Junior center Tim Fost is Utah's second-best scorer and rebounder this season.
Jan. 16, 2003
Jan. 18 * 12:07 p.m. (PST) * Cox Arena at Aztec Bowl (12,414) * San Diego, Calif.
The Game at a Glance
Utah Head Coach: Rick Majerus SDSU Head Coach: Steve Fisher Alma Mater: Marquette, 1970 Alma Mater: Illinois State, 1967 Record at Utah: 295-85/14th Season Record at SDSU: 50-53/4th Season Career Record: 396-137/19th Season Career Record: 234-135/12th Season
Television: ESPN Regional. Shown on KJZZ-TV (Channel 14, AT&T Cable 3) in Salt Lake City. Rich Waltz (play-by-play) and Irv Brown (analyst).
Radio: Utah Sports Network (KALL-910 AM in Salt Lake City and affiliate stations). Bill Marcroft (play-by-play), Mark Rydalch (analyst) and Brad Stone (host). On the Internet at www.UtahUtes.com and www.kall910.com.
Series Record: Utah leads 42-8 Utah's Record Home/Away/Neutral: 24-1/16-6/2-1 Last Meeting: Utah defeated San Diego State 70-53 on Feb. 9, 2002 in San Diego.
Utah continues a string of three consecutive road games to open the Mountain West Conference season. The Runnin' Utes play at UNLV on Monday, Jan 19 at 9:04 p.m. (PST) as part of ESPN's "Big Monday." Utah then faces BYU in Provo, Utah, on Saturday, Jan. 25 at 1:07 p.m. (MST) on ESPN Regional.
Quickly On Utah
The Runnin' Utes (12-3, 0-0 MWC) open their Mountain West Conference schedule against San Diego State (10-4, 1-0 MWC) on Saturday at 12:07 p.m. (PST) in San Diego. The game will be televised by ESPN Regional and broadcast on KALL-910 AM and the Utah Sports Network.
Following a 2-2 start to the season, Utah has won 10 of its last 11 and is riding a season-best seven-game winning streak. The Utes closed out their nonconference season with a 75-59 win over Ripon on Tuesday night in the Huntsman Center. Utah is 9-0 at home this season, 2-1 on the road and 1-2 on neutral courts. The Runnin' Utes rank ninth in the NCAA in scoring defense (57.7 ppg).
Three Utes are averaging double figures in scoring. Junior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 200) leads the way in scoring average (12.9 ppg), and is shooting 45.5 percent from three-point range (40-for-88) and 86.2 percent from the free throw line. Junior center Tim Frost (6-10, 236) is second in both scoring (12.3 ppg) and rebounding (4.8 rpg). Senior forward Britton Johnsen (6-10, 210) is third in scoring (12.1 ppg) and first in rebounding (6.4 rpg). Freshman point guard Tim Drisdom (6-3, 203) leads the Utes in assists (3.7 apg) and is shooting 46.9 percent from beyond the arc.
Utes In Conference Openers
Under Rick Majerus, Utah is 9-2 in conference openers overall and 4-2 on the road. Majerus did not coach the Utes in two other conference openers during his 14-year tenure in 1990 and 2001, both won by Utah.
Utah opened its conference season at San Diego State in 2000, winning 70-55 on Jan. 10. It was also the Mountain West Conference's first-ever men's basketball league game.
From the Training Room
* Senior forward Britton Johnsen returned to action on Dec. 30 against Alabama after missing two games with a torn ligament in his right thumb. Johnsen sustained the injury early in the first half at Utah State on Nov. 17, but finished the game. Johnsen returned to practice on Dec. 27 and has been wearing a splint on his right hand. On Jan. 12, he began rehabilitation and was fitted with a smaller split that he will need to wear until the end of January.
Scouting The Aztecs
San Diego State is 10-4 overall and 1-0 in Mountain West Conference play, winning two in a row and eight of its last nine games. The Aztecs opened their league schedule with a 63-48 win at Air Force last Saturday. In its final nonconference game, San Diego State defeated San Diego 78-72 at home on Jan. 8. The Aztecs are 6-3 at home this season.
Senior center Mike Mackell (6-9, 250) leads the Aztecs in scoring (15.8 ppg), shooting 57.9 percent from the field, and is second in rebounding (4.9 rpg). Senior guard Tony Bland (6-5, 201) is second in scoring (15.1 ppg). Junior forward Aerick Sanders (6-8, 204) is SDSU's top rebounder (8.7 rpg). Freshman guard Steve Sir (6-6, 201) is the team's top three-point shooter, hitting 28-of-70 (.400). Senior guard Deandre Moore (5-10, 191) is the team's assists leader (4.8 apg) and is shooting 40.9 percent from beyond the arc (18-of-44) to average 8.4 points per game.
Head Coach Steve Fisher
Steve Fisher is 50-53 in his fourth season at San Diego State and has a 234-135 career mark in 12 seasons. Last season, Fisher led the Aztecs to the Mountain West Conference Tournament title and their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1984-85. With a 21-12 record, SDSU also posted the highest single-season win total since '84-85.
In his previous college head coaching job, Fisher led Michigan to a 184-82 record (.691), three NCAA Final Fours and eight trips to the NCAA Tournament from 1989-97. He was named the 1992 National Coach of the Year by Basketball Times after leading Michigan's "Fab Five" as freshmen to a 25-9 record and the NCAA title game. As the interim head coach in 1989, he led the Wolverines to a 6-0 record and the NCAA title.
Utah-San Diego State Series Notes
* Utah and San Diego State meet for the 51st time on Saturday afternoon. The series dates back to a 98-89 Utah win on Dec. 13, 1975 in Salt Lake City. That was the only game played between the two teams before they became members of the WAC and later the Mountain West Conference.
* The Utes lead the all-time series 42-8 and have won 14 in a row and 23 of the last 24. The Aztecs' last win over Utah was 76-73 on Jan. 22, 1994 in San Diego.
* In regular-season conference play, the Utes have a 37-7 advantage.
* In San Diego, Utah is 16-6 and has won six in a row since its loss in 1994.
* Utah's most decisive win over San Diego State under Rick Majerus was 48 points (86-38) on Feb. 11, 1999 in the Huntsman Center. It was also the Utes' biggest win over the Aztecs all-time.
* San Diego State's most decisive win over Utah during Rick Majerus' tenure was three points (76-73) on Jan. 23, 1994 in San Diego. Its biggest win all-time against Utah was 13 points (75-62) on Jan. 30, 1982 in Salt Lake City.
* Rick Majerus is 20-1 against San Diego State all-time with all of those games taking place during his tenure at Utah. Majerus is 4-2 against Steve Fisher.
* Steve Fisher is 2-6 against Utah, including an 0-6 mark while at SDSU.
Utah dominated after the first six minutes, taking a 42-23 halftime lead and hanging on to beat San Diego State for the 13th straight time. Trailing 12-10 with 14:25 left in the first half, the Utes went on a 23-5 run to take a 33-17 lead. Cullen came off the bench to hit three three-pointers and scored 11 points in the run. He drained all four of his three-point shots in the first half. The Utes sank 7-of-11 from three-point range in the first 20 minutes and finished 12-for-25. Johnsen led the way hitting 5-of-9 three-pointers.
Randy Holcomb led San Diego State with 14 points, but made just 5-of-18 shots. Utah's smothering defense held the Aztecs to a season-low 29.3 percent shooting (17-of-58) and their lowest point total of the season to that point.
Utah's Travis Spivey had a career-high 12 rebounds and a game-high six assists to go with five points and three steals in 36 minutes. Britton Johnsen contributed 13 points, seven rebounds and three assists.
San Diego State played without coach Steve Fisher, who traveled to Illinois earlier in the week to be with his ailing mother. Assistant coach Brian Dutcher took over Fisher's duties.
Utah had 17 assists to 12 turnovers, blocked six shots and had eight steals. The Aztecs outrebounded the Utes 37 to 36.
Jacobson Stroking "J"s
Junior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 200) is Utah's top scorer this season (12.9 ppg) and paces the team in three-pointers made, hitting 40-of-88 (45.5 percent) from beyond the arc.
* Jacobson has scored in double-figures in 32 of the last 45 games dating back to last season.
* Jacobson has been in a groove the last two games against IPFW and Ripon, hitting 10-of-14 three-pointers (.714) and 13-of-19 shots from the field (.684) to score a combined 37 points (18.5 ppg). He led the Utes in scoring in both games with 22 points against IPFW on Jan. 11 and 15 against Ripon on Jan. 14.
* Against IPFW, Jacobson hit 6-of-7 three-pointers and 8-of-11 shots from the field to score a season-high 22 points. Jacobson tied the second-best single-game mark at Utah for three-pointers, coming up one short of the record of seven he shares with Phil Cullen and Phil Dixon. He reached 20 points for the seventh time in his career and the third time this season. Jacobson scored 21 points against both Utah State and UMass.
* Jacobson has already climbed into fifth place in career three-pointers made (148) and sixth in three-pointers attempted (345) at Utah. His career three-point percentage of 42.0 entering this season would have ranked fourth all-time at Utah.
* In the final 2001-02 NCAA statistical rankings, Jacobson was 23rd in three-point percentage (44.4). The Fargo, N.D., native was named third team all-Mountain West and second team NABC/Pontiac All-District 13 in 2001-02. Jacobson led the team in scoring (13.0 ppg) and three-point percentage (44.4). He scored in double figures in 21 of the 30 games last season.
* Also last season, Jacobson set the Utah single-season mark with 71 three-pointers, bettering the mark of 68 by Phil Dixon in 1991-92. He also ranked third in three-point attempts (160).
Rating the Rookies
With only four lettermen returning from last season and 10 scholarship players on the roster, Rick Majerus has played his freshmen extensively early in the season. Here's a breakdown of how the quartet of Richard Chaney (G/F, 6-4, 186), Tim Drisdom (G, 6-3, 203), Chris Jackson (C, 6-11, 242) and Bryant Markson (F, 6-6, 182) has been producing.
* Chaney (7.3 ppg), Drisdom (5.7 ppg) and Markson (5.0 ppg) rank fourth through sixth, respectively, on the team in scoring.
* All four freshmen are shooting above 40 percent from the field, with Chaney at 49.4 percent, Drisdom at 48.3 percent, Jackson at 56.7 percent and Markson at 49.2 percent.
* Drisdom, who's started every game at point guard, leads the Utes in assists (3.7 apg) and is third in rebounding (3.6 rpg). He is also shooting 46.9 percent from three-point range, making 15-of-32. Drisdom had his first career double-double with career highs of 11 points and 10 rebounds against Ripon on Jan. 14. He had a career-best six assists against IPFW on Jan. 11.
* Markson had a career-high six rebounds and reached double figures in scoring for the third time this season with 10 points against Ripon on Jan. 14.
* Chaney reached double-figures for the second time in three games and the fourth time this season with 12 points against IPFW. He hit 5-of-10 shots and 2-of-3 three-pointers.
* In the win over Weber State on Jan. 3, both Chaney and Markson had career highs in points. Chaney had a game-high 17 points (7-9 FG, 1-2 3FG, 2-4 FT) and four rebounds in 17 minutes. Markson went for 12 points (5-8 FG, 1-3 3FG, 1-2 FT) and four boards in 13 minutes. Figuring in Drisdom's six points, the trio accounted for 35 of Utah's 72 points on 15-for-21 shooting.
Game #15 Rewind
Utah (12-3) closed out its nonconference schedule against the NCAA Division III Red Hawks and got a much tougher test than expected. The Utes weren't able to pull away for good until the final 10 minutes, when Ripon's shooting collapsed. The Red Hawks (9-2) went 21-for-53, missing 10 of their final 13 shots and losing for the second straight game.
Utah didn't take a lead Tuesday until Johnsen converted a three-point play that put the Utes up 14-11 with 12:52 left in the first half. Utah pulled ahead by as much as 10, but the Red Hawks tied it at 29-all on a three-pointer by Andy Kieck.
The Red Hawks stayed close by going 8-for-20 from three-point range and forcing 15 turnovers. Kieck was 6-for-10 on three-pointers and 9-for-14 overall and finished with 24 points.
Kieck's back-to-back three-pointers got Ripon to 52-46 with about 12 minutes to play, but the Utes responded with a 12-2 run. Johnsen, who's been playing with a padded splint on his right had as he recovers from ligament surgery, scored eight points during the spurt, including a three-pointer and a dunk that put the Utes up 64-48. The Utes continued to pull away from there.
Utah outrebounded Ripon 35-24 and outshot the Red Hawks 52.1 to 39.6 percent from the field. Both teams hit at least 40 percent from the field and 70 percent from the free throw line.
Inside the Numbers
* In seven of the 12 wins, Utah has held its opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field. The Utes have outshot their opponents 47.8 to 38.5 percent in its wins.
* The Utes have outrebounded their opponents in 11 of the 12 wins. The exception was a 32-30 deficit in the win over Alabama. In their wins, the Utes have outrebounded the opponents by an average of 35.1 to 28.9. Utah had a season-best 48-32 advantage (+16) on the glass in its win over Pepperdine on Dec. 20. In two of the three losses, Utah has been outrebounded. Its average rebound deficit in losses is 34.0 to 30.3.
* The Utes have had the advantage at the free throw line in their 12 wins, making 214 trips to the line compared to 190 for the opponents and shooting 71.0 to 68.9 percent. In the three losses, the opposite has been the case with the opponents outshooting Utah at the free throw line 122 attempts to 42, and making 82 (67.2 percent) to 20 (47.6 percent).
One of the trademarks of a Utah team during the Rick Majerus era is a stifling half-court defense. Since 1989-90, Utah has ranked in the top 30 in the nation 10 times in scoring defense, nine times in rebound margin, eight times in field goal percentage defense and eight times in scoring margin.
* This season, Utah ranks ninth in the NCAA in scoring defense (57.7 ppg) as of Jan. 13. Since an 83-79 overtime loss to Arizona State on Nov. 27, the highest point total Utah has surrendered in the next 11 games is 61 points in a win (77-61) over Pepperdine.
* The Utes have held 12 teams under 60 points this season and three teams under 50 points. Alabama scored just 49 points against the Utes on Dec. 30.
* Seven opponents have shot under 40 percent from the field this season. No team has shot 50 percent from the field on Utah in 2002-03.
* Utah has not allowed an opponent to score 80 points in 78 consecutive games that have ended in regulation. The last team to score 80 points on the Utes in a 40-minute game was Wyoming (88-61) on Feb. 28, 2000 in Laramie, Wyo.
* An opponent reached the 80-point mark on Utah for the first time in 70 games in its 83-79 overtime loss to Arizona State on Nov. 27.
* Last season, Utah ranked 13th in the NCAA in scoring defense (61.3).