Feb. 25, 2013
LARAMIE, Wyo. -
The University of Wyoming men's basketball team starts its final road trip of the 2012-13 season with a visit to Air Force on Tuesday. Tip is set for 7 p.m. in Clune Arena. The Pokes (18-9, 4-9 MW) won a 64-53 game at Clune last season, but the Falcons (15-10, 6-6 MW) are 11-2 at home this season and 5-1 in Mountain West play.
Fans can follow live stats and live audio of Wyoming's game through the men's basketball Gameday Central page on the website. The contest will also be broadcast on the radio by the Cowboy Sports Network and televised by ROOT Sports (Optimum: channel 23; DirecTV: 683; Dish Network: 414). Check your cable or satellite provider for channel info.
A Look at the Matchup
Wyoming dropped a 65-42 game to UNLV last Saturday at home to fall to 18-9 overall and 4-9 in the MW for seventh in the league standings. The Rebels jumped on the Pokes from the start to amass a 32-12 halftime advantage and led by as much as 27 late in the second half. UW shot just 28 percent (17-of-59) from the field and 22 percent (4-of-18) from beyond the arc, as a second-straight opponent shot over 50 percent from the field on the Pokes. Wyoming enters the week ranked first in the MW and 11th in the NCAA in scoring defense, allowing just 56.5 points per game. UW has allowed MW opponents to shoot just 30 percent beyond the arc, fourth in the league, and also ranks the same in blocks per game at 3.7. Wyoming is eighth in the league in scoring at 60.9 points, though, as five of its lowest point totals of the season have come in MW play. Its plus 2.6 turnover margin leads the MW, while its 14.6 personal fouls per game are 18th in the NCAA.
Head coach Dave Pilipovich and Air Force are 15-10 on the season and 6-6 in conference play for sixth in the MW standings. The Falcons started the league schedule with a 5-2 mark, but have lost four of their last five games. Most recently, Air Force dropped a 77-65 game at Boise State last Wednesday. AFA trailed by one, 35-34, at halftime, but gave up an 18-4 run to start the second half and trailed by as many as 21 late. The Falcon offense ranks fourth in the MW in scoring at 72.2 points per game, first in field goal percentage at 48, second in three-point percentage at 38 and first in threes per game with 8.4. They rank in the top 21 in the NCAA in the last three stats, including 11th in field goal percentage. Defensively, the Falcons allow 67.5 points per game for eighth in the MW by allowing a league-worst 45 percent from the field to opponents. AFA's 1.3 assist-turnover ratio leads the MW.
Each Team's Leaders
Senior forward Leonard Washington has posted three-straight double-doubles, but missed Wyoming's last two games with an ankle injury. He is the first Cowboy to accomplish the feat since Justin Williams in 2005-06. Washington's 13.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 1.5 steals all lead the Cowboys and rank in the top 10 of the MW stats. Senior guard Derrious Gilmore averages 12.4 points and 2.5 assists per game thanks to 2.3 threes per game and 37 percent beyond the arc, ranking fourth in the MW in both. Sophomore forward Larry Nance Jr. contributes 9.7 points and 6.9 rebounds in addition to his 19 blocks, which are second on the team. Sophomore guard Riley Grabau paces Wyoming with 2.6 assists and adds 5.3 points, while freshman guard Josh Adams averages 6.2 points and 1.5 assists on the season. Sophomore forward Derek Cooke Jr. came off the bench for a team-high and career-high 15 points against UNLV last Saturday.
Senior guard Michael Lyons leads the Falcons with team-highs of 18.8 points and 4.2 rebounds per game. He ranks first in the MW and 34th in the nation in scoring, while his 48 percent from the field is fourth in the conference. Senior forward Mike Fitzgerald also scores in double figures at 10.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game, thanks in part to 83 percent at the free throw line, while senior guard Todd Fletcher runs the point for AFA with a team-high 4.0 assists to go with 10.0 points. He leads the MW and ranks third in the nation in assist-turnover ratio at plus 3.3. Senior center Taylor Broekhuis adds 9.0 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.0 block per game. His ranks fifth in the league in blocks. Those four have started all 25 of AFA's games this season, while sophomore forward DeLovell Earls made his 16th start of the season last Wednesday at Boise State. Earls averages 4.0 points and 3.1 rebounds. Three Falcons scored in double figures against the Broncos, led by Fletcher with 14.
About the Series
The Pokes own a commanding 73-32 lead in the all-time series, including 30-18 in Colorado Springs, but the two teams have split the last 10 meetings with five wins each. Wyoming earned a 64-53 win on Jan. 18, 2012 in its last trip to Clune Arena.
Wyoming is at No. 14/14 New Mexico on Saturday at 3 p.m. MT.