Feb. 8, 2008
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The Wyoming Cowboys will open the second half of Mountain West Conference play on Saturday in "The Pit" in Albuquerque versus the New Mexico Lobos. Wyoming is 9-12 overall and 2-6 in the MWC. New Mexico will bring a 17-6 overall record and a 4-4 conference mark into Saturday's game. The game is scheduled for a 7 p.m. tap time, and will be televised live on The Mtn. The game will also be carried live on the Cowboy Sports Network, with the radio pregame show beginning at 6:30 p.m.
In their last four games this season, the Wyoming Cowboys have won three of those four games for their most successful stretch of the 2007-08 season. Wyoming defeated Colorado State, 73-58, in Laramie on Jan. 26 to capture its first MWC win of the season. UW then followed that up with a road win at Utah, 69-64. The Pokes dropped their next game at home to BYU, 63-73, before defeating non-conference foe Cal State Bakersfield, 78-53, this past Wednesday.
The first time the Cowboys and Lobos met this season was one of the most exciting games in the Mountain West this season -- a double overtime thriller that saw the Lobos record a 99-92 victory in Laramie.
Five players on each team scored in double figures in that game. Wyoming was led by sophomore forward Ryan Dermody, who scored a career high 24 points. New Mexico senior guard Jamaal Smith also scored a career high 24 in that contest.
Wyoming's Joseph Taylor enjoyed the best game of his career in the last meeting between the two teams. Taylor recorded career highs in points and rebounds, with 17 points and 14 rebounds. He forced the first overtime when he hit a jumper with eight seconds remaining in regulation to tie the game at 73-73, and then he sent the game into a second overtime by hitting the second of two free throws with 18 seconds remaining in overtime number one to tie the game at 82-all.
New Mexico's Smith scored 11 of his 24 points in the two overtime periods to lead the Lobos to the 99-92 road win.
There have been four overtime games played in Mountain West Conference action this season. The Wyoming Cowboys and New Mexico Lobos have each been involved in two of those four overtimes, as have the Utah Utes.
Wyoming freshman Mikhail Linskens had never been to the United States until enrolling at the University of Wyoming this past fall. Now after playing only 16 college games, Linskens has seemed to make a quick transition to the U.S. and to college basketball. The seven-foot center from Belgium scored a career high 23 points in his most recent game versus Cal State Bakersfield. In that game versus CSUB, he hit 66.7 percent of his field goals (10 of 15) and 50.0 percent of his threes (2 of 4). He moved into the Wyoming starting lineup six games ago and has averaged 7.0 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game as a starter. For the season, Linskens is averaging 4.3 points, 2.6 rebounds and is shooting 50.0 percent from the field (29 of 58).
Junior forward Tyson Johnson has begun to make his mark for the Wyoming Cowboys this season. Johnson has scored a career high 12 points in each of his last three games -- at Utah on Jan. 30 to help fuel Wyoming's first conference road win of the season, versus BYU on Feb. 2 in Laramie and against Cal State Bakersfield on Feb. 6 also in Laramie.
Following Wyoming's game on Saturday at New Mexico, the Cowboys will return home to face TCU on Wednesday, Feb. 13 in a 6:30 p.m. game in Wyoming's Arena-Auditorium.