Cal State Northridge (8-3) at Utah (7-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, December 21, 10:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jon M. Huntsman Center (15,000) -- Salt Lake City, Utah. Television: Pac-12 Network. Home Record: CSUN 4-0, Utah 6-1. Away Record: CSUN 1-3, Utah 1-2. Neutral Record: CSUN 3-0, Utah 0-0. Conference Record: CSUN 0-0, Utah 0-0. Series Record: Utah leads, 6-0.
GAME NOTES: For the second of three straight games to be played at home, the Utah Runnin' Utes welcome the Matadors of Cal State Northridge on Friday to the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City.
With the Pac-12 Conference schedule ready to tip off in the new calendar year, the Runnin' Utes are trying to mount some momentum as they shoot for their second straight win and the fourth in five outings. The team was just in action on Tuesday and used the opportunity to tackle SMU in a 62-53 final.
As for the Matadors, they too are off to a strong start during the non- conference portion of their schedule. But while the team is undefeated in four games at home, it has won only once in four true road dates and that came at San Diego (74-71) back in the middle of November.
More recently, the team was in action against San Diego Christian three nights ago and delivered a convincing 93-63 win at home, marking the group's second victory in the last three outings overall.
The Utes have beaten CSUN every time out and now the team is shooting for a seventh win in as many tries against the Matadors. The last encounter was nearly a decade ago (2003), with Utah claiming a 77-57 victory at home.
With the game well in hand, the Matadors allowed some of the reserves to take over the meeting with San Diego Christian, and with that Brandon Perry erupted for 22 points and made five blocks in just 18 minutes of action. Fellow backup Trevone Williams tallied 13 points and six rebounds as the reserves accounted for 51 points overall. Stephan Hicks recorded a double-double with 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Stephen Maxwell tacked on 10 points and seven boards of his own for a team that shot an impressive 53.1 percent from the floor. Connecting on 51.5 percent of his field goal opportunities, Hicks is scoring a team-best 17.7 ppg over 11 games and is also first with eight and a half rebounds per contest. Josh Greene is responsible for another 12.8 ppg and is tops with 56 assists, which makes it slightly easier to forgive him for a mere 33.3 percent shooting.
The Runnin' Utes didn't have a single starter make more than a pair of field goals, nor did any of them score in double figures, and yet the team still found a way to take down visiting SMU earlier this week. Instead, it was Justin Seymour who came off the bench to register a team-best 11 points, followed by Jason Washburn and Brandon Taylor with 10 points apiece, the latter getting the job done in just 12 minutes of action. Utah survived 15 turnovers and 5-of-16 shooting behind the 3-point line in the meeting as well. Jarred DuBois, who tallied eight points on only 1-of-5 shooting, remains the leading scorer for the defensive-minded program with his 13.8 ppg, followed by Jordan Loveridge with 11.7 ppg and a team-best 7.2 rpg which gives the group a rebounding edge of more than seven per game over the competition. Defensively, the Utes are holding foes to only 34.8 percent shooting from the field and 57.2 ppg.
One of the top offensive teams in the nation with 81.8 ppg, the Matadors are going to be put to the test by one of the stingiest defenses in the country and chances are the latter will win out.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah 71, Cal State Northridge 64
12/21 10:31:36 ET