Jan. 28, 2013
Laramie, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team enters another tough week in the Mountain West when the Cowboys host No. 20/22 New Mexico on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (15-4, 2-4 MW) face their third ranked foe of the season in the league-leading Lobos (17-3, 4-1 MW). The matchup features two of the best defenses in the conference, but both squads are coming off losses in which their offenses struggled.
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 and live video of Wyoming's game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The live video is subject to blackout. The contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network and televised by ROOT Sports (Optimum: channel 23; DirecTV: 683; Dish Network: 414). Check your cable or satellite provider for channel info.
A Look at the Matchup
The Cowboys dropped to 15-4 overall and 2-4 in the MW after a 57-48 loss to Air Force on Saturday and currently sit eighth in the conference standings. Wyoming trailed all game against the Falcons, but was within two possessions with five minutes to go. The Pokes couldn't get a shot to drop, though, and Air Force held on for its second-straight win in Laramie. Wyoming struggled shooting all night, hitting 33 percent (17-of-51) from the field and just 17 percent (5-of-28) beyond the arc. UW's 28 three-point attempts were a season high. The Pokes had an off night on the offensive end, but continued to play stellar on the defensive side. The Pokes enter the week ranked first in the league and fifth nationally in scoring defense, allowing 54.3 points per game. UW holds opponents to 39 percent from the field, ranking fourth in the MW, and 33 percent from three. Offensively, the Cowboys score 63.3 points per game on 44 percent from the field and 33 percent beyond the arc. The Pokes rank eighth in the MW in scoring offense and have scored 50 or less in three conference games. UW's plus 2.7 turnover margin is second in the conference.
Head coach Steve Alford has continued his success into his sixth season at New Mexico and looks to have the Lobos poised for another run in the NCAA Tournament. The Lobos enter the week at 17-3 overall and 4-1 in the league for first in the MW standings and No. 20/22 in the respective national polls. UNM started the conference slate with a perfect 4-0 record, including three wins by five points, before falling at San Diego State by a score of 55-34 last Saturday. Much like the Pokes, the Lobos struggled from the field, shooting just 25 percent (11-of-44) for their lowest percentage since 1965. UNM's 34 points were its fewest in the shot-clock era. The Lobos average 67.3 points per game for seventh in the MW on 40 percent from the field and 33 percent from deep. UNM is fifth in the league in scoring defense at 61.3 points per game and allow opponents 39 percent from the field and 34 percent beyond the arc. UNM's plus 2.2 rebounding margin is fifth in the MW and 4.0 blocks per game are fourth.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior forward Leonard Washington averages team-highs of 14.5 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks to rank in the top nine of the MW in each stat. He has scored in double figures in 16 of UW's 19 games this season, including 19 against Air Force. Senior guard Derrious Gilmore adds 11.1 points and a team-high 2.6 assists, while sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. rounds out UW's double-figure scorers at 10.6 points and 7.3 rebounds. Gilmore shoots a team-high 83 percent at the free throw line and Nance is one of three Pokes with at least 20 steals on the season. Sophomore guard Riley Grabau averages 5.9 points and 2.6 assists, while freshman guard Josh Adams adds 6.3 points and 1.6 assists.
Preseason All-MW selection Kendall Williams leads the Lobos at 14.1 points and 4.3 assists per game. The junior guard ranks second in the MW in assists and fifth at the free throw line at 79 percent. Junior guard Tony Snell contributes 12.4 points and 2.7 assists, while sophomore center Alex Kirk adds 11.4 points and a team-high 7.6 rebounds. Snell has earned MW Player of the Week once this season and Kirk twice. Sophomore guard Hugh Greenwood averages 7.2 points and 5.1 rebounds and senior forward/guard Chad Adams rounds out UNM's probable starters at 5.6 points and 4.0 rebounds. Nine different Lobos have made at least one start this season. Williams scored 14 points at San Diego State.
About the Series
The Pokes own a 64-61 lead in the all-time series with New Mexico, including 38-22 in Laramie. Wyoming is just 2-8 in the last 10 meetings with the Lobos, though, as one of the victories came 67-66 on Jan. 8, 2011, in Laramie.
Wyoming renews the Border War at Colorado State on Saturday at 5 p.m.