Richard Chaney had his best scoring game of the conference season with 14 against New Mexico on Saturday.
March 2, 2003
March 3 * 7:07 p.m. (MST) * Clune Arena (6,002) * Colorado Springs, Colo.
The Game at a Glance
Utah Head Coach: Rick Majerus Air Force Head Coach: Joe Scott Alma Mater: Marquette, 1970 Alma Mater: Princeton, 1987 Record at Utah: 304-87/14th Season Record at Air Force: 28-54/3rd Season Career Record: 403-139/19th Season Career Record: 28-54/3rd Season
Rankings: Utah (AP: No. 22, ESPN/USA Today: No. 23). Air Force (NR)
Television: KJZZ-TV (Channel 14, AT&T Cable 3) in Salt Lake City. Also available on ESPN Full Court (pay-per-view). Steve Brown (play-by-play) and Thurl Bailey (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 38-7 Utah's Record Home/Away/Neutral: 23-1/14-6/1-0 Last Meeting: Utah defeated Air Force 45-35 on Feb. 1, 2003 in Salt Lake City.
The Runnin' Utes wrap-up the regular season with a pair of home games later this week. Utah hosts Colorado State on Thursday at 7:07 p.m (MST) and Wyoming on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. (MST).
Quickly On Utah
The Runnin' Utes (21-5, 9-2 MWC) play their final road game of the season against Air Force (11-14, 2-10 MWC) on Monday at 7:07 p.m. (MST) at Clune Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo. The game will be televised by KJZZ-TV 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 18. Utah had its nine-game winning streak snapped with a 76-69 loss at New Mexico on Saturday in Albuquerque. N.M. Last Monday night in Salt Lake City, Utah defeated Brigham Young 71-64. The Utes remain in sole possession of first place in the Mountain West, leading BYU by one game and Wyoming by two games.
Utah is 14-0 at home this season, 6-3 on the road and 1-2 on neutral courts. The Runnin' Utes were ranked 10th in the NCAA in scoring defense (59.7 ppg) and 27th in three-point percentage (38.9) as of last Tuesday, and are currently giving up 60.3 points per game while hitting 38.2 percent from beyond the arc.
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 42.1 percent from three-point range (64-for-152). Junior center Tim Frost (6-10, 236) is second in scoring (13.0 ppg) and is second in rebounding (4.8 rpg). Senior forward Britton Johnsen (6-10, 210) is third in scoring (11.9 ppg) and leads the effort in rebounding (7.1 rpg). Freshman point guard Tim Drisdom (6-3, 203) leads the Utes in assists (3.3 apg). Sophomore guard Marc Jackson (6-1, 177) is Utah's top scorer in MWC play (14.9 ppg) and is the team's most accurate shooter across the board, hitting 52.4 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from three-point range and 87.4 percent from the free throw line. Jackson ranked 24th in the NCAA in free throw percentage as of last 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 last Monday afternoon after cracking the AP Top 25 the previous week. 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 (21-5).
Chasing Down A Championship
Leading the Mountain West Conference race by one game with three remaining, Utah is vying for 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.
* Before the loss at New Mexico on Saturday, Utah's nine-game winning streak was the longest in Mountain West Conference history and was the sixth-longest in the nation. Utah had won six league games in a row each of the last three years. UNLV and Wyoming also won six straight conference games in 2000 and 2001, respectively.
* 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 14-13, which is second-best to Wyoming's mark of 15-11.
* Utah has won 16 in a row at home which is the eighth longest streak in the nation. Oklahoma has top mark with 36 straight wins.
Scouting The Falcons
Air Force is 11-14 overall and in eighth place the Mountain West Conference with a 2-10 record. The Falcons have lost four games in a row, their longest losing streak of the season. Air Force dropped road games at San Diego State (67-53) and UNLV (74-70) last weekend, then fell to Brigham Young (56-43) at home on Saturday. Air Force is 8-3 at home this season and 2-3 in conference games, getting wins over UNLV (75-71) on Jan. 25 and Colorado State (80-75) on Feb. 15.
Sophomore guard Tim Keller (6-3, 180) ranks 15th in the Mountain West in scoring (15.4 ppg) and second in steals (40). Keller ranked third in the NCAA in three-point percentage and 29th in three-pointers made per game as of last Tuesday. He is currently shooting 46.0 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 3.00 threes per game to rank second in the MWC in both categories. Keller is also an 81.6 percent from the free throw line to rank sixth in the conference. Junior forward Joel Gerlach (6-6, 195) is 16th in the MWC in scoring (11.8 ppg), fifth in the league in three-point percentage (43.8). Gerlach also and has a team-high 27 blocked shots to rank sixth in the league. Junior forward A.J. Kuhle (6-4, 185) is third in scoring (8.7 ppg), hitting 37.7 percent from beyond the arc. Senior center Tom Bellairs (6-7, 220) leads Air Force in rebounds (4.3 rpg) and assists (3.0 apg). Bellairs missed the second half of the BYU game after aggravating a hip injury.
The Falcons led the NCAA in scoring defense as of last Tuesday and are currently giving up 57.5 points per game. They also ranked 13th in the nation in field goal percentage, 13th in three-point field goals per game and 20th in three-point percentage. After Saturday's games, Air Force ranks eighth in the MWC in scoring (57.8 ppg), second in three-point percentage (38.2), first in three-pointers made per game (8.40), second in field goal percentage (58.1), first in assist/turnover ratio (1.16) and eighth in rebound margin (-9.2 rpg).
Head Coach Joe Scott
Joe Scott is 28-54 in his third season at Air Force. He led the Falcons to an 8-21 overall record in 2000-01, followed by a 9-19 record last season. His teams have gone 3-11 in the MWC both of his previous years.
Scott came to the the Academy from Princeton, where he spent eight years as an assistant under Hall-of-Famer Pete Carrill and Bill Carmody. Scott was a four-year lettermen and a three-year starter at point guard for Princeton. Scott helped the Tigers to the 1984 Ivy League championship and a first round NCAA Tournament victory over San Diego.
Utah-Air Force Series Notes
* Utah and Air Force meet for the 46th time on Monday. The Runnin' Utes have won three in a row and 13 of the last 14 games from the Falcons. Utah took the first game this season, winning 45-35 on Feb. 1 in Salt Lake City. The series dates back to a 108-57 win by the Runnin' Utes on Dec. 23, 1965 in Salt Lake City.
* Utah leads the all-time series 38-7. Utah had won 10 in a row before Air Force defeated Utah in the second meeting in 2001 by a 71-60 margin on March 1 in Colorado Springs, Colo.
* In Colorado Springs, Colo., the Utes are 14-6. Utah has won five of the last six and had won four in a row before losing 71-60 on March 1, 2001. Last season, the Utes won in Colorado Springs 63-57 in overtime on Jan. 19.
* Utah's most decisive win over Air Force under Rick Majerus was 26 points (87-61) on Feb. 18, 1993 in Salt Lake City.
* Air Force has only one win against Utah with Rick Majerus on the bench. The Falcons won 91-89 on Feb. 19, 1994 in overtime in Colorado Springs. When Air Force won in 2000-01, Dick Hunsaker was serving as Utah's acting head coach.
* In conference play, the Utes have a 34-7 advantage.
* Rick Majerus is 20-1 against Air Force all-time and 19-1 during his tenure at Utah.
* Joe Scott is 1-4 against Utah and 0-3 head-to-head against Rick Majerus.
Marc Jackson scored 12 points and Utah held Air Force scoreless for more than five minutes down the stretch to beat the Falcons 45-35 on Feb. 1 in Salt Lake City.
Utah led through most of the defensive struggle, but Air Force scored six consecutive points capped by Tom Bellairs' three-pointers for a 33-31 lead with 5:36 to play. But the Utes kept the Falcons scoreless for the next 5:29 while scoring 12 straight points to win for the 10th time in their last 11 games.
Utah's Nick Jacobson scored eight of his 10 points in the game-clinching surge, going five of six at the line and adding a three-pointer. Jackson made both his three-point attempts and converted all four of his free throws.
Tim Keller had nine points and Bellairs added eight for Air Force, which fell to 1-13 against the Utes in recent years. The Falcons couldn't overcome 41 percent free throw shooting (7-for-17) and were outrebounded 36-20.
The Falcons came in leading the MWC in three-point percentage (.417) but shot just 2-of-13 from beyond the arc.
Utah tied the school record for fewest points by an opponent since the inception of the shot clock, set last year in a win at St. Mary's (41-35) on Jan. 7.
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. Johnsen has already earned first team all-District 13 honors by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) this season. He is also the reigning Mountain West Conference Player of the Year.
* Johnsen became the 29th player in school history to score 1,000 points against UNLV on Feb. 17. As he wraps-up his four-year career at Utah, Johnsen currently totals 1,022 points to rank 27th all-time at the U. He also has 553 rebounds in his career.
* This season, Johnsen appears in the top 20 in four MWC statistical categories, ranking 15th in scoring (11.9 ppg), fourth in rebounds (7.1 rpg), 14th in field goal percentage (47.3) and 11th in steals (1.12 spg).
* Johnsen has led Utah in rebounding in 17 of the 24 games he's appeared in this season-including nine games in a row before the BYU game on Feb. 24-averaging 7.1 boards per contest. Johnsen had a season-best 13 rebounds against New Mexico on March 1, missing his career high by one.
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 (13.0 ppg), getting at least 20 points three times and reaching double figures in 19 games this season, including 12 of the last 14. He is also second in rebounds per game (4.8 rpg). Frost ranks 13th in the Mountain West in scoring and 14th in rebounds.
* An inside-outside threat, he is shooting 51.4 percent from the field to rank ninth in the MWC and 43.8 percent from outside the arc. Frost has made 17 consecutive free throws over the last five games (Feb. 10-Mar. 1) and is hitting 71.4 percent on the season. 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. Before a 4-for-10 effort from the field and eight points against New Mexico on March 1, he had been shooting 63.9 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from three-point range (4-of-8) and 95.2 percent from the free throw line (20-of-21) over the previous four games.
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 9-2 record in the Mountain West Conference.
* Jackson has been Utah's most productive scorer in conference action, scoring in double figures in the first eight games and nine of 11 overall. In MWC play, Jackson ranks 10th among the league's players in scoring (14.9 ppg), fifth in field goal percentage (54.5), first in three-point percentage (54.1) by hitting 20-of-37, second in free throw percentage (87.0), third in assists (3.64 apg), and fourth in assists/turnover ratio (1.48) in 26.4 minutes per game.
* Jackson leads the Mountain West Conference in overall three-point percentage (50.0) and free throw percentage (87.4). At one point this season, he made 19 consecutive free throws (Jan. 20-Feb. 3), hitting his last one against UNLV, all 13 against BYU, all four against Air Force and his first against New Mexico.
* Jackson led the Utes in scoring for the sixth time in 10 games against New Mexico on March 1. He had 16 points, hitting 6-of-12 field goals and 4-of-10 three-pointers. He also had four assists to lead the Utes in that category for the fifth consecutive game.
* The Salt Lake City native had a career-high 21 points against Wyoming on Feb. 10. He shot 6-of-10 from the field, 3-of-4 from three-point range and 6-of-6 at the free throw line against the Cowboys.
* Jackson was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week (Jan. 19-25) for his performances against UNLV and Brigham Young. In 25 minutes played in each contest, he averaged 19.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 3.5 assists, while shooting 62 percent (8-of-13) from the field and 91 percent (20-of-22) from the free throw line.
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 this 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 (5.9 ppg) ranks fifth, Drisdom (5.1 ppg) sixth and Markson (3.5 ppg) eighth on the team in scoring. Chaney is also third on the team in rebounding (3.3 rpg).
* Chaney had his best offensive game in Mountain West play with 14 points in 15 minutes against New Mexico on March 1. He hit 6-of-8 shots and 2-of-4 three-pointers, and also contributed five rebounds.
* Drisdom has his second-best scoring game in conference play with 11 points against New Mexico on March1, hitting 3-of-6 three-pointers and both free throws. He also had five rebounds. Drisdom came up big in Utah's overtime win over UNLV on Feb. 17. The Artesia, Calif., native had a career-high 17 points on a perfect shooting night, hitting four field goals, three three-pointers and six free throws in 20 minutes. He scored nine of his points in the overtime period and did an excellent defensive job on the Rebels' leading scorer, Marcus Banks.
Drisdom Moving Up The Freshman Charts
With three regular-season games remaining, point guard Tim Drisdom (6-3, 203) is moving up the all-time freshman charts at Utah. He has started every game this season, averaging 21.9 minutes per game.
* Drisdom has 23 three-pointers and is two away from overtaking Trace Caton (1997-98) for fifth place. If he maintains his current three-point percentage of 45.1 he will move into third place, ahead of Keith Van Horn (1993-94), who shot 44.3 percent as a rookie.
* With 86 assists, Drisdom is in third place behind Josh Grant's (1988-89) total of 114. His average of 3.3 assists per game is fourth-best, just behind Grant's 3.5 assists per game.
* Drisdom's 21 steals are three away from tying Mitch Smith (1985-86) and Jimmy Soto (1989-90) for fourth place with 24.
Game #26 Rewind
Ruben Douglas, the nation's leading scorer, had 39 points, including a school-record 26 free throws, as New Mexico beat No. 22 Utah 76-69 on Saturday at The Pit. Marc Jackson led the Utes with 16 points and Richard Chaney scored 14. But Tim Frost and Britton Johnsen, two of the Utes' leading scorers, combined for just 13 points on 5-of-19 shooting.
New Mexico (10-15, 4-8 MWC) went to the foul line 53 times to snap the Utes' nine-game winning streak, which was the sixth-longest in the nation. Utah (21-5, 9-2 MWC) put up a school record 40 three-point attempts, hitting 12. That broke the previous school mark of 34 three-point attempts against San Diego State in 1999.
With Douglas and point guard Javin Tindall consistently beating the Utes on drives inside, the Lobos had a field day at the free throw line. They made 40 of their 53 foul shots to offset Utah's 25-16 edge in field goals. Utah shot only seven free throws and made all of them.
Douglas was 26-for-31 at the free throw line, including 20-of-23 in the second half. Douglas, who is averaging a Division I-best 28.5 points a game, was 5-of-17 from the field. But the Utes repeatedly sent him to the line. The 31 foul shots attempted by Douglas also set a school record.
The 6-foot-5 Douglas also had a career-high 14 rebounds. His 26 free throws broke the previous mark of 19 free throws by Toby Roybal against Wyoming in 1956. Tindall went 6-for-6 at the line and had 15 points.
That was enough to offset two scoring droughts from the field. The Lobos went the final eight minutes of the first half without a field goal but still led 27-22. And their only field goal over the game's final seven and a half minutes was a layup by David Chiotti with 12 seconds left.
New Mexico never trailed after scoring 10 straight points for a 13-6 lead. Douglas, who missed his first three shots and first two free throws, sparked the run. He hit consecutive three-pointers in a span of 22 seconds, then added a short jumper in the lane.
Utah got within 67-61 on a three-pointer by Jackson with 1:09 left, but Douglas kept the Lobos in front with seven free throws over the final minute.
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 10th in the NCAA in scoring defense as of last Tuesday and is currently giving up 60.3 points per game.
* The Utes have held 15 teams under 60 points this season and four teams under 50 points.
* Twelve opponents have shot under 40 percent from the field this season. The only team to defeat Utah when shooting under 40 percent is New Mexico on March 1 when the Lobos shot 38.1 percent. However, the Lobos made 40-of-53 free throws.
* 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 88 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 five games, Utah has shot 88.9 percent from the free throw line, going 80-of-90. As a result, Utah has improved from a rough start at the charity stripe to 70.4 percent on the season and 74.0 percent in Mountain West Conference play.
* The Utes had a season-best effort (in games with over 10 attempts) 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 on Feb. 24 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.