansen added two more with an emotional two-handed dunk that brought the Cougars within nine. Montague later made a layup to bring the score to 53-46. Hansen scored seven more points but BYU still trailed 59-52 with 5:25 remaining. A Balderson steal and layup cut the lead to five and two Mark Bigelow free throws made the score 60-56 with 3:52 left in the game. BYU shot 13-15 from the line to keep pace but Daniel Bobik's free throw streak ended at 27, five shy of the BYU record. Bobik's back door layup made the score 66-62 and then 67-64 on Montague's layup, but it would not be enough. The win gives the Utes a 116-115 edge in the all-time series record and becomes only the second time Utah has had the lead in the rivalry. The first time Utah took the lead in the series was in 2000 and they have now won eight straight at home against the Cougars.
Cougars Defeated Rival Utes in Provo on ESPN
PROVO -- In a highly anticipated matchup against his former team, senior guard Trent Whiting scored 21 points to lead BYU to a 69-61 victory over arch rival Utah in front of 19,000 fans and a national television audience. The win, which moved the Cougars back into the lead of the all-time series with the Utes, marked the first Utah defeat at the Marriott Center in six years. BYU now leads the series with Utah 115-114, dating back to 1909. More importantly, however, the Cougars improved their overall record to 14-6 on the season, and their 3-2 conference mark moves them into a tie for second place. The Utes got on the board first, opening the game with a short jumper by Nate Althoff and a three-pointer by Nick Jacobson to take a 5-0 lead. But just over five minutes in, a jumper from Mekeli Wesley gave BYU an 8-7 advantage, and the Cougars would only relinquish the lead once the rest of the game. Two free throws from Mike Puzey near the close of the first half brought Utah to within two at the break. But BYU opened the lead up in the second half with solid defense and sharp shooting from three point range. "The difference in the ball game was the second half," said BYU coach Steve Cleveland. "We played with much more aggression, especially at the defensive end." While the Cougars picked up their defensive intensity and rebounding in the second period, the offense started heating up as well. BYU went on a 9-0 run midway through the half, which included back-to-back three pointers and a 15-foot jumper from Wesley, to extend the lead to 49-34 with 11:20 to play. With a traditional three-point play, Whiting capped off an 8-0 run minutes later to give BYU its largest lead of the game at 60-21. The Utes fought back, pulling to within eight with under a minute to play. But the Cougars sealed the victory at the free throw line, hitting 7-of-8 down the stretch. BYU shot 46 percent from the field and 52 percent from three-point range for the game, including 5-of-8 on threes in the second half. The Cougars held Utah to just 39 percent from the floor, marking the sixth straight game BYU has held an opponent under 40 percent shooting in the Marriott Center. Wesley finished the night with 16 points, including a career-high four three-pointers. Whiting shot 5-for-9 from the field, including 3-for-5 from three-point range, and was a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line. Terrell Lyday also scored in double figures, finishing with 14 points for the Cougars. Nick Jacobson led the Utes with 11 points, and Jeff Johnson, the only other Ute in double figures, added 10 points.
Utah Quick Facts:
Location: Salt Lake City, Utah
Nickname: Runnin' Utes
Colors: Crimson and White
Home Arena: Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000)
Conference: Mountain West
Athletic Director: Chris Hill
Head Coach: Rick Majerus
Alma Mater: Marquette (1970)
Overall Record (Years): 381-130 (18th year)
Record at School (Years): 280-78 (13th year)
Assistant Coaches: Dick Hunsaker, Jeff Strohm, Kerry Rupp
Overall Record: 19-12
Conf. Record/Finish: 10-4/T1st
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: NIT First Round
Letterman Returning/Lost: 9/3
Starters Returning/Lost: 5/0
Returning Starters (last year's stats)
Chris Burgess, 6-10, 240, Sr., C/F (7.8 ppg, 5.9 rpg)
Phil Cullen, 6-9, 221, Sr., F/C (9.1 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
Nick Jacobson, 6-4, 198, So., G/F (7.9 ppg, 1.4 rpg)
Britton Johnsen, 6-9, 213, Jr., F (9.2 ppg, 5.4 rpg)
Travis Spivey, 6-1, 212, Sr., G (5.2 ppg, 3.5 apg)
Basketball Contact: Mike Lageschulte
Office: (801) 587-9162
Home: (801) 582-1781
Fax: (801) 581-4358
Press Row: (801) 581-6657
Athletics Web Site
The annual winner of the in-state competition between Utah, Utah State, Weber State, Southern Utah and BYU is recognized as the Oquirrh Bucket champion. BYU won the Bucket last year to end six straight Utah triumphs. BYU has won the title eight times since its beginning in 1974-75. Utah has earned the Oquirrh Buckets 11 times, Utah State five times, and Weber State three times. This year, Utah (3-1) can win the Bucket with a win Saturday. A BYU (2-2) victory would bring BYU into a tie with Utah and award the Bucket to Utah State (2-1), who defeated Utah and BYU this year, with a loss to Weber State.
Oquirrh Bucket History
1974-75 Utah State
1975-76 Utah State
1976-77 Weber State
1982-83 Utah State
1983-84 Utah State
1984-85 Utah State
1985-86 Weber State
1992-93 Weber State
Last Outing - Cougars Avenge Loss at Air Force with 67-51 Win over Falcons Monday
PROVO -- The Cougars avenged an earlier loss to Air Force by handing the Falcons their worst conference loss of the season with a 67-51 victory in the Marriott Center. "Air Force took it to us good at their place so I am really pleased with tonight's performance," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "Air Force is a very difficult team to play and you have to be strong against them because they are so physica." Travis Hansen guided the BYU charge with 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting from the field (3-6 from three-point range) and a 6-of-6 performance from the line. Hansen has scored in double figures in six of the Cougars' last seven games. He also picked up five rebounds on the night. After Air Force had taken an 8-7 lead with 16:16 left in the first half, the Cougars went on a 15-3 run over the next five minutes to take an 11-point lead and the Falcons never got closer than eight from there. The Cougars led 39-26 at the half, their largest halftime lead since leading by 29 against Fort Lewis on Dec. 12. BYU jumped on the Falcons early behind an energetic defensive performance in the first half, holding Air Force to 10-of-25 shooting from the field, including 5-13 from long range. The Cougars were hot, shooting 11-17 (64.7 percent) from the field and a torrid 5-7 (71.4 percent) from downtown in the first half, tying a season-high three-point percentage for one half. The Cougar defense was even better in the second half, holding the Falcons to just 31.6 percent (6-of-19) from the field and a mere 16.7 percent (2-of-12) from three-point range. Air Force finished the game shooting just 36.4 percent from the field from the game and only 28 percent from long range. "We definitely played defense with significantly more energy tonight than we did at their place," Cleveland said. "We know they are going to shoot 20 to 25 threes each night but we contested a good percent of them." Matt Montague hit a career-high three three-pointers on 3-for-3 shooting from downtown. Montague has hit 12 threes in his last 13 games and has been shooting at a 48-percent clip (12-of-25) from three-point range over that same period. Montague also finished with seven assists and six rebounds in a team-leading 39 minutes. The third Cougar to finish in double figures was freshman center Jared Jensen, who was perfect on the night, shooting 3-for-3 from the field and a career-best 8-of-8 from the free throw line to finish with 14 points. Mark Bigelow had a season low three points on the night and Eric Nielsen had two points, tying his season low set against Idaho on Dec. 15. Nielsen picked up a team-leading nine rebounds on the night, a season high total for him. Air Force never got closer than 13 in the second half and the Cougars led by as many as 19 in the game, on the way to their biggest victory margin in conference play and their biggest win at home since beating Southern Utah by 21, 79-58, on Dec. 29. The win extended the nation's longest home win streak to 34 games. BYU shot 55.9 percent, including its second-best three-point effort of the year (.615).
Nielsen Named Academic All-District
BYU senior forward Eric Nielsen was named to the 2002 Verizon Academic All-District VIII men's basketball team, released Thursday. Two-time honorees Dan Dickau of Gonzaga and Predrag Savovic of Hawaii join Nielsen on the five-man team along with Jason Humbert of Eastern Washington and Michael Preston of Pacific. Four of this year's five honorees play on teams currently in the top three of their respective conferences. BYU, 16-8 overall, is currently tied for third in the Mountain West Conference at 6-5. The District VIII team was voted on by CoSIDA members from within the District VIII states of Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington, and the province of British Columbia. The all-district first-team selections advance to the national ballot for consideration. The 2002 Verizon Academic All-America team will be announced March 7. An All-MWC Academic member and a Cougar Club Scholar Athlete, Nielsen has a 3.26 GPA in Civil Engineering.
BYU is shooting 49.6 percent in its 16 victories and 44.6 percent in its eight losses. The Cougars are shooting .501 at home and .448 on the road. BYU has shot at least 45 percent in 17 games this year. BYU has shot 50 percent or better six times this year, including 55.9 percent vs. Air Force on Monday. BYU is making 47.8 percent from the floor overall. BYU is tied for 22nd nationally in field goal percentage.
From Three-Point Range
BYU is shooting 40 percent on threes (rated 20th nationally). After making a season-low two threes last Saturday vs. UNM, going 2-10 to end a string of six straight games with at least five threes, BYU resonded with 8 treys vs. Air Force while shooting its second-best percentage at .615, going 8-13. BYU made a seaon-best 636 percent (7-11) vs. Stanford. BYU's 57.1 percent from three-point range vs. Wyoming was its third-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 51 threes (.411) and made a three in 21 of 24 games this year (including a BYU-record 22 straight games dating back to his freshman season). Travis Hansen has made 28 treys (.424) and Daniel Bobik has made 25 (.391). Matt Montague has made 13 (.342), and Eric Nielsen (.588) and Jimmy Balderson (.333) 10 apiece.
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. Hansen just surpassed Bigelow as the team's leading scorer after his 19 points Monday vs. Air Force. Hansen averages 15.5 and Bigelow 15.1. Bigelow has reached double figures in 20 of 24 games and Hansen has been in double-digits in 18 of 24 games. The only game this year when neither player reached double-digit points was at UNM. Hansen rebounded with 22 points at Utah after a season-low five points at Air Force. Bigelow scored only four points at Utah, but responded to share game-high honors with Hansen vs. Wyoming with 19. Bigelow had a season-low 3 points vs. AFA Monday.
Other Scoring Options
The Cougars have three players scoring in double figure points. After leaders Travis Hansen (15.5) and Mark Bigelow (15.1), senior Eric Nielsen averages 10.0 ppg and has scored a career-high 29 points vs. Stanford. He has scored in double-digits in 10 of his last 12 starts and 10 of the last 13 games. In addition, freshman center Jared Jensen is averaging 9.4 ppg and had a career-high 20 points at Air Force. Reserve guard Daniel Bobik is adding 7.2 ppg off the bench and has twice scored highs of 17 points. Freshman guard Jimmy Balderson has reached double figures three times with a high of 19 points while point guard Matt Montague has reached double digits six times, including a season-high 13 points at Utah and vs. AFA 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). Their 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). In the last four home games, all wins, Hansen is 25-45 (.556), Bigelow is 21-38 (.552) and Bobik 4-8 (.500). In wins this year, Bigelow is shooting .480 and averaging 16.6 ppg, Hansen .468 and 14.9 ppg and Bobik .405 and 7.3 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 76.9 percent from the line for the year (7th 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 a 66.7 percent night vs. CSU. BYU shot 75 percent at UNLV and SDSU and 78.3 vs. UNM. BYU's has been in the top four nationally most of the season but was only 21-32 (.656) Monday vs. AFA, only its third game below 70 percent. Daniel Bobik made 27 consecutive free throws before missing (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 19th nationally at 90.5 percent.
Six Seeing Majority of Minutes
Six players play the majority of the minutes for BYU coach Steve Cleveland. Only Daniel Bobik averages double-digit minutes off the bench. Four starters, Matt Montague, Eric Nielsen, Mark Bigelow and Travis Hansen average more than 30 minutes a game, with Montague playing a team-high 37.3 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.
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 3rd nationally in assists (7.5), dishing out 179 assists to only 63 turnovers. In MWC play, he averages 7.7 assists, making 85 assists while only commiting 32 turnovers. He leads the league in assist/turnover ratio. He is also averaging a career-best 6.6 ppg and 4.3 rpg. He had 13 points, 7 asssists, 6 rebounds, 2 steals Monday vs. AFA. He had 13 points, 5 assists and 7 rebounds at Utah in the first meeting.
BYU won its last two games (four of its last six). 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 34 consecutive home 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 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.
Home Winning Streak
BYU has a 34-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. Tennessee Tech is second at 27 and Gonzaga third at 26. BYU is 14-0 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 16 straight at home over MWC teams.
Hitting the Glass
BYU has had the rebounding edge in 14 of 24 games, earning a 12-2 record when winning the battle of the boards. Overall, BYU averages 33.7 rebounds while its opponents grab on average 30.2. BYU held AFA to only 15 boards (a BYU opponent season low) while grabbing 35 Monday. The Cougars have been out rebounded eight times overall this year (3-5 in those games). BYU has been out boarded in seven of 11 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 closely contested road 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 (6.5) and point guard Matt Montague is third at 4.3. Forward Eric Nielsen is second at 5.0. 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 nine 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. The 2002 Olympics being hosted locally in Utah have hurt attendance this year.
From the Training Room
Mark Bigelow has a thigh contusion suffered vs. AFA Monday. Senior Eric Nielsen was knocked out momentarily during BYU's last road trip at UNLV. He had his lip stitched and a CT scan later that evening proved negative and he had 14 points at SDSU two nights later. Matt Montague and Travis Hansen are playing with nagging groin-pull injuries. Hansen also has a pull in his hip flexor. Montague broke his nose during practice on Christmas day but 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 is expected to be out the remainder of the season with torn ligaments in his left thumb.
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 is 6-5 in conference play. Last year BYU was 8-3 after 11 games. The Cougars were 5-6 after 11 games in both 1999 and 2000.
Cleveland in Conference Game 12s
The Cougars were 8-4 last year after 12 games and 5-7 in 1999 and 2000. BYU has lost the 12th conference game each year in Steve Cleveland's first four years. All of those games have been on the road, including last year's game No. 12 at Utah on Feb. 24. This year is the first time the Cougars are playing its 12th conference game at home.
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 AFA, Cleveland's conference (WAC/MWC) record is 33-34. Cleveland last reached a .500 mark with the UNLV win in Provo on Jan. 15. Taking over after BYU's 1-25 season, Cleveland improved BYU's conference record in each of his first four seasons and has exceeded most expectations with only one starter returning this year. The UNLV win in Provo was the first time since a 2-2 mark in his first season that Cleveland has 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 22-16 (.579) 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 16-8 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 62-28 (.689) in the last three seasons.
Tough MWC Conference
BYU's seven Mountain West opponents have combined (as of Feb. 20) to win 61 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. 20. 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 60.2 percent of their games with the nonconference teams having won 59.9 percent and MWC teams 60.6 percent.
BYU vs. Postseason Teams/Conference Champs
On this year's schedule, BYU has played seven conference champions, including Pac-10 champion Stanford, and has 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 games 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. 20)
BYU is currently ranked 48th and is the second-rated team in the Mountain West Conference in the Sagarin ratings. BYU has the second-highest rated schedule (43rd). 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 62
48 BYU 43
55 Wyoming 139
67 San Diego State 42
70 UNLV 70
82 New Mexico 110
147 Colorado State 83
161 Air Force 68
RPI Report (as of Feb. 20)
According to the CollegeRPI.com rankings, BYU is ranked 29th nationally in RPI, the second-rated MWC team behind Utah at 14. The Mountain West Conference is rated 7th among the 32 conferences (and five independents).
San Diego State 52
New Mexico 56
Air Force 150
Colorado State 167
BYU in MWC Statistics (as of Feb. 20)
Category Overall Conf. Only
Scoring Offense 5th 5th
Scoring Defense 3rd 3rd
Scoring Margin 3rd 3rd
FT Percentage 1st T-1st
FG Percentage 3rd 2nd
FG % Defense 2nd 3rd
3-FG Percentage 2nd 3rd
3-FG % Defense 1st 3rd
Rebound Offense 6th 6th
Rebounding Defense 3rd 2nd
Rebound Margin 5th 5th
Blocked Shots 6th 3rd
Assists 4th 3rd
Steals 8th 8th
Turnover Margin 7th 4th
Assist/Turnover Ratio 2nd 2nd
Offensive Rebounds 7th 6th
Defensive Rebounds 2nd 4th
3-FG Made 4th 5th
Individuals in MWC Statistics (overall games)
Ã² Matt Montague leads the MWC in assists and assist/turnover ratio. He is 9th in defensive rebounds, tied for 9th in steals, tied for 10th in free throw percentage and 17th in rebounding.
Ã² Mark Bigelow 9th in scoring, 6th in free throw percentage, and 5th in three-pointers per game and 10th in three-point percentage.
Ã² Travis Hansen is 7th in scoring, 7th in rebounding, 5th in defensive rebounds, tied for 7th in three-point percentage, tied for 9th in free throw percentage.
Ã² Eric Nielsen is 7th in field goal percentage, 12th in blocks, 10th in defensive rebounds, and 12th in total rebounds.
Ã² Daniel Bobik would lead all MWC players in free throw percentage (.905) but doesn't shoot enough to qualify for the rankings. He is 13th in three-point percentage.
Ã² Jared Jensen is No. 1 in FG percentage, is 5th in FT percentage and 14th in off. rebounds.
Ã² Jon Carlisle is 14th in blocked shots.
BYU in National Statistics (as of Feb. 20)
Ã² BYU is 7th in the nation in free throw shooting percentage (.769), 20th in three-point percentage (.400), and tied for 22nd in field goal percentage (.478).
Ã² Matt Montague is tied for 3rd in assists (7.5) (1. - T.J. Ford, Texas, 8.8; 2. - S. Black, Maryland, 7.7; T3. - Edward Scott, Clemson, 7.5). Daniel Bobik is 19th in free throw percentage (.905).
BYU PLAYER NOTES
MATT MONTAGUE / 6-0 Ã² 190 Ã² senior Ã² point guard
Ã² Montague provides leadership at the point having started 81 times and played in all 116 games in his fourth year. He has led the team in assists during each of his four seasons.
Ã² He averages a MWC-best 7.5 assists (tied for 3rd nationally). He tops the MWC in assist/turnover ratio. He has 179 assists and 63 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.
Ã² 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.
Ã² He has reached double figures points in six games this year, including a season-high 13 points (7 assists, 6 rbs) vs. AFA Monday and at Utah (7 rebs., 5 assists) in the first meeting.
Ã² He averages career highs of 6.6 ppg, 7.5 apg and 4.3 rpg. He made a career-best 8 FTs to seal the win over Stanford.
Ã² He had a season-high 8 rebounds at home vs. SDSU. At 6-foot, he is third on the team in rebounding average at 4.3.
Ã² His three treys on 3-3 shooting vs. AFA set career highs. He has made 12 three-pointers in the last 13 games, hitting on 12-25 attempts (.480), after making only 1 trey (1-13, .077) in BYU's first 11 games. He took a career-high 5 three-pioint attempts at Utah in the first meeting.
TRAVIS HANSEN / 6-6 Ã² 210 Ã² junior Ã² guard/forward
Ã² Hansen played a supporting role in his first season at BYU last year and missed part of the year with injury.
Ã² This year he is BYU's leading scorer (15.5) and rebounder (6.5).
Ã² He had 20 points vs. UNM and 19 vs. AFA in the last two games. He has scored 17 or more in six of the last seven games, including three games with 20 or more points. The exception was his 7 points at SDSU, where he played a season-low 18 minutes due to foul trouble.
Ã² He has led BYU in scoring 10 times overall this year, including the last two games and three of the last four.
Ã² Hansen rebounded from a season-low 5 points at Air Force with a game-high 22 points at Utah in the first meeting. Ã² 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.
Ã² He has reached double-digit points in 18 of 24 games, including six of the last seven.
Ã² 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.
Ã² He played the last two games with deep muscle pulls (groin and hip flexor).
MARK BIGELOW / 6-7 Ã² 190 Ã² sophomore Ã² guard/forward
Ã² 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.
Ã² He has led BYU in scoring much of the year and is now second at 15.1 ppg. He has scored at least 13 points in 19 of 24 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 only 4 points at UNM. He also had 4 points at Utah, taking a season-low one three-point attempt. He had his season low in points Monday vs. AFA, going 1-4 for three points on a trey.
Ã² After averaging 18.3 ppg over the first 11 games (9-2 record) and shooting .469 from the floor, Bigelow slumped to 24-71 (.338) over the next seven games (3-4 record), 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 six games, starting with Wyoming, he has continued to shoot better, going 28-57 (.491) from the floor and and 12-28 (.429) on threes. BYU is 4-2 in those games.
Ã² Bigelow made two three-pointers vs. UNLV in Provo to set a BYU record with 22 consecutive games with a trey. He has made two or more threes in 14 games, including a career-equaling 5 treys vs. Southern Utah. He had four threes vs. CSU, a conference-season high. He is 0-7 vs. UNM -- two of only three games he hasn't made a trey.
Ã² He averages 17.3 ppg at home and 12.1 ppg away.
ERIC NIELSEN / 6-9 Ã² 215 Ã² senior Ã² forward
Ã² A four-year starter, Nielsen is the only starter back from last year's NCAA team. 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 Russell 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 62-28 (.689) record to date, including two postseason tournament berths.
Ã² Nielsen is third on the team in scoring (10.0 ppg), second in rebounding (5.0 rpg) and field goal percentage (.527).
Ã² He has scored in double figures in 10 of the last 13 games. He has reached double digits 14 times this year.
Ã² He had a season-high 9 rebounds vs. AFA Monday. He took only two shots in the game, scoring a season-low 2 pts.
Ã² 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).
Ã² 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.
Ã² He has taken 184 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 7.7 attempts.
Ã² 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).
Ã² An Academic All-MWC and Cougar Scholar Athlete, Nielsen was named to the 2002 Verizon Academic All-District VIII team Thursday. He maintains a 3.26 GPA in Civil Engineering.
JARED JENSEN / 6-9 Ã² 245 Ã² freshman Ã² center
Ã² 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.
Ã² He is fourth on the team overall at 9.4 ppg. In MWC games, he is third on the team at 10.5 ppg.
Ã² He shoots a team-leading and MWC-best 61.5 percent. He has 12 double figure games this year.
Ã² He has played 20-plus minutes in 14 games. After 8 straight 20-plus outings, he played a season-low 7 minutes at Utah and has only had two 20-minute games in the last seven. He had 14 points in 24 minutes vs. AFA on Monday.
Ã² Against Utah, he got in foul trouble and played limited minutes because of matchups. He did not score for only the second time this year (first time was at Pepperdine). He has failed to make a field goal three times this year (at Pepperdine, at Utah and vs. CSU).
Ã² 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.
Ã² 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. He made a career-best FT percentage vs. AFA Monday, going 8-8.
DANIEL BOBIK / 6-6 Ã² 205 Ã² sophomoreÃ² guard
Ã² 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.
Ã² 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.
Ã² He had a career-best 8 rebounds vs. Creighton.
Ã² He played 20 minutes for the first time in the last four games at SDSU, but played a season-low 8 minutes the next game vs. UNM. He had seen the fewest minutes of the year in recent games. He averages 20.0 minutes overall. He played a career-high 33 minutes with 12 points and four rebounds in the season-opener at USD.
Ã² He did not take a shot for the first time this year in his season-low 8 minutes last Saturday vs. UNM.
Ã² Five of his seven double figures games have been on the road, including 12 at USD, 10 vs. Stanford in two wins.
Ã² With Eric Nielsen sick, he got his only start at Air Force, playing 21 minutes, taking only 1 shot, scoring 2 points.
Ã² He shoots a MWC-best 90.5 percent (19th 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 Ã² 235 Ã² redshirt sophomore Ã² forward
Ã² 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.
Ã² Jepsen has appeared in every game this year off the bench, joining Bobik as only reserves to play in every game.
Ã² He had 2 points on a dunk in only 4 minutes last Saturday vs. UNM and three rebounds in only five minutes at SDSU. He had 2 rebounds in only 2 minutes vs. AFA on Monday.
Ã² 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.
Ã² After playing double-digit minutes in five of first seven games, he has only played 10 or more minutes in four of the last 17 games, but played a season-high 22 minutes at UNLV (also played 22 minutes at Utah State).
Ã² 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.
Ã² His rebound high is 6 vs. Arizona State.
JESSE PINEGAR / 6-9 Ã² 220 Ã² redshirt freshman Ã² forward
Ã² Pinegar has played in six 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.
Ã² 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.
Ã² He had not appeared in any conference games until playing one minute vs. AFA on Monday. He had not appeared in 11 straight contests until his late duty on Monday.
Ã² 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.
Ã² 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 Ã² 225 Ã² sophomore Ã² center
Ã² The tallest player on the roster, he has a nice touch for a big man. He is a career 14-20 (.700) from the floor in his two seasons, including 6-9 this year.
Ã² Howard has appeared in 15 games overall this season. Last year, Howard played in 14 games in limited action.
Ã² He has played his most significant time in the last three games. He played 10 minutes vs AFA with 5 boards, and 12 minutes, including a nice tip-in follow to help BYU come back on UNM, last Saturday. 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), 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.
Ã² He started the season-opener at USD, the only start of his career. He played seven minutes, with one rebound.
Ã² He played 2 minutes vs. Stanford with one rebound.
Ã² 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.
Ã² He has played double-digit minutes five times this year. In those games he averages 13.0 minutes, 3.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg while going 6-8 from the floor and 4-7 from the line.
JON CARLISLE / 6-10 Ã² 250 Ã² sophomore Ã² center
Ã² 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.
Ã² 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 in the future. He has been a spark in the post at times, giving the Cougars a solid effort during his limited time.
Ã² Carlisle has played in 19 games, including the last 18 straight. He has grabbed a rebound in 15 of 19 games and has scored in 11 of his 19 games.
Ã² He is 13-25 (.520) from the floor.
Ã² After three straight scoreless games, he scored 5 points and had 2 rebounds in 8 minutes vs. UNM last Saturday. He recorded his first steal of the year and equaled a season-high 4 field goal attempts. He had 2 points Monday vs. AFA.
Ã² He played a season-high 19 minutes vs. Wyoming, scoring a career-high 8 points.
Ã² At Utah, 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.
Ã² 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.
Ã² He had four points and season-high four boards in 13 minutes at UNM. He also had 4 boards vs. SDSU.
JIMMY BALDERSON / 6-6 Ã² 200 Ã² freshman Ã² guard
Ã² 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.
Ã² Balderson shoots 51 percent from the floor and 33 percent on threes. Almost half of his attempts are three-pointers.
Ã² 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.
Ã² Balderson has played in 21 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.
Ã² 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 had career highs in rebounds (7) and steals (3), sharing team-high honors.
Ã² He hit the game-tying trey from the left corner to force overtime at Pepperdine in his only minute of action.
Ã² He has been able to score when he has gotten the playing time. He has played double-digit minutes in seven games, averaging 9.0 points in 16.0 minutes in those games.
Ã² 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.
Ã² He had 5 points in 16 minutes at Utah in the first meeting, with 2 rebounds and 1 steal.
TERRY NASHIF / 5-10 Ã² 165 Ã² freshman Ã² guard
Ã² 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.
Ã² Nashif is the only true point guard backing up Matt Montague since the loss of Shawn Opunui to injury.
Ã² With starter Matt Montague playing nearly the entire game, Nashif has usually only seen very limited action.
Ã² He has played in 16 games, but has played only one minute in seven of those games.
Ã² 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.
Ã² He recorded a career-high 3 points, going 3-6 from the line, playing five minutes vs. CSUN .
Ã² He played four minutes at UNLV and at SDSU. Prior to his one-minute appearance Monday vs. Air Force, his last five appearances had all been on the road.
SHAWN OPUNUI / 5-11 Ã² 170 Ã² freshman Ã² point guard
Ã² 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.
Ã² He played in four games.
Ã² 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.
Ã² 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 (83-65 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.