No. 4-seed BYU (17-10, 7-7 MWC) faces No. 5-seed San Diego State (18-11, 7-7) Thursday at 2:30 p.m. PST (3:30 p.m. MST) in the opening round of the 2002 EAS Mountain West Conference Men's Basketball Championship held at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The 2001 MWC tournament champions, BYU seeks to defend its title this week and earn a second straight trip to the NCAA tournament. Thursday's quarterfinal matchup is being televised by ESPN+Plus (KJZZ-TV, channel 14, in Salt Lake City). The live radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160, beginning with an hour pregame show.
The BYU-SDSU winner will face either top-seed Wyoming or No. 8 Air Force Friday at 6 p.m. PST (7 p.m. MST). The game will also be an ESPN+Plus telecast.
MWC Tournament Media Day Practice
BYU practices Wednesday from 1-2:25 p.m. at Cox Pavilion, Gym #2. Coaches and players are available for interviews AFTER practice. The practice is open to the media. All subsequent game-day practices are closed. BYU's women's team holds its open practice on Tuesday from 4-4:55 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center.
BYU MEDIA POLICIES/INTERVIEW PROCEDURES
All media interviews with players and coaches must be scheduled through Brett Pyne of BYU Athletic Media Relations Office. He can be reached on his cell at 801-367-1631. No interviews will be scheduled on game day until after the game. Coach Cleveland and at least two players will speak to the media after the mandatory 10-minute cooling off period in the post-game press conference organized by the Mountain West Conference. Additional post-game player or coaches interviews can be arranged through Brett Pyne or Duff Tittle of the BYU Media Relations office. BYU's weekly media day this week will be held Wednesday in Las Vegas. BYU practices Wednesday from 1-2:25 p.m. at Cox Pavilion, Gym #2. Coaches and players are available for interviews AFTER practice. Wednesday's practice is open to the media.
GAME FACTS (BYU Game 28)
BYU (17-10, 7-7) vs. San Diego State (18-11, 7-7)
Thursday, March 7, 2002
Thomas & Mack Center [18,500]
Las Vegas, Nevada
2:35 p.m. PT / 3:35 p.m. MT
BYU, Steve Cleveland (84-67 in fifth year; same overall)
SDSU, Steve Fisher (37-47 in 3rd year; 221-129 in 11th year overall)
BYU leads, 35-14
ESPN+Plus (KJZZ-TV, channel 14, in SLC)
Air Time: 2:30 p.m. PST / 3:30 p.m. MST
Play-by-Play: Rich Waltz
Game Analyst: Irv Brown
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time: 1:30 p.m. PST / 2:30 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. 14.8 2.8
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 10.4 4.9
C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. 9.3 3.5
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 15.5 6.4
G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 6.6 7.3 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 205 So. 6.6 2.3
G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. 4.1 1.5
C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 250 So. 1.8 1.5
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 1.7 2.1
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. 0.9 1.5
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 0.5 0.6 apg
F 4 Jesse Pinegar 6-9 225 Fr. 0.3 0.5
San Diego State is 18-11 and finished tied for fourth in the conference regular season with BYU at 7-7. Having split the regular season series, BYU earned the No. 4 seed and SDSU the No. 5 seed because the Cougars split with second-seed Utah while the Aztecs were swept by the Utes. While the Cougars split with every team this year, SDSU was swept by UNLV in addition to Utah but took two from both New Mexico and Colorado State. SDSU won on the road at New Mexico and Colorado State andwere the only MWC team to win in Laramie over league-champion Wyoming. The Aztecs having won five of their last six games, starting with their victory over BYU in San Diego. They are coming off a hard-fought 49-47 win over Air Force at home on Saturday. In conference play, SDSU went 4-3 at Cox Arena and 3-4 on the road. Overall, the Aztecs went 12-3 at home this year and 5-8 on the road and were 1-0 on a neutral floor. The Aztecs posted an 11-4 nonconference record this season, including a 13-point loss to Duke at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Aztecs played two nonconference teams also on BYU's schedule. The Aztecs defeated CS Northridge (80-70) at home, but lost at the University of San Diego (72-67). BYU also defeated CSUN (84-70) at home while earning its only road win of the year in the season-opener at USD (70-59). San Diego State is 21-7 against non-Mountain West Conference competition since the beginning of the 2000-01 season. Overall, San Diego State is 32-24 since the beginning of the 2000-01 season. SDSU's vast improvement is evident when looking back at the 96 games prior to the 2000-01 season when SDSU went 24-72. SDSU has won its last two games and hopes to achieve its fourth three-game winning streak of the season with a win in the MWC tournament. This year marks the first time since the 1996-97 campaign that SDSU has had more than one three-game victory streak in the same season. This year is also the latest in the season the Aztecs have won at least three consecutive regular-season games since the 1988-89 campaign. Three of the top five scorers in the MWC are Aztecs and four average double figures -- Randy Holcomb (17.2 ppg), Al Faux (16.7 ppg), Tony Bland (16.4 ppg) and Mike Mackell (10.3 ppg). Holcomb is the league's second-leading scorer and the MWC's top rebounder ( 9.3 rpg). Holcomb was a consensus All-MWC First Team pick by the league's coaches and Faux earned second-team All-MWC honors while Bland received honorable mention. The Aztecs shoot .481 from the floor, .362 from behind the arc, and .658 from the line. They allow a .430 field goal percentage and a .335 three-point percentage. The Aztecs are pulling down 37.3 boards to their opponents' 32.9 and are scoring 75.2 points while giving up 70.7 points per game. SDSU Coach Steve Fisher (Illinois State, 1967) is in his third season at San Diego State with a record of 37-47. Now in his 11th full season he has amassed a 221-129 mark. Fisher led Michigan to the 1989 national championship and made three trips to the national championship game in his eight full seasons in Ann Arbor. The 1991-92 national coach of the year led the Aztecs to a 14-14 mark last year.
SAN DIEGO STATE'S PROBABLE STARTERS
No. Name Info PPG RPG
23 Randy Holcomb F, 6-9, 222, Sr. 17.2 9.3
30 Mike Mackell C, 6-9, 241, Jr. 10.3 4.4
4 Tony Bland G, 6-5, 192, Jr. 16.4 3.6
5 Al Faux G, 6-2, 178, Sr. 16.7 3.6
1 Deandre Moore G, 5-10, 195, Jr. 3.3 2.1
BYU leads the overall series 35-14. The Aztecs ended a BYU eight-game winning streak in the series with its win in San Diego in the last meeting. It is SDSU's first win since defeating the Cougars in Provo, 89-86 in overtime, on Dec. 31, 1996, during BYU's 1-25 season. This is the first neutral court contest between the two schools. Coach Steve Cleveland is 8-1 against San Diego State.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 35-14
BYU Record in Provo: 21-2
BYU Record in San Diego: 14-12
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 8-1
Longest BYU Win Streak: 11 (1990-95)
Longest SDSU Win Streak: 3 (1941-77)
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 40, 106-66 in 1982
Largest SDSU Margin of Victory: 19, 89-70 in 1985
Most Points Scored by BYU: 123 in 1980
Most Points Scored by SDSU: 104 in 1977
BYU RECAPS VS. SDSU THIS YEAR
BYU Shoots Well but Aztecs Claim Win in San Diego
SAN -- BYU fell to San Diego State, 77-73, at Cox Arena in San Diego Monday night. The loss is the first in Steve Cleveland's career against the Aztecs and is the Cougars' fifth conference road loss and eighth consecutive road loss of the season. BYU (14-8, 4-5) has yet to win a conference road game this season. The Cougars lost despite shooting 51 percent, including 50 percent from beyond the arc (6-12). In a game eerily similar to last Saturday night's loss at UNLV, BYU got down early and just didn't have enough to overcome the deficit. "We never got over the top," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "The effort was certainly more sustained, but we were just never able to get over the hump." The Cougars found an unexpected spark from Dan Howard, who notched career highs in points (8), rebounds (7) and minutes and tied career highs in field goal attempts and field goal percentage. "I think Dan was the critical component for us to get back into the game," Cleveland said. "He actually had energy, he gave us a lift and brought us into the game." "It felt good to get out there and play with someone besides my teammates," added Howard, who has spent much of the season playing on the practice squad for the Cougars. Howard ignited a comeback with his rebound and put-back followed by BYU freshman Jimmy Balderson's lay-in that tied the game for the Cougars 47-47 with 13:37 remaining. SDSU then went on a 5-0 run before Balderson scored again to make the score 52-49 with 12 minutes remaining. A BYU free throw and a three-pointer by Daniel Bobik brought BYU within one, 54-53, as BYU hit 9 of their first 11 shots to start the second half. The Aztecs then went on a 7-2 run capped by a Deandre Moore three-pointer, making the score 61-55. Moore finished the game shooting 4-for-4 from beyond the arc. Despite Nielsen and Bobik layups, BYU still trailed 63-59 before SDSU went on another run to extend its lead, 68-59, on an Al Faux three-pointer. Howard put in two more points, making it 68-62, and ended the scoring for both teams for the next three minutes. SDSU made four foul shots while the Cougars hit two field goals to bring the score to 73-66 with 20 seconds left in the contest. Both teams began the game with solid shooting, connecting on a combined 17-of-22 to start the game. The Cougars hit seven of their first 10 shots while the Aztecs made 10-of-12 from the field. For the rest of the first half, however, the Cougars were only able to connect on four of their 16 attempts and ended the half shooting 11-for-26 (42 percent). BYU went five minutes without a field goal and fell behind 38-27, their biggest deficit of the game. Montague made two three-pointers to tie his career best for three-pointers made in a game. He led the Cougars in scoring in the first half with eight points. Meanwhile, Aztec Holcomb led his team and all scorers with 11 first half points on his way to a double-double (15 pts, 10 rebs). Nielsen paced BYU with 14 points, Montague added 12 and Bigelow 10.
Jensen Lifts Cougars to Victory over SDSU in MWC Opener in Provo
PROVO -- The BYU men's basketball team began its conference season with a solid 75-64 win over the San Diego State University Aztecs Saturday night in front of an energized crowd at the Marriott Center in Provo. "The first thing that comes to mind is that tonight's game is the way a conference game is and this was a really, really good team that we played," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "They are talented, they are well coached and they are very difficult to guard." The Cougars (11-3, 1-0) trailed 4-0 early on but took the lead 5-4 at the 16:45 mark of the first half and never trailed again. San Diego (10-5, 0-1) stuck close to BYU, however, trailing only 63-59 with 3:18 remaining in the game. "We still had chances and I think we still have to do a better job -- all of us," said SDSU head coach Steve Fisher. "Against a good team like BYU, if you don't play close to your best, you're not going to win." The Cougars secured the win with solid ball handling and 9-of-11 shooting from the free throw line in the last three minutes. "These are tough games and I just can't say enough about how important the last four or five minutes of ball possession meant to us," said Cleveland. BYU got a lift from the 19,411 fans who crowded into the Marriott Center, the largest crowd to attend a game since Jan. 15, 2000, when 22,580 fans jammed together to see the Cougars play Utah. "We got great energy from the crowd and we got a great effort from our iron men down the stretch," Cleveland said. The Cougars were sparked by the solid play of center Jared Jensen, who contributed a then career-high 17 points and played solid defense against the talented Aztecs. "They have a lot of players that can hurt you, and Jared's effort tonight was probably the difference maker in the game," coach Cleveland said. Coach Fisher added, "At halftime we talked about the 'X' factor being Jensen. You can't let him get double figures in the first half." The Cougars' scoring was balanced, headed by BYU guard Travis Hansen's 19 points. Mark Bigelow added 13 points. Eric Nielsen poured in 11 points while point guard Matt Montague led the team with eight rebounds and six assists. Montague also scored eight points, three coming from a stunning NBA-distance three-pointer to beat the shot clock with 5:26 to play in the first half. Not known for his long-range shooting, Montague made a three-pointer for the third consecutive game for the first time in his career. He made a three-pointer two games in a row twice during his freshman year. The first half saw BYU consistently maintain a 10-point lead as the two teams battled back and forth throughout. The Cougars had a seven-point edge at halftime, a lead they pushed to 54-37 with 12 minutes remaining in the game. The Aztecs battled back with scrappy play and solid rebounding, grabbing a total of 44 rebounds against BYU's 28. Four consecutive points by Aztec forward Randy Holcomb, who led all scorers with 21 points, brought the Aztecs within four with 3:18 remaining, but they would not get any closer. BYU held San Diego State to 37 percent shooting. BYU shot 45 percent for the game.
SDSU Quick Facts:
Location: San Diego, Calif.
Colors: Scarlet and Black
Home Arena: Cox Arena at Aztec Bowl (12,414)
Conference: Mountain West
Athletic Director: Rick Bay
Head Coach: Steve Fisher
Alma Mater: Illinois State (1967)
Best time to call: Contact SID
Office Phone: (619) 594-6249
Overall Record (Years): 221-129 (11th)
Record at School (Years): 37-47 (3rd)
Assistant Coaches: Brian Dutcher, Marvin Menzies, Jim Tomey
Overall Record: 14-14
Conf. Record/Finish: 4-10/7th
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: NA
Letterman Returning/Lost: 8/3
Starters Returning/Lost: 4/1
Returning Starters (last year's stats)
Myron Epps, 6-6, 210, Sr., F (11.1 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
Randy Holcomb, 6-9, 219, Sr., F (15.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg)
Deandre Moore, 5-9, 179, Jr., G (6.8 ppg, 3.4 rpg)
Al Faux, 6-2, 186, Sr., G (10.5 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
Basketball Contact: Mike May
Office: (619) 594-5547
Home: (619) 265-2375
Fax: (619) 582-6541
Press Row: (619) 265-5853
Athletics Web Site
2002 EAS MWC Men's Championship Schedule
Thursday, March 7
Noon #1 Wyoming vs. #8 Air Force (ESPN+Plus)
2:30 p.m. #4 BYU vs. #5 San Diego State (ESPN+Plus)
6 p.m. #2 Utah vs. #7 Colorado State (ESPN+Plus)
9 p.m. #3 UNLV vs. #6 New Mexico (ESPN)
Friday, March 8
6 p.m. #1 v. #8 winner vs. #4 v. #5 winner (ESPN+Plus)
9 p.m. #2 v. #7 winner vs. #3 v. #6 winner (ESPN)
Saturday, March 9
7 p.m. Championship (ESPN)
** Times are local to site (PST)
BYU in the Conference tournament
The Cougars have a 17-14 record in conference tournament games, which includes a 5-1 Mountain West tournament record and a 12-13 record in WAC tournament games. BYU has advanced to the finals in both years of the MWC tournament, winning the title over UNM last year and losing to UNLV in 2000. BYU defeated Air Force and co-champion Wyoming last year in the first two games. In 2000, BYU defeated UNM and Utah in the first two tourney games. BYU has won the opening game the last three postseason conference tournaments, including an upset of TCU, 90-74, in its first-round WAC tournament in 1999. Prior to the last two years, the last time BYU won two tournament games and advanced to the tournament finals was 1994 when BYU beat Utah 96-65 and Fresno State 87-72 in the Delta Center in Salt Lake City before losing to Hawaii in the finals, 73-66. Before last year, the last time BYU won the conference tournament title was in 1992, when the Cougars' Kevin Nixon hit a dramatic three-quarter court shot at the buzzer to defeat UTEP, 73-71, in Fort Collins, Colo.
Conference Tournament Record 17-14
First Round Record 9-8
Second Round Record 5-4
Championship Finals Record 3-2
WAC Tournament Record 12-13
MWC Tournament Record 5-1
Tournament Record (NEUTRAL) 16-10
Tournament Record (HOME) 1-2
Tournament Record (AWAY) 0-2
BYU Men and women in title games
BYU men's and women's basketball teams have both reached the tournament finals the past two years. It is the first times both teams have made it to the finals in the same season. Before the past two years, the women last advanced to the finals in 1993.
BYU at the Thomas & Mack Center
As a neutral court, the Thomas & Mack Center has been friendly to the Cougars. BYU is 7-2 in neutral court games (WAC and MWC tournaments and this year's Las Vegas Showdown) at the Thomas & Mack, including this year's victory over then-No. 13 Stanford on Dec. 22. The Cougars have won their last six neutral court games at the Thomas & Mack (1-0 this year; 3-0 in 2001; 2-0 in 2000). BYU's last neutral court loss was to Utah in the 1999 WAC Tournament after BYU's win over TCU in the opening round. BYU is 8-6 all-time at the Thomas & Mack Center when factoring in its 1-4 record vs. UNLV (BYU's win was a regular season victory in 2000). BYU's first two games in the series vs. UNLV played in Las Vegas in 1981 and 1982 were played before the Thomas & Mack was constucted in 1983.
BYU's Last Outing - CSU Stages Comeback, Defeats BYU in Overtime Saturday
FORT COLLINS -- In its last conference game of the season, the BYU men's basketball team lost in overtime, 79-75, to Colorado State in Fort Collins Saturday night. "They made some tough shots," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "We had a chance to win the game, but we didn't rebound, we missed free throws and we didn't get a stop with 12 seconds to go. Those are things we can control." With 10 minutes remaining in the game, BYU led the Rams 52-38. CSU then went on a 21-7 run, capping that drive with a Brian Greene basket with 6.2 seconds remaining in regulation. That sent the Cougars to overtime for the first time in conference play. BYU was 0-2 overall in its prior two overtime games this season. "We had the lead and then they started to make a run and we didn't do the little things you need to do to win," said BYU center Dan Howard, who started the game for only the second time this season. "It just goes to show you can never be too comfortable with a lead, especially when you're playing at their place." Early in the overtime period, CSU made two free throws to take its first lead of the game since it led 2-0 at the game's inception. The Rams then built a five-point lead, 75-70, before Travis Hansen hit a three-pointer with nine seconds remaining to pull the Cougars within two, 75-73. Hansen finished the game with 15 points. But solid free throw shooting sealed the victory for CSU, 79-75, as the Rams finished the season 12-17 overall and 3-11 in MWC play. BYU opened the game with an 11-1 run and maintained that lead throughout the first half. Coming off the bench, Jared Jensen led the Cougars with 10 first half points, earning six of those on 6-of-6 shooting from the free throw line. Jensen led all Cougars with 18 points for the game. The Cougars pushed their lead to 35-21 with 4:50 remaining in the half, riding on its solid post play and accurate shooting. However, BYU would not score for the remainder of the half while the Rams went on a 7-0 run to make the score 35-26 at the break. With the loss, BYU finishes the regular season 17-10 overall and 7-7 in the MWC, with all seven of its losses coming on the road. Eric Nielsen poured in 14 points before fouling out late in the game, and Mark Bigelow scored 12 second-half points after not scoring at all in the first half. Senior guard Matt Montague drew within nine assists of Nate Call's single-season assist record of 204. Montague had seven assists and seven points for the game.
BYU in the Final Week
With its two losses last week, BYU is now 7-3 in the in final week of the regular season under Steve Cleveland, including a 4-2 road record and a 3-1 home mark. This year's losses were the first road losses under Cleveland during the final week. Cleveland's teams are now 4-2 in MWC play during the final week. BYU had finished the regular season on the road twice under Cleveland before this year. BYU swept the trip on both occasions with wins at New Mexico and UTEP in 1998 and victories at New Mexico and Air Force last year. BYU finished the 1999 and 2000 seasons at home, going 3-1 with a loss to UNM and a win over UTEP in 1999 and victories over Air Force and San Diego State in 2000.
Hansen Named to MWC Second Team, Jensen Shares Freshman Honors
Montague, Nielsen, Bigelow Receive Honorable Mention Recognition
The Mountain West Conference announced it's 2001-02 men's basketball awards Monday, as chosen by the league's head coaches. BYU's Travis Hansen was selected to the second team while Cougar center Jared Jensen shared Freshman of the Year honors with Wyoming's Jason Straight. In all, five BYU players were recognized this year as senior point guard Matt Montague, senior forward Eric Nielsen and sophomore guard/forward Mark Bigelow received honorable mention. Hansen, a junior guard from Orem, Utah (Mountain View HS and UVSC), is BYU's leading scorer (15.5) and rebounder (6.4). Jensen, a forward/center from West Haven, Utah (Fremont HS), led the MWC in field goal percentage in both league games (57.9 percent) and all games (60.3 percent), becoming the first freshman in conference history to achieve that distinction. He also scored 10.2 points and grabbed 3.4 rebounds per conference game. Jensen is the fourth BYU player to receive either Freshman or Newcomer of the Year honors in the five seasons Steve Cleveland has coached the Cougars. Straight, a guard from Chicago, Ill. (Dunbar HS) replaced injured senior Chris McMillian this season and averaged 9.9 points per conference game and ranked fifth in assists at 3.21 per game. Wyoming head coach Steve McClain captured Coach of the Year honors, while Britton Johnsen of Utah was selected the Player of the Year. UNLV's Marcus Banks was named Defensive Player of the Year. Regular-season champion Wyoming led the league with four all-conference selections. Utah had the second-most honorees with three, followed by New Mexico, San Diego State and New Mexico with two and BYU and Colorado State with one. Utah's Britton Johnsen and San Diego State's Randy Holcomb were consensus first-team selections, while Marcus Bailey of Wyoming was the only repeat first-team honoree from last season. Steve McClain led Wyoming to a 20-7 overall record and 11-3 league mark as it captured its second-straight regular-season conference title and its first outright crown since 1981-82. The 2001-02 Cowboys became the first Mountain West team to win five conference road games and 11 total league contests in a season. Wyoming has won 18 or more games in each of McClain's four years in Laramie, including back-to-back 20-win seasons. Utah junior Britton Johnsen was selected as Player of the Year after leading the Utes to a 20-7 overall record, 10-4 in MWC play. Johnsen averaged 15.3 points and 58.1 rebounds per game in conference play this season while shooting 55.7 percent from the field and 40.4 percent from the 3-point line. In all games, he averaged 13.2 points and 6.5 rebounds per game and shot 50.2 percent from the field. Johnsen was a second-team All-MWC selection last year and is the second Ute in three years to be named MWC Player of the Year (Alex Jensen, 1999-2000). UNLV junior guard Marcus Banks was named Defensive of the Year. Banks transferred to UNLV from Dixie College in St. George, Utah prior to the 2000-01 season and made an immediate impact this season. In conference games, he led the league with 30 steals and a 2.14 steals per game average. Banks recorded a league-high seven games with four or more steals this season, including a career-high six against Texas Dec. 22.
Cleveland Has String of Top Newcomers
Six players have earned conference newcomer honors in Steve Cleveland's five years as the Cougar coach, including four who have been singled out as either the conference newcomer or freshman of the year.
Â• Jared Jensen (2001-2002 MWC Co-Freshman of the Year)
Â• Trent Whiting (2000-2001 MWC Newcomer Team, 2nd Team All-MWC)
Â• Terrell Lyday (1999-2000 MWC Newcomer of the Year, All-Tournament Team)
Â• Mark Bigelow (1998-99 WAC Freshman of the Year, Newcomer Team, 2nd Team All-WAC)
Â• Mekeli Wesley (1997-98 WAC Newcomer Team)
Â• Ron Selleaze (1997-98 WAC Newcomer of the Year, Newcomer Team, 2nd Team All-WAC)
2002 MWC Postseason Awards
Player of the Year
Britton Johnsen, Utah
Freshmen of the Year
Jason Straight, Wyoming/Jared Jensen, BYU
Defensive Player of the Year
Marcus Banks, UNLV
Coach of the Year
Steve McClain, Wyoming
First-Team All-Mountain West
Marcus Bailey, Wyoming, 6-5, 190, Jr., G/F, Cheyenne, Wyo.
Ruben Douglas, New Mexico, 6-5, 200, Jr., G, Altadena, Calif.
Randy Holcomb, San Diego State, 6-9, 222, Sr., F, Chicago, Ill.
Britton Johnsen, Utah, 6-9, 213, Jr., F, Murray, Utah
Dalron Johnson, UNLV, 6-9, 205, Jr., Los Angeles, Calif.
Second-Team All-Mountain West
Marcus Banks, UNLV, 6-1, 195, Jr., Las Vegas, Nev.
Al Faux, San Diego State, 6-2, 178, Sr., Los Angeles, Calif.
Brian Greene, Colorado State, 6-8, 225, Jr., Thorton, Colo.
Travis Hansen, BYU, 6-6, 210, Jr., Orem, Utah
Uche Nsonwu-Amadi, Wyoming, 6-10, 260, Jr., F/C, Enugu, Nigeria
Third-Team All-Mountain West
Eric Chatfield, New Mexico, 6-3, 215, Sr., Queens, N.Y.
Josh Davis, Wyoming, 6-8, 235, Sr., F/C, Salem, Ore.
Nick Jacobson, Utah, 6-4, 194, So., Fargo, N.D.
Jeff Johnsen, Utah, 6-4, 204, Sr., Murray, Utah
Donta Richardson, Wyoming, 6-2, 170, Jr., Colorado Springs, Colo.
Lamoni Yazzie (Sr., G)
Tom Bellairs (Jr., F)
Joel Gerlach (So., F)
Mark Bigelow (So., F)
Matt Montague (Sr., G)
Eric Nielsen (Sr., F)
Andy Birley (Jr., G)
Patrick Dennehy (So., F)
San Diego State
Tony Bland (Jr., G)
Lou Kelly (Sr., F)
Travis Spivey (Sr., G)
Montague is New BYU Assist Leader
Senior guard Matt Montague passed Danny Ainge Saturday at Wyoming to become BYU's all-time assist leader. He broke a tie with Ainge on his first assist (a bucket by Eric Nielsen) vs. Wyoming. He is currently the leader in career average, just ahead of Ainge, and has BYU's best single-season average at 7.3, which is currently sixth nationally. He needs just 9 assists to pass Nate Call as the single-season total assists leader. He has also dished out 15 assists in a game twice this year, just one off the BYU mark of 16 set by Mike May in 1976.
BYU Assist Leaders
Total Assists - Career
1. Matt Montague 549
2. Danny Ainge 539
3. Nathan Call 528
4. Marty Haws 502
Assists by Average -- Career
1. Matt Montague 4.61
2. Danny Ainge 4.57
3. Nathan Call 4.09
Total Assists -- Season
1. Nathan Call (1992) 204
2. Matt Montague (2002) 196
3. Nathan Call (1991) 164
4. Danny Ainge (1978) 158
Assists by Average -- Season
1. Matt Montague (2002) 7.3
2. Nathan Call (1992) 6.4
3. Danny Ainge (1978) 5.3
Assists in a game
1. Mike May (1976) 16
2. Matt Montague (2002) 15 (twice)
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).
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 last week. 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.
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.
Home/Road Conference First
BYU split with every team in the conference this year, going 7-0 at home and 0-7 on the road. It is the first time since the beginning of WAC play in 1962 that a BYU team has gone unbeaten at home and winless on the road during conference play. It is only the fourth time BYU has not won a road conference game and the first time in MWC play. BYU was 0-5 in 1967-68 (13-12 overall); 0-7 in 1969-70 (8-18 overall); 0-8 in 1996-97 (1-25 overall); and 0-7 this year (17-10 to date).
Cleveland in Conference Play
Coach Steve Cleveland's conference (WAC/MWC) record is 34-36. Taking over after BYU's 1-25 season, Cleveland improved BYU's conference record in each of his first four seasons and has exceeded many expectations with only one starter returning this year and a playing roster the includes five freshmen and five sopohomores. Cleveland has been at .500 four times, including twice this year (1-1, 2-2, 29-29, 34-34). He has had a winning mark twice (1-0, 2-1). Cleveland has a 23-18 (.561) MWC record.
The Cougars shoot 47.4 percent from the floor. BYU is shooting 49.3 percent in its 17 victories and 44.4 percent in its nine losses. The Cougars are shooting .498 at home and .445 on the road. BYU has shot at least 45 percent in 18 games this year. BYU has shot 50 percent or better six times this year (last time was 55.9 percent vs. Air Force in Provo).
From Three-Point Range
BYU is shooting 39.9 percent on threes (tied for 14th nationally). BYU was 6-12 at CSU Saturday after going only 3-12 vs. Wyoming Thursday. After making a season-low two threes vs. UNM, going 2-10 to end a string of six straight games with at least five threes, BYU responded with 8 treys vs. Air Force while shooting its second-best percentage at .615, going 8-13. BYU made a season-best 636 percent (7-11) vs. Stanford at the Thomas & Mack Center. BYU was 5-13 at UNLV this year. 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 made five threes in a game, going 5-7 vs. Idaho. Mark Bigelow has made a team-high 56 threes (.418) and made a three in 24 of 27 games this year (also set a BYU-record 22 straight games dating back to his freshman season). Travis Hansen has made 33 treys (.440) and Daniel Bobik has made 26 (.388). Matt Montague has made 15 (.326), and Eric Nielsen 12 (.545) and Jimmy Balderson 10 (.303). Hansen (472) had the second-best three-point percentage among MWC players in league.
One-Two Scoring Punch
Travis Hansen and Mark Bigelow 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 surpassed Bigelow as the team's leading scorer after his 19 points vs. Air Force. Hansen averages 15.5 and Bigelow 14.8. Bigelow has reached double figures in 23 of 27 games and Hansen has been in double-digits in 21 of 27 games. The only game this year when neither player reached double digits was at UNM.
Other Scoring Options
The Cougars have three players scoring in double figure points. After leaders Travis Hansen (15.5) and Mark Bigelow (14.8), senior Eric Nielsen averages 10.4 ppg and has scored a career-high 29 points vs. Stanford. He has scored in double-digits in 13 of his last 15 starts and 13 of the last 16 games, including 14 points in each of the last three games. In addition, freshman center Jared Jensen is averaging 9.3 ppg and had a career-high 20 points at Air Force. He is coming of 18 points at CSU. Reserve guard Daniel Bobik is adding 6.6 ppg off the bench, twice scored highs of 17 points, and starting point guard Matt Montague also adds 6.6 ppg and has reached double digits six times, including a season-high 13 points at Utah and vs. AFA. Freshman guard Jimmy Balderson has reached double figures three times with a high of 19 points.
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 five home wins, Hansen went 30-53 (.566), Bigelow is 25-47 (.532) and Bobik 4-9 (.500). In wins this year, Bigelow is shooting .478 and averaging 16.3 ppg, Hansen .475 and 15.0 ppg and Bobik .413 and 6.8 ppg. In losses, Bigelow's number drop to .381 and 12.3 ppg while Hansen's percentage falls to .396 but his average is up to team-leading 16.4 ppg. Bobik has shot better in losses (.444) with similar average (6.2 ppg).
Numbers at the Line
BYU is shooting 76.5 percent from the line for the year (tied for 8th nationally). Last year, BYU led the nation at 78 percent from the line. BYU's worst percentage was at UNM, making only 7-12 free throws (.583). BYU also shot only 66.7 percent vs. CSU, .656 vs. AFA, and .684 vs. Utah (only four games 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 tied for 14th 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 but his playing time has dropped during the second half of conference play. Four starters, Matt Montague, Eric Nielsen, Mark Bigelow and Travis Hansen average more than 30 minutes a game, with Montague playing a team-high 37.6 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 time in the post and Jimmy Balderson on the perimeter. Howard has gotten much more time in the last six games, including a starting assignment Saturday at CSU. He also started the season-opener at the University of San Diego.
BYU's record when . . .
BYU leads at half 12-5
Opponent leads at half 3-5
Score tied at half 2-0
BYU leads with 5 minutes left 15-3
Opponent leads with 5 min. left 2-7
BYU leads with 1 minute left 16-1
Opponent leads with 1 min. left 1-8
Score tied with 1 minute left 0-1
Game goes into overtime 0-3
BYU out rebounds opponent 13-2
Opponent out rebounds BYU 3-7
BYU and opponent tie in rebounds 1-1
BYU shoots 50 % or better 5-1
Opponent shoots 50 % or better 0-3
BYU out shoots opponent 14-4
Opponent out shoots BYU 3-6
BYU scores 60 or more points 16-8
Opponent scores below 60 points 10-0
vs. top-20 ranked opponent 1-0
vs. 2001 Conference Champions 6-3
vs. 2001 postseason teams 7-5
Montague is BYU Energizer, Keeps on Going, and Going
Senior point guard Matt Montague averages a team-leading 37.6 minutes per game. He has played 40 or more minutes in nine games this year, including a full 45 in two of the three overtime games. He has played 39 minutes in an additional six games. He is sixth nationally in assists (7.3). In MWC play, he also averages 7.3 assists. He leads the league in assist/turnover ratio. He is also averaging a career-best 6.6 ppg and 4.1 rpg. Montague equaled his season-high with 13 points vs. Air Force (also at Utah on 1/28/01). He passed Danny Ainge at Wyoming last Thursday as BYU's all-time assist leader .
Coming off two road losses last week, BYU looks to avoid what would be only its second-ever three-game losing streak since the inception of the MWC. BYU's three-game losing skid this year (at UNM, at AFA, at Utah) was its first in Mountain West play and its first since February 1999 when BYU lost at Fresno State, San Jose State (OT) and vs. New Mexico in Provo as a member of the WAC. Including this year, the Cougars have had 10 two-game losing streaks since losing the three straight in 1999. BYU had a three-game winning streak halted at Wyoming. 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. BYU has won 35 consecutive home games. BYU has lost 10 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.
Winning at Home
BYU has a 35-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. BYU finished 15-0 at home for the second straight season. BYU has had a perfect home record seven times since the Marriott Center opened for the 1971-72 season. This is the first time it has happened in back-to-back seasons. This year's team is only the fourth Cougar squad to win more than 14 home games in a season. The 1987-88 Ladell Andersen squad won a BYU record 16 games with two losses in the Marriott Center. BYU's last home loss was on Feb. 17, 2000 when New Mexico edged the Cougars 78-74. BYU has won 17 straight at home over MWC teams.
Hitting the Glass
BYU has had the rebounding edge in 15 of 27 games, earning a 13-2 record when winning the battle of the boards. Overall, BYU averages 33.1 rebounds while its opponents grab on average 31.1. BYU gave up a high of 48 rebounds to Wyoming Saturday, including 21 offensive boards. BYU held AFA to only 15 boards (a BYU opponent season low). The Cougars have been out rebounded 10 times overall this year (3-7 in those games). BYU was out boarded in nine of 14 MWC games. BYU got some key rebounds late vs. UNM last 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 at UNLV and SDSU. 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 (6.4) and point guard Matt Montague is third at 4.1. Forward Eric Nielsen is second at 4.9. Hansen has had highs of 17 and 15 rebounds.
BYU ranks second in the conference in field goal percentage defense (.421), first in three-point percentage defense (.305) and third in scoring defense (65.0). 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, holding 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, UNM 45.3, Utah 48.9, Wyoming 43.3 and CSU 46.0 in the last eight 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 (none in the last 12 games) while 10 teams have shot better than 45 percent against BYU.
Biggest Marriott Center Crowd in Two Years was vs. San Diego State
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 Salt Lake City Olympics had a significant impact on attendance this year as BYU's conference attendance was down to 11.843 from last year's 15,608.
BYU Starting Lineup Record
Montague, Hanen, Bigelow, Nielsen, Jensen 16-8
Montague, Hanen, Bigelow, Nielsen, Howard 1-1
Montague, Bobik, Hansen, Bigelow, Jensen 0-1
BYU Record in March
BYUhas been able to finish strong in each of Steve Clevelands first four seasons in Provo. Including BYU's loss at CSU Saturday, BYU is 12-6 in March under Steve Cleveland, including an 11-4 record over the last three years. BYU was 5-1 last March, with its lone loss coming in the NCAA tournament. Cleveland is 5-1 in the MWC tournament and 6-3 in conference postseason tournaments overall.
BYU vs. Postseason Teams/Conference Champs
BYU is 6-3 vs. 2001 conference title holders and 7-5 against teams that earned postseason berths last year with losses at Utah State, Pepperdine, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming and wins over Creighton, Stanford, CS Northridge, Southern Utah , Wyoming, New Mexico and Utah. 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 last year's NIT tournament.
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.
Tough MWC Conference
BYU's seven Mountain West opponents have combined (as of March 4) to win 60 percent of their games this year. The league, which was predicted to be stronger top to bottom from last season, is the seventh rated conference in the nation. BYU was picked sixth in the preseason poll. BYU finished tied for fourth with San Diego State.
BYU Opponent Records
Of the 20 opponents BYU will face this year, 14 have winning records as of March 4. Six teams have a losing record. Eight of BYU's 10 losses (except CSU and Air Force) have come against team's with winning records. Overall, BYU's opponents have combined to win 59.1 percent of their games with the nonconference teams having won 58.8 percent and MWC teams 59.5 percent.
BYU's win this year over then No. 13 Stanford in Las Vegas was the Cougars' first win over a team in the top-20 poll 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 was featured six times this season in the Mountain West television package with ESPN, ESPN2, ESPN Regional Television (ESPN+Plus) and ABC. The Cougars played twice on ESPN and four times on ESPN+Plus. An additional 13 BYU games were part of the SportsWest Productions' package and KBYU produced two games for taped-delay broadcast. In all 21-of-27 regular season games were televised. BYU also appeared on Fox Sports West 2 against Pepperdine and Fox Sports Arizona vs. Arizona State. The Cougars will appear on ESPN+Plus in its opening game of the MWC tournament.
RPI Report (as of March 4)
According to the CollegeRPI.com and Collegiate Basketball News RPI rankings, BYU is ranked 46th nationally in RPI, the second-rated MWC team behind Utah at 24. The Mountain West Conference is rated 7th among the 32 conferences (and five independents).
San Diego State 52
New Mexico 58
Colorado State 162
Air Force 190
Sagarin Ratings (as of March 4)
BYU is currently ranked 57th and is the third-rated team in the Mountain West Conference in the Sagarin ratings. BYU has the highest rated schedule (46th). 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 54
51 Wyoming 114
57 BYU 46
70 UNLV 88
71 San Diego State 59
81 New Mexico 97
140 Colorado State 81
174 Air Force 66
BYU in MWC Statistics (as of March 4)
Category Overall Conf. Only
Scoring Offense 5th 4th
Scoring Defense 3rd 3rd
Scoring Margin 3rd 3rd
FT Percentage 1st 2nd
FG Percentage 4th 3rd
FG % Defense 2nd 4th
3-FG Percentage 2nd 3rd
3-FG % Defense 1st 2nd
Rebound Offense 6th 6th
Rebounding Def. 4th 7th
Rebound Margin 5th 5th
Blocked Shots 6th T-2nd
Assists 5th 4th
Steals 8th 8th
Turnover Margin 7th 3rd
Assist/TO Ratio 2nd 3rd
Offensive Reb. 7th 6th
Defensive Reb. 3rd 6th
3-FG Made 4th 4th
Individual (overall games)
Â• Matt Montague leads the MWC in assists and assist/turnover ratio. He is 13th in defensive rebounds, tied for 10th in steals, and 17th in rebounding.
Â• Mark Bigelow 9th in scoring, 7th in free throw percentage, and tied for 5th in three-pointers per game and 8th in three-point percentage.
Â• Travis Hansen is 8th in scoring, 8th in rebounding, 5th in defensive rebounds, 5th in three-point percentage, 9th in free throw percentage and 15th in three-pointers per game.
Â• Eric Nielsen is tied for 8th in field goal percentage, 9th in defensive rebounds, 12th in total rebounds and 12th in blocks.
Â• Daniel Bobik would lead all MWC players in free throw percentage (.905) but doesn't shoot enough to qualify for the rankings.
Â• Jared Jensen is No. 1 in FG percentage, is 5th in FT percentage and 13th in off. rebounds.
Â• Jon Carlisle is 13th in blocked shots.
BYU in National Statistics (as of March 4)
Â• BYU is tied for 8th in the nation in free throw shooting percentage (.765), tied for 14th in three-point percentage (.399).
Â• Matt Montague is 6th in assists (7.3) and Daniel Bobik is tied for 14th in FT% (.905). Jared Jensen would rate 17th in field goal percentage if he had enough shots to qualify.
MATT MONTAGUE / 6-0 Â• 190 Â• senior Â• point guard
Â• Montague provides leadership at the point having started 84 times and played in all 119 games in his fourth year. He has led the team in assists during each of his four seasons. He was named honorable mention All-MWC Monday.
Â• He averages a MWC-best 7.3 assists (6th nationally). He also tops the MWC in assist/TO ratio. He has two of the nation's top seven assist games. He had15 assists vs. Wyoming and Idaho - the most assists by a Cougar since Mike May's school record of 16 vs. Niagara in 1976. He passed Danny Ainge at Wyoming as BYU's all-time assist leader.
Â• With 196 assists this year, he needs nine assists to pass Nate Call (204) as BYU's single-season holder.
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. He had a season-low 3 assists Thursday at Wyoming last week. Ironically, it was the same game he set the career assist record at BYU.
Â• He has reached double figures points in six games this year, including a season-high 13 points (vs. AFA, at Utah).
Â• He averages career highs of 6.6 ppg, 7.3 apg and 4.1 rpg. He has made 14 threes in the last 16 games, hitting on 14-33 attempts (.424), after making only 1 trey (1-13, .077) in BYU's first 11 games
Â• He had a season-high 8 rebounds at home vs. SDSU. He made a career-best 8 FTs to seal the win over Stanford.
TRAVIS HANSEN / 6-6 Â• 210 Â• junior Â• guard/forward
Â• Hansen is BYU's leading scorer (15.5) and rebounder (6.4).
Â• He averaged a team-leading 15.5 ppg and 4.0 rpg last week.
Â• He has scored 15 or more points in nine of the last 10 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.
Â• He has led BYU in scoring a team-leading 12 times overall this year, including four of the last five games. He has reached double-digit points in 21 of 27 games, including nine of the last 10.
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 Casey Jacobsen of Stanford. He guards the opponent's best perimeter player.
Â• Hansen had the second-best three-point percentage in conference play (.472) among MWC players.
Â• Hansen was named second-team All-MWC Monday by the league's coaches.
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 not in the shape he was prior to his mission.
Â• He has led BYU in scoring much of the year and is now second at 14.8 ppg. He has scored at least 13 points in 20 of 27 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 vs. AFA, going 1-4 for three points on a trey.
Â• 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 and in the last nine games has shot 41-82 (.500) from the floor and and 17-38 (.447) on threes while averaging 12.9 ppg. BYU is 5-4 in those games.
Â• 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 15 games, including a career-equaling 5 treys vs. Southern Utah. He had four threes vs. CSU in Provo, a conference-season high. He was named honorable mention All-MWC Monday.
ERIC NIELSEN / 6-9 Â• 215 Â• senior Â• forward
Â• A four-year starter, Nielsen is the only starter back from last year's NCAA team. His 55.0 career field goal percentage (345-627) is tied for fifth all-time at BYU with Kenneth Roberts and Tom Gneiting (No. 1 Alan Taylor, .574; No. 2 Gary Trost, .566, No. 3 Jared Miller and Russell Larson, .556). Nielsen and Matt Montague were 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 63-30 (.677) record to date, including two postseason tournament berths.
Â• Nielsen is third on the team in scoring (10.4 ppg), second in rebounding (4.9 rpg) and field goal percentage (.525).
Â• He has scored 14 points in five of the last seven games, including the last three straight. He averaged 11.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in the second half of MWC play. He hit the game-winner jumper vs. Utah, scoring 14 points.
Â• He has scored in double figures in 13 of the last 16 games. He has reached double digits 17 times this year.
Â• He had a season-high 9 rebounds vs. AFA. He took only two shots in the game, scoring a season-low 2 pts.
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 scored a career-high 29 points vs. Stanford, taking a career-high 16 attempts while making a new-best 11 shots.
Â• He missed his only start at Air Force because he was ill and did not attempt a shot for only time this year (3 pts).
Â• An Academic All-MWC and Cougar Scholar Athlete, Nielsen was named to the 2002 Verizon Academic All-District VIII team this year. He maintains a 3.26 GPA in Civil Engineering. He was also named honorable mention All-MWC.
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.
Â• Jensen and Wyoming's Jason Straight were named Co-Freshman of the Year by the league's head coaches Monday.
Â• He is fourth on the team overall at 9.3 ppg. In MWC games, he is fourth on the team at 10.2 ppg.
Â• He shoots a team-leading and MWC-best 60.3 percent. He has 13 double figure games this year.
Â• He has played 20-plus minutes in 15 games. After 8 straight 20-plus outings, he played a season-low 7 minutes at Utah and has only had four 20-minute games in the last nine. Despite coming off the bench for the first time since the season-opener, he had 18 points and played 21 minutes at CSU Saturday.
Â• He did not score for the third time this year at Wyoming (also at Utah, 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, 10 rebounds vs. CS Northridge. He also had a career-best 10 boards vs. Creighton. He has had a career-best free throw percentage twice, including his 8-8 at CSU Saturday.
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, although he has seen less time in recent games.
Â• Bobik is tied for fifth on the team in scoring (6.6). 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 once in the last eight games (at SDSU). He played a season-low 5 vs. Utah. He averages 18.9 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 vs. UNM. He shot 2-4 last week, including 1-2 on threes.
Â• Five of his seven double-digit games have been on the road, including 12 at USD and 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 90.5 percent (tied for 14th 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). The streak 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 blocked Brian Greene's shot with seconds left to help BYU preserve its three-point lead over CSU in Provo. 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 20 games. He played a season-high 22 minutes at UNLV and 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 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.
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 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.
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 18-27 (.667) from the floor in his two seasons, including 10-16 this year.
Â• Howard has appeared in 18 games overall this season. Last year, Howard played in 14 games in limited action.
Â• He has played his most significant time in the last six games since playing 17 minutes at SDSU. At SDSU he had career highs in points (8), rebounds (7), steals (1) and minutes (17) 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 had an important dunk and rebound late, along with a free throw vs. Utah to help BYU get a victory.
Â• Howard got his second start of the year Saturday at CSU, playing a career-high 22 minutes, while scoring four points and pulling down 5 rebounds. He took a career-high four shots (2-4). He also started the season-opener at USD, the only start of his career. He played seven minutes, with one rebound.
Â• In the last six games he has played his first extended minutes in games still in question since playing a season-high 12 minutes at USF last season. He plays with energy and has been a valuable defensive and rebounding presence.
Â• He has played double-digit minutes eight times this year, including the last six straight games.
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.
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 in the future. 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 22 games, including the last 21 straight. He has grabbed a rebound in 16 of 22 games and has scored in 12 of his 22 games.
Â• He is 14-29 (.483) from the floor.
Â• After three straight scoreless games, he scored 5 points and had 2 rebounds in 8 minutes vs. UNM. 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 in Provo, scoring a career-high 8 points.
Â• 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.
Â• He has played double-digit minutes five times, including 11 at Wyoming last Thursday. 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. He also had 4 boards vs. SDSU.
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 49 percent from the floor and 30 percent on threes. Nearly half of his attempts are three-pointers.
Â• He had 8 points in seven minutes at SDSU. He scored six points in five minutes vs. Wyoming in Provo on a three-pointer and a spectacular oldfashion three-point play on a reverse layin.
Â• Balderson has played in 24 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 totaled 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.
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 seven games, averaging 9.0 points in 16.0 minutes in those games.
Â• He had a string of 14 consecutive made free throws come to an end at SDSU, 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 19 games, but has played only one minute or less in nine 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 had 3 points, going 3-6 from the line, while playing five minutes vs. CSUN.
Â• He played 4 minutes at Wyoming last Thursday, setting a career high with 4 points. He went 4-4 from the line, a career-best percentage and also a new best in free throws made. It was the first time he has scored since the Cal State Northridge game (11 scoreless appearances in between).
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 (84-67 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.
Coaching Staff Additions
Former BYU player Andy Toolson and Pine View High School (St. George, Utah) coach John Wardenburg were hired as assistant coaches in May. Toolson joins Cleveland's staff after an 11-year professional career in Europe and the NBA, while Wardenburg comes to BYU with 11 years of coaching experience at the high school and junior college level. Former assistant coach Nathan Call was named director of basketball operations. Associate Head Coach Dave Rose remains in that capacity.