Go Utes!
Go Utes!
Utah Men's Basketball Preview - Game 14

Shaun Green is shooting 61.1 percent from 3-point range this season.

Shaun Green is shooting 61.1 percent from 3-point range this season.

Jan. 2, 2007

Wednesday, January 3, 2007 • 8:05 p.m. (PST)
Thomas & Mack Center (18,500) • Las Vegas, Nev.

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UTAH (5-8, 0-0)
Head Coach: Ray Giacoletti
Alma Mater: Minot State, 1985
At Utah: 48-29 (3rd Season)
Career: 165-112 (10th Season)

UNLV (13-2, 0-0) Head Coach: Lon Kruger Alma Mater: Kansas State, 1975 At UNLV: 47-29 (3rd Season) Career: 365-262 (21st Season)

MEDIA COVERAGE Television: the mtn. (Comcast 37) Tim Neverett, (play-by-play), Dave Bollwinkel (analyst) Radio: Sports Radio 700 The Zone Bill Riley (play-by-play), Joe Cravens (analyst), Scott Gerrard (host) Internet Audio/Live Stats: www.UtahUtes.com

THE SERIES Overall: Utah leads 18-15 Utah Home/Away/Neutral: 10-3/6-10/2-2 Current Streak: UNLV has won 2 Last Meeting: UNLV won 65-58 on Feb. 22, 2006 in Las Vegas, Nev.

The Runnin' Utes return home to host the TCU Horned Frogs on Saturday, Jan. 6 at 7:05 p.m. (MST). The game will be televised by the mtn. Utah then plays its next two games on the road, begining with Colorado State on Tuesday, Jan. 9 at 7:05 p.m. (MST) in Fort Collins, Colo.

The Runnin' Utes (5-8, 0-0 MWC) open Mountain West Conference play against the UNLV Runnin' Rebels (13-2, 0-0 MWC) on Wednesday at 8:05 p.m. (PST) at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. The game will be televised on the mtn. (Comcast 37 in Salt Lake City) and broadcast on Sports Radio 700 The Zone.

Utah has dropped three of its last four games. The Utes closed out their nonconference schedule with a 59-58 loss to Albany last Thursday night in the Huntsman Center. 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 is 0-3 on opponents' home courts this season and 1-5 away from home.

Sophomore center Luke Nevill (7-1, 265) is the Utes' leading scorer (18.6 ppg) and rebounder (8.2 rpg). He is shooting 70.2 percent from the field and also has a team-best 11 blocked shots. Junior guard Johnnie Bryant (6-0, 180) is second on the team in scoring (14.5 ppg) and has connected on 43.2 percent (41-for-95) of his 3-point attempts and 78.1 percent of his free throws. Bryant is second on the team in assists (2.38 apg). Sophomore forward Shaun Green (6-8, 208) is third on the team in scoring (11.5 ppg), first in assists (2.46 apg) and second in rebounding (5.8 rpg). He is shooting 59.3 percent from the field and 61.1 percent (33-for-54) from 3-point range. Green also leads the Utes in steals (15) and is second in blocked shots (7).

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).

• The last time the Utes entered conference play with a losing record was in 1984-85. Utah went 5-7 through its nonconference schedule under Lynn Archibald before finishing 15-16 overall and 6-6 in the WAC to place sixth. This is also the Utes' worst pre-conference record since going 3-8 in 1972-73 under Bill Foster.

• Five of Utah's eight losses (Southern Utah, Colorado, Utah State, Rhode Island and Albany) have come by a combined nine points. The Utes have lost three games by one point and two by three 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 13 games this season.

• Utah is 0-5 this season when opponents shoot at least 50 percent from the field and 2-8 when they shoot at least 40 percent from 3-point range.

• Utah is 6-1 in Mountain West Conference openers overall and 2-1 on the road. The Runnin' Utes' only loss in an MWC opener was at San Diego State (58-56) on Jan. 18, 2003. Last year, Utah defeated New Mexico 64-49 on Jan. 4 in the Huntsman Center.

• Third year Ute head coach Ray Giacoletti is 7-2 in conference openers overall and 2-0 and Utah.

• Freshman forward Kim Tillie fractured his left ankle in practice on Monday and is out indefinitely. Tillie, from Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, has played in 11 games this season, averaging 2.1 points and 1.5 rebounds in 7.4 minutes per game.

• Freshman guard Luka Drca reinjured his right shoulder in practice on Monday, but is expected to play against UNLV on Wednesday.

• Freshman forward Daniel Deane will not travel with the team to its game at UNLV on Wednesday. Deane is in the process of dealing with an academic issue. His status for the rest of the season is still to be determined. Deane has appeared in all 13 games with two starts. The Park City, Utah, native is averaging 2.7 points and 2.3 rebounds in 10.8 minutes per game.

The Runnin' Rebels are 13-2 overall and 8-1 at home this season. UNLV, which has won nine in a row, begins its conference schedule against Utah. Last week the Runnin' Rebels picked up a pair of victories on the road, winning 74-66 at Texas Tech on Thursday and 78-62 at Houston on Saturday.

Senior forward Wendell White (6-6, 215) leads UNLV in scoring (14.1 ppg), rebounding (6.2 rpg) and steals (20). Sophomore guard Wink Adams (6-0, 190) is second in scoring (14.0 ppg), third in rebouding (4.1 rpg) and first in steals (20). Senior guard Kevin Kruger (6-2, 185) is the third Rebel averaging double-figures in points (13.6 ppg). Kruger is shooting 30.8 percent (28-for-91) from 3-point range and 82.3 percent from the free throw line. He also leads the team in assists (4.9 apg). Kevin is the son of UNLV head coach Lon Kruger and is in his first season on the court with the Rebels after transferring from Arizona State as a fifth-year player.

UNLV ranks fourth in the MWC in scoring offense (77.0 ppg), third in scoring defense (64.5 ppg), ninth in rebound margin (-0.7 rpg), first in turnover margin (+6.07) and first in blocked shots (5.07 bpg).


Utah UNLV Record 5-8 13-2 Scoring 68.8 77.0 Scoring Defense 66.8 64.5 FG% .507 .447 FG% Defense .495 .424 3-Pt. FG% .438 .343 3-Pt. FG% Defense .479 .284 FT% .732 .706 Rebound Margin +4.6 -0.7 Assists 14.5 15.7 Turnovers 13.5 11.1 Opp. Turnovers 11.9 17.2 Steals 4.9 8.3 Blocked Shots 1.8 5.1

A veteran of two decades as a head coach on the collegiate and professional levels, Lon Kruger took over as UNLV's head coach in 2004-05 after a four-year stint in the NBA. He is 47-29 in three seasons with the Rebels. Following an 18-year career as a successful college coach, Kruger spent three seasons (2000-03) as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks and then part of the 2003-04 season as an assistant with the New York Knicks.

At the collegiate level, Kruger has compiled a 365-262 overall mark in 21 seasons as a head coach at Pan American (1982-86), Kansas State (1986-90), Florida (1990-96), Illinois (1996-2000) and UNLV. Kruger piloted his teams to the postseason on 12 different occasions, with nine appearances in the NCAA Tournament and three in the NIT. He compiled seven 20-plus victory seasons, was a two-time SEC Coach of the Year (1992 and 1994) and led his 1993-94 Florida squad to the NCAA Final Four.

• Utah and UNLV meet for the 34th time on Wednesday night. The Utes lead the series 18-15 and have taken 12 of the last 17 games.

• UNLV has a 10-6 advantage in games played in Las Vegas. Utah had won two in a row and three of the last four games played there before the Rebels defeated the Utes last season, 65-58 on Feb. 22.

• The Utes had won six in a row over the Rebels--the longest winning streak by either team in the series--before UNLV took both games against the Utes last season. The Rebels defeated Utah 71-59 on Jan. 21 in Salt Lake City and 65-58 on Feb. 22 at the Thomas & Mack Center.

• In conference regular-season play, Utah has a 13-4 advantage, winning 10 of the last 13. Since both teams became members of the Mountain West Conference in 1999-2000, Utah leads 10-4.

Ray Giacoletti is 3-2 against UNLV with all of those games coming during his tenure at Utah.

• Lon Kruger is 2-4 against Utah. In addition to facing the U. five times as the head coach at UNLV, his Florida team lost to the Utes 81-78 on April 1, 1992 in the NIT Final Four.



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