Wyoming Starts New Year at Utah Valley on Tuesday

Jan. 1, 2012

Laramie, Wyo.

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The University of Wyoming men's basketball team starts the 2012 calendar year against Utah Valley on Tuesday in the UCCU Center in Orem, Utah. The Cowboys (12-2) had 11 days off for the holidays after an 80-56 win at Idaho State on Dec. 22, while the Wolverines (7-9) will seek revenge for a 74-41 loss in Laramie on Nov. 30. Tip is set for 7:05 p.m.

Fans can follow live stats, live audio and live video of the game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on WyomingAthletics.com. The contest will be broadcast on the radio through the Cowboy Sports Network and will be televised nationally by Fox College Sports and regionally by Altitude TV.

A Look at the Matchup
The Cowboys are currently tied for second in the Mountain West standings at 12-2, trailing only No. 19/20 UNLV at 15-2, and enter Tuesday at the end of a three-game road stretch. The Pokes are 2-2 on the road this season, including breaking a 23-game road losing streak with a 65-54 win at Colorado on Dec. 9. In their most recent action, the Cowboys won an 80-56 contest at Idaho State on Dec. 22. The Pokes turned a 10-point advantage at halftime into a rout when they allowed the Bengals just nine points through the first 12 minutes of the second half. Wyoming is the only team in the nation yet to allow an opponent more than 60 points during 2011-12.

Wyoming's defense continues to sit near the top of the national rankings. In the last NCAA rankings, UW was third in the nation in scoring defense at 50.6 points per game, fifth in three-point field goal percentage defense at 26.3 and 10th in field goal percentage defense at 36.4. All three marks lead the Mountain West. The Cowboys have crafted a plus 4.1 turnover margin this season, but are plus 0.3 on the boards.

The Wolverines are 7-9 under 10th-year head coach Dick Hunsaker. Utah Valley started 4-3, but lost a 74-41 game in Laramie on Nov. 30, and are just 3-5 since with three of those losses coming by more than 10 points. UVU is 6-1 at home this season. In their most recent action, the Wolverines defeated Hampton, 42-40, last Sunday, but lost to Chattanooga, 74-59, last Monday. UVU is scoring 64.1 points per game on 40 percent from the field, while allowing 64.2 points on 40 percent. As a team, the Wolverines have a plus 1.0 rebounding and minus 0.3 turnover margin, while allowing opponents to shoot just 26 percent beyond the arc.

Each Team's Leaders
Redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez paces the Pokes at 12.5 points per game, thanks in part to a team-high 35 treys, and is shooting 40 percent (35-of-87) beyond the arc. Senior guard Francisco Cruz is averaging 11.6 points per game, while hitting 46 percent (61-of-131) from the floor and is second on the team at 1.5 assists per game. Redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington is also contributing double figures at 11.4 points per game. He ranks in the top 10 of the MW in five different categories. He leads the league in field goal percentage (60.0) and blocks per game (1.2), while his team-high 6.1 rebounds are good for fifth. Senior guard JayDee Luster has one of the top assist-turnover ratios in the nation a 3.7 assists per game and senior center Adam Waddell rounds out UW's probable starters at 9.9 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Junior guard Derrious Gilmore had 18 points off the bench against Idaho State, while Martinez added 16 and Waddell had 13.

Senior guard Isiah Williams leads Utah Valley at 13.8 points per game and is one of three Wolverines averaging more than 2.0 assists per game. Sophomore guard Holton Hunsaker, the son of the head coach, contributes a team-high 2.7 assists to go with 7.6 points. Senior forward Geddes Robinson and sophomore center Ben Aird are Utah Valley's inside game. Robinson averages a double-double at 10.5 points and 10.3 rebounds per game, while Aird contributes 8.8 and 6.4, respectively, to go with 1.4 blocks per game. Senior forward Keith Thompson rounds out UVU's projected starters and adds 6.7 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. Robinson has 12 points and 11 rebounds against Chattanooga, while Hunsaker scored 21 points and Thompson added 12.

About the Series
Wyoming leads the all-time series 1-0, after earning a 74-41 win over Utah Valley on Nov. 30 in the only meeting between the two programs. Washington scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds in that game, while the Cowboy defense held the Wolverines to the second-lowest point total for a UW opponent this season and just one trey (1-of-18). Wyoming was up 13-10 midway through the first half, before going on a 25-3 run over the next eight minutes to force their will on the Wolverines the rest of the contest.

Up Next
Wyoming hosts its final non-conference game of the season by welcoming Idaho State to the Arena-Auditorium on Jan. 9 at 7 p.m.