Feb. 17, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team looks to return a favor when Fresno State visits the Arena-Auditorium at 7 p.m. MT Tuesday. The Cowboys (16-9, 7-5 MW) had a four-game winning streak snapped with a 67-62 road loss to the Bulldogs (13-13, 6-7 MW) on Jan. 19. Now Fresno State visits Laramie with the Mountain West's longest current winning streak at five games, after winning four more contests after its victory over the Pokes.
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, 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 and televised by ROOT Sports. Contact your local cable or satellite provider for further channel information.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming moved up to fourth in the Mountain West standings at 7-5 in the conference and 16-9 overall after a historic 46-38 win at San Jose State last Saturday. The Cowboys tied their own Mountain West record by allowing just nine second-half points, while SJSU's 38 total points were the fewest Wyoming has ever allowed in MW play. The Pokes trailed 29-26 at halftime, but started the second half with a 7-0 run to go up by three. Wyoming would allow the Spartans just four field goals, including one three, from there to slowly take the victory. SJSU kept the game within two possessions most of the second half, but managed just 28 percent (13-of-46) from the field for the game, a season low for a UW opponent, and only 20 percent (4-of-20) in the second half. The Spartans managed just six of 25 three-point attempts, including one past halftime. A free throw with just over a minute left put the Pokes up eight, their largest lead of the game, and iced the contest. For the season, Wyoming's 49 percent from the field leads the Mountain West and ranks 13th in the nation, while its 37 percent from deep is third and 65.1 points per game are 10th. UW's 73 percent at the free throw line is sixth. Defensively, the Cowboys rank second in the MW and 12th in the NCAA in scoring defense at 59.6 points per game and third in the league in field goal percentage defense at 40 percent. UW's 31 percent three-point defense is third in the conference and 41st in the nation.
Head coach Rodney Terry and Fresno State visit Laramie as the hottest team in the Mountain West with a five-game winning streak to sit seventh in the conference at 6-7 in league play and 13-13 overall. The Bulldogs started their streak with a 67-62 win over Wyoming and have gone on to pick up four more victories, including two by more than 17 points each. Most recently, FSU earned a 75-66 home win over Colorado State last Saturday. The Bulldogs used a 12-0 run to end of the first half and build a 13-point lead, then held off a hard charging Colorado State team for the win. Fresno State saw their lead, which had been as big as 16 at one point in the second half, cut to 68-62 with 2:09 to play. However, free throws and great ball movement helped the Bulldogs finish the deal and extend their winning streak. On the season, Fresno State's 74.0 points per game are good for third in the MW, while it shoots 44 percent from the field for ninth and 35 percent beyond the arc for sixth. FSU's 8.6 threes per game in MW play lead the league. Defensively, the Bulldogs allow 71.6 points to rank 10th in the conference. FSU allows opponents to shoot 43 percent for eighth and 33 percent for sixth. Fresno State's minus 2.3 rebounding margin is last in the conference.
Each Team's Leaders
The reigning Mountain West Player of the Week, junior guard Riley Grabau paced the Pokes to two historic wins last week. He notched 17 points in UW's upset of No. 5 San Diego State and added 18 points and a career-high nine rebounds to help the Pokes hold San Jose State to just nine second-half points. Grabau averages 11.6 points, thanks to 48 percent beyond the arc to rank first in the MW and fourth in the nation in three percentage. Junior forward Larry Nance Jr.'s 15.3 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game pace the Pokes. He ranks 11th in the MW in points, fifth in rebounds and fourth in blocks, while his 54 percent from the field is second. Sophomore guard Josh Adams is UW's other scorer in double figures at 11.3 points per game. He adds a team-high 2.9 assists. Senior guard Nathan Sobey contributes 7.3 points and is one of three Cowboys to average more than two assists per game. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr.'s 5.5 rebounds are second on the team and he adds 5.4 points per contest.
Fresno State has four players average in double figures, led by senior guard Tyler Johnson's 16.0 points per game for ninth in the MW. His 7.4 rebounds are 11th and 48 percent from the field is fifth. He notched 18 points and six boards versus the Rams. Sophomore guard Marvelle Harris contributes 14.6 points per game and 5.4 rebounds, while his 35 minutes per game are fifth in the league. Redshirt sophomore guard Cezar Guerrero is right behind him at 14.0 points per game, as his 2.2 threes rank seventh and his 87 percent at the free throw line is second. His 4.0 assists rank fourth in the MW and his 1.6 steals are fifth. Freshman guard/forward Paul Watson rounds out FSU's double-figure scorers at 10.0 points and adds 4.8 rebounds. Junior forward Alex Davis rounds out FSU's probable starters at 5.6 points and 4.3 rebounds. His 1.8 blocks per game rank fifth in the MW. Five Bulldogs scored more than 10 points against CSU.
About the Series
The Pokes trail in the all-time series with Fresno State, 11-7, but are 7-1 in Laramie against the Bulldogs. In the last meeting between the two, Wyoming lost a 67-62 contest in Fresno on Jan. 29. Larry Nance Jr. scored 20 points and the Pokes were within four of FSU in the final minute, but the Bulldogs got an offensive putback and made two free throws to hold on for the win. The loss broke a four-game winning streak for the Cowboys in Mountain West play.
The Cowboys travel south to face Colorado State on Saturday at 4 p.m. MT. in Moby Arena.