Dec. 12, 2011
Match-up: Idaho State (2-7) at Utah (1-8)
Date: Friday, Dec. 16
Tipoff: 7 p.m. MT
Location: Salt Lake City
Arena: John M. Huntsman Center
Utah Sports Radio Network
ESPN 700 AM
Play-by-Play: Bill Riley
Analyst: Jimmy Soto
Utah fans can watch a live video feed of the game at www.utahutes.com/allaccess.
For up-to-date information including live stats, game notes, media guides, ticketing and more, visit www.UtahUtes.com.
Idaho State at Utah - Quick Hits
Friday's game marks the 27th meeting between Utah and Idaho State. The Utes lead the all-time series, 22-4, including an unbeaten 14-0 record at home.
In their last meeting the Utes' defeated the Bengals, 68-56, on Dec. 5, 2009, at the Huntsman Center.
Utah's leading scorer is Josh "Jiggy" Watkins, who is averaging 17.3 points per game, second-best in the Pac-12 Conference. He also tops the Utes in assists with 4.9 helpers per contest, third-best in the Pac-12. Jason Washburn is Utah's top rebounder at 6.8 boards per game.
Idaho State is led by Melvin Morgan at 12.8 points per game. Chase Grabeau is second on the squad with 10.7 points per contest and leads the Bengals in assists with 3.8 per game. Their top rebounder is Abner Moreiera 7.4 boards per contest.
Idaho State has lost its last two games, falling on the road at Boise State and in overtime at Loyola Marymount. Utah is trying to snap an eight-game losing streak.
Team and Individual Notes
Josh "Jiggy" Watkins Among League Leaders in Scoring, Assists
Watkins has led or tied for the team lead in scoring in seven of his eight games this season and is averaging 17.3 points per contest, good for second in the Pac-12. He has racked up 20-plus points in three of the seven games and missed that mark by only one at Boise State, scoring 19.
Watkins is also leading the Utes in assists at 4.9 per game, good for third in the Pac-12.
Watkins is shooting better than 45% from the floor, hitting 50-of-110 overall.
Watkins has scored 20-plus points eight times in 38 career games as a Ute. He has scored double figures 32 times, including the last 14 consecutive games dating back to last year.
Utes Coming Off Season's Top Defensive Performance
The Utes posted their best defensive numbers of the season against BYU on Saturday, holding the Cougars to 38.8% from the field and just 19 made field goals, both season-lows by an NCAA Div. I opponent. The only other team to post a lower percentage was San Diego Christian of the NAIA, who shot 37.0% from the floor but made 20 field goals.
Turnover Improvement Continues
Despite committing 10 turnovers against BYU, it was the second consecutive game in which the Utes took better care of the ball than their season average would indicate. After posting a season-low seven turnovers against Cal State Fullerton, Utah's 10 against the Cougars were still more than 4.5 less than their season average.
Washburn Looks for Bounce-Back Game Against Bengals
After struggling with foul trouble for most of the BYU game, Washburn hopes to use Friday's contest to get back to the consistent, double-figure games the Utes' have gotten out of the junior center this season. Washburn has scored digits in six of nine games this season and stands just outside of the Pac-12's top-30 scorers by average.
Head coach Larry Krystkowiak has stated that he would like Utah's big men to maintain a rebounding pace around one every four minutes. With 61 boards in 247 minutes this season, Washburn is eaxctly on that pace.
Washburn is shooting a very efficient 56.9% from the floor for the season (37-of-65), highest on the team among players with a minimum of two made baskets per game, and fifth-best in the Pac-12 Conference. He is also knocking down 75% of his free throws (18-of-24), second best on the squad.
High Hopes for Hines' 3-Pointers
Despite being held without a 3-pointer for the first time this season Saturday against BYU, junior guard Chris Hines is ranked third in the Pac-12 in 3-pointers made with 2.4 per game. His 3-point shooting has accounted for most of his career-best scoring average of 8.8 points per game this season, which includes double-digit outputs in five of his eight games.
Martin Puts Up Double Digits for Third Time This Season
Junior wing Cedric Martin joined Watkins in double figures against BYU, scoring 10 points on two 3-pointers and a perfect 4-of-4 at the free throw line.
Martin has now scored double digits three times this season and in two of the Utes' last three games. He is currently Utah's second-best 3-point threat behind Hines, shooting 31.8% (7-of-22).
The Utes at the Huntsman Center
Utah owns an all-time record of 527-128 (.805) all-time in its current home, the Jon M. Huntsman Center, including a 1-3 mark this season.
The Utes have posted a winning record at home in 38 consecutive seasons, beginning in 1973-74. In conference home games over the last 17 years, Utah is 104-22 (.825).
With 15,000 seats, the Huntsman Center is the largest arena in the Pac-12 (excluding temporary and tournament sites).
Head Coach Larry Krystkowiak
With the win against San Diego Christian in the season opener, Krystkowiak grabbed his first victory as the Utes' head coach. For his NCAA coaching career, Krystkowiak is in his third year and owns a 43-28 overall record (.606).
Krystkowiak (pronounced krist-KOH-vee-ak), who has prior head coaching experience in the NCAA, CBA and NBA, left a position as an assistant coach with the New Jersey Nets to become the 15th head coach in Utah men's basketball history.
In his previous collegiate head coaching post, Krystkowiak led his alma mater, the University of Montana, to a 42-20 record and two NCAA appearances as the Grizzlies' from 2004-06 before joining the NBA coaching ranks.
Utes Ink Five for 2012
Utah opened the early signing period by inking five players who will join the Utes for the 2012-13 season. The signing class includes high school seniors Josh Hearlihy (North Hollywood, Calif., Harvard-Westlake HS), Jordan Loveridge (West Jordan, Utah, West Jordan HS) and Justin Seymour (Marietta, Ga., Wheeler HS), along with Southern Utah transfer Dallin Bachynski (Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Sir Winston Churchill HS) and returning LDS missionary Jeremy Olsen (Lawrenceville, Ga., Collins Hill HS).