Feb. 3, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team begins a two-game roadtrip with a tough challenge, as the Cowboys travel to The Pit to face New Mexico on Wednesday at 9 p.m. MT. The Pokes (14-7, 5-3 MW) haven't won in the building since 2003 and now face the Lobos (17-4, 8-1 MW) who are 6-1 at home this season and own a five-game winning streak.
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 and televised by ESPNU. Contact your local cable or satellite provider for further channel information.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming earned a dominant 74-57 home win over Utah State last Saturday to improve to 5-3 in the conference and 14-7 overall for fifth in the league standings. The Cowboys played under the direction of assistant coach Jeremy Shyatt due to head coach Larry Shyatt being ill. Against the Aggies, the Pokes built a 35-28 halftime lead, but came out of the locker room with an 11-3 run to jet out to a 15-point 46-31 lead just three minutes into the second half. Utah State would never get within single digits again, as the Cowboys built their lead to as many as 21 points with six minutes left in the game. The Pokes connected on 53 percent (24-of-45) from the field for their 11th game over the 50-percent mark this season and 57 percent (8-of-14) from deep for their fourth game over 50-percent beyond the arc. Wyoming added 85 percent (18-of-21) at the free throw line. The Pokes committed just five turnovers and led 15-7 in assists. For the season, Wyoming's 49 percent from the field leads the Mountain West and ranks 13th in the nation, while its 38 percent from deep is second and 67.0 points per game are 11th. UW's 73 percent at the free throw line is third. Defensively, the Cowboys rank second in the MW and 16th in the NCAA in scoring defense at 60.8 points per game and fourth in the league in field goal percentage defense at 40 percent. UW's 32 percent three-point defense is sixth.
First-year head coach Craig Neal has guided New Mexico to an 8-1 record in the Mountain West and 17-4 overall for second in the conference standings, just a half game behind No. 5 San Diego State. The Lobos have won their last five contests and 10 of their last 11 to be receiving votes in both national polls. Most recently, New Mexico won a 72-47 home game over San Jose State last Saturday. The Lobos ran out to leads of 17-3 and 20-6 to open the game and never looked back. UNM was up 37-25 at the half and held the Spartans to 22 points in the second half. UNM earned a 40-26 advantage on the boards and 28-8 in points in the paint. On the season, New Mexico's offense scores 77.0 points per game for second in the MW, while shooting 45 percent from the field and 34 percent beyond the arc to rank fifth and eighth in the conference, respectively. Defensively, the Lobos allow 69.8 points for seventh in the league and allow opponents to shoot 39 percent and 35 percent, respectively, for third and ninth in the MW. UNM's 1.5 assist-to-turnover ratio and 15.3 assists both rank second in the MW and 18th and 34th, respectively, in the nation.
Each Team's Leaders
Sophomore guard Josh Adams finished just one point shy of his career high with 19 against Utah State and added a career-high eight assists, but is suspended for Wednesday's game due to a technical foul last Saturday against the Aggies. He has scored in double figures in seven of UW's eight MW games to average 12.1 points and a team-high 2.9 assists per game. Junior forward Larry Nance Jr. leads Wyoming at 16.2 points and 9.0 rebounds, which rank eighth and fifth, respectively, in the conference. His 55 percent from the field is second in the league and 36th in the nation. He posted 13 points, five rebounds, two blocks and two steals against Utah State. Junior guard Riley Grabau hit three treys versus the Aggies en route to 15 points. He has connected on 7-of-10 threes in the last two games, while his 92 percent at the free throw line leads the MW and ranks seventh in the nation. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. finished just two rebounds shy of a double-double with 11 points and eight boards against the Aggies. He averages 5.1 points and 5.9 rebounds. Senior guard Nathan Sobey rounds out UW's probable starters at 7.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per game.
Senior forward Cameron Bairstow continues to be dominant for the Lobos. His 20.0 points per game ranks second in the MW and 25th in the NCAA, while his 56 percent from the field is first in the league and 32nd nationally. He notched 14 points and seven rebounds against SJSU. Senior guard Kendall Williams is fifth in the MW at 17.6 points per game, while his 5.3 assists and 1.9 steals both lead the league and rank 44th and 60th, respectively, in the nation. Junior center Alex Kirk missed two games with a foot injury, but returned with 13 points versus the Spartans. Kirk's 8.6 rebounds are seventh in the conference, as he scores 13.9 points per game. His 2.7 blocks are second in the MW. Junior guard Hugh Greenwood averages 6.1 points and 5.5 rebounds, but his 4.0 assist-to-turnover ratio leads the league. He had seven assists and no turnovers against SJSU. Junior guard Deshawn Delaney has made 11 starts this season while averaging 4.6 points and 3.5 rebounds.
About the Series
Wyoming trails in the all-time series with New Mexico, 65-64, but is just 1-9 in the last 10 meetings with the Lobos. UNM currently owns a seven-game winning streak against the Cowboys and a 39-23 record in Albuquerque. Wyoming's last win at UNM came in 2003. In the last meeting between the two, New Mexico won a 72-69 overtime contest in Laramie on Jan. 8.
Wyoming continues play on the road at UNLV on Saturday at 8 p.m. MT.