Nick Jacobson scored a season-high 23 points against BYU on Monday.
Feb. 26, 2003
March 1 * 1:05 p.m. (MST) * The Pit/Bob King Court (18,018) * Albuquerque, N.M.
The Game at a Glance
Utah Head Coach: Rick Majerus New Mexico Head Coach: Ritchie McKay Alma Mater: Marquette, 1970 Alma Mater: Seattle Pacific, 1987 Record at Utah: 304-86/14th Season Record at New Mexico: 9-15/1st Season Career Record: 403-138/19th Season Career Record: 92-104/7th Season
Rankings: Utah (AP: No. 22, ESPN/USA Today: No. 23). New Mexico (NR)
Television: ESPN Regional (KJZZ-TV in Salt Lake City). Also available on ESPN Full Court (pay-per-view). Rich Waltz (play-by-play) and Irv Brown (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: Utah leads 72-37 Utah's Record Home/Away/Neutral: 47-5/23-31/2-1 Last Meeting: Utah defeated New Mexico 78-58 on Feb. 3 in Salt Lake City.
The Runnin' Utes play their final road game of the season against Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo., on Monday, March 3 at 7:07 p.m. (MST). The game will be televised by KJZZ-TV.
Quickly On Utah
The Runnin' Utes (21-4, 9-1 MWC) go for their 10th straight win, taking on New Mexico (9-15, 3-8 MWC) on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. (MST) at The Pit in Albuquerque, N.M. The game will be televised as ESPN Regional's MWC "Game of the Week" and broadcast on KALL-910 AM and the Utah Sports Network.
Utah, ranked 22nd in the AP poll and 23rd by ESPN/USA Today, has won 16 of its last 17 and lost only once since Dec. 17. The Utes are in sole possession of first place in the Mountain West, leading BYU and Wyoming by two games. Monday night in Salt Lake City, Utah defeated Brigham Young 71-64. Utah is 14-0 at home this season, 6-2 on the road and 1-2 on neutral courts. The Runnin' Utes ranked 10th in the NCAA in scoring defense (59.7 ppg) and 27th in three-point percentage (38.9) as of Tuesday
Three Utes are averaging double figures in points. Junior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 200) has the lead in scoring (13.2 ppg) and is shooting 43.3 percent from three-point range (62-for-142). Junior center Tim Frost (6-10, 236) is second in scoring (13.2 ppg), trailing Jacobson 331 points to 330, and is second in rebounding (4.7 rpg). Senior forward Britton Johnsen (6-10, 210) is third in scoring (12.2 ppg) and leads the effort in rebounding (6.8 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 (14.8 ppg) and is the team's most accurate shooter across the board, hitting 52.7 percent from the field, 52.5 percent from three-point range and 87.4 percent from the free throw line. Jackson ranked 24th in the NCAA in three-point percentage as of Tuesday.
Utah Ranked In Top 25 For Second Straight Week
The Runnin' Utes were ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation by both polls released Monday afternoon after cracking the AP Top 25 a week ago. In the Associated Press poll, Utah was ranked 22nd with 334 points, up one spot from last week. The Utes entered the ESPN/USA Today poll at No. 23 with 99 points.
When the Runnin' Utes broke into the AP poll last week, it was the first time they were ranked in the Top 25 since early in the 2000-01 season. Utah was last ranked the week of Dec. 4, 2000 when it was 22nd in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today polls.
Utes Seeing 20/20 Once Again
With its win over UNLV on Feb. 17. Utah 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 eight 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), 2002-03 (21-4).
Chasing Down A Championship
Leading the Mountain West Conference race by two games with four remaining, Utah is closing in on its eighth regular-season conference title in nine years. The Utes' run of seven consecutive conference championships, which was tied with Cincinnati's as the longest active streak in the country, came to an end last season with their second-place finish. Wyoming defeated Utah in the last game of the regular season in Laramie, Wyo., on March 2 to edge out the Utes for the title. The U. finished 10-4 in league play.
Utah has captured nine regular-season league titles in the Rick Majerus era, dating back to the 1989-90 season. Utah won the WAC regular-season championship outright in 1991 and shared it in 1993 before winning five consecutive outright WAC titles from 1995-99 (the last three being divisional titles). Utah went 10-4 in conference play in 1999-2000 to share the inaugural Mountain West Conference championship with UNLV. The Utes also went 10-4 in 2000-01 to split the title with Brigham Young and Wyoming.
* Utah's nine-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.
* At 9-1, Utah has the best mark through 10 games in Mountain West Conference history. 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. Wyoming also has four road wins this season.
* The Runnin' Utes road record over the last four years in the Mountain West Conference is 14-12, which is second-best to Wyoming's mark of 15-11.
Scouting The Lobos
New Mexico is 9-15 overall and in seventh place in the Mountain West Conference with a 3-8 record. After getting an 82-72 win over Colorado State at home on Feb. 17, the Lobos have dropped two in a row on the road. New Mexico lost 74-69 at UNLV last Saturday and fell 89-73 at San Diego State on Monday. The Lobos are 9-6 at home this season, including a 3-2 mark in conference games.
Senior guard Ruben Douglas (6-5, 200) is averaging 28.5 points per game to lead the nation in scoring. Douglas also ranks 12th in the NCAA in three-point field goals per game (3.5). In the MWC rankings, Douglas is sixth in rebounds (6.3 rpg), fourth in free throw percentage (84.7), 10th in three-point percentage (41.5) and eighth in steals (1.25 spg). Sophomore forward Jamaal Williams (6-6, 230), who has started 14 games on the season but has played off the bench in six of 11 conference games, is the only other Lobo averaging double figures in scoring (11.8 ppg) and is third on the roster in rebounding (5.3 rpg). Junior guard Javin Tindall (5-11, 175) is third on the team in scoring average (8.8 ppg) and first in assists (2.6 apg).
The Lobos rank sixth in the MWC in scoring offense (71.4 ppg), eighth in scoring defense (73.0 ppg), seventh in rebound margin (-2.8 rpg), fourth in three-point percentage (.370) and second in three-pointers made per game (8.33).
Head Coach Ritchie McKay
Ritchie McKay is in his first season at New Mexico and has a 92-104 record in his seventh year as a head coach.
McKay, who was the head coach at Colorado State for two seasons (1998-2000), returned to the Mountain West Conference this year following a two-year stint at Oregon State (2000-02) where he went 22-37. At CSU, McKay went 19-11 in 1998-99, taking the Rams to the third round of the NIT. His team went 18-12 in 1999-2000 when he was named Coach of the Year by College Hoops Insider magazine. McKay began his head coaching career at Portland State, going 24-29 in two seasons from 1996-98.
Utah-New Mexico Series Notes
* The Utes and Lobos meet for the 110th time on Saturday. The series dates back to a 59-47 win by Utah on Jan. 3, 1952 in Albuquerque, N.M., in a Skyline Conference match-up.
* Utah leads the all-time series 72-37, winning three in a row and 10 of the last 12 games.
* The Lobos' last win over the Runnin' Utes was on March 9, 2001 (56-53) in the Mountain West Conference Tournament semifinals in Las Vegas. Since then, Utah swept the series last season, winning 81-51 on Jan. 21 in Albuquerque and 66-65 on Feb. 18 in Salt Lake City, and took the first meeting this year, 78-68 on Feb. 3 in the Huntsman Center.
* In conference play, the Utes have a 69-34 advantage.
* In Albuquerque, the Lobos lead 31-23. Utah has taken two in a row at The Pit, winning 66-61 on March 3, 2001 and 81-51 on Jan. 21, 2002. The Utes' last loss to the Lobos in Albuquerque was 72-62 on Feb. 19, 2000.
* Utah's most decisive win over UNM under Rick Majerus was 36 points (86-50) on March 10, 1995 in the WAC Tournament in Albuquerque, N.M.
* New Mexico's most decisive win over Utah during the Rick Majerus era was 16 points (87-71) on Feb. 1, 1997 in Albuquerque, N.M.
* Rick Majerus is 19-8 against New Mexico all-time with all of those games taking place during his tenure at Utah. He is 4-8 in against UNM in Albuquerque, winning four of the last eight games. That mark includes a 1-1 record in WAC Tournament games (1996-97). He is 13-0 against New Mexico in Salt Lake City.
* Ritchie McKay is 1-2 against Utah. He went 1-1 against Utah during his tenure at Colorado State, splitting the season series in 1999-2000. The Utes and Rams did not meet in 1998-99.
Marc Jackson had a nearly perfect shooting night and scored 20 points as Utah defeated New Mexico 78-68 on Feb. 3 in the Huntsman Center. Jackson came off the bench and shot 6-for-6, including three three-pointers, and was 5-for-6 from the line in just 22 minutes of play.
Ruben Douglas scored 32 points for New Mexico, but they didn't come easy. Shadowed and bumped throughout the game, he had to earn 13 of his points from the line.
Jamaal Williams, who scored 13 points, made a jumper to clip Utah's lead to 69-61 and then Johnsen missed two free throws. But just as he had in the last four games, Jackson came to the Utes' rescue with a running bank shot and two free throws to seal the victory, Utah's 14th in a row at home against New Mexico.
Early in the second half, Douglas hit two free throws to close to 48-46 before Utah began to exploit the tiring Lobos, who have just eight scholarship players.
Johnsen made a three-pointer and a pair of foul shots. After two more free throws by Douglas, Jackson scored eight straight points to give Utah a 61-48 lead with 10:32 remaining. The Utes held the Lobos without a field goal for 9:30 of the second half. The Lobos made 11 free throws during the stretch.
Utah led by as many as nine in the first half, but the Lobos, behind Douglas' 15 points, cut the gap to 37-35 at halftime.
Jacobson Stroking "J"s
Junior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 200) is Utah's second-best scorer this season (13.2 ppg) and paces the team in three-pointers made, hitting 62-of-141 (44.0 percent) from beyond the arc.
* Jacobson has scored in double-figures in 41 of the last 55 games dating back to last season, including 20 of the 25 games in 2002-03.
* With his numbers this season, Jacobson ranks tied for third in three-pointers made (61) and ninth in three-point attempts (141) on the Ute single-season charts. 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).
* In the last eight games, Jacobson has gone for at least 10 points. Over that stretch, he has averaged 14.8 points per game while shooting 45.5 percent from the field, 48.7 percent (19-of-39) from three-point range and 85.3 percent from the free throw line. Jacobson had a season-high 23 points against BYU on Feb. 24, going 7-of-12 from the field, 4-of-7 from three-point range and 5-of-5 from the free throw line. He also tied a career-high with six rebounds against New Mexico on Feb. 3.
Frost Formidable Inside
Junior center Tim Frost (6-10, 236) has established himself as a strong interior presence in his first season with the Utes. Frost is second on the team in scoring (13.2 ppg), getting at least 20 points three times and reaching double figures in 19 games this season, including 12 of the last 13. He is also second in rebounds per game (4.7 rpg). Frost ranks 13th in the Mountain West in scoring and 16th in rebounds.
* An inside-outside threat, he is shooting 51.9 percent from the field to rank ninth in the MWC and 44.7 percent from outside the arc. He also has 19 blocked shots, getting a season-high of four against Colorado State on Feb. 8.
* Frost equaled his career-high with 22 points against UNLV on Feb. 17. He shot 8-of-13 from the field, 1-of-2 from three-point range and 5-of-5 from the free throw line in 35 minutes. Frost came back in the Utes' next game with 21 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes against BYU on Feb. 24. He shot 7-of-10 from the field, 1-of-2 beyond the arc and 6-of-6 at the line.
Game #25 Rewind
Nick Jacobson scored a season-high 23 points and Tim Frost had 21 as No. 22 Utah beat Brigham Young 71-64 Monday night, sweeping the season series between the state rivals for the first time in three years. The Utes (21-4, 9-1 Mountain West) won their ninth straight game and increased their lead in the conference over the Cougars (18-7, 7-3) to two games with just four games to go in the regular season.
Utah committed 20 turnovers, but made up for it at the free throw line, where the Utes were 23-for-25 and sealed the win by making their last eight attempts.
Travis Hansen and Rafael Araujo both scored 13 to lead BYU. Mark Bigelow finished with 12 points for the Cougars, who couldn't get closer than three points after falling behind by 13 early in the second half.
The game heated up quickly after halftime when Jacobson went down hard in the lane after getting fouled. Araujo was called for an intentional foul and Jacobson made both free throws to put the Utes up 35-28. Then Frost got open below the basket and was fouled while dunking it. He made the free throw and Utah led by 10.
The Utes extended the lead to 13, but the Cougars never let it get too far out of hand. BYU's Kevin Woodberry made a three-pointer to start a 9-2 run that got BYU to 51-47 midway through the half and the Cougars kept within range until the end.
Woodberry hit another trey that cut the lead to 63-59, then made a steal at midcourt and went 1-for-2 from the line after getting fouled to get the Cougars to 63-60. But that was as close as it got.
Marc Jackson, Britton Johnsen, Frost and Jacobson all were perfect from the line after the Cougars were forced to foul. Johnsen, who played just four minutes in the first half because of foul trouble, finished with nine points after being shut out in the first half. Jackson, who went 13-for-13 in Utah's 79-74 win at BYU on Jan. 25, was 6-for-6 from the line Monday.
Utah outrebounded the Cougars 31-27 and had four blocked shots. The Utes also connected on 8-of-18 three-pointers (44.4 percent), led by Jacobson's 4-for-7 effort.
From Beyond The Arc
Utah is shooting 38.9 percent from three-point range to rank 27th in the NCAA as of Tuesday. The Utes have hit at least 40 percent of their long-range shots 13 times and 50 percent or better on five occasions. Utah is 11-2 when shooting at least 40 percent from three-point land this season.
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 10th in the NCAA in scoring defense as of Tuesday, currently giving up 59.7 points per game.
* 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 87 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.
Knockin' Them Down From The Line
In its last four games, Utah has shot 88.0 percent from the free throw line, going 73-of-83.
* The Utes had a season-best effort from the free throw line to salt away their overtime win against UNLV on Feb. 17. Utah shot 92.3 percent, hitting 24-of-26. The Utes hit all 10 free throws in the overtime period and went 10-of-11 in the second half. As a result, Utah scored a season-high 86 points against the Rebels.
* Utah came back in its next game a week later to hit 92.0 percent from the line against BYU on Feb. 24. The Utes hit 23-of-25 free throws, including all eight in the last minute.