Jensen Lifts Cougars to Win in MWC Opener

Jared Jensen

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 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 and extended his streak of continuous games with a three pointer to 21, tying former Cougar Terrell Lyday's record set at the start of the 1999-2000 season.

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 of those coming from a stunning NBA-distance three pointer to beat the shot clock with 5:26 to play in the first half.

Montague, not usually known for his long-range shooting, has made a three-pointer in three consecutive games 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.

The win extends BYU's home victory streak to 29 games, the nation's second-longest winning streak behind Detroit.

The Cougars play again this Tuesday vs. UNLV (8-6, 1-2) at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.

Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS

San Diego State vs BRIGHAM YOUNG Cougars

01/12/02 4:07 at Marriott Center, Provo, Utah

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VISITORS: San Diego State 10-5, 0-1

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

02 SMITH, Brandon...... f 2-3 0-0 0-0 3 3 6 4 4 2 2 0 0 24

23 HOLCOMB, Randy...... f 10-14 0-1 1-2 2 9 11 4 21 0 6 0 0 35

30 MACKELL, Mike....... c 2-6 0-0 11-12 4 2 6 5 15 1 0 0 0 26

04 BLAND, Tonyh........ g 0-10 0-0 2-2 0 2 2 1 2 1 1 2 0 36

05 FAUX, Al............ g 5-18 2-5 2-3 1 2 3 3 14 3 3 0 1 32

00 JOHNSON, Tommy...... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

01 MOORE, Deandre...... 1-2 1-2 0-0 0 1 1 2 3 1 0 0 0 19

03 WALTON, Chris....... 0-1 0-0 1-2 0 2 2 2 1 2 0 0 0 11

10 KOVACIC, Karlo...... 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2

33 EPPS, Myron......... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 5

34 SANDERS, AErick..... 1-2 0-0 2-2 0 2 2 4 4 0 1 0 1 9

TEAM................ 6 4 10

Totals.............. 21-57 3-9 19-23 16 28 44 26 64 10 13 2 2 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-29 37.9% 2nd Half: 10-28 35.7% Game: 36.8% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 2-6 33.3% 2nd Half: 1-3 33.3% Game: 33.3% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 8-9 88.9% 2nd Half: 11-14 78.6% Game: 82.6% 2

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HOME TEAM: BRIGHAM YOUNG Cougars 11-3, 1-0

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

03 BIGELOW, Mark....... f 5-13 1-6 2-2 0 1 1 3 13 2 2 0 1 29

25 NIELSEN, Eric....... f 3-5 0-0 5-6 1 2 3 4 11 1 0 1 0 23

52 JENSEN, Jared....... c 4-6 0-0 9-12 1 1 2 5 17 0 1 0 1 28

02 HANSEN, Travis...... g 5-10 3-4 6-9 0 2 2 3 19 2 1 1 1 36

31 MONTAGUE, Matt...... g 2-5 1-2 3-4 0 8 8 1 8 6 3 0 3 39

20 BOBIK, Daniel....... 0-5 0-3 0-0 0 2 2 1 0 0 1 1 0 17

22 BALDERSON, Jimmy.... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

32 JEPSEN, Bart........ 3-4 0-1 1-2 2 0 2 2 7 0 0 1 0 19

42 CARLISLE, Jon....... 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 3 4 1 0 1 0 0 0 8

TEAM................ 2 2 4

Totals.............. 22-49 5-16 26-35 7 21 28 20 75 12 8 4 6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-27 44.4% 2nd Half: 10-22 45.5% Game: 44.9% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 4-11 36.4% 2nd Half: 1-5 20.0% Game: 31.3% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 11-15 73.3% 2nd Half: 15-20 75.0% Game: 74.3% 2

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Officials: Jim Stupin, Bill Gracey, Milt Stowe

Technical fouls: San Diego State-None. BRIGHAM YOUNG Cougars-None.

Attendance: 19411

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

San Diego State............... 32 32 - 64

BRIGHAM YOUNG Cougars......... 39 36 - 75

Tags: Results