Cameron Koford has scored in double figures in the last two games for Utah.
Dec. 28, 2002
Dec. 30 * 7:07 p.m. (MST) * Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000) * Salt Lake City
The Game at a Glance
Utah Head Coach: Rick Majerus Alabama Head Coach: Mark Gottfried Alma Mater: Marquette, 1970 Alma Mater: Alabama, 1987 Record at Utah: 290-85/14th Season Record at Alabama: 91-49/5th Season Career Record: 389-137/19th Season Career Record: 159-74/8th Season
Rankings: Alabama (No.1 AP, No. 3 ESPN/USA Today). Utah (NR).
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: Alabama leads 3-0 Utah Home/Away/Neutral: 0-1/0-2/0-0 Last Meeting: Alabama defeated Utah 76-61 on Nov. 26, 2001 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Utah continues a five-game homestand to close out its nonconference schedule, hosting Weber State on Friday, Jan. 3 at 7:07 p.m. (MST) in the Huntsman Center.
Quickly On Utah
The Utes (7-3) return home after a three-game road trip to host Alabama (9-0), ranked No.1 by AP and and No. 3 by ESPN/USA Today on Monday at 7:07 p.m. (MST) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The game will be televised by KJZZ-TV in Salt Lake City and broadcast on KALL-910 AM and the Utah Sports Network.
Following a 2-2 start to the season, Utah has won five of its last six. The Utes took two of the three games on their pre-Christmas road swing. After falling to Utah State 59-54 on Dec. 17 in Logan, Utah, the Utes rebounded with a 77-61 win at Pepperdine on Dec. 20 and a 64-58 win at San Diego on Dec. 23. Utah is 4-0 at home this season.
Three Utes are averaging double figures in scoring. Senior forward Britton Johnsen (6-10, 210), who has missed the last two games a torn ligament in his right thumb, paces Utah in both scoring (14.0 ppg) and rebounding (6.8 rpg) average. Junior center Tim Frost (6-10, 236) is second both in scoring (13.1 ppg), shooting 50.5 percent from the field, and rebounding (4.9 rpg) average. Junior guard Nick Jacobson (6-4, 200) ranks third in scoring average (12.6 ppg), and is shooting 44.8 percent from three-point range (26-for-58) and 84.6 percent from the free throw line. Freshman point guard Tim Drisdom (6-3, 203) leads the Utes in assists (3.8 apg) and is shooting 50.0 percent from three-point percentage beyond the arc.
From the Training Room
* Senior forward Britton Johnsen, a Wooden Award candidate and the 2001-02 Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, has missed the last two games after undergoing surgery on Dec. 18 to repair a torn ligament in his right thumb. Johnsen sustained the injury early in the first half of Utah's contest at Utah State on Nov. 17, but finished the game.
Johnsen returned to practice on Dec. 27 and will need to wear a splint on his right hand for two weeks. He will be reevaluated before Monday's game. If Johnsen is cleared by team doctors and his splint is approved by game officials, there is chance that he could play against Alabama. However, Johnsen is not expected to play at the time of this release.
* Sophomore guard Marc Jackson resprained his right ankle in practice on Dec. 26 and is listed as doubtful for the Alabama game. Jackson has already missed three games this season after initially spraining the ankle on Nov. 17.
The Crimson Tide are 9-0 heading into their first road game of the season on Monday. Alabama is 3-0 on neutral courts this season. Before the Christmas break, Alabama registered two wins at home, defeating Providence (69-61) on Dec. 21 and Morehead State (82-64) on Dec. 23.
Sophomore guard Maurice Williams (6-1, 195) leads UA in scoring (16.4 ppg) and assists (5.3 apg). Williams, who was honored as The Sporting News National Freshman of the Year last season, is also shooting 31.7 percent from three-point range (20-of-63) and 82.6 percent at the free throw line. Senior center Kenny Walker (6-9, 220) is second in both scoring (14.9 ppg) and rebounding (6.6 rpg), a has a team-best 23 blocked shots. Senior forward Erwin Dudley (6-8, 260) leads the Crimson Tide on the boards (10.9 rpg) and is third in scoring (14.0 ppg). Dudley was named the 2002 SEC Player of the Year and a third team AP All-American.
Head Coach Mark Gottfried
Mark Gottfried, named the 2002 SEC Coach of the Year, is in his fifth season at Alabama. He is 91-49 at UA and 159-74 in eight years as a head coach. Before returning to his alma mater, Gottfried won three Ohio Valley Conference titles in three seasons (1995-98) at Murray State. He also took MSU three two NCAA Tournaments and one NIT. He took over at Alabama in 1998-99, guiding the Crimson Tide to the NIT in his first and third seasons. Last season, UA went 27-8 overall, won the SEC West Division with a 12-4 record and went to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Gottfried was an assistant coach at UCLA under Jim Harrick for seven years (1988-95) as the Bruins made the NCAAs each season and won the national title in 1995. He played as a freshman at Oral Roberts before transferring to Alabama, where he was an academic all-SEC selection and played on three NCAA Tournament teams.
Alabama Highest Ranked Team to Visit Huntsman Center
* The Crimson Tide, ranked No.1 by the Associated Press, will roll in Monday night as the highest-ranked team to ever play the Utes in the Huntsman Center. The previous highest-ranked team to face the Utes in the JMHC was No. 2 Wake Forrest on Dec. 31, 1996. In a game featuring the Demon Deacons' Tim Duncan and the Utes' Keith Van Horn, who would later go first and second, respectively, in the 1997 NBA Draft, Wake Forrest prevailed 70-59.
* The Utes have unseated a top-ranked team before under Rick Majerus, defeating North Carolina 65-59 on March 28, 1998 in the national semifinals at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
* Utah's most recent win over a ranked team at home was a 79-73 defeat of No. 14 Texas on Dec. 22, 1999.
* Utah is 0-1 against ranked teams this season, falling to No. 20 Gonzaga 71-52 on Nov. 25 in the first round of the Maui Invitational.
Utah-Alabama Series Notes
* Utah and Alabama meet for the fourth time on Monday night. The Utes have dropped all three previous meetings with the Crimson Tide.
* In its only previous home game in the series, Utah fell 73-57 on Dec. 17, 1984.
* Utah is 0-2 in Tuscaloosa versus Alabama. The Utes lost 89-69 on Dec. 2, 1985 and 76-61 on Nov. 26, 2001. Mark Gottfried played for Alabama in the 1985 game.
* Rick Majerus is 0-1 against Alabama.
The Crimson Tide surged to a 20-5 lead and the Utes played catch-up the rest of the night in a 76-61 loss last season on Nov. 26 at Coleman Coliseum in Tuscaloosa.
Jeff Johnsen had 11 points and Lance Allred and Britton Johnsen 10 points apiece for Utah. The Utes' starting five was a combined 11-for-36 shooting for 31 points. Utah never got closer than 14 points in the second half, trailing by as many as 22.
Terrance Meade scored 18 points and Rod Grizzard had 16 points and 11 rebounds for Alabama. The Crimson Tide shot 63 percent in the second half.
Alabama jumped out to a 15-point lead early and forced 10 turnovers in the first 10 minutes. Alabama stretched its lead to 21 points before reserve guard Eric Osmundson closed it to 42-26 with a three-pointer and layup to end the half. The Tide scored 24 points off 21 Utah turnovers, forcing 14 in the first half.
Inside the Numbers
* In five of the seven wins, Utah has held its opponent to under 40 percent shooting from the field. The Utes have outshot their opponents 48.0 to 36.8 percent in its wins. No team has shot 50 percent from the field on Utah this season.
* The Utes have had the advantage at the free throw line in their seven wins, allowing 105 attempts while making 134 trips themselves and shooting 70.9 percent. In the three losses, the opposite has been the case with the opponents outshooting Utah at the free throw line 122 attempts to 42, and making 82.
* The Utes have outrebounded their opponents in all seven wins by an average of 36.7 to 30.9. As a case in point, Utah had a season-best 48-32 advantage (+16) on the glass in its win 77-61 over Pepperdine on Dec. 20. In two of the three losses, Utah has been on the negative side of that stat. Its rebound deficit in losses is 34.0 to 30.3.
* Utah held Pepperdine to just 13.6 percent from three-point range, its best defensive effort from long range this season.
* 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.
From Beyond The Arc
Utah is shooting 38.3 percent from three-point range, and has hit at least 40 percent of its long-range tries five times and 50 percent twice.
* 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 in the Maui Invitational.
* 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.
Utes Tough At Home In the Huntsman Center
Utah is 184-17 (.915) in the Huntsman Center during the Majerus era and has never lost back-to-back home games. With Majerus on the bench, taking out the games he missed during the 1989-90 and 2000-01 seasons, the Utes are 165-12 (.932) at home.
* The Utes have won 123 of their last 130 games in the Jon M. Huntsman Center, including a 14-2 mark last season and a 4-0 start this season.
* In conference home games over the past eight years, Utah is 59-2 (.967), which is the best record in the nation over that time span.
* Utah has gone unbeaten seven times in the 33-year history of the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Six of those undefeated home seasons have come under Rick Majerus: 1990-91 (16-0), 1992-93 (15-0), 1994-95 (15-0), 1997-98 (13-0), 1998-99 (14-0) and 1999-2000 (17-0).
* The Utes' all-time record in the Huntsman Center is 416-88. Utah got its 400th win in the history of the facility on Nov. 20, 2001 against Boise State.