Jan. 27, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team returns to action at Fresno State on Wednesday at 8 p.m. MT in the Save Mart Center. The Cowboys (13-6, 4-2 MW) are riding a four-game Mountain West winning streak, their longest since 2009, but the Bulldogs (8-13, 1-7 MW) own an 8-0 all-time mark against the Pokes in the city of Fresno.
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.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming won its fourth-straight Mountain West contest with a 64-62 overtime victory over Nevada last Saturday to move to 4-2 in the conference and 13-6 overall for fourth in the league standings. The Cowboys' four-game winning streak in the MW is their longest since February of 2009 and just two shy of their longest ever in the conference in 2001. Against the Wolf Pack, the Pokes built a four-point lead halfway through overtime thanks to four free throws, but Nevada battled back to tie the contest with 33 seconds left. Wyoming held for the last shot and hit it with just three seconds left to give the Pokes the lead. Nevada quickly inbounded the ball and put up a running jumper from just over midcourt, but it fell short to hand the Wolf Pack their first loss on the road in conference play. Wyoming shot over 50 percent from the field for the third-straight contest with 50 percent (24-of-48) and added 33 percent (4-of-12) from beyond the arc. Nevada hit 41 percent (22-of-53) and 43 percent (10-of-23), respectively, but gave up a 36-16 difference in points in the paint. For the season, Wyoming's 49 percent from the field leads the Mountain West and ranks 12th in the nation, while its 37 percent from deep is fifth and 66.9 points per game are 11th. Defensively, the Cowboys rank second in the MW and 15th in the NCAA in scoring defense at 60.6 points per game and third in the league in field goal percentage defense at 39 percent. UW's 32 percent three-point defense is fourth.
Head coach Rodney Terry and Fresno State enter the week 10th in the conference standings at 8-13 overall and 1-7 in league play. The Bulldogs have played six of their eight conference games to date against teams that made last season's NCAA Tournament, though. Most recently, FSU suffered a 75-73 overtime loss at UNLV last Saturday. The Bulldogs took a 72-70 lead with 1:14 remaining in the extra period, but the Rebels retook the lead with a three and added free throws to stretch the lead to 75-72 with eight seconds left. The Bulldogs were fouled and made their first free throw, before intentionally missing their second. FSU got the offensive rebound, but was unable to get a shot off as time expired. On the season, Fresno State's 74.1 points per game are good for fifth in the MW, while it shoots 43 percent from the field for 10th and 35 percent beyond the arc for seventh. FSU's 8.9 threes per game in MW play lead the league. Defensively, the Bulldogs allow 74.3 points to rank 10th in the conference. FSU allows opponents to shoot 43 percent for eighth and 31 percent for fourth. Fresno State's minus 3.1 rebounding margin is last in the conference.
Each Team's Leaders
The reigning MW Player of the Week, junior forward Larry Nance Jr. notched his eighth double-double of the season with 19 points and 13 rebounds against Nevada, including the game-winning shot with three seconds left. His 16.2 points and 9.5 rebounds per game pace the Pokes and rank ninth and fifth, respectively, in the conference. He also shoots 56 percent from the field for second in the MW and 37th in the nation. Sophomore guard Josh Adams has scored in double figures in eight of Wyoming's last nine games, including 13 points against Nevada. He averages 11.9 points and a team-high 2.6 assists per game. Junior guard Riley Grabau has made 23-consecutive free throws for 90 percent on the season, as he scores 10.7 points per game. He had 12 points against the Wolf Pack. Senior guard Nathan Sobey has double-figure points in four of UW's last five games and averages 7.8 points and 2.7 rebounds. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr.'s 5.8 rebounds are second on the team and he adds 4.9 points per game.
Senior guard Tyler Johnson's 15.5 points per game rank 11th in the MW, while his 7.1 rebounds and 3.1 assists are both 10th. He notched 14 points and eight boards versus the Rebels. Johnson's 84 percent at the free throw line is second in the conference. Sophomore guard Marvelle Harris contributes 14.9 points per game and 5.3 rebounds, while his 35 minutes per game are fifth in the league. Redshirt sophomore guard Cezar Guerrero is right behind him at 14.1 points per game after a team-high 18 points against UNLV. His 4.2 assists rank second in the MW and his 1.6 steals are fifth. Freshman guard/forward Paul Watson rounds out FSU's double-figure scorers at 10.3 points per game and adds 4.8 rebounds. He scored 17 points and added seven rebounds against UNLV. Freshman forward Karachi Edo averages 4.9 points and 4.0 boards. Junior forward Alex Davis came off the bench for 12 points and 11 boards at UNLV.
About the Series
The Pokes trail in the all-time series with Fresno State, 10-7, and are 0-8 in the city of Fresno. All seven of UW's wins against the Bulldogs have come in Laramie. In the last meeting between the two, Wyoming won a 55-51 overtime contest in Laramie on Feb. 16, 2013. The Cowboys ended regulation with an 8-0 run to tie the contest at 49-49, before getting an early bucket in the extra period from Derrious Gilmore and free throws from Leonard Washington and Grabau to seal the win. On the defensive end, the Pokes held the Bulldogs to 1-of-8 from the field in overtime. Wyoming's trip to Fresno last season was a 49-36 loss on Jan. 16 that marked the lowest scoring game in the shot-clock era for the Cowboys.
Wyoming hosts Utah State on Saturday at 4:05 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.