Men's Basketball Concludes Non-Conference Action with Fresno State
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men's basketball team closes out non-conference play this Tuesday, Dec. 21, with a familiar foe in Fresno State for its final game of the 2021 calendar year inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center at 5 p.m. (MT).
Todd Harris will have the call between the two former WAC rivals while Ernie Kent serves as the analyst in the Pac-12 Network broadcast.
- First 200 fans in attendance at the men's basketball game against Fresno State will receive a special Utah centric Christmas Ornament
- In addition, fans will get a chance to hang out with Santa Clause at the game as well
GACH SETTLING IN
Both Gach has settled in well since being inserted into the starting line-up and has reached double-figures in 5-of-6 games. During that stretch, the Austin, Minn., product has averaged 15.7 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists to go with a .484 shooting clip and .480 clip from 3-point range. In those six games, Gach also posted a career-high tying 28 points against then #20/18 USC on the road. He followed that up with a 19 point performance against Cal at home.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS
Fresno State enters Tuesday's game 9-2 overall on the year, which is third-best so far in the MWC behind Colorado State (10-0) and Wyoming (9-1). Defensively, the Bulldogs have held opponents to just an average of 56 points – which is tied for eighth-best nationally in scoring defense.
FSU's offense rolls through Orlando Robinson, who leads the team in several categories including points (18.3ppg), rebounds (8.1rpg), assists (32), blocks (19), steals (14) and field-goal percentage (.519). The 7-0 forward is also 16th nationally when it comes to free-throws made this season (53) and 26th in free-throw attempts (66) – which is also good for first and second, respectively, in the Mountain West.
Jordan Campbell is second on the team in points, averaging 9.5 points and 3.5 rebounds with a .484 shooting clip. Senior Jemarl Baker and junior Isaiah Hill are neck and neck in the scoring column with Baker averaging 8.6 points and 3.5 rebounds while Hill is averaging 8.5 points and 3.1 assists. However, Hill also recorded 30 assists on top of his 11 steals to go with a team-best 13-made triple.
Despite going 0-2 in its two true road games with a scoring margin of -8.0 as a team, Robinson averaged 20.5 points and 7.0 rebounds in those games while Anthony Holland averaged 13.5 points and 5.5 rebounds with a .625 shooting clip.
LAST TIME OUT
Despite playing with Branden Carlson, Utah led Missouri for 21:56 minutes of the game – including a 33-32 narrow lead at halftime. However, a 41-33 disadvantage on the battle of the boards – including a 16-9 difference on the offensive glass – was too much to overcome as the Utes fell late to the Tigers 83-75. Utah held Mizzou to just 4-21 from 3-point range but key shots in the final minutes of the game from the Tigers coupled with a short-handed Utah front court saw it go without a field goal in the final 3:04 minutes.
David Jenkins Jr., who came off the bench for the second-straight game, found his stroke back at Mizzou and dialed in a team-high 18 points on 4-of-7 shooting down range while Marco Anthony added a season-high 16 points on eight rebounds. Both Gach was the third and final Ute to score in double-figures, posting 15 points, five rebounds and four assists behind a 7-of-8 afternoon at the line.
Lazar Stefanovic made his first-career start on Saturday as well without the services of Branden Carlson.
Utah will get a few days off for the Holidays before hitting the full slate of Pac-12 games. The Runnin' Utes will ring in the new year on the road, starting with Oregon State (7 p.m. MT) on Thursday, Dec. 30, before kicking off the new year against Oregon (8:30 p.m. MT) on Saturday, Jan. 1. Rich Burk and Eldridge Recasner will have the call between the Utes and Beavers while Jordan Kent and PJ Carlisemo have the call against the Ducks.
The Runnin' Utes will then host Washington (Jan. 6) and Washington State (Jan. 8) upon their return for their first games of the new year inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Meanwhile, the women's basketball team will play after the men's team that week at home as well, hosting UCLA (Jan. 7) and USC (Jan. 9).
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.