BYU (2-2) hosts Weber State (5-1) Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center. KSL Newsradio 1160 provides the radio broadcast on the Cougar Sports Network. Greg Wrubell will provide the play-by-play call with Mark Durrant adding commentary. The game will not be televised.
The Cougars are coming off an overtime loss at Utah State Saturday and have lost two straight on the road. The Wildcats have won five straight and are coming off a win over Montana-Western at home on Friday.
GAME FACTS (game 5)
Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2001
BYU (2-2) vs. Weber State (5-1)
Marriott Center (22,700)
7:05 p.m. MT
BYU, Steve Cleveland (69-59 in fifth year; same overall)
WSU, Joe Cravens (34-25 in second year; 93-76 in seventh year overall)
Series: BYU leads, 17-9
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time - 6 p.m. MT
Play-by-Play - Greg Wrubell
Game Analyst - Mark Durrant
Web: Audio available at www.KSL.com
BYU's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 3 Mark Bigelow 6-7 190 So. 19.0 3.0
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 11.0 5.3
C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. 9.0 3.8
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 19.8 9.5
G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 5.8 7.5 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 205 So. 9.0 3.8
G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. 1.3 1.7
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. 0.3 3.8
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 0.0 0.5
G 12 Shawn Opunui 5-11 175 Fr. 0.0 0.5 apg
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 0.0 0.0
C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 260 So. -- --
F 4 Jesse Pinegar 6-9 225 Fr. -- --
Scouting Weber State
Weber State is off to a fast start with a 5-1 record. The Wildcats have won five straight games and are coming off a home win Friday over Montana-Western. They are 2-0 at home and won the Big Island Invitational with wins over Louisiana State, Wisconsin and Colorado State. They are 0-1 on the road, losing the season-opener at Illinois State, 74-70. Weber State won the Big Island Invitational in Hilo, Hawai'i, by winning three tightly contested games. All three games found the Wildcats behind at halftime, and in all three games, the Wildcats pulled out the victory in the final seconds, including a buzzer beater in overtime to defeat Louisiana State in the first round. Jermaine Boyette, who played just five minutes because of a sprained ankle vs. LSU and did not score, was named to the All-Tournament Teams with 20 points vs. Wisconsin and 22 points vs. Colorado State in the championship game. It marked the first time a WSU team has won an eight-team in-season tournament in six tries. Boyette leads the WSU scoring effort at 18.2 ppg. Weber State coach Joe Cravens (Texas-Arlington, 1977), is in his 3rd season. Cravens is 34-25 at WSU coming into Wednesday's game, and is 93-76 overall in his 7th season as a head coach on the Division I level.
WEBER STATE PROBABLE STARTERS
F 24 Chris Woods 6-4 200 Sr. 11.4 10.2
F 35 Stephan Bachmann 6-10 245 Jr. 6.4 3.0
C 50 Patrick Danley 6-8 235 Jr. 3.6 2.6
G 3 Jermaine Boyette 6-2 185 Jr. 17.8 2.2
G 22 John Hamilton 6-3 185 So. 13.0 2.0
WSU Quick Facts:
Location: Ogden, Utah
Colors: Royal Purple and White
Home Arena: Dee Events Center
Conference: Big Sky
Athletic Director: John Johnson
Head Coach: Joe Cravens
Alma Mater: Texas Arlington (1977)
Best time to call: 9-11:30 a.m.
Office Phone: (801) 626-6496
Overall Record (Years): 93-76 (7th)
Record at School (Years): 34-25 (3rd)
Assistant Coaches: Kirk Earlywine, John Stroia
Overall Record: 15-14
Conf. Record/Finish: 8-8/5th
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: NA
Letterman Returning/Lost: 7/4
Starters Returning/Lost: 3/2
Key Returning Starters (last year's stats)
Stephan Bachman, 6-10, 235, Sr., C (10.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg)
Jermaine Boyette, 6-2, 190, Jr., G (19.1 ppg, 4.2 apg)
Basketball Contact: Brad Larsen
Office: (801) 626-6010
Home: (801) 776-5376
Fax: (801) 626-6490
Press Row: (801) 626-6588
Athletics Web Site
BYU leads the series, 17-9. The Cougars have won the last two games against Weber State. BYU won last year's game in Ogden, 84-75. BYU won the last meeting in Provo, 66-53, to win the 1999 Cougar Classic. In Weber State's last win the Wildcats jumped out to a big early lead and held on to win in Ogden, 83-80, on Nov. 19, 1998. The Cougars and Wildcats first played during the 1973-74 season with BYU winning a close contest, 77-76, in Provo. With the exceptions of the 1978-79 and 1979-80 seasons, the two teams have played each other on an annual basis. The Cougars have not fared well on the road during the series, having suffered all nine losses in the series in the 13 meetings in Ogden. BYU is 13-0 vs. Weber State in Provo. The series has had four overtime contests, two at each venue with the home team coming out on top in all four extra-period contests. The last overtime game was an 83-77 Wildcat win in Ogden Dec. 8, 1992.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 17-9
BYU Record in Provo: 13-0
BYU Record in Ogden: 4-9
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 3-1
Longest BYU Win Streak: 3 three times (1978-81, 85-87, 89-91)
Longest Weber State Win Streak: 1
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 33, 104-71 in 1987
Largest Weber State Margin of Victory: 21, 75-96 in 1976
Most Points Scored by BYU: 104 in 1987
Most Points Scored by Weber State: 97 in 1996
Cougars Win in Ogden Last Year Despite Boyette's Big Night
OGDEN -- Winning in Ogden for the first time in 10 years, BYU scored 56 second-half points to come from behind and defeat Weber State 84-75 in front of 10,252 fans at the Dee Events Center. The Cougars improved to 8-4 with the win and a perfect 3-0 against instate rivals this season. BYU handed Weber State its first home loss of the year in four games and the Wildcats suffered back-to-back defeats for the first time this season with the loss. Weber State, now 5-5 overall, was coming off a loss at Utah State. BYU trailed at half, 32-28, as its leading scorer, Mekeli Wesley, did not score in the first 20 minutes on four attempts. But Wesley put down 17 second half points to lead a balanced BYU offense that out scored the Wildcats 56-43 in the final 20 minutes. Five Cougars reached double figures for the first time this year. After Wesley's 17 points, Trent Whiting had 15, Terrell Lyday 14, and Eric Nielsen and Travis Hansen added 12 apiece. Montague provided a spark off the bench for the Cougars, adding seven points and a game-high five assists in 18 minutes. With Weber State starting the game with a 10-0 run, BYU had six times gotten to within a possession of equaling the score but had not been able to convert. Montague helped turn the momentum BYU's way when he stole the ball from Wildcat star Jermaine Boyette and fed Hansen for a break-away hammer dunk to finally tie the game at 46 at the 11:58 mark. BYU did not trail again, and built a lead that reached 12 points thanks to strong free throw shooting. The Cougars went 23-24 from the line in the second half and 30-32 for the game. The Cougars made 24 straight free throws at one point in the game between their only two misses from the line. Boyette had a career night for Weber State, scoring 36 points with five rebounds and five assists. The quick Wildcat guard went 13-19 from the floor, including 2-3 from three-point range, and was a nearly perfect 8-9 from the line. Center Stephan Bachmann added 13 points while Jake Shoff had a game-high 10 rebounds in a losing effort. Lyday had a season-high seven rebounds for BYU while playing the entire 40 minutes and having the task of guarding Boyette. Lyday took only one three, a miss, to halt his string of 15 straight games with a made three-pointer, the third longest streak in BYU history. Lyday set the BYU mark at 21 last season.
Cougars Defeat Wildcats to win Cougar Classic Title in Event's Final Year
PROVO -- Winning its third Cougar Classic title in as many years under Coach Steve Cleveland, BYU took command early and held off in-state rival Weber State for a 66-53 win Saturday in the Marriott Center. Four Cougars scored in double figures led by Michael Vranes and Nathan Cooper with a game-high 15 points. Terrell Lyday and Mekeli Wesley added 12 apiece for BYU. Wesley continued his strong inside play with a team-high eight rebounds while forward Eric Nielsen and point guard Matt Montague each pulled down six boards. Montague had a strong overall game, dishing out a season-high nine assists while playing tough defense on Weber State star point guard Eddie Gill. "Montague did an outstanding job defending Eddie Gill, who is very hard to defend," Cleveland said. Montague's solid defensive effort held the speedy Wildcat point guard to half of his average as Gill managed eight points on 2-14 shooting. High scoring forward Harold Arceneaux scored 14 points and had 10 rebounds while center Stephan Bachmann led the Wildcats with 15 points. The Cougars shot 48 percent in the first half and made 6-10 treys to take a 35-24 advantage into half time. On the perimeter, Vranes, Lyday and Cooper were the Cougar catalysts in the first half with 12, 10 and seven points, respectively. While the Cougars went 0-6 on threes in the second half, BYU was able to maintain its lead as Wesley came through in the final 20 minutes to score 10 of his 12 points. With the win, BYU claimed its 17th Cougar Classic title in the 26 years of the event and improved to 6-1 on the year. Wesley, who scored 24 points and had 10 rebounds Friday night, was named the tournament MVP and was joined on the all-tournament team by Lyday, Arceneaux, Western Oregon's Mike Vanderhoff and Texas Southern's Chris Miller. Texas Southern defeated Western Oregon, 82-77 in overtime, to win the consolation game.
Cougars Fall in Overtime at Utah State
LOGAN -- BYU was a finger-roll away from ending the nation's fourth-longest home court winning streak before falling to Utah State in overtime Saturday, 90-81. With regulation time about to expire, BYU's Daniel Bobik spun into the lane with a nice move to get off a five-foot underhanded scoop shot but it rolled off the rim. With Mark Bigelow out of the game with five fouls, guard Travis Hansen scored all six BYU points in the extra period but the Aggies tallied 15 overtime points thanks to some great rebounding and free throw shooting. Utah State dominated the boards to get more possessions and converted 11 free throws and two field goals in the extra five minutes. "Their effort on the boards is what hurt us," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "They also shot well from the line. Pinegar gave them a great lift outside. We knew he was good inside." Junior college transfer Desmond Penigar scored a game-high 34 points, many on long jumpers, including two threes, and went a perfect 10-10 from the line for the Aggies. He also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds as Utah State finished the night with 35 boards to BYU's 24. The Aggies also grabbed 14 of their own misses on the offensive glass. This is the first time this year BYU has been out rebounded by an opponent. "We played with great heart and had two chances to win at the end," Cleveland said. "This is the best execution we have had all year." Hansen led BYU with a career-high 26 points and five rebounds. He made 10-of-15 shots from the floor, including a 3-of-5 effort from three-point range. He extended his string of consecutive free throws made to 13 before missing one of his four attempts against the Aggies. Bigelow added 21 points but played only 28 of the 45 minutes, fouling out with two minutes remaining in regulation time. "It kills me to be on the bench, but I have faith in my teammates," Bigelow commented. "I made some good shots but I need to do more in scoring, and I need to do much better on defense and on the boards." Bigelow, who finished with two rebounds, both on the offensive end, made his third three-pointer of the game with 2:10 remaining in regulation to bring BYU within three at 73-70. Fouling out shortly thereafter, Bigelow sat on the bench as Bobik hit his third trey of the game to even the score at 73. After Hansen converted two free throws with less than a minute to go to put BYU up 75-73, the Cougars tried to get a defensive stop but Utah State's Tony Brown drove baseline and hit Brennan Ray inside for the game-tying bucket. Bobik nearly gave the Cougars the win with his spinning shot in the lane. Bobik scored 13 points off the bench in 25 minutes and Eric Nielsen added 14 points to round out BYU's double-digit scorers. Matt Montague had a season-high 10 assists along with two points while playing a career-high 42 minutes. Backup point guard Shawn Opunui played three first half minutes with one assist before suffering a badly jammed thumb. Brown scored 20 points for Utah State, going a perfect 8-of-8 from the line, while Ronnie Ross contributed 11 points and Chad Evans 10 as four Aggies reached double figures. Both teams shot well from the line. BYU shot 84.2 percent, making 16-of-19 free throws, but the Aggies took 11 more attempts while converting on 28-of-30 free tosses for an impressive 93.3 success rate. BYU shot 48.3 percent from the floor, including 9-of-20 threes, while the Aggies made field goals at a 50.9 percent clip and went 6-of-13 from long range. The win extended Utah State's home winning streak to 25 games, the fourth-longest streak in the nation. BYU was the last team to win in Logan on Jan. 8, 2000. BYU is now 2-2 on the year after losing two closely contested road games this week at UC Santa Barbara and Utah State. The Aggies, 4-0 this season, ended a string of three consecutive Cougar wins in the series, which is BYU's oldest rivalry dating back to 1905. Overall, BYU holds the advantage with a 132-86 record against the Aggies.
Hansen Off to Fast Start
Shooting guard Travis Hansen averaged 20 points and 7.5 rebounds in BYU's two games last week to lead the Cougars in both categories. He shot 45 percent from the floor, including 55.6 percent on threes, and 87.5 percent from the free throw line. Hansen scored a career-high 26 points against Utah State Saturday in BYU's overtime loss. He went 10-15 from the floor, including a 3-5 from three-point range, and was 3-4 from the line. He added a team-high five rebounds and one assist in 38 minutes. His 10 field goals, three treys and 38 minutes were all career highs. Hansen extended a string of 13 straight made free throws dating back to the season-opener in San Diego before missing one of his four attempts at Utah State. He was 4-4 at UC Santa Barbara and 7-8 for the week. Hansen had his second straight double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds at UC Santa Barbara. He had 18 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to lead BYU to a win over Arizona State in BYU's only home game. The two double-doubles are the first of his career. Hansen's 15 rebounds vs. ASU is the most ever by a BYU guard and the most by a Cougar since Justin Widauer, a center, grabbed 15 boards for BYU at Texas Christian in the 1996-97 season. Hansen has scored 20-plus points twice in BYU's four games and has a team-leading two double-doubles. Overall, he leads BYU in scoring (19.8 ppg) and is second in the Moutain West Conference. He is tied with New Mexico's Patrick Dennahy in rebounding (9.5 rpg). He averages 1.0 assist per game and is shooting 43.1 percent from the floor, 43.8 percent on threes, and 75.9 percent from the line.
Bigelow Playing Big
Mark Bigelow averaged 18.0 points per game last week. He scored a team-high 15 at UC Santa Barbara, including 4-6 on threes, and had 21 points at Utah State, with three treys. He made 7-13 threes in the two games, a 53.8 success rate. He also shot 90 percent from the free throw line, going 9-10. He added 3.5 rebounds per game. Bigelow scored a season-high 31 points in BYU's win over Arizona State last Saturday. It was the second time Bigelow has totaled more than 30 points. His career high is 33 points at Washington State as a freshman during the 1998-99 season. Against ASU in the last game in Provo, Bigelow made shots from long-range, mid-range and inside, shooting 52.9 percent from the floor, going 9-17, including 4-of-8 three-point attempts. He missed only one free throw in 10 attempts to shoot 90 perent from the charity stripe. Bigelow contributed all over the court with four assists (second to point guard Matt Montague's six) and three rebounds to go along with his sharp shooting. Bigelow averages 19.0 points per game, second on the team to Hansen's 19.8 and third among all Mountain West Conference players.
Nielsen Stepping into New Role
Senior Eric Nielsen will play a larger offensive role for BYU this year. He is third on the team in scoring (11.0 ppg) and had 14 at Utah State in BYU's last game. He had a career-high 19 points vs. ASU in BYU's only game in Provo this year (his previous best was 17 against Utah in the 2000 MWC tournament in Las Vegas). He went 8-11 from the floor. His eight field goals made was a new personal best. Last year the most shots he took in a game was eight, when he averaged only 3.8 shot attempts per game. He ranks third all-time at BYU in career field goal percentage and is making 56.7 percent of his shots so far this year (17-30). He made two big buckets from the post late in game to stave off an ASU comeback attempt. He had season lows of three points and four rebounds last Wednesday in a foul trouble-shortened 34 minutes at UC Santa Barbara.
Senior Leader at the Point
Senior point guard Matt Montague had a season-high 10 assists at Utah State, the most assists he has recorded since dishing out 10 assists as a sophomore vs. Southern Illinois on March 20, 2000 in BYU's second round NIT victory. Montague's career high is 11, which he record vs. Weber State as a freshman during the 1996-97 season. Montague has led BYU in assists in each of his three previous seasons and averages a Mountain West Conference best 7.5 assists this year. He scored 11 points and had a game-high eight assists at USD in the season-opener. Montague reached double-digit points only once last year in 33 games, scoring 12 points at the University of San Francisco.
Bobik Getting Time
After averaging 10 minutes off the bench last year while playing in 28 of 33 games, sophomore Daniel Bobik will get more playing time this season. Playing a sixth-man role, he is averaging 23.5 minutes, 9.0 points and 3.8 rebounds. He leads BYU with five steals. He had 13 points, 4 rebounds and 3 assists in 25 minutes at Utah State. He played a career-high 33 minutes with 12 points and four rebounds in the season-opener at USD. He had four points and five boards in 17 minutes last Wednesday at UCSB.
Jensen Filling Starting Role
After sophomore Dan Howard Started the season-opener, freshman center Jared Jensen has started the last three games. Jensen averaged 9.0 points per game last week, while going 6-7 from the floor (.857) and made 6-8 free throws (.750). He had a career-high 14 points on 4-5 shooting and 6-8 from the line at UCSB, but did not have a rebound. In his first career start vs. Arizona State in Provo, he played 15 minutes and had four points, two rebounds and one assist. Howard started at USD, the the first time in 19 career appearances, but played only seven minutes, with one rebound. He played two minutes at Utah State after not appearing in the prior two games.
Home Winning Streak
BYU extended its home court winning streak to 21 games with its win over Arizona State Saturday. BYU owns the sixth longest home-court streak in the nation. BYU went a perfect 15-0 in the Marriott Center last season. BYU's last loss in the Marriott Center was on Feb. 17, 2000 when New Mexico edged the Cougars 78-74.
BYU is shooting 44.5 percent from the floor, 41.0 percent (No. 2 among MWC teams) on threes and 79.2 percent (No. 1 among MWC teams) from the line. Last week, BYU shot 43.6 percent from the floor and 44.1 percent on threes in two games. They made 80 percent of their free throws but were still out shot by their opponent's who made an impressive 91.4 percent from the line. BYU's opponents shot 44.4 percent from the floor and 31 percent on threes last week. BYU is first among MWC teams in three-point field goal percentage defense, allowing only a 29.8 success rate from long range.
From Three-Point Range
Only three Cougars have made a three-point shot this season, but all three are shooting at least 40 percent from long range. Mark Bigelow leads the way with 12 threes (12-24) and a 50 percent percentage. Travis Hansen is 7-16 (.438) and Daniel Bobik is 6-15 (.400).
More Free Throw Numbers
Six Cougars are shooting 75 percent or better from the free throw line, including four better than 80 percent. Mark Bigelow makes a team-leading 90.9 percent (No. 2 among MWC players) followed by Eric Nielsen (.833), Daniel Bobik (.800), Jared Jensen (.800), Travis Hansen (.759) and Matt Montague (.750).
On the Boards
BYU was out rebounded for the first time this year in its overtime loss to Utah State (35-24). The Cougars and UCSB each had 35 rebounds. For the week, BYU pulled down 29.5 boards to its opponent's 35. On the year, BYU maintains a rebounding edge with a 34.5 average compared to 31.8. BYU's 42-26 rebounding advantage over ASU in its only home game was the third worst margin suffered by ASU head coach Rob Evan's in his coaching career and his worst at ASU.
BYU won its season-opener for the fifth straight year. The Cougars are 3-0 at home and 2-0 on the road in season-openers under coach Steve Cleveland. Both road wins have been in San Diego. Before this year's win over the University of San Diego, the Cougars defeating San Diego State in Cleveland's BYU debut in 1997. With this year's win over ASU, BYU has now won its last four home openers and is 4-1 in home-openers under Steve Cleveland.
Record after Five
BYU started the year 2-0 for the third straight season. After five games, BYU has had a winning record the last two seasons (4-1 in 1999-00, 3-2 in 2000-01). The Cougars were 2-3 after five games during the 1998-99 season and 1-4 in Cleveland's first year in 1997-98.
Point Putting in Time
Starting point guard Matt Montague is averaging a team-high 39.5 minutes per game. He playeda career-high 42 minutes Saturday in BYU's overtime loss at Utah State.
Freshman backup Shawn Opunui suffered a badly jammed thumb against Utah State after three minutes. Fellow freshmen Jimmy Balderson and and Terry Nashif have made brief appearances at the point this year.
Missing in the Post
Coach Steve Cleveland lost the services of three post players for all or part of the year. Sophomore forward Jacob Chrisman, a professional pitching prospect on BYU's baseball team, decided to redshirt to play a full baseball season but has recently returned to basketball practice and could still play this year. Redshirt freshman Jesse Pinegar was finally cleared to practice and play last week after having surgery on his left (non dominant) shoulder in June. Sophomore center Derek Dawes decided this summer to go on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
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. Heath Schroyer, who had served alongside Cleveland, Rose and Call the past four seasons in Provo, left to accept an assistant position at Wyoming. Brian Santiago, Cleveland's administrative assistant the past four seasons, is BYU's assistant athletic director responsible for game operations.
Jared Jensen, a 6-foot-9 forward, earned the 2001 Deseret News Mr. Basketball Award after scoring 25.8 points and pulling down 13 rebounds per game this past season at Fremont High School (Utah). Shawn Opunui, 5-foot-11 , averaged 21.7 points and 6.1 assists as an all-state point guard at Orem High School (Utah) in 1999 before leaving for an LDS Church mission. Additional newcomers include freshman Jimmy Balderson from Magrath, Alberta, and transfers Ricky Bower from the University of Wisconsin, Jake Shoff from Weber State University and Jon Carlisle from the University of Utah. Bower and Shoff will redshirt next season because of transfer rules while Carlisle, who returned from a mission earlier this year, is eligible to play as a sophomore but could redshirt while working to return to playing condition.
2001-02 Schedule Notes
Time Change for Saturdays' Game with Creighton
Saturday's game with Creighton, originally scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., has been changed to an 8 p.m. start time. The game will be televised by SportsWest Productions on KSL-TV, channel 5.
BYU Opponents Get Big Wins
BYU will face some tough opposition this year on its schedule. Several upcoming opponents have already recorded some big wins. Pepperdine, a 22-9 team last year that finished second to Gonzaga in the West Coast Conference, knocked off No. 11 UCLA at Pauley Pavillion and Creighton, the champion of the Missouri Valley Conference, upset No. 17 Western Kentucky. Weber State won the Big Island Invitational with wins over Louisiana State, Wisconsin and Colorado State. BYU faces both Weber State and Creighton this week in Provo.
Seven Conference Champions
Seven conference champions, including Pac-10 champion Stanford, and 12 games against teams who qualified for postseason play last year highlight BYU's 2001-02 men's basketball schedule. Other conference champions include 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. Pepperdine placed second in the WCC behind NCAA qualifier Gonzaga and earned a 22-9 record, including an NIT win in Laramie over Wyoming. The Waves enter their first year under former NBA player and coach Paul Westphal. New Mexico also advanced in the NIT, losing in the second round to Pepperdine. Including two exhibition contests, BYU has 29 games, including 17 in the Marriott Center, on its schedule. The MWC tournament is Mar. 7-9, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Las Vegas Showdown vs. Stanford
The Cougars will face Stanford, who advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last year with a 31-3 record, on ESPN in game two of the annual Las Vegas Showdown at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on Dec. 22. Host UNLV will play Texas in the first game on ESPN2.
Opponent Winning Percentage
BYU's 13 nonconference opponents earned a combined 234-156 (.600) record last year for an average record of 18-12. Instate rivals Utah State, Utah, Southern Utah and Weber State combined for an 87-38 record, winning nearly 70 percent of their games and earning two NCAA and one NIT berth. Nine teams who qualified for a postseason (five NCAA, four NIT).
BYU will play seven nonconference opponents who were on the Cougars' schedule last year and six that are new to the schedule, including two first-time opponents. BYU had a 5-2 record last year against the seven teams it will play again this season, with home wins over UC Santa Barbara, Utah State, Idaho and Southern Utah and a road win at Weber State. The two losses both came during the first road trip of the season at San Francisco and Arizona State. Stanford, Creighton, Pepperdine, Cal State Northridge, San Diego and Fort Lewis are all new opponents this year, with San Diego and Fort Lewis playing BYU for the first time. BYU faces teams from seven different conferences in 2001-02, including three West Coast Conference teams in San Diego, San Francisco and Pepperdine; three Big Sky teams in Cal State Northridge, Weber State and Idaho; two Pac-10 teams in Stanford and Arizona State; two Big West teams in Utah State and UC Santa Barbara; and one team each from the Missouri Valley Conference (Creighton), Mid-Continent Conference (Southern Utah), and Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference (Fort Lewis).
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 12 BYU games are part of the SportsWest Productions' package.
ERIC NIELSEN / 6-9 Â• 215 Â• senior Â• forward
CAPSULE -- A three-year starter, Nielsen will play a big role for the Cougars in 2001-02 with the loss of the team's other four starters ... An intelligent player with a good mid-range jumper, his 56.3 career field goal percentage ranks third all-time at BYU ... Nielsen and teammates Matt Montague and Michael Vranes were all freshmen members of the 1996-97 BYU team that finished 1-25 .... After returning from his mission, Nielsen has played the past two seasons for coach Cleveland , helping the Cougars earn a combined 46-20 record and two postseason tournament berths ... He is Academic All-MWC and a Cougar Scholar Athlete.
Matt Montague / 6-0 Â• 190 Â• senior Â• point guard
CAPSULE: Montague provides leadership at the point having started 57 times and played in all 92 games in his three years ... Last year he started 12 games, primarily before Trent Whiting joined the team in December, but still lead the team in assists (2.9) while playing mostly a reserve role ... He has led the team in assists during each of his three seasons ... A hard-nosed competitor, he sees the floor well and is a great transition passer ... Career averages are 3.6 points and 3.8 assists.
Travis Hansen / 6-6 Â• 210 Â• junior Â• forward
CAPSULE: . After playing a supporting role in his first season at BYU last year, he will be asked to play a more significant role for the Cougars in 2001-02 ... With an increase in playing time in 2001-02, Hansen has the talent to become an all-conference player ... He is very athletic ... His explosiveness gives him great potential as a scorer and rebounder ... He is most effective when slashing to the basket but has range from the three-point arc ... He was fifth in scoring last year (5.5) and also grabbed 3.0 boards per game ... He earned a starting position midway through the year before missing nine games in the middle of MWC play because of a fractured right foot. He played primarily a reserve role to senior Nathan Cooper after returning from his injury ... He started nine games and the Cougars had a 7-2 record in those games with loses at Colorado State and Wyoming, where he suffered the foot injury ... He played his freshman year at Utah Valley State College before going on an LDS Church mission ... He sat out a year as a redshirt before joining the Cougars in 2000-2001.
MARK BIGELOW / 6-7 Â• 190 Â• sophomore Â• guard/forward
CAPSULE -- Bigelow could be one of the Cougars top players and among the top performers in the Mountain West if he returns to his pre-mission form ... He 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 should play a significant role this season if he can regain his physical conditioning ... He returned from his mission in June having grown an inch to 6-7 ... He returned at 185 points ... He could play the 2 or the 3 spot on the floor for the Cougars ... He is an excellent shooter and extremely intelligent player ... A gifted offensive player with a great mid-range game ... He moves well without the ball ... He was the 1999 WAC Pacific Division Freshman of the Year, All-WAC Second Team and All-Newcomer Team in 1999 ... He had a career-high 33 points at Washington State and twice recorded highs of 14 rebounds in a game.
Daniel Bobik / 6-6 Â• 195Â• sophomoreÂ• guard
CAPSULE: Bobik averaged 3.5 points and 10.4 minutes while playing in 28 of 33 games as a freshman ... He has good offensive instincts and size on the guardline ... He will compete for a starting role in 2001-02 with the loss of BYU's all-conference guard line of Whiting and Lyday ... He has good range and is a crafty passer with good court awareness ... He could play some point but is primarily a wing player ... He enrolled at BYU for his freshman season after returning from an LDS Church mission to the Dominican Republic ... He was one of the first recruits to sign with BYU under Steve Cleveland.
Dan Howard / 7-0 Â• 225 Â• sophomore Â• center
CAPSULE: Howard played in 14 games last year in limited action ... The tallest player on the roster, he has a nice touch for a big man ... He has made 8 of his 11 field goal attempts as a Cougar ... A hard worker, he has a knack for the ball and could be a factor in inside this year, especially with the Cougars' losses in the post ... He has not had the opportunity to play a lot of consistent minutes (he played a career-best 12 minutes at San Francisco last year) since last playing for his high school team in 1996.
Bart Jepsen / 6-9 Â• 235 Â• redshirt sophomore Â• forward
CAPSULE: Jepsen redshirted last season after returning from an LDS Church mission ... He had suffered a severe break of his leg on his mission ... He will likely play a significant role in the middle as a rebounder and defender who can run the floor well ... A strong physical presence and good rebounder, he could play a role similar to that of outgoing senior Nate Knight ... 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 ... He is the younger brother of former Cougar center Bret Jepsen.
Jesse Pinegar / 6-9 Â• 220 Â• redshirt freshman Â• forward
CAPSULE: 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 ...An extremely skilled offensive player, he was expected to play a strong role for BYU this season but again injured his shoulder in June ... He will be out until at least December and perhaps longer to recover from the surgery to his left (non dominant) shoulder ... The latest surgery should completely repair the injury ... A mobile, athletic player, he can play the 3, 4 or 5 positions and has excellent range beyond the three-point line ... He is an outstanding passer and a very skilled young offensive post player ... He made significant strides in the weight room this past season before the injury .... He has the tools to play a significant role once healthy.
Jacob Chrisman / 6-8 Â• 225 Â• sophomore Â• forward
CHRISMAN CAPSULE: A two-sport athlete, Chrisman is also is a pitcher on the BYU baseball team ... He announced last spring that he will redshirt basketball this year to play a full season of baseball, but could still try to play both sports this season ... He started practicing with the basketball team in November after the completion of fall baseball workouts ... He could be a significant contributor if he does play basketball ... he is extremely mobile and a strong rebounder ... He is an athletic low post player who can score in multiple ways ... He has developed a nice perimeter game ... A hard worker, he has a knack for the game and finds a way to make plays both on offense and defense ... A slasher-type player who has a nice shooting touch ... He could play both the three and four positions for the Cougars.
Jared Jensen / 6-9 Â• 245 Â• freshman Â• forward/center
Highs: 14 pts at UCSB, 4 rbs at USD; 1 assist vs. ASU, 1 steal at USU
Jensen earned the 2001 Deseret News Mr. Basketball Award after scoring 25.8 points and pulling down 13 rebounds per game this past season at Fremont High School. He averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game as a junior when he also earned Salt Lake Tribune and Deseret News All-State honors. He is a talented offensive player in the low-post who can also score with his jumper. He played center in high school but will likely play power forward in college. He should get the opportunity to play as a freshman with the loss of 2001 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Mekeli Wesley in the post.
Shawn Opunui / 5-11 Â• 170 Â• freshman Â• point guard
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. A strong offensive player and solid defender, 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. His ability to break defenses down with the dribble should create offensive opportunities for his teammates. He loves pushing the ball up the floor as a true point guard with great court vision. A super passer and great penetrator, Opunui should have an immediate impact on the program with the loss of all-MWC guards Trent Whiting and Terrell Lyday and the uncertain return of Michael Vranes, who sat out last year with an injury.
Jon Carlisle / 6-10 Â• 260 Â• sophomore Â• center
Carlisle is from Salt Lake City and last played on Utah's Final Four team in 1998 as the primary backup to current Cleveland Cavaliers center Michael Doleac. He averaging 2.4 points and 2.1 rebounds in 10.3 minutes per game. He averaged 17.3 points and 10.3 rebounds at Brighton High School in 1997 and was one of three players, including new Cougar teammate Shoff, to earn Region 4 Tri-Player of the Year honors. He is working out to get back into playing shape. His playing weight as a freshman was 223 pounds. He may redshirt this season.
Jimmy Balderson / 6-6 Â• 200 Â• freshman Â• guard
Highs: 3 pts, 5 rbs, 1 steal at USD
Balderson is a 6-foot-6 combo guard who averaged 34 points, 9.2 rebounds and 6.8 assists while leading Magrath High School in Alberta, Canada to a 32-3 record this past season ... He has excellent range from the three-point line and has good size ... He shot 54 percent from the floor and 91 percent from the free throw line at Magrath High ... A skilled young player, he could factor in on perimeter this year ... He plans to leave in the spring on a two-year mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Terry Nashif / 5-10 Â• 165 Â• freshman Â• guard
Nashif is a freshman who served a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints after his senior year in 1999 at Evergreen High School in Vancouver, Wash. ... A smart player who can put down the three-pointer, he knows how to run a team and is an excellent distributor of the ball ... He could factor in at the point along with fellow freshman Shawn Opunui and senior Matt Montague
Transfers Sitting Out 2001-02
Jake Shoff / 6- 8, Â• 255 Â• junior Â• forward/center
Shoff, from Alpine, Utah, started 19 of 28 games last year at Weber State, scoring 7.4 points and pulling down a team-best 6.0 rebounds while shooting 56 percent from the floor. Prior to serving a mission to Honduras, Shoff averaged 5.5 points and 4.6 rebounds his freshman season with the Wildcats. He averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds and four assists his senior year at American Fork High School.
Ricky Bower / 6-4 Â• 185 Â• junior Â• combo guard
Bower played 14 minutes per game last year at Wisconsin and averaged 4.3 points. An excellent shooter, he shot 44 percent from three-point range and 81 percent from the line. Prior to serving a mission to Poland, Bower played his freshman season at Ricks College, where he was named Region 8 MVP after averaging 16 points and making 48 percent of his three-point attempts. Brother of former Cougar guard Danny Bower, the Meridian, Idaho, native prepped at Skyview High School and was named the state's Mr. Basketball, averaging 26.7 points, 6.4 rebounds and 5.7 assists per game.
STEVE CLEVELAND, 69-59 in fifth season
Steve Cleveland enters his fifth season at the helm of the Cougars in 2001-02. In his four 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. The Cougars have improved their conference record each year under Cleveland (4-10 first year; 6-8 second year; 7-7 third year, 10-4 last year). The Cougars are an impressive 29-2 at home the past two years and have improved on the road with 17 away/neutral wins the past two seasons. BYU was a perfect 15-0 in the Marriott Center last year.