Feb. 17, 2012
Facing another important game in Mountain West play, the University of Wyoming men's basketball team squares off with an old rival this weekend as UW visits Fort Collins for the Border War with Colorado State at 7 p.m. in Moby Arena. The Cowboys (18-7, 4-5) and Rams (15-9, 4-5) are currently tied for fifth in the Mountain West standings and now look to climb back into the thick of the conference race with a win. CSU boasts the top shooting team in the league, while UW has relied on lock-down defense for grind-it-out victories.
Fans can follow live stats and live audio of Wyoming's game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on WyomingAthletics.com. The contest will be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network and televised on The Mtn.
A Look at the Matchup
The Cowboys visit Fort Collins hungry for a win after losing back-to-back contests for the first time this season. UW dropped a 48-38 contest at New Mexico last Saturday and a 58-53 game to Air Force last Wednesday after leading both opponents at halftime. The Pokes led the Falcons by as many as 14 in the first half, but a 16-2 run midway through the second half put Air Force in control and it held on late for the win. The losses dropped the Pokes to 18-7 overall and 4-5 in the MW to sit tied for fifth with Colorado State. New Mexico leads the league at 7-2 in conference play. Wyoming's statistical numbers on the defensive end have slipped a little with the higher competition of the MW, but the Cowboys continue to keep opponents off the scoreboard. UW has held 24 of its 25 foes below their season scoring average. The Pokes were third in scoring defense (54.0 ppg) in the latest NCAA rankings, 30th in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.1) and 46th in field goal percentage defense (40.0). All three marks ranked in the top three of the Mountain West. Offensively, UW ranked 13th in the NCAA in free throw percentage (76.1), 23rd in turnover margin (+3.3) and 32nd in scoring margin (+10.4).
Colorado State enters Saturday in a similar position after dropping its last two games as well. The Rams lost a 75-71 game at TCU last Saturday, before falling at Boise State, 70-69, last Wednesday. CSU exchanged the lead with the Broncos eight times in the second half, but couldn't execute down the stretch, allowing BSU the winning layup with less than a second left in the game. The Rams are 15-9 overall on the season and 4-5 in conference play for fifth-place tie in the MW standings with Wyoming. CSU is an impressive 11-1 in Moby Arena this season, including 4-0 in conference play, and has won 10 straight in the building. The Rams have one of the top offenses in the MW, leading the league in several offensive categories. CSU's is sixth in the nation in three-point field goal percentage (41.2) and 22nd in field goal percentage (47.9), as both marks lead the MW. Colorado State also shoots well at the free throw line, ranking ninth in the NCAA at 75.9 percent. CSU is fourth in the MW at 71.7 points per game, but has the worst turnover margin in the conference at minus 0.7 and surrenders the second-most points in the league at 69.7 per game.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior center Adam Waddell has led the charge for Wyoming lately with three double-figure scoring games in the last four contests. His team-high 77.1 percent from the free throw line ranks fifth in the conference, as he averages 9.9 points and 3.2 rebounds per game. Redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington completes UW's inside presence at 12.7 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds, as he ranks in the top 10 of eight different MW categories and leads the league at 58.2 percent from the field. Redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez paces the Cowboys at 12.8 points, thanks to a conference-high 2.8 threes per game, and also leads UW at 1.9 steals. Senior guard Francisco Cruz rounds out UW's double-figure scorers at 12.0 points and adds 2.0 assists. Fellow senior guard JayDee Luster ranks sixth in the MW with a team-high 3.6 assists per game. Waddell scored 15 against the Falcons and Luster added 11, while Washington had nine rebounds.
Redshirt junior guard Wes Eikmeier and junior guard Dorian Green continue to spearhead Colorado State's potent offense. Eikmeier leads the MW at 16.7 points per game and his 86.2 percent at the free throw line ranks 24th in the nation, while Green is seventh in points (13.0) and second in free throw percentage (82.4). Both average more than 1.6 threes per game and rank in the top five of the MW in minutes played. Junior forward Pierce Hornung contributes 8.4 points and 8.2 rebounds, ranking third in the league in boards, while junior forward Greg Smith adds 9.8 points and 5.0 rebounds. Senior forward Will Bell rounds out CSU's probable starters at 8.7 points and a team-high 14 blocks. Eikmeier and Green are the only Rams to have started all 24 games, as nine have made at least one start. Eikmeier scored a career-high 30 against the Broncos and Jesse Carr added 15 off the bench.
About the Series
Saturday will be the 217th meeting between the Pokes and Rams, which is Wyoming's longest rivalry. UW has a 128-88 advantage in the all-time series, including 49-47 in Fort Collins, but meetings with both in the MW have been very close contests. Wyoming is 16-12 against Colorado State in MW play, as 18 of the contests have been decided by six points or less and 12 by three or less. Four games have gone to overtime. Wyoming is 5-5 in its last 10 meetings with CSU, including a 70-51 win in Laramie on Jan. 21 in the last matchup.
Wyoming continues its season at No. 13/15 San Diego State on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.