The University of Wyoming Cowboy basketball team officially opens the season on Friday evening, as the Pokes host Western State in the Arena-Auditorium for an 8:30 p.m. tip. The contest marks the first game under first-year head coach Allen Edwards. The Cowboys wrapped up exhibition play last Thursday with a 75-50 win over Chadron State in Torrington, Wyo.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 307-766-7220 or online at GoWYO.com. Fans can watch the action with live video and stats on GoWyo.com. The game will be broadcast live on radio over the 25 affiliate stations of the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
First-year head coach Allen Edwards welcomes back four starters and nine total letterwinners from last season’s team. The Cowboys return 63 percent of their scoring from last season. The Pokes also return 77 percent of their rebounding. Wyoming was one of the best teams in the Mountain West beyond the arc last season. Wyoming scored 34 points in the paint in their exhibition contest against Chadron State. The Pokes were also lethal in the transition game scoring 16 fast break points. Wyoming shot 46 percent from the field in the game and held the Eagles to 26 percent.
Western State is coached by Bradd Schafer, who begins his third season at the helm with an 11-43 record in his previous two years. Six contributors return from last year’s squad, which finished the 2015-16 season at 6-21 overall and 5-16 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, an NCAA Division II affiliate. Western State played Utah Valley on Monday night falling 113-87. The Mountaineers shot 43 percent from the field, but allowed UVU to shot 50 percent.
Each Team’s Leaders
Senior guard Jason McManamen emerged as one of the top three-point shooters in the MW and the NCAA last season, as his 44 percent beyond the arc ranked second in the conference and 15th in the nation. McManamen averaged 14.4 points per game a year ago. He will be joined by juniors Alan Herndon, Jeremy Lieberman and Jonathan Barnes. McManamen downed 3.0 triples per game last season for second in the Mountain West and 27th in the nation. His efforts earned him All-MW Honorable Mention honors by the leagues’ coaches and media. Herndon was second on the team in field goal percentage at 52 percent last season. He was third on the team in scoring as a sophomore pouring in 7.8 per game. Lieberman started 22 games last season shooting 35 percent from beyond the three point line. Barnes started 23 games for the Pokes in 2015-16. McManamen led the Pokes in scoring in their exhibition contest last week pouring in 15 points. Junior Alexander Aka Gorski and Louis Adams each added 10 points for UW. Adams also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds for UW.
Junior guard Ben Beauchamp returns as the Mountaineers’ leading scorer. Beauchamp averaged 12.4 points, 3.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game last season. Another returner, junior guard Will Duggan, recorded a team-best 3.6 assists per game during the 2015-16 campaign, while also averaging 6.1 points and 2.4 rebounds per contest. Duggan led the Mountaineers in scoring against Utah Valley with 16 points. Patrick Sniff added a team-high seven rebounds to go along with 12 points.
About the Series
Wyoming leads the all-time series by a mark of 28-2. The two teams face off for the first time since Nov. 18, 2014, when the Cowboys defeated the Mountaineers, 61-46, in Laramie. The series began on January 1, 1937, and ended in a 38-31 victory for Western State.
The Pokes hit the road facing off against regional foe Montana on Monday evening in Missoula, Mont. Tip is set for 7 p.m. inside Dahlberg Arena.