LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Two of the top-three teams in the Mountain West face off on Saturday at 2 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium when the University of Wyoming men's basketball team hosts New Mexico. The first-place Cowboys (16-3, 5-1 MW) are 12-1 inside the Dome of Doom this season, but the third-place Lobos (13-6, 5-2 MW) have won eight-straight meetings with the Pokes, including two overtime contests last season.
Saturday has been tabbed Fan Appreciation Day, as fans in attendance can enter a raffle to win one of five iPads or one of two 42-inch televisions. The raffle will occur during the game. Fans can sign up at the marketing table located outside of Portal Two. A Cowboy Pregame Event open to the public will take place in the UniWyo Sports Complex from noon to 1:30 p.m. and will feature food, beverages and fun. The Wyoming coaching staff will be wearing sneakers as part of Coaches vs. Cancer's Suits and Sneakers Week, while former Cowboy great Bill Garnett (1979-82) will be honored at halftime of the game.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com. Fans can follow live stats, audio and ESPN3 video of the game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on GoWYO.com. The contest will be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
Larry Shyatt has guided Wyoming to a 16-3 overall record and 5-1 mark in the conference this season, including a 12-1 mark in the confines of the Arena-Auditorium. Most recently, the Cowboys earned a 70-65 triple-overtime win at Fresno State last Saturday. Neither team led by more than two possessions, as the Pokes and Bulldogs battled through 15 lead changes and 11 ties. The Cowboys had several chances to clinch the game at the end of regulation and both overtimes, before entering the third extra period tied at 61-61. The two squads traded buckets through the first four minutes, but a jumper gave UW a two-point lead with 1:05 left. The Bulldogs would miss a three on their next possession, only to be sunk by UW's trey with 14 seconds left to give Wyoming its fourth-straight road win and first victory ever at Fresno. On the season, Wyoming averages 63.8 points per game on 50 percent from the field and 32 percent beyond the arc. The Cowboys rank first in the MW and ninth nationally in field-goal percentage, while their 1.3 assist-to-turnover ratio is third in the MW and 32nd in the nation. Defensively, the Pokes allow 53.3 points per game on 39 and 33 percent, respectively. UW's scoring defense is second in the MW and fourth in the NCAA, while its 13.6 fouls per game are first in the league and second in the nation.
Second-year head coach Craig Neal and New Mexico have battled through numerous injuries this season, but visit Laramie at 13-6 overall and 5-2 in the conference. In their last outing, the Lobos earned a 71-69 win at UNLV on Wednesday. A follow-up layup with 11 seconds left put New Mexico in front and a steal on a Rebel drive down the lane sealed the contest. Overall, the Lobos average 63.9 points on 44 percent from the field and 30 percent from deep, while allowing 58.9 points on 39 and 29 percent, respectively. New Mexico ranks third in the MW in the scoring defense, fourth in field goal-defense and third in three-point defense.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior forward Larry Nance Jr. collected his third double-double in the last five games with 21 points and 11 rebounds at Fresno State. The MW Preseason Player of the Year has scored in double figures in eight-straight games. He averages 16.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game, while his 58 percent from the field ranks 19th in the nation. Senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. added a double-double of his own with 12 points and a career-high 15 rebounds. He averages 8.4 points and 5.0 rebounds, while his 75 percent from the field leads the MW. Junior guard Josh Adams is the other Cowboy to average double figures at 11.5 points. His 3.8 assists per game rank second in the league, while 1.5 steals are sixth. Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. has connected on seven threes in the last three games, as his 43 percent beyond the arc is eighth in the conference. He contributes 8.5 points, 3.6 rebounds and 3.1 assists. Senior guard Riley Grabau rounds out UW's probable starters at 7.9 points and 2.1 assists per game. His 95 percent at the free throw-line leads the MW and the NCAA.
Senior guard Deshawn Delaney paces New Mexico at 12.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game, as he ranked 10th in the MW in points and eighth in rebounds. Fellow senior guard Hugh Greenwood adds 11.3 points, 5.1 rebounds and 3.5 assists. He notched 22 points at UNLV, including six threes. His 2.1 treys per game are third in the MW. Sophomore center Ogij Aget is UNM's inside presence at 6.4 points, 4.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game. Redshirt sophomore guard Devon Williams also contributes 6.4 points per game, while freshman guard Sam Logwood rounds out the Lobos' probable starters at 4.8 points per contest.
About the Series
Wyoming trails 66-64 in the all-time series with New Mexico, as the Lobos have won the last eight meetings. The Cowboys haven't beat UNM since Jan. 8, 2011, but own a 38-24 mark in Laramie versus the Lobos. Both of last year's meetings went to overtime, including a 66-61 UW loss in The Pit on Feb. 5, 2014, in the last matchup. Grabau had 12 points in that game.
The Pokes play at Utah State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. MT.