LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men’s basketball team has played well enough to earn double-digit advantages in four of its last five games. Unfortunately, three of those leads have turned into losses for the Pokes. Now the Cowboys (11-13, 4-7 MW) will look to compile a complete effort against Utah State (11-10, 3-7 MW) on Saturday at 4 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. Fans can follow live stats, audio and video of the contest through the gameday central page on GoWYO.com. The contest will be televised by ROOT Sports (Charter: 523, DirecTV: 659) and broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
Head coach Larry Shyatt and the Cowboys are eighth in the league standings at 11-13 overall and 4-7 in conference play after a 70-62 loss at Air Force last Tuesday. Wyoming led by 14 in the first half, but went cold after halftime to help the Falcons charge back and split the season series with the Pokes. Wyoming was up by seven at 48-41 with 11:54 to play, but made just three field goals the rest of the game. The Cowboys shot 43 percent (20-of-47) from the field and 36 percent (9-of-25) from deep, but allowed Air Force to make 52 percent (23-of-44) and 31 percent (4-of-13), respectively. The Cowboys were 13-of-20 at the charity stripe to the Falcons’ 20-of-30. Air Force outrebounded Wyoming by one, 29-28, and earned a 28-18 advantage in points in the paint. On the season, Wyoming averages 69.3 points on 43 percent from the field and 36 percent from deep. The Cowboys rank third in the conference from three, while their 9.2 triples per game are second in the MW and 28th in the NCAA. Their 73 percent at the free-throw line is fourth in the league and 61st in the nation. Defensively, Wyoming allows 70.3 points on 43 and 33 percent, respectively. Wyoming’s 18.4 fouls per game are fourth in the conference and 105th nationally.
Utah State and first-year head coach Tim Duryea were picked third in the MW preseason poll, but enter the weekend at 11-10 overall and 3-7 in the conference for ninth in the league standings. The Aggies have lost four-straight games, but the last two have come by single digits. Most recently, Utah State dropped a 70-67 game at Boise State last Tuesday. The Aggies carried a lead for more than 37 minutes, but a late three and sealing free throws by the Broncos gave them the victory. USU outshot the BSU 50 percent (25-of-50) to 44 percent (27-of-62) from the floor and was better from behind the three-point line, 55 percent (12-of-22) to 22 percent (5-of-23). Utah State’s defense created a season-high 17 turnovers, but Boise State collected 17 offensive rebounds and turned it into 18 second-chance points. The Aggies collected two offensive boards and were outrebounded 39-22. Overall, Utah State scores 72.2 points per game on 44 percent from the field and 36 percent from deep. The Aggies allow 71.0 points on 45 and 35 percent, respectively. USU’s 17.1 fouls per game are first in the MW and 34th in the NCAA.
Each Team’s Leaders
Senior guard Josh Adams posted his 17th 20-point effort of the season with 20 points at Air Force, as he added eight rebounds and four assists. His 24.9 points per game lead the MW and rank fifth in the NCAA, while he also leads Wyoming at 5.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game. Adams’ 2.8 three per game are second in the league and 51st nationally, while his 36 percent from deep is fifth in the MW. Junior guard Jason McManamen is the other Cowboy to average in double figures and is just as impressive beyond the arc. His 13.0 points per game are 13th in the league, as he posted 17 points and four triples at Air Force. With nine threes over the last two games, McManamen’s 2.6 per game are third in the MW, while his team-high 44 percent beyond the arc is second in the conference and 30th in the NCAA. Sophomore forward Alan Herndon contributed 11 points and two blocks, as he averages 7.6 points, 4.7 rebounds and 1.0 blocks per game. Sophomore guards Jeremy Lieberman and Alexander Aka Gorski were UW’s other starters at Air Force. Lieberman made three triples and has started the last nine games.
Junior wing Jalen Moore and senior guard Chris Smith pace the Aggies at 14.7 points and 14.5 points per game, respectively, for ninth and 10th in the MW. Moore’s 43 percent from the field is eighth in the conference, while Smith is fourth at 49 percent and 14th in rebounds at 6.0 per contest. Smith notched 20 points, including four threes, at Boise State, while Moore and junior guard Shane Rector had 11 points apiece. Rector has scored in double figures in six-straight games, while his team-high 3.3 assists per game are ninth in the MW and his 1.4 steals are fifth. Moore, Smith and senior guard Darius Perkins are the only Aggies to have started all 21 games. The other two starting spots have rotated between six Utah State players.
About the Series
The Cowboys lead the Aggies in the all-time series, 47-25, including 28-6 in Laramie. Wyoming has beaten Utah State the last five times at home dating back to 1968, but, more recently, the programs have split the last six meetings since 2008. In the last matchup, the Pokes downed the Aggies, 67-65, on March 12, 2015, in the Mountain West tournament quarterfinals. Adams had 19 points in a game that saw 16 lead changes before a late run from the Cowboys.
Following Saturday, Wyoming has a midweek bye and will not play again until Feb. 13 at Boise State at 2 p.m. MT.