500 E University Parkway Provo UT 84604
PROVO -- A second-half comeback effort fell just short as BYU dropped only its second home game of the season Thursday in a 78-74 loss to New Mexico.
The Cougars, who have lost four of the last five and suffered back-to-back losses for the second time this year, struggled defensively in the first half as the Lobos shot 60 percent from the floor and scored 51 points -- the most points allowed by the Cougars in any half this year. While the Cougar offense scored 37 points in each half, BYU's defense championed its comeback effort by allowing the Lobos 27 points over the final 20 minutes.
Trailing by 14 points at the half and by as many as 15 points in the second stanza, the Cougars got within two points at 76-74 with 53 seconds remaining when Terrell Lyday made a driving shot and converted the three-point play from the foul line. But while Michael Vranes denied a pass to Lobo star Lamont Long, New Mexico's freshman point guard Marlon Palmer drove the lane and hit a floater over Lyday with 21 ticks left to give the Lobos a four-point lead. BYU got off two tough three-point attempts by Mekeli Wesley and Nathan Cooper but they did not go down.
Lyday led all scorers with a game-high 29 points while Long was just behind with 28 points in the Lobo effort. Long scored 19 points at half but the Cougar defense held the Lobos' top scorer to nine points in the second half. Wayland White added 12 points for the Lobos before fouling out and Palmer scored eight on 3-4 shooting. Despite playing on a sprained ankle that limited his mobility, BYU's Wesley played 30 minutes and scored 16 points. He also surpassed 1,000 career points to become only the 32nd Cougar to do and only the eighth to reach the plateau as a junior.
The Lobos become only the third team all year to shot 50 percent or better against BYU, hitting 51 percent from the floor and nearly 38 percent on threes. BYU shot 41 percent and only made 2-13 three-point attempts (15 percent). Lyday went 0-4 from behind the arc, ending his BYU record for consecutive games with a trey at 21.
Cooper led BYU on the boards with six and Vranes has a game-high six assists. Long totaled a season-high 11 rebounds for the Lobos, who out rebounded BYU 37-31 on the night.
BYU falls to 15-7 overall and 4-5 with the loss while New Mexico improves to 14-11 and 6-4. While the Lobos return home to host first-place Utah, BYU, now 9-2 at home, hosts second-place UNLV Saturday at 7 p.m.
Post-Game Coaches Quotes
BYU coach Steve Cleveland:
"Well, you all saw the game. We only played 20 minutes. We got it down to two, and we had a stop. We just did not have any energy or effort, and we didn't defend at all. In the second half, we actually defended, and that's why we were in the game at the end."
"The good thing about this was that we found how to recapture that intensity which we will obviously need for the balance of the season."
"The bottom line is, if we had played two 20 minute halves like we did in the second half, and lost that game by four, I could live with that. Unfortunately, just 20 minutes worth of performance against a team that has that kind of weapons just isn't enough."
"New Mexico made some great shots towards the end of the game. and we took a couple of threes late in the game, and the wrong people shot them. We need to find our go-to guys and understand that. There were a couple of possessions on the weak side when Terrell was open. When you get late in the game, you've got to get the ball in to those players. They made the big shots, and we didn't. "
New Mexico coach Fran Fraschilla:
"We played well enough in the first half to give ourselves a cushion...so we could hold them off for what we knew would be a run in the second half. They were well prepared defensively...they have a very intelligent team.
We were able to break them down off the dribble. Obviously, when you have a guy like Lamont Long out there taking people off the dribble, it makes things a lot easier. We did enough down the stretch to hold them off."
"I like being in this conference. We've got great teams, great players, great arenas...it's what college basketball is all about.
BYU Game Notes:
Ã‚â€¢ With 19:15 left in the second half, Mekeli Wesley hit a jump shot to score his 1000th and 1001st career points. He is only the 32nd player in BYU to reach the 1000-point plateau and only the eighth BYU player to do it as a junior. He joined Danny Ainge, Michael Smith, Devin Durrant, Russell Larson, Fred and Ken Roberts and Jeff Chatman as the only BYU players to have scored more that 1,000 points by the end of their junior years.The most recent BYU basketball players to have scored 1,000 career points were Ken Roberts (1,652 points) and Randy Reid (1,073 points) who both ended their BYU careers in 1996.
Ã‚â€¢ Eric Nielsen fouled out for the fifth time on the season and for the third game in a row. He has fouled out in four of the Cougars nine conference games. (vs. New Mexico, 2-17-00; at Utah, 2-12-00; at San Diego State, 2-3-00; vs. Utah, 1-15-00; at Florida International, 12-21-99)
Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS
University of New Mexico vs BYU
2/17/00 7:05 at Provo, Utah
VISITORS: University of New Mexico 14-11. 6-4
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
04 WHITE, Wayland...... f 6-11 0-0 0-0 3 1 4 5 12 0 3 4 2 31
33 WALKER, Damion...... f 0-1 0-0 6-8 1 5 6 5 6 0 5 1 0 23
34 GUINN, R.T.......... f 2-3 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 4 4 0 1 1 1 8
03 LONG, Lamont....... g 10-21 1-3 7-11 2 9 11 4 28 3 2 0 1 39
11 HENRY, Kevin........ g 2-7 1-4 2-2 1 2 3 3 7 3 0 0 1 30
10 LIGHTFOOT, Tim...... 1-3 0-0 3-5 0 1 1 0 5 0 1 0 1 20
13 PARMER, Marlon...... 3-4 1-1 1-3 0 1 1 3 8 0 1 0 0 16
21 SMITH, Brian........ 1-1 0-0 2-2 0 3 3 2 4 0 1 0 0 12
42 HANNAH, Roland...... 2-2 0-0 0-2 2 1 3 2 4 0 0 1 1 21
TEAM................ 3 3
Totals.............. 27-53 3-8 21-33 12 25 37 28 78 6 14 7 7 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 18-30 .600 2nd Half: 9-23 .391 Game: .509 DEADBALL
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 3-6 .500 2nd Half: 0-2 .000 Game: .375 REBOUNDS
F Throw % 1st Half: 12-14 .857 2nd Half: 9-19 .474 Game: .636 5
HOME TEAM: BYU 15-7, 4-5
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
02 RIVERS, Silester.... f 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 4 4 3 0 0 1 0 0 5
15 WESLEY, Mekeli...... f 5-11 0-3 6-9 1 3 4 4 16 1 3 1 0 30
13 VRANES, Michael..... g 2-7 1-1 2-3 0 0 0 3 7 6 1 1 2 31
24 LYDAY, Terrell...... g 10-17 0-4 9-10 0 3 3 3 29 1 0 0 2 34
31 MONTAGUE, Matt...... g 1-3 0-0 0-0 1 0 1 3 2 1 4 0 0 18
04 CHRISTENSEN, Todd... 1-3 0-2 0-0 0 1 1 1 2 0 1 0 0 16
05 ROBERTS, Marc....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 4
10 ALLEN, John......... 1-2 1-1 1-2 0 3 3 1 4 0 1 0 0 11
25 NIELSEN, Eric....... 1-2 0-0 5-6 1 3 4 5 7 1 0 2 0 24
42 COOPER, Nathan...... 1-7 0-2 5-6 3 3 6 0 7 2 0 0 1 27
TEAM................ 4 1 5
Totals.............. 22-53 2-13 28-36 10 21 31 24 74 12 11 4 5 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 11-25 .440 2nd Half: 11-28 .393 Game: .415 DEADBALL
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 1-5 .200 2nd Half: 1-8 .125 Game: .154 REBOUNDS
F Throw % 1st Half: 14-17 .824 2nd Half: 14-19 .737 Game: .778 4
Officials: Bobby Hunt, Dick Cartmell, Verne Harris
Technical fouls: University of New Mexico-WHITE, Wayland. BYU-WESLEY,
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
University of New Mexico...... 51 27 - 78
BYU........................... 37 37 - 74
PROVO -- After going 1-3 in four straight road games, the fourth-place BYU Cougars, 15-6 overall and 4-4 in the Mountain West Conference, prepare to face the third-place New Mexico Lobos, 13-11 and 5-4, who are coming off a home loss to Wyoming Monday night. Thursday's game, a 7 p.m. start in the Marriott Center, will be tape-delay broadcast at 10:30 p.m. on KSL-TV, channel 5. The live radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM with Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant calling the action.
BYU will face UNLV Saturday in Provo. In second place in the conference, the Rebels will be looking to avenge its loss to BYU in Las Vegas.
Last Time Out
BYU lost at No. 20 Utah Saturday, 77-62. Played without injured forward Hanno Mottola, Utah's size advantage was still evident as Ute big men Nate Althoff, Alex Jensen and Mike Puzey shot a combined 15-18 from the floor. The Utes hit on 56.3 percent of their attempts -- the best percentage by a BYU opponent all season. The Cougars shot 41 percent and were out rebounded 35-21. BYU took a 19-8 lead on a Todd Christensen jumper at the 13.26 mark, but Utah out scored the Cougars 18-3 over the next seven minutes and entered the break with a 35-30 advantage. Nathan Cooper hit three treys in a second-half run that brought BYU within 56-53 with 8:49 remaining. But like the first meeting when the the Cougars failed to score in the final seven minutes, BYU again suffered a scoring drought, going five minutes without a point and was outscored 21-9 the rest of the way. Alex Jensen scored eight of his 16 points during Utah's run that put the game away. Five Utes reached double figures, led by Jeremy Killion with 18. Wesley and Terrell Lyday led BYU with 14 points ( but shot a combined 7-22) and Cooper added 11. Wesley had six boards and Cooper and Lyday a team-best four assists.
Game Quick Facts
BYU (15-6, 4-4) vs. New Mexico (13-11, 5-4)
Thursday, Feb. 17 Ã‚â€¢ Marriott Center (22,700) Ã‚â€¢ Provo, Utah Ã‚â€¢ 7 p.m. Mtn
Network: Cougar Sports Network
Station: KSL Newsradio 1160 AM
Air Time: 6:30 p.m. Mountain
Play-by-play: Greg Wrubell
Commentary: Mark Durrant
Network: SportsWest Productions
Local Station: KSL, channel 5
Air Time: Tape delay at 10:30 p.m. Mtn
Play-by-play: Tom Kirkland
Commentary: Tony Ingle
Satellite: TelStar 5, transponder C-7
BYU's Probable Starters:
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-8 210 So. 4.9 4.0
F 15 Mekeli Wesley 6-9 230 Jr. 17.8 6.2
G 24 Terrell Lyday 6-3 190 Jr. 16.9 3.9
G 13 Michael Vranes 6-3 190 So. 7.9 4.3
G 31 Matt Montague 6-1 190 So. 3.1 2.9
New Mexico's Probable Starters:
F 4 Wayland White 6-6 205 Jr. 9.2 4.5
F 33 Damion Walker 6-7 225 Sr. 12.3 6.0
F 34 RT Guinn 6-9 235 Fr. 4.7 4.6 0.9
G 11 Kevin Henry 6-3 200 Jr. 10.3 1.6
G 3 Lamont Long 6-4 190 Sr. 18.5 4.6
Coach Cleveland Shows
Radio: Coach Steve Cleveland can be heard Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. this week with host Greg Wrubell on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM.
Television: The Coach Cleveland Show can be viewed Sunday at 5 p.m. on KSL-TV, channel 5 with host Alema Harrington.
BYU Coach: Steve Cleveland
Record at BYU: 36-43 (3rd year)
Overall Div. I record: Same
UNM Coach: Fran Fraschilla
Record at UNM: 13-11 (1st year)
Overall record: 133-70 (7th year)
Series Record: 57-45 BYU
Game Time: 7 p.m. Mountain
Scouting New Mexico
New Mexico is 13-10 overall and 5-3 in the Mountain West Conference. UNM is third in the conference standings at 5-4 after a 99-93 loss in The Pit to Wyoming Monday night on ESPN2. The Lobos have a new coach for the first time in 11 years with new head coach Fran Fraschilla (Brooklyn 80) taking over for Dave Bliss, who left for Baylor. Fraschilla, in just his seventh year as a head coach, has a career record of 133-70 after a four-year stint at Manhattan College (1992-96) and a two-year stay at St. Johns (1996-98). Five of his teams have gone on to postseason play, including three NCAA appearances and two NIT showings. The Lobos have won four of their last five games (except Utah). The Lobos are 4-4 on the road this year, including a 70-62 victory at No. 2 Arizona (BYU lost at Arizona). The Lobos opened Mountain West play with a win at Colorado State (71-70) before losing at Wyoming (88-83) and at home to UNLV (85-73). The Lobos then won twice at home, defeating AFA (89-72) and BYU(78-69) before going on the road. UNM lost at Utah (82-70) then picked up wins at San Diego State (78-57) and AFA (81-67). Lamont Long (6-4, Sr., G) is one of 30 finalists for the John R. Wooden Award and leads the team with an 18.5 scoring average. Damion Walker (6-7, Sr., F) adds 12.3 and Kevin Henry (6-3, Jr., G) 10.3. Walker also pulls down a team-best 6.0 rebounds per game. The Lobos are shooting nearly 47 percent from the floor, 35 percent on threes, and 71 percent from the line.
This will be the 103rd meeting in the series with BYU holding a 57-45 advantage in the series dating back to 1951. New Mexico has won 10 of the last 13 outings dating back to the 1993-94 season, including eight of the last nine. UNM has won the last three games, including the first meeting in Albuquerque this year(78-69) and both games last year (78-68 in Albuquerque and 85-64 in Provo). BYU's last win was in Albuquerque -- an 83-62 upset of No. 15-ranked New Mexico on Feb. 26, 1998, which ended the Lobos school-record 41-game home winning streak. BYU leads the series in Provo 34-14 but UNM has won the last four (and five of last six) in the Marriott Center. BYU's last win in Provo was Jan . 28, 1995 (81-63). BYU coach Steve Cleveland is 1-4 against the Lobos.
Losing back-to-back games for the first time this season, BYU came up short in its second-half come-back effort at The Pit, dropping its third straight game to New Mexico, 78-69. After leading 34-32 at the break thanks to a 17-point first-half effort by Terrell Lyday, BYU could not contain New Mexico's Lamont Long who scored 17 points of his own in the second half after totaling 10 first-half points. Despite Long's 27-point night and the Lobos' 14-point second half lead, BYU was able to fight back and get within two points with 2:45 left in the game.Nathan Cooper, who had not scored for the first time this year in BYU's loss Thursday at Air Force, scored 11 straight points for BYU, including nine in 1:40, to cut the Lobo lead to seven at 70-63 with four minutes remaining. The Cougars then cut the lead to two at 70-68 after two Wesley free throws, a Matt Montague layin and a Terrell Lyday breakaway layup off a full-court Montague assist. Down three points with less than a minute remaining, the Cougars could not get any closer and fouls pushed the final margin to a nine points. Cooper finished with 11 points and five rebounds in only 12 minutes and Lyday led BYU with 21 points. Silester Rivers added 12 points and nine rebounds and Mekeli Wesley 10 points and seven boards. New Mexico was led by Long's 27 points, followed by Roland Hannah with 14 points and 11 rebounds and Wayland White with 10 points. New Mexico out rebounded BYU 40-38 and shot 45 percent to BYU's 40 percent. The Cougars shot 30 percent in the second half after making 54 percent in the first half. BYU made a season-low one three-point shot in 13 attempts.
BYU in Mountain West Conference Stats
Team (as of 2-15-00)
Scoring Offense, 4th (72.5)
Scoring Defense, 3rd (63.9)
Scoring Margin, 3rd (+ 8.7)
Free Throw Percentage, 3rd (.708)
Field Goal Percentage, 4th (.466)
Field Goal % Defense, 1st (.388)
3 pt. Percentage, 3rd (.388)
3 pt. % Def., 1st (.272)
(1st conf.only - .260)
Rebounding Offense, 5th (34.9)
Rebounding Defense, 3rd (35.2)
Rebounding Margin, 5th (- 0.2)
Offensive Rebounds, 7th (9.0)
Defensive Rebounds, 3rd (25.9)
Blocks, 7th (2.1)
Assists, 4th (14.9)
Steals, 4th (7.95) (1st conf.only - 8.50)
TO Margin, 4th (1.05)
Asst./TO Ratio, 5th (1.02)
Individual (as of 2-15-00)
Wesley, 3rd, (17.8) (4th conf.only - 17.0)
Lyday, 6th (16.9) (3rd conf.only - 17.1)
Wesley, 6th (6.2)
Wesley, 5th (4.76)
Lyday, 13th (3.57)
Field Goal Percentage (min 3 per game):
Wesley, 11th (.494)
Free Throw Percentage (min 2 per game):
Wesley, 7th (.761)
Lyday, 9th (.755)
3 pt. Percentage (min. 1 made per game):
Christensen, 5th (.453)
Lyday, 7th (.413)
3 pt. FG Made:
Lyday, 4th (2.14)
Montague, 2nd (4.19)
Lyday, T1st (2.10) (1st conf. only - 2.50)
Wesley, 14th (1.38)
Montague, 2nd (1.91)
BYU in National Stats (as of 2-7-00)
Field Goal % Defense, 11th, (38.0)
3-Pt Field Goal %, 21st, (38.8)
MWC Statistical Leaders
Overall (as of 2-13-00)
Scoring 84.2, UNLV
Scoring Defense 61.0, Utah
FG Pct. .497 Utah
FG Pct. defense .388 BYU
3 Pt. Pct. .427, Colorado State
3 Pt./Game 8.38, Colorado State
Ft Pct. .720, Utah
Steals 9.00, Air Force
Blocked Shots 4.71, Colorado State
Assists 20.19, UNLV
Offensive Rebounds 15.00, UNLV
Defensive Rebounds 28.24, UNLV
Reb. Mar. +5.0, UNLV
Scoring Mar. +11.1, Utah
TO Mar. +2.10, Air Force
Asst/TO Mar 1.23, UNLV
Scoring 18.6, Kaspars Kambala (UNLV)
FG Pct. .605 (72-119), Nate Althoff, (Utah)
FT Pct. .821 (92-112), Damion Walker (UNM)
3-Pt. Pct. .500 (45-90), Brett McFall (WYO)
3-Pt./Game 2.71, Jarvis Croff (AFA)
Rebounding 9.2, Tom Bellairs (AFA)
Off. Rebounds 3.86, Tom Bellairs (AFA)
Def. Rebounds 6.57, Kaspars Kambala (UNLV)
Assists 8.95, Mark Dickel (UNLV)
Blocks 1.96, Wayland White (UNM)
Steals 2.13, Lamont Long, (UNM)
Conference Only (as of 2-13-00)
Scoring 83.3, UNLV
Scoring Defense 63.0, Utah
FG Pct. .491, Utah
FG Pct. defense .404, UNLV
3 Pt. Pct. .412, New Mexico
3 Pt./Game 7.78, Colorado State
Ft Pct. .748, Utah
Steals 8.50, BYU
Blocked Shots 5.44, UNLV
Assists 19.22, UNLV
Offensive Rebounds 14.88, Wyoming
Defensive Rebounds 29.44, UNLV
Reb. Mar. +7.7, UNLV
Scoring Mar. +11.0, UNLV
TO Mar. +3.11, Colorado State
Asst/TO Mar 1.25, Colorado State
Scoring 19.8, Lamont Long (UNM)
FG Pct. .649 (37-57), Nate Althoff (Utah)
FT Pct. .833 (30-36) Nate Althoff (Utah)
3-Pt. Pct. (min. 5) .552 (16-29), Tim Lightfoot (UNM)
3-Pt./Game 2.56, Trevor Diggs (UNLV)
Rebounding 10.1, Tom Bellairs (AFA)
Off. Rebounds 4.44, Dalron Johnson (UNLV)
Def. Rebounds 7.56, Kaspars Kambala (UNLV)
Assists 9.56, Mark Dickel (UNLV)
Blocks 2.25, Wayland White (UNM)
Steals 2.50, Terrell Lyday (BYU)
BYU Starting Lineups
UCR Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
SUU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Ariz. Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Den. Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
ASU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
TSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
WSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
SCSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
USA Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
FIU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley
UCSB Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley
UCI Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
USU Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
UNLV Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Utah Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley
Wyo Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
CSU Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
AFA Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
UNM Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
SDSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Utah Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
RPI Report (as of Feb. 13, 2000)
According to CollegeRPI.com rankings computed by Jerry Palm and the
Collegiate Basketball News, BYU is the third highest rated team in the MWC. According to CBN, BYU has the toughest schedule among MWC teams at No. 59. The Mountain West Conference is rated 10th, respectively, among the 31 conferences (and five independents) in the country as of Feb. 13.
BYU's record when . . .
BYU leads at half 13-1
Opponent leads at half 1-5
Score tied at half 1-0
BYU leads with 5 minutes left 14-1
Opponent leads with 5 min. left 0-5
BYU leads with 1 minute left 14-0
Opponent leads with 1 min. left 1-6
Score tied with 1 minute left 0-0
Game goes into overtime 1-0
BYU out rebounds opponent 11-0
Opponent out rebounds BYU 4-6
BYU and opponent tie in rebounds 0-0
BYU shoots 50 % or better 9-0
Opponent shoots 50 % or better 0-2
BYU out shoots opponent 14-1
Opponent out shoots BYU 1-5
More BYU's Record When ...
Mekeli Wesley has either shared or been BYU's top scorer in 12 games this season and the Cougars are 7-5 in those games. He has also been BYU's top rebounder in 12 games. BYU is 8-4 in those games. BYU is 4-4 in the games when Mekeli Wesley was both the team's leading scorer and rebounder. Terrell Lyday has shared or led BYU in scoring in eight games and BYU is 6-2 (except UNM and at Utah) in those contests. Silester Rivers has been BYU's best rebounder in five games and the Cougars are 4-1 (except UNM). When the Cougars get good scoring efforts from its supporting cast, they have been hard to beat. BYU is 7-0 when Michael Vranes has scored in double figures and 6-0 when Christensen scores in double digits. They are 6-1 (all but UNM) when Rivers reaches double figures and 4-2 when Cooper has scored 10 or more (except UNM and at Utah).
MWC Series Notables
BYU has a winning record against all but two Mountain West Conference opponents. The Cougars are 3-4 against UNLV after its win earlier this year and after Saturday's loss now trails Utah 113-114. The Utes have won the last 12 meetings and now, with its one-game edge, holds the series advantage for the first time in the 91-year history of the rivalry.
From the Training Room
Mekeli Wesley suffered a low ankle sprain at practice Tuesday night and did not practice Wednesday. His status for Thursday's game is still uncertain and will likely be a game-time decision.
BYU Basketball News
When Push Comes to Shove
BYU had trouble handling the size of Utah's frontline Saturday. BYU entered the game with Utah rated 11th in the nation and leading the conference in field goal percentage defense (38.1 percent), but Utah was able to hit on 56.3 percent of their attempts -- the best percentage by a BYU opponent all season (Arizona shot 54 percent). The undersized Cougars were beaten inside as Ute big men Nate Althoff, Alex Jensen and Mike Puzey shot a combined 15-18 from the floor. On the year, the Cougars have held opponents below a 40 percent 13 times and is 12-1 in those games (exception - Air Force won despite shooting 39.2 from the floor).
Christensen Breaks Out of His Conference Coaster Ride
Before his seven point effort at Utah Saturday, Todd Christensen had been on a scoring roller coaster in conference play. He opened the MWC season with 8 points at UNLV, then went scoreless vs. Utah, had 7 vs. Wyoming, was scoreless again vs. CSU, had 6 at Air Force, did not score at UNM and totaled 11 at SDSU.
With a 15-6 record, BYU has achieved 15 wins in a season for the first time since the 1995-96 season when the Cougars finished 15-13.
Game Time Change in Laramie
The BYU at Wyoming game scheduled for Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in Laramie, Wyo.,
has been changed to a 4:07 p.m. start.
This year's first meeting between BYU and Utah in the Marriott Center on Jan. 15, produced the eighth largest fan attendance this season in Division I (22,580).
The Cougars received votes one week this year after starting 14-3. BYU receiving six votes USA Today ESPN poll and five votes in the AP poll. Those votes were the first BYU has received since 1994-95 (when The Cougars were rated as high as 26th in AP).
In four conference losses, the Cougars shot 40 percent from the floor in three games and 41 percent against the Utes Saturday. In their four MWC wins, the Cougars shot 48, 49, 50 and 54 percent from the floor.
BYU has a won game losing streak and lost three of its last four games -- all on the road. BYU has only lost back-to-back games once this year at AFA and UNM. Last year BYU had two three-game losing streaks and one four-game skid. BYU currently has a two-game winning streak at home. The Cougars have had two five-game winning streaks this year and a seven-game home winning streak. On the road, BYU had a four-game winning streak snapped at AFA (the longest road win streak since 1992-93, when the Cougars won six straight road games).
Assist vs. Turnover Trends
BYU dished out 14 assists to only nine turnovers Saturday against Utah, ending four consecutive games of having more turnovers than assists. In conference play, BYU has had more assist than turnovers only twice in eight games. On the year, BYU averages 14.9 assists and 14.6 turnovers. The Cougars have a + 1.0 turnover margin. (Last year BYU averaged 17.3 turnovers per game to only 12.8 assists). In conference play, BYU averages 12.9 assists and 15.6 turnovers in eight games. BYU has had 10 games this year where it has had more assists than turnovers, one game when assists equaled turnovers and 10 games when it has had more turnovers than assists.
Lyday Extends BYU Consecutive Game Three-Point Record
Lyday has made a three-pointer in all 21 games this year to extend his BYU record. He has come close to ending his streak in the last four games, going 1-4 at Utah, 1-3 at SDSU, 1-7 at UNM and 1-6 at AFA. The previous consecutive games record was 16 set by Andy Toolson in 1990. Lyday has made 41 percent of his three-point attempts and a team-best 45 treys. Lyday made 102 treys last year at Fresno City College.
After making only 8-46 (17.4 percent) three-pointers in a three-game stretch, including a season-low 7.7 percent (1-13) at UNM, BYU made 7-13 (.538) attempts at SDSU and 8-21 (.381) at Utah. At Utah, Nathan Cooper had the hot hand hitting 3-4 treys, all in the second half. Mekeli Wesley was 2-4, with both treys coming in the first half. Matt Montague (1-3) made only his third trey of the year and took a season-high three attempts. He has only taken 12 threes all year and has only one other game with multiple attempts (2 vs. Weber State). The eight conversions is the most by the Cougars since making 10 at UNLV. BYU's 21 attempts is the second most attempts on the year. The Cougars attempted 22 treys (11-22) in an overtime win at Florida International. At SDSU Christensen hit 3-4 three pointers, Vranes 2-3, Wesley 1-2 and Lyday 1-3. As a team, BYU makes 38.8 percent. Three players are shooting 40 percent or better -- Christensen (45.3), Wesley (41.9) and Lyday (41.3). Vranes shots 35.6. BYU's opponents are shooting 27.2 percent from three-point range. BYU is makes 6.0 treys/game and its opponents 4.6.
More From Behind the Line
Lyday is 4-20 in the last four games from three-point range. Vranes is 2-10, Wesley 3-8, Cooper 3-8 and Christensen 6-12.
Numbers on the Road
BYU is 6-5 on the road this year, having tripled its road wins last year (2-10). BYU is coming off a loss at Utah and a win at SDSU. Two road losses at AFA and UNM ended a four-game road winning streak. BYU is scoring 69.4 points in away games and allowing 67.6. BYU is shooting .436, including .391 on threes, and .703 from the line. BYU is being out rebounded 33.5-36.7. Terrell Lyday leads the Cougar scoring effort on the road with a 18.4 average, including a career-high 35 at Utah State and 30 at UNLV. Mekeli Wesley averaged 16.5 points and a team-best 6.0 boards. Christensen averages 7.2 points.
Cougars Equal Home Win Total of Last Year, Four Home Games Remain
BYU is 9-1 at home this year, equaling its home win total of last year (9-5). The only loss was (56-49) against Utah. The Cougars are averaging 76.0 points per game at home (16.3-point margin of victory). The Cougars are making 50.2 percent of its shots, including 38.3 percent of its three-point attempts, in the Marriott Center. They are pulling down 36.5 rebounds per game to their opponents 33.5. Wesley is scoring a team-best 19.3 points, followed by Terrell Lyday at 15.2, Michael Vranes 9.3, Silester Rivers at 8.8 and Nathan Cooper at 7.9.
BYU's defense has been a large part of the Cougars success this year. Only two teams have shot 50 percent or better against BYU (Utah 56 percent Saturday and Arizona 54 percent). In BYU's four other losses, Arizona shot S. Alabama .490, UNM .452, Utah .429 and AFA .392.Against SDSU, BYU held the Aztecs to 34 percent, including 13 percent on threes. The Cougars rank first in the MWC in both field goal percentage defense (.388) and three-point field goal percentage defense (.272). The Cougars have held opponents below a 40 percent shooting in 13 games. BYU is 12-1 in those games (exception - Air Force). BYU holds opponents to 63.9 points. Individually BYU has had outstanding defensive efforts, including Terrell Lyday helping hold Eddie House of Arizona State (No. 3 scorer in the nation) to a 0-16 night -- the only time House has gone without a field goal in his career.
On the Boards
BYU is pulling down 35 rebounds per game and its opponents 35.2 -- the first time all year the Cougars have had a negative rebounding margin. The Cougars are 11-0 when they have out rebounded their opponents and 4-6 in games were the opposition totalled more boards. Mekeli Wesley leads BYU with 6.2 rebounds per game, including a team-best 100 defensive boards. Silester Rivers has a team-high 33 offensive rebounds (Wesley has 31). BYU has been out boarded in five MWC games (Utah, UNM, AFA, Wyo, Utah).
BYU has scored more than 80 points in a five games and averages 72.5 points. BYU has shot better than 50 percent in nine games (recently conf. games best 54 at SDSU and 50 vs. CSU). The Cougars have shot below 40 percent three times -- 36.5 percent in a loss at No.4 Arizona and a season-low 29.6 in a win at UCSB and 29.6 percent at AFA. The Cougars are shooting 46.6 percent (38.8 on threes and 70.8 percent from the line. BYU is 9-0 when it shots 50 percent or better and 14-1 when it out shoots its opponent (except AFA). Two regular players are shooting better than 50 percent. Silester Rivers is making a team-best 57.1 percent and Eric Nielsen 53.3 percent.. Mekeli Wesley makes 49.4 percent while Todd Christensen (48.9) and Terrell Lyday (45.7) have the best percentages from the back court. Cooper makes 43.4 percent and a team-best 81.2 percent from the line.
Wesley is BYU's leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 17.8 ppg and 6.2 rpg. He averages 17.0 and 6.1 in MWC games. He has been BYU's top scorer in 12 games this season and has scored in double figures in 19 of BYU's 21 games, including the last 11 straight. He has nine games with 20 or more points and one game with 30 or more. He tied Terrell Lyday with a game-high 14 points at Utah and had a team-best 6 rebounds. He hit two treys to help BYU take an early 18-9 lead. He recorded game highs with 15 points and nine rebounds to lead BYU to a 72-50 road win at San Diego State Thursday. After two bad shooting nights at AFA and UNM, Wesley responded by hitting 6-11 shots, including 1-2 three-pointers, to help the Cougars break its first two-game losing skid of the season. He added two steals and a block and assist in 25 minutes against the Aztecs. He went 3-12 from the floor at UNM (10 points, 7 rebounds) and scored a team-high 12 points (4-10 shooting) at Air Force and only had two rebounds, matching his season low (2 vs. SUU). He had 13 points in 21 minutes vs. CSU and scored a career- and conference-play high 34 points vs. Wyoming (he scored 31 points twice as a freshman) and had team highs of 8 rebounds and 4 assists. He had game highs of 21 points and 7 rebounds against Utah. He scored 17 points and had 4 rebounds at UNLV Monday. He scored 11 points and had a team highs with 8 rebounds and 3 assists at Utah State. He scored 18 points and pulled down 6 boards against UC Irvine. He had 6 rebounds and scored a game-high 24 points, 16 in the second half, at UCSB. He had 8 points, 7 rebounds at FIU. He had a game-high 20 points at South Alabama. He averaged 21 points and 9 rebounds to earn MWC Player of the Week honors (Dec. 7-11) and was named the Cougar Classic MVP for the second time in his career (also as freshman). He recorded his first double-double of the year (fourth of career) with 24 points, 10 rebounds in win over Texas Southern. He scored a season-high 26 points in back-to-back games this year versus Denver and ASU.
Lyday averages 16.9 points, second on the team, and team-high 32.7 minutes. He has scored in double figures in 19 of BYU's 21 games, including the last 10 straight games. He has made a three-pointer in a BYU record 21 straight games this season ( previous record was 16 games by Andy Toolson 1990) but is only 4-20 in last four games. He has made a team-high 45 threes (41 percent). Last year he made 102 treys at Fresno City College. He has excelled defensively also, guarding the other team's best perimeter player. He helped hold Arizona State's high scoring Eddie House to a 5 points on 0-16 shooting, the only time House has not scored a field goal in his career. House has the top two scoring games in the nation this year (61 and 46). Lyday is averaging 17.1 points and 4.5 rebounds in MWC games. Lyday had 14 points and 4 assists at Utah. He was only 4-11 from the floor, 1-4 on treys and 5-8 form the line. He had 12 points and 5 rebounds at SDSU. He scored 17 first-half points at UNM and 21 in the game. Playing on a sprained ankle, he was 4-11 (11 pts) vs. AFA. He had game-high 15 vs. CSU and scored 22 points vs. Wyoming. He had 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists vs. Utah. Lyday made 5-10 threes, scored 30 points and had a career-high 11 rebounds and tied a career-best with 6 steals at UNLV. It was his first double-double of the year. He was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Week (Jan. 3-8) after averaged 28.5 points and shooting better than 60 percent from the floor and on threes in two BYU wins. He carried BYU to a win at Utah State with a career-high 35 points, including six three-pointers, and scored a game-high 22 points to lead a BYU comeback win over UC Irvine. He had career-best 6 steals at UCSB, despite an off night scoring (2-11 for 8 points and held scoreless in the first half for the first time this year). He scored 26 points at FIU and had 15 points against South Alabama, where he was a perfect 4-4 on three-point attempts. He joined Wesley on the Cougar Classic All-Tournament team Dec. 10-11. He scored 18 points against Arizona and had 17 vs. ASU.
Rivers averages 7.4 points (4th on team) and 4.5 rebounds (2nd on team). He has a team-high 33 offensive boards and is shooting a team-best 57.1 percent (FG). He has scored in double figures seven times this year and has led the team in rebounds four times (6 vs. UC Riverside, 9 at Denver, 11 at FIU, 9 at UNM). He played 20 minutes at Utah and did not take a shot while grabbing two rebounds and committing three fouls. He fouled out with 15 minutes remaining at SDSU (3 pts, 2 rbs). He played well with 12 pts, team-high 9 boards at UNM in 29 minutes off the bench (only 6-12 from the line). He played only eight minutes at AFA but had 7 pts, 2 rbs, 2 assts. He scored 9 points vs. CSU and 8 points vs. Wyoming. He started his third game of the year vs. Utah and had 5 points, 4 rebounds while guarding the much larger Ute post players. Rivers had 3 points (3-4 FTs) and 5 rebounds at UNLV. He had a strong outing at Utah State, scoring 15 points (some nice post moves), 7 rebounds in 24 minutes off the bench. Rivers came off the bench against UC Irvine after starting the two previous games. Despite being weakened by the flu, he contributed 5 points and 6 rebounds in 11 minutes. He started his second straight game against UCSB but was 0-2 with 4 rebounds in 17 minutes. He played a season-high 31 minutes in his first start at Florida International and had double-double 10 points and season-high 11 rebounds. He scored 8 points in 12 minutes at South Alabama. He scored game- and season-high 17 points against South Carolina State. He had 10 points versus Arizona State and 14 points in back-to-back games to open the year against UC Riverside and Southern Utah.
Vranes is third on the team in rebounding (4.3 rpg), and scoring (7.9 ppg), and second with 2.6 assists per game. He has made a trey in 11 games. He has scored in double figures in seven games (all BYU wins). He has only reach double figures in two of the last nine games. He had seven points at Utah (3-9)and 1 rebound. Vranes did score 12 points at SDSU after recording only three total points in the two previous games. At UNM, he went 1-6 shooting (3 pts, 2 rbs, 2 assts). Fighting the flu, he went 0-3 and did not score for the first time in his career at Air Force. He had a team-high seven rebounds vs. CSU and added 11 points. He had eight points, five rebounds and three assists vs. Wyoming. He had four points, four rebounds and three assists vs. Utah. He had nine points and four boards at UNLV and had nine points, five rebound and two assists at Utah State. He had 11 points, five rebounds and five assists against UC Irvine. Vranes matched a career high with a team-best nine rebounds at UCSB. He also had team-high three assists despite three points on 1-9 shooting. He scored eight of his 12 points in overtime at FIU. He totalled 10 points, six rebounds and a season-high seven assists vs. South Carolina State. He had a season-high 15 points along with five rebounds vs. Weber State.
Regarded as the best shooter on the team, Christensen shoots 49 percent from the floor and 45 percent from behind the arc. He averages 6.0 ppg in 18 minutes. He is sharing point guard duties after playing shooting guard most of last year. Beginning with Utah State, he started six straight games before coming off the bench (0-1. 0 pts and 8 minutes) at UNM. He scored 7 points at Utah and totaled 11 points at SDSU, including a 3-4 night from long range. He hit two treys for 6 points at AFA. He did not score (0-3 -- all treys), 3 assists vs. CSU. He had 7 points, 3 assists vs. Wyoming. He did not score, taking only one shot, vs. Utah. At UNLV, he had 8 points, including a clutch three-pointer to put the Cougars up four late in the game. At Utah State he scored 7 early points to help BYU shot 57 percent in the first half. Christensen scored 13 points, including a four-point play at UCSB. Against UCSB and FIU he was 9-16 (.562) from the floor, 6-11 (.545) on treys, and 3-3 from the line while averaging 13.5 ppg. He scored all of his 14 points in the first half at FIU (4-5 treys in 11 minutes). He had 3 assists at S. Alabama in 12 minutes. He had a season-high 16 points, including 5-8 threes, vs. South Carolina State (10 at Denver).
The only true point guard on the BYU roster, he has team-leading 88 assists (4.2 apg, 3.1 ppg, 2.9 rpg). After starting the first 12 games, he came off the bench for the next six before returning to the starting lineup at UNM. He made his third trey of the year at Utah and scored 5 points with 3 assists in 18 minutes. He had 2 rebounds and 2 assists but did not score at SDSU. He had 4 pts, 6 assts at UNM in 36 minutes. He took season-high seven shots and scored season-best 9 points at AFA (6 assts). He had 5 assists, 5 boards and 2 points vs. CSU and had 7 points vs. Wyoming. He played a season-low seven minutes vs. Utah (1 assist, 3 TO, 1 rebound). He scored 6 points, 7 assists at UNLV. At Utah State he played 25 minutes off the bench and had 4 points, 2 assists. He was limited to 10 minutes (achilles) against UC Irvine and did not record an assist for the first time this year. Montague made three clutch free throws down the stretch at UCSB. He had 2 pts, 4 rbs , 8 assts in team- and personal career-high 41 minutes at FIU. He shared team-high 5 rebounds with Wesley at South Alabama (4 assts). He had 5 points vs. South Carolina State and made his second three-pointer of the year. After receiving stitches to repair a cut above his eye against ASU, Montague returned and led BYU on a 14-1 run. He dished out a season-high 9 assists vs. Weber State and helped hold Wildcat guard Eddie Gill to 2-14 shooting.
A returned LDS missionary to Russia, Nielsen is averaging 4.9 points and 4.0 rebounds. He has started in 18 games, including the first nine and the last five. After scoring 10 and 12 points in first two games, he went 14 straight outings without reaching double digits until scoring 10 points in back-to-back games ( vs. CSU and at AFA). After scoring only four points in the first three MWC games, Nielsen has averaged 9.25 in the next four. He fouled out with 4 points and 2 rebounds at Utah. He had 9 points, 4 boards and a team-high 3 assists at SDSU. He was 4-6 for 8 points, 5 boards at UNM and had a career-best 9 boards (4-5, 10 pts) at AFA. He had 6 rebounds, 3 steals vs. CSU. He didn't score for the second time this year vs. Wyoming. He fouled out, playing 14 minutes, scoring 2 points on one attempt and had 1 rebound vs. Utah. In foul trouble, he played only 10 minutes at UNLV (2 pts, 4 rebounds). At Utah State he was held scoreless and had 4 rebounds. He had 4 points, 3 rebounds and a season-high 3 assists vs. UC Irvine. At UCSB, he equaled a then career-best 7 rebounds. He was married to BYU All-American volleyball player Anna-Lena Smith Dec. 30 in Mesa, Ariz. He had 8 points at South Alabama and at Denver. He scored a season-high 12 points versus Southern Utah and had 10 against UC Riverside.
He is coming off the bench this year after starting 23 of BYU's 28 games last year. He is averaging 6.4 points and 3.3 rebounds in 19.8 minutes. He has made a team-best 39-48 free throws (.812). He has six double-figures scoring games and has made a trey in six games. He hit 3-4 treys and scored 11 points along with 5 boards at Utah. He scored 6 points at SDSU with 3 boards. He broke out of a slump with 11 straight BYU points, 9 in 1:40, and 5 rebounds in 12 minutes at UNM. He did not score for first time this year and had 1 rebound at AFA. He had 4 points, 5 boards and 2 assists vs. CSU after scoring 1 point vs. Wyoming. He had 5 points and 3 rebounds vs. Utah. He was forced to play the 4 position at UNLV with foul trouble to Eric Nielsen and Silester Rivers. He played 22 minutes and had 2 points and 1 rebound. He played 15 minutes at Utah State, scoring 1 point and adding 2 boards and 2 assists. He and Michael Vranes received the coaches game ball for their effort against UC Irvine. Cooper had 14 points and 4 rebounds in a season-high 31 minutes. He scored BYU's first basket at UCSB five minutes into the contest and sparked an 8-0 run with a steal, forcing a turnover and handing out an assist. He finished with 3 points and 3 boards. He had 5 points, 6 rebound effort at FIU. He set a career high with 7 assists at South Alabama. He scored a season- and team-high 15 points against Weber State.
Marc Roberts, a true freshman out of Provo's Timpview High School, has seen action in five of the last six games (except at Utah). On the year, he has averaged 3.8 minutes in 12 games. He has scored 11 points (4 at Denver is his high) and is 3-6 from the floor and 5-6 from the line.
A redshirt freshman from Brighton High School in Salt Lake City, Nielsen has played in the last two games and four of the last five (except UNM). He did not score in three minutes at Utah after coring 4 points at SDSU, making both his shot. He scored a career-best 6 points vs. Texas Southern. He has played in 10 games this year and averages 3.8 minutes in those games and 1.4 points.
A walkon freshman, Allen saw action in the post at SDSU because of BYU's foul trouble inside. He has played in eight games this year, and averages 0.9 rebounds and 0.8 points in 3.9 minutes.
Center Dan Howard, a 7-0 freshman, is taking a medical redshirt year this season. He played in BYU's first four games before having surgery on his right knee. He was 3-3 (1.5 ppg) and averaged 2 rebounds in 4.8 minutes.
Ã‚â€¢ Closed Practice:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 3:30-6 p.m.
Ã‚â€¢ Open Practice:
Tuesday and *Thursday, 3:30-6 p.m.
(*except game days)
All home practices are at the Marriott Center. Practice days and times vary on the road.
Coach and Player Interviews
Ã‚â€¢ All player and coaches interviews, including during travel and when on the road, need to be scheduled through Brett Pyne in the Athletic Media Relations office. He can be reached at the following numbers:
Ã‚â€¢ Coach Cleveland is available for interviews before practice at 3:30 p.m. on the court on Tuesday and Thursday. Interviews can also be conducted mornings (best time generally 9-11 a.m.). With prior arrangement, Coach Cleveland will do interviews on the day of the game at the shootaround with media who are generating a live broadcast (radio or television) of the game.
Ã‚â€¢ Player interviews are conducted before practice. TUESDAY is the preferred day for interviews. Contact Brett Pyne to arrange a player interview. Special requests such as live radio or television interviews, extended feature interviews or interviews on days other than Tuesday can be arranged as necessary through Brett Pyne. No player interviews are available on the day of a game until post game.
Ã‚â€¢ Coach Steve Cleveland and several BYU players will be available for post-game interviews. Post-game interviews at home games are conducted in the interview room just off the media room in the Marriott Center. The location of post-game interviews on the road varies.
Media wanting a travel itinerary for BYU's road games can request it by contacting Brett Pyne in the Athletic Media Relations office.
Interviews conducted while on the road must also be arranged through Brett Pyne. Players are not free to be interviewed in airports or at hotels unless an arrangement has been made through Brett Pyne.
Other interview guidelines also apply while on the road.
Comparing Statistics BYU UNM
Points per game .72.5 74.2
Scoring margin + 8.7 + 4.8
Field goals .466 .468
3-pointers .388 .348
Free throws .708 .707
Rebounds per game 35.0 35.7
Rebounding margin - 0.2 + 0.1
Assists per game 14.9 11.6
Turnovers per game 14.6 15.3
Turnover margin + 1.0 + 0.1
Blocks per game 2.1 4.5
Steals per game 8.0 7.7