LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team is right back to the hardwood on Tuesday at Nevada. The second-place Cowboys (20-6, 9-4 MW) captured their 20th win of the season on Saturday against San Jose State, but now travel to face one of the league's top rebounding teams in the Wolf Pack (8-16, 4-8 MW) without senior forward Larry Nance Jr., who is doubtful with mononucleosis for a fourth-straight game. Tip is set for 8 p.m. MT. in Lawlor Events Center.
The contest will be streamed online by the Mountain West Network and broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network. Fans can follow live stats, audio and MWN video of the game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on GoWYO.com.
A Look at the Matchup
Head coach Larry Shyatt and Wyoming moved up to second in the conference standings at 20-6 overall and 9-4 in league play after a 77-60 home win over San Jose State on Saturday. The Cowboys racked up their 20th win of the season, the fastest reaching the mark since 1951-52, and tied an AA single-season record with their 16th win in the building this season. The Pokes had a double-figure lead eight minutes into the game and went into halftime up by 10, before the Spartans would briefly cut the lead to single digits on a three early in the second half. Wyoming responded with four-straight dunks to push the lead back to 17 and never looked back. UW shot 56 percent (28-of-50) from the field, their highest since Dec. 14, and 13th game this season at more than 50 percent, while its 28 made field goals tied a season high. The Pokes held a 32-6 advantage in points in the paint, their most in the category since Jan. 10. UW led 18-9 in assists and committed just seven turnovers, tying a season low. Defensively, the Cowboys held the Spartans to 33 percent (16-of-49) from the field, the 15th time this season UW has held an opponent under 40 percent. On the season, Wyoming averages 61.9 points per game on 47 percent from the field and 31 percent beyond the arc. The Cowboys are second in the MW and 37th nationally in field-goal percentage. Defensively, the Pokes allow 55.1 points per game on 40 and 34 percent, respectively. UW's scoring defense is second in the MW and sixth in the NCAA, while its 13.5 fouls per game are first in the conference and second in the nation.
Nevada and head coach David Carter are 2-2 since a 63-55 loss in Laramie on Jan. 31 to sit 10th in the MW standings at 4-8 in league play and 8-16 overall. Most recently, Nevada earned a 66-63 overtime win over New Mexico at home on Saturday. The Wolf Pack clinched the game by getting an offensive rebound off a missed free throw with 34 seconds left and converting it into a dunk. Overall, Nevada averages 62.0 points for 10th in the MW in scoring offense on 39 percent from the floor and 26 percent from deep. The Wolf Pack defense allows 65.9 points for 10th in scoring defense on 40 percent and 33 percent, respectively. Nevada owns a plus-5.2 rebounding margin, second in the league, but a minus-3.4 turnover margin for 11th in the MW.
Each Team's Leaders
Junior guard Josh Adams served up a season-high 26 points, seven assists and six rebounds against San Jose State on Saturday. He averages 11.7 points and 3.5 assists per game, but has scored in double figures in 10 of the 11 games Nance has missed over the last three seasons, including five 20-point efforts. He ranks second in the MW in assists and ninth in steals at 1.4. Three other Pokes notched double-figure points against the Spartans, as senior guard Riley Grabau had 12, senior forward Derek Cooke Jr. 11 and redshirt freshman forward Alan Herndon a career-high 10. Grabau averages 8.8 points and leads the MW and NCAA at the free throw line with 94 percent. Cooke has reached double figures in four the last five contests to average 8.3 points, while Herndon made his first career start and contributes 3.1 points. Both had two blocks against the Spartans. Senior guard Charles Hankerson Jr. rounds out UW's probable starters at 6.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game.
Junior forward AJ West leads Nevada at 12.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 2.7 blocks per game. He notched his 11th double-double of the season against New Mexico with 12 points and 17 rebounds, as he ranks 11th in the MW in scoring, but first in rebounds and first in offensive rebounds at 6.1 per game. Junior guard Marqueze Coleman had a career-high 24 points against the Lobos, as he adds 9.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and a team-high 2.6 assists per game. Freshman guard Eric Cooper Jr. had 14 points versus UNM, and junior guard Tyron Criswell added 11 and five assists. Cooper averages 6.9 points and Criswell 8.7. Junior forward Lucas Stivrins rounds out Nevada's probable starters at 2.6 points and 2.8 rebounds. A total of 10 different Wolf Pack players have made at least one start this season.
About the Series
Wyoming leads the all-time series with Nevada, 12-2, including a 4-1 mark in Reno. The Cowboys earned a 63-55 home win on Jan. 31 in the first meeting between the two programs this season. Four Pokes scored in double figures, including double-doubles from Nance and Cooke in that game. The Wolf Pack pulled within three with six minutes remaining, but the Cowboys made 11 of their last 14 free throws to hold on. UW led 34-24 in rebounds.
The Cowboys are off for the weekend, before hosting Fresno State on Feb. 25 in the Arena-Auditorium at 7:35 p.m. MT. The contest will be the 500th Cowboy game in the building. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or online at GoWYO.com.