Freshman guard Curtis Eatmon is slated to make his third consecutive start Thursday against Albany.
Dec. 27, 2006
UTAH RUNNIN' UTES VS. ALBANY GREAT DANES
Thursday, December 28, 2006 7:05 p.m. (MST)
Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000) Salt Lake City
UTAH (5-7) Head Coach: Ray Giacoletti Alma Mater: Minot State, 1985 At Utah: 48-28 (3rd Season) Career: 165-111 (10th Season)AFTER THIS
ALBANY (6-4) Head Coach: Will Brown Alma Mater: Dowling, 1995 At Albany: 59-87 (6th Season) Career: 59-87 (6th Season)
MEDIA COVERAGE Television: None Radio: Sports Radio 700 The Zone Bill Riley (play-by-play), Mark Rydalch (analyst), Scott Gerrard (host) Internet Audio: www.UtahUtes.com Get Utah All-Access Here
THE SERIES Overall: First Meeting
QUICKLY ON UTAH
The Runnin' Utes (5-7) close out their nonconference schedule against the Albany Great Danes (6-4) on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. (MST) in the Jon. M. Huntsman Center. The game will be broadcast on Sports Radio 700 The Zone.
Utah went 1-2 to place sixth in the San Juan Shootout, Dec. 19-21. The Runnin' Utes' lost to Central Florida (67-61) in the first round, defeated Virginia (94-70) in the second round and lost to Northwestern (77-44) in the third round. Utah has won its last four home games to improve to 4-2 in the Huntsman Center this season.
Sophomore center Luke Nevill (7-1, 265) is the Utes' leading scorer (18.8 ppg) and rebounder (8.3 rpg). He is shooting 70.2 percent from the field, and has 22 assists and a team-best nine blocked shots. Junior guard Johnnie Bryant (6-0, 180) is second on the team in scoring (15.4 ppg) and has connected on 44.0 percent (40-for-91) of his 3-point attempts and 73.9 percent of his free throws. Bryant also leads the team in assists (2.58 apg). Sophomore forward Shaun Green (6-8, 208) is third on the team in scoring (12.1 ppg), second in assists (2.50 apg) and second in rebounding (6.2 rpg). He is shooting 59.8 percent from the field and 61.5 percent (32-for-52) from 3-point range. Green also leads the Utes in steals (14) and is second in blocked shots (5).
In the latest NCAA statistical rankings released on Dec. 18, Utah ranked third in 3-point percentage (46.1), seventh in field goal percentage (51.5), 55th in 3-pointers made per game (7.9), 68th in assists (15.9 apg) and 72nd in free throw percentage (71.8). Green ranked first in the nation in 3-point percentage (68.3) and 38th in 3-pointers made per game (3.1). Nevill was third in field goal percentage (69.1), 55th in points per game (18.9) and 56th in rebounds per game (8.7). Bryant was 30th in 3-pointers made per game (3.2) and 39th in 3-point percentage (45.3).
RUNNIN' UTE NOTABLES
Five of Utah's seven losses have come by a combined 14 points.
The Utes have shot at least 50 percent from 3-point range seven times and at least 50 percent from the field seven times in 12 games this season.
Utah is 0-5 this season when opponents shoot at least 50 percent from the field and 2-7 when they shoot at least 40 percent from 3-point range.
The Great Danes are 6-4 overall and 2-3 on the road this season. Albany is riding a four-game winning streak. The Great Danes defeated Brown at home on Dec. 9 (62-52), won at Harvard on Dec. 12 (79-76), got a home win over St. Bonaventure on Dec. 16 (71-56) and won at Cornell on Dec. 22 (78-75).
Senior guard Jamar Wilson (6-1, 185) leads Albany in scoring (18.1 ppg), rebounding (7.0 rpg), assists (5.5 apg) and steals (14). Senior guard/forward Jason Siggers (6-4, 195) is second in scoring (14.4 ppg), shooting 34.0 percent from 3-point range (16-for-47) and 82.8 percent from the free throw line. Junior forward Brent Wilson (6-8, 240) is the third player averaging double-figures in points (12.6 ppg), leading the Great Danes in 3-point (48.1, 25-for-52) and free throw (84.6) percentage. Wilson is also second in rebounding (5.7 rpg).
COMPARING THE NUMBERS
Utah Albany Record 5-7 6-4 Scoring 69.8 69.0 Scoring Defense 67.5 70.2 FG% .509 .440 FG% Defense .497 .426 3-Pt. FG% .438 .354 3-Pt. FG% Defense .486 .379 FT% .726 .732 Rebound Margin +4.4 +3.7 Assists 14.9 14.8 Turnovers 13.6 14.7 Opp. Turnovers 12.1 14.0 Steals 4.8 5.4 Blocked Shots 1.5 3.0
GREAT DANES HEAD COACH WILL BROWN
Will Brown is in his sixth season as Albany's head coach. In 2005-06, Brown led the Great Danes to their first-ever NCAA Division I Tournament berth after winning both the America East Conference tournament and regular-season titles.
Last season, Albany set the program's Division I record for single-season victories with a 21-11 record and produced its highest win total since 1993-94. His squad posted Albany's first postseason triumph in 11 years with three wins in America East tournament play. The Great Danes, who also established their top conference mark with 13 victories in the regular season, went on to put up a monumental fight against second-ranked Connecticut in a memorable NCAA first-round battle. Brown was appointed as Albany's head coach in March of 2002, and has worked on the collegiate level since 1995.
Brown, who joined the UAlbany staff as an assistant in Sept. 2001, was promoted to interim head coach on Dec. 20 of that year, and guided the Great Danes to a 7-13 record over the last 20 games.
UTAH VS. ALBANY SERIES NOTES
The Runnin' Utes and Great Danes meet for the first time on Thursday night.
Ray Giacoletti has never faced Albany.
Utah is 4-0 against America East Conference teams all-time and 2-0 at home.
TAKE NOTICE OF NEVILL
Sophomore center Luke Nevill (7-1, 265) is the Utes' leading scorer (18.8 ppg) and rebounder (8.3 rpg). He is shooting 70.2 percent from the field, and has 22 assists and a team-best nine blocked shots.
Nevill has led the Utes eight times in scoring and seven times in rebounding this season. He has scored in double figures in 11 of the 12 games. Nevill had a string of 13 consecutive double-figure scoring games broken in Utah's last game against Northwestern on Dec. 21.
As of Dec. 18, Nevill ranked third in the NCAA in field goal percentage (69.1), 55th in points per game (18.9) and 56th in rebounds per game (8.7).
The Perth, Australia, native has had double-doubles in five of the last 10 games to bring his career total to nine.
Nevill had a season-high 26 points (10-12 FG, 6-8 FT), 11 rebounds and a career-high tying four assists in 30 minutes versus Virginia in the second round of the San Juan Shootout on Dec. 20. It was his fifth 20-point game of season and the seventh of his career. Nevill was named to the San Juan Shootout All-Tournament Team.
One of the trademarks of Utah basketball has been a stifling half-court defense. Since the 1989-90 season, Utah has finished in the top 30 in the nation 13 times in scoring defense, 12 times in rebound margin, eight times in field goal percentage defense and nine times in scoring margin.
Opponents are shooting 49.7 percent from the field and 48.6 percent from 3-point range against the U. this season.
The Runnin' Utes' defensive performances have been a key factor in determining their wins and losses this season. In five wins, Utah's opponents have shot 42.1 percent from the field and 43.2 percent (38-for-88) from 3-point range to average 60.4 points per game. In its seven losses, the U.'s opponents have shot 54.9 percent from the field and 52.5 percent (63-for-120) from 3-point range to average 72.6 points per game.
Utah is 0-5 this season when its opponents shoot at least 50 percent from the field and 2-7 when they shoot at least 40 percent from 3-point range.
The Utes have held six teams below 45.0 percent shooting from this field this season, winning five of those games. Utah's best defensive effort of the season was holding Colorado (Nov. 21) to 41.1 percent shooting, which resulted in a 60-59 loss.
Northwestern shot 73.3 percent (11-for-15) from 3-point range on Dec. 21, breaking the school record for the best 3-point percentage by a Utah opponent. The Wildcats also shot 69.0 percent from the field, the highest mark by a Utah opponent in three seasons under Ray Giacoletti.
The Utes have a +4.4 rebound margin this season and rank first in the Mountain West Conference in that category. Utah has had the advantage on the boards eight times and has also had one push in 12 games. Utah had a +16 season-best rebound margin (37-21) over Virginia on Dec. 20.
In three seasons under Ray Giacoletti, Utah is 47-17 when it has a rebounding total equal to or better than its opponents. Utah is 3-5 when it has the rebounding edge this season.