Senior forward Bryant Markson has scored in double figures on all four games this season.
Dec. 1, 2005
Television: CSTV. Tom Hart (play-by-play) and Pete Gillen (analyst).
Radio: Utah Sports Network (Hot Ticket 700/KALL-AM in Salt Lake City and affiliate stations). On the Internet at www.UtahUtes.com. Get Utah All-Access Here Matt Thomas (play-by-play), Mark Rydalch (analyst) and Bill Riley (host).
Utah Head Coach: Ray Giacoletti Rice Head Coach: Willis Wilson Alma Mater: Minot State, 1985 Alma Mater: Rice, 1982 Record at Utah: 33-6 (2nd Season) Record at Rice: 190-190 (14th Season) Overall Record: 150-89 (9th Season) Overall Record: 190-190 (14th Season)
Series Record: Utah leads 5-0 Utah's Record Home/Away/Neutral: 3-0/2-0/0-0 Current Streak: Utah has won 5 in a row. Last Meeting: Utah won 60-49 on Feb. 7, 1998 in Houston, Texas.
Utah Probable Starters No. Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Statistics 20 F Bryant Markson 6-7 198 Sr. 16.8 ppg, 5.0 rpg 21 F Shaun Green 6-8 208 Fr. 6.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg 30 C Chris Jackson 6-11 245 Sr. 8.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg 1 G Johnnie Bryant 6-0 190 So. 15.5 ppg, 3.3 rpg 11 G Tim Drisdom 6-3 215 Sr. 3.0 ppg, 3.0 apg
Rice Probable Starters No. Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Statistics 24 F Jamaal Moore 6-5 195 Sr. 12.2 ppg, 3.0 rpg 34 F J.R. Harrison 6-6 215 Sr. 13.0 ppg, 9.0 rpg 41 F Patrick Britton 6-8 200 So. 3.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg 5 G Lorenzo Williams 6-1 165 Jr. 13.0 ppg, 5.2 apg 32 G Cory Pflieger 6-2 175 Fr. 6.2 ppg, 1.2 rpg
The Runnin' Utes play their second consecutive road game, facing Colorado on Wednesday, Dec. 7 at 7:07 p.m. (MST) in Boulder, Colo. The game will be televised by KJZZ-TV 14. Utah then returns home to host Southern Utah on Saturday, Dec. 10 at 7:05 p.m. (MST).
Quickly On Utah
The Runnin' Utes (4-0) play the first of back-to-back road games against Rice (2-3) on Saturday at 3:06 p.m. (CST) at Autry Court in Houston, Texas. The game will be televised by CSTV and broadcast on Hot Ticket 700 (KALL-AM) and the Utah Sports Network.
Utah got the better of a pair of in-state rivals in its last two games. The Utes recorded a 67-62 overtime win at Weber State last Saturday night, then returned home to defeat Utah State 67-66 on Wednesday night.
Last year, the Runnin' Utes went 29-6 overall, won the Mountain West Conference regular season championship with a 13-1 record, and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
Two starters and four other lettermen return from the 2004-05 season. The Utes' returning starters are senior guard Tim Drisdom (6-3, 215) and senior forward Bryant Markson (6-7, 198). Markson, a preseason all-Mountain West Conference pick, is averaging a team-best 16.8 points and 5.0 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 72.0 percent at the free throw line. Drisdom is averaging 3.3 points and a team-best 3.0 assists per game.
Sophomore guard Johnnie Bryant (6-0, 190), a junior college transfer, is averaging 15.5 points and 3.3 rebounds per game in his first season. Bryant is also shooting 52.4 percent (11-of-21) from three-point range and 81.8 percent from the free throw line. Freshman center Luke Nevill (7-1, 250) is second on the team in rebounding (4.8 rpg) and is third in scoring (9.3 ppg).
Utah is off to a 4-0 start for the first time since the 1997-98 season. The Utes won their first 18 games that year. Utah also won its first four games in 1996-97 before losing to Arizona (69-61) on Dec. 7 in the Wooden Classic.
Ray Giacoletti registered his 150th career win on Wednesday night against Utah State. He is 150-89 (.628) in his ninth season as a head coach.
The Utes won their first two games against Texas State and Rhode Island by 15.5 points per game. In the last two games against Weber State and Utah State, Utah has won by an average of 3.0 points. The Weber State game went to overtime, while the Utah State game was decided when both teams missed shots on their final possession.
Scouting The Owls
Rice is 2-3 following a 67-58 win over Prairie View A&M at home at home on Tuesday night. The Owls are 2-0 at home this season, also beating New Mexico Highlands (87-75) on Nov. 22. Rice has lost to Marquette (82-65) on Nov. 18 and IUPUI (58-56) on Nov. 19 in Milwaukee, Wis., and at Oregon (84-60) on Nov. 26.
Rice returns two starters and nine lettermen from last year's team that went 19-12 overall, finished third in the WAC with a 12-6 record, and lost in the first round of the NIT. The 2005 season marked only the 33rd time that Rice had fielded winning team (above .500) in 91 years of the sport at Rice. It also marked the seventh winning-team under coach Willis Wilson in 13 seasons.
Junior guard Lorenzo Williams (6-1, 165) and senior forward J.R. Harrison (6-6, 215) lead the Owls in scoring (13.0 ppg). Williams has the team's top mark in assists (5.2 apg) and is shooting 31.8 percent (7-of-22) from three-point range, while Harrison has the top mark in rebounds (9.0 rpg). Senior forward Jamaal Moore (6-5, 195) is Rice's third-best scorer (12.2 ppg) and has a team-best 11 steals. Junior forward Morris Almond (6-6, 215) is averaging 10.8 points per game and has connected on 7-of-18 three-pointers (38.9 percent).
Comparing The Numbers
Utah Rice Record 4-0 2-3 Streak Won 4 Won 1 Scoring 68.5 67.0 Scoring Defense 59.2 71.4 FG% .503 .414 FG% Defense .435 .433 3-Pt. FG% .417 .333 3-Pt. FG% Def. .343 .358 FT% .695 .650 Rebound Margin +4.5 -8.8 Assists 14.0 14.0 Turnovers 15.5 14.8 Opp. Turnovers 14.3 19.8 Steals 7.0 7.0 Blocked Shots 2.0 4.0
Head Coach Willis Wilson
Rice is coached by Willis Wilson, who is in his 14th season as head coach of his alma mater. Wilson's school and career record stands at 190-190. Overall, he is in his 22nd year at the University. After enrolling in 1978 and playing basketball for four years, Wilson earned his degree in political science in 1982. He served five years as an assistant at Rice before being named head coach in 1992. In 2004, he was named the NABC District 9 Coach of the Year.
Utah vs. Rice Series Notes
Utah and Rice meet for the sixth time on Saturday. The Utes have won all five previous games in the series. The first meeting took place on Dec. 21, 1963 in Salt Lake City with Utah winning 79-72.
The Utes and Owls were members of the WAC in the late `90s. They played a home-and-home series in both 1997 and `98.
The Utes have taken both games against Rice in Houston. The last time the two teams met, Utah won 60-49 on Feb. 7, 1998 at Autry Court.
Utah is 48-35 (.578) all-time against the current Conference USA schools, including a 15-21 (.417) mark in road games.
Markson Makes His Mark
Senior forward Bryant Markson (6-7, 198) is a pre-season all-Mountain West Conference pick. Markson leads the Utes in scoring (16.8 ppg) and rebounds (5.0 rpg). Markson has reached double figures in scoring in 10 of the last 11 games dating back to last season, including all four games this year.
Against Utah State on Wednesday, Markson had his 30th career double-figure scoring game. Markson led the Utes with 17 points (6-9 FG, 1-1 3FG, 4-5 FT). He also led the Utes in rebounds (6) and assists (5) in 33 minutes.
Markson had a season-high 19 points (8-14 FG, 3-5 FT) against Texas State in the opener.
Noting The Newcomers
Utah's roster includes one redshirt freshman and five first-year players, one of whom is injured. Through four games, 53.3 percent of the Utes' points and 43.3 percent of their rebounds have come from first-year players. Here's a look at how some of the newcomers have performed so far this season and their credentials coming in.
Freshman guard Lawrence Borha (6-3, 205) is averaging 3.0 points in 14.8 minutes per game this season. Borha had a season-best eight points (2-6 FG, 1-2 3FG, 3-4 FT) in 16 minutes off the bench against Utah State on Wednesday night. Originally from Staten Island, N.Y., Borha played during the 2004-05 season at Stoneridge Prep in Moorpark, Calif. Borha averaged 29.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 7.5 assists while shooting 53.3 percent from three-point range.
Sophomore guard Johnnie Bryant (6-0, 190) is second on the team in scoring (15.5 ppg). Bryant had a game-high 21 points against both Texas State in the season opener and Weber State last Saturday night. Against Weber State, Bryant shot 7-for-12 from the field, 4-for-6 from three-point range and 3-for-5 at the line in 35 minutes. Bryant joined the Utes last December after earning his associate's degree. As a first team all-conference pick at San Francisco City College in 2003-04, the Oakland native averaged 15 points and four assists per game.
Redshirt freshman center Luke Nevill (7-1, 250) is averaging 9.3 points (third-best on the team) and 4.8 rebounds (second-best on the team) per game. He had his second double-figure scoring game against Utah State on Wednesday with 10 points (4-4 FG, 2-2 FT) and four rebounds in 22 minutes. In the previous game against Weber State last Saturday, Nevill had 12 points (5-8 FG, 2-4 FT), four rebounds and two blocked shots.
An Efficient Offense
The Utes have ranked in the top 30 in the nation in field goal percentage nine times in the last 12 years and in the top 35 in three-point percentage four times in the last six years. Utah continued its offensive efficiency last season, ranking second in the NCAA in field goal percentage (51.4) and second in the Mountain West Conference in three-point percentage (37.3).
Through four games this season, Utah is shooting 50.3 percent from the field and 41.7 percent from three-point range to average 68.5 points per game.
The Utes shot at least 50 percent from the field for the first time (57.8 percent) and a season-best 46.2 percent from three-point range against Utah State on Wednesday.
The Utes shot 40 percent or better from three-point range against Texas State, Weber State and Utah State, winning all three of those games. Utah shot 40 percent or better from three-point range 16 times last year--winning all but one of those games. Utah also made at least 50 percent of its three-pointers eight times in 2004-05.
Utah has made a three-pointer in each of the last 71 games. The last time the Utes didn't make a three-pointer was an 0-for-8 effort against Georgia State in a 46-38 win on Nov. 17, 2003. That broke a string of 152 games with a three-pointer made.