Trace Caton had a season-high 15 points against Northern Iowa.
Dec. 16, 2002
Dec. 17 * 7:07 p.m. (MST) * Dee Glen Smith Spectrum (10,270) * Logan, Utah
The Game at a Glance
Utah Head Coach: Rick Majerus Utah State Head Coach: Stew Morrill Alma Mater: Marquette, 1970 Alma Mater: Gonzaga, 1974 Record at Utah: 288-84/14th Season Record at Utah State: 99-35/5th Season Career Record: 387-136/19th Season Career Record: 317-173/16th Season
Television: KJZZ-TV (Channel 14, AT&T Cable 3) in Salt Lake City. Steve Brown (play-by-play) and Thurl Bailey (analyst).
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 126-88 Utah Home/Away/Neutral: 76-33/50-55/0-0 Last Meeting: Utah State defeated Utah 78-65 on Nov. 23, 2001 in Salt Lake City.
Utah continues its three-game road swing on the West Coast. The Runnin' Utes play at Pepperdine on Friday, Dec. 20 at 7:37 p.m. (PST) and at San Diego on Monday, Dec. 23 at 7:05 p.m. (PST).
Quickly On Utah
The Utes (5-2) play their first game of the season on an opponent's home court against Utah State (5-2) on Tuesday at 7:07 p.m. (MST) at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, Utah. The game will be televised on KJZZ-TV in Salt Lake City and broadcast on KALL-910 AM and the Utah Sports Network.
Utah has won its last three-all in Salt Lake City-by an average of 25 points after going 2-2 to start the season. In their only game last week, the Runnin' Utes defeated Northern Iowa 75-53 on Saturday afternoon in the Huntsman Center. Utah is 4-0 at home this season. All of its games away from the JMHC have been played on neutral courts, where the Utes have gone 1-2.
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.
Three Utes are averaging double figures in scoring. Senior forward Britton Johnsen (6-10, 210) paces Utah in both scoring (14.3 ppg) and rebounding (7.0 rpg). Junior center Tim Frost (6-10, 236) is second in scoring (13.7 ppg) and is shooting 54.3 percent from the field. Junior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 200) ranks third in scoring (10.6 ppg), and is shooting 41.0 percent from three-point range (16-for-39) and 90.9 percent from the free throw line. Freshman point guard Tim Drisdom (6-3, 203) leads the Utes in assists (4.1apg) and three-point percentage (58.8).
From the Training Room
Sophomore guard Marc Jackson sprained his right ankle on Nov. 17 and is still recovering. Although he has played in four games this season, he has missed two of the last three, including last Saturday's game against Northern Iowa. Jackson is listed as doubtful for the the Utah State game.
Scouting Utah State
The Aggies are 5-2 and have lost two in a row after opening the season with five consecutive wins. Utah State has played its last five games on the road after defeating Whitman (86-52) in its only home game on Nov. 26. After defeating Vermont (62-59), Drake (73-61) and Hawaii-Hilo (71-60) in the Hilo Shootout, the Aggies lost their first game of the season at Jackson State (63-57) on Dec. 7. Utah State is coming off a loss at BYU (66-56) on Saturday night.
Senior forward Desmond Penigar (6-7, 245) leads the Aggies in scoring (14.6 ppg) and is shooting 44.4 percent from three-point range. He is also second in rebounding (5.3 rpg). Junior guard Mark Brown (5-10, 150) leads the team in assists (4.4 apg) and is second in scoring (12.1 ppg) while connecting on 58.3 percent of his three-point attempts. Sophomore forward Spencer Nelson (6-8, 225) is USU's leading rebounder (6.3 rpg) and is fourth in scoring (8.1 ppg).
Head Coach Stew Morrill
Stew Morrill is in his fifth season at the helm of the Utah State basketball program. After posting back-to-back 28-6 records, Morrill directed USU to a 23-8 mark last season and a share of the Big West title. He led the Aggies to their first NCAA Tournament win in 31 years in 2001 as USU defeated Ohio State 77-68 in the first round. In his four plus years at USU, Morrill has a 99-35 record. His career mark is 317-173 in 16 seasons.
Prior to coming to Utah State, Morrill was the head coach at Colorado State for seven seasons, recording a 121-86 record (1992-98). Prior to his stint at CSU, Morrill spent five seasons as the head coach at Montana (1987-91), where he went 97-52. He has been involved in postseason action five times in his career, including the NCAA Tournament at Utah State in 2000 and 2001.
Utah-Utah State Series Notes
* Utah and Utah State meet for the 215th time on Tuesday night. Utah leads the all-time series 126-88. Utah State has won two in a row over Utah and has taken three of the last four games. Before then, the Utes had won five in row.
* Utah State has a 55-50 advantage in games played in Logan and has won two in a row. Utah's last win on the Aggies' homecourt was a 60-41 victory on Nov. 26, 1996.
* Last season, Utah State beat Utah 78-65 on Nov. 23 in the Huntsman Center. It was Utah State's first win in Salt Lake City since a 74-72 overtime triumph in 1991.
* Utah has a 168-93 (.646) all-time record against the Big West Conference.
* Rick Majerus is 10-4 against Utah State all-time with all of those games coming during his tenure at Utah.
Utah State shot 61.4 percent from the field to beat Utah 78-65 at the Huntsman Center last season on Nov. 23.
Utah led for only 3:29 of the game as Utah State hit 27-of-44 shots. Travis Spivey scored a career-high 18 points, Britton Johnsen added 13 and Nick Jacobson had 11 to lead Utah. However, no other Ute player scored more than six points.
The Aggies won the hustle battle, outrebounding Utah 32 to 21 and scoring 20 second-chance points to Utah's seven. Utah State also outscored Utah in the paint 36-20. Desmond Penigar scored 14 of his 22 points in the first half and had seven rebounds the lead the Aggies.
Trailing 37-24 at the half, Utah rallied behind its defense, cutting Utah State's lead to seven with 13:42 to play. But the Aggies responded, using a 16-7 run over the next 6:30 to go up 61-45 with 7:14 left in the game.
After a Utah three-pointer cut the lead to 13, Utah State hit back-to-back shots in the post to open its biggest lead, 65-48, with 5:14 to go. Utah made a late run to get as close as five points, but Utah State went 9-of-11 from the line in the final 1:32 to clinch the win. Utah shot just 40.0 percent from the field. Twenty-seven of the Utes' 49 field goal attempts came from three-point range, where they converted 33.3 percent.
Game #7 Rewind
Trace Caton scored all of his season-high 15 points in the first half as Utah beat Northern Iowa 75-53 on Saturday afternoon in the Huntsman Center.
Caton, a senior forward who was shooting 21 percent this season and averaging 2.8 points, nearly matched his season total of 17 points with his five three-point shots. Richard Chaney added 14 points while Britton Johnsen had 13 points and seven assists. Utah (5-2) has won three straight games by 22 points or more after dropping two games in the Maui Invitational.
David Gruber and Matt Schneiderman led the Panthers with 13 points each. Chris Foster scored 11 points for Northern Iowa (2-4), which dropped its fourth straight after opening the season with a pair of wins.
The Utes opened the second half with a game-breaking 21-4 run, capped by Chaney's back-to-back three-pointers that gave Utah a 60-35 lead with 15:29 to play in the game. The Panthers shot 57 percent in the first half and 45 percent for the game, the second best mark against Utah this season. But Northern Iowa had 18 turnovers which led to 25 Ute points.
The Panthers used a box-and-one defense designed to stop Utah's best outside shooter Nick Jacobson. The scheme worked until Caton and the other Utes began making their wide-open three-point shots and getting it inside.
Utah coach Rick Majerus scheduled the first-ever meeting between the schools as a favor for Jacobson, who made his only field goal attempt and had four points. His cousin Ben Jacobson is an assistant coach at Northern Iowa and his younger brother Adam is a freshman guard who scored three points.
The Panthers started out with an 8-3 lead after Adam Jacobson's three-pointer. But Caton responded with a trey for Utah and Chaney came off the bench to score five quick points giving the Utes a lead they would never relinquish.
The Utes outrebounded the Panthers 31-29 and outshot them 46.6 to 44.7 percent from the field, thanks to 52.0 percent effort in the second half.
From Beyond The Arc
Through seven games, Utah is shooting 37.0 percent from three-point range and has hit 50 percent or better from long range twice. A year ago, the Utes ranked eighth in the nation and first in the Mountain West in three-point percentage (40.5), and shot 50 percent or better from three-point range in four games.
* Utah put up 32 three-point attempts against Northern Iowa, which is the second-most in a single game in school history. It was the most three-point attempts by the Utes since firing 34 against San Diego State on Jan. 16, 1999. The Utes made 12 of those 32 attempts (37.5 percent).
* Utah shot a season-best 57.1 percent (8-of-14) from three-point range against Winthrop. It was the Utes' best effort since hitting 66.7 percent (12-of-18) last season at New Mexico on Jan. 21.
* The Utes hit 5-of-10 three-pointers (50.0 percent) against Massachusetts on Nov. 26. A day later in the third game of the Maui Invitational, Utah made 9-of-22 threes (40.9 percent). Since the Maui Invitational was a certified tournament, the three-point arc was moved nine inches farther back from the center ring of the basket, to 20 feet 6 inches.
Inside the Numbers
* In four of the five wins, Utah has held its opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field. The Utes have outshot their opponents 49.1 to 36.5 percent in its wins. No team has shot 50 percent from the field on Utah this season.
* The Utes have kept their opponents off the free throw line in their five wins, allowing 61 attempts while making 88 trips themselves. In the two losses, the opposition has shot 100 free throws, making 65.
* The Utes have outrebounded their opponents in all five wins by an average of 35.0 to 31.6 and have been on the negative side of that stat in the two losses, 38.5 to 31.5.
* Winthrop shot 27.3 percent (15-for-55) from the field, which was the sixth-worst mark by a Ute opponent all-time. It was the Utes' best defensive effort since Concordia shot 20.3 percent, the lowest mark by a Ute opponent all-time, on Dec. 26, 2000.
* Winthrop's 42 points were the lowest allowed by the Utes in 22 games since Saint Mary's (Calif.) scored 35 points on Jan. 7, 2002.
* Utah's point guards, freshman Tim Drisdom and sophomore Marc Jackson, have combined for 34 assists and 19 turnovers for a 1.79 assist/turnover ratio. Drisdom had a career-high seven assists against Northern Iowa on Dec. 14.
* Utah has had a positive assist/turnover ratio in six games this season, including each of the last five. The Utes had a season-low nine turnovers with a season-high 20 assists on 27 field goals against Northern Iowa on Dec. 14.
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 has scored in double figures in six of the seven games, leading Utah in scoring three times. Dating back to the 2000-01 season, Johnsen has scored in double figures in 44 of the last 62 contests.
* The Murray, Utah, native had his second double-double of the season with a game-high 10 points and 11 rebounds in 35 minutes in the win over UMass on Nov. 26. He has had seven double-doubles in the last 23 games dating back to last season.
* Johnsen has led Utah in rebounding in five of the seven games this season, averaging 7.0 boards per contest. He also led the Utes in rebounding 14 of the final 20 games last season, averaging 7.4 rebounds per game during that stretch.
* Johnsen had his best overall game of the season in the overtime loss to Arizona State on Nov. 27. He had a season-high 23 points to lead the Utes, shooting 9-of-18 from the field and 4-of-7 from the free throw line. Johnsen also had a team-best seven rebounds and three assists in 39 minutes. His 23-point effort was his best in 16 games dating back to last season.
* Last season, 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.
Jacobson Stroking "J"s
Junior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 200) is Utah's third-best scorer this season (10.6 ppg) and paces the team in three-pointers made, making 16-of-39 (41.0 percent) from beyond the arc.
* Jacobson, with 21 points against UMass, reached 20 points for the fifth time in his career and the first time this season. He shot 5-of-10 from the field, 3-of-6 from three-point range and 8-of-9 at the free throw line in 38 minutes.
* After going just 3-for-10 from beyond the arc in the season opener against Southern Utah, Jacobson has made 13 of his last 29 three-point attempts.
* In the final 2001-02 NCAA statistical rankings, Jacobson was 23rd in three-point percentage (44.4). The Fargo, N.D., native 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.
* Also last season, 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 sixth place in career three-pointers made (124) and seventh in three-pointers attempted (296) at Utah. His career three-point percentage of 42.0 entering this season would have ranked fourth all-time at Utah.
Frost Formidable Inside
Junior center Tim Frost (6-10, 236) has established himself as a formidable interior presence during his first seven games with the Utes.
* Frost is second on the team in scoring (13.7 ppg), reaching double figures in four games consecutive games before getting nine points against Northern Iowa on Saturday, and is shooting 54.3 percent from the field. He is also averaging 23.4 minutes and 4.0 rebounds per game and has three blocked shots.
* Frost had season-highs of 18 points, making 8-of-12 shots from the field, and seven rebounds in just 23 minutes against Arizona State on Dec. 7.
* 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.
Rating the Rookies
With only four lettermen returning from last season and 10 scholarship players on the roster, Rick Majerus has played his freshmen extensively early in the season. Here's a breakdown of how the quartet of Richard Chaney (G/F, 6-4, 186), Tim Drisdom (G, 6-3, 203), Chris Jackson (C, 6-11, 242) and Bryant Markson (F, 6-6, 182) have been producing.
* Drisdom, who's started all seven games at point guard, leads the Utes in assists (4.1 apg) and three-point percentage (58.8), making 10-of-17.
* Chaney (7.4 ppg) and Drisdom (5.9 ppg) rank fourth and fifth, respectively, on the team in scoring. Markson is (3.9 ppg) is eighth.
* Drisdom (3.7 rpg) and Chaney (3.6 rpg) are third and fourth, respectively, in rebounding while Jackson is sixth (2.7 rpg).
* All four freshmen are shooting above 40 percent from the field, with Chaney at 51.3 percent, Drisdom at 44.8 percent, Jackson at 66.7 percent and Markson at 50.0 percent.
Take Note of These Utes
* Bryant Markson reached double figures for the the first time as a Ute against Arizona State on Dec. 7. He had 10 points, shooting 4-of-6 from the field, in 12 minutes.
* Richard Chaney reached double-figures in points for the first time with 15 points against Winthrop. He also had personal-best marks with five rebounds and two assists. Chaney had his second-best scoring game with 14 points against Northern Iowa, hitting 3-of-7 three-pointers and 5-of-10 shots overall.
* Tim Drisdom had career highs of 11 points, making 3-of-8 three-pointers, and seven assists against Northern Iowa. He set a career-high with six rebounds against Winthrop.
* Chris Jackson set personal-best marks with six points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots against Winthrop.
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 ranks 25th in the NCAA in scoring defense (58.5 ppg) and 31st in field goal percentage defense (37.7) as of Dec. 10.
* Utah has not allowed an opponent to score 80 points in 70 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.
* Last season, Utah ranked 13th in the NCAA in scoring defense (61.3).