Feb. 23, 2012
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team begins its final homestand of the 2011-12 season by hosting Boise State on Saturday at 2 p.m. in the Arena-Auditorium. Just two games out of fourth place in the Mountain West standings, the Cowboys (18-9, 4-7) now face two critical home games, including a showdown with fourth-place TCU on Tuesday. The Broncos (13-13, 3-8) began the conference season 0-7 before rebounding to win three of their last four, but are just 1-9 on the road this season.
Tickets can be purchased by calling the Wyoming Athletics Ticket Office at 877-WYO-FAN1 (877-996-3261) or going online at WyomingAthletics.com. Fans can also follow live stats and live audio of Wyoming's games, as well as live video of the postgame press conference, through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The contest will be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network and televised on The Mtn.
A Look at the Matchup
The Pokes have dropped their last four contests to sit sixth in the MW at 4-7 in the league and 18-9 overall, but are hardly getting blown out. Wyoming led New Mexico, Air Force, Colorado State and San Diego state at halftime, before falling in each contest. Three of the four losses have come on the road and all four have been decided by less than 10 points. New Mexico continues to lead the MW at 8-3. 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 26 of its 27 foes below their season scoring average. The Pokes were fourth in scoring defense (54.2 ppg) in the latest NCAA rankings and 42nd in three-point field goal percentage defense (30.7). Both marks rank in the top three of the Mountain West. Offensively, UW is 12th in the NCAA in free throw percentage (76.1), 25th in turnover margin (+3.1) and 41st in scoring margin (+9.1).
After starting the conference season 0-7, Boise State has rebounded to win three of its last four contests to enter the weekend tied with Air Force for seventh in the MW standings at 3-8 in league play and 13-13 overall. The Broncos earned a 72-61 win at Air Force on Feb. 11, nipped Colorado State 70-69 at home on Feb. 15 and earned another one-point victory, 65-64, versus TCU at home last Saturday. Most recently, BSU dropped at 75-58 contest at UNLV last Wednesday. Boise State is 1-9 on the road this season, including 1-4 in the conference. The Broncos ranked sixth in the conference in scoring offense (70.0), and fifth in scoring defense (66.0), while placing third in turnover margin at plus 1.7. BSU hits the second-most threes per game in the MW at 7.8 and ranks fifth beyond the arc at 35.1 percent. BSU has limited opponents to 31.2 rebounds for third in the league.
Each Team's Leaders
Redshirt junior guard Luke Martinez paces the Pokes at 12.5 points, hitting 2.7 threes per game to lead the MW and rank 19th in the NCAA, and also collects 1.8 steals per game for third in the league. Redshirt junior forward Leonard Washington contributes 12.3 points and a team-high 6.6 rebounds, ranking in the top six of four different MW categories. Senior guard Francisco Cruz is UW's other scorer in double figures at 11.8 points and 2.1 assists, while senior center Adam Waddell adds 9.7 points and 3.4 rebounds. Cruz is seventh in the MW in minutes (32.0) and Waddell is sixth in free throw percentage (75.5) and blocks (0.9). Senior guard JayDee Luster leads the MW in assist-turnover ratio (2.3) and ranks sixth in assists (3.6). The UW bench came up big last Wednesday at SDSU, as senior guard Arthur Bouedo and freshman forward Larry Nance Jr. combined for 20 points. Bouedo tallied a team-high 11 points and Waddell added 10 in the overtime loss.
Freshman guard/forward Anthony Drmic continues to lead the way for the Broncos, ranking 13th in scoring (12.2) and 11th in rebounds (4.9) in the MW. The only double-figure scorer for BSU, he also ranks sixth in threes per game (2.0) and three-point percentage (32.9). Fellow freshman Derrick Marks adds 9.0 points and 3.5 rebounds and is tied with Drmic for the team lead in assists with 53, while redshirt junior center Kenny Buckner shoots a team-high 61 percent from the field to average 8.7 points and 4.5 rebounds. Senior Tre Nichols and freshman Joe Hanstad started against UNLV, the fourth start of the season for both, as 11 different Broncos have made at least four starts this year. BSU has used 12 different starting lineups. Nichols scored 5.0 points per game and Hanstad adds 3.9. Drmic scored nine points versus the Rebels and Thomas Bropleh added nine points and six rebounds off the bench.
About the Series
The Pokes lead 9-5 in the all-time series with Boise State, including a 6-1 record in Laramie. Wyoming has a 7-3 mark in the last 10 meetings with the Broncos and have been victorious in four of the last five games. UW earned a dominant 75-64 road win over BSU on Jan. 28 in their last meeting thanks to 17 points from Martinez and 16 from Cruz.
Wyoming hosts its final home game of the season against TCU on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.