Runnin' Utes Welcome Manhattan in Saturday Matinee Contest
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men's basketball team returns home this weekend to welcome in Manhattan this Saturday, Dec. 11, for a 3 p.m. (MT) match-up inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Krista Blunk will have the call in the first ever meeting between the Runnin' Utes and Jaspers while former Utah assistant coach Joe Cravens serves as the analyst in the Pac-12 Networks broadcast.
- Fans in attendance for Saturday's game against Manhattan will receive a superhero cap and mask
- Fans attending the final home game of the non-conference season will get a treat and ornament
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
Like most schools, Utah is very comfortable at home and play better inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center than when it plays away from the JMHC. In five games (4-1) at home, the Utes have averaged 75 points per game with a scoring margin of +15.0 while holding opponents to just a .202 shooting clip from beyond the arc. In addition, the Utes are also +10.8 in the rebounding margin category.
Conversely, in its four games away from home (2-2) opponents outscored Utah by a margin of 3.3 points while shooting .333 from deep. Utah has also lost the battle of the glass in those four games have a rebounding margin of -4.3. However, the Utes have turned the ball over less on the road committing just 8.8 turnovers per game while turning it over 12.6 times per game when playing at home.
SCOUTING THE JASPERS
When the Utes and Jaspers take the court on Saturday, it'll serve as the first meeting between the two programs with 11th-year head coach Steve Masiello leading Manhattan. The Jaspers head into the weekend 6-2 overall and 1-1 in MAAC play after splitting their league openers with a win on the road against Siena in OT 77-72 before falling Quinnipiac at home 90-73.
Jose Perez leads a trio of players averaging in double-figures with 13.4 points per game, 3.0 rebounds per game and a team-best 6.1 assists average. Warren Williams, who has come off the bench the last four games after starting the first four, is averaging 11.3 points and 4.6 rebounds with a deadly .614 shooting clip. The senior is averaging 12.3 points in his last four games coming off the bench.
Ant Nelson is the third and final Jasper averaging double-digit points and checks in at 10.9 points per game and 3.6 rebounds per game to go with a .444 shooting clip (8-of-18) from downtown. Elijah Buchanan leads the team on the glass, averaging 5.4 boards to go with his 8.5 points per game. Meanwhile, Samir Stewart is averaging 8.3 points for Manhattan to go with a team-best 14 triples.
As a team, the Jaspers are ranked 19th nationally and tops in the MAAC forcing opponents on average 10 turnovers a game. Perez is also ranked 11th in the country with his 6.1 assists per game while his 49 total assists ranks 20th in the NCAA.
LAST TIME OUT
Despite keeping TCU within reach throughout the game, a tough shooting night for the Runnin' Utes saw them fell to their former WAC and Mountain West Conference foe 76-62 this past Wednesday inside Dickies Arena. Both Gach tied for the team-high in scoring with 16 points and five rebounds. Branden Carlson nearly had a double-double with 16 points and nine rebounds to go with a 6-of-6 effort from the line. Rollie Worster stuffed the stat sheet with eight points, four boards and five assists. The loss snapped Utah's seven-game winning-streak against the Horned Frogs.
Utah will get the next week off for Finals Week before hitting the road and finally complete the home-and-home with Missouri next Saturday, Dec. 18, at 2:30 p.m. (MT) on SEC Network. The Runnin' Utes lead the all-time series 3-0, winning the last meeting in SLC 77-59 – which was the start of the home-and-home series.
The Utes will close out their non-conference slate the following week with a 5 p.m. (MT) tip-off against Fresno State on Tuesday, Dec. 21, on Pac-12 Network. Utah leads the all-time series 11-4 against the former WAC rival – including a 7-1 mark against the Bulldogs at home. The Runnin' Utes won their last two contests against Fresno State and have won five of the last six meetings.
For the latest news and information on the Runnin' Utes men's basketball program, fans can stay connected online at www.UtahUtes.com and on social media by following @UtahMBB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.