To some longtime followers of the Utah-BYU basketball rivalry, which resumes Saturday afternoon in Provo, it seems like the series is always tied or at least very close to being tied all the time.

That's the case right now with each team owning 116 victories against the other in the series dating back to 1909.

Back in the Jerry Pimm-Frank Arnold days, the series was always very close and often tied. Then the two schools had a difference in their record-keeping and for a few years BYU's records gave the Cougars the edge, while the Utes gave themselves the edge.

It turns out the Utes were unknowingly counting some victories back in the early 1900s against a BY College team from Logan that wasn't the same as Brigham Young University. So when those 18 games — 14 of which were wins — were thrown out, all of a sudden BYU owned a double-digit advantage in the series.

However, it swung back in the Utes' favor when they ran off 12 straight victories during the late 1990s. With BYU winning three of the last five, it's back to dead-even.

By the way, coach Rick Majerus holds a 17-10 mark against BYU, going 8-2 against Steve Cleveland, 2-0 against Tony Ingle and 7-8 against Roger Reid.

CORRECT CALL: Contrary to popular belief, Majerus is one of the calmest college coaches on the sideline, rarely complaining to officials about calls. He usually just stands or crouches on the sidelines, observing the action intently and occasionally barking out instructions to his team.

However, on the few occasions he does complain, he often goes ballistic, slamming the press table and looking for papers, cups, anything to get his hands on. Those are the ones that get on SportsCenter and give him a bad reputation.

It happened a couple of times in Monday night's ESPN Big Monday game at UNLV when Majerus became upset at a couple of apparent goal-tending calls that were missed.

But it turns out the officials were correct in regards to two "non-calls" of layups by Tim Drisdom that were blocked off the glass.

After the second "non-call," one of the officials came over to explain to Majerus that the college rule is different than the NBA rule, where it's automatically a goal-tend if the ball hits the glass first. In college, if the ball is blocked off the glass, it must be above the rim for goaltending to be called.

NOT AGAIN: Ute fans held their collective breath late in Monday night's game when Britton Johnsen appeared to re-injure his right thumb.

The Utes were leading 57-53 with just under three minutes left and Johnsen was trying for a slam dunk along the left baseline. UNLV's Dalron Johnson appeared to foul him hard, knocking Johnsen's injured thumb into the backboard.

Johnsen came down holding his thumb in obvious pain, but after leaving the game briefly, he came back and played the rest of the way.

On Tuesday, Johnsen said the thumb "stung" for a few minutes and was a little swollen, but he thought it was OK and was going to get it checked later in the day. He also said he had no problem with Johnson's foul, saying he was just going for the ball.

GETTING DEFENSIVE: Johnsen played well defensively against Dalron Johnson Monday, holding him to just nine points on 3-of-12 shooting.

But when Marcus Banks went crazy late in the game, scoring 10 straight points and 15 in the final seven minutes, Johnsen volunteered to guard Banks, telling Majerus he could stop him.

Majerus didn't take Johnsen up on his offer, however, perhaps because he wanted to make sure UNLV's Johnson was covered. Maybe he'll get the chance when the Rebels visit Salt Lake Feb. 17.

WHO'S STARTING: After Marc Jackson's two fine performances against San Diego State and UNLV (32 points, 8 assists), some folks are wondering if he should supplant Tim Drisdom (three points, six assists) in the starting rotation.

It could happen — Majerus started Jackson in the second half of Monday's game — but don't count on it.

"It doesn't make any difference who starts," Majerus said. "They're both going to play a lot."

UTE NOTES: That big win over Alabama is looking less impressive all the time. The Crimson Tide lost their fourth game of the year Tuesday, by 19 points at Mississippi . . . The Utes aren't moving much in the RPI rankings, standing No. 30 after Monday night's win. BYU is 14th and UNLV 33rd . . . Longtime UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian paid a visit to Majerus at the Ute locker room after the game, along with his son, Danny . . . Freshmen Richard Chaney, Bryant Markson and Drisdom have combined for just eight points in the last two games, while freshman Chris Jackson hasn't left the bench.


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