LARAMIE, Wyo. -
After suffering back-to-back losses for the first time since March of last year, the University of Wyoming men's basketball team looks to get back in the left-hand column by hosting San Jose State on Saturday at 4 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. The third-place Cowboys (19-6, 8-4 MW) faced the Spartans (2-21, 0-11 MW) who are last in the Mountain West standings, but may be without senior forward Larry Nance Jr. again, who is still day-to-day with mononucleosis. Nance, a candidate for MW Player of the Year, has missed UW's last two contests.
Fans can purchase a special Valentine's Day package, as $30 gets two tickets, two Pepsi's, two slices of Papa John's pizza and a rose. Wyoming will also celebrate Armed Forces Day, as fans with a military ID can purchase tickets for $12.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com. The contest will be televised by ROOT Sports (Charter: 523, DirecTV: 659) and broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network. Fans can follow live stats, audio and video of the game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on GoWYO.com. Contact your local cable or satellite provider for further channel information.
A Look at the Matchup
Head coach Larry Shyatt and Wyoming dropped to third in the conference standings after a 67-41 loss at San Diego State on Wednesday. The Aztecs opened the game on a 15-3 run, including 4-of-6 beyond the arc, and the Pokes could never bounce back. SDSU would extend the lead to 20 in the first 10 minutes and 29 in the second half, as Wyoming managed a season-low 14 points in the first half and season-low 41 total points. The Cowboys shot just 35 percent (17-of-48) from the field and a season-low 12 percent (3-of-36) from deep, as the Aztecs connected on 44 percent (24-of-55) and 50 percent (10-of-20), respectively. SDSU's 10 threes tied a season high for a Cowboy foe, while owning a 37-26 advantage on the boards. On the season, Wyoming averages 61.3 points per game on 47 percent from the field and 31 percent beyond the arc. The Cowboys are second in the MW and 51st nationally in field-goal percentage. Defensively, the Pokes allow 54.9 points per game on 40 and 34 percent, respectively. UW's scoring defense is second in the MW and fifth in the NCAA, while its 13.4 fouls per game are first in the conference and second in the nation.
Head coach Dave Wojcik and San Jose State have gone 0-9 since a 64-59 home loss to Wyoming on Jan. 3. Most recently, the Spartans lost a 60-57 home game to Nevada last Saturday. SJSU was within one with two minutes to play, but missed four free throws over the final minute of the game. The Spartans shot just 31 percent (17-of-55) from the field and 19 percent (5-of-22) from deep, but held Nevada to 0-of-9 beyond the arc. SJSU was outrebounded 51-33 on the boards. Overall, San Jose State scores 53.3 points per game on 36 percent from the field and 27 percent from deep, while allowing 69.0 points on 45 and 39 percent, respectively. The Spartans own a minus-5.3 rebounding margin and minus-2.7 turnover margin.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. scored a team-high 13 points at San Diego State to reach double figures for the third time in the last four games. He averages 8.2 points and 5.7 rebounds, while his 75 percent from the field leads the MW. Junior guard Josh Adams added 12 points versus the Aztecs and has scored in double figures in nine of the 10 games Nance has missed over the last three seasons. Adams posts 11.1 points, 2.9 rebounds and a team-high 3.4 assists per game. He ranks fifth in the MW in assists and seventh in steals at 1.4. Senior guard Riley Grabau adds 8.6 points and 2.2 assists, while his 94 percent at the free throw line leads the conference and the nation. Fellow senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. contributes 6.8 points, 3.4 rebounds and 3.0 assists per contest. Redshirt sophomore guard Jason McManamen has started the last two games in place of Nance and averages 3.8 points and 1.6 rebounds.
A total of 12 different Spartans have started at least one game this season, after San Jose State suffered a rash of injuries and suspensions. Sophomore guard Rashad Muhammad is SJSU's leading scorer at 12.8 points per game, as he notched 10 points and played all 40 minutes against Nevada. Freshman guard Darryl Gaynor II posted a season-high 25 points versus the Wolf Pack, but averages 8.6 per game. Senior forward Jaleel Williams contributes 9.6 points and 4.7 rebounds, while junior center Ivo Basor and sophomore guard Isaac Thornton round out SJSU's probable starters at 3.7 and 4.5 points per game, respectively.
About the Series
Wyoming leads the all-time series with San Jose State, 7-1, including a 4-0 mark in Laramie. In the last meeting between the two, the Pokes earned a 64-59 win at San Jose State on Jan. 3, as Adams had 20 points and Nance added a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds. The Pokes used a 15-3 run late in the second half and hit free throws down the stretch to beat SJSU.
The Cowboys play at Nevada on Tuesday at 8 p.m. MT.