Britton Johnsen had his second-highest scoring game of the season to lead Utah with 21 points against San Diego State on Saturday.
Feb. 16, 2003
The Game at a Glance
Utah Head Coach: Rick Majerus UNLV Head Coach: Charlie Spoonhour Alma Mater: Marquette, 1970 Alma Mater: Univ. of The Ozarks, 1961 Record at Utah: 302-86/14th Season Record at UNLV: 36-18/2nd Season Career Record: 401-138/19th Season Career Record: 355-189/18th Season
Television: KJZZ-TV (Channel 14, AT&T Cable 3) in Salt Lake City. Steve Brown (play-by-play) and Mark Eaton (analyst).
Radio: Utah Sports Network (KALL-910 AM in Salt Lake City and affiliate stations). On the Internet at www.UtahUtes.com. Bill Marcroft (play-by-play), Mark Rydalch (analyst) and Brad Stone (host).
Series Record: UNLV leads 12-11 Utah's Record Home/Away/Neutral: 7-2/4-8/0-2 Last Meeting: Utah defeated UNLV 66-63 on Jan. 20, 2003 in Las Vegas.
The Runnin' Utes close out a three-game homestand against BYU on Monday, Feb. 24 at 10:00 p.m. (MST) on ESPN's "Big Monday."
Quickly On Utah
The Runnin' Utes (19-4, 7-1 MWC) go for their eighth consecutive win facing Mountain West Conference rival UNLV (15-7, 4-4 MWC) on Monday at 7:07 p.m. (MST) in the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The game will be televised by KJZZ-TV in Salt Lake City and broadcast on KALL-910 AM and the Utah Sports Network.
Utah has won 14 of its last 15, losing only once since Dec. 17. The Utes are in sole possession of first place in the Mountain West, leading second-place BYU by one game. Utah opened a three-game homestand with a 76-62 win over San Diego State on Saturday night. Utah is 12-0 at home this season, 6-2 on the road and 1-2 on neutral courts. The Runnin' Utes ranked fourth in the NCAA in scoring defense as of Feb. 11 and are currently giving up 58.7 points per game.
Three Utes are averaging double figures in scoring. Junior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 200) has the lead in scoring (12.8 ppg) and is shooting 44.1 percent from three-point range (56-for-127). Junior center Tim Frost (6-10, 236) is second in scoring (12.5 ppg) and is second in rebounding (4.7 rpg). Senior forward Britton Johnsen (6-10, 210) is third in scoring (12.3 ppg) and leads the effort in rebounding (7.0 rpg). Freshman point guard Tim Drisdom (6-3, 203) leads the Utes in assists (3.4 apg). Sophomore guard Marc Jackson (6-1, 177) is Utah's top scorer in MWC play (16.5 ppg) and is the team's best free throw shooter at 87.2 percent, ranking 21st in the NCAA as of Feb. 11.
Utes Closing In On 20 Wins
With its next win, Utah will hit the 20-wins mark for the 11th time in 14 years under Rick Majerus' direction. Two of the years the Utes failed to get 20 wins, Majerus did not coach the entire season. In fact, the Utes have won 20 games each of the past seven seasons with Majerus on the bench (he missed all but the first game of the 2000-01 season when Utah finished 19-12).
Majerus' 20-win seasons at Utah: 1990-91 (30-4), 1991-92 (24-11), 1992-93 (24-7), 1994-95 (28-6), 1995-96 (27-7), 1996-97 (29-4), 1997-98 (30-4), 1998-99 (28-5), 1999-2000 (23-9), 2001-02 (21-9).
* Utah's seven-game winning streak is the longest in Mountain West Conference history. Utah had won six in a row each of the last three years. UNLV and Wyoming also won six straight conference games in 2000 and 2001, respectively.
* Utah's 6-1 record halfway through the Mountain West Conference equaled its best mark in the four years of the league. Utah also went 6-1 in 2000 and 2002. Three other teams have posted 6-1 records at the halfway mark in conference play. BYU did it this season, while Wyoming got off to 6-1 starts in 2001 and 2002. Utah's best start to conference play all-time was in 1999 when it won all 14 games in its final season in the WAC.
* The Utes' four road victories in conference play already equals its most since being a member of the Mountain West. The Utes also had four road wins in 2002. Wyoming has the conference's best road record for a season with five wins in 2002.
* The Runnin' Utes road record over the last four years in the Mountain West Conference is 14-12, which is the best mark of any league team.
Climbing In The Polls
The Runnin' Utes are closing in on their first Top 25 ranking since early in the 2000-01 season. In last week's polls, Utah was ranked 28th (33 votes) by ESPN/USA Today and 29th (65 votes) by the Associated Press.
Utah was last ranked the week of Dec. 4, 2000 when it was 22nd in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls.
Milestone Coaching Victories For Majerus
Rick Majerus picked up two significant wins in his career during Utah's road trip to Colorado State and Wyoming Feb. 8-10.
* Majerus registered his 300th career victory at Utah with a 71-66 win over Colorado State on Feb. 8. He joined just two other coaches in Utah basketball history with 300 wins.
* Two nights later, Majerus recorded the 400th victory of his career with a 69-56 win at Wyoming on Feb. 10. He became the 16th-fastest to the 400 career wins mark (538 games) and just the 12th coach to reach 400 wins in 19 seasons or less.
Scouting The Runnin' Rebels
UNLV is 15-7 overall and in fourth place in the Mountain West Conference with a 4-4 record. After opening league play with an 0-3 record, the Runnin' Rebels have won four of their last six and two in a row. UNLV got a 79-64 win at San Diego State last Tuesday and a 61-54 win over BYU at home last Friday. The Rebels are 5-3 on the road this season, including a 2-2 mark in league play.
Senior guard Marcus Banks (6-2, 200) ranks second in the Mountain West in scoring (19.3 ppg), first in assists (5.6 apg) and first in steals (66). Senior forward Dalron Johnson (6-10, 215) is ninth in the MWC in scoring (15.4 ppg), shooting 44.6 percent from beyond the arc (25-of-56) to rank fourth in the league. Johnson is also fifth in rebounding (6.5 rpg) and fourth in blocked shots (31). Junior guard Demetrius Hunter (6-2, 210), who has missed two games this season while battling a left Achilles' tendon injury, is third on the team in scoring (9.6 ppg), hitting 39-of-93 three-pointers (.419). The Runnin' Rebels rank first in the MWC in scoring offense (76.6 ppg), seventh in scoring defense (72.0 ppg), sixth in rebound margin (-2.2 rpg), first in steals (9.5 spg), first in assists (14.95 apg) and first in turnover margin (+2.77).
Head Coach Charlie Spoonhour
Charlie Spoonhour became the 12th head coach in UNLV history last season and has a 36-18 record in his second season. His career record is 355-189 in 18 seasons.
Spoonhour jumped back into coaching after taking two years off. He was named the District 8 Coach of the Year in 2002 after leading UNLV to a 21-11 mark in his first season. He 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 three NIT appearances.
Utah-UNLV Series Notes
* Utah and UNLV meet for the 23rd time on Monday night. The series dates back to a 107-90 win by the Runnin' Rebels on Dec. 26, 1975.
* UNLV leads the all-time series 12-11. The Runnin' Utes had won four in a row to tie the series at 10-10 before losing the last two games of the series last season in Las Vegas. UNLV won 72-64 on Feb. 11 during the regular season and 76-70 on March 8 in the semifinals of the MWC Tournament.
* Utah snapped UNLV's two game winning streak in with a 66-63 victory on Jan. 20 in Las Vegas.
* In conference play, Utah has a 7-3 advantage.
* Utah has a 7-2 edge in games played in Salt Lake City and has won four in a row. UNLV last win in Salt Lake City on Jan. 21, 1982 (76-67) in a nonconference tilt. The Utes won at home last season 86-63 on Jan. 12.
* Utah's most decisive win over UNLV under Rick Majerus was 44 points (96-52) on Feb. 21, 2000 in Salt Lake City. It was also the Utes' biggest win over the Runnin' Rebels all-time.
* UNLV's most decisive win over Utah under Rick Majerus was 17 points (83-66) on March 21, 1991 in the regional semifinals of the NCAA Tournament in Seattle, Wash.
* Rick Majerus is 5-5 against UNLV all-time with all of those games taking place during his tenure at Utah.
* Charlie Spoonhour is 2-1 against Utah, facing the Utes for the first time last season.
Marc Jackson scored a team-high 21 points as Utah rallied in the second half, then hung on in the final seconds to defeat UNLV 66-63 on Jan. 20 in Las Vegas. Tim Frost added 10 points for the Utes, including one of two free throws with 1.8 seconds left after the Utes nearly relinquished a 63-55 lead with 59 seconds left.
Marcus Banks led UNLV with 22 points, while Jermaine Lewis, who missed a potential game-winning three-pointer with three seconds left, added 14 points.
With the Utes ahead by eight points with less than a minute to play, the Rebels quickly cut the lead to 64-62 with 18 seconds remaining. The Utes' Tim Drisdom then hit one of two free throws with 14 seconds left to put Utah ahead 65-62.
On the next possession, Banks, who scored 18 second-half points, was fouled with eight seconds remaining and hit his first free throw, but missed the second. After UNLV rebounded the miss, the Utes knocked the ball out of bounds, setting up Lewis' desperation attempt.
The Rebels jumped out to a 12-2 lead at the game's beginning and were ahead 23-14 before the Utes went on a 12-0 run to take a 26-23 lead. Jackson spurred the run by scoring nine points in an 86-second span, getting two free throws, a short jumper, a layup and a three-pointer. UNLV responded with a 7-0 run to lead 30-26 at the half.
The Rebels led by as much as five points, 32-27, early in the second half, but the Utes took the lead for good with 12:32 left when they went ahead 37-36.
Utah outrebounded UNLV 37-34, and shot 50 percent from the field and 42.9 percent from three-point range. The Utes also held the Runnin' Rebels to 37.5 percent shooting and a season-low 63 points. It was only the third time in 15 games this season UNLV failed to reach 70 points.
Great Britton: Senior Forward Among MWC's Best All-Around Players
Senior forward Britton Johnsen (6-10, 210) was one of 50 players named to the Wooden Award Preseason All-America Team. He is also the reigning Mountain West Conference Player of the Year.
* As he wraps-up his four-year career with the the Utes, Johnsen is closing in on becoming the 29th player to score 1,000 points, currently totaling 996. He also has 537 rebounds in his career.
* This season, Johnsen appears in the top 20 in four MWC statistical categories, ranking 15th in scoring (12.3 ppg), fourth in rebounds (7.0 rpg), 13th in field goal percentage (.491) and 11th in steals (1.19 spg).
* Johnsen has scored in double figures in 14 of the 21 games he's played in this season, leading Utah in scoring six times. Dating back to the 2000-01 season, Johnsen has scored in double figures in 52 of his last 76 contests.
* Johnsen has led Utah in rebounding in 15 of the 21 games he's appeared in this season-including the last eight games-averaging 7.0 boards per contest. He also led the Utes in rebounding 14 of the final 20 games last season, averaging 7.4 rebounds per game during that stretch.
* Johnsen reached the 20 points mark for the second time this season and the 10th time in his career against San Diego State on Saturday. He had 21 points, shooting 9-of-15 from the field, 2-of-4 from three-point range, and 1-of-2 from the free throw line in 29 minutes. He also had eight rebounds, two blocked shots and two assists. It was Johnsen's best offensive game since Nov. 27 when he had a season-high 23 points against Arizona State.
Marc Makes His Mark Off The Bench
Sophomore guard Marc Jackson (6-1, 177) has been putting up impressive numbers off the bench, keying Utah's 7-1 start to the Mountain West Conference season.
* Jackson has been Utah's most productive scorer in conference action, scoring in double figures in all eight games. In MWC play, Jackson is averaging 16.5 points, shooting 60.0 percent from the field, 63.6 percent from three-point range (14-of-22) and 86.7 percent from the free throw line in 26.0 minutes per game. He also has 27 assists and nine steals.
* Jackson led the Utes in scoring for the fifth time in six games against Wyoming on Feb. 10. He tied his career high with 21 points, shooting 6-of-10 from the field, 3-of-4 from three-point range and 6-of-6 at the free throw line.
* The Salt Lake City native scored in double figures for the ninth time this season and tied a career high with six assists against San Diego State on Feb. 15.
Game #23 Rewind
Britton Johnsen scored 21 and Marc Jackson added 17 as Utah defeated San Diego State 76-62 Saturday night in Salt Lake City. Utah ran its winning streak to seven games to remain atop the Mountain West Conference standings.
Johnsen's 21 points were his most since injuring his right thumb in December at Utah State.
The Utes (19-4, 7-1 MWC) have won 14 of their last 15 games and stayed undefeated at home in 12 games. Utah also regained its mastery over San Diego State, avenging its only conference loss (58-56 in the opener) and improving to 25-1 at home against the Aztecs.
Tony Bland scored 16 points, Mike Mackell added 13, and Deandre Moore had 10 as San Diego State (12-9, 3-5 MWC) lost its fifth game of the last six. Bland and Mackell combined to shoot just 13 of 39 against Utah's rugged defense.
Jackson, who was hampered with a right ankle injury early in the season, tweaked the ankle after helping stake Utah to a 57-38 second half lead with back-to-back three-pointers. Jackson's worth to his team was readily apparent as the Aztecs immediately scored nine straight points, five by Moore, in his absence.
Jackson returned but the Aztecs whittled the lead to eight points before the 6-1 guard beat the shot clock with a driving layup and then passed to Johnsen for a dunk to seal the victory. Jackson averaged just 4.1 points before conference play but has been unstoppable since, leading the team in scoring six times and reaching double figures in every league game.
The Aztecs out rebounded the Utes, 39-33, but shot just 35 percent in the second half compared to Utah's 60 percent mark. Utah shot 50 percent or better for the ninth time this season, hitting 26-of-52 shots. The Utes also hit 9-of-21 three-pointers (.429).
Inside the Numbers
* In 11 of the 19 wins, Utah has held its opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field. The Utes have outshot their opponents 47.4 to 39.5 percent in their wins. In their four losses, the Utes have been outshoot 44.5 to 42.9 percent.
* The Utes have been even with or had the advantage over their opponents on the boards in 17 of the 19 wins. The exceptions were deficits of 32-30 in the win over Alabama and 39-33 in the win over San Diego State on Feb. 15. In their wins, the Utes have outrebounded the opponents by an average of 35.2 to 29.7. Utah had a season-best +16 advantage in its wins over Pepperdine (48-32) on Dec. 20 and Air Force (36-20) on Feb. 1. In three of the four losses, Utah has been outrebounded. Its average rebound deficit in losses is 35.0 to 30.3.
* Utah has yet to relinquish a lead with 5:00 remaining in the second half, going 18-0 when leading at that stage in the game. The Utes are also 16-0 when leading at halftime, 2-3 when trailing at the half and 3-4 when trailing or tied after 20 minutes. Utah's win over UNLV on Jan. 20 was its first when trailing at the half this season. The U. also came back from a 35-32 halftime deficit at Colorado State. The Utes came back to win their first game when trailing with 5:00 remaining against Air Force on Feb. 1.
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 ranked fourth in the NCAA in scoring defense as of Feb. 11, currently giving up 58.7 points per game. Since an 83-79 overtime loss to Arizona State on Nov. 27, the highest point total Utah has surrendered over the next 20 games is 75 points in a win at BYU (79-75) on Jan. 25. Every other opponent has scored 68 points or less.
* The Utes have held 15 teams under 60 points this season and four teams under 50 points.
* Eleven opponents have shot under 40 percent from the field this season. Colorado State on Feb. 8 is the only team to shoot 50 percent or better from the field on Utah in 2002-03. The Rams hit 24-of-48 shots.
* Utah has not allowed an opponent to score 80 points in 86 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.
Utes Tough At Home In the Huntsman Center
Utah is 192-17 (.919) in the Huntsman Center during the Majerus era and has never lost back-to-back home games. With Majerus on the bench, taking out the games he missed during the 1989-90 and 2000-01 seasons, the Utes are 174-12 (.935) at home.
* The Utes have won 131 of their last 138 games in the Jon M. Huntsman Center, including a 14-2 mark last season and a 12-0 start this season. Utah's current home court winning streak is 14 games.
* In conference home games over the last nine years, Utah is 62-2 (.969), which is the best record in the nation over that time span.
* Utah has gone unbeaten seven times in the 33-year history of the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Six of those undefeated home seasons have come under Rick Majerus: 1990-91 (16-0), 1992-93 (15-0), 1994-95 (15-0), 1997-98 (13-0), 1998-99 (14-0) and 1999-2000 (17-0).
* The Utes' all-time record in the Huntsman Center is 424-88. Utah got its 400th win in the history of the facility on Nov. 20, 2001 against Boise State.