Feb. 11, 2013
Laramie, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball looks to return to its winning ways in the deep Mountain West on Wednesday when the Cowboys host Nevada at 7 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (16-7, 2-7 MW) earned a 59-48 road win over the Wolf Pack (12-11, 3-6 MW) on Jan. 12 in the first meeting between the two this season. Wednesday's promotion is Mardi Gras, as the first 1,500 fans will receive a Mardi Gras mask and the first 2,000 fans will receive brown and gold beads.
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 contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming sits at 16-7 overall and 2-7 in the MW for eighth in the league standings after a 68-61 loss at Boise State last Saturday. Playing without injured sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr., the Pokes trailed by 18 at halftime, but rallied late in the game. UW cut the advantage to six with less than two minutes to play and even as close as five with 18 seconds left, but the Broncos held on for the win by making their free throws. BSU hit a season-high 11 threes against Wyoming on Jan. 9, but managed just 3-of-11 on Saturday. Three-point defense has been a focus for the Pokes since that game, as they have held seven of their last eight opponents to three treys or less. UW has allowed MW opponents to shoot just 28 percent beyond the arc, second in the league. Overall, the Poke defense entered the week ranked first in the MW and 10th in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing 55.8 points per game, but ranked eighth in the league in scoring offense at 62.1 points. The Cowboys hit 6.8 threes per game for third in the conference, but Wyoming's four lowest point totals of the season have all come in MW play. Its plus 2.2 turnover margin is second in the conference.
Head coach David Carter and Nevada enter the week at 12-11 overall and 3-6 in conference play for seventh in the MW standings. The Wolf Pack has gone 3-4 since a 59-48 home loss to Wyoming on Jan. 12 and is 2-7 on the road this season. Most recently, Nevada earned a 74-69 home win over Air Force last Saturday. The Wolf Pack trailed 61-51 with just over five minutes left, but closed the game on a 23-8 run to snap a three-game losing skid. The Pack dominated the glass, outrebounding the Falcons 40-27 and 14-4 on the offensive glass. The Wolf Pack offense ranks sixth in the MW at 69.0 points per game, but is seventh in field goal percentage at 42 percent and ninth in three-point percentage at 29 percent. Nevada ranks second in the league and 30th in the NCAA in free throw percentage at 74 percent. On the defensive end, the Wolf Pack is seventh in field goal percentage defense at 43 percent and ninth in three-point field goal defense at 37 percent. Nevada's plus 0.7 turnover margin is seventh and its 0.9 assist-turnover ratio is eighth in the conference.
Each Team's Leaders
After scoring a career-low two points last Wednesday at CSU Bakersfield, senior forward Leonard Washington rebounded in a big way with 18 points, a career-high 15 rebounds and three blocks at Boise State last Saturday. He averages team-highs of 13.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game to rank in the top nine of the MW in each category. Senior guard Derrious Gilmore tied a career high with 26 points against the Broncos, as he reached the total for the second time in the last three games. He leads the league during conference play in threes per game (2.7) and three percentage (38.7). Freshman guard Josh Adams contributed 13 points and a career-high four steals to average 6.4 points and 1.4 assists on the season. Sophomore guard Riley Grabau's team-high 2.7 assists per game are 10th in the MW and he adds 5.5 points. Freshman guard Jason McManamen made his first career start in place of injured sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr., who sat with a wrist injury. Nance averages 10.5 points and 7.5 rebounds.
Preseason All-MW selection Deonte Burton is Nevada's top threat at 16.3 points, 2.4 assists and 1.6 steals per game. The junior guard ranks sixth in the MW in points, second in steals and seventh in assists. Senior Malik Story gives Nevada one of the best guard duos in the MW at 16.4 points, 2.3 assists and 3.4 rebounds. He ranks fifth in the MW in points, second in threes per game at 2.5 and fifth in three-point percentage at 35. The duo are the only Wolf Pack players to start all 23 games, as Burton posted 22 points and Story added 16 against Air Force. Junior forward Kevin Panzer chipped in a double-double of 10 points and 14 rebounds against the Falcons, but averages 4.5 points and 4.7 rebounds on the season. Junior guard Jerry Evans Jr. and freshman forward Cole Huff round out Nevada's probable starters. Evans pulls down a team-high 5.9 rebounds to go with 8.2 points, while Huff scores 4.5 points and made just his eighth start of the season against Air Force.
About the Series
The Pokes own an 8-1 advantage in the all-time series with the Wolf Pack, including a seven-game winning streak. The Pokes are 4-1 at home against Nevada, as the Wolf Pack's lone win in the series was a 35-32 victory in Laramie during the 1937-38 season. The two program's last meeting was a 59-48 Wyoming win on Jan. 12 in Reno.
Wyoming continues its homestand by hosting Fresno State at 2 p.m. on Saturday.