Rick Majerus is 18-8 in conference tournament games at Utah, winning three titles.
March 14, 2003
March 14 * 9:00 p.m. (PST) * Thomas & Mack Center (18,500) * Las Vegas, Nev.
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: 307-88/14th Season Record at UNLV: 41-20/2nd Season Career Record: 406-140/19th Season Career Record: 360-171/18th Season
Television: ESPN Bob Carpenter (play-by-play) and Jimmy Dykes (analyst)
Radio: Utah Sports Network (KALL-910 AM in Salt Lake City and affiliate stations) Bill Marcroft (play-by-play), Mark Rydalch (analyst) and Brad Stone (host) On the Internet at www.TheMWC.com
Series Record: Tied 12-12 Utah's Record Home/Away/Neutral: 8-2/4-8/0-2 Last Meeting: Utah defeated UNLV 86-80 in overtime on Feb. 17, 2003 in Salt Lake City>
Should the No. 1 seeded Runnin' Utes defeat No. 4 UNLV, they will advance to the Mountain West Tournament championship game on Saturday at 7:00 p.m. (PST). Utah would face the winner No. 2 BYU vs. No. 6 Colorado State, who play in Thursday's first semifinal game at 6:00 p.m. (PST).
Quickly On Utah
The Runnin' Utes, 24-6 overall and the Mountain West Conference regular-season co-champions with an 11-3 record, take on UNLV Friday at 9:00 p.m. (PST) in the semifinals of the MWC Tournament in Las Vegas. The Utes are seeded No. 1 and the Runnin' Rebels are the No. 4 seed. Utah has won 19 of its last 22 games after opening the MWC Tournament with a 42-38 defeat of Air Force in the quarterfinals on Thursday night.
Utah was ranked 15th in the NCAA in scoring defense and 26th in three-point percentage as of March 11, and is currently giving up 59.8 points per game while hitting 39.0 percent from beyond the arc. Utah has gone 2-2 on neutral courts this season, 15-1 at home and 7-3 on the road.
Three Utes are averaging double figures in points. Junior center Tim Frost (6-10, 236) leads the way in scoring (13.2 ppg), shooting a team-best 51.4 percent from the field, and is second in rebounding (4.8 rpg). Junior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 200) is second in scoring (13.0 ppg), shooting 42.2 percent from three-point range (70-for-166) and a team-best 84.1 percent from the free throw line. Senior forward Britton Johnsen (6-10, 210), who is sitting out the MWC Tournament with mono and an enlarged spleen, is third in scoring (11.6 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 45.8 percent from three-point range.
The Utes In Conference Tournaments
Utah is competing in its 20th conference tournament-16 as a member of the Western Athletic Conference and the last four in the MWC-posting a 23-16 (.590) record. The Utes won WAC Tournament titles in 1995, '97 and '99. In the Mountain West Tournament, the Utes have lost in the semifinals in all three years.
The Utes' .590 combined winning percentage in WAC (1984-99) and MWC (2000-03) tournaments ranks second among the conference teams. UNLV ranks first at .786 (11-3), followed by Utah, New Mexico at .571 (24-18) and BYU at .545 (18-15).
In conference tournament games played in the Thomas & Mack Center, which includes three years in the WAC Tournament and the last four years in the MWC, Utah is 9-4 (.692).
The Runnin' Rebels are 20-9 overall and finished tied for the Mountain West Conference with an 8-6 record. UNLV defeated San Diego State 83-67 in the quarterfinals of the MWC Tournament on Thursday night. UNLV won three of its last four entering the MWC Tournament. Since its loss at Utah (86-80 in OT) on Feb. 17, the Rebels defeated New Mexico (74-69) and Air Force (74-70) at home and Colorado State (73-67) on the road. After losing at Wyoming (69-66) on March 3, UNLV defeated San Diego State (83-72) last Saturday.
Senior guard Marcus Banks (6-2, 200) leads the team in scoring (20.6 ppg), shooting 52.0 percent from the field and 34.2 percent from three-point range (38-of-111). A first team all-MWC pick, he also leads UNLV assists (5.6 apg) and steals (85). Senior forward Dalron Johnson (6-10, 215) is second in scoring (15.4 ppg), shooting 85.8 percent at the free throw line, and leads UNLV in rebounds (6.6 rpg). Johnson earned second team all-MWC honors.
Head coach Charlie Spoonhour is 40-20 in his second season at UNLV and 359-171 in 18 seasons as a head coach. He led UNLV to the second round of the NIT last season.
During the regular season, UNLV led the MWC in scoring (76.2 ppg) and ranked seventh in scoring defense (72.0 ppg) and sixth in rebound margin (-1.9 rpg). UNLV was also first in turnover margin (+2.89) and steals (8.89 spg).
Utah-UNLV Series Notes
* The all-time series between Utah and UNLV is tied 12-12 with Utah winning the last two meetings
* The Runnin' Utes swept the home-and-home series this season, winning 66-63 on Jan. 20 in Las Vegas and 86-80 in overtime on Feb. 17 in Salt Lake City.
* After Utah won the first game of the 2002 season series, UNLV took the final two games. UNLV won 72-64 on Feb. 11 during the regular season and 76-70 on March 8 in the semifinals of the MWC Tournament.
* UNLV has an 8-4 advantage in games played in Las Vegas and had won the last two games played at the Thomas & Mack Center before Utah won there in January.
* In postseason play, UNLV has a 3-0 advantage all-time over Utah and a 2-0 edge during the Rick Majerus era. In addition to their win in the 2002 MWC Tournament, the Rebels defeated the Utes 83-66 in the West Regional semifinals of the 1991 NCAA Tournament on March 21 in Seattle, Wash. UNLV also knocked off Utah 54-51 in the first round of the 1998 WAC Tournament on March 5 in Las Vegas.
* Rick Majerus is 6-5 against UNLV all-time with all of those games taking place during his tenure at Utah.
* Charlie Spoonhour is 2-3 against Utah, facing the Utes for the first time last season.
About Last Night
Tim Frost scored 12 points, including four free throws in the final 14 seconds, to lead top-seeded Utah past No. 8 seed Air Force 42-38 in the quarterfinals of the Mountain West Conference tournament Thursday night.
The Utes took their first and only lead of the game with 2:28 left after trailing by as many as eight points in the first half. Utah also survived a 6:58 scoring drought and made only one field goal in a 10:52 span in the second half.
The Falcons (12-16) had a chance to tie the game, trailing 38-36 with 15 seconds left, but Joel Gerlach tossed up a wild layup that hit only the backboard.
Both teams shot poorly all night. Utah was 12-of-31 from the field for 38.7 percent, while Air Force was 13-of-42 for 31 percent. The Falcons also made just 3-of-15 three-point tries. However, Utah tied a season-best effort by shooting 57.1 percent from three-point range, hitting 4-of-7.
A.J. Kuhle led Air Force with 12 points and eight rebounds. Gerlach also scored 12.
After trailing 21-18 at halftime, the Utes tied it 23-23 with 17:32 left in the game. The Falcons then went on a 5-0 run and did not trail until the Utes finally took the lead 35-33 on two free throws by Bryant Markson with 2:28 left.
* Nick Jacobson scored in double-figures for the 12th time in the last 13 games in Thursday night's win.
* Also with his 10 points against Air Force, Nick Jacobson moved into 29th place in career scoring at Utah with 1,025 points.
* Marc Jackson had a career-high tying six rebounds against Air Force.
* Cameron Koford had two blocked shots against the Falcons, bringing his season total to 37. That ties him with Keith Van Horn's 1996-97 effort to rank seventh on the Utah single-season list.
* Tim Drisdom had seven rebounds to lead Utah's effort on the boards for the third time this season.
* Richard Chaney got his first career start as a Ute against Air Force. He had five points, shooting 2-of-3 from the field and hitting his only three-point attempt, as well as five rebounds in 33 minutes.
* Utah's 42 points against Air Force in the MWC quarterfinals was a season low. Its previous season low was 45 against Air Force on Feb. 1. Utah also had season lows of 12 field goals, 31 field goal attempts and seven three-point attempts.
* Utah improved to 3-5 when behind at halftime and to 2-5 when trailing with 5:00 remaining this season with its win over Air Force on Thursday.
* The Utes were outrebounded for just the eighth time this season against the Academy, improving to 5-3 when they have a deficit this season.
* Air Force was the 17th team Utah held to under 60 points and the fifth team under 50 points this season. The Falcons were also the 13th opponent to shoot under 40 percent from the field.
* Utah is now 14-2 when shooting over 40 percent from three-point range this season.