Jan. 29, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys will be looking to build on their first Mountain West Conference win of the season when they travel to Salt Lake City, Utah, on Wednesday to face the Utah Utes. Wyoming has a 7-11 record this season, and is 1-5 in MWC play. Utah will enter Wednesday's game with an 11-7 overall mark, and a 2-3 MWC record on the season. The game will be televised live on The Mtn., and will be broadcast live on radio over the Cowboys Sports Network. Tap time for the game is set for 8 p.m., Mountain Time. The radio pregame show will begin at 7:30 p.m.
After suffering two tough, overtime losses at home to start Mountain West Conference play, the Wyoming Cowboys captured a 73-58 home victory over archrival Colorado State on Saturday, Jan. 26. It marked the first conference win of the season for Wyoming. UW had begun the 2007-08 conference season with a double-overtime loss to New Mexico, 92-99, in Laramie. Wyoming's next home game was a two-point, single overtime loss to Air Force, 62-64. Last Saturday's win over Colorado State also marked the first Mountain West Conference victory for first-year Wyoming head coach Heath Schroyer.
The Cowboys played some of its best defense of the season last Saturday in their 15-point win over the Rams. The 58 points scored by CSU was the lowest point total by a Wyoming opponent this season. The previous low scoring total by a Wyoming opponent this season was 59 points scored by Arkansas-Pine Bluff in a 78-59 Wyoming victory in Laramie.
This week's meeting with Utah will be the 162nd meeting between the two schools. Wyoming trails in the overall series with 72 wins against 89 losses. The last time Wyoming won in Salt Lake City was Feb. 4, 2002, by a score of 54-46.
When the Cowboys and Utes take the court on Wednesday night the game will feature the top four shot blockers in the Mountain West Conference. Utah's Luke Nevill leads the MWC in blocked shots, averaging 1.67 blocks per game. Sitting at No. 2 and No. 3 are Wyoming Cowboys Ryan Dermody (No. 2, 1.50 bspg), Travis Nelson (Tie No. 3, 1.22 bspg) and Joseph Taylor (Tie No. 3, 1.22 bspg), respectively. The Wyoming Cowboys also currently rank among the nation's best teams in blocked shots. UW ranks No. 23 in the nation in blocked shots, averaging 5.4 blocks per game.
Early in the 2007-08 season, rebounding was a concern for the Wyoming Cowboys, but of late the Pokes have been much improved on the boards. Wyoming out-rebounded Colorado State in the Cowboys' most recent game by a +7 rebound margin, grabbing 47 rebounds to CSU's 40. In Wyoming's game prior to hosting Colorado State, the Pokes recorded a season high +15 rebound margin at UNLV - out-rebounding the Rebels on their homecourt 45 to 30 rebounds.
Junior guard Brandon Ewing has his best week of the 2007-08 season in games against UNLV on Jan. 23 and Colorado State on Jan. 26. Ewing averaged 22.5 points, 5.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 2.5 steals in the two games for the Cowboys this past week. Against Colorado State, the junior point guard led Wyoming in scoring (19 points), assists (5 assists), steals (5 steals --a career high) and played all 40 minutes of the game as Wyoming captured a 73-58 victory over Colorado State. Ewing shot 50.0 percent from the field (6 of 12) and 85.7 percent from the free-throw line (6 of 7) versus the Rams.
Last Wednesday at UNLV, Ewing led the Cowboys with a season high 26 points as Wyoming traveled to UNLV and pushed the Rebels to the last moments of the game before falling 71-78. In the game vs. the Rebels, Ewing shot 52.9 percent from the field (9 of 17), tied a career high with six three-pointers and pulled down a season high nine rebounds. For the week, he shot an amazing 51.7 percent from the field, 41.2 percent from three and 88.9 percent from the line, while setting season highs in points (26 vs. UNLV) and rebounds (9 vs. UNLV), and setting a career high in steals (5 vs. CSU) and three-point field goals (6 vs. UNLV). His 26 points at UNLV marked his 30th career 20-point game.
It was a career day for sophomore center Travis Nelson last Saturday versus Colorado State. Nelson scored a career high 16 points and pulled down a career high nine rebounds in Wyoming's 73-58 home victory over the Rams. For Nelson it was his 10th double-figure scoring game of his career -- all of those 10 double-figure scoring games have come this season. Nelson shot 63.6 percent from the field versus CSU (7 of 11), was a perfect 2 of 2 from the free-throw line, pulled down six offensive rebounds, three defensive boards, handed out two assists and blocked two shots. His previous career highs were 14 points versus Montana State and six rebounds against Chadron State.
Following Wednesday's game at Utah, Wyoming will return home to host the BYU Cougars on Saturday, Feb. 2 in a game set to tip off at 2 p.m.