Freshman Curtis Eatmon had career highs of 11 points, five rebounds and five assists at New Mexico on Saturday.
Jan. 15, 2007
UTAH RUNNIN' UTES VS. AIR FORCE FALCONS
Tuesday, January 16, 2007 8:05 p.m. (MST)
Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000) Salt Lake City
UTAH (5-12, 0-4) Head Coach: Ray Giacoletti Alma Mater: Minot State, 1985 At Utah: 48-33 (3rd Season) Career: 165-116 (10th Season)QUICKLY ON UTAH
AIR FORCE (17-1, 4-0) Rankings: No. 13 (Assoc. Press) No. 11 (ESPN/USA Today) Head Coach: Jeff Bzdelik Alma Mater: Illinois-Chicago, 1976 At AFA: 41-8 (2nd Season) Career: 66-39 (4th Season)
MEDIA COVERAGE Television: The mtn. (Comcast 37) Bill Doleman (play-by-play), Joe Cravens (analyst) Radio: Sports Radio 700 The Zone Bill Riley (play-by-play), Mark Rydalch (analyst), Scott Gerrard (host) Internet Audio/Live Stats: www.UtahUtes.com Get Utah All-Access Here
THE SERIES Overall: Utah leads 42-11 Utah Home/Away/Neutral: 24-3/16-8/2-0 Current Streak: Air Force has won 2 Last Meeting: Air Force won 52-51 on Feb. 18, 2006 in Salt Lake City
Utah has dropped seven of its last eight games, including six in a row. The Runnin' Utes lost a pair of road games last week, falling to Colorado State, 73-57, on Tuesday and New Mexico, 86-82 in overtime, on Saturday. Utah is 4-4 at home this season.
Sophomore center Luke Nevill (7-1, 265) is the Utes' leading scorer (17.2 ppg) and rebounder (8.1 rpg). He is shooting 64.8 percent from the field, 77.5 percent from the free throw line, and also has a team-best 13 blocked shots. Junior guard Johnnie Bryant (6-0, 180) is second on the team in scoring (15.8 ppg) and has connected on 43.7 percent (55-for-126) of his 3-point attempts and 74.4 percent of his free throws. Bryant leads the team in assists (2.58 apg). Sophomore forward Shaun Green (6-8, 208) is third on the team in scoring (12.5 ppg), and is second in both assists (2.17 apg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg). He is shooting 56.3 percent from the field and 56.8 percent (46-for-81) from 3-point range. Green also leads the Utes in steals (22) and is second in blocked shots (9).
In the latest NCAA statistical rankings released on Jan. 12, Utah ranked third in 3-point percentage (44.4), 18th in field goal percentage (49.4), 58th in 3-pointers made per game (7.9), 43rd in free throw percentage (73.0), 63rd in turnovers per game (13.8), 60th in rebound margin (+4.7 rpg) and 95th in personal fouls per game (17.6). Green ranked first in the nation in 3-point percentage (56.8). Nevill was sixth in field goal percentage (65.0), 69th in points per game (17.8) and 53rd in rebounds per game (8.4). Bryant was 19th in 3-pointers made per game (3.3) and 36th in 3-point percentage (44.9).
RUNNIN' UTE NOTABLES
Seven of the 13 Utes who have seen action this season are first-year players. Six of those players are freshmen. The nine freshmen and sophomores who have played have accounted for 70.1 percent of Utah's points, 84.5 percent of its rebounds, 61.9 percent of its assists and 66.9 percent of its minutes.
Eight of Utah's 12 losses have come by a combined 19 points. The Utes have lost three games by one point, four by three points and one by four points. Three of Utah's losses have been in overtime.
The Utes have shot at least 50 percent from 3-point range eight times and at least 50 percent from the field seven times in 17 games this season.
Utah is 0-7 this season when opponents shoot at least 50 percent from the field and 3-11 when they shoot at least 40 percent from 3-point range.
The Runnin' Utes have dropped their first four conference games for the first time since the 1952-53 season. The only time in school history Utah started out 0-5 in conference play was in 1935-36.
Utah has its worst record through 17 games since going 5-12 in 1972-73.
The Utes' six-game losing streak is tied for the fifth longest in school history. The last time Utah had a losing streak of at least six games was Jan. 27 through Feb. 10, 1950, when the Runnin' Utes lost seven in a row.
SCOUTING AIR FORCE
The Falcons are 17-1 overall and have won 13 in a row. They are ranked 13th by the Associated Press and 11th by ESPN/USA Today. Air Force is off to a 4-0 start in Mountain West Conference play. Last week, the Falcons defeated New Mexico at home, 65-57, on Tuesday night and won at Wyoming, 58-56, on Saturday afternoon. The Academy is 9-1 away from home this season and 5-0 on opponents' home courts.
Senior forward Dan Nwaelele (6-5, 206) leads Air Force in scoring (15.1 ppg) and is shooting a team-best 58.4 percent from the field. He is also shooting 51.2 percent (43-for-84) from 3-point range. Senior forward Jacob Burtschi (6-6, 225) is second in scoring (13.9 ppg) and first in rebounding (5.8 rpg) and first in steals (27). Senior guard Matt McCraw (6-2, 185) is the third Falcon averaging double-figures in points (12.3 ppg) and is shooting a team-best 51.3 percent (40-for-78) from 3-point range and 91.1 percent from the free throw line. Junior guard Tim Anderson (6-3, 180) leads the Falcons in assists (3.1 apg).
In the NCAA rankings as of Jan, 12, Air Force ranked fifth in scoring defense (54.6 ppg), eighth in scoring margin (19.4 ppg), second in field goal percentage (53.5), second in 3-point percentage (44.7), seventh in 3-pointers per game (10.0), 36th in assists per game (16.9) and second in turnovers per game (10.2).
COMPARING THE NUMBERS
Utah Air Force Overall Record 5-12 17-1 MWC Record 0-4 4-0 Scoring 70.4 73.2 Scoring Defense 70.4 54.7 FG% .490 .527 FG% Defense .495 .419 3-Pt. FG% .435 .447 3-Pt. FG% Defense .477 .313 FT% .722 .763 Rebound Margin +4.5 -0.2 Assists 14.2 16.6 Turnovers 13.5 10.1 Opp. Turnovers 11.6 14.6 Steals 4.9 6.4 Blocked Shots 1.8 1.7
HEAD COACH JEFF BZDELIK
Jeff Bzdelik is in his second season at Air Force. In 2005-06, he led the Falcons to the first round of the NCAA Tournament, a 24-7 overall record and a tie for second place in the MWC with a 12-4 mark. Bzdelik brought 28 years of coaching experience with him, including three as an NBA head coach and 12 as an NBA assistant.
Before taking over at Air Force, Bzdelik was the head coach of the Denver Nuggets for two and a half seasons, beginning with the 2002-03 season. In 2003-04, he led the Nuggets to the playoffs for the first time since 1994-95 while posting a 43-39 record. From 1995-2001, Bzdelik was an assistant coach with the Miami Heat. He also served as an assistant coach with the Washington Bullets from 1988-94.
The Illinois native began his coaching career in 1978 at Davidson (N.C.) College. In 1980, he was named as an assistant coach at Northwestern University where he spent six seasons. He then took the head coaching position at the University of Maryland-Baltimore County for two years. Bzdelik is a 1976 graduate of the University of Illinois-Chicago, where he earned a bachelor's degree in physical education.
UTAH VS. AIR FORCE SERIES NOTES
Utah and Air Force meet for the 54th time on Tuesday night. The series dates back to a 108-57 win by the Runnin' Utes on Dec. 23, 1965 in Salt Lake City.
The Utes lead the all-time series 42-11. Utah has won seven of the last 11 and 17 of the last 22 games against the Falcons. However, Air Force has won four of the last six meetings, including two in a row. The Falcons swept the season series in 2003-04 and `05-06. Utah won both games in 2004-05.
Air Force swept the two-game series last season. The Falcons snapped a two-game winning streak by the Utes with a 66-44 win on Jan. 19 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Academy then won 52-51 on Feb. 18 in Salt Lake City.
In Salt Lake City, the Utes are 24-3 against Air Force. The Falcons have won two of the last three meetings in the Huntsman Center. Utah had won 12 in a row at home against Air Force before suffering a loss during the 2003-04 season by a 59-57 score on Feb. 21. After winning 63-51 on Jan. 24, 2005, the Utes lost to the Falcons last season 52-51 on Feb. 18.
Utah has a 37-11 record against Air Force in conference regular season games. Since the start of the Mountain West Conference in 1999-2000, the Utes have a 9-5 advantage in regular season games and 11-5 when including MWC Tournament games.
Ray Giacoletti is 2-2 all-time against Air Force with all four of those games coming during his career at Utah.
Jeff Bzdelik is 1-1 against Utah with both of those games coming last season.
The Runnin' Utes play their second of back-to-back home games against the Wyoming Cowboys on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. (MST). The game will be televised by The mtn--MountainWest Sports Network. Utah then has a week off before playing at San Diego State on Saturday, Jan. 27 at 3:05 p.m. (PST).