Jan. 26, 2012
Laramie, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team will take its three-game road winning streak to Idaho on Saturday when the Cowboys square off with Boise State at 1:30 p.m. in Taco Bell Arena. The Cowboys (16-4, 2-2) will look to move out of a four-way tie for second place in the Mountain West standings, while the Broncos (10-9, 0-4) seek their first conference win of the season after taking No. 12 UNLV to overtime on Wednesday night. The matchup will once again be strength-on-strength, as BSU is one of the best three-point shooting teams in the MW and UW is the best in the conference at defending the three.
Fans can follow live stats and live audio of Wyoming's game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on WyomingAthletics.com. 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 in a four-way tie for second place in the Mountain West headed into Saturday. The Pokes are 2-2 in conference play and 16-4 overall after a 52-42 setback to No. 12/13 San Diego State on Tuesday night in the Arena-Auditorium. UW was within three of the Aztecs at halftime, but SDSU shot 57 percent in the second half to 25 percent for the Cowboys to pull away for the win. The Wyoming defense held SDSU to a season-low in points and has limited each of the last three Cowboy opponents to less than 53 points. The Pokes began the week ranked third in scoring defense (53.0 ppg) in the NCAA rankings, while ranking 17th in field goal percentage defense (39.0) and 27th in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.3). Two of the three marks lead the MW. The Cowboy offense also has been executing well. UW ranks 12th in the NCAA in free throw percentage (75.6), 16th in turnover margin (+4.0) and 50th in field goal percentage (46.2). The Cowboys have pulled down 11 and 13 offensive rebounds in their last two contests.
Head coach Leon Rice guided Boise State to a 22-13 overall record last season to finish 10-6 in the WAC for second place in the conference standings. The Broncos earned a berth in the College Basketball Invitational (CBI) and advanced to the semifinals, but enter this weekend at 10-9 overall and 0-4 in the Mountain West. BSU has lost five straight games to sit last in the MW standings. The Broncos have played well at home, though, with a 9-2 record in Taco Bell Arena and are one of the best three-point shooting teams in the conference. BSU ranks third in the MW in points per game (72.9) and three-point field goal percentage (37.6), while placing second in three-point baskets per game (8.4). Boise State averages 11.9 offensive rebounds per game, good for third in the conference. In their last outing, the Broncos took No. 12 UNLV to overtime before falling, 77-72, on Wednesday night at home.
Each Team's Leaders
The reigning Mountain West Player of the Week, redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington has been key for the Pokes during conference play. He notched 12 points and eight rebounds against the Aztecs and currently leads the MW in points per game during conference play at 18.0. On the season, he averages 12.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per contest. Redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez paces the Pokes at 13.2 points and 1.7 steals per game, as one of the top three-point shooters in the conference. He leads the MW at 2.7 threes per game. Senior guard Francisco Cruz also averages in double figures at 11.9 points and 1.8 assists per game thanks to a team-high 30.0 minutes per game, while senior guard JayDee Luster entered the week second in the nation in assist-turnover ratio at 3.4. Senior center Adam Waddell is fourth in the MW in free throw percentage (76.9) and rounds out UW's probable starters at 9.4 points and nearly one block per game.
The Broncos are paced by athletic guard/forward Anthony Drmic. The Australian freshman is 10th in the MW in points (12.9) and ninth in rebounds (4.8), but is also fourth in threes per game (2.4) and fifth in three point percentage (35.8). The BSU offense runs through senior guard Westly Perryman, who is ninth in the conference in assists (2.9) and seventh in steals (1.6) to go with 7.2 points and 3.6 rebounds. Junior guard Drew Wiley is eighth in the MW in threes per game (1.7) to contribute 6.5 points and 2.3 rebounds per game, while freshman guard Derrick Marks adds 9.3 points and 3.1 rebounds. Junior center Kenny Buckner rounds out BSU's probable starters at 8.6 points and 4.7 rebounds per game. He ranks fourth in the MW in offensive rebounds per game (2.5). Marks scored 21 against UNLV and two bench players reached double figures, while Bucker grabbed 12 rebounds.
About the Series
The Pokes lead 8-5 in the all-time series with Boise State, but are 2-4 in Boise. Wyoming has a 6-4 mark in the last 10 meetings with the Broncos and have been victorious in three of the last four games. UW earned an 87-61 home win over BSU on Nov. 21, 2009 in their last meeting, but lost 86-85 on Dec. 3, 2008 in their last trip to Boise.
Wyoming continues its road swing at TCU on Wednesday at 6 p.m.