500 E University Parkway Provo UT 84604
PROVO -- BYU held on to defeat UNLV Saturday in the Marriott Center, 83-82, when a Trevor Diggs 17-footer with Michael Vranes in his face missed the mark for the Rebels at the final buzzer.
BYU led by as many as 11 and never relinquished the lead during the game's final 28 minutes, but nearly allowed the Rebels to steal a win because of missed free throws down the stretch. The Cougars led by seven with just over 30 seconds remaining but with three different Cougars missed free pitches at the line, UNLV was able to nearly erase the Cougar lead.
Five Cougars scored in double figures for the first time since the second game of the season, led by Terrell Lyday with 22 points. Mekeli Wesley added 17, Todd Christensen 15, Vranes 12 and Eric Nielsen 11. BYU is a perfect 8-0 this year when Vranes scores in double figures and 7-0 when Christensen reaches double digits. Vranes pulled down a team-high seven rebounds and Wesley had a career-high six assists for BYU.
Kaspars Kambala led all scorers with 27 points for UNLV. Diggs totaled 21 and Dalron Johnson 14 for the Rebels.
BYU shot 52 percent from the floor, including 6-12 on threes, while UNLV shot 48 percent and was 6-16 from behind the arc. The Cougars are now 10-0 on the year when they shoot 50 percent or better and 15-1 when they out shoot the opposition. BYU finished at 62 percent from the line going 21-34. BYU actually made 13 free throws in a row at one point in the second half before going cold in the final minutes.
The Cougars had 21 assists to only 12 turnovers. It was the first time in the last 15 games and only the fourth time all year that BYU has had more than 20 assists in a game.
With the win, BYU swept the season series with UNLV and improved to 16-7 on the year and 5-5 in the Mountain West Conference. The Rebels fell to 16-6 and 7-3. BYU and UNLV are now tied in the overall series at 4-4.
The Cougars take their last conference road trip of the season next week at Colorado State and Wyoming.
Post-Game Coaches Quotes
UNLV coach Bill Bayno:
"They came out and played great defense and executed good screens."
"There were good looks on both ends but it just takes one guy ...we didn't cut or fill."
"This doesn't make Monday's game (with Utah) any bigger. We've had intense practices, we're ready."
BYU coach Steve Cleveland:
"This was obviously a big game for us and we certainly made it interesting. The way that we did it wasn't very pretty. For about 39 minutes we played well. Defensively, in the second half we did a great job getting the loose balls."
"This was a first place team in the conference and we beat them tonight so it was a very big victory for us. Tonight we had to prove to ourselves that we could win again, and at the end I'll have any of those young men shooting free throws for us. Mekeli and Lyday are both outstanding free throw shooters even though they didn't connect in the late stages. They are our money guys all year long and they'll be okay."
"Michael Vranes was huge for us tonight. When Todd (Christensen) and Michael scores in double figures we've never lost a game and tonight both of them stepped up and played outstanding basketball. Michael's defense was outstanding. He has made himself a better defender."
" I almost had a heartache tonight. We worked so hard and almost gave it back to them."
"This was a big game for us tonight and I don't think we can lose sight of that and it puts us in a position now if we win to or three more to definitely have an opportunity to play somewhere in the post season."
Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS
UNLV vs BYU
2/19/00 7:05 at Provo, Utah
VISITORS: UNLV 16-6, 7-3
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
10 JOHNSON, Dalron..... f 6-12 0-1 2-2 1 4 5 5 14 2 1 0 1 27
14 STEWART, Donovan.... f 1-2 0-0 2-3 2 2 4 2 4 1 0 0 1 17
34 KAMBALA, Kaspars.... c 11-16 0-0 5-7 4 7 11 1 27 0 3 1 0 28
03 DIGGS, Trevor....... g 7-14 5-11 2-2 1 1 2 3 21 2 3 0 0 36
11 DICKEL, Mark........ g 1-7 1-3 2-3 0 0 0 5 5 10 1 0 1 38
05 BROTHERSON, Danny... 0-5 0-1 0-0 0 2 2 3 0 4 2 0 0 27
13 DOTSON, Sylvester... 2-3 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 4 4 0 1 0 0 14
20 RICHARDSON, Chris... 2-3 0-0 3-4 2 1 3 3 7 0 2 1 0 13
TEAM................ 3 2 5
Totals.............. 30-62 6-16 16-21 13 20 33 26 82 19 13 2 3 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-29 .517 2nd Half: 15-33 .455 Game: .484 DEADBALL
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 4-7 .571 2nd Half: 2-9 .222 Game: .375 REBOUNDS
F Throw % 1st Half: 7-11 .636 2nd Half: 9-10 .900 Game: .762 2
HOME TEAM: BYU 16-7, 5-5
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 7-12 0-0 8-12 1 4 5 3 22 6 3 2 0 37
25 NIELSEN, Eric....... f 4-4 0-0 3-4 1 1 2 1 11 1 1 0 0 22
13 VRANES, Michael..... g 5-10 1-5 1-4 1 6 7 3 12 3 2 1 2 35
24 LYDAY, Terrell...... g 5-13 2-3 5-8 2 4 6 1 17 5 2 0 4 37
31 MONTAGUE, Matt...... g 0-1 0-0 2-4 0 3 3 2 2 4 0 0 0 15
02 RIVERS, Silester.... 2-3 0-0 0-0 2 1 3 5 4 1 1 0 0 21
04 CHRISTENSEN, Todd... 5-10 3-4 2-2 0 2 2 3 15 1 1 0 2 24
05 ROBERTS, Marc....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2
42 COOPER, Nathan...... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 7
TEAM................ 4 4
Totals.............. 28-54 6-12 21-34 11 21 32 18 83 21 12 3 8 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 18-35 .514 2nd Half: 10-19 .526 Game: .519 DEADBALL
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 4-8 .500 2nd Half: 2-4 .500 Game: .500 REBOUNDS
F Throw % 1st Half: 3-7 .429 2nd Half: 18-27 .667 Game: .618 8,1
Officials: Larry Stubing, Lonnie Dixon, Mike Giarratano
Technical fouls: UNLV-None. BYU-None.
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
UNLV.......................... 41 41 - 82
BYU........................... 43 40 - 83
PROVO -- Coming off only its second home loss of the season, BYU, 15-7 overall and 4-5 in the Mountain West Conference, will face UNLV, 16-5 and 7-2, Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The game is a SportsWest Production that will be carried live on KSL-TV, channel 5, with Tom Kirkland and Tony Ingle at the mike. The radio broadcast can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM with Greg Wrubell and Mark Durrant calling the action.
BYU returns to the road next week with a 7 p.m. Thursday game at Colorado State and a 4 p.m. SportsWest contest at Wyoming on Saturday.
Last Time Out
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 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. 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 converted the three-point play. New Mexico's freshman point guard Marlon Palmer hit a floater over Lyday with 21 ticks left to give the Lobos a four-point margin. Lyday led all scorers with a game-high 29 points while Long scored 28, including 19 first-half points. Wayland White added 12 points for the Lobos. Palmer scored eight on 3-4 shooting. Wesley played 30 minutes and scored 16 points. 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 had six boards and Vranes six assists.
Game Quick Facts:
BYU (15-7, 4-5) vs. UNLV (16-5, 7-2)
Saturday, Feb. 19 * Marriott Center (22,700) * Provo, Utah * 7 p.m. Mountain
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: 7 p.m. Mountain
Play-by-play: Tom Kirkland
Commentary: Tony Ingle
Satellite: TelStar 6, transponder C-11
BYU's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 25 Eric Nielsen 6-8 210 So. 5.0 4.0
F 15 Mekeli Wesley 6-9 230 Jr. 17.7 6.1
G 24 Terrell Lyday 6-3 190 Jr. 17.3 3.8
G 13 Michael Vranes 6-3 190 So. 7.9 4.1
G 31 Matt Montague 6-1 190 So. 3.0 2.8
UNLV's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 10 Dalron Johnson 6-9 205 Fr. 10.2 7.1
F 14 Donovan Stewart 6-4 210 Jr. 5.4 2.3
C 34 Kaspars Kambala 6-9 250 Jr. 18.6 9.1
G 11 Mark Dickel 6-2 175 Sr. 13.6 4.3
G 3 Trevor Diggs 6-3 185 Jr. 15.6 1.5
BYU Coach: Steve Cleveland
Record at BYU: 36-44 (3rd year)
Overall Div. I record: Same
UNLV Coach: Bill Bayno
Record at UNLV: 84-57 (5th year)
Overall record: Same
Series Record: 4-3 UNLV
Game Time: 7 p.m. Mountain
UNLV is 16-5 overall and 7-2 in the Mountain West Conference. UNLV has gone 7-1 since BYU last met the Rebels in Las Vegas in the Conference opener, a 77-75 Cougar win. The steak includes a home win over Utah while the lone loss was a 109-98 setback at Wyoming. UNLV is in second place, one game back of Utah in the conference standings after its 87-60 victory over Wyoming on Feb. 12. Kaspars Kambala (Jr., C) notched his Mountain West-leading ninth double-double of the season with 29 points and 11 boards in the game. Mark Dickel (Sr., G), provided a league play-high 13 assists, while Dalron Johnson (Fr., F) brought down 13 rebounds. The Runnin' Rebels defeated Colorado State, 74-63, on Feb. 10 and had their best night of the season beyond the 3-point line hitting 57.1 percent (8-for-14). Johnson led the team in scoring for the first time this year with 16 points. Kambala was held under 10 points for the first time in six games (8 points vs. BYU on Jan. 10) and had his lowest scoring outing of the year providing just six points in 26 minutes. The Rebels won their first five games of the year before losing to North Carolina (102-78) at the Food Lion MVP Classic in Charlotte, N.C. UNLV also has losses to nationally ranked Oklahoma State (89-75) and Cincinnati(106-66). Two starters and five letterwinners return from last year's 16-13 team that qualified for the NIT Tournament and tied for first in the WAC Mountain Division. Kaspars Kambala leads the Rebels in scoring (18.6), followed by Trevor Diggs (15.6) and Mark Dickel (13.6). Danny Brotherson, a transfer from Utah Valley State College, is fifth on the team in scoring with an 8.0 average. He adds 4.4 boards per game and has come off the bench in all but four games. Kambala pulls down 9.1 rebounds per game and Dickel leads the MWC and is second nationally with 8.9 assists per game. As a team, the Rebels shoot 46 percent from the floor, 32 percent on threes and 69 percent from the line while scoring 84 points per contest.
This will be the eighth meeting between the two schools. UNLV leads the series 4-3. BYU is 2-2 in Las Vegas and 1-2 in Provo against the Rebels. Playing in different WAC divisions last year, the two schools did not play. BYU won the last meeting on Jan. 10, 77-75, in Las Vegas in the conference opener. The Rebels won the previous meeting, an 84-76 victory in Provo on Feb. 21, 1998. UNLV also won in Las Vegas that same year with a 76-63 win on Jan. 22, 1998. BYU's previous game in Las Vegas was in 1982 (52-50 Rebel win). BYU's last win in Provo was during the 1980-81 season (86-77) when BYU swept the season series also winning an overtime battle in Las Vegas (92-90).
Terrell Lyday scored 30 points, grabbed a career-best 11 rebounds and tied a career high with six steals to lead BYU to a 77-75 upset win over UNLV. Lyday score 30 points for the second straight game, making 10-17 shots, including 5-10 from three-point range, and all five free throws. Lyday scored a career-best 35 at Utah State. Mekeli Wesley scored 17 points while Michael Vranes added nine and Todd Christensen eight. Christensen, who started his second straight game at the point in place of Matt Montague, hit a big three with 3:04 left in the game to extend BYU's lead to four at 70-66. Montague played 24 minutes off the bench and dished out a team-high seven assists while scoring a season-best six points. He made two clutch free throws with less than a minute to keep the Cougars in front. BYU led at the half 42-32. BYU shot 48 percent to the Rebels' 39 and made 10-19 threes.
UNLV Head Coach Bill Bayno missed the game while serving a one-game suspension for missing a mandatory Mountain West Conference head coaches meeting on Oct. 21. Glynn Cyprien, associate head coach, coached the rebels in Bayno's absence.
BYU's record when . . .
BYU leads at half 13-1
Opponent leads at half 1-6
Score tied at half 1-0
BYU leads with 5 minutes left 14-1
Opponent leads with 5 min. left 0-6
BYU leads with 1 minute left 14-0
Opponent leads with 1 min. left 1-7
Score tied with 1 minute left 0-0
Game goes into overtime 1-0
BYU out rebounds opponent 11-0
Opponent out rebounds BYU 4-7
BYU and opponent tie in rebounds 0-0
BYU shoots 50 % or better 9-0
Opponent shoots 50 % or better 0-3
BYU out shoots opponent 14-1
Opponent out shoots BYU 1-6
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 nine games and BYU is 6-3 (except UNM twice 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 at UNM) when Rivers reaches double figures and 4-2 when Cooper has scored 10 or more (except UNM and at Utah).
Wesley Moves Up Scoring Ladder
Mekeli Wesley became the 32nd BYU player to score 1,000 career points Thursday when he made his 11th point of the game. He know has 1,005 points. He needs 11 more points to surpass Dave Eastis, 1,015 (1959-61), 27 to overcome Bernie Fryer, 1,031 (1971-72) and 47 to pass Scott Runia, 1,051 (1977-80). Danny Ainge (1978-81) tops the career list at 2,467 points. Mekeli is only the eighth BYU player to reach 1,000 points as a junior. He joins 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.
MWC Series Notables, Rebels One of Two with Winning Mark vs. BYU
BYU nearly has a winning record vs. every team in the conference with only two Mountain West Conference opponents holding a slight edge. The Cougars will have a chance to even one series Saturday as BYU is 3-4 against UNLV after its win earlier this year. After Saturday's loss to Utah, BYU now trails that series by one game, 113-114. The Utes hold the series advantage for the first time in the 91-year history of the rivalry.
Sizing Things Up
BYU's size problems inside have been evident of late. Eric Nielsen has fouled out of the last three games. With Wesley playing 30 minutes on a sprained ankle and Rivers suffering from sore knees and foul trouble, Cleveland called upon seldom-used freshman John Allen to play 11 minutes in the post vs. the Lobos. BYU had trouble handling the size of Utah's frontline last 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. 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.
With a 15-7 record, BYU has achieved 15 wins in a season for the first time since the 1995-96 season when the Cougars finished 15-13.
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).
From the Training Room
Mekeli Wesley suffered a low ankle sprain at practice Tuesday night and did not practice Wednesday. He played 30 minutes vs. New Mexico Thursday. Silester Rivers is slowed by two sore knees and suffered a cut to his chin Wednesday requiring a couple stitches.
In five conference losses, the Cougars shot 40 percent from the floor in three games and 41 percent in the other two, including the last two. In their four MWC wins, the Cougars shot 48, 49, 50 and 54 percent from the floor. Overall, BYU is 14-1 when they out shoot the opposition and 1-6 when they don't.
BYU has lost its last two games, the second time this year the Cougars have dropped back-to-back contests. BYU has lost four of its last five games. Last year BYU had two three-game losing streaks and one four-game skid. BYU had a two-game winning streak at home snapped vs. UNM. 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 had 12 assists and 11 turnovers vs. UNM after dishing out 14 assists to only nine turnovers against Utah, ending four consecutive games of having more turnovers than assists. In conference play, BYU has had more assist than turnovers in three of nine games. On the year, BYU averages 14.7 assists and 14.4 turnovers. The Cougars have a + 1.1 turnover margin. (Last year BYU averaged 17.3 turnovers per game to only 12.8 assists). In conference play, BYU averages 12.8 assists and 15.1 turnovers in nine games. BYU has had 11 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's BYU-Record Consecutive Game Three-Point Streak Ends at 21
Lyday went 0-4 from three-point range vs. UNM to have his BYU record for most consecutive games with a made three-pointer halted at 21. He had made a three in all of BYU's previous games this year. He is only 4-24 in the last five games, however, previously going 1-4 at Utah, 1-3 at SDSU, 1-7 at UNM and 1-6 at AFA. The prior consecutive games record was 16 set by Andy Toolson in 1990. Lyday has made 40 percent of his three-point attempts and a team-best 45 treys. Lyday made 102 treys last year at Fresno City College.
BYU has had trouble with the three vs. New Mexico this year. Thursday, BYU was only 2-13 on threes vs. UNM, its second worst percentage (15) of the season. BYU made only 8-46 (17.4 percent) three-pointers in a three-game stretch earlier this year, including a season-low 7.7 percent (1-13) at UNM. In between, BYU made 7-13 (.538) attempts at SDSU and 8-21 (.381) at Utah. The eight conversions at SDSU is the most by the Cougars since making 10 at UNLV. BYU shot 52.6 percent (10-19) on threes vs. Vegas, BYU's third-best game percentage on threes of the year. The Cougars attempted a season-high 22 treys (11-22) in an overtime win at Florida International. BYU has had a tougher time connecting in conference play and Todd Christensen (44 percent) is now the only Cougar shooting better than 40 percent.
Looking for the Range
Lyday is 4-24 in the last five games from three-point range. Vranes is 3-11, Wesley 3-11, and Cooper 3-10 while Christensen is 6-14.
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.
Numbers at Home
BYU is 9-2 at home this year, equaling its home win total of last year (9-5). The losses were to Utah (56-49) and Thursday vs. UNM (78-74). The Cougars are averaging 75.8 points per game at home (14.5-point margin of victory). The Cougars are making 49.4 percent of its shots, including 36.4 percent of its three-point attempts, in the Marriott Center. They are pulling down 36.0 rebounds per game to their opponents 33.8. Wesley is scoring a team-best 19.0 points, followed by Terrell Lyday at 16.5, Michael Vranes 9.1, Silester Rivers at 8.0 and Nathan Cooper at 7.8.
BYU's defense has been a large part of the Cougars success this year. Only three teams have shot 50 percent or better against BYU but two have been in the last two outings (UNM 51 Thursday, Utah 56 Saturday and Arizona 54 percent). In BYU's four other losses, 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 and three-point field goal percentage defense. 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 63.5 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 34.8 rebounds per game and its opponents 35.3. Despite being undersized, BYU has not had a negative rebounding margin until the last two games. The Cougars are 11-0 when they have out rebounded their opponents and 4-7 in games were the opposition totalled more boards. Mekeli Wesley leads BYU with 6.1 rebounds per game, including a team-best 103 defensive boards. Silester Rivers has a team-high 33 offensive rebounds (Wesley has 32). BYU has been out boarded in six MWC games (Utah, UNM, AFA, Wyo, Utah, UNM).
BYU has scored more than 80 points in a five games and averages 72.6 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 46.4 percent (37.9 on threes and 71.2 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 56.5 percent and Eric Nielsen 53.2 percent.. Mekeli Wesley makes 49.3 percent while Todd Christensen (48.4) and Terrell Lyday (46.6) have the best percentages from the back court. Cooper makes a team-best 81.5 percent from the line.
Wesley is BYU's leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 17.7 ppg and 6.1 rpg. He averages 16.9 and 5.9 in MWC games. He has been BYU's top scorer in 12 games this season and has scored in double figures in 20 of BYU's 22 games, including the last 12 straight. He has nine games with 20 or more points and one game with 30 or more. Despite playing on a sprained ankle, he had 16 points in 30 minutes vs. UNM. When he scored his 11th point he became the 32nd BYU player to reach 1,000 career points and only the eighth to do so as a junior. 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 17.3 points, second on the team, and team-high 32.8 minutes. He has scored in double figures in 20 of BYU's 22 games, including the last 11 straight games. He made a three-pointer in a BYU record 21 straight games this season ( previous record was 16 games by Andy Toolson 1990). His streak came to an end vs. UNM when he went 0-4. He is only 4-24 on threes in last five games but he has made a team-high 45 threes (39.8 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 18.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in MWC games. Lyday scored a game-high 29, his third-best effort of the year, vs. UNM in 34 minutes. He 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 7.1 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 started vs. UNM but got in quick foul trouble and only played 5 minutes without scoring (0-1) while grabbing four rebounds. He has been troubled by sore knees. 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 (4.1 rpg), and scoring (7.9 ppg), and second with 2.8 assists per game. He has made a trey in 12 games. He has scored in double figures in seven games (all BYU wins). He has only reach double figures in two of the last 10 games. He scored 7 points and had a game-high 6 assists vs. UNM but he did not have a rebound for the first time all year. He had 7 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 48 percent from the floor and 44 percent from behind the arc. He averages 5.8 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. At home vs. UNM he 2 points in 16 minutes. 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 89 assists (4.0 apg, 3.0 ppg, 2.98 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 had 2 points, 1 assist (4 turnovers) vs. UNM in 18 minutes. 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 5.0 points and 4.0 rebounds. He has started in 18 games, including the first nine and the last five until not starting vs. UNM Thursday. 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 has fouled out of the last three games and four of nine conference contests. He had 7 pts, 4 rbs in 24 minutes vs. UNM. He had 4 pts, 2 rbs at Utah. He had 9 pts, 4 rbs 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 3.4 rebounds in 20 minutes. He has made a team-best 44-54 free throws (.815). He has six double-figures scoring games and has made a trey in six games. He had team-best 6 rbs along with 7 pts, 2 assts vs. UNM in 27 minutes. 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 six of the last seven games (except at Utah). He played four critical minutes at the end vs. UNM for defensive purposes. On the year, he has averaged 3.8 minutes in 13 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 our of the last six games (except both 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 played a season-high 11 minutes vs. UNM with four pts, 3 rbs. He was 1-2 from the floor, including 1-1 on threes (his first). He has played in nine games this year, and averages 1.1 points and rebounds in 4.7 minutes.
Coach Cleveland Shows
Radio: Coach Steve Cleveland can be heard Tuesday from 7-8 p.m. 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 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
UNM Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley
Comparing Statistics BYU UNLV
Points per game .72.6 84.2
Scoring margin + 8.1 + 8.8
Field goals .464 .460
3-pointers .379 .317
Free throws .712 .688
Rebounds per game 34.8 43.2
Rebounding margin - 0.5 + 5.0
Assists per game 14.7 20.2
Turnovers per game 14.4 16.5
Turnover margin + 1.1 + 1.3
Blocks per game 2.2 4.6
Steals per game 7.8 8.8