Jan. 9, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
After suffering back-to-back Mountain West losses by a single basket, the University of Wyoming men's basketball team faces a challenging road contest at Boise State on Saturday. The Cowboys (9-6, 0-2 MW) continue to boast one of the best defenses in the conference, but face one of the top offenses in the league in the Broncos (11-4, 1-1). Tip is set for 7 p.m. MT in Taco Bell Arena.
Fans can follow live coverage of the game, including live video from ESPN3.com, through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on GoWYO.com. The contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming dropped to 0-2 in the Mountain West and 9-6 overall after a tightly-contested 72-69 overtime loss to New Mexico on Wednesday night at home. Four of UW's six losses have come by five points or less, including back-to-back losses by a single basket each. Against the Lobos, the Cowboys trailed by as many as eight points in the second half, before crafting a 6-1 run over the final 1:30 to send the game to overtime. New Mexico quickly went up by four in the extra frame, before UW hit a three with 47 seconds to go to pull the Pokes within one at 70-69. The Lobos missed both free throws on their ensuing possession to give the Cowboys a chance to win with 29 seconds left, but their shot was blocked and the Lobos made two freebies. The Pokes had one final chance to tie the game, but their three was short. Wyoming shot 49 percent (24-of-49) from the field and 40 percent (6-of-15) beyond the arc compared to 43 percent (27-of-62) and 38 percent (7-of-18), respectively, for New Mexico. The Lobos earned a 37-31 advantage in rebounds and 13-11 in assists. The Cowboys committed 12 turnovers to eight for the Lobos. For the season, Wyoming's 48.8 percent from the field is second in the Mountain West, while its 38.2 percent from deep is fourth and 68.1 points per game are 11th. Defensively, the Cowboys rank second in the MW and 18th in the NCAA in scoring defense at 61.7 points per game and third in field goal percentage defense at 39.8. UW's 31.6 three-point defense is fifth.
Head coach Leon Rice and Boise State returned all five starters from last season's NCAA tournament team and are off to an 11-4 start to 2013-14, including 1-1 in the Mountain West. BSU is 7-1 at Taco Bell Arena this season and averaging 87 points in the building. Most recently, the Broncos dropped an exciting 69-66 loss at No. 13/15 San Diego State last Wednesday. The Aztecs led by 18 points in the first half thanks to an eight-minute scoring drought from Boise, before the Broncos charged almost all the way back in the closing minutes. Boise State got within one at 67-66 and after forcing the Aztecs to miss a three-pointer, the Broncos held the ball for the final shot. BSU missed a 17-foot jumper with four seconds left and SDSU made two free throws to seal the win. On the season, Boise State's 81.6 points per game lead the MW and rank 21st in the NCAA. The Broncos shoot 48 percent from the field and 39 percent from deep for third in the conference in both categories. Defensively, BSU allows 69.4 points per game for fifth in the MW on 43 and 33 percent, respectively. The Broncos lead the MW and are 16th in the nation in free throw percentage at 75.4.
Each Team's Leaders
Junior guard Riley Grabau posted a career-high 24 points and six rebounds against New Mexico for his second 20-point game this season, as he averages 12.4 points and 2.3 assists per game. His 53 percent beyond the arc ranks second in the Mountain West and fourth in the NCAA, while his 2.7 treys per game are third in the league. Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. paces the Pokes at 15.7 points and 9.0 rebounds on the season to rank 11th and seventh, respectively, in the MW. He shoots 55 percent from the field for second in the league. He posted nine points, seven rebounds and a career-high six blocks against UNM. Sophomore guard Josh Adams scored 12 versus the Lobos to reach double figures for the fourth time in the last five contests. Adams averages 11.4 points and a team-high 2.4 assists per game. Senior guard Nathan Sobey notched a season-high 16 points against New Mexico to up his averages to 7.3 points and 2.6 rebounds per game. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. is second on the team and 11th in the MW at 6.9 rebounds, as he adds 5.8 points per game.
Junior guard Anthony Drmic paces Boise State at 19.3 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, including 17 points against San Diego State. He ranks third in the MW in scoring and second in steals at 1.9 per contest. Junior guard Derrick Marks posted a game-high 21 points against the Aztecs and is second on the team and 10th in the league at 15.8 points per game. Senior guard Jeff Elorriaga leads the MW and the nation in three-point percentage at 53.8, as he averages 10.6 points. His 3.1 treys per game are second in the league and 14th nationally. Senior forward Ryan Watkins' 9.3 rebounds are fifth in the MW and he leads the league in offensive rebounds at 4.3 per contest. He adds 9.9 points per game. Junior guard Igor Hadziomerovic rounds out BSU's probable starters at 5.4 points and 4.3 rebounds.
About the Series
Wyoming leads the all-time series with Boise State, 10-7, but has lost the last two meetings by two and seven points, respectively. The Pokes are 3-5 in games played in Boise. In their last game, the Broncos earned a 68-61 victory on Feb. 9, 2013, in Boise. The Pokes trailed all game and fought back to single digits with less than two minutes left, but the Broncos held on for the win. Guard Derrious Gilmore tied a career-high with 26 points and forward Leonard Washington added 18 points and 15 rebounds.
The Pokes return home to host San Jose State on Jan. 18 at 2 p.m. MT.