500 E University Parkway Provo UT 84604
PROVO -- Led by Terrell Lyday's 19 points, BYU closed out the regular season with a 67-50 win at home over San Diego State Saturday.
With the win, BYU finished 12-2 at home and 18-9 overall. BYU will play New Mexico Thursday in the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas as the sixth sixth seed at 7-7. New Mexico is the third seed at 9-5. In Steve Cleveland's three years as BYU's coach, the Cougars have finished 4-10, 6-8 and now 7-7 in conference games.
Lyday led the Cougars with 19 points and Mekeli Wesley added 15 against the now 5-22 Aztecs (0-14 MWC). Lyday went 3-5 on three-pointers and tied his career high for second straight game with 5 assists. Wesley grabbed five rebounds, had two assists, two blocks and one steal.
The Cougars took a 39-27 half-time lead and kept a double-digit advantage throughout the second half. Nathan Cooper started his second game of the year and had a season-high 9 rebounds, including four off the offensive glass. Coming off the bench, Matt Montague equaled his season-best with 6 rebounds while scoring seven points.
San Diego State was led by Myron Epps with 16 and Marcelo Correa added 10. After shooting 52 percent in the first half, BYU cooled off in the late going but still out shot the Aztecs 42 percent to 35 percent.
BYU coach Steve Cleveland:
"Well the good news is we did what we needed to do to win. We finished with a 7-7 record in the conference and 18-9 overall."
"It wasn't pretty. I know we can play much better than we did tonight. We were in the right spots defensively, and pretty or not, I was pleased with the win."
"As thin as we are, and playing with the people we are, it's evident that there is now a fatigue factor. We started August 1st, and it's been almost eight months, and you can see a little bit of the fatigue factor. It comes in the form of shots, or just standing a little bit. We just need to get some rest, and take Sunday and Monday off. We just need to get as much rest as we can, and have as much energy as we can."
"We'll have to be at our very best to keep up with [New Mexico]. But this was good, to be able to go as far as we have, with our record."
San Diego State coach Steve Fischer:
"It's awful when you don't win...but this group did come every day and work hard and try hard. I think, to their credit, they worked hard--and tonight we did that. But help will be on the way, and we'll be looking to get kids in here."
"BYU has an intelligent team that plays hard and follows their game plan, and the credit goes to their kids, and to Steve [Cleveland].
Ã‚â€¢ Terrell Lyday made 3 threes tonight--the seventh time he has made 3 or more treys in a game this year, but the first time in the last 10 games. His season high was 6 (6-9) at UNLV.
Ã‚â€¢ Nathan Cooper had a season-high 9 rebounds.
Ã‚â€¢ Matt Montague equaled his season-best with 6 rebounds.
Ã‚â€¢ Terrell Lyday tied his career high for second straight game with 5 assists.
Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS
San Diego State vs BYU
3/4/00 7:05 at Provo, Utah
VISITORS: San Diego State 5-22, 0-14
TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS
## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN
33 EPPS, Myron......... f 6-11 1-1 3-5 1 3 4 4 16 1 5 0 1 37
42 CORREA, Marcelo..... c 5-12 0-0 0-1 2 8 10 4 10 3 2 1 0 26
04 WILSON, Donte....... g 1-3 0-2 0-0 0 2 2 2 2 0 2 0 1 20
05 JACKSON, Bradley.... g 2-10 0-3 3-3 1 2 3 1 7 5 3 1 2 35
21 BEROKOFF, Jeffrey... g 2-4 1-3 1-2 0 1 1 4 6 2 2 0 4 27
11 ABRAMOWITZ, David... 2-10 2-7 1-2 1 1 2 1 7 3 0 0 0 23
32 MARION, Michael..... 1-4 0-1 0-3 1 2 3 2 2 0 4 0 0 14
34 OKOTIE, Vincent..... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
52 MANN, Joe........... 0-1 0-0 0-0 2 3 5 5 0 0 0 0 1 17
TEAM................ 2 2
Totals.............. 19-55 4-17 8-16 10 22 32 23 50 14 18 2 9 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-31 .387 2nd Half: 7-24 .292 Game: .345 DEADBALL
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 2-7 .286 2nd Half: 2-10 .200 Game: .235 REBOUNDS
F Throw % 1st Half: 1-6 .167 2nd Half: 7-10 .700 Game: .500 3
HOME TEAM: BYU 18-9, 7-7
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 5-9 2-2 3-3 0 5 5 3 15 2 5 2 1 36
25 NIELSEN, Eric....... f 2-5 0-0 4-5 2 1 3 5 8 0 2 1 0 25
42 COOPER, Nathan...... f 1-3 1-2 1-2 4 5 9 3 4 1 2 0 1 17
13 VRANES, Michael..... g 2-7 1-4 0-3 1 1 2 1 5 1 0 1 0 26
24 LYDAY, Terrell...... g 6-11 3-5 4-7 2 4 6 2 19 5 3 0 4 35
04 CHRISTENSEN, Todd... 2-6 0-4 0-0 0 2 2 1 4 1 1 0 1 22
05 ROBERTS, Marc....... 0-0 0-0 2-2 0 1 1 0 2 0 2 0 0 1
10 ALLEN, John......... 0-1 0-1 1-2 1 1 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 3
20 TAGGART, Nick....... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 1
31 MONTAGUE, Matt...... 2-5 0-0 3-3 0 6 6 1 7 4 2 0 0 28
34 ELLSWORTH, Joe...... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 1
50 NIELSEN, David...... 0-0 0-0 2-2 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 5
TEAM................ 1 4 5
Totals.............. 20-48 7-18 20-29 11 31 42 18 67 14 17 4 7 200
TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-25 .520 2nd Half: 7-23 .304 Game: .417 DEADBALL
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 5-7 .714 2nd Half: 2-11 .182 Game: .389 REBOUNDS
F Throw % 1st Half: 8-10 .800 2nd Half: 12-19 .632 Game: .690 4
Officials: Mark Theisman, Ronnie Hernandez, Greg Burks
Technical fouls: San Diego State-None. BYU-COOPER, Nathan.
Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total
San Diego State............... 27 23 - 50
BYU........................... 39 28 - 67
PROVO -- BYU, 17-9 overall and 6-7 in the Mountain West Conference, hosts San Diego State, 5-21, 0-13, Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center. The game is the second half of a double header with BYU's women's team, who plays New Mexico at 4 p.m. The women's game is being televised on KBYU, channel 11, and the men's game on KSL, channel 5. Both games can be heard on KSL Newsradio 1160 AM.
The Mountain West Conference tournament is next week, March 8-11, in Las Vegas. Less than 100 tickets still remain in the BYU section. Those tickets are available by calling the Marriott Center Ticket Office at 378-BYU1 or 800-322-BYU1.
Last Time Out
Starting his first game of the season, Nathan Cooper responded with 14 points while Mekeli Wesley scored a game-high 18 to lead BYU to a 73-52 win over Air Force Thursday in the Marriott Center. Cooper, who had not scored in the three previous games, reached double figures for the first time in five games and the seventh time on the year. He made 6-9 field goals, including 2-3 three-pointers, while playing 29 minutes. Wesley, who led the Cougars in scoring for the 15th time this year, scored 14 first-half points to help the Cougars take a 35-29 advantage into the break. BYU then took complete control in the second half, holding Air Force without a point for the first eight minutes while building a 16-point lead. The Cougars never looked back, creating a bulge as high as 24 on five occasions while making a season-best 61.2 percent of their shots for the game. BYU shot better than 60 percent in each half. Terrell Lyday added 10 points and Michael Vranes had seven while Matt Montague came off the bench with six along with redshirt freshman David Nielsen, who played a season-high 16 minutes. Air Force shot 48 percent in the first half but made only 4-24 field goals, 16.7 percent, in the second half. Jarvis Croff led the Falcons with 17 points and Miguel Garcia added 11. BYU out rebounded the equally small Falcons, 32-29. The Cougars, who are now 12-0 when they out rebound their opponent, were also led on the boards by Wesley with seven while Cooper added four.
Game Quick Facts:
BYU (17-9, 6-7) vs. San Diego State (5-21, 0-13)
Saturday, March 4 Ã‚â€¢ Marriott Center (22,700) Ã‚â€¢ Provo, Utah Ã‚â€¢ 7 p.m. Mountain
Network: Cougar Sports Network
Station: KSL Newsradio 1160 AM**
** Also broadcasting BYU-UNM women's game at 4 p.m.
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.
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 3.8
F 15 Mekeli Wesley 6-9 230 Jr. 17.9 5.9
G/F 42 Nathan Cooper 6-5 210 Jr. 6.0 3.1
G 24 Terrell Lyday 6-3 190 Jr. 17.2 3.9
G 13 Michael Vranes 6-3 190 So. 8.1 4.1
San Diego State's Probable Starters:
Pos. # Name Ht. Wt. Yr. PPG RPG
F 33 Myron Epps 6-6 210 So. 14.4 5.9
F 34 Vincent Okotie 6-7 230 So. 6.5 2.7
C 42 Marcelo Correa 6-10 225 Jr. 10.2 6.1
G 4 Donte Wilson 6-3 175 Sr. 4.2 2.0
G 5 Bradley Jackson 5-10 165 Fr. 7.2 2.7
BYU Coach: Steve Cleveland
Record at BYU: 38-46 (3rd year)
Overall Div. I record: Same
SDSU Coach: Steve Fisher
Record at SDSU: 5-21 (1st year)
Overall record: 189-103 (10th year)
Series Record: 30-13 BYU
Game Time: 7 p.m. Mountain
Silester Rivers, now out with an injury, and Bret Jepsen, who missed the entire year due to complications from a concussion, will be honored at halftime Saturday as the only two seniors on this year's team.
Scouting San Diego State
San Diego State is 5-21 overall and 0-13 in the Mountain West Conference. SDSU has not won a game on the road this year. After Thursday's 85-64 loss to UNLV at home, the Aztecs have a 15-game losing streak entering Saturday's game in the Marriott Center. SDSU has been out rebounded in eight straight games, including 43-29 by UNLV Thursday. SDSU has lost its last eight games by an average of 20 points. Myron Myron Epps (6-6, 210, So. F) led San Diego State with 13 points and seven rebounds against UNLV Thursday. David Abramowitz had 12 points off the bench and freshman point guard Bradley Jackson had 11 points and four assists. The Aztecs had their second-lowest field goal percentage in league play at 32.6 in their loss at New Mexico. Jeffery Berokoff (So., G) was the only Aztec in double-figures with a season-high 11 points. Myron Epps (So., F) saw his season tying-high five-game double-figure streak end after UNM held him to just six points. Despite outshooting Air Force 45.8 to 38.6, San Diego State lost to Air Force 63-55 on Feb. 24 to drop the season series to Air Force for the first time since 1992. Epps scores 14.4 on the year and 16.0 in conference games to lead the Aztecs. Center Marcelo Correa also scores double figures at 10.2 and adds a team-best 6.1 rebounds per game (he averages 9.0 and 5.5 in conference games). Freshman point guard Bradley Jackson adds 7.2 points and 3.6 assists while Vincent Okotie contributes 6.5 ppg. Guard David Abramowitz is the team's third leading scorer with a 7.4 average off the bench (8.1 in league games). Abramowitz has made a team-leading 37 three pointers (21 in conference) and is shooting 42 percent on threes in conference games. Steve Fisher, former Michigan head coach, is in his first year as head coach of the Aztecs. Four starters and eight letterwinners return from last year's 4-22 team. The Aztecs have wins over UC Riverside (73-57), South Carolina State (72-57), UC Santa Barbara (60-57) -- all common opponents with BYU -- Loyola Marymount (70-63) and High Point (74-63).
This will be the 44th meeting between the two teams dating back to 1940. BYU holds a 30-13 advantage in the series and has won seven of the last 10. BYU has won 12 of the last 13 in Provo. San Diego State's last win was in Provo (89-86) during BYU's 1-25 season in 1996-97. BYU has a four-game win streak overall against the Aztecs, winning this year's first meeting in San Diego (72-50), twice last year (93-76 in Provo and 83-76 in San Diego) and once in 1997-98 in Steve Cleveland's first game as BYU's coach (73-59 in San Diego). Cleveland is 4-0 against the Aztecs.
BYU defeated San Diego State 72-50 to end a two-game losing skid. The Cougars and Aztecs battled back and forth over the game's first 12 minutes before BYU went on a 17-5 run to turn a 21-20 Aztec lead into 37-26 BYU advantage entering the break. BYU shot 52 percent in the first half and 56 percent in the second and increased its lead to as many as 29 points. Four Cougars scored in double figures (Mekeli Wesley had a game-high 15 points and nine rebounds; Terrell Lyday and Michael Vranes, 12; Todd Christensen, 11. After going 4-30 on three-pointers in its previous two losses, BYU made 7-13 treys against the Aztecs with Christensen connecting on 3-4 attempts. Lyday went 1-3 to extend his BYU record for consecutive games with a three-pointer to 20. Epps, who was averaging a league-best 22 points in conference games, was held to three points in 32 minutes of action. Marcelo Correa led the Aztecs with 13 points and six rebounds. The Aztecs shot 34 percent from the floor and made only 2-15 three-point attempts.
MWC Race Enters Final Day
Entering the final games of league play Saturday, several teams are still jockeying for seeding position in next week's conference tournament. Utah, UNLV and New Mexico are currently tied for first at 9-4. UNLV hosts New Mexico while Utah hosts Air Force. Wyoming is in fourth place at 8-5 and CSU fifth at 7-6 heading into a head-to-head battle in Fort Collins on Saturday. BYU is currently in the No. 6 position at 6-7 and hosts San Diego State Saturday.BYU can finish in either the fifth or sixth seed.
MWC Tournament Brackets Announcement
The Mountain West Conference will announce the brackets for the conference tournament Saturday at 9:35 p.m. The brackets will be made available in the BYU pressroom for media working the game Saturday.
MWC Tournament in Las Vegas
Game 1 Noon (ESPN+Plus)
Game 2 2:30 p.m. (ESPN+Plus)
Game 3 6 p.m. (ESPN+Plus)
Game 4 9 p.m. (ESPN+Plus)
Game 1 6 p.m. (ESPN Regional)
Game 2 9 p.m. (ESPN)
Championship Game 7 p.m. (ESPN)
Notables from Last Game
Ã‚â€¢ After not scoring in the previous three games, Nathan Cooper got his first start of the year Thursday and responded with 14 points, one off his season high and the most he has scored in the last 15 games (14 vs. UCI).
Ã‚â€¢ Cleveland used the lineup of Vranes, Christensen, Lyday, Cooper and Wesley for the first time. It is the sixth different starting lineup used this year.
Ã‚â€¢ BYU shot a season-best 61.2 Thursday vs. AFA.
Ã‚â€¢ David Nielsen played a season and career best 16 minutes, and equaled his career high with 6 points. He has appeared in 13 of 26 games this year, including the last three straight, and 7 of the last 10.
Notables from Last Week
Ã‚â€¢ BYU dropped back-to-back games for the third time this year in road defeats at Colorado State and Wyoming last week. BYU has not lost three straight games this year.
Ã‚â€¢ In its two games last week, BYU shot a 40 percent from the floor, including 35 percent on threes, and made 67 percent of its free throw attempts.
Ã‚â€¢ BYU set a season low with six assists at Colorado State and had only its third single digit assist effort of the year at Wyoming with nine. The Cougars also equaled a season low with 16 field goals at CSU, including a first-half low of only seven.
Ã‚â€¢ Colorado State and Wyoming shot a combined 54 percent from the floor and just over 51 percent on threes against BYU. CSU's 59 percent shooting from the floor and 54 percent from behind the arc were the best percentages made by a BYU opponent this year. Wyoming shot 51 percent from the floor and 50 percent from the line.
Ã‚â€¢ The Cowboys made 11 threes against BYU to equal the most threes given up by the Cougars this season (also Southern Utah). BYU made nine threes, two off its high for the season, while attempting a season-high 23 treys.
Ã‚â€¢ BYU was out rebounded by five boards in its two losses last week (28.5-33.5).
Rivers Out for the Season after Undergoing Knee Surgery Tuesday
Senior forward Silester Rivers will miss the remainder of the basketball season after having arthroscopic surgery on his left knee Tuesday. Rivers, who has been slowed by ankle and knee injuries all season, received the 30-minute procedure from the team's orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Kirt Kimball, after surgery was determined to be in his best interest. The surgery was successful and will require 4-6 weeks of recovery. The damage to River's left knee was considered severe or a grade three. He had chondral defects under his left knee cap and the groove in his femur bone was worn down extensively. Rivers had the same surgery on his right knee in September of 1998 prior to his junior year. "Silester's been experiencing a great deal of pain in both his ankle and his knee," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "It's been frustrating for him because his injuries have limited his ability to perform this season. Getting the surgery done at this time was determined to be in his best interest. Obviously, this comes at a difficult time for us. We are already very thin on the front line. We will especially miss his ability to defend and rebound." Rivers played in all 25 BYU games so far this season while averaging 6.6 points and 4.5 rebounds in 17 minutes. He started four games. Last year he averaged 11 points and 5.7 rebounds in 25 minutes while starting in 22 of BYU's 28 games (he played in 27, missing one game).
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 final 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
UNLV Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
CSU Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley
Wyo Vranes, Lyday, Roberts, Nielsen, Wesley
AFA Vranes, Christensen, Lyday, Cooper, Wesley
Starting Lineup Record (total)
Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley 10-5 (15)
Montague, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley 2-1 (3)
Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Nielsen, Wesley 4-1 (5)
Christensen, Lyday, Vranes, Rivers, Wesley 0-1 (1)
Vranes, Lyday, Roberts, Nielsen, Wesley 0-1 (1)
Vranes, Christensen, Lyday, Cooper, Wesley 1-0 (1)
BYU's record when . . .
BYU leads at half 15-1
Opponent leads at half 1-7
Score tied at half 1-1
BYU leads with 5 minutes left 16-1
Opponent leads with 5 min. left 0-8
BYU leads with 1 minute left 16-0
Opponent leads with 1 min. left 1-9
Score tied with 1 minute left 0-0
Game goes into overtime 1-0
BYU out rebounds opponent 12-0
Opponent out rebounds BYU 5-9
BYU and opponent tie in rebounds 0-0
BYU shoots 50 % or better 11-0
Opponent shoots 50 % or better 0-5
BYU out shoots opponent 16-1
Opponent out shoots BYU 1-8
More BYU's Record When ...
BYU is 2-1 in games decided by two points or less; 0-2 in 3-5-point games; 4-2 in 6-9-point games; and 11-4 in double-digit margins. Mekeli Wesley has either shared or been BYU's top scorer in 15 games this season and the Cougars are 9-6 in those games. He has also been BYU's top rebounder in 13 games. BYU is 9-4 in those games. BYU is 5-4 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 10 games and BYU is 6-4 in those contests. When the Cougars get good scoring efforts from its supporting cast, they have been hard to beat. BYU is 8-1 when Michael Vranes has scored in double figures and 7-1 when Christensen scores in double digits. They were 6-1 (all but at UNM) when Rivers reaches double figures, and are 4-1 (all but at AFA) when Eric Nielsen had double digits and 5-2 when Cooper (except UNM and at Utah) has scored 10 or more.
Wesley Moves Up Scoring Ladder
Mekeli Wesley moved into 28th place on BYU's career scoring list Thursday, passing Randy Reid (1,073 points, 1993-96). Wesley now has 1,081 career points and needs just four points to surpass Mel Hutchins (1,084 points, 1948-51) and 19 points to overtake Mark Handy (1,099 points, 1974-77). Wesley is only the 32nd player in BYU history to reach 1,000 points and only the eighth to do so as a junior (even though he missed part of sophomore season). Last week he passed Bernie Fryer, who score 1,031 (1971-72) and Scott Runia, who totaled 1,051 (1977-80). Danny Ainge (1978-81) tops the career list at 2,467 points. Other players to reach 1,000 points before the end of their junior years were Ainge, Michael Smith, Devin Durrant, Russell Larson, Fred and Ken Roberts and Jeff Chatman.
Entering this week, Mekeli Wesley and Terrell Lyday had score 49.1 percent of BYU's overall points -- the biggest percentage any two players have scored of a Mountain West Conference team's total points. BYU is not alone, however, when it comes to having two dominant scorers. Including BYU, five of the eight MWC schools' top two scorers account for over 40 percent of their teams' points entering this week's games. Air Force's Jarvis Croff and Tyron Wright are second with 45.4 percent of the Falcons points while UNM is third with 41.5 percent of its points collected by Lamont Long and Damion Walker. Colorado State gets 41.3 percent of its scoring from the tandem of Ceedric Goodwyn and John Sivesind and UNLV gets 41.1 percent from Kaspars Kambala and Trevor Diggs. In conference play, only three teams have duos scoring over 40 percent of their overall points. Again Wesley and Lyday lead the way by scoring 52.4 percent of the Cougars' points. The other two teams, Air Force (Croff/Wright - 41.7 percent) and New Mexico (Long/Walker - 41.6 percent), are just over the 40 percent mark.
Helping Out but No Longer Perfect
Todd Christensen and Michael Vranes each scored 10 points against Wyoming last Saturday, marking the first time all year that BYU has lost a game in which either of the two scored in double digits. BYU is now 8-1 when Vranes had scored in double figures and 7-1 when Christensen had reached double digits. When Cooper scored in double figures Thursday, BYU improved to 5-2 when he tallies double-digit points.
BYU is 17-9 and has one home game remaining before the Mountain West Conference Tournament in Las Vegas. BYU's 17 wins is its most since the 1994-95 season when BYU finished 22-10 (22-8 in the regular season). BYU's last winning season was in 1995-96 season when the Cougars finished 15-13.
In BYU's seven conference losses, the Cougars have shot 40 percent from the floor in three games, 41 percent in three and 38 percent in one (last week 38 at CSU and 41 at Wyoming). In BYU's six conference wins, the Cougars have shot 48, 49, 50, 52, 54 and 61percent from the floor. In its most recent win, BYU shot a season-best 61.2 percent vs. AFA. The Cougars are 11-0 when they shoot 50 percent or better. They are 16-1 when they out shoot the opposition and 1-8 when they don't.
BYU ended a two-game losing streak Thursday. BYU has had three two-game losing streaks this year, all in conference play, but has not lost three straight games this year. Last year BYU had two three-game losing streaks and one four-game skid. BYU has a two-game home winning streak. This year the Cougars have had a seven-game home winning streak and two five-game winning streaks. BYU had a four-game road winning streak earlier this year, which was the longest road win streak since 1992-93, when the Cougars won six straight road games.
Assist vs. Turnover Trends
BYU had 16 assists and 12 turnovers Thursday. In the previous two games BYU had a season-low six assists at CSU and only nine assists at Wyoming, its third lowest total of the year. BYU surpassed 20 assists in a game for the fourth time this year (all wins) with 21 assists in its previous home game vs. UNLV. It is the only time the Cougars have done so in conference play. The other 20-plus assist games came at Denver (21), vs. Texas Southern (20) and vs. South Carolina State (23). In conference play, BYU has had more assists than turnovers in five of 13 games. On the year, BYU averages 14.5 assists and 14.2 turnovers. (Last year BYU averaged 17.3 turnovers per game to only 12.8 assists). In conference play, BYU averages 12.8 assists and 14.5 turnovers in 13 games. BYU has had 13 games this year where it has had more assists than turnovers, one game when assists equaled turnovers and 12 games when it has had more turnovers than assists.
BYU shot 50 percent (4-8) on threes vs. AFA Thursday. BYU has shot 50 percent or better on threes nine times this year, including its last two home games. The Cougars are 8-1 when they shoot 50 percent or better on three-point attempts (lost at S.Alabama despite hitting season high 61.5 percent on threes). BYU made nine threes, two off its high for the season, while attempting a season-high 23 treys at Wyoming. BYU has made nine or more threes three previous times this season -- all in road wins (11 at FIU, 9 at Utah State and 10 at UNLV). BYU's high for threes made in a game at home this year is 8 vs. South Carolina State. Since entering its first game with CSU when BYU was third in the nation in three-point shooting at 42 percent, BYU has gone 48-150 (.320) on threes in the last 10 games to fall to 38.2 percent on the year. BYU has a 4-6 record in those games. In the last 10 games, Terrell Lyday has gone 14-47 (.298) on threes, Michael Vranes 8-25 (.320), Mekeli Wesley 5-22 (.227), and Nathan Cooper 5-14 (.357). Todd Christensen, who has gone 13-30 (.433) in last 10 games, is now the only Cougar (used to be four) to still shoot above 40 percent on the year from behind the line (.456). Lyday shoots .397.
Lyday From Behind the Arc
Lyday had his BYU record streak of consecutive games with a three-pointer halted at 21 vs. New Mexico when he went 0-4 from behind the arc. The prior consecutive games record was 16 set by Andy Toolson in 1990. Lyday was 1-2 vs. AFA after having made two threes in each of the previous three games (making 15 games this year with two or more threes in a game). On the year, he has made a three in 25 of BYU's 26 games. Lyday has made 39.7 percent of his three-point attempts and a team-best 52 treys.
Numbers on the Road
BYU is 6-7 on the road this year, having tripled its road wins last year (2-10). BYU has lost its last three and five of its last six road games. Two road losses at AFA and UNM ended a four-game road winning streak. BYU is scoring 68.2 points in away games and allowing 69.0. BYU is shooting .431, including .385 on threes, and .699 from the line. BYU is being out rebounded 32.8-36.2. 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 16.7 points and a team-best 5.5 boards. Christensen and Vranes average 7.1 points each.
Numbers at Home
BYU is 11-2 at home this year (last year's record, 9-5). The losses were to Utah (56-49) and vs. UNM (78-74). The Cougars are averaging 76.2 points per game at home (13.9-point margin of victory). The Cougars are making 50.5 percent of their shots, including 37.9 percent of its three-point attempts, in the Marriott Center. They are out rebounding their opponents 35.4 - 33.4. Wesley is scoring a team-best 19.2 points, followed by Terrell Lyday at 16.0, Michael Vranes 9.2 and Nathan Cooper at 7.7.
BYU's defense has been a large part of the Cougars success this year as is evident by BYU's recent losses. Only five teams have shot 50 percent or better against BYU but four have been in the last six outings. Wyoming shot 51 percent; CSU 58.5; UNM 51; and Utah 56 percent (UNLV nearly hit the mark at 48 percent). Arizona is the other team at 54 percent. In BYU's four other losses, S. Alabama shot .490, UNM .452, Utah .429 and AFA .392. The Cougars rank first in the MWC in both field goal percentage defense and three-point field goal percentage defense. The Cougars held Air Force to 33 percent Thursday and have held opponents below a 40 percent shooting in 14 games. BYU is 13-1 in those games (exception - at Air Force). BYU holds opponents to 65.6 points. Individually BYU has had outstanding defensive efforts, including Terrell Lyday helping hold Eddie House of Arizona State 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 34.1 rebounds per game and its opponents 34.8. The Cougars are 12-0 when they have out rebounded their opponents and 5-9 in games were the opposition totalled more boards. Mekeli Wesley leads BYU with 5.9 rebounds per game, including a team-best 118 defensive boards. Silester Rivers, now out for the year, has a team-high 40 offensive rebounds (Wesley has 35 and Nielsen 33). BYU has been out boarded in nine of its 13 MWC games (Utah, UNM, AFA, Wyo, Utah, UNM, UNLV, CSU, Wyoming).
BYU has scored more than 80 points in a six games and averages 72.2 points. BYU has shot better than 50 percent in 11 games (all wins). BYU made a season-best 61.2 percent of its attempts vs. AFA Thursday. With their loss at CSU last week, the Cougars have shot below 40 percent four times -- 38.1 at CSU, 36.5 percent in a loss at No.4 Arizona, a season-low 29.6 in a win at UCSB and 29.6 percent at AFA. The Cougars are shooting 46.7 percent (38.2 on threes and 70.2 percent from the line. BYU is 11-0 when it shots 50 percent or better and 16-1 when it out shoots its opponent (except at AFA). Two regular players are shooting better than 50 percent. Eric Nielsen makes 55.8 percent and Silester Rivers 53.8. Mekeli Wesley makes 49.1 percent while Todd Christensen (47.8) and Terrell Lyday (45.7) have the best percentages from the back court. Cooper makes a team-best 78.6 percent from the line.
Wesley is BYU's leading scorer and rebounder, averaging 17.9 ppg and 5.9 rpg. He averages 17.5 and 5.5 in MWC games. He has been BYU's top scorer in 15 games this season and has scored in double figures in 24 of BYU's 26 games, including the last 16 straight. He has 11 games with 20 or more points and one game with more than 30. He had a game-high 18 pts, including 14 in the first half, and a team-high 7 rbs vs. AFA. He scored a game-high 25 pts, and 4 rbs, team-best 3 assts, and 2 steals at Wyoming. He was 2-9 for 11 pts and only 2 rbs at CSU Thursday. Despite playing on a sprained ankle last week, he scored a team-high 22 vs. UNLV along with a career-best 6 assists. He also had 5 rebounds and 2 blocks. He had 16 points in 30 minutes vs. UNM. When he scored his 11th point at UNM 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 17.2 points, second on the team, and team-high 33 minutes. Lyday is averaging 17.7 points and 4.3 rebounds in MWC games. He has scored in double figures in 24 of BYU's 26 games, including the last 15 straight games. He made a three-pointer in a BYU record 21 straight games this season before his streak came to an end at home vs. UNM when he went 0-4 (the previous record was 16 games by Andy Toolson in 1990). Lyday has made a three in 25 of 26 games overall. He is only 14-47 (.298) on threes in last 10 games and BYU has gone 4-6 in those games. He has made a team-high 52 threes (39.7 percent). He has excelled as a defender and helped hold Arizona State's high scoring Eddie House to 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 had 10 pts, 3 rbs and tied career-best 5 assists vs. AFA and had 17 pts, 4 rbs, 3 steals at Wyoming. He scored a game-high 20 vs. CSU along with team-high 4 rbs. He scored 17 and had career-best 5 assists vs. UNLV and 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. He scored 18 pts against Arizona and had 17 vs. ASU.
Rivers is out for the year after having surgery on his left knee Tuesday. He averaged 6.6 points (4th on team) and 4.5 rebounds (2nd on team) and had a team-best 40 offensive rebounds while shooting 53.8 percent. He scored in double figures seven times and led the team in rebounding five times (6 vs. UC Riverside, 9 at Denver, 11 at FIU, 9 at UNM, 9 at Wyoming). He had 9 rbs, 5 pts in 19 minutes at Wyoming and did not take a shot and had 3 rbs in seven minutes at CSU. Despite fouling out, he gave BYU 21 solid minutes while banging Kaspars Kambala of UNLV (he was 2-3 for 4 pts, 3 rbs). He started vs. UNM but got in quick foul trouble and only played 5 minutes without scoring (0-1) while grabbing four rbs. He played 20 minutes at Utah and did not take a shot while grabbing two rbs 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 rbs 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 (8.1 ppg), and second with 2.6 assists per game. He has made a trey in 16 games. He has scored in double figures in nine games (BYU 8-1 in those games). Vranes had 7 pts, 2 rbs, 3 assts vs. AFA. He had 10 pts (4-5 FG, 2-3 treys), 4 rbs at Wyoming. He had 9 pts, 3 rbs, 4 steals at CSU and scored 12 points and had team-high 7 rbs along with 3 assists, 2 steals and 1 block vs. UNLV. He had 7 pts and game-high 6 assts vs. UNM but no rebounds for the first time all year. He had 7 pts, 1 rbd at Utah and had 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 7 rebounds vs. CSU and 11 pts. He had 8 pts, 5 rbs , 3 assts vs. Wyoming. He had 4 pts, 4 rbs, 3 assts vs. Utah. He had 9 pts, 4 rbs at UNLV and 9 pts, 5 rbs, 2 assts at Utah State. He had 11 pts, 5 rbs, 5 assts against UC Irvine. Vranes matched a career high with a team-best 9 rebounds at UCSB and had a team-high 3 assists despite 3 points on 1-9 shooting. He scored 8 of his 12 points in overtime at FIU. He totalled 10 pts, 6 rbs and a season-high 7 assists vs. South Carolina State. He had a season-high 15 pts along with 5 rbs vs. Weber State.
Christensen shoots 47.8 percent from the floor and 45.6 percent from behind the arc. He averages 6.1 ppg in 18 minutes. He plays both guard spots. Beginning with Utah State, he started six straight games before coming off the bench at UNM. He started his seventh game Thursday vs. AFA and had 2 pts, 1 asst in 17 minutes. He had 10 pts (3-6 treys) at Wyoming and 3 pts at CSU. He was one off his season high vs. UNLV, scoring 15 pts (3-4 on treys). He took a season-high 10 shots and made 5 to equal his season best for field goals made. He 2 pts in 16 minutes vs. UNM. He scored 7 pts at Utah and totaled 11 pts at SDSU, including a 3-4 night from long range. He hit two treys for 6 pts at AFA. He did not score (0-3 -- all treys), 3 assts vs. CSU. He had 7 pts, 3 assts vs. Wyoming. He did not score, taking only one shot, vs. Utah. At UNLV, he had 8 pts, including a clutch three-pointer to put the Cougars up four late in the game. At Utah State he scored 7 early pts to help BYU shot 57 percent in the first half. Christensen scored 13 pts, 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 pts in the first half at FIU (4-5 treys in 11 minutes). He had 3 assts at S. Alabama in 12 minutes. He had a season-high 16 pts, including 5-8 threes, vs. South Carolina State (10 at Denver).
The only true point guard on the BYU roster, he has team-leading 97 assists (3.7 apg, 2.9 ppg, 2.8 rpg). He started 18 games (started first 12 games, off bench next six, started next six, returned to the bench in last two). He had 6 pts2, rbs, 2 assts, 2 steals in 20 minutes vs. AFA. He had 4 rbs, 1 asst, 2 steals in 22 minutes at Wyoming. He had 2 rbs, 1 assist in 12 minutes at CSU. He had 2 pts, 3 rbs, 4 assts (no turnovers) vs. UNLV in 15 minutes. He had 2 pts, 1 asst (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.
Nielsen is averaging 5.0 points and 3.8 rebounds. He has started in 21 of 26 games. 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). He has five double-digit games. He came off the bench Thursday vs. AFA (2 pts, 2 rbs, 15 min.). He had 1 pt, 6 rbs at Wyoming and 5 pts, 2 rbs at CSU. He had 11 pts in 22 minutes vs. UNLV and had only one foul after having fouled out of the previous three games. 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 SUU and had 10 against UC Riverside.
He started his first game of the year Thursday vs. AFA after starting 23 of BYU's 28 games last year. He responded with 14 pts, 4 rbs in 29 minutes. He is averaging 6.0 points and 3.1 rebounds in 19 minutes. He has made a team-best 78.6 percent from the line (44-56). He has seven double-figures scoring games and has made a trey in seven games. He did not score in the three previous games, playing 8 minutes at Wyoming, 16 minutes at CSU and seven minutes vs. UNLV. 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 pts along with 5 rbs at Utah. He had 6 pts, 3 rbs at SDSU. He broke out of a slump with 11 straight BYU pts, 9 in 1:40, and 5 rbs in 12 minutes at UNM. He did not score for first time this year and had 1 rebound at AFA. He had 4 pts, 5 rbs and 2 assts vs. CSU after scoring 1 point vs. Wyoming. He had 5 pts, 3 rbs 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 (2 pts, 1 rbd). He played 15 minutes at Utah State, scoring 1 point and adding 2 rbs, 2 assts. He and Michael Vranes received the coaches game ball for their effort against UC Irvine (Cooper had 14 pts, 4 rbs 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 pts, 3 rbs. He had 5 pts, 6 rbs effort at FIU. He set a career high with 7 assts at USA. He scored a season- and team-high 15 pts vs. Weber State.
Marc Roberts had 2 pts in three minutes vs. AFA. He has seen action in 10 of the last 11 games (except at Utah). He started for the first time at Wyoming and was 0-1 (a trey),1 rbd, 2 assts in nine minutes. He was 2-2 from the floor and 2-2 from the line for a career-best 6 pts in seven minutes at CSU. On the year, he has averaged 4.1 minutes in 17 games. He has scored 19 points on the year (1.1 ppg) and is 5-9 from the floor and 9-12 from the line.
A redshirt freshman, Nielsen has played in seven of the last 10 games (except both UNM and UNLV), including the last three straight. He played a season-high 16 minutes vs. AFA and tied career-best 6 pts, 2 rbs, along with 1 assist. He played only two minutes at Wyoming. He had 2 rbs in seven minutes at CSU. He scoring 4 points at SDSU and scored a 6 points vs. Texas Southern. He has played in 13 games this year and averages 4.8 minutes in those games and 1.5 points.
A walkon freshman, Allen has played in 12 games this year, and averages 1.3 pts, 1.1 rbs in 4.8 minutes. He had 4 pts in 5 minutes vs. AFA and 2 pts in 6 minutes at Wyoming. He played a season-high 11 minutes vs. UNM with 4 pts, 3 rbs. He was 1-2 from the floor, including 1-1 on threes (his first).
Comparing Statistics BYU SDSU
Points per game .72.2 62.4
Scoring margin + 6.6 - 12.7
Field goals .467 .410
3-pointers .382 .301
Free throws .702 .687
Rebounds per game 34.1 31.4
Rebounding margin - 0.7 - 6.3
Assists per game 14.5 13.3
Turnovers per game 14.2 17.7
Turnover margin + 1.2 - 1.6
Blocks per game 2.1 2.3
Steals per game 7.7 7.2