Jan. 15, 1998
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - With Utah's scoring-leader Michael Doleac slowed by the flu and a tight Colorado State defense, Andre Miller knew it was up to him to spark the No. 4 Utes Thursday night.
"They really packed it in with their zone," Miller said. "I knew I was going to have to make something happen from the outside."
The junior point guard responded to the challenge with 17 points, seven rebounds and six assists to lead Utah past CSU 65-51.
"Andre Miller was everywhere," Doleac said. "I felt like my legs were dead in the second half, so I'm glad he stepped it up."
Doleac finished with 13 points.
"Andre played a great all-around game but the best thing about him was his defense," Utah coach Rick Majerus said. Miller had five steals, a block and finished without a turnover.
"I felt better about my offensive game tonight," Miller said. "I played hard and I finally shot the ball well."
Colorado State's Jameel Mahmud said "Miller is where it all starts with Utah. He's always looking to take advantage of opportunities. Our goal was to control the tempo, but he got them going in the second half."
Utah (14-0, 2-0 Western Athletic Conference), which hasn't lost at home since Dec. 31, 1996, led 43-37 midway through the second half before Drew Hansen's 3-pointer sparked a 10-0 run that gave the Utes some breathing room.
Miller hit a jumper from the top of the key, Hanno Mottola made two free throws and David Jackson capped the spurt with a 3-pointer to give Utah a 53-37 advantage with 6:34 left.
Jameel Mahmud had 18 points to pace the Rams (12-3, 1-2), who have lost nine straight to Utah. CSU played without starting forward James Smith, who had a bruised foot.
Matt Barnett's layup brought CSU within 53-42 with 4:34 remaining, but Doleac and Trace Caton combined to make four straight free throws as Utah held on.
Colorado State's tight zone defense attempted to shut down Utah's inside game, but the Utes made nine 3-pointers.
CSU coach Stew Morrill said if he had the game to play over, "I wouldn't change a thing.
"There was no problem with our team tonight. We executed our game plan, which was to stay close. ... The game was close within a few points, but what happened? Utah happened, that's what," he said.