Tim Drisdom has averaged 11 points and seven rebounds over the last two games.
Feb. 8, 2004
Feb. 9 * 7:07 p.m. (MST) * Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000) * Salt Lake City
The Game At A Glance
Acting Utah Head Coach: Kerry Rupp UNLV Head Coach: Charlie Spoonhour Alma Mater: Southern Utah, 1977 Alma Mater: University of the Ozarks, 1971 Record at Utah: 2-0 (1st Season) Record at UNLV: 54-29 (3rd Season) Overall Record: 2-0 (1st Season) Overall Record: 373-200 (19th Season)
Television: KJZZ-TV 14 in Salt Lake City. ESPN Full Court (pay-per-view). Steve Brown (play-by-play) and Mark Eaton (analyst).
Radio: Utah Sports Network (KALL-700 AM in Salt Lake City and affiliate stations). On the Internet at www.UtahUtes.com and www.kall700.com. Bill Marcroft (play-by-play), Mark Rydalch (analyst) and Brad Stone (host).
Series Record: Tied 13-13 Utah's Record Home/Away/Neutral: 8-2/5-9/0-2 Last Meeting: Utah won 72-67 on Jan. 12, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nev.
Utah hits the road for a pair of games next weekend. The Utes play at Colorado State on Saturday, Feb. 14 at 7:07 p.m. (MST) and at Wyoming on Monday, Feb. 16 at 7:07 p.m. (MST).
Quickly On Utah
Utah (17-5, 5-2 MWC) wraps-up a three-game homestand against UNLV (12-7, 3-4 MWC) on Monday at 7:07 p.m. (MST) in the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The game will be televised by KJZZ-TV 14 in Salt Lake City and broadcast on KALL-700 AM and the Utah Sports Network. The Utes are 13-0 at home this season and have won 14 in a row at home, tying for the 11th-longest streak in the nation.
The Utes have won their last two home games to snap a two-game losing streak. Utah defeated instate rival Brigham Young (64-56) on Jan. 31 and San Diego State (65-61) on Saturday. The Utes have won 14 of their last 17 games.
Senior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 206) leads the Utes in scoring (15.6 ppg), hitting 45.5 percent of his three-point attempts. Freshman forward Andrew Bogut (6-10, 233) is second on the team in scoring (11.9 ppg), and is first in both rebounding (10.0 rpg) and blocked shots (22). The native of Melbourne, Australia, has 10 double-doubles this season and is shooting 61.1 percent from the field. Sophomore forward Richard Chaney (6-4, 195) is third in scoring (11.0 ppg), shooting 52.2 percent from the field and 48.3 percent from three-point range. Sophomore guard Tim Drisdom (6-2, 212) leads the Utes in assists (3.5 apg).
The Runnin' Rebels are 12-7 overall and tied for third place in the Mountain West Conference with a 3-4 record. UNLV is coming off a loss at BYU on Saturday (64-61). Last weekend, UNLV picked up a pair of wins at home, defeating New Mexico (89-80) on Saturday and Air Force (63-50) on Monday. The Rebels are 3-4 on the road this season.
Junior forward Odartey Blankson (6-7, 220) ranks second in the Mountain West in scoring (17.0 ppg), first in rebounding (10.6 rpg), 10th in field goal percentage (51.4) and sixth in free throw percentage (79.5). Junior guard/forward Romel Beck (6-7, 185) is eighth in the league in scoring (13.7 ppg) and 11th in field goal percentage (48.4). Senior forward J.K. Edwards (6-8, 250), who has played in only 13 games this season, is third on the team in scoring (13.4 ppg) and second in rebounds (6.4 rpg). Sophomore forward Louis Amundson (6-9, 215) is 12th in the conference rebounding (5.2 rpg) and sixth in blocked shots (23). Junior guard Jerel Blassingame (5-10, 170) is second in the MWC in assists (5.7 apg).
UNLV ranks first in the Mountain West in scoring (74.3 ppg), sixth in scoring defense (68.6 ppg), seventh in rebound margin (-0.9) and third in blocked shots (3.89 bpg).
Head Coach Charlie Spoonhour
Charlie Spoonhour is 54-29 in his third season at UNLV. His career record is 373-200 in 19 seasons. In his first season with the Runnin' Rebels in 2001-02, Spoonhour was named the District 8 Coach of the Year after leading UNLV to a 21-11 mark and the second round of the NIT. Spoonhour guided UNLV to a 21-11 mark once again in '02-03, getting them a third-place finish in the MWC (8-6) and taking them to the first round of the NIT.
Spoonhour jumped back into coaching at UNLV after taking two years off. He had most recently spent seven years as the head coach at Saint Louis (1992-99) and went 122-90. Before his stint with the Billikens, Spoonhour was the head coach for nine years at Southwest Missouri State (1983-92). In his career, he has led teams to eight NCAA Tournaments and five NIT appearances.
Utah-UNLV Series Notes
* Utah and UNLV meet for the 27th time on Monday. The series is tied 13-13; however, Utah has taken seven of the last 10 games.
* Utah took the first meeting this season, winning 72-67 on Jan. 12 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
* The Runnin' Utes swept the home-and-home series last season, winning 66-63 on Jan. 20 in Las Vegas and 86-80 in overtime on Feb. 17 in Salt Lake City. UNLV then broke the Utah's two-game winning streak in the series with a 64-41 win in the MWC Tournament semifinals on March 14, 2003.
* In conference regular-season play, Utah has a 9-3 advantage, winning seven of the last eight.
* Charlie Spoonhour is 3-4 against Utah, facing the Utes for the first time during the in 2001-02 season.
* Utah has an 8-2 edge in games played in Salt Lake City and has won five in a row. UNLV's last win in Salt Lake City was on Jan. 21, 1982 (76-67) in a nonconference tilt.
Nick Jacobson scored a game-high 27 points, including two free throws with nine seconds left to seal the win, lifting Utah past UNLV 72-67 in the Mountain West Conference opener for both teams on Jan. 12 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
Jacobson went 8-of-8 from the free throw line and was 3-of-7 from three-point range. Also for Utah, Tim Frost scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting from the field. Tim Drisdom had seven points and six rebounds.
For UNLV, Odartey Blankson and Jerel Blassingame scored 17 points apiece. J.K. Edwards added 14 for the Rebels.
The Utes, who outrebounded the Rebels 32-22, built a 42-32 lead with 14:04 remaining. The Rebels eventually tied it at 63 and then again at 65 with 2:12 left; but they never took the lead. The Utes led for most of the first half, building their biggest advantage at 31-25 with 1:09 left until halftime. Earlier, the lead changed hands seven times before Utah went ahead 13-12 with 12:47 left.
Utah outshot UNLV from the field (54.3-40.0 percent), three-point range (53.8-25.0) and the free throw line (88.2-73.0). However, by committing 29 fouls, Utah sent UNLV to the free throw line 37 times. The Runnin' Rebels made 27 at the stripe while the Runnin' Utes attempted just 17. UNLV also had seven blocked shots and got seven steals off 20 Utah turnovers.
Jacobson Stroking "J"s
Senior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 206) has been a third team all-Mountain West selection the last two seasons. This season, he leads the Utes in scoring (15.6 ppg), hitting 45.5 percent (55-of-121) from beyond the arc and 81.5 percent from the free throw line.
* In the NCAA statistical rankings released Feb. 3, Jacobson was eighth in three-point field goal percentage (47.0).
* He has scored in double figures in all seven Mountain West Conference games, averaging 18.4 points per game to rank third in the league. He also ranks third in league games three-pointers made per game (2.43).
* Jacobson has scored at least 20 points in seven of the last 13 games. He has also been in double figures 12 of the last 13 contests, shooting 48.8 percent from the field and 45.1 percent (37-for-82) from three-point range to average 18.8 points per game during that stretch. He had a career-high 28 points against Weber State on Jan. 3, hitting 8-of-12 field goals, 5-of-7 threes and 7-of-7 free throws in 39 minutes. He has had eight 20-point games this season.
* Jacobson has already climbed into 17th place in career scoring at Utah with 1,417 points. He is one of just 30 players in the 1,000-point club and currently ranks behind Merv Jackson (1,458 points).
Chatter About Chaney
Sophomore wingman Richard Chaney (6-4, 195) is Utah's third-best scorer, averaging 11.0 points a game and reaching the 20-point mark three times. He is shooting 52.2 percent from the field and 48.3 percent (28-for-58) from three-point range.
* Chaney has scored in double figures 10 times this season, bringing his career total to 16.
* Against San Diego State on Saturday, Chaney scored in double figures for the first time in four games with 17 points (6-10 FG, 3-3 3-FG, 2-2 FT) in 28 minutes. He also had six rebounds.
Drisdom Turning It Up
Sophomore guard Tim Drisdom (6-2, 212) has improved on his season scoring and rebounding numbers since the start of Mountain West Conference play.
* Averaging 5.5 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists over 22 games, Drisdom has put up 7.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 2.3 assists in 28.3 minutes in seven league contests. His improved scoring average can be attributed to shooting percentages of 41.7 (5-of-12) from three-point range and 90.9 (20-of-22) from the free throw line.
* Drisdom has been at his best the past two games. After putting up season highs of 14 points and seven rebounds against BYU, the native of Artesia, Calif., had eight points, seven rebounds, five assists (two turnovers) and two steals against San Diego State.
Game #22 Rewind
Andrew Bogut had nine points and 11 rebounds for Utah (17-5, 5-2 MWC), which nearly gave up a 61-52 lead in the last 2:27.
The Utes missed three free throws, committed a turnover and fouled Wesley Stokes on a three-point attempt in the final minute, but never let the Aztecs get closer than three points and escaped with their 14th consecutive home victory.
Chris Walton scored a career-high 15 points and Brandon Heath had 14 for the Aztecs (12-10, 3-4 MWC), who have lost four of their last five.
Chaney, who made all three of his three-point attempts, scored Utah's first eight points of the second half to keep his team close until Bogut and Jacobson took over.
San Diego State led by as many as eight early in the second half and had a 42-35 advantage on a Marcus Slaughter dunk, but Bogut brought the Utes back with plays on both ends of the court.
The freshman from Australia scored six straight points and then drew an offensive foul and stole the ball as the Utes' 10-0 run gave them their first lead of the game.
Jacobson picked up where Bogut left off, scoring 10 straight Utah points to spark another Utah surge and extend the lead to 56-47. The Aztecs were scoreless for 4:32 while Jacobson went on his run.
In the first half, Walton made all five shots, including a pair of three-pointers, to help the Aztecs take a 30-27 halftime lead.
One of the trademarks of a Utah team during the Rick Majerus era has been a stifling half-court defense. Since 1989-90, Utah has ranked in the top 30 in the nation 11 times in scoring defense, nine times in rebound margin, eight times in field goal percentage defense and eight times in scoring margin.
* In the NCAA statistical rankings released on Feb. 3, Utah ranked second in the nation in scoring defense (55.2 ppg), 46th in field goal percentage defense (40.3) and ninth in rebound margin (+7.3 rpg). Currently, Utah is allowing its opponents to score 55.5 points per game and shoot 40.3 percent, and holds a +7.2 rebound margin.
* The Utes have outrebounded 20 of 22 opponents this season.
* Utah has held 11 of its 22 opponents to less than 40 percent shooting from the field and 10 teams to under 30 percent from three-point range. Only nine teams have reached 60 points and nine opponents have been held to under 50 points this season. Savannah State shot 18.2 percent against the Utes on Dec. 13, which is the lowest mark for a Utah opponent all-time. Only three teams have shot better than 50 percent from the field against the Utes this season: UConn (62.3), New Mexico on Jan. 24 (53.5) and Air Force (55.3) on Jan. 26.
* Utah has not allowed an opponent to score 80 points in 117 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) on Feb. 28, 2000 in Laramie, Wyo.
* The Utes broke a string of 12 consecutive games of shooting at least 40 percent from the field against San Diego State on Saturday. It was the first game Utah won this season when being outshot (41.7 to 39.0 percent). Utah ranked 16th in the NCAA in field goal percentage (48.7) as of Feb. 3. Utah has shot 49.1 percent from the field over the last 13 games and 43.2 percent from three-point range over the last 12 games.
* The Utes are 14-0 when scoring at least 60 points this season and 13-0 when holding their opponents to under 60 points.
* Utah has made significant progress at the free throw line. After shooting just 26.8 percent (11-of-41) from the stripe against Stony Brook, Texas Tech and UConn (getting losses in the later two games), Utah has shot 74.9 percent (224-of-299) in the last 17 games. The Utes shot a season-best 97.1 percent (11-of-12) in games with over 10 attempts from the line against Whitworth and hit 7-of-7 against Air Force on Jan. 26. Utah is currently shooting 69.4 percent at the line this season.
Taking Care Of The Ball
Turnovers have been a problem for the Utes, who are averaging 14.4 per game, but the numbers have been improving.
* Utah has had a positive assist/turnover ratio in just seven of the 22 games this season. Utah averaged 18.0 turnovers during the first five games, including a season-high 21 against Georgia State in the opener.
* Since that opening stretch, Utah has improved by averaging 13.4 turnovers over the last 17 games. The Utes have had a season-low nine turnovers three times in Mountain West play: New Mexico on Jan. 24, Wyoming on Jan. 17 and San Diego State and Feb. 7. Utah has also had a positive assist/turnover ratio in five of the last 11 games.
Strong At The Finish
The Utes have outscored 17 of their 22 opponents in the second half and finished off nine close games in the final eight minutes for wins this season. In Mountain West Conference play, Utah has outscored six of its seven opponents in the second 20 minutes for an average margin of +8.1 points.
* Utah's best second-half effort was against BYU on Jan. 31. The Utes trailed the Cougars by 15 points for its third-largest deficit at the break this season, then outscored their instate rivals 45-22 in the second half. Continuing a trend of strong finishes in the final eight minutes, Utah trailed BYU 46-44 with 8:31 remining then continued its comeback from a 17-point second-half deficit to win 64-56.
* The Utes rallied from a seven-point (42-35) deficit with 15:41 to play against San Diego State on Saturday. Utah went on a 21-5 run to take a 56-47 lead with 6:03 left. Utah held off a late Aztec rally to win 65-61.
Utes Tough At Home In The Huntsman Center
Utah is 208-18 (.920) in the Huntsman Center during the Rick Majerus era and has never lost back-to-back home games.
* Utah has won 14 in a row (including a 13-0 record this season) at home, which is tied for the 11th-longest homecourt winning streak in the nation. The Utes have also captured 30 of the last 31 at home with their only loss coming to Colorado State on March 6, 2003, ended a 16-game home winning streak.
* The Utes have won 146 of their last 154 games in the Jon M. Huntsman Center, dating back to the 1993-94 season.
* In conference home games over the last 10 years, Utah is 69-3 (.958), which is the best record in the nation over that time span.