Lyday Sparks MWC Tournament Win

LAS -- Terrell Lyday sparked a second-half comeback that helped BYU avoid another tight game with Air Force as the Cougars downed the Falcons 69-54 in the first round of the Mountain West Conference Championships on Thursday.

Trailing 33-36 with fifteen minutes to play, Lyday scored 14 of BYU's 16 points in a key 16-5 run that put BYU up 46-41. The Cougars held on to the lead and pulled off their third consecutive come-from-behind victory.

"My hats off to BYU," Air Force's head coach Joe Scott said. "They are a senior-led team and it showed. They were the tougher team mentally and physically and they deserved to win."

BYU struggled in the first half with the red-hot falcons who shot almost 65 percent from the field. Down by nine with less than a minute to play in the first half, Eric Nielsen made a three point play before Air Force senior guard Jarvis Croft nailed a three pointer. Then Matt Montague converted on a leaning three pointer at the buzzer to cut the Air Force lead to six.

The Falcons opened the second half with another run going up 11 with sixteen minutes to go. It looked like it was going to be another down-to-the-wire contest until Lyday caught fire. Lyday was limited to only seven points in the first half, but finished with a game high 25 points on 8-14 shooting and five of seven from three point land.

"I felt like I had to step up," Lyday said. "I knew I needed to be a little energizer bunny and get our team going."

The key sequence for the Cougars came after Trent Whiting nailed a long-range thee pointer and was fouled. After missing the charity shot Wesley tipped the rebound to Matt Montague who set Lyday up for his second three pointer of the game. That six-point sequence cut the Air Force lead to just three.

"That was a big momentum swing for us," BYU head coach Steve Cleveland said. "The crowd started to get into it for us at that point."

With 12:46 to play Lyday made a big dunk to put BYU ahead for the first time in the second half 40-39. Then Lyday connected on another three pointer to give the Cougars a 43-41 lead that they wouldn't relinquish.

"I knew when we went up for the first time in the second half that we had the game," First-Team All-MWC Lyday said.

The Cougars were once again led by it‚s big three of Lyday (25), Whiting (17), and Wesley (13), who scored 55 of the Cougars 69 points. Lyday collected his 27th (17th straight) double digit figure scoring outing while Wesley also notched his 25th double figure game of the year and Whiting his 18th.

The Falcons did a good job of slowing down MWC Player of the Year Wesley. But Wesley made several key buckets down the stretch. Wesley moved into seventh place on the school‚s all-time scoring list with 1,654 career points, passing Kenneth Roberts (1991-96).

Travis Hansen saw his first action in over a month (Jan. 29 vs. Utah) and did a good job defensively against Joel Gerlach of Air Force.

"We're going to need Hansen's defense and rebounding to win this tournament," Cleveland said.

The Cougars, 22-8 overall, 10-4 in the MWC, will face co-MWC Champion Wyoming, 20-8, 10-4, Friday at 6 p.m. PST in one of two MWC semifinals. It will be the first-ever meeting between the longtime rivals in the conference tournament.

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

Air Force vs BYU

03/08/01 2:30 PM at Las Vegas, Nevada

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VISITORS: Air Force 8-21, 3-11 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

32 BELLAIRS, Tom....... f 4-9 0-2 3-6 1 5 6 4 11 3 4 1 0 34

33 GERLACH, Joel....... f 3-5 0-0 3-4 0 2 2 5 9 1 2 2 0 23

12 YAZZIE, Lamoni...... g 3-6 2-3 4-4 0 2 2 3 12 3 1 0 2 36

22 JENKINS, Vernard.... g 5-6 1-1 0-0 0 3 3 3 11 2 2 1 0 40

24 CROFF, Jarvis....... g 1-6 1-2 1-2 0 2 2 0 4 1 0 1 1 30

03 LEGANS, Donny....... 1-2 0-1 0-0 0 1 1 3 2 2 4 0 0 11

10 KUHLE, A.J.......... 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 3 3 3 2 0 1 0 1 20

35 SUMMERS, Bryan...... 1-1 1-1 0-0 0 0 0 2 3 0 1 0 0 6

TEAM................ 3 3

Totals.............. 19-36 5-10 11-16 4 18 22 23 54 12 15 5 4 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-17 .647 2nd Half: 8-19 .421 Game: .528 DEADBALL

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 4-4 1.000 2nd Half: 1-6 .167 Game: .500 REBOUNDS

F Throw % 1st Half: 5-5 1.000 2nd Half: 6-11 .545 Game: .688 2

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HOME TEAM: BYU 22-8, 10-4 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

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

15 WESLEY, Mekeli...... f 3-7 0-1 7-9 1 3 4 0 13 1 4 0 0 37

25 NIELSEN, Eric....... f 1-2 0-0 3-4 1 1 2 1 5 0 0 2 0 15

21 WHITING, Trent...... g 6-12 3-6 2-5 2 3 5 1 17 5 1 1 1 40

24 LYDAY, Terrell...... g 8-14 5-7 4-4 1 2 3 4 25 2 1 0 0 36

31 MONTAGUE,Matt....... g 2-2 1-1 0-0 0 3 3 3 5 4 1 0 2 37

01 KNIGHT, Nate........ 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 2 0 0 1 1 0 2

02 HANSEN, Travis...... 0-0 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 2 0 1 0 0 0 9

20 BOBIK, Daniel....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 1

42 COOPER, Nathan...... 1-4 0-0 2-2 1 3 4 3 4 0 0 0 0 23

TEAM................

Totals.............. 21-41 9-15 18-24 7 16 23 16 69 13 9 4 3 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 7-17 .412 2nd Half: 14-24 .583 Game: .512 DEADBALL

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-8 .375 2nd Half: 6-7 .857 Game: .600 REBOUNDS

F Throw % 1st Half: 8-10 .800 2nd Half: 10-14 .714 Game: .750 1

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Officials: Bill Gracey, Verne Harris, Bob Staffen

Technical fouls: Air Force-None. BYU-None.

Attendance:

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

Air Force..................... 31 23 - 54

BYU........................... 25 44 - 69

Statistics by J. Shaffer (statman@winning.com) 702-244-7925

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