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Utah Men's Basketball Preview - Game 17

Luke Nevill is averaging 17.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game this season.

Luke Nevill is averaging 17.8 points and 8.4 rebounds per game this season.

Jan. 11, 2007

Saturday, January 13, 2007 • 7:05 p.m. (MST)
The Pit/Bob King Court (18,018) • Albuquerque, N.M.

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UTAH (5-11, 0-3)
Head Coach: Ray Giacoletti
Alma Mater: Minot State, 1985
At Utah: 48-32 (3rd Season)
Career: 165-115 (10th Season)

NEW MEXICO (11-7, 0-3) Head Coach: Ritchie McKay Alma Mater: Seattle Pacific, 1987 At UNM: 78-59 (5th Season) Career: 161-148 (11th Season)

MEDIA COVERAGE Television: None 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 75-42 Utah Home/Away/Neutral: 50-5/23-35/2-2 Current Streak: New Mexico has won 1 Last Meeting: New Mexico won 64-53 on Feb. 14, 2006 in Albuquerque, N.M.

The Runnin' Utes (5-11, 0-3 MWC) wrap-up a two-game road swing against the New Mexico Lobos (11-7, 0-3 MWC) on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. (MST) at The Pit/Bob King Court in Albuquerque, N.M. The game will be broadcast on Sports Radio 700 The Zone.

Utah has dropped six of its last seven games, including five in a row. The Utes have lost their first three Mountain West Conference games, falling 97-94 in double overtime at UNLV on Jan. 3, 71-68 to TCU at home last Saturday, and 73-57 at Colorado State on Tuesday night. The Runnin' Utes are 1-7 away from home and 0-5 on opponents' home courts this season.

Sophomore center Luke Nevill (7-1, 265) is the Utes' leading scorer (17.8 ppg) and rebounder (8.4 rpg). He is shooting 65.0 percent from the field, 78.4 percent from the free throw line, and also has a team-best 13 blocked shots. Junior guard Johnnie Bryant (6-0, 180) is second on the team in scoring (15.6 ppg) and has connected on 44.9 percent (53-for-118) of his 3-point attempts and 74.4 percent of his free throws. Bryant leads the team in assists (2.37 apg). Sophomore forward Shaun Green (6-8, 208) is third on the team in scoring (12.4 ppg), and is second in both assists (2.12 apg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg). He is shooting 56.8 percent from the field and 56.8 percent (42-for-74) from 3-point range. Green also leads the Utes in steals (20) and is second in blocked shots (9).

In the latest NCAA statistical rankings released on Jan. 9, Utah ranked fourth in 3-point percentage (43.5), 14th in field goal percentage (49.9), 71st in 3-pointers made per game (7.8), 31st in free throw percentage (73.7), 58th in turnovers per game (13.7), 42nd in rebound margin (+6.0 rpg) and 72nd in personal fouls per game (17.3). Green ranked first in the nation in 3-point percentage (56.5). Nevill was fourth in field goal percentage (66.7), 57th in points per game (18.3) and 45th in rebounds per game (8.6). Bryant was 22nd in 3-pointers made per game (3.3) and 47th in 3-point percentage (44.1).

• Seven of the 13 Utes who have seen action this season are first-year players. Six of those players are freshmen. The nine freshmen and sophomores who have played have accounted for 70.9 percent of Utah's points, 85.3 percent of its rebounds, 63.6 percent of its assists and 69.1 percent of its minutes.

• Seven of Utah's 11 losses (Southern Utah, Colorado, Utah State, Rhode Island, Albany, UNLV and TCU) have come by a combined 15 points. The Utes have lost three games by one point and four by three points.

• The Utes have shot at least 50 percent from 3-point range eight times and at least 50 percent from the field seven times in 15 games this season.

• Utah is 0-6 this season when opponents shoot at least 50 percent from the field and 2-9 when they shoot at least 40 percent from 3-point range.

• The Runnin' Utes have dropped their first three games in conference play for the first time since the 1952-53 season. Utah lost four in a row to start conference play that year.

The Lobos are 11-7 overall and 10-1 at home this season. New Mexico has lost four in a row, including its first three Mountain West Conference games. The Lobos lost at TCU, 64-52, on Jan. 3, to Colorado State at home, 88-79, last Saturday and at Air Force, 65-57, on Tuesday night.

Junior guard J.R. Giddens (6-5, 205), who is in his first season at New Mexico after transferring from Kansas, has not played in the last two games with an injured left foot. He suffered the injury against Wichita State on Dec. 22. Giddens leads the Lobos in scoring (17.7 ppg) and is second in rebounding (6.1 rpg). Junior guard/forward Tony Danridge (6-5, 215) is second in scoring (12.2 ppg). Sophomore guard Chad Toppert (6-6, 195) is UNM's top 3-point shooter, hitting 49.5 percent (47-for-95) from beyond the arc. Junior guard Darren Prentice (6-1, 170) is New Mexico's leader in assists (3.0 apg) and steals (18).

New Mexico ranks first in the Mountain West in scoring (77.6 ppg), eighth in scoring defense (71.3 ppg), third in assist/turnover ratio (1.23) and seventh in rebound margin (+0.3 rpg).


	         Utah	UNM
Overall Record	5-11	11-7
MWC Record	0-3	0-3
Scoring          	69.6	77.6
Scoring Defense	69.4	71.3
FG%	         .494	.474
FG% Defense	.494	.454
3-Pt. FG%	         .444	.370
3-Pt. FG% Defense	.474	.351
FT%	         .730	.677
Rebound Margin	+4.7	+0.3
Assists	         13.9	16.0
Turnovers	         13.8	13.1
Opp. Turnovers	11.8	14.6
Steals	         5.0	6.3
Blocked Shots	1.9	2.7

Ritchie McKay is 78-59 in his fifth season at New Mexico and has a 161-148 record in his 11th year as a head coach. After going 24-32 in his first two years at New Mexico, McKay guided the Lobos to a 26-7 record and the first round of the NCAA Tournament in 2004-05. New Mexico also went 10-4 to place second in the Mountain West Conference--their highest finish as an MWC member--and went on to win the league tournament. The Lobos went 17-13 overall and placed fifth in the conference with an 8-8 record last season.

McKay, who was the head coach at Colorado State for two seasons (1998-2000), returned to the Mountain West Conference following a two-year stint at Oregon State (2000-02) where he went 22-37. At CSU, McKay went 19-11 in 1998-99, taking the Rams to the third round of the NIT. His team went 18-12 in 1999-2000 when he was named Coach of the Year by College Hoops Insider magazine. McKay began his head coaching career at Portland State, going 24-29 in two seasons from 1996-98.

• The Utes and Lobos meet for the 118th time on Saturday night. The series dates back to a 59-47 win by Utah on Jan. 3, 1952 in Albuquerque, N.M., in a Skyline Conference match-up.

• Utah leads the all-time series 75-42, winning 13 of the last 20 games. However, New Mexico has won three of the last four. In games played either in Salt Lake City or Albuquerque, the home team has won each of the last eight games.

• The two teams split the 2005-06 season series. The Utes took the first meeting 64-49 on Jan. 4 in Salt Lake City in the conference opener for both teams. The Lobos won 64-53 on Feb. 4 in Albuquerque, N.M.

• In Albuquerque, the Lobos lead 35-23 and have won four in a row over the Utes. Utah's last win in The Pit was 81-51 on Jan. 21, 2002. The Utes hit 12-of-18 3-pointers that night to tie the school's fourth-best single-game mark for three-point percentage (66.7).

• In conference regular season play, the Utes have a 72-38 advantage. Utah leads 9-5 in Mountain West games.

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

• Ritchie McKay is 6-5 against Utah, including a 5-4 record while at New Mexico. He went 1-1 against Utah during his tenure at Colorado State.

The Runnin' Utes opens a two-game homestand against the Air Force Falcons on Tuesday at 8:05 p.m. (MST) in the Huntsman Center. The game will be televised by The mtn--MountainWest Sports Network. Utah then hosts the Wyoming Cowboys on Saturday, Jan. 20 at 1:05 p.m. (MST).



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