Dec. 17, 2007
Game #10 - Utah (6-3) at Cal (6-1)
3 p.m. PST - Saturday, December 22
Radio: Utah Sports Radio Network
Mike Lageschulte (play-by-play); Joe Cravens (color analyst) TV: Comcast SportsNet
Internet: www.UtahUtes.com live audio, live stats
Series History: Series tied 7-7 Last Meeting: Dec. 30, 1969 - Utah 96, Cal 77 - Salt Lake City
Runnin' Utes Head West, Match Up With Cal
The University of Utah men's basketball team will make its third trip to the Pacific Time Zone in five weeks when they head for California this weekend. The Runnin' Utes will face off with the Cal Bears Saturday in Berkeley, Calif. Tipoff is slated for 3 p.m. PST at Cal's Haas Pavilion.
Utah enters Saturday's game with a 6-3 record, coming off a 66-54 victory over Missouri State. The Runnin' Utes opened up a 17-point halftime lead and then held off a charge from Missouri State in the second half. Utah's Luke Nevill scored a game-high 18 points to lead his team. Nevill got some help from Tyler Kepkay, who scored 16, including 8-of-8 at the free-throw line over the final 2:16.
Cal is 6-1 coming into this week. The Bears lone loss was in their last outing, an 82-75 road loss to Kansas State. Cal hosts Delaware State Thursday before welcoming in the Utes. The Bears are paced by big men Ryan Anderson and DeVon Hardin. Anderson leads the team with an average of 22.7 points per game and chips in 9.4 boards. Hardin scores 13.8 and leads the team with 11.6 rebounds per game.
Runnin' Ute Fast Breaks
Three Utah players are averaging double-digit points per game, while three more average 6.4 or more.
Missouri State's 20 points in Saturday's first half was the fewest Utah has held any opponent to in a half this season. It also tied a season-low for the Bears in any half.
Utah has held four different opponents to 54 points or less this season. The Runnin' Utes did not hold a single 2006-07 opponent to less than 55 points.
Utah is 129-92 all-time versus current members of the Pacific-10 Conference. The Utes have a .500 record or better against eight of the 10 (USC 14-15; Washington 5-6).
The Utes currently rank No. 1 in the MWC and No. 5 in the nation (Dec. 9 ranking) in field-goal percentage, converting at a .520 clip.
Utah ranks last in the Mountain West Conference in field-goal percentage defense, allowing opponents to shoot .430. However, the Utes are ranked 157th in the nation in this category after finishing 322nd last year.
Utes Can Shoot
Utah is the top shooting team in the Mountain West Conference and one of the best in the nation. The Runnin' Utes have made more than half their field-goal attempts in six of their first nine games. Utah is converting at a .520 clip, which is tops in the league and No. 5 in the nation (as of Dec. 9).
No other team in the MWC is above 50 percent. The Utes are also the No. 2 3-point shooting team in the MWC. Utah has hit 66-of-159 from behind the arc, for a percentage of .415.
Take Two, They're Free
Utah is shooting a solid .738 from the free-throw line, a number that has been steadily climbing since a shaky start to the season from the stripe. Utah was below 70 percent from the line in three of its first four games. The Utes' free-throw percentage was just .671 through the first four contests. Since then, Utah has converted at an .830 clip. The Utes are now second in the MWC in free-throw percentage.
Junior center Luke Nevill is on pace to become the 19th player in the 100-year history of Utah basketball to reach both the 1,000-point and 500-rebound marks. Nevill currently has 952 points in his Utah career. With 48 more points, he would be the 32nd player in Utah history to join the 1,000-Point Club. Nevill's current rebounding total sits at 480, leaving him 20 short of the 500 mark. At his current pace, Nevill would reach 500 rebounds at Gonzaga on Dec. 31. With his current pace of 14.2 points per game, he would reach 1,000 points on Jan. 5 when the Utes host Air Force.
Junior guard Tyler Kepkay scored 16 points Saturday vs. Missouri State, including an 8-of-8 performance from the free-throw line. That's the third straight game in double digits for Kepkay, his longest such streak of the season. Kepkay is currently third on the team, averaging 10.8 points per game. The point guard is also tied for the team lead in assists, averaging 2.78 per contest. Kepkay was the nation's leading scorer in the junior-college ranks last season, putting up 27.9 points per game.