Feb. 14, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
Following a thrilling 68-62 upset of No. 5 San Diego State on Tuesday, the University of Wyoming men's basketball team gets back to action with a trip west to face San Jose State on Saturday at 3 p.m. MT in The Event Center. The Cowboys (15-9, 6-5 MW) toppled the Aztecs in their last game out for their first win over a top-five opponent since 1998, while the Spartans (6-18, 0-12 MW) are seeking their school's first Mountain West victory.
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.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming sits fifth in the Mountain West standings at 6-5 in the conference and 15-9 overall after a thrilling 68-62 upset of No. 5 San Diego State last Tuesday. The victory was UW's first over a top-five opponent since 1998. The Pokes led by as many as 16 points midway through the second half, thanks to multiple dunks and layups, but the Aztecs refused to go quietly. SDSU cut the lead to single digits with just over four minutes remaining and clawed within four points with 40 seconds left. Two free throws would be the only points scored the rest of the game, as the Cowboys held the Aztecs off the scoreboard to pull the upset. Wyoming held SDSU to its third-lowest point total this season and is now one of only two schools (Wichita State) in the nation to not allow 75 points this season. 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 third and 65.9 points per game are 10th. UW's 73 percent at the free throw line is third. Defensively, the Cowboys rank second in the MW and 14th in the NCAA in scoring defense at 60.5 points per game and fourth in the league in field goal percentage defense at 40 percent. UW's 31 percent three-point defense is third in the conference and 51st in the nation.
First-year head coach Dave Wojcik and San Jose State are still seeking their first Mountain West victory at 0-12 in conference play and 6-18 overall. The Spartans have been competitive, though, as three of their six home games in conference play have been decided by four points or less. Most recently, the Spartans lost a 51-48 game against Air Force last Wednesday at home. The Falcons led by as many as nine midway through the second half, but the Spartans clawed back with an 11-1 rally to retake a one-point lead with three minutes left in the contest. SJSU's potential game-tying three pointer at the buzzer was blocked, though, to give Air Force the victory. Both teams struggled from the field. Air Force shot 33 percent (19-of-58) in the win, only slightly better than San Jose State's 30 percent (16-of-53). On the season, San Jose State averages 64.1 points for 11th in the league on 38 percent from the field and 35 percent beyond the arc. The Spartans lead the MW and rank eighth in the nation at 8.9 threes per game, as they are seventh in the NCAA in three-point attempts. Defensively, SJSU allows 71.5 points per game for ninth in the MW, while ranking sixth in field-goal defense at 43 percent and 11th in three-point defense at 36 percent. The Spartans are last in the league in turnover margin at minus 3.5.
Each Team's Leaders
Junior guard Riley Grabau and junior forward Larry Nance Jr. paced Wyoming in its upset of San Diego State. Grabau notched 17 points and four assists and has now his 17 threes over the last five games to average 11.3 points and 2.1 assists. He is shooting 92 percent at the free throw line and has made 35-straight attempts. Nance added 14 points, six rebounds and three blocks. He leads the Pokes at 15.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 2.2 blocks and 1.4 steals per game, while ranking 11th in the MW in points and fifth in rebounds. His 54 percent from the field is second. Sophomore guard Josh Adams and senior guard Nathan Sobey have gotten to the rim during MW play. Adams averages 11.6 points and a team-high 2.9 assists, while Sobey contributes 7.5 points and 2.8 rebounds. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr.'s 5.6 rebounds are second on the team and he adds 5.4 points per contest.
Freshman guard Rashad Muhammad's 14.3 points per game lead the Spartans and rank 14th in the MW, but he comes off the bench and has made just one start this season. His 2.6 threes per game rank second in the league and 51st in the nation, while his 42 percent beyond the arc is also second in the MW and 36th in the NCAA. He averages a team-high 29 minutes per game. Junior forward Jaleel Williams is SJSU's other scorer in double figures at 10.8 points per game to go with 5.8 rebounds. Senior forward Chris Cunningham's 6.2 rebounds are 13th in the conference and he adds 8.3 points, while junior guard Devante Wilson contributes 9.6 points and 3.3 rebounds. Freshman guard Isaac Thornton and junior guard D.J. Brown round out SJSU's probable starters at 4.0 and 5.8 points per game, respectively. Cunningham posted a double-double against Air Force with 13 points and 11 boards, while Wilson had 15 points.
About the Series
Wyoming is 5-1 all-time against San Jose State, including 1-1 in San Jose. The two programs last met on Jan. 18 with the Cowboys earning a 67-57 victory in Laramie. SJSU pulled within four at 52-48 with 8:31 left in the game, but the Pokes responded with a 12-2 surge over the next six minutes to build a 14-point lead at 64-50 with 2:30 to go. Nance had a double-double with 18 points and 13 rebounds in that game, while Adams added 16 points and Sobey had 10.
The Cowboys return home to host Fresno State on Tuesday at 7 p.m. MT. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com.