High-flying senior forward Bryant Markson leads the Utes into Seattle's Key Arena on Thursday night.
Dec. 20, 2005
Television: Fox Sports Net (national). Barry Tompkins (play-by-play) and Dan Belluomini (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 Washington St. Head Coach: Dick Bennett Alma Mater: Minot State, 1985 Alma Mater: Ripon College, 1965 Record at Utah: 35-9 (2nd Season) Record at WSU: 31-34 (3rd Season) Overall Record: 152-92 (9th Season) Overall Record: 485-291 (28th Season)
Series Record: Utah leads 12-1 Utah's Record Home/Away/Neutral: 9-1/2-0/1-0 Current Streak: Utah has won 11 Last Meeting: Utah won 87-63 on Dec. 16, 2000 in Salt Lake City.
Utah Probable Starters No. Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Statistics 20 F Bryant Markson 6-7 198 Sr. 16.3 ppg, 5.9 rpg 21 F Shaun Green 6-8 208 Fr. 8.3 ppg, 3.9 rpg 30 C Chris Jackson 6-11 245 Sr. 8.6 ppg, 3.8 rpg 1 G Johnnie Bryant 6-0 190 So. 11.7 ppg, 3.6 rpg 11 G Tim Drisdom 6-3 215 Sr. 2.7 ppg, 2.4 rpg
Washington State Probable Starters No. Pos. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Statistics 34 F Robbie Cowgill 6-10 207 So. 8.6 ppg, 5.2 rpg 11 C Aron Baynes 6-10 247 Fr. 7.0 ppg, 2.5 rpg 2 G Derrick Low 6-1 186 So. 10.1 ppg, 4.5 apg 12 G Randy Green 6-3 190 Sr. 5.6 ppg, 3.4 rpg 25 G Kyle Weaver 6-5 185 So. 7.9 ppg, 5.3 rpg
The Runnin' Utes take a break for the Christmas holiday before resuming their schedule on Wednesday, Dec. 28 against High Point at 7:05 p.m. (MST) in the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Quickly On Utah
The Runnin' Utes (6-3) take on Washington State (6-2) in the Cougar Hardwood Classic at Key Arena (17,072) in Seattle, Wash., on Thursday at 7:35 p.m. (PST). The game will be televised nationally by Fox Sports Net and broadcast on Hot Ticket 700 (KALL-AM) and the Utah Sports Network.
Utah bounced back from a 73-43 loss to No. 24 Arizona last Saturday afternoon in the Huntsman Center with a 68-51 win over Adams State on home on Monday night.
Senior forward Bryant Markson (6-7, 198), a preseason all-Mountain West Conference pick, leads the Utes in scoring (16.3 ppg), rebounds (5.9 rpg), assists (3.0 apg) and steals (15). Markson is shooting 75.5 percent at the free throw line. Sophomore guard Johnnie Bryant (6-0, 190), a junior college transfer in his first season with the Utes, is second on the team in scoring (11.7 ppg) and is averaging 3.6 rebounds per game. Bryant is also shooting 41.0 percent (16-of-39) from three-point range and 89.5 percent from the free throw line. Freshman center Luke Nevill (7-1, 250) is third on the team in scoring (9.3 ppg) and second in rebounding (5.7 rpg).
Utah ranked 42nd in the NCAA in rebound margin (+6.7) and 71st in field goal percentage (47.1) as of Dec. 20.
Utah is playing one redshirt freshman and four other newcomers. Through nine games, 52.3 percent of the Utes' points, 49.3 percent of their rebounds, 55.4 percent of their assists and 55.5 percent of their minutes played have come from the first-year players.
The Utes are 6-0 when holding their opponents to 69 points or less this season and 0-3 when allowing 70 points or more.
The Utes have a -3.7 turnover margin, averaging 16.7 turnovers per game compared to 13.0 for their opponents. Utah also has a 0.8 assist/turnover ratio (121 assists/150 turnovers).
Utah's 21-game home court winning streak, which ranked as the fifth-longest in NCAA Division I, was snapped with its loss to Arizona last Saturday. The Utes had also won 37 consecutive nonconference games at home, tying Duke for the third longest streak in the nation.
Scouting The Cougars
Washington State is 6-2 overall and will be playing its second home game away from Pullman, Wash., when it meets the Utes at Key Arena on Thursday.
The Cougars are coming off back to back victories, winning 60-49 at San Diego State on Dec. 10 and defeating Portland 61-46 at home on Dec. 17. Wazzu has played two other Mountain West Conference schools, losing to BYU 76-68 in Spokane, Wash., on Nov. 22 and defeating Wyoming 63-47 at home on Nov. 30.
Sophomore guard Derrick Low (6-1, 186) leads the Cougars in scoring (10.1 ppg) and assists (4.5 apg). He is shooting 42.4 percent (14-for-33) from three-point range and 88.2 percent from the free throw line. Sophomore center Robbie Cowgill (6-10, 207), who has missed three games, is second on the team in scoring average (8.6 ppg) and is second rebounding average (5.2 rpg). Sophomore guard Josh Akognon (5-10, 198) is third in scoring average (8.3 ppg) and is shooting 35.9 percent (14-for-39) from beyond the arc.
Washington State ranked third in the NCAA in scoring defense (54.3 ppg) and fourth in field goal percentage defense (35.4) as of Dec. 20.
Comparing The Numbers
Utah WSU Record 6-3 6-2 Streak Won 1 Won 2 Scoring 66.7 64.0 Scoring Defense 65.1 54.2 FG% .472 .473 FG% Defense .431 .354 3-Pt. FG% .343 .372 3-Pt. FG% Def. .335 .254 FT% .653 .703 Rebound Margin +6.7 +0.6 Assists 13.4 14.6 Turnovers 16.7 16.5 Opp. Turnovers 13.0 16.3 Steals 6.3 7.4 Blocked Shots 1.9 4.9
Head Coach Dick Bennett
Dick Bennett became the 15th head coach to direct the Washington State men's basketball team when he was hired March 29, 2003. In his first season, WSU won 13 games, the most since 1996-97 and a six-win improvement from 2002-03. The Cougars won seven Pac-10 games after winning just seven of their previous 50 conference games prior to Bennett's arrival. Last season the Cougars went 12-16 and tied for seventh in the Pac-10 with a 7-11 record.
The owner of a 485-291 mark in 28 years at the collegiate level, Bennett was 94-68 (.580) at Wisconsin from 1995-2000. He guided the Badgers to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including the 2000 Final Four, and one NIT bid. Prior to his arrival, Wisconsin had played in three NCAA Tournaments in 97 seasons. Bennett began his collegiate coaching career at Wisconsin-Stevens Point in 1976 after 11 seasons in the Wisconsin prep ranks. The Ripon College graduate moved into the Division I ranks at Wisconsin-Green Bay prior to the 1985-86 season.
Utah vs. Washington State Series Notes
Utah and Washington State meet for the 14th time on Thursday night. The series dates back to a 45-44 Utah win on Dec. 17, 1938 in Pullman, Wash.
The Utes lead the all-time series 12-1 and have a 1-0 advantage in games played on a neutral court.
The Cougars' only win in the series came in Salt Lake City, 33-32, on Dec. 14, 1946. The Utes have won 11 in a row since then.
The two schools played a home-and-home series during the 1999-2000 and 2000-01 seasons. Utah won 78-66 on Dec. 11, 1999 in Pullman, Wash., and 87-63 on Dec. 16, 2000 in Salt Lake City.
In the only previous game of the series played on a neutral court, the Utes defeated the Cougars 85-78 on Dec. 30, 1967 on Portland, Ore.
Welcome Back To Seattle
Utah hasn't played a game in Seattle since facing UNLV in the NCAA Tournament regional semifinals at the Kingdome on March 21, 1991. The Runnin' Rebels defeated the Runnin' Utes 83-66.
Runnin' Ute assistant coach Mike Score is a native of Everett, Wash., and graduated from the University of Washington in 1996. Score began his association with Ute head coach Ray Giacoletti at UW. Giacoletti was an assistant coach on Bob Bender's staff from 1993-97. Score was a student assistant coach with the Huskies from 1994-96.