Feb. 24, 2014
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team returns to action on Tuesday when the Cowboys host Air Force at 7 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium. The Pokes (17-10, 8-6 MW) are tied for third in the Mountain West standings and look to remain in the thick of the conference race with three of their final four games this season at home, while the Falcons look to avenge a 66-59 loss to Wyoming at home earlier this season.
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 stayed tied for third in the Mountain West standings at 8-6 in the conference and 17-10 overall after an 82-67 loss at Colorado State on Saturday. The Cowboys were tied at halftime for the first time this season at 31-31, but Colorado State came out hot in the second half. The Rams used a 9-2 spurt to go up by seven at 40-33, before the Pokes clawed back within five. That would be as close as UW could get, though, as CSU hit back-to-back threes to spark a 15-2 run through the middle minutes that put it up 59-41 with nine minutes left. The Rams shot 59 percent (17-of-29) from the field and 56 percent (5-of-9) from deep in the second half. For the season, Wyoming's 49 percent from the field leads the Mountain West and ranks 17th in the nation, while its 38 percent from deep is third and 65.4 points per game are 10th. UW's 73 percent at the free throw line is seventh. Defensively, the Cowboys rank second in the MW and 15th in the NCAA in scoring defense at 60.7 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 44th in the nation.
Head coach Dave Pilipovich and Air Force enter the weekend at 10-15 overall and 4-10 in the MW for 10th in the league standings. The Falcons have won two of their last 12 MW games, both against San Jose State, after starting the season with wins against Utah State and at UNLV. Most recently, Air Force lost a 75-56 home game to Nevada on Saturday. The Wolf Pack opened the game on a 10-0 run and led throughout, while using a 12-2 run midway through the second half to take a 57-40 lead with 9:41 remaining. Nevada extended the lead to as many as 19 points on several occasions and never allowed Air Force to get closer than 14 points following the run. The Wolf Pack held Air Force to 37 percent (22-of-60) shooting from the field, including 20 percent (5-of-25) from three-point range. On the season, Air Force's 67.3 points per game rank ninth in the MW, while it shoots 45 percent from the field and 34 percent beyond the arc for fifth and seventh, respectively, in the conference. AFA's 7.4 threes per game are fourth in the league and 71st in the nation. Defensively, Air Force allows 69.0 points for seventh in the league on 43 percent from the field and 32 percent from deep. AFA's field-goal defense and three-point defense are seventh and sixth in the MW.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior guard Nathan Sobey scored in double figures for a second-straight game with 15 points at Colorado State. He averages 8.3 points, 3.1 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game, after notching a career-high 26 points against Fresno State last Tuesday. Wyoming is paced by junior guard Riley Grabau at 11.4 points and 2.2 assists per game. He shoots 46 percent beyond the arc, while his 2.4 threes per game are third in the MW. Sophomore guard Josh Adams is UW's other scorer in double figures at 11.3 points per game and adds a team-high 2.9 assists. He scored 11 points against the Rams and also earned two assists and two steals. Junior forward Derek Cooke Jr. grabs a team-high 5.6 rebounds per game, including seven versus CSU, and adds 5.5 points. Redshirt senior guard Jerron Granberry made his first career start at Wyoming against the Rams, subbing for the injured Larry Nance Jr., and averages 5.5 points per game.
Sophomore guard Tre Coggins notched 14 points against Nevada, as he leads Air Force at 16.3 points per game. His 41percent beyond the arc is second in the MW and 42nd nationally, while his 2.5 treys per game are second in the league. He hits 2.7 threes and shoots 38 percent during MW play to lead the conference in both categories. Junior guard Max Yon added 12 points against the Rams and averages 13.4 points and a team-high 2.9 assists per game. Junior forward Marek Olesinski contributes 11.9 points and 5.2 rebounds, while junior forward Kamryn Williams rounds out AF's double-figure scorers at 10.3 points and a team-high 6.4 rebounds per game. Junior forward Justin Hammonds is the other Falcon probable starter at 8.0 points and 5.4 rebounds.
About the Series
The Cowboys own a 74-33 lead in the all-time series with the Falcons, including a 38-13 mark in Laramie. Wyoming is just 4-6 in its last 10 games against Air Force, though. In their last meeting, the Pokes earned a 66-59 win at Clune Arena on Jan. 22. The Cowboys trailed by 15 points in the first half, before taking a lead with just over three minutes left in the game and holding on to overcome their largest deficit of the season.
The Cowboys host Boise State on Saturday at 4 p.m. MT in the Arena-Auditorium.