Tim Frost, Utah's leading scorer, had a career-high 23 points against Colorado State
March 7, 2003
March 8 * 1:05 p.m. (MST) * Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000) * Salt Lake City
The Game at a Glance
Utah Head Coach: Rick Majerus Wyoming Head Coach: Steve McClain Alma Mater: Marquette, 1970 Alma Mater: Chadron State, 1984 Record at Utah: 305-88/14th Season Record at Wyoming: 99-49/5th Season Career Record: 404-140/19th Season Career Record: 99-49/5th Season
Rankings: Utah (AP: RV-No. 27, ESPN/USA Today: No. 23). Wyoming (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 83-69 Utah's Record Home/Away/Neutral: 52-22/29-45/2-2 Last Meeting: Utah defeated Wyoming 69-56 on Feb. 10, 2003 in Laramie, Wyo.
The Runnin' Utes head to Las Vegas for the 2003 Mountain West Conference Tournament, Thursday-Saturday (March 13-15) at the Thomas & Mack Center. Tournament play begins on Thursday with quarterfinal games.
Quickly On Utah
The Runnin' Utes (22-6, 10-3 MWC) close out the regular season against Wyoming (20-8, 8-5 MWC) on Saturday at 1:05 p.m. (MST) in the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The game will be televised by ESPN Regional as the Mountain West "Game of the Week" and broadcast on KALL-910 AM and the Utah Sports Network.
Utah, ranked 23rd by ESPN/USA Today and 27th in the A.P. poll, had won 16 of 17 before dropping two of its last three. After having its nine-game winning streak snapped with a 76-69 loss at New Mexico last Saturday, the Utes bounced back with a 57-52 win at Air Force on Monday night. Utah then lost at home to Colorado State on Thursday night, 66-65.
Utah is 14-1 at home this season, 7-3 on the road and 1-2 on neutral courts. The Runnin' Utes were ranked 11th in the NCAA in scoring defense and 27th in three-point percentage as of Tuesday, and are currently giving up 60.2 points per game while hitting 38.3 percent from beyond the arc.
Three Utes are averaging double figures in points. Junior center Tim Frost (6-10, 236) leads the way in scoring (13.5 ppg), shooting a team-best 52.0 percent from the field, and is second in rebounding (4.9 rpg). Junior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 200) is second in scoring (13.1 ppg) and is shooting 42.3 percent from three-point range (66-for-156). Senior forward Britton Johnsen (6-10, 210) is third in scoring (11.4 ppg) and leads the effort in rebounding (6.7 rpg). Freshman point guard Tim Drisdom (6-3, 203) leads the Utes in assists (3.2 apg). Sophomore guard Marc Jackson (6-1, 177) is fourth in scoring (9.0 ppg), shooting 46.3 percent from three-point range and a team-best 86.0 percent from the line.
Chasing Down A Championship
Tied with Brigham Young for first place at 10-3 heading into Saturday's games, Utah is vying for its eighth regular-season conference title in nine years. Utah would win the tie breaker over the Cougars by virtue of sweeping the season series.
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 loss to Colorado State on Thursday night snapped its home winning steak at 16 games, which is tied for the ninth-longest streak in the nation. Oklahoma has top mark with 37 straight wins.
* Before the loss at New Mexico on March 1, 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' five road victories in conference play is its most since being a member of the Mountain West and ties the best mark in league history. The Utes had four road wins in 2002 for its previous best total. Wyoming and BYU also have the conference's best road record for a season. The Cowboys had five road wins in 2002 while BYU reached that mark in 2003. Wyoming has four road wins in conference play this season heading into its game at Utah on Saturday.
* The Runnin' Utes road record over the last four years in the Mountain West Conference is 15-13, which is second-best to Wyoming's mark of 15-12.
Utah Ranked In Top 25 For Third Straight Week
The Runnin' Utes are ranked among the top 25 teams in the nation by ESPN/USA Today after appearing in both polls last week. Utah held steady at No. 23 in the ESPN/USA Today poll with 89 points. In the Associated Press poll, Utah fell five spots to No. 27 with 118 points.
This is the third consecutive week Utah has been ranked after cracking the AP Top 25 on Feb. 17. When the Runnin' Utes broke into the AP poll, it was the first time they were 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
Utah has 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 (22-6).
2003 EAS Mountain West Conference Tournament Schedule
A complete tournament bracket with tipoff times and television information will be announced by MWC officials at 9:00 p.m. on Saturday at the conclusion of regular-season games. The bracket will be available on the web at www.theMWC.com and the University of Utah's official website, www.UtahUtes.com.
Quarterfinals - Thursday (March 7) Game 1 - No. 2 vs. No. 7 12:00 p.m. (ESPN+Plus) Game 2 - No. 3 vs. No. 6 2:30 p.m. (ESPN+Plus) Game 3 - No. 1 vs. No. 8 6:00 p.m. (ESPN+Plus) Game 4 - No. 4 vs. No. 5 9:00 p.m. (ESPN)(All Times Pacific Standard Time)
Semifinals - Friday (March 8) Game 5 - Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 6:00 p.m. (ESPN+Plus) Game 6 - Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 9:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Championship - Saturday (March 8) Game 7 - Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6 7:00 p.m. (ESPN)
Scouting The Cowboys
Wyoming is 20-8 overall and in third place in the Mountain West Conference standings with an 8-5 record. After opening the second half of the league schedule with three straight wins, the Cowboys have dropped two of their last three. The Pokes lost to San Diego State at home (86-73) last Saturday, beat UNLV at home (69-66) on Monday and fell to Brigham Young in Provo, Utah, (69-50) on Thursday night. Wyoming is 6-4 on the road this season, including a 4-2 mark in conference play.
Senior guard Donta Richardson (6-2, 170) ranks third in the MWC in scoring (17.9 ppg), shooting 37.4 percent from three-point range and 82.4 percent from the free throw line. He also has a team-best 35 steals. Senior center Uche Nsonwu-Amadi (6-10, 260) was ranked 14th in the NCAA in rebounds as of Tuesday and currently is averaging 10.0 boards per game to rank first in the MWC. Nsonwu-Amadi is UW's second-leading scorer (13.4 ppg) and ranks fourth in the conference in blocked shots (1.26 bpg). Sophomore guard Jay Straight (5-11, 165) leads Wyoming in assists (3.3 apg) and is third in scoring (10.2 ppg). Senior guard/forward Marcus Bailey, a first team all-MWC selection last season who was averaging 15.6 points per game, was lost for the season in late December with a knee injury.
As of Tuesday, UW ranked 34th in the NCAA in rebound margin, and has a 4.8 per game advantage over its opponents heading into Saturday's game to rank third in the MWC. Wyoming ranks third in the Mountain West in scoring (73.2 ppg) and fifth in scoring defense (69.4 ppg).
Head Coach Steve McClain
Steve McClain has a 99-49 career record in his fifth season at Wyoming. Last season, he led the Cowboys to a 22-9 record and an 11-3 mark in league play to claim UW's second consecutive Mountain West title. Wyoming also advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament, upsetting sixth-seeded Gonzaga in the first round before falling to Arizona. McClain's team went 20-10 in 2000-02 and finished in a three-way tie with the Utah and BYU for the MWC title at 10-4, capturing the Pokes' first conference title in 15 seasons. It was also their first 20-win season since 1990-91.
Prior to going to Wyoming, McClain served as an assistant coach for Billy Tubbs at TCU. During his four seasons at TCU, McClain helped the Horned Frogs to one NIT appearance (1997), one NCAA appearance (1998) and one conference title (1998). In 1994 as the head coach at Hutchinson Community College in Kansas, he led his team to the National Junior College Championship while earning NJCAA National Coach of the Year honors.
Utah-Wyoming Series Notes
* Utah and Wyoming meet for the 153rd time on Saturday afternoon in a series that dates back to a 41-25 win by Utah on March 11, 1914 in Laramie, Wyo. Before not meeting during the 1996-97 and 1998-99 seasons, the Runnin' Utes and Cowboys had met every year since 1943-44.
* Utah leads the all-time series 83-69. Wyoming had won three in a row-with two of those wins coming in Laramie-before Utah registered a 69-56 win in Laramie on Feb. 10.
* In conference regular season play, Utah has a 71-58 advantage.
* In Salt Lake City, the Utes are 52-22 and had won seven in a row before Wyoming prevailed 54-46 last season on Feb. 4. Before then, Utah had not lost to Wyoming in the Huntsman Center since falling 70-57 on Feb. 22, 1992.
* Utah's most decisive win over Wyoming during Rick Majerus' tenure was 19 points (64-45) on Jan. 28, 1993.
* Wyoming most decisive win over Utah under Rick Majerus was 13 points (70-57) on Feb. 22, 1992.
* Rick Majerus is 12-8 against Wyoming all-time with all of those games taking place during his tenure at Utah. Majerus is 7-2 in Salt Lake City and 5-6 in Laramie, including one win during the 1991 WAC Tournament.
* Steve McClain is 4-3 against Utah during his tenure at Wyoming, including a 3-0 mark in Laramie.
Marc Jackson scored 21 points to lead Utah to a 69-56 win over Wyoming on Feb. 10, handing Rick Majerus his 400th coaching victory. Tim Frost added 16 points and Nick Jacobson 15 for the Utes, who picked up their first win in Laramie since Jan. 28, 1993, snapping a seven-game skid at the Arena-Auditorium.
Donta Richardson led Wyoming with 23 points. Uche Nsonwu-Amadi had eight points and 13 rebounds for the Cowboys.
Utah (18-4, 6-1 MWC) won its sixth straight and 13th of its last 14 to stay in a tie for first place. Wyoming (16-6, 4-3 MWC) lost three straight conference games for the first time in six seasons. The Utes shot 46 percent, including 8-of-14 from the arc, while the Cowboys shot 37.5 percent, lowest since a 74-60 win over Detroit on Dec. 28.
Utah held Wyoming to one field goal during an eight-minute stretch of the second half to put the game away. After Jay Straight's three-pointer for Wyoming tied the game at 35 with 16:02 remaining, Utah went on a 13-3 run. Trace Caton had a putback and three-pointer and a layup by Jackson capped the surge, which left the Utes up 48-38 with 8:18 to play.
The lead reached 55-44 on Jacobson's running jumper at the 4:49 mark and then 67-53 on two free throws by Frost with 48 seconds remaining. Over the last nine minutes, Wyoming could draw no closer than seven points. The Cowboys had not lost back-to-back conference home games since 1994-95.
Jackson scored 10 of his points in the first half to stake Utah to a 30-26 lead at intermission. Wyoming took its last lead at 16-14 after a 20-foot jumper by Joe Ries with 7:28 remaining in the first period, but Jackson scored the next eight points on a pair of three-pointers and a layup to put the Utes up 22-16.
Jacobson Stroking "J"s
Junior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 200) is Utah's second-best scorer this season (13.1 ppg) and paces the team in three-pointers made, hitting 66-of-156 (42.3 percent) from beyond the arc. He ranks 14th in the Mountain West in scoring, first in free throw percentage (86.0), seventh in three-point percentage and fourth in three-pointers made (2.36).
* Jacobson has scored in double-figures in 43 of the last 58 games dating back to last season, including 22 of the 28 games in 2002-03. He has led the Utes in scoring eight times this season.
* With his numbers this season, Jacobson ranks third in three-pointers made (66) and fourth in three-point attempts (156) 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).
* Before missing his last three free throw attempts against Colorado State on Thursday, Jacobson had hit 32 consecutive free throws dating back to Feb. 3. Jacobson hit 10-of-10 against Air Force on March 3, recording one of 13 games in Utah history where a player has had a perfect night at the line with at least 10 attempts. As a result, he moved up to 23rd in the NCAA in free throw percentage as of Tuesday and is currently shooting 86.0 percent.
* Before getting eight points against Colorado State on Thursday, Jacobson had gone for at least 10 points in each of the previous 10 games, averaging 14.5 points per game over that stretch. 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. He has paced the team in scoring in seven games and rebounds 10 times this season. Frost is the Utes' scoring leader (13.5 ppg), getting at least 20 points four times and reaching double figures in 21 games this season, including 14 of the last 16. He is also second in rebounds per game (4.9 rpg). Frost ranks 11th in the Mountain West in scoring and 13th in rebounds.
* An inside-outside threat, he is shooting 52.0 percent from the field to rank eighth in the MWC and 47.2 percent from outside the arc. Before missing his first attempt against Colorado State on Thursday, Frost had made 18 consecutive free throws dating back to Feb. 10. He has made 27-of-30 in the last seven games and is s shooting 72.2 percent at the line this season. He also has 21 blocked shots, getting a season-high of four against Colorado State on Feb. 8, to rank 11th in the conference.
* Over the last seven games, Frost has shot 58.6 percent from the field, 57.1 percent from three-point range (8-of-14) and 90.0 percent from the free throw line while averaging 16.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Frost set a career-high with 23 points against Colorado State on March 6. He shot 8-of-16 from the field, 3-of-4 from three-point range and 4-of-5 at the line in 30 minutes, while also getting five rebounds and two blocked shots. Before then, Frost scored 22 points against UNLV on Feb. 17 and came back in the Utes' next game with 21 points and six rebounds in 29 minutes against BYU on Feb. 24. He had a league season-best seven rebounds against both New Mexico (March 1) and Air Force (March 3).
* The junior center has had two double-doubles as a Ute, taking him to eight for his career. Frost had 13 points and 10 rebounds against Pepperdine on Dec. 20, as well as 21 points and a season-high 11 rebounds against Saint Mary's on Jan. 6.
* The Klamath Falls, Ore., native spent the first two seasons of his college career at Portland. He was a first team all-West Coast Conference selection in his final season with the Pilots, averaging 14.9 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game.
Drisdom Moving Up The Freshman Charts
With one regular-season game 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 21.6 minutes per game.
* Drisdom has 24 three-pointers and is one away from overtaking Trace Caton (1997-98) for fifth place. If he maintains his current three-point percentage of 44.4 he will move into third place, ahead of Keith Van Horn (1993-94), who shot 44.3 percent as a rookie.
* With 89 assists, Drisdom is in third place behind Josh Grant's (1988-89) total of 114. His average of 3.2 assists per game is fourth-best, 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.
Koford Returns To Sender
Senior center Cameron Koford (7-0, 227) may only be averaging 12.3 minutes per game, but he has made his presence felt on defense end as a shot blocker.
* Koford, with 32 blocked shots this season, needs one more to tie Michael Doleac (1997-98) and Chris Burgess (2000-01) for the 10th place on the Ute single-season charts and is two away from tying Mitch Smith (1985-86) and Paul Afeaki (1991-92) for eighth place.
* With 55 blocked shots in his three-year Utah career, Koford needs two more to tie Paul Afeaki (1990-92) for 10th place.
Game #28 Rewind
Michael Morris hit two three-pointers in the final minutes, including the game-winner with 1.6 seconds left, as Colorado State rallied for a 66-65 win over Utah on Thursday.
The Utes, who could have clinched at least a tie for the Mountain West Conference regular season title, played the second half without coach Rick Majerus, who was kicked out for a lengthy argument with the officials at halftime.
Brian Greene scored 14, including three on free throws for Majerus' technicals, and Ronnie Clark finished with 12 points.
Utah regrouped and led by as much as six late in the second half, but couldn't stop Morris, who led the Rams (16-12, 4-8 MWC) with 17 points-six of which came on his final two shots.
The Utes (22-6, 10-3 MWC) were close to wrapping it up with a 64-60 lead and Marc Jackson going to the line for two free throws with 1:01 left. But Jackson, an 88 percent free throw shooter, went 1-for-2 and the Rams still had plenty of time.
Morris cut the lead to two with a three-pointer with 47.4 seconds left, then the Rams forced a turnover and had a chance to tie it or win it. After a time out with 17.1 seconds left, they got the ball to Morris to the right of the key, where he was good again and the Rams had a 66-65 lead with 1.6 seconds left.
Utah inbounded the ball deep to Frost, but Britton Johnsen's pass bounced off his hands and the Rams regained possession with 0.8 left and won their second straight game after a seven-game losing streak.
Colorado State outshot Utah 46.0 to 44.7 percent and made 5-of-9 three-pointers. Utah had 32-26 advantage on the boards.
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 11th in the NCAA in scoring defense as of Tuesday and is currently giving up 60.2 points per game.
* The Utes have held 16 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.
* Air Force on March 3 (52.9) and Colorado State on Feb. 8 (50.0) are the only teams to shoot 50 percent or better from the field on Utah in 2002-03. The Utes won both of those games.
* Utah has not allowed an opponent to score 80 points in 90 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 seven games, Utah has shot 86.5 percent from the free throw line, going 115-of-133. As a result, Utah has improved from a rough start at the charity stripe to 71.3 percent on the season and 75.2 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.
* After hitting 7-of-7 free throws against New Mexico, the Utes made 17-of-19 free throws at Air Force on March 3. In the final 3:44 versus the Falcons, the U. hit 12-of-13 at the line.