Jan. 20, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Victorious in two-straight games, the University of Wyoming men's basketball team looks to continue its winning ways at Air Force on Wednesday at 7 p.m. MT in Clune Arena. The Cowboys (11-6, 2-2 MW) limited the three-point shooting of San Jose State last time out, but now face the Falcons (9-8, 3-3 MW), who like the long ball as well and currently own a three-game winning streak against the Pokes.
Fans can follow live stats, audio and video of the game 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 and televised by ROOT Sports. Contact your local cable or satellite provider for further channel information.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming won its second-straight Mountain West contest with a 67-56 victory over San Jose State last Saturday to move to 2-2 in the conference and 11-6 overall for seventh in the league standings. The win broke a streak of three-straight games decided by a single basket for Wyoming and improved the Pokes to 6-0 this season when holding opponents under 60 points. Against the Spartans, the Cowboys were in front by nine at halftime and kept the advantage the majority of the second half, until SJSU pulled within four at 52-48 with 8:31 left in the game. The Cowboys responded with a 12-2 surge over the next six minutes to build a 14-point lead at 64-50 with 2:30 to go. Wyoming shot 51 percent (24-of-47) to top 50 percent from the field for the eighth time this season and added 29 percent (5-of-17) beyond the arc and a season-high 93 percent (14-of-15) at free throw line. SJSU hit 37 percent (20-of-54) from the field, 31 percent (9-of-29) from three and 54 percent (7-of-13) at the line. The Spartans' 29 three-point attempts were the most against UW this season. For the season, Wyoming's 48.8 percent from the field leads the Mountain West and ranks 17th in the nation, while its 37.1 percent from deep is fifth and 67.1 points per game are 11th. Defensively, the Cowboys rank second in the MW and 18th in the NCAA in scoring defense at 60.6 points per game and second in the league in field goal percentage defense at 39.2. UW's 30.8 three-point defense is fourth.
Head coach Dave Pilipovich and Air Force enter the weekend at 9-8 overall and 3-3 in the MW for sixth in the league standings. The Falcons were picked 10th in the MW preseason poll after losing four starters to graduation. True to form in the conference this season, five of Air Force's six MW games have been decided by seven points or less. Most recently, the Falcons lost a 74-68 game at Colorado State last Saturday. Air Force led late in the contest, but back-to-back threes gave the Rams a 68-64 lead with 1:15 left and CSU made free throws down the stretch to seal the win. The Falcons shot 44 percent (24-of-55) from the field, and 32 percent (9-of-28) from three. CSU earned a 35-33 advantage on the boards, though, and 32-24 in points in the paint. AFA committed 11 turnovers to six for CSU. On the season, Air Force's 72.9 points per game rank 11th in the MW, while it shoots 47 percent from the field and 37 percent beyond the arc for third and fourth, respectively, in the conference. AFA's 8.0 threes per game are second in the league and 40th in the nation. The Falcons have shot 49 percent from the field in MW play for first in conference games. Defensively, Air Force allows 70.5 points for seventh in the league on 43 percent from the field and 33 percent from deep. AFA's field-goal defense and three-point defense are seventh and sixth in the MW.
Each Team's Leaders
Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. notched his second-straight double-double of the season against San Jose State last Saturday with 18 points and 13 rebounds to go with five blocks. His 15.8 points and 9.3 rebounds per game pace the Pokes and rank 10th and fifth, respectively, in the MW. He also shoots 55 percent from the field for first in the MW and 42nd in the nation. Sophomore guard Josh Adams has scored in double figures in six of Wyoming's last seven games, including 16 points and a career-high seven assists against the Spartans. He averages 11.6 points and a team-high 2.7 assists per game. Junior guard Riley Grabau rounds out UW's double-figure scorers at 11.2 points per game, thanks to 48 percent beyond the arc. His 90 percent at the free throw line leads the MW and ranks 12th in the nation. Senior guard Nathan Sobey has three-straight games in double figure points and averages 7.6 points and 2.6 rebounds. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr.'s 6.2 rebounds are 14th in the MW and he adds 5.2 points per game.
Sophomore guard Tre Coggins leads Air Force at 17.5 points per game thanks to 44 percent beyond the arc and 2.7 threes per game. He ranks sixth in the MW in points, third in three-point percentage and second in threes per game. Junior guard Max Yon posted 23 points against the Rams and averages 13.9 points and a team-high 2.9 assists per game. Junior forward Marek Olesinski contributes 12.7 points and 5.7 rebounds, including 18 points and nine rebounds versus Colorado State. Junior forwards Kamryn Williams and Justin Hammonds round out AFA's probable starters at 9.9 points and 6.5 rebounds and 8.7 points and 5.7 rebounds, respectively.
About the Series
The Cowboys own a 73-33 lead in the all-time series with the Falcons, including a 30-19 mark in Colorado Springs. Wyoming is just 4-6 in its last 10 games against Air Force, including a three-game losing streak. In their last meeting, the Falcons earned a 72-66 win at home on Feb. 26, 2013. The game featured five lead changes and four ties in the second half, as UW pulled within three with just over a minute left, but couldn't get any closer. Nathan Sobey posted a career-high 22 points in the game and Leonard Washington added 15 points and 13 rebounds.
Wyoming hosts Nevada on Saturday at 2 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com.