Utah is 12-1 in season openers under Rick Majerus.
Nov. 19, 2002
Nov. 22 * 7:07 p.m. (MST) * Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000) * Salt Lake City
The Game at a Glance
Utah Head Coach: Rick Majerus Southern Utah Head Coach: Bill Evans Alma Mater: Marquette, 1970 Alma Mater: Southern Utah, 1972 Record at Utah: 283-82/14th Season Record at SUU: 149-139/11th Season Overall Record: 382-134/19th Season Overall Record: 149-139/11th Season
Television: None Radio: Utah Sports Network (KALL-910 AM in Salt Lake City and affiliate stations). On the Internet at www.UtahUtes.com and www.kall910.com. Bill Marcroft (play-by-play), Mark Rydalch (analyst) and Brad Stone (host).
Series Record: Utah leads 4-1 Utah's Record Home/Away/Neutral: 4-1/0-0/0-0 Last Meeting: Utah defeated Southern Utah, 71-47, on Dec. 18, 2001 in Salt Lake City.
Utah plays in the EA Sports Maui Invitational, next Monday through Wednesday (Nov. 25-27) in Lahaina, Hawaii. The Utes open the tournament against Gonzaga, ranked No. 22 in the ESPN/USA Today poll, on Monday at 6:30 p.m. (HST) on ESPN2. Utah will face either No. 21 Indiana or Massachusetts in the second round on Tuesday.
Quickly On Utah
Utah (0-0) opens its regular season against Southern Utah (0-0) on Friday, Nov. 22 at 7:07 p.m. (MST) in the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The Runnin' Utes split their pair of exhibition games, losing to EA Sports Southwest 92-86 on Nov. 1 and defeating EA Sports West 78-58 on Nov. 13.
Four lettermen return from last year's team that went 21-9 overall, placed second in the Mountain West Conference with a 10-4 record and advanced to the NCAA Tournament. Utah's roster also includes two transfers and and four freshmen.
Senior forward Britton Johnsen (6-10, 210) led the team in scoring (20.0 ppg) and rebounding (17.0 rpg) during the exhibition season. He also shot 69.6 percent from the field and 77.8 percent at the free throw line. Freshman guard/forward Richard Chaney (6-4, 186) and freshman guard Tim Drisdom (6-3, 203) averaged 12.0 and 10.0 points per game, respectively. Junior center Tim Frost (6-10, 236) averaged 9.5 points and 7.0 rebounds.
From the Training Room
* Sophomore guard Marc Jackson sprained his right ankle on Sunday and could be out 1-2 weeks. His availabilty is doubtful for the regular-season opener against Southern Utah on Friday.
* Freshman guard/forward Bryant Markson had his right knee scoped on Oct. 24. Initially expected to be out at least four weeks, Markson was cleared to practice on Nov. 5 and played in the second exhibition game on Nov. 13.
Scouting Southern Utah
The Thunderbirds return two starters and five lettermen from last year's team that went 11-16 overall and placed fourth in the Mid-Continent Conference with an 8-6 mark.
Southern Utah spilt its exhibition games, losing to the Global Sports All-Stars, 77-76, on Nov. 5 and defeating Utah Showcase, 81-73, on Nov. 15. Senior Jay Collins (6-3, 192) averaged 10.5 points and 7.5 assists in the two games as the starting point guard. Senior forward Donnie Jackson (6-7, 195) averaged 10.5 points and 6.0 rebounds. Junior guard Al Williams (6-4, 210), a transfer from Dixie State College, came off the bench in both contests to average 17.0 points and 8.0 rebounds.
Head Coach Bill Evans
Bill Evans took over the reins of the SUU program late in the 1991-92 season. In his 11th full season, he has led the T-Birds to three league titles and a 149-139 overall record. In 2000-01, Evans led the Thunderbirds to their first ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament, a share of the Mid-Continent Conference title in the regular season and the league's postseason championship. He was named the Mid-Continent Coach of the Year, NABC District 13 Coach of the Year and USBWA District 8 Coach of the Year in 2000-01. Evans is the second winningest coach in SUU history.
* Utah is 81-13 all-time in season openers and 12-1 under Rick Majerus. * The Utes' last loss in an opening game came to Kansas (68-79) in the BCI Classic on Nov. 25, 1995 at Kemper Arena in Kansas City. After that loss, Utah has won six season openers in a row, all coming in the Huntsman Center. * Last season, Utah defeated St. Francis (Ill.) 74-55 on Nov. 16 in Salt Lake City.
Utah-SUU Series Notes * Utah leads the all-time series with Southern Utah 4-1. All five games have been played in the Huntsman Center. * Last season, the Utes defeated the T-Birds, 71-47, on Dec. 18. * Utah's only loss in the series was 77-70 on Dec. 22, 2000. Dick Hunsaker was serving as the acting head coach while Rick Majerus was on a leave of absence. * Rick Majerus is 4-0 all-time against Southern Utah with all of those games coming during his tenure at Utah.
Caton made all five of his field-goal attempts, including three three-pointers, and shot 3-of-3 from the line in just nine first-half minutes as Utah led comfortably from start to finish.
Jason Baker came off the bench and had 15 points for Southern Utah, which was outrebounded 41-26.
While the Utes made five of their first six shots, the T-Birds started the game 1-for-11. Utah jumped ahead 18-2 on Caton's three-point play with 12:14 left until halftime. Dan Beus, SUU's leading scorer, missed his first eight shots and had two offensive fouls. He drew a technical foul with 6:46 left until halftime.
On the other end, Caton scored his 16 first-half points from all over the perimeter while Burgess was having his way inside with 10 points in the half, mostly on dunks. Utah led 39-15 at the break as the T-Birds managed just 27 percent from the field.
The Utes outshot the Thunderbirds 45.0 to 34.0 percent from the field on the night and made 17-of-26 free throws.
Exhibition Game #2 Rewind
Senior forward Britton Johnsen had his second double-double of the exhibition season with 17 points and 16 rebounds, leading Utah past the EA Sports West All Stars 78-58 on Nov. 13 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Johnsen, who shot 7-of-11 from the field in 33 minutes, had plenty of help from a couple of newcomers. Junior center Tim Frost, who transferred from Portland, had 15 points and six boards as a starter. Freshman Richard Chaney came off the bench to hit 8-of-12 shots and get 18 points in 20 minutes.
Utah fell behind 26-17 with 7:05 to play in the first half before outscoring EA Sports 13-7 to end the half. The Utes' trio of California freshmen got the run started over the next three and a half minutes. Chaney had a tip-in on a missed three-pointer by Marc Jackson, Tim Drisdom made a pair of free throws and Bryant Markson, who made his first appearance as a Ute after having arthroscopic surgery on Oct. 24, got a layup to make it a one-point game at 26-25.
After trailing 33-30 at halftime, the Utes pushed the lead to 10 points with a run midway through the second half. Over a two-minute span, Chaney connected on a three-pointer, Johnsen made jumper, Frost had a layup and Chaney laid one in to close out the 9-0 run with 10:51 to play in the half.
Holding the All Stars to 32 percent from the field in the second half, Utah had a 50 to 43 percent shooting edge in the game. The Utes also shot 70 percent from the free throw line and doubled-up EA Sports on the boards, 46 to 23.
On the second exhibition game - "This team (EA Sports) was just very tired. This team played in Oregon last night, and you look at their 9-for-21 from the free throw line. Usually these teams-for the last six or seven games that we've played an EA Sports team-have given us a good game. But, when you play so many games in so many days, you can't give a good competitive effort; and their best player, (Maurice) Spillers, didn't play. We tried harder, our effort was better."
On the progress of the team - "It's going to be a long process. We're so far behind. We don't have numbers and we don't have any experience. So, we've just got to practice. I don't know what the happy medium is, but I've errored on over practice-and I always have."
Majerus Third Among Active Coaches in Winning Percentage
Rick Majerus is 283-82 (.775) in 13 years at Utah and 382-134 (.740) in 18 years as a head coach. He is the third-winningest active coach in NCAA Division I. Only Roy Williams (Kansas) and Bob Huggins (Cincinnati) have better winning percentages. He is also in the top 20 in all-time winning percentage, currently ranked 16th.
Majerus has averaged 22 wins per year at Utah-amazing in that he coached just one game in 2000-01 and six games in his first season before undergoing heart surgery (he was 4-2 in 1989-90). In 11 full seasons at Utah, he has won 20-plus games 10 times, missing out only in 1993-94 (14-14). Minus the two partial seasons he missed, Majerus has averaged 25 wins per season.
During the Majerus era, the Utes have won nine conference championships-including seven straight from 1995-2001. Majerus has taken the Utes to nine NCAA Tournaments-including the last seven years he was on the bench the entire season-and has lost in the first round only once. In that time, he has led Utah to the Sweet 16 four times, the Elite Eight twice and one Final Four. He also took Ball State to the NCAA Tourney back in 1989. Majerus' record in the NCAA Tournament at Utah is 16-9 (.640). His all-time mark in the "Big Dance" is 17-10 (.630).
Great Britton: Senior Forward Up For Wooden Award
Senior forward Britton Johnsen (6-10, 210) has been named to the Wooden Award Preseason All-America Team. Johnsen is one of 50 players in the nation considered early candidates for John R. Wooden Award, presented annually to college basketball's player of the year.
Johnsen was named Mountain West Conference Player of the Year and USBWA District 8 Player of the Year, and made the NABC/Pontiac All-District 13 first team. Johnsen was second on the team in scoring (12.6 ppg) and first in rebounding (6.3 rpg), ranking 13th and eighth in the Mountain West Conference in those categories, respectively. He also ranked 12th in field goal percentage (49.6) and 15th in three-point percentage (35.6) in the MWC. Dating back to the 2000-01 season, Johnsen has scored in double figures in 38 of the last 55 contests-including 24 of the 30 games last season. He earned second team all-Mountain West honors in 2000-01.
* The Murray, Utah, native led the Utes in rebounding 14 of the 20 games after starting center Chris Burgess was injured against Texas on Dec. 29. During that stretch, Johnsen averaged 7.4 rebounds per game.
* In Mountain West Conference games, Johnsen led the team in scoring (15.3 ppg), rebounding (8.1 rpg) and field goal percentage (55.7). Johnsen also shot 40.4 percent from beyond the arc.
* Johnsen scored at least 20 points in three consecutive games Jan. 21-Feb. 2. During that time, he averaged 24.3 points per game while shooting 65.7 percent from the floor and 50.0 percent from three-point range. He got a career-high 28 points, shooting 9-of-10 from the field and 3-of-4 from three-point range, against Colorado State on Feb. 2. For his efforts, Johnsen was named the MWC Player of the Week on Feb. 4. He reached the 20-points plateau five times in 2001-02.
* Johnsen had three consecutive double-doubles Feb. 18-28. Over that stretch, he shot 53.3 percent from the field and 50.0 from three-point range while averaging 16.3 points and 12.7 rebounds per game. He recorded his fifth and final double-double of the season with 11 points and a career-best 14 rebounds against Colorado State on Feb. 28. Johnsen shot 4-of-8 from the field and 2-of-4 from three-point range. Against Brigham Young on Feb. 23, he had 15 points and 13 rebounds. Against New Mexico on Feb. 18, he scored 23 points-his third highest total of the season-and brought down 11 rebounds. He shot 3-of-5 from three-point range to go with five assists in 31 minutes. Johnsen also made the winning free throw with 7.6 seconds left in the 66-65 win over the Lobos.
Jacobson Stroking "J"s
Junior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 200) was named third team all-Mountain West and second team NABC/Pontiac All-District 13 in 2001-02. Jacobson led the team in scoring (13.0 ppg) and three-point percentage (44.4). He scored in double figures in 21 of the 30 games last season.
* In the final NCAA statistical rankings, Jacobson was 23rd in three-point percentage (44.4).
* Jacobson set the Utah single-season mark with 71 three-pointers made last season, bettering the mark of 68 by Phil Dixon in 1991-92. He also ranked third in three-point attempts (160).
* Jacobson has already climbed into seventh place in career three-pointers made (108) and seventh in three-pointers attempted (257) at Utah. His career three-point percentage of 42.0 would rank fourth all-time at Utah.
* In a three-game stretch against UNLV (Jan. 12), San Diego State (Jan. 14) and Air Force (Jan. 19), the Fargo, N.D., native made 16-of-24 (66.7) from beyond the arc. Jacobson put up a career-high 26 points against UNLV. He hit five treys in eight attempts and converted 9-of-15 field goals overall. He had 25 points against San Diego State, tying the school record with seven three-pointers (in 10 attempts) and hitting 9-of-14 from the field. Jacobson's 19 points (4-of-6 on threes) was a game high in the overtime win at Air Force as he played the entire 45 minutes. He was named the Mountain West Conference Player of the Week on Jan. 21.
* In 2000-01, Jacobson was named the Mountain West Conference Freshman of the Year, becoming the first Ute to garner the award since Keith Van Horn in 1993-94. Jacobson made the top 10 in five statistical categories on the all-time freshman charts at Utah. He ranked eighth in scoring (245 points), eighth in scoring average (7.9 ppg), second in three-pointers made (37), first in three-pointers attempted (97) and first in free throw percentage (.806).
Tough Nonconference Slate Ahead
The Utes could face as many as four teams ranked in the ESPN/USA Today preseason poll before January. Utah's first-round opponent in the Maui Invitational, Gonzaga, is ranked No. 22 in the coaches poll. In the second round, the Utes could meet the team that ended their season a year ago in the NCAA Tournament, No. 21 Indiana. The Hoosiers face Massachusetts in the first round. On the other side of the eight-team bracket in Maui is Kentucky, ranked No. 17 in the ESPN/USA Today preseason poll. Virginia, ranked 27th, is also on the other side of the bracket. Utah could face either of those teams, along with Arizona State or Chaminade, in the third round.
Another ranked team on Utah's nonconference schedule is Alabama, ranked No. 8 by ESPN/USA Today in the preseason. Utah State and Pepperdine, which Utah faces on Dec. 17 and 20, respectively, were listed among teams receiving votes.
Utes Tough At Home In the Huntsman Center
Utah is 181-17 (.914) 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 161-12 (.931) at home.
* The Utes have won 119 of their last 126 games in the Jon M. Huntsman Center, including a 14-2 mark last season.
* In conference home games over the past eight years, Utah is 59-2 (.967), 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 412-88. Utah got its 400th win in the history of the facility on Nov. 20, 2001 against Boise State.
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.
* Last season, Utah ranked 13th in the NCAA in scoring defense (61.3).
* The Utes haven't allowed a team to score 80 points or better for 66 consecutive games. The last team to score 80 points on the Utes was Wyoming (88-61) on Feb. 28, 2000 in Laramie, Wyo.
Basketball Times Ranks Runnin' Utes Top 10 Program
A study by Jack Styczynski in the November issue of Basketball Times rated Utah ninth among the top programs in the nation. The study used a variety of criteria, including winning percentage over the past 10 years, number of former players in the NBA at the conclusion of the 2001-02 season, graduation rate, academic reputation, coaching and "cleanliness" of the program.
A total of 28 schools were ranked. Duke was rated No.1, followed by Stanford, Kansas, Michigan State, North Carolina, Arizona, Xavier, Gonzaga, Utah and Kentucky.