With a four-game winning streak, BYU (6-2) plays the first of its two regular season ESPN games this season when it faces No. 13 Stanford (4-1 entering the week) of the Pac-10 Saturday in the Las Vegas Showdown at the Thomas & Mack Center. The game starts at 9 p.m. PT/ 10 MT. Fellow Mountain West school UNLV (4-3) hosts Texas (5-3) of the Big 12 in the first game on espn2 at 6:30 p.m. PT/ 7:30 MT. After a two-week layoff prior its win Saturday over Long Beach State, Stanford also plays Tuesday and Wednesday at home this week before facing BYU Saturday in Las Vegas. The Cougars are 5-0 at home but have lost their last two road games. BYU is 1-2 away from home this season. This will be BYU's first neutral court contest of the season.
GAME FACTS (BYU Game 9)
LAS VEGAS SHOWDOWN (game two)
Saturday, Dec. 22, 2001
BYU (6-2) vs. No. 13 Stanford (4-1)**
Thomas & Mack Center (18,500)
Las Vegas, Nev.
9 p.m. PT [10 p.m. MT]
**not including games Stanford will play Tuesday and Wednesday
BYU, Steve Cleveland (73-59 in fifth year; same overall)
SU, Mike Montgomery (323-147 in 16th year; 477-223 in 24th year overall)
Series: BYU leads, 3-1
Air Time: 9 p.m. PT [10 p.m. MT]
Play-by-Play: Bob Carpenter
Game Analyst: Larry Conley
KSL Newsradio 1160 AM (Cougar Sports Network)
Pregame Air Time - 8 p.m. PT [9 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. 17.5 3.0
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-9 215 Sr. 91 5.3
C 52 Jared Jensen 6-9 245 Fr. 7.9 3.0
G 2 Travis Hansen 6-6 210 Jr. 16.3 7.5
G 31 Matt Montague 6-0 190 Sr. 5.8 7.6 apg
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
G 20 Daniel Bobik 6-6 205 So. 9.5 3.6
G 22 Jimmy Balderson 6-6 200 Fr. 5.3 2.5
F 32 Bart Jepsen 6-9 235 So. 1.3 2.8
C 40 Dan Howard 7-0 225 So. 0.7 1.7
G 12 Shawn Opunui 5-11 175 Fr. 1.5 2.8 apg
G 10 Terry Nashif 5-10 165 Fr. 0.5 1.0 apg
C 42 Jon Carlisle 6-10 260 So. 2.0 2.0
F 4 Jesse Pinegar 6-9 225 Fr. 0.0 1.0
Stanford Quick Facts:
Location: Stanford, Calif.
Colors: Cardinal and White
Home Arena: Maples Pavilion (7,391)
Athletic Director: Dr. Ted Leland
Head Coach: Mike Montgomery
Alma Mater: Long Beach State (1968)
Best time to call: Mid-mornings
Office Phone: (650) 723-0562
Overall Record (Years): 477-223 (24th)
Record at School (Years): 323-147 (16th)
Assistant Coaches: Tony Fuller, Eric Reveno, Russell Turner
Overall Record: 31-3
Conf. Record/Finish: 16-2/1st
Final Ranking/Post Season Finish: 2nd in AP, 5th in USA Today/ESPN/NCAA, Elite Eight
Letterman Returning/Lost: 8/4
Starters Returning/Lost: 1/4
Key Returning Starters (last year's stats)
Casey Jacobson, 6-6, 210, Jr., G (18.1 ppg, 4.0 rpg)
Basketball Contact: Bob Vazquez
Office: (650) 723-4418
Home: (510) 791-0441
Fax: (650) 725-2957
Press Row: (650) 723-4418
Athletics Web Site
No. 13 Stanford is 4-1 entering the week with wins at New Mexico (81-66), at home vs. Southern Utah (81-63) and Long Beach State (94-77) and on a neutral floor vs Purdue (78-62). Stanford's loss was on a neutral floor vs. Texas (83-75). Stanford plays Belmont Tuesday and then either Portland State or Santa Clara Wednesday. Stanford has won three straight Pac-10 titles and earned an NCAA tournament berth the past seven straight seasons. Coach Mike Montgomery, who has coached the Cardinal to seven straight 20-win seasons. Stanford hosts the Deutsche Banc Alex Brown Stanford Invitational Tuesday and Wednesday before traveling to Las Vegas to meet BYU in the Showdown Saturday. Stanford is coming off one of its best years in school history (31-3, Elite Eight). All-American guard Casey Jacobsen is the lone starter returning from last year's 31-3 team, but with Jacobsen leading the way, the Cardinal is prime for another run at a fourth straight Pacific-10 title. Jacobsen, who is already considered one of the great players in school history, was named to several All-America preseason first teams, and is a leading candidate for National Player of the Year. Jacobsen averaged 18.1 ppg, shot 51 percent from the floor, and 47 percent from three-point territory last season. Jacobsen's name appears in the Stanford record book 39 times. He is scoring 19.6 ppg this year. While the team lost four starters from last year, the eight lettermen returning did get a lot of minutes last year when the Cardinal had a Pac-10-leading 17.7-point average margin of victory. Like BYU, this year's Stanford team is young with only two seniors (Tony Giovacchini and Kyle Logan). Nine of the 14 players on the Stanford roster are either freshmen or sophomores. After Jacobsen at 19.6 ppg, center Curtis Borchardt scores 15.6 ppg and Josh Childress 13.2 ppg. Borchardt is a strong presence inside standing 7-foot tall and averaging an amazing 13.4 rebounds per game. Mike Montgomery is in his 16th season at Stanford with a record of 323-147. In 15 previous seasons at Stanford, Montgomery has directed the Cardinal to 13 post-season appearances (9 NCAA, 4 NIT). Montgomery was just named an assistant coach of USA Basketball's 2002 World Championship Team that will compete in the 2002 FIBA World Basketball Championship for Men (Aug. 29-Sept. 8, 2002) in Indianapolis.
Stanford's Probable Starters
F - Justin Davis, 6-8, 230, Sophomore, Berkeley, Ca (5.8 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
F - Josh Childress, 6-8, 190, Freshman, Lakewood, Ca (13.2 ppg, 4.4 rpg)
C - Curtis Borchardt, 7-0, 240, Junior, Redmond, Wa (15.6 ppg, 13.4 rpg)
G - Casey Jacobsen, 6-6, 210, Junior, Glendora, Ca (19.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg)
G - Tony Giovacchini, 6-2, 180, Senior, Salt Lake City, Ut (5.0 ppg, 2.6 rpg)
BYU has not played Stanford since the 1970 season. The two teams played on back-to-back nights at Stanford in January 1969 and repeated the process in December 1970 in Provo at the Smith Fieldhouse. BYU leads the series 3-1, winning the first game at Stanford and both games in Provo.
Overall Series Record: BYU leads 3-1
BYU Record in Provo: 2-0
BYU Record at Stanford: 1-1
BYU Record at Neutral Sites: 0-0
BYU Record under Steve Cleveland: 0-0
Longest BYU Win Streak: 2 (1970)
Longest Stanford Win Streak: 1
Largest BYU Margin of Victory: 21, 85-64 in 1970
Largest Stanford Margin of Victory: 16, 78-94 in 1969
Most Points Scored by BYU: 95 in 1969
Most Points Scored by Stanford: 94 in 1969
1-3-69 at Stanford 95-89 W
1-4-69 at Stanford 78-94 L
12-4-70 Stanford 70-62 W
12-5-70 Stanford 85-64 W
With its No. 13 ranking (AP and ESPN/USA Today), Stanford is the highest-ranked team BYU has faced since playing No. 13 USC at the Yahoo Sports Invitational in Laie, Hawaii, one year ago on Dec. 23, 2000. BYU led by 18 at the half, 41-23, and held the lead for 37 minutes but USC's Sam Clancy and Brian Scalabrine each scored 26 points to lead a Trojan comeback win. BYU lost by three, 70-67. BYU played at No. 4 Arizona on Dec. 1, 1999 but lost 86-62. 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.
BYU's Last Game on ESPN
BYU last played on ESPN in the Mountain West Conference Championship title game, defeating New Mexico 69-65 in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center to earn the Mountain West Confernece automatic berth to the 2001 NCAA tournament. MWC Player of the Year Mekeli Wesley went 11-12 from the floor on his way to 30 points. He added eight rebounds and earned MWC Tournament MVP honors. Last year, BYU went 3-0 on ESPN, including two home wins over Utah and UNLV. BYU's last loss on ESPN was also in the Thomas & Mack Center when the Cougars were defeated by host UNLV in the 2000 MWC title game.
BYU vs. Pac-10 This Year
This is BYU's second Pac-10 opponent this season. BYU defeated Arizona State 82-70 in Provo on Nov. 24.
First Half Success
BYU has led at the half in all eight games this season. BYU is outscoring its opponents in the first half 286-207 (35.5 -- 25.9). BYU has shot 50 percent or better in the first half in six of their last seven games. The Cougars have scored more points in the second half but also yield more points. BYU has outscored its opponents 296-265 in the second half (37.0 -- 33.1). BYU has been outscored 15-6 in one overtime period this year.
In BYU's two wins last week, BYU combined to shoot an amazing 63.2 percent from the floor as a team and 45.7 percent on threes. BYU continued to shoot well from the line as well, making 81.4 percent of its attempts. BYU coach Steve Cleveland played 13 players last week and 11 of the 13 made better than 56 percent of their shots, with 10 of 13 making at least 60 percent of their attempts. Only Matt Montague (4-9, .444) and Jesse Pinegar (0-3, .000) failed to reach 50 percent shooting. Freshman center Jared Jensen made a team-best 81.8 percent of his shots, going 9-11 in the two games.
More Shooting Numbers
BYU is shooting 51.5 percent in its six victories and 43.6 percent in its two losses. The difference is not coming from long range, where the Cougars actually have shot better from behind the arc in its two losses (.441) than in its wins (.405). At home BYU is shooting 52.6 percent from the floor, 41.9 percent on threes, while on the road BYU makes 44.2 percent and 40.9 percent, respectively. Overall, BYU makes 49.4 percent of hits attempts, including 41.5 percent from behindthe arc.
From Three-Point Range
Seven Cougars have made a three-point shot this season. Mark Bigelow has made a team-high 20 threes (20-42, .476). He has made a trey in all eight games. Daniel Bobik is 13-28 (.464) and Travis Hansen is 11-24 (.458). Bobik hit a career-best five threes Saturday vs. Idaho in seven attempts.
BYU's Mark Bigelow and Travis Hansen are the Cougars one-two scoring punch. Both swingmen have tallied double-digit points in seven of eight games this year. Bigelow scores 17.5 ppg and Hansen 16.3 ppg on the year. They are the only two Cougars averaging double figures but guard Daniel Bobik is adding 9.9 ppg off the bench and forward Eric Nielsen contributes 9.1 ppg.
Consistency at the Line
After going 17-19 from the line Saturday vs. Idaho for a season-high 89.5 percentage, BYU has made 80 percent or more of its free throws in five of eight games this season, including four of the last five. BYU is shooting 80.3 percent from the line for the year. Last year, BYU led the nation at 78 percent from the line. The Cougars are currently ranked third nationally this season.
More Free Throw Numbers
Four Cougars are shooting 80 percent or better from the free throw line and six are making 70 percent or better. Mark Bigelow makes a team-leading 93 percent (No. 1 among MWC players), followed by Daniel Bobik (.882), Matt Montague (.850), Jared Jensen (.833), Travis Hansen (.745) and Eric Nielsen (.706).
Home Winning Streak
BYU extended its home court winning streak to 25 games with its win over Idaho Saturday. BYU owns the fourth 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.
Home Winning Streak 2
BYU has defeated 23 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 29-6 home record against nonconference teams under Steve Cleveland. BYU is 22-0 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.
From the Training Room
Reserve point guard Shawn Opunui will be out for approximately six weeks after reinjuring his left thumb Saturday vs. Idaho (torn ligaments). He originally suffered ligament damage in his thumb while playing three minutes at Utah State on Dec. 1. It is anticipated the freshman guard will be in a hard cast for the next four weeks and then a removable splint for two weeks.
BYU on Defense
Defensively, BYU has held its last four opponents below 36 percent field goal shooting. On the year, BYU has held six of its eight opponents below 38 percent shooting. Only Arizona State (45.5) and Utah State (50.9) have topped 38 percent on BYU and both are the only teams to out shoot the Cougars so far this year. Overall, BYU holds opponents to a 38.5 field goal percentage and a 28.2 three-point percentage.
On the Boards
BYU has done a good job on the boards this year. BYU averages 35.9 rebounds while its opponents grab on average 28.8. BYU has out boarded its opponents in six games an is 6-0 in those games. The Cougars have only been out boarded once, 35-24 in its overtime loss to Utah State. The Cougars and UCSB each had 35 rebounds. BYU out boarded Fort Lewis, 47-17. BYU's 42-26 rebounding advantage over ASU was the third worst margin suffered by ASU coach Rob Evan's in his coaching career and his worst at ASU.
Off the Bench on the Perimeter
After averaging 10 minutes off the bench last year while playing in 28 of 33 games, sophomore Daniel Bobik is playing a much larger role this year as BYU's sixth-man. He is averaging 22.8 minutes, 9.5 points and 3.6 rebounds. He is third on the team in scoring. He had a career high 17 points vs. Idaho in the last outing. He had 7 points in 18 minutes vs. Fort Lewis and had 7 points and a career-best 8 rebounds vs. Creighton. He had 13 points at Utah State. He played a career-high 33 minutes with 12 points and four rebounds in the season-opener at USD. Other players off the bench on the perimeter include freshmen Jimmy Balderson (6 games, 10.3 minutes, 5.3 points), Shawn Opunui (4 games, 6.5 minutes) and Terry Nashif (4 games, 4.3 minutes). Balderson had a career-best and team-leading 19 points and 7 rebounds in 22 minutes vs. Fort Lewis while Opunui had a career-best 10 assists in 20 minutes with 6 points. Opunui reinjured his left (severe ligament damage) thumb last week. It is anticipated he will be in a cast for four weeks and in a hand split for two weeks.
Off the Bench in the Post
Sophomore Bart Jepsen has appeared in all eight games off the bench, averaging 2.8 rebounds in 12.3 minutes per game. Jepsen is a solid rebounder and defender. Sophomore center Dan Howard started the season-opener at USD, the first start of his career. He played seven minutes, with one rebound. He has appeared in six games overall, playing 6.7 minutes per game. He had 4 points and 5 boards vs. Fort Lewis and 3 rebounds vs. Idaho last week. Other post players coming off the bench include sophomore Jon Carlisle, who has played in three games. He had 6 points in 7 minutes vs. Fort Lewis. Freshman forward Jesse Penigar was cleared by doctors and played seven minutes with 1 rebound and 1 assist vs. Fort Lewis last week in his first career appearance. He had not been able to practice since June while recovering from surgery on his left shoulder.
2001-02 Schedule Notes
Up Next -- 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.
BYU Record - Comparing Recent Starts
With its 6-2 record, BYU has a winning record after eight games for the third straight season. Last year BYU also got off to a 6-2 start and went on to a 24-9 record. In 1999-2000 the Cougars started 7-1 and finished 22-11. BYU could equal its best start in the last three years with a win against Stanford Saturday. BYU is 7-2 after nine games in both of the past two seasons. BYU last had a losing record at the eight-game mark in 1998-99 with a 3-5 start. Since takein over a 1-25 program five years ago, Cleveland has started with the following records after eight games: 2-6, 3-5, 7-1, 6-2.
BYU Opponents Start
The eight teams BYU has played so far have combined to win 60 percent of their games. Several of BYU's opponents this season 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 then No. 11 UCLA at Pauley Pavillion and Creighton, the champion of the Missouri Valley Conference, upset then No. 17 Western Kentucky. Weber State, who won the Big Island Invitational with wins over Louisiana State, Wisconsin and Colorado State and also handed Utah State its only loss.
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.
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.
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 and KBYU will produce two games for taped-delay broadcast. In all 21-of-27 regular season games are slated for television broadcast.
BYU is currently ranked 39th and is the top-rated team in the Mountain West Conference in the Sagarin ratings. The MWC is ranked 8th in the latest ratings (Dec. 17). Below is a list of MWC teams in order of ranking (records reflect Division I games only). To see the latest Sagarin Rankings go to: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin.htm
According to CollegeRPI.com rankings (Dec. 17) computed by Jerry Palm and Collegiate Basketball News, BYU has the top RPI among Mountain West Confernce teams. The Mountain West Conference is rated 9th among the 32 conferences (and five independents).
School Collegerpi.com/The RPI REPORT
New Mexico 49/49
San Diego State 72/72
Colorado State 136/137
Air Force 244/238
BYU in MWC Statistics
Â• BYU leads all MWC teams this year in scoring defense (60.9), scoring margin, (+12.6), free throw shooting (.803) and three-point percentage defense (.282).
Â• The Cougars rate second in field goal percentage defense (.385), rebounding margin (+7.1), defensive rebounds (27.12), and three-point percentage (.415). The Cougars are third in field goal percentage (.494), and rebouding defense (28.8).
Â• Matt Montague leads all MWC players in assists (7.6) and assist/turnover ration (2.77). He fourth in free throw percentage (.850).
Â• Mark Bigelow is first in free throw percentage (.930), third in scoring (17.5), fourth in three-point field goals made per game (2.40) and fifth in three-point percentage (.476).
Â• Travis Hansen ranks second in defensive rebounds average (5.8) and fourth in total rebounds average (7.5) and scoring (16.2).
Â• Jared Jensen leads all MWC players in field goal percentage (.706).
BYU in National Statistics (as of Dec. 10)
Â• BYU is third in the nation in free throw shooting percentage (.800).
Â• Senior point guard Matt Montague is tied for eighth nationally in assists per game (7.0).
BYU PLAYER NOTES
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 first 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 entering this year are 3.6 points and 3.8 assists.
Matt Montague set a career-high with 15 assists vs. Idaho on Saturday. It was the most assists by a Cougar in the last 25 years. He was one shy of the BYU and Marriott Center record of 16 assists set by Mike May vs. Niagara in 1976. Montague averages a team- and MWC-leading 7.6 assists this year. He is tied for eighth in assists per game in the latest NCAA statistics. He is averaging 36.1 minutes per game. He played a season-low 19 minutes last Wednesday vs. Fort Lewis. He has 61 assists and only 22 turnovers. He had 10 assists at Utah State, the most assists before the 15 vs. Idaho Saturday that 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. 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.
TRAVIS HANSEN / 6-6 Â• 210 Â• junior Â• guard/forward
CAPSULE: . After playing a supporting role in his first season at BYU last year, Hansen is playing a more significant role in 2001-02 ... With his increase in playing time, he 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 job 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.
Hansen leads BYU in rebounding (7.5 rpg) and is second in scoring (16.3 ppg). After taking 11 or more shots in the first four games, he has not taken more than eight attempts in the last four games. He had 11 points vs. Idaho and 15 points and seven rebounds in 19 minutes Wednesday vs. Fort Lewis. He had a team-high 18 points on 5-7 shooting along with five boards in BYU's win over Crieghton. Hansen scored a career-high 26 points against Utah State in BYU's overtime loss earlier this season. 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. He had his second straight double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds at UC Santa Barbara after 18 points and a career-high 15 rebounds to lead BYU over Arizona State. 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.
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 ... So far he has proved capable of returning 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 returned from his mission in June having grown an inch to 6-7 ... 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.
Mark Bigelow led BYU in scoring last week, averaging 16.5 points in only 21.5 minutes during BYU's two blowout home wins. He took advantage of his time on the floor, making 66.7 percent (8-12) of his field goal attempts, including 50 percent (4-8) of this threes, and was perfect from the free throw line (13-13). He scored a game-high 19 points Saturday in 24 minutes against Idaho, going 4-7 from the floor, 3-6 on threes, and 8-8 from the line. Bigelow tallied 14 points in 19 minutes Wednesday against Fort Lewis College, going 4-5 from the floor and 5-5 from the line. Bigelow has reached double-figure points in the last seven games and has totaled 14 or more points in every game but the season-opener when he scored nine points before fouling out. He is BYU's leading scorer overall at 17.5 ppg. He is making 46 percent of his field goals, 47.6 percent of his threes (while leading the team with 20 treys - 2.5 threes per game), and 93 percent of his free throws (40-43). Bigelow has made 13 straight free throws and only missed one attempt in the last four games. He scored a season-high 31 points against Arizona State in Provo.
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 teammate Matt Montague 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.
Nielsen is fourth on the team in scoring (9.1 ppg) and is second in rebounds (5.3 rpg). He had a season-low 2 points against Idaho in 25 minutes, taking only two shots. He had 4 points and 4 rebounds in 19 minutes vs. Fort Lewis. He had 9 points, 5 boards and 2 assists vs. Creighton. He has reached double-figure points in three games, but has not done so in the last three games. He had 14 points, 8 boards and 2 assists vs. Weber State. He had 14 at Utah State and had a career-high 19 points vs. ASU in BYU's home opener (his previous best was 17 against Utah at the Thomas & Mack Center in the 2000 MWC tournament in Las Vegas). This year against ASU, 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 3.8 shot attempts per game. This year he is taking 6.6 shots per game. He ranks third all-time at BYU in career field goal percentage and is making 56.6 percent of his shots so far this year.
JARED JENSEN / 6-9 Â• 245 Â• freshman Â• center
CAPSULE: 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 (Utah). He averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds per game as a high school 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 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.
Jensen is averaging 7.9 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. He scored 12 points in each of the lsat two games. He went 4-4 fromteh floor and 4-4 from the line vs. Idaho. He is shooing a MWC-best 70.6 percent from the floor. He had 12 points in 20 minutes vs. Idaho and 12 points in 16 minutes vs. Fort Lewis. He has reached double-figure points three times. He had a career-high 14 points on 4-5 shooting and 6-8 from the line at UCSB. He had a career-best 10 boards vs. Creighton, along with 4 points and 2 assists. He had 7 points vs. Weber State. In his first career start vs. Arizona State, he played 15 minutes and had 4 points, 2 rebounds and 1 assist.
DANIEL BOBIK / 6-6 Â• 205 Â• sophomoreÂ• guard
CAPSULE: Bobik averaged 3.5 points and 10.4 minutes while playing in 28 of 33 games last year as a freshman ... He has good offensive instincts and size on the guardline ... He will get playing time as a sophomore with the loss of BYU's all-conference guard line of Trent Whiting and Terrell 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 and Mark Bigelow were the first recruits to sign with BYU under Steve Cleveland.
Bobik plays the sixth-man role. He is averaging 22.8 minutes, 9.5 points and 3.6 rebounds. He is third on the team in scoring. He has reached double-digit points three times. He had a career high 17 points vs. Idaho in the last outing. He made 5-7 threes, both career highs. He had 7 points in 18 minutes vs. Fort Lewis and had 7 points and a career-best 8 rebounds vs. Creighton. He had 13 points at Utah State. He played a career-high 33 minutes with 12 points and four rebounds in the season-opener at USD.
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.
Jepsen has appeared in all eight games off the bench, averaging 2.8 rebounds in 12.3 minutes per game. He played a season-high 22 minutes at Utah State. He had a season-high 5 points vs. Fort Lewis. His rebound high is 6 vs. Arizona State. He takes just over one shot per game.
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 left (non dominant) shoulder in June ... He played for the first time last week, appearing in both games in a limited role ... He had not been able to practice since June ... His latest surgery should completely repair the injury but he still has some pain ... He is a mobile, athletic player, he can play several 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 but is not in condition to compete at this point.
Redshirt Freshman Jesse Pinegar played in his first two games this week. It was his first action since his junior year of high school. He sat out his senior year after shoulder surgery and then redshirted last season at BYU. He injured his shoulder again this summer and had surgery in June. He played seven minutes with 1 rebound and 1 assist vs. Fort Lewis in his first career appearance.
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 entered the year having made 8-of-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.
Howard started the season-opener at USD, the first start of his career. He played seven minutes, with one rebound. He has appeared in six games overall, playing 6.7 minutes per game. He had 4 points and 5 boards vs. Fort Lewis and had 3 rebounds and 2 blocks vs. Idaho last week. He played a career-high 13 minutes in each game last week. Last year he played 12 minutes at San Francisco. He is a career 10-14 from the floor in his two seasons, including 2-3 this year.
JON CARLISLE / 6-10 Â• 260 Â• sophomore Â• center
CAPSULE: 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 Jake Shoff (who is redshirting due to transfer rules), to earn Region 4 Tri-Player of the Year honors. He continues to work to get back into playing shape, having already taken off 40 pounds since returning from his mission. He is a talented post player who has the tools to be a strong contributor once he is in condition to play.
Carlisle has played in three games. He scored a season-high 6 points in seven minutes vs. Fort Lewis. He played six minutes vs. Idaho.
JACOB CHRISMAN / 6-8 Â• 225 Â• sophomore Â• forward
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.
He is yet to play this year while working out. He could still redshirt the basketball season.
JIMMY BALDERSON / 6-6 Â• 200 Â• freshman Â• guard
CAPSULE: 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.
Balderson has played in six games and averages 10.3 minutes. He scored a career-high 19 points to lead all BYU scorers against Fort Lewis. He played a team-high 22 minutes, going 8-10 from the floor. He also recorded career highs with 7 rebounds and 3 steals, sharing team-high honors in both categories. He has been able to score when he has gotten the playing time. He has played double-digit minutes in three games, averaging 15 minutes and 9.3 points. In the other three games he has averaged 5.6 minutes and 1.3 points. He could get some opportunities to play the point with Opunui out with an injury.
SHAWN OPUNUI / 5-11 Â• 170 Â• freshman Â• point guard
CAPSULE: 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 the opportunity to play with the loss to graduation of all-MWC guards Trent Whiting and Terrell Lyday and loss to injury of Michael Vranes.
It is anticipated Opunui will be out for at least six weeks after reinjuring his left thumb Saturday vs. Idaho (torn ligaments). He originally suffered ligament damage in his thumb while playing three minutes at Utah State on Dec. 1. The freshman guard will wear a hard cast for the next four weeks and then a removable splint for two weeks. He had played in four games. His only significant playing time was against Fort Lewis when he played 20 minutes. It was his first action in three games after injuring his thumb at Utah State. He dished out a career-best 10 assists and had career highs with six points, four rebounds and three steals in 20 minutes vs. Fort Lewis. He had six assists in the first half in only seven minutes.
TERRY NASHIF / 5-10 Â• 165 Â• freshman Â• guard
CAPSULE: 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.
Nashif could see more playing time with the loss of Shawn Opunui. He has played in four games. His only real significant time was against Fort Lewis, when he played 10 minutes and ahd 2 points and 3 assists. He played five minutes vs. Idaho with one assist. He is averaging 4.3 minutes.
BYU Starting Lineup Record
Montague, Hanen, Bigelow, Nielsen, Jensen 5-2
Montague, Hanen, Bigelow, Nielsen, Howard 1-0
Top JC Center Signs with Cougars
Rafael Araujo, a 6-foot-11, 260-pound center at Western Arizona, in November signed an NCAA Letter-of-Intent to play at BYU. Considered one of the top five junior-college players in the country, Araujo was recruited by North Carolina, Illinois, UNLV and San Diego State among others. A physically strong athlete with great leaping ability, Araujo runs the floor well and has range on the perimeter. "We are thrilled to have Rafael decide to join the BYU basketball program," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "He is a great young man that people really enjoy being around. He's got legitimate NBA center size and has the potential to make a significant impact on the program. He's still got some things to learn, but he has all the tools to become an outstanding player at the Division I level." Araujo is averaging 21 points and 13 rebounds this year for No. 7-ranked Western Arizona, located in Yuma. He scored a season-high 35 points in 22 minutes in the season-opener and has totaled a season-high 17 rebounds. A native of Sao Paulo, Brazil, Araujo will enter BYU as a junior. He will enroll next fall.
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.
BYU LAST WEEK
Cougars Defeat Idaho to Win Fourth Straight, 25th in a Row at Home
PROVO -- In a game that never saw BYU trail, an aggressive Cougar defense stymied Idaho early and hot three-point shooting kept the Cougars on top in a 70-48 blowout of the Vandals. Idaho's zone defense slowed the BYU offense early but the Cougars outside shooting gave the team a 23-7 lead with seven minutes left in the first half and the team never looked back from there, finishing 11-of-21 from downtown on the night. The 52.4 percent clip from downtown is the first time BYU has shot over 50 percent from three-point range this season. "This is the first time we have seen forty minutes of zone defense this year and, as a coach, that really makes you nervous," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "You just don't know how well you are going to shoot against the zone but we shot well tonight." BYU took a 32-19 lead into the locker room at and have gone to the lockers with the lead in every game this season. With his 19 points on the night, Mark Bigelow lead the Cougars in scoring for the fourth time this season. Daniel Bobik shot well from the floor, scoring a career-high 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting from three-point range. Matt Montague also had a career night for BYU, catching the spirit of giving by dishing out a career-high 15 assists against Idaho, just one assist shy of the BYU single game record set by Mark May in 1976 against Niagara College. "Overall it was a good team effort," Cleveland said. "The numbers were good and the energy was good for the most part. It was nice to see Bobik come off the bench and hit some shots and Montague's 15 assists is a pretty good number at any level of basketball." BYU's defensive pressure limited the Vandals to just 19 points in the first half and held the Idaho offense to 34 percent shooting on the night. The Cougars have held their opponent below 36 percent shooting from the field in each of the last four games. BYU continued to impress at the free throw line as well, shooting 89.5 percent on the night to mark the fifth game this season the team has eclipsed the 80 percent mark from the charity stripe. The Cougars have shot 75 percent or higher from the free-throw line in all eight games this season. The win extends the Cougars winning streak in the Marriott Center to 25 games, the fourth-longest home winning streak in the nation. The team travels to the desert for their next game against No. 12 Stanford in Las Vegas next Saturday at 10 p.m.
Cougars Bench Plays Well in Blowout Victory over Fort Lewis
PROVO -- In a game where every Cougar played and almost every Cougar scored, BYU overpowered Fort Lewis en route to an easy 101-53 victory at the Marriott Center. The Cougars have now won 24 straight home contests. With the game well in hand, Cougar head coach Steve Cleveland emptied his bench and the reserves took home the win for BYU. Freshman Jimmy Balderson led the Cougars with a career-high 19 points. Backup point guard Shawn Opunui played his best game as a Cougar, finishing the night with 10 assists and six points, both career highs. "It's nice to see players that practice hard every day get a chance to play in front of the fans," Cleveland said. Balderson and Opunui weren't the only BYU players to have big nights. Travis Hansen and Mark Bigelow provided their usual one-two punch, scoring 15 and 14 points respectively. Cleveland took the starters out of the game early in the second half. BYU broke the 100-point barrier for the first time since last season's game against Elon College. In that game, the Cougars beat Elon 100-63. The 48-point margin of victory the largest for BYU since Steve Cleveland took over the program. The Cougars took a few minutes to find their rhythm, but once they did, they left Fort Lewis behind. Fort Lewis scored the first four points of the game, but then BYU answered with a 13-0 run. BYU continued to pour it on and by halftime had extended the lead to 29 points. In the first half, BYU shot a blistering 62.1 percent from the floor. But the Cougars shot even better in the second half, 77.8 percent, to finish the game shooting 69.6 percent from the field. BYU's defense shut down a normally hot-shooting Fort Lewis team. For the game, the Skyhawks shot only 33.3 percent and couldn't get anything going on the offensive end. The Cougars have held their past three opponents to a combined 34.4 percent from the field. "The good thing about playing a game like this is that BYU always plays tough, no matter what the circumstances are," Fort Lewis head coach Bob Hofman said. Talented freshman Jesse Pinegar saw his first action as a Cougar, playing the final seven minutes of the game. Pinegar is coming off of shoulder surgery and is still feeling some pain, but finished the game with one rebound and one assist. "Pinegar is just getting to the point where he can practice regularly, so he is not in game shape yet," Cleveland said.
STEVE CLEVELAND (73-59 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.