Jan. 19, 2012
The University of Wyoming men's basketball teams resumes its oldest rivalry when Colorado State visits Laramie for the Border War on Saturday. Tip is set for 4 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. The 216th meeting between the Cowboys (15-3, 1-1) and Rams (13-4, 2-0) will feature strength on strength. CSU is the best three-point shooting team in the Mountain West, hitting 43.7 percent, while UW defends the trey the best, allowing opponents 29.7 percent. Wyoming limits opponents to a MW-leading 52.3 points per game, while Colorado State is averaging 74.7 per game for fourth in the conference.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or going online at WyomingAthletics.com. Fans can also follow live stats and live audio of Wyoming's games, as well as live video of the postgame press conference, through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The contest will be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network and televised on The Mtn.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming is 15-3 overall and 1-1 in the Mountain West after claiming its first conference win of the season with a 64-53 victory on Wednesday at Air Force. The contest was tied eight times until the Pokes used an 11-0 run, thanks to earning turnovers on the defensive end, with three minutes left to grab control of the game. The victory was UW's first road MW win since a 65-62 win at Air Force on Feb. 28, 2009 and broke a string of 16 losses. UW has yet to loss back-to-back games this season. As illustrated against the Falcons, defense continues to be a starting point for the Cowboys, but the offense has started to execute as well. UW continued to rank third in scoring defense (52.3 ppg) in the last NCAA rankings, while ranking 16th in field goal percentage defense (38.3) and 33rd in three-point field goal percentage defense (29.7). Two of the three marks lead the MW. UW's offense has taken advantage of its trips to the charity strip, ranking eighth in the NCAA in free throw percentage (75.9). The Cowboys are also 18th in turnover margin (+3.9) and 19th in scoring margin (+13.5). At least three Cowboys have scored in double figures in the last five games.
Colorado State enters Saturday with a 13-4 overall record and 2-0 MW mark in its fifth season under head coach Tim Miles. The Rams have played a very tough schedule in 2011-12, ranking 22nd in the latest NCAA RPI rankings, but currently have the eighth-longest winning streak in the nation at eight games. CSU opened the conference season with two home wins, a 95-89 double overtime victory over TCU and most recently a 66-55 win against Boise State on Wednesday. The Rams are 2-3 on the road this season, but those losses have come at Stanford, Northern Iowa and Duke. Colorado State is almost the exact opposite of Wyoming in terms of style. The Rams have one of the top offenses in the MW, ranking highly in several offensive categories, but surrendering the second most points in the conference at 69.5 per game. CSU's is fifth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (43.7) and sixth in field goal percentage (49.7), as both marks lead the MW. Colorado State also shoots well at the free throw line, ranking seventh in the NCAA at 75.8 percent. CSU is fourth in the MW at 74.7 points per game, but has the worst turnover margin in the conference at +0.6
Each Team's Leaders
Senior Francisco Cruz and redshirt junior Luke Martinez continue to be the leading men for Wyoming. Both guards have topped the 20-point mark three times this season and led the Cowboys with 15 points apiece versus AFA. Martinez is averaging 13.4 points to Cruz's 12.8, but the duo has accomplished it different ways. Cruz is currently fourth in the MW in field goal percentage (48.0) and has the most field goals and field goal attempts for UW, while Martinez's 2.9 threes per game leads the MW and ranks 27th nationally. His 40.8 percent rate beyond the arc is fifth in the conference. Redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington and senior center Adam Waddell have formed a formidable pair inside for UW. Washington scores 11.8 points per game to go with a team-high 6.3 rebounds and currently ranks in the top 10 of five MW categories, including third in defensive rebounds per game (4.8). Waddell is averaging 9.8 points and nearly a block a game, as he tied a career-high with four blocks against the Lobos. Senior guard JayDee Luster ranks sixth in the MW in assists per game (3.5) and fifth in the nation in assist-turnover ratio (3.2).
Redshirt junior guard Wes Eikmeier and junior guard Dorian Green spearhead Colorado State's potent offense. Eikmeier leads the MW at 16.7 points per game and 88.3 percent from the free throw line, while Green is fifth in points (14.2) and third in free throw percentage (83.6). Both have more than 30 treys this season and rank in the top three of the MW in minutes played. Junior forward Greg Smith rounds out Colorado State's scorers in double figures at 10.5 points per game and is the top rebounder of CSU's probable starters at 4.6. Senior forward Will Bell contributes 8.8 points and nearly a block per game, while senior guard Kaipo Sabas scores 5.9 per contest. Eikmeier and Green are the only Rams to have started all 17 games, as nine have made at least one start. Green scored 20 against Boise State, Sabas had 13 and Smith added 10.
About the Series
Saturday will be the 216th meeting between the Pokes and Rams, which is Wyoming's longest rivalry. UW has a 127-88 advantage in the all-time series, including 76-39 in Laramie, but meetings with both in the Mountain West have been very close contests. Wyoming is 15-12 against Colorado State in MW play, as 18 of the contests have been decided by six points or less and 12 by three or less. Four games have gone to overtime. Wyoming is 4-6 in its last 10 meetings with CSU and the Rams have won the last four matchups.
The Cowboys face No. 16 San Diego State on Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. in the Double A.